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RULE 128 operations manager, his task was to conceptualize or conduct

feasibility studies, formulate overall marketing plans, train field


G.R. No. 95145 August 5, 1993 employees and office staff as well as provide insights to the company
owners on the complexities of pharmaceutical marketing and
GUALBERTO R. ESTIVA, petitioner, distributing operations.
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSIONS, JAIME KOA AND On September 16, 1986, petitioner was appointed sales manager of
OPSONIN CHEMICAL INDUSTRIES PHILIPPINES respondent company with a salary of P11,000.00 and additional fringe
CORPORATION, respondent. benefits.

Arnold E. Magparangalan for petitioner. Towards the end of 1987, however, private respondent gradually
clipped petitioner's powers as sales manager. Respondent Jaime
Joaquin Rillo for public respondent. Koa, Chairman of the Board of respondent corporation, began to
discharge some of the functions of the sales manager, such as
Francisco C. Sevilla for private respondents. meeting with petitioner's subordinates, and preparing and signing the
appointment papers of probationary and permanent employees.
BIDIN, J.:
On December 12, 1987, private respondent Koa formally announced
Petitioner Gualberto A. Estiva seeks a modification of the decision that he was assuming the position of sales manager of respondent
rendered by respondent National Labor Relations Commission company.
(NLRC) dated May 31, 1990, which affirmed the Labor Arbiter's
decision by holding that there is sufficient basis for petitioner's On January 5, 1988, petitioner filed a complaint with the Arbitration
termination, hence, the award of separation pay without reinstatement Branch of respondent Commission for illegal dismissal, illegal
is in order (Rollo, p. 44). deduction, 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay,
reimbursement of advance expenses, with prayer for moral and
The undisputed facts of the case are as follows: exemplary damages, plus attorney's fees.

Petitioner was employed by private respondent Opsonin Chemical A day after, or January 6, 1988, private respondents issued a
Industries Philippines Corporation (Opsonin), on March 1, 1986, as memorandum addressed to petitioner, charging him with the following
operation manager with a basic monthly salary of P6,500. As accusations, to wit:
(1) that you have been absent since December 27, relatively higher salary and additional fringe benefits. His employment
1987 up to the present time without prior notice, was allegedly abruptly terminated on December 22, 1987, without
stating the reason or reasons for such termination nor was he served
(2) that you have never reported on time, contrary to any notice of termination contrary to the requirement of Batas
our company rules and regulations, Pambansa Blg. 130. He claim that his termination from employment
caused him anguish and humiliation, especially since it took place
(3) that you have refused without justifiable reason, to during the Christmas season.
observe regular office hours,
Petitioner prayed that he be awarded his 13th month pay including his
(4) that you have refused to sign the company logbook, sales incentive pay for the period of August to November 1987,
regarding your ingress and egress from the company, service incentive leave pay, reimbursement of advance expenses,
and ECOLA, performance bonus, separation pay and unpaid salary, as
well as the option to buy a car of the company. He further prayed for
(5) that you have never submitted weekly reports of moral and exemplary damages.
your accomplishments as required from you pursuant
to our company rules and regulations. (Rollo, pp. 12- In controversion, private respondents denied liability for petitioner's
13) claims and alleged that petitioner's letter of appointment does not bear
the approval or signature of respondent Koa, Opsonin's Chairman of
The memorandum also directed petitioner to submit a written the Board. Private respondents claimed that the dismissal was
explanation within forty-eight (48) hours from receipt of the said justified for the reasons contained in private respondents'
memorandum why no disciplinary sanction should be imposed upon memorandum dated January 6, 1988.
him.
In a decision dated May 31, 1989, the Labor Arbiter found that
Meanwhile the Labor Arbiter assigned to hear the petitioner's case petitioner was denied due process, declared that petitioner was
directed both parties to file their respective position papers. entitled to one-month pay from July, 1986 to December, 1987, and
further ordered private respondents to pay the sum of P2,910.00
In his position paper, petitioner alleged that prior to his employment which was deducted from petitioner's pay envelope. All other claims,
with respondent company, he was employed with United Laboratories including moral and exemplary damages, were deemed unmeritorious
for thirteen (13) years. He was enticed by respondent company to due to the absence of fraud or bad faith on the part of private
leave his former employment by offering him a promising job with a
respondents. The dispositive portion of the Labor Arbiter's decision termination since the position of Sales Operation Manager which
reads: involves trust and confidence was betrayed by petitioner as shown by
respondents' memorandum (Rollo, pp. 43-44). Accordingly, it
WHEREFORE, respondents Opsonin Chemical dismissed petitioner's appeal as follows:
Industries Philippines Corporation (Pharmaceutical
Division) and/or Jaime C. Koa, are hereby ordered to WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Appealed
pay complainant the following: Decision is as it is hereby AFFIRMED and the Appeal
dismissed for lack of merit.
1. P11,000.00 separation pay;
2. P11,000.00 13th month pay (1987); SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 45)
3. P5,500.00 13th month pay (July-
December 1986); Unsatisfied with respondent Commission's verdict, petitioner comes
4. P2,910.00 illegal deduction from before us through this petition for certiorari.
complainants salary;
When required to comment, the Solicitor General joined the petitioner
plus 10% attorney's fees of the total award. All the and submitted an adverse comment to the decision under review.
other claims including the claim for moral and
exemplary damages are hereby DENIED. It is not disputed that private respondents failed to observe the twin
requirements of due process, i.e.; due notice and hearing, when
SO ORDERED. (Rollo, p. 21) petitioner was unceremoniously dismissed as Sales Manager of
respondent company on December 22, 1987. As aptly found by the
Petitioner appealed the foregoing decision to respondent Labor Arbiter:
Commission, claiming that while the Labor Arbiter found that he was
unjustly dismissed from employment, the Labor Arbiter did not order On the issue of dismissal, it is clear that the
his reinstatement with backwages and denied his prayer for moral and complainant was deprived of his functions as the sales
exemplary damages. manager on December 22, 1987 by the Board of
Chairman, Mr. Koa. In fact, this was not denied by
In a resolution dated May 31, 1990, respondent Commission found respondent. All the respondents issued on January 6,
that petitioner was indeed dismissed without the required notice and 1988 was a letter containing the charges against the
hearing. However, it held that there was sufficient basis for petitioner's complainant, but whether or not the letter was received
by complainant, the letter does not even indicate nor To meet the requirements of due process, the law requires that an
there (sic) was an allegation from the respondent that it employer must furnish the worker sought to be dismissed with two (2)
reached the complainant. Verily, respondent violated or written notices before termination of employment can be legally
ignored the notice requirement under B.P. 130. effected ,i.e.; (1) a notice which apprises the employee of the
Complainant was denied due process so to speak, particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and (2)
before he was dismissed. In (sic) this reason, the the subsequent notice after due hearing, which informs the employee
respondents should pay his separation pay, equivalent of the employer's decision to dismiss him (Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. v.
to one month pay. (Rollo, p. 19) NLRC, 210 SCRA 277 [1992]). Obviously, private respondents opted
to ignore petitioner's right to due process. Petitioner was effectively
Indeed, petitioner was deprived of the opportunity to be heard on the dismissed as early as the end of 1987 when his powers and functions
charges against him as stated in private respondents' memorandum. were gradually taken from him. As correctly observed by the Solicitor
Worse, petitioner was actually dismissed from employment long General, the memorandum given to petitioner was a mere
before he was notified or made aware of the acts and omissions he afterthought of private respondents since it was issued after petitioner
allegedly committed in violation of company rules and policies. lodged his complaint with the Arbitration Branch of respondent
Commission (Rollo, pp. 72-73). An employer may not perfunctorily
Quite clearly, the act of private respondents violated petitioner's right dismiss an employee and ask questions later (BLTB Co. v. NLRC,
to due process before being terminated from employment. The 209 SCRA 430 [1992]).
requirements for the dismissal of an employee are two-fold: the
substantive and the procedural. The twin requirements of notice and Further, the fact the petitioner is a managerial employee is of no
hearing constitute the essential elements of due process in cases of moment. Settled is the rule that managerial employees, no less than
dismissal of employees (Salaw v. NLRC, 202 SCRA 7 [1991]). rank-and-file laborers are entitled to due process (Lawrence v. NLRC,
205 SCRA 737 [1992]; Hellenic Philippine Shipping, Inc. v. Siete, 195
We ruled that to constitute a valid dismissal, two requisites must SCRA 179 [1991]).
concur: (1) the dismissal must be of any of the causes provided for
under Article 282 of the Labor Code, and (2) only after the employee Private respondents seek to justify petitioner's dismissal by alleging
has been notified in writing and given the opportunity to be heard and loss of confidence. In support thereof, they cite respondent
defend himself as required under Section 2 and 5, Rule XIV, Book V Commission's observation, to wit:
of the Implementing Rules (Imperial Textile Mills, Inc. v. NLRC, et al.,
G. R. No. 101527, January 19, 1993). After an indepth review of the record. We agree with
appellant that he was terminated without the required
notice and investigation as spelled out in BP. Blg. 130 allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary
now Article 277 of the Labor Code as amended, but equivalent computed from the time his compensation
there is sufficient basis for appellant's termination, was withheld from him up to the time of his actual
hence the award of separation pay without reinstatement.
reinstatement is in order. As Sales Operation Manager,
appellant's position involves trust and confidence and Private respondents further argue that in terminating the services of
the same was betrayed as shown in the memorandum an employee, proof beyond reasonable doubt of the employee's
issued by appellee to appellant. (Rollo, pp. 43-44) misconduct is not required (Reyes v. Minister of Labor, 170 SCRA
134 [1989]). Thus it is maintained that if there is some basis for such
As to how the "sufficient basis" vis-a-vis the betrayal of trust came loss of confidence or if the employer has reasonable ground to believe
about, respondent Commission failed to discuss in detail. After finding that the employee concerned is responsible for misconduct, the same
that petitioner was denied due notice and hearing, respondent serves as a sufficient basis to dismiss an employee.
Commission now comes with a pronouncement that petitioner has
betrayed his employer's trust and confidence based on the latter's say The Court disagrees. The basic promise for a valid dismissal on
so. This, the Court cannot countenance. Records are bereft of any account of willful breach of trust is that the employee concerned holds
proof that petitioner was guilty of the infractions aimlessly stacked a position of trust and confidence and it is the breach of this trust that
against him by private respondents. On the contrary, what is clear that results in the employer's loss of confidence in the employee (San
petitioner was illegally dismissed. Such being the case, his Miguel Corporation v. NLRC, 211 SCRA 353 [1992]). A position of
reinstatement with payment of backwages is only proper (Spartan trust and confidence is one where a person is entrusted with
Security and Detective Agency, Inc., v. NLRC, 213 SCRA 528 [1992]). confidence on delicate matters, or with the custody, handling or care
and protection of the employer's property (Panday v. NLRC, 209
As provided for under Article 279 of the Labor Code: SCRA 122 [1992]).

Art. 279 Security of Tenure — In cases of regular In the instant case, there is no question that as sales manager of
employment, the employer shall not terminate the respondent company, petitioner holds a position vested with trust and
services of an employee except for a just cause or confidence. It is in this regard that the employer is possessed with an
when authorized by this Title. An employee who is inherent right to dismiss an employee for loss of confidence. We have
unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to a plethora of decisions that supports and recognizes this authority of
reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other the employer to sever its relationship with the employee involving
privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of such cases (Top Form Manufacturing Co., Inc. v. NLRC, et al., G.R.
No. 65706, December 11, 1992). However, loss of confidence as a On the other hand, exemplary damages may be awarded only if the
valid cause to terminate an employee must nonetheless rest on an dismissal was effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent
actual breach of duty committed by the employee and not on the manner(Spartan Security and Detective Agency, Inc. v. NLRC, supra).
employer's imagined whim or caprice (Imperial Textile Mills v. NLRC,
et al., supra). A thorough review of the records of the case before us reveals that
bad faith attended petitioner's dismissal from respondent company. As
In other words, loss of confidence as a ground for dismissal requires evidenced by the records, private respondents' memorandum was
substantial proof (PNOC-Energy Development v. NLRC, 201 SCRA issued apparently in retaliation after petitioner had lodged a complaint
487 [1991]; De Vera v. NLRC, 200 SCRA 439 [1991]). The employer's with respondent Commission's Arbitration Branch. That petitioner was
evidence must clearly and convincingly establish the facts and never given a chance to explain or refute the charges levelled against
incidents upon which the loss of confidence in the employee may him before his dismissal smacks of bad faith. Coupled with the
fairly be made to rest (Commercial Motors Corporation v. absence of due process in effecting petitioner's dismissal, we find it
Commissioners, et al., 192 SCRA 191 [1991]). reasonable to award him under the circumstances moral as well as
exemplary damages (National Service Corporation, et al., v. NLRC,
In the case bar, the private respondents failed to prove that the 168 SCRA 122 [1988]), the dismissal being effected in a wanton,
dismissal of petitioner on account of loss of confidence arose from fraudulent, oppressive and malevolent manner.
particular proven facts. No opportunity was given petitioner to meet
the charges levelled against him. In fact, he was dismissed from the Considering the nature of petitioner's office and functions, a closer
service even before he learned of the grounds for his dismissal and look at the alleged acts and omissions of petitioner as stated in private
which fact was not successfully controverted by private respondents. respondents' memorandum would justify a pronouncement that
dismissal of petitioner is too harsh a penalty. Extreme caution should
Finally, it is the contention of petitioner that the respondent be exercised in terminating the services of a worker.(Manggagawa ng
Commission erred in not awarding him moral and exemplary damages Komunikasyon sa Pilipinas v. NLRC, 194 SCRA 573 [1991]).
despite the patent illegality of the manner employed by the private
respondents in terminating his employment. In view of the foregoing, we hold that petitioner is entitled to
reinstatement and backwages. The reasons or grounds for dismissing
We find merit in petitioner's claim. As a rule, moral damages are the petitioner were not only too flimsy but were also not proven by
recoverable only where the dismissal of the employee was attended private respondents. Parenthetically, no grounds were shown to make
by bad faith or fraud or constituted an act oppressive to labor, or was reinstatement of petitioner to his former position impossible. No
done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy. evidence was presented to prove that strained relations between
private respondents and petitioner exist. Where the differences of an other defendants therein to, among others, restore possession of the
disputed landholding to private respondent, Eufrocina Vda. dela Cruz.
employee with the employer are neither personal nor physical nor are Said respondent court's decision is now final and executory as to
they of so serious a nature, reinstatement is possible (Employee's Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo, the other petitioners in the
respondent court, since they did not appeal the same.
Association of the Philippine American Life Insurance Company v.
NLRC, 199 SCRA 628 [1991]). Since petitioners do not dispute the findings of fact of the respondent
Court, the same shall be quoted verbatim and are as follows:

WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Commission is hereby It appears from the records that Juan Mendoza, father
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Opsonin Chemical of herein defendant Olympio Mendoza, is the owner of
Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the
Industries Philippines Corporation is hereby ordered to reinstate Bahay Pare Estate, Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga,
petitioner, without loss of seniority rights, to pay him three (3) years with an area of 23,000 square meters and 19,000
square meters, respectively. Devoted to the production
back wages without qualification or deduction, including the 13th
of palay, the lots were tenanted and cultivated by Julian
month pay and all other illegal deductions; moral damages in the dela Cruz, husband of plaintiff Eufrocina dela Cruz.
amount of P25,000.00 and exemplary damages in the amount of Julian died on September 25, 1979.
P25,000.00 plus attorney's fees of P10,000.00. Costs against In her complaint, Eufrocina alleged that upon the death
respondent. of Julian, she succeeded him as bona fidetenant of the
subject lots; that between July 7 to July 15, 1984,
Olympio Mendoza, in conspiracy with the other
SO ORDERED. defendants, prevented her daughter Violeta and her
workers through force, intimidation, strategy and
G.R. No. 96492 November 26, 1992 stealth, from entering and working on the subject
premises; and that until the filing of the instant case,
ROMEO REYES, ANGEL PARAYAO, and EMILIO defendants had refused to vacate and surrender the
MANANGHAYA, petitioners, lots, thus violating her tenancy rights. Plaintiff therefore
vs. prayed for judgment for the recovery of possession and
THE COURT OF APPEALS, EUFROCINA DE LA CRUZ and damages with a writ of preliminary mandatory
VIOLETA DELOS REYES, respondents. injunction in the meantime.

Defendants Reyes, Parayao, Aguinaldo and


Mananghaya, duly elected and/or appointed barangay
officials of Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga, denied
NOCON, J.:
interference in the tenancy relationship existing
between plaintiff and defendant Mendoza, particularly
Petitioners Romeo Reyes, Angel Parayao and Emilio Mananghaya in the cultivation of the latter's farm lots. Claiming that
question the respondent Court's decision promulgated on November they have always exercised fairness, equity, reason
22, 1990, 1 which affirmed with modification the agrarian court's and impartiality in the discharge of their official
decision promulgated January 10, 1990,2 which ordered them and the functions, they asked for the dismissal of the case and
claimed moral damages and attorney's fees in the total Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106, Block 2,
amount of P165,000.00 (Answer with Counterclaim, Psd-38453 of the Bahay Pare Estate,
Records, pp. 48-51). Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga, with
a total area of 23,969 square meters,
For his part, defendant Mendoza raised abandonment, more or less, owned by a certain Juan
sublease and mortgage of the farm lots without his Mendoza, and devoted principally to the
consent and approval, and non-payment of rentals, production of palay, as evidenced by a
irrigation fees and other taxes due the government, as Certification from the Ministry of
his defenses. He also demanded actual and exemplary Agrarian Reform issued on July 30,
damages, as well as attorney's fees (Answer, pp. 77- 1984.
78).
2. a) Ordering the defendants to vacate the premises of
During the pendency of the case in the lower court, the two landholding in question and to respect the
Mendoza of the case in the lower court, Mendoza was tenancy rights of plaintiff with respect to the same;
in possession of the subject lots and had cultivated the
same. Upon motion of plaintiff, the court directed its b) Ordering defendants, jointly and severally to pay
Deputy Sheriff to supervise the harvesting of the palay unto plaintiff 220 cavans of palay or its equivalent in
crops, to cause the threshing thereof and to deposit the cash of P33,000.00 from the principal crop year of
net harvest (after deducting from the expenses 1984, and every harvest time until defendants finally
incurred), in a bonded warehouse of the locality subject vacate and surrender possession and cultivation of the
to the disposition of the court. 3 landholding in question to plaintiff.

The respondent Court rendered judgment affirming the appealed c) the prayer for moral damages, not having been
agrarian court's decision with the modification that Lot 106 is not sufficiently proved, the same is denied.
covered by it.
d) Ordering defendants jointly and severally, to pay the
The dispositive portion of the appealed decision, which was modified, costs of suit.
states as follows:
The awards herein provided should first be satisfied
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, in favor from the deposits of the harvests ordered by the Court
of plaintiff and against defendants: from which the planting and harvesting expenses have
been paid to defendant Olympio Mendoza; and if said
On the Mandatory Injunction: net deposits with the Court or the warehouses as
ordered by the Court are insufficient, then the balance
1. Ordering said defendants to restore possession of should be paid by defendants, jointly and severally. 4
the landholding subject of the action to the plaintiff and
enjoining said defendants and any person claiming Defendants who are the petitioners in this case, in a Petition for
under them to desist from molesting them or interfering Review on Certiorari, present for the consideration of the Court:
with the possession and cultivation of the landholding
descriptive in paragraph 3 of the complaint, to wit: [T]he lone issue of whether or not they can be held
liable, jointly and severally, with the other defendants,
for the harvests of the litigated property, Lot No. 46, or It is clear that petitioners are asking Us to re-examine all the evidence
the money equivalent thereof starting from the principal already presented and evaluated by the trial court and re-evaluated
crop years of 1984 and every harvest time thereafter again by the respondent appellate court. Said evidence served as
until the possession and cultivation of the aforestated basis in arriving at the trial court and appellate court's findings of fact.
landholding are finally surrendered to the private We shall not analyze such evidence all over again but instead
respondent. 5 put finis to the factual findings in this case. Settled is the rule that only
questions of law may be raised in a petition for review
It is the position of petitioners that they are not liable jointly and on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court 12 absent the
severally with Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo because the exceptions which do not obtain in the instant case. 13
present petition involves Lot No. 46, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the bahay
Pare Estate, bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga and not Lot No. 106 of We agree with the appellate court in its retiocination, which We adopt,
the estate, which lot was purchased by petitioner Romeo Reyes from on why it has to dismiss the appeal. Said the Court:
Olympio Mendoza's father, Juan, and which he later donated to the
barangay Bahay Pare of Candaba, Pampanga, for the construction of In her Complaint, plaintiff-appellee alleged that she "is
the Bahay Pare Barangay High School. 6 As to their supposed the tenant of Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106 Block 2, Psd-
participation in the dispossession of private respondent from the 38453 of the Bahay Pare Estate, Bahay Pare,
disputed landholding, petitioners present the September 30, 1987 Candaba, Pampanga, with a total area of 23,969
Resolution of Investigating Fiscal Jesus M. Pamintuan, as approved square meters, more or less . . ." (Complaint, Record,
by Pampanga Provincial Fiscal Villamor I. Dizon, in I.S. No. vol. 1, p.1). However, during Violeta's testimony, she
8576, 7 wherein private respondent's complaint against petitioners and clarified that actually only Lot No. 106, which contains
the other defendants in the agrarian court for violation of P.D. an area of P19,000 square meters, is not included in
5838 was dismissed, to show that private respondent's "point is this controversy (T.S.N., August 10, 1989, p. 5; May 8,
already settled and considered closed." 9 lastly, petitioners claim that 1989, p. 12). This statement was corroborated by
they were included in the present controversy so that their political plaintiff's counsel, Atty. Arturo Rivera, who informed the
career would be destroyed.10 court that the 19,000 square meter lot is subject of a
pending case before the MTC of Sta. Ana, Pampanga
Private respondents deny petitioners' allegations and contend that it (Ibid., p. 15). The inconsistency between the averment
was petitioners who conspired with Olympio Mendoza and Severino of the complaint and the testimony of the witness
Aguinaldo in ejecting them not only from Lot No. 46 but also from Lot should not only because there was no showing that she
No. 106. They maintain that it was in Farmlot No. 46 from where they intended to mislead defendants and even the trial court
were ejected and dispossessed, so much so that even if Farmlot No. on the subject matter of the suit. It would in the
106 was removed by the Court of Appeals from the judgment, as complaint since together with Lot 106 had been include
Farmlot No. 46 was harvesting palay worth at least P33,000.00 per in the complaint since together with Lot 46, it is owned
year since 1989, private respondents, who are entitled to the by Olympio's father.
possession and peaceful enjoyment of the farmlot as provided for in
Section 23 of the Agrarian Reform Law, should be compensated for We also concur with the trial court's finding on the
the lost income by the petitioners who are solidarily liable with participation of the other appellants in the
Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo. 11 dispossession of appellee. They not only knew Olympio
personally, some of them were even asked by Olympio
We find for the private respondents. to help him cultivate the land, thus lending credence to
the allegation that defendant Olympio, together with his
co-defendants, prevented plaintiff and her workers from
entering the land through "strong arm methods". the Court of Appeals promulgated on November 22, 1990 is
(Decision of RTC, records, vol. II p. 564). AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioners.

Finally, we rule that the trial court did not err when it SO ORDERED.
favorably considered the affidavits of Eufrocina and
Efren Tecson (Annexes "B" and "C") although the RULE 129
affiants were not presented and subjected to cross-
examination. Section 16 of P.D. No. 946 provides that
the "Rules of Court shall not be applicable in agrarian JOSE C. SERMONIA, Petitioner, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
cases even in a suppletory character." The same Eleventh Division, HON. DEOGRACIAS FELIZARDO, Presiding
provision states that "In the hearing, investigation and Judge, Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Br. 151, and JOSEPH
determination of any question or controversy, affidavits SINSAY, Respondents.
and counter-affidavits may be allowed and are
admissible in evidence".
SYLLABUS
Moreover, in agrarian cases, the quantum of evidence
required is no more than substantial evidence. This
substantial evidence rule was incorporated in section 1. CRIMINAL LAW; BIGAMY; DEFINED. — Bigamy is an illegal
18, P.D. No. 946 which took effect on June 17, 1976 marriage committed by contracting a second or subsequent marriage
(Castro vs. CS, G.R. No. 34613, January 26, 1989). In before the first marriage has been legally dissolved, or before the
Bagsican vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 226, absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a
the Supreme Court defined what substantial evidence judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. Bigamy carries with it
is: the imposable penalty of prision mayor. Being punishable by an
afflictive penalty, this crime prescribes in fifteen (15) years. The
Substantial evidence does not fifteen-year prescriptive period commences to run from the day on
necessarily import preponderant which the crime is discovered by the offended party, the authorities, or
evidence, as is required in an ordinary their agents. . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library
civil case. It has been defined to be such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind 2. ID.; ID.; RULE ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE; NOT APPLICABLE
might accept as adequate to support a THERETO. — While we concede the point that the rule on
conclusion and its absence is not shown constructive notice in civil cases may be applied in criminal actions if
by stressing that there is contrary the factual and legal circumstances so warrant, we agree with the
evidence on record, direct or view expounded by the Court of Appeals that it cannot apply in the
circumstantial, for the appellate court crime of bigamy notwithstanding the possibility of its being more
cannot substitute its own judgment or favorable to the accused. The appellate court succinctly explains —
criteria for that of the trial court in Argued by the petitioner is that the principle of constructive notice
determining wherein lies the weight of should be applied in the case at bar, principally citing in support of his
evidence or what evidence is entitled to stand, the cases of People v. Reyes (175 SCRA 597); and People v.
belief.14 Dinsay (40 SCRA 50). This Court is of the view that the principle of
constructive notice should not be applied in regard to the crime of
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed bigamy as judicial notice may be taken of the fact that a bigamous
from, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. The decision of marriage is generally entered into by the offender in secrecy from the
spouse of the previous subsisting marriage. Also, a bigamous over the country to make certain that no second or even third
marriage is generally entered into in a place where the offender is not marriage has been contracted without the knowledge of the legitimate
known to be still a married person, in order to conceal his legal spouse. This is too formidable a task to even contemplate.
impediment to contract another marriage. In the case of real property,
the registration of any transaction involving any right or interest 3. CIVIL LAW; CIVIL REGISTRY; DOCUMENTS THEREIN NOT
therein is made in the Register of Deeds of the place where the said COVERED BY THE RULE ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE UNDER
property is located. Verification in the office of the Register of Deeds PROPERTY REGISTRATION DECREE (P.D. NO. 1529). — While
concerned of the transactions involving the said property can easily Sec. 52 of P.D. 1529 (Property Registration Decree) provides for
be made by any interested party. In the case of a bigamous marriage, constructive notice to all persons of every conveyance, mortgage,
verification by the offended person or the authorities of the same lease, lien, attachment, order, judgment, instrument or entry affecting
would indeed be quite difficult as such a marriage may be entered into registered land filed or entered in the office of the Register of Deeds
in a place where the offender is not known to be still a married person. for the province or city where the land to which it relates lies from the
Be it noted that in the criminal cases cited by the petitioner wherein time of such registering, filing or entering, there is no counterpart
constructive notice was applied, involved therein were land or provision either in Act No. 3753 (Act to Establish a Civil Register) or in
property disputes and certainly, marriage is not property. The non- Arts. 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, which leads us to the conclusion
application to the crime of bigamy of the principle of constructive that there is no legal basis for applying the constructive notice rule to
notice is not contrary to the well entrenched policy that penal laws the documents registered in the Civil Register.
should be construed liberally in favor of the accused. To compute the
prescriptive period for the offense of bigamy from registration thereof
would amount to almost absolving the offenders thereof for liability DECISION
therefor. While the celebration of the bigamous marriage may be said
to be open and made of public record by its registration, the offender
however is not truthful as he conceals from the officiating authority BELLOSILLO, J.:
and those concerned the existence of his previous subsisting
marriage. He does not reveal to them that he is still a married person.
He likewise conceals from his legitimate spouse his bigamous Bigamy is an illegal marriage committed by contracting a second or
marriage. And for these, he contracts the bigamous marriage in a subsequent marriage before the first marriage has been legally
place where he is not known to be still a married person. And such a dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared
place may be anywhere, under which circumstance, the discovery of presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper
the bigamous marriage is rendered quite difficult and would take time. proceedings. 1 Bigamy carries with it the imposable penalty of prision
It is therefore reasonable that the prescriptive period for the crime of mayor. Being punishable by an afflictive penalty, this crime prescribes
bigamy should be counted only from the day on which the said crime in fifteen (15) years. 2 The fifteen-year prescriptive period commences
was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or their agency to run from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended
(sic). Considering such concealment of the bigamous marriage by the party, the authorities, or their agents. . . ." 3
offender, if the prescriptive period for the offense of bigamy were to be
counted from the date of registration thereof, the prosecution of the That petitioner contracted a bigamous marriage seems impliedly
violators of the said offense would almost be impossible. The admitted. 4 At least, it is not expressly denied. Thus the only issue for
interpretation urged by the petitioner would encourage fearless resolution is whether his prosecution for bigamy is already time-
violations of a social institution cherished and protected by law. To barred, which hinges on whether its discovery is deemed to have
this we may also add that the rule on constructive notice will make de taken place from the time the offended party actually knew of the
rigueur the routinary inspection or verification of the marriages listed second marriage or from the time the document evidencing the
in the National Census Office and in various local civil registries all subsequent marriage was registered with the Civil Registry consistent
with the rule on constructive notice.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
While we concede the point that the rule on constructive notice in civil
The antecedents: In an information filed in 26 May 1992, petitioner cases may be applied in criminal actions if the factual and legal
Jose C. Sermonia was charged with bigamy before the Regional Trial circumstances so warrant, 8 we agree with the view expounded by the
Court of Pasig, Br. 151, for contracting marriage with Ma. Lourdes Court of Appeals that it cannot apply in the crime of bigamy
Unson on 15 February 1975 while his prior marriage to Virginia C. notwithstanding the possibility of its being more favorable to the
Nievera remained valid and subsisting. 5 accused. The appellate court succinctly explains —

Petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that his Argued by the petitioner is that the principle of constructive notice
criminal liability for bigamy has been extinguished by prescription. should be applied in the case at bar, principally citing in support of his
stand, the cases of People v. Reyes (175 SCRA 597); and People v.
In the order of 1 October 1992, respondent judge denied the motion to Dinsay (40 SCRA 50).
quash. On 27 October 1992, he likewise denied the motion to
reconsider his order of denial. This Court is of the view that the principle of constructive notice
should not be applied in regard to the crime of bigamy as judicial
Petitioner challenged the above orders before the Court of Appeals notice may be taken of the fact that a bigamous marriage is generally
through a petition for certiorari and prohibition. In the assailed entered into by the offender in secrecy from the spouse of the
decision of 21 January 1993, his petition was dismissed for lack of previous subsisting marriage. Also, a bigamous marriage is generally
merit. 6 entered into in a place where the offender is not known to be still a
married person, in order to conceal his legal impediment to contract
In this recourse, petitioner contends that his criminal liability for another marriage.
bigamy has been obliterated by prescription. He avers that since the
second marriage contract was duly registered with the Office of the In the case of real property, the registration of any transaction
Civil Registrar in 1975, 7 such fact of registration makes it a matter of involving any right or interest therein is made in the Register of Deeds
public record and thus constitutes notice to the whole world. The of the place where the said property is located. Verification in the
offended party therefore is considered to have had constructive notice office of the Register of Deeds concerned of the transactions involving
of the subsequent marriage as of 1975; hence, prescription the said property can easily be made by any interested party. In the
commenced to run on the day the marriage contract was registered. case of a bigamous marriage, verification by the offended person or
For this reason, the corresponding information for bigamy should have the authorities of the same would indeed be quite difficult as such a
been filed on or before 1990 and not only in 1992. marriage may be entered into in a place where the offender is not
known to be still a married person.chanrobles law library
Petitioner likewise takes issue with the "alleged concealment of the
bigamous marriage" as declared by the appellate court, insisting that Be it noted that in the criminal cases cited by the petitioner wherein
the second marriage was publicly held at Our Lady of Nativity Church constructive notice was applied, involved therein were land or
in Marikina on 15 February 1975, and adding for good measure that property disputes and certainly, marriage is not property.
from the moment of registration the marriage contract was open to
inspection by any interested person.chanrobles virtualawlibrary The non-application to the crime of bigamy of the principle of
chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph constructive notice is not contrary to the well entrenched policy that
penal laws should be construed liberally in favor of the accused. To
On the other hand, the prosecution maintains that the prescriptive compute the prescriptive period for the offense of bigamy from
period does not begin from the commission of the crime but from the registration thereof would amount to almost absolving the offenders
time of discovery by complainant which was in July 1991. thereof for liability therefor. While the celebration of the bigamous
marriage may be said to be open and made of public record by its recorded in the Civil Registry which is open to all and sundry for
registration, the offender however is not truthful as he conceals from inspection. We cannot go along with his argument because why did
the officiating authority and those concerned the existence of his he indicate in the marriage contract that he was "single" thus
previous subsisting marriage. He does not reveal to them that he is obviously hiding his true status as a married man? Or for that matter,
still a married person. He likewise conceals from his legitimate spouse why did he not simply tell his first wife about the subsequent marriage
his bigamous marriage. And for these, he contracts the bigamous in Marikina so that everything would be out in the open. The answer is
marriage in a place where he is not known to be still a married person. obvious: He knew that no priest or minister would knowingly perform
And such a place may be anywhere, under which circumstance, the or authorize a bigamous marriage as this would subject him to
discovery of the bigamous marriage is rendered quite difficult and punishment under the Marriage Law. 10 Obviously, petitioner had no
would take time. It is therefore reasonable that the prescriptive period intention of revealing his duplicity to his first spouse and gambled
for the crime of bigamy should be counted only from the day on which instead on the probability that she or any third party would ever go to
the said crime was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or the local civil registrar to inquire. In the meantime, through the simple
their agency (sic). expedience of having the second marriage recorded in the local civil
registry, he has set into motion the running of the fifteen-year
Considering such concealment of the bigamous marriage by the prescriptive period against the unwary and the unsuspecting victim of
offender, if the prescriptive period for the offense of bigamy were to be his philandering.
counted from the date of registration thereof, the prosecution of the
violators of the said offense would almost be impossible. The Were we to put our imprimatur to the theory advanced by petitioner, in
interpretation urged by the petitioner would encourage fearless all likelihood we would be playing right into the hands of philanderers.
violations of a social institution cherished and protected by law. 9 For we would be equating the contract of marriage with ordinary
deeds of conveyance and other similar documents without due regard
To this we may also add that the rule on constructive notice will make for the stability of marriage as an inviolable social institution, the
de rigueur the routinary inspection or verification of the marriages preservation of which is a primary concern of our society.
listed in the National Census Office and in various local civil registries
all over the country to make certain that no second or even third WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the questioned decision
marriage has been contracted without the knowledge of the legitimate of the Court of Appeals, the same is AFFIRMED.chanrobles law
spouse. This is too formidable a task to even contemplate. library

More importantly, while Sec. 52 of P.D. 1529 (Property Registration SO ORDERED.


Decree) provides for constructive notice to all persons of every
conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien, attachment, order, judgment,
instrument or entry affecting registered land filed or entered in the PRESIDENTIAL AD HOC FACT-FINDING COMMITTEE ON BEHEST
office of the Register of Deeds for the province or city where the land LOANS represented by MAGTANGGOL C. GUNIGUNDO,
to which it relates lies from the time of such registering, filing or PCGG Chairman & ORLANDO L. SALVADOR, as
entering, there is no counterpart provision either in Act No. 3753 (Act Consultant, Technical Working Group of the Presidential
to Establish a Civil Register) or in Arts. 407 to 413 of the Civil Code, Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest
which leads us to the conclusion that there is no legal basis for Loans, petitioner, vs. HON. ANIANO A. DESIERTO, as
applying the constructive notice rule to the documents registered in Ombudsman, P.O. DOMINGO, MARIO ORTIZ &
the Civil Register.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary ALEJANDRO CRUZ, Philippine National Bank Officers, and
ENRIQUE T. GALAN, SEBASTIAN C. COSCOLLUELA,
Finally, petitioner would want us to believe that there was no ARSENIO L. DEL ROSARIO & JOSE HAUTEA, Officers of
concealment at all because his marriage contract with Ms. Unson was Calinog-Lambunao Sugar Mills, Inc., respondents.
DECISION unanimously resolved that the presence of two or more of the eight (8)
criteria mentioned under Memorandum No. 61 will classify the
PARDO, J.:
account as Behest Loan.

"In the instant case, the Committee endorsed the account to be


The Case behest loan.

The case before the Court is a special civil action for certiorari to "1. It is undercollateralized;
annul and set aside the resolution of the Ombudsman[1] dismissing the
complaint against respondents and to order the Ombudsman to file the "2. The borrower corporation is undercapitalized;
necessary information for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act against them.[2] "3. Non-feasibility of the project for which financing is being sought.

"6. It appears from the foregoing facts and circumstances on record


The Facts that the provisions of Section 3 (e) and (g) of RA 3019 among other
laws, were violated:

Atty. Orlando Salvador was PCGG Consultant on detail with the "Sec. 3. Corrupt Practice of Public Officers. - In addition to the acts or
Presidential Ad Hoc Committee on Behest Loans.[3] Likewise, he was omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the
the coordinator of the Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
officers and employees of different Government Financing Institutions hereby declared to be unlawful:
(GFI).[4]
Among the accounts referred to the TWG of the Behest Loans xxxxxxxxx
Committee was the loan of Calinog-Lambunao Sugar Mills, Inc.[5] with
the Philippine National Bank (PNB). "7. x x x

In 1968, Calinog applied to the PNB for a stand-by irrevocable "8. As of April 30, 1986, (the) firm has an outstanding and unpaid
confirmed letter of credit amounting to $22,109,412.00 to cover balance of P348.291 million representing bid price of foreclosed
importation of sugar machinery and equipment on turn-key basis, assets (Evidence 8)"[9]
construction, plantation and money loans in connection with its
proposed 4,000 TCD Sugar Central. On March 20, 1968, the PNB On May 29, 1997, the Ombudsman dismissed the complaint on the
approved the loan.[6] On May 8, 1968, the approved loan was increased ground of prescription. The resolution reads:
to $22,132,377.00.[7]
On March 24, 1997, Atty. Orlando Salvador filed with the "The loan transactions subject of this complaint occurred in the years
Ombudsman[8] a complaint against Calinog-Lambunao Sugar Mills, Inc. 1968, 1978, 1979 and 1982, respectively. A cursory look at the said
(Calinog), alleging: loan transactions would readily disclose the fact that the fifteen (15)
year prescriptive period for offenses punishable under R.A. 3019, as
"5. Pursuant to Administrative Order No. 13 dated October 18, 1992, amended has already passed from the time the alleged offenses were
creating the Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest committed. If there is nothing that was concealed or needed to be
Loans and further defined its scope under Memorandum Order No. 61 discovered, because the entire series of transactions was by public
dated November 9, 1992, (copies attached), the Committee instruments, duly recorded, the crime of estafa committed in
connection with said transactions was known to the offended party The subject loans were given in 1968, 1978, 1979 and 1982. On
when it was committed and the period of prescription commenced to March 24, 1997, petitioner filed a complaint with the Ombudsman for
run from the date of its commission (People vs. Dinsay, C.A. 40 O.G., violation of R. A. No. 3019.[13]
12 Supp. 50).
Respondents contend that the action is barred by prescription
inasmuch as petitioner filed the complaint twenty nine (29) years after
"Applying now the foregoing decision of the Court in the case at bar,
the crime was committed, well beyond the 15-year prescriptive period
the prescriptive period of fifteen (15) years shall commence to run
provided by law.
from the date of commission. Hence, the subject offenses have
already prescribed following the pronouncement of the Court in the In resolving the issue of prescription of the offense charged, the
foregoing case. following shall be considered: ( 1) the period of prescription for the
offense charged; (2) the time the period of prescription started to run;
"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, it is respectfully and (3) the time the prescriptive period was interrupted.[14]
recommended that the instant charges against herein respondents be
Looking closely at the provisions of R. A. No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and
dismissed on the ground of prescription.
Corrupt Practices Act), the law provides for its own prescriptive period.
"SO RESOLVED.
"Section 11. Prescription of offenses. - All offenses punishable under
this Act shall prescribe in fifteen years." (Underscoring supplied)
"Manila, Philippines, May 29, 1997."[10]
However, since R.A. No. 3019, as amended, is a special law, the
Hence, this petition.[11] applicable rule in the computation of the prescriptive period is provided
On October 28, 1999, the Ombudsman manifested to the Court his in Act No. 3326, Section 2[15] as amended, which provides:
willingness to have the case remanded to his Office for preliminary
investigation. Thus - "Section 2. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the
commission of the violation of the law, and if the same be not known
"In view of the fact that the case involves an alleged behest loan at the time, from the discovery thereof and the institution of judicial
which Public Respondent dismissed on the sole ground of proceedings for its investigation and punishment.
prescription, Public Respondent manifests its willingness to have the
case remanded to the Office of the Ombudsman for preliminary "The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are instituted
investigation. against the guilty person, and shall begin to run again if the
proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting jeopardy."
Prayer
This implies that if the commission of the crime were known, the
"Wherefore, it is respectively prayed of this Honorable Court that this prescriptive period shall commence to run on the day the crime was
Manifestation be NOTED.[12] committed. However, if the violation of the special law was not known
at the time of its commission, the prescription begins to run only from
the discovery thereof, i.e., discovery of the unlawful nature of the
constitutive act or acts.[16]
The Court's Ruling
In cases involving violations of R. A. No.3019 committed prior to
the February 1986 Edsa Revolution that ousted President Ferdinand E.
Marcos, we ruled that the government as the aggrieved party could not
have known of the violations at the time the questioned transactions party. They were not by such marking formally offered as exhibits. As
were made.[17] Moreover, no person would have dared to question the we said in Interpacific Transit, Inc. v. Aviles, "At the trial on the merits,
legality of those transactions. Thus, the counting of the prescriptive the party may decide to formally offer (the exhibits) if it believes they
period commenced from the date of discovery of the offense in 1992 will advance its cause, and then again it may decide not to do so at
after an exhaustive investigation by the Presidential Ad Hoc Committee all. In the latter event, such documents cannot be considered
on Behest Loans. evidence, nor can they be given any evidentiary value."cralaw
virtua1aw library
As to when the period of prescription was interrupted, the second
paragraph of Section 2, Act No. 3326, as amended, provides that 2. ID; ID; RATIONALE OF THE RULE. — The offer is necessary
prescription is interrupted "when proceedings are instituted against the because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and his
guilty person." judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties at
In this case, the prescriptive period was interrupted upon the filing the trial.
of the complaint with the Ombudsman on March 24, 1997, five (5) years
from the time of discovery in 1992. 3. ID; ID; WHEN CONSIDERED ADMISSIBLE AGAINST THE
ADVERSE PARTY. — We did say in People v. Napat-a that even if
Thusly, the filing of the complaint was well within the prescriptive there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be admitted against
period. the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby GRANTS the petition and SETS recorded and, second, it has itself been incorporated in the records of
ASIDE the Resolution of the Ombudsman in Case No. OMB-0-97-0724, the case. But we do not fine that these requirements have been
dated May 29, 1997. satisfied in the case before us.

The Court further DIRECTS the Ombudsman to conduct 4. ID; ORIGINAL RECORD OF A CASE ARCHIVED; WHEN
preliminary investigation in Case No. OMB-0-97-0724 with deliberate CONSIDERED READ INTO THE RECORD OF A CASE PENDING
dispatch. BEFORE A COURT; FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE CONDITIONS.
No costs. — It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in
the absence of objection," "with the knowledge of the opposing party,"
SO ORDERED. or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the case is
clearly referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are
JOSE TABUENA, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS and
actually withdrawn form the archives" and "admitted as part of the
EMILIANO TABERNILLA, JR., Respondents.
record of the case then pending." These conditions have not been
established here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely
Ramon Dimen for Petitioner.
unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327 was being
considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. As the
Dionisio A. Hernandez for Private Respondent.
petitioner puts it, the matter was never taken up at the trial and was
"unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no opportunity to counteract.
SYLLABUS
5. ID; TAX RECEIPTS AND DECLARATION OF OWNERSHIP;
ACCOMPANIED BY ACTUAL POSSESSION SUPPORT CLAIM OF
OWNERSHIP. — While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and
1. EVIDENCE; EVIDENCE OUT FORMALLY OFFERED CANNOT BE
declarations of ownership for taxation purposes are not
CONSIDERED NOR GIVEN ANY EVIDENTIARY VALUE. — The
incontrovertible evidence of ownership they become strong evidence
mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not
of ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of
mean it has thereby already been offered as part of the evidence of a
actual possession of the property. It is only where payment of taxes is against Jose Tabuena, the herein petitioner. After trial, judgment was
accompanied by actual possession of the land covered by the tax rendered in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant was required to
declaration that such circumstance may be material in supporting a vacate the disputed lot. 1
claim of ownership.
As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. sometime
6. ID; ACTS ACCOMPANYING CLAIM OF OWNERSHIP. — All the in 1926 to Alfredo Tabernilla while the two were in the United States.
acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena indicate that they were Tabernilla returned to the Philippines in 1934, and Damasa Timtiman,
the owners of the disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her acting upon her son Juan’s instruction, conveyed the subject land to
forebears had been in possession thereof for more that fifty years and Tabernilla. At the same time, she requested that she be allowed to
indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. She paid the realty stay thereon as she had been living there all her life. Tabernilla
taxes thereon in her own name. Jose Tabuena built a house of strong agreed provided she paid the realty taxes on the property, which she
materials on the lot. He even mortgaged the land to the Development promised to do, and did. She remained on the said land until her
Bank of the Philippines and to two private persons who acknowledged death, following which the petitioner, her son and half-brother of Juan
him as the owner. These acts denote ownership and are not Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof The complaint was filed when
consistent with the private respondent’s claim that the petitioner was demand was made upon Tabuena to surrender the property and he
only an overseer with mere possessory rights tolerated by Tabernilla. refused, claiming it as his own.

7. ID; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE INFERIOR COURTS HELD NOT The trial court rejected his defense that he was the absolute owner of
CONFORMABLE TO THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD. — It is the the lot, which he inherited from his parents, who acquired it even
policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual findings before World War II and had been living thereon since then and until
of the courts below and even to regard them as conclusive where they died. Also disbelieved was his contention that the subject of the
there is now showing that they have been reached arbitrarily. The sale between Peralta and Tabernilla was a different piece of land
exception is where such findings do not conform to the evidence on planted to coconut trees and bounded on three sides by the Makato
record and appear indeed to have no valid basis to sustain their River.
correctness. As in this case.
Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in
arriving at its factual findings, the trial court motu proprio took
DECISION cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked by
the plaintiff but never formally submitted in evidence. The trial court
also erred when, to resolve the ownership of the subject lot, it
CRUZ, J.: considered the proceedings in another case involving the same
parties but a different parcel of land.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order as
respondent court, for lack of basis. It is argued that the lower courts follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
should not have taken into account evidence not submitted by the
private respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court. Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following exhibits: Exh. "A", letter
dated October 4, 1921 addressed in Makato, Capis, Philippines; Exh.
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting of "A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating that the amount of P600.00
about 440 square meters and situated in Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In — the first P300.00 and then another P300.00 as interest since
1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof was filed in the October 4, 1921; Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. "B", a
Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla Spanish document; Exh. "C", deed of conveyance filed by Tomasa
Timtiman and Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", paragraph 4 thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
of Exh. "C."
. . . The offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his
In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held that, contrary to findings of facts and his judgment only and strictly upon the evidence
the allegations of the appellant, the said exhibits were in fact formally offered by the parties at the trial. 4
submitted in evidence as disclosed by the transcript of stenographic
notes, which it quoted at length. 2 The challenged decision also We did say in People v. Napat-a 5 that even if there be no formal offer
upheld the use by the trial court of testimony given in an earlier case, of an exhibit, it may still be admitted against the adverse party if, first,
to bolster its findings in the second case. it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and, second, it
has itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But we do not
We have examined the record and find that the exhibits submitted find that these requirements have been satisfied in the case before
were not the above-described documents but Exhibits "X" and "Y" and us. The trial court said the said exhibits could be validly considered
their sub-markings, which were the last will and testament of Alfredo because, even if they had not been formally offered, one of the
Tabernilla and the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of plaintiff’s witnesses, Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them at the
exhibits does not include Exhibits "A", "B" and "C." In fact, the trial trial and was even cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel. We do
court categorically declared that "Exhibits ‘A,’ ‘A-1,’ ‘A-2,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ and not agree. Although she did testify, all she did was identify the
‘C-1,’ were not among those documents or exhibits formally offered documents. Nowhere in her testimony can we find a recital of the
for admission by plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear contradiction contents of the exhibits.
of the finding of the appellate court, which seems to have confused
Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran:chanrob1es virtual 1aw
mentioned in the quoted transcript. library

Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as ATTY. LEGASPI:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
What is this Exh. "A" about?
Sec. 35. Offer of evidence. — The court shall consider no evidence
which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the A The translation of the letter.
evidence is offered must be specified.
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the letter of the sister of Juan
The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does Peralta to Alfredo Tabernilla?
not mean it has thereby already been offered as part of the evidence
of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were marked at the Court:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the purpose of
identifying them at that time. They were not by such marking formally The best evidence is the document. Proceed. 6
offered as exhibits. As we said in Inter pacific Transit, Inc. v. Aviles, 3
"At the trial on the merits, the party may decide to formally offer (the She also did not explain the contents of the other two exhibits.
exhibits) if it believes they will advance its cause, and then again it
may decide not to do so at all. In the latter event, such documents The respondent court also held that the trial court committed no
cannot be considered evidence, nor can they be given any evidentiary reversible error in taking judicial notice of Tabuena’s testimony in a
value." chanrobles lawlibrary : rednad case it had previously heard which was closely connected with the
case before it. It conceded that as a general rule "courts are not
Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the rule authorized to take judicial notice, in the adjudication of cases pending
before them, of the contents of the records of other cases, even when parcel of land sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo Tabernilla and not
such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and another property, as the petitioner contends. Even assuming it was
notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are the same lot, there is no explanation for the sale thereof by Juan
actually pending before the same judge." 7 Nevertheless, it applied Peralta, Jr., who was only the son of Damasa Timtiman. According to
the exception that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library the trial court, "there is no question that before 1934 the land in
question belonged to Damasa Timtiman." Juan Peralta, Jr. could not
. . . in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all have validly conveyed title to property that did not belong to him
parties, a court may properly treat all or any part of the original record unless he had appropriate authorization from the owner. No such
of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case pending authorization has been presented.
before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is
made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of
manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original ownership, as we have held in many cases. However, that rule is also
record of the former case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known exception. In
the archives by the court’s direction, at the request or with the consent the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the petitioner and his
of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then predecessors-in-interest have possessed the disputed property since
pending. 8 even before World War II. In light of this uncontroverted fact, the tax
declarations in their name become weighty and compelling evidence
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in the of the petitioner’s ownership. As this Court has held:chanrob1es
absence of objection," "with the knowledge of the opposing party," or virtual 1aw library
"at the request or with the consent of the parties," the case is clearly
referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of
actually withdrawn from the archives" and "admitted as part of the ownership for taxation purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of
record of the case then pending." These conditions have not been ownership they become strong evidence of ownership acquired by
established here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the
unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327 was being property. 9
considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. As the
petitioner puts t, the matter was never taken up at the trial and was It is only where payment of taxes is accompanied by actual
"unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no opportunity to counteract. possession of the land covered by the tax declaration that such
circumstance may be material in supporting a claim of ownership. 10
The respondent court said that even assuming that the trial court
improperly took judicial notice of the other case, striking off all The tax receipts accompanied by actual and continuous possession of
reference thereto would not be fatal to the plaintiffs cause because the subject parcels of land by the respondents and their parents
"the said testimony was merely corroborative of other evidences before them for more than 30 years qualify them to register title to the
submitted by the plaintiff." What "other evidences" ? The trouble with said subject parcels of land. 11
this justification is that the exhibits it intends to corroborate, to wit,
Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", have themselves not been formally The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo Tabernilla did purchase the
submitted.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary property and magnanimously allowed Damasa Timtiman to remain
there, he did not at least require her to pay the realty taxes in his
Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for the private name, not hers. The explanation given by the trial court is that he was
respondent, we feel that the complaint should have been dismissed not much concerned with the property, being a bachelor and fond only
by the trial court for failure of the plaintiff to substantiate its of the three dogs he had bought from America. That is specious
allegations. It has failed to prove that the subject lot was the same reasoning. At best, it is pure conjecture. If he were really that
unconcerned, it is curious that he should have acquired the property contrary contentions that should have persuaded the trial judge to rule
in the first place, even as dacion en pago. He would have demanded in his favor and dismiss the complaint.
another form of payment if he did not have the intention at all of living
on the land. On the other hand, if he were really interested in the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision is
property, we do not see why he did not have it declared in his name REVERSED and SET ASIDE, with costs against the
when the realty taxes thereon were paid by Damasa Timtiman or why private Respondent. It is so ordered.
he did not object when the payments were made in her own
name.chanrobles.com : virtual law library
CITY OF MANILA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GERARDO GARCIA —
In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena Carmencita Villanueva, MODESTA PARAYNO — Narciso
indicate that they were the owners of the disputed property. Damasa Parayno, JUAN ASPERAS, MARIA TABIA — Simion Diliman,
Timtiman and her forebears had been in possession thereof for more AQUILINO BARRIOS — Leonora Ruiz, LAUREANO DlZO,
than fifty years and, indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. 12 BERNABE AYUDA — Leogarda de los Santos, ISABELO OBAOB
She paid the realty taxes thereon in her own name. 13 Jose Tabuena — Andrea Riparip, JOSE BARRIENTOS, URBANO RAMOS, 1
built a house of strong materials on the lot. 14 He even mortgaged the ELENA RAMOS, ESTEFANIA NEPACINA, MODESTA SANCHEZ;
land to the Development Bank of the Philippines and to two private MARCIAL LAZARO, MARCIANA ALANO, HONORIO BERIÑO —
persons who acknowledged him as the owner. 15 These acts denote Sedora Orayle, GLORIA VELASCO, WILARICO RICAMATA;
ownership and are not consistent with the private respondent’s claim BENEDICTO DIAZ, ANA DEQUIZ — (Mrs.) Alunan, LORENZO
that the petitioner was only an overseer with mere possessory rights CARANDANG, JUAN PECAYO, FELICIDAD MIRANDA — Emigdio
tolerated by Tabernilla. Egipto, Defendants-Appellants.

It is the policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual Mauricio Z. Alunan, for Defendants-Appellants.
findings of the courts below and even to regard them as conclusive
where there is no showing that they have been reached arbitrarily. City Fiscal’s Office for Plaintiff-Appellee.
The exception is where such findings do not conform to the evidence
on record and appear indeed to have no valid basis to sustain their
correctness. As in this case. SYLLABUS

The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits "A",
"B" and "C", which had not been formally offered as evidence and 1. COURTS; RULINGS; ALTERATION THEREOF. — A court of
therefore should have been totally disregarded, conformably to the justice may alter its ruling while the case is within its power, to make it
Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it relied on the conformable to law and justice (Sec. 5, Rule 124 of the 1940 Rules of
evidence submitted in Civil Case No. 1327 and took judicial notice Court, now Section 5, Rule 135 of the new Rules of Court; Veluz v.
thereof without the consent or knowledge of the petitioner, in violation Justice of the Peace of Sariaya, 42 Phil. 557).
of existing doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings here challenged
are as an edifice built upon shifting sands and should not have been 2. ID.; CITY OF MANILA; MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES; JUDICIAL
sustained by the respondent court. KNOWLEDGE. — Courts in the City of Manila should take judicial
knowledge of all municipal ordinances passed by the City for the
Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the lower Charter of Manila requires all courts sitting therein to take judicial
court, failed to prove his claim of ownership over the disputed property notice of all ordinances passed by the municipal board of Manila.
with evidence properly cognizable under our adjudicative laws. By
contrast, there is substantial evidence supporting the petitioner’s 3. FORCIBLE ENTRY AND DETAINER; ERECTION OF HOUSES
ON LAND OWNED BY ANOTHER WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE AND In November, 1947, the presence of defendants having previously
CONSENT; SQUATTERS. — Where defendants entered the land, been discovered, defendants Felicidad Miranda (Emigdio Egipto),
built houses of second class materials thereon without the knowledge Modesta C. Parayno, Benedicto Diaz, Laureano Dizo, Jose
and consent of the City, without city permits — their constructions are Barrientos, Elena Ramos, Estefania, Nepacina, Modesta Sanchez,
illegal, and in familiar language they are known as squatters. Honorio Beriño, Gloria Velasco, Ana Dequis Alunan and Benedicto
Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of Ofiaza (predecessor of defendant Carandang) were given by Mayor
the city officials will elevate it into a lawful act. Official approval of Valeriano E. Fugoso written permits — each labeled "lease contract"
squatting should not, therefore, be permitted to obtain in this country — to occupy specific areas in the property upon conditions therein set
where there is an orderly form of government. forth. Defendants Isabelo Obaob and Gerardo Garcia (in the name of
Marta A. Villanueva) received their permits from Mayor Manuel de la
4. POLITICAL LAW; SQUATTERS; BUILDING OF SCHOOL Fuente on January 29 and March 18, respectively, both of 1948. The
HOUSES; INTEREST OF SQUATTERS MUST YIELD TO PUBLIC rest of the 23 defendants exhibited none.
GOOD. — The squatters’ houses and constructions clearly hinder and
impair the use of the property for school purposes. The courts may For their occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.
well take judicial notice of the fact that construction of elementary
grades school houses has been and still is a perennial problem in the Following are the rentals due as of February, 1962:chanrob1es virtual
city to which selfish interest of the squatters must yield. The public 1aw library
purpose of constructing the school building annex is paramount.
Name Area in Monthly Amount due from
5. ID.; ID.; PUBLIC NUISANCE. — The squatters’ houses and
constructions aforesaid constitute public nuisance per se for the sq.m. Rental date of delinquency
reason that they hinder and impair the use of the property for a badly
needed school building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth to Feb. 1962
of the land. This nuisance could well have been summarily abated by
the city authorities even without the aid of courts. 1. Gerardo Garcia 66.00 P7.92 P1,628.97

2. Modesta C. Parayno 87.75 10.53 379.08


DECISION
3. Juan Asperas 39.00 4.68 9.36

SANCHEZ, J.: 4. Maria Tabia 35.20 5.76 570.24

5. Aquilino Barrios 54.00 4.32 99.36


Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one
compact area, bordering Kansas, Vermont and Singalong streets in (Leonora Ruiz)
Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens titles Nos. 49763, 37082 and
37558. Shortly after liberation, from 1945 to 1947, defendants entered 6. Laureano Dizo 35.00 2.80 22.40
upon these premises without plaintiff’s knowledge and consent. They
built houses of second class materials, again without plaintiff’s 7. Bernabe Ayuda 39.60 3.17 323.34
knowledge and consent, and without the necessary building permits
from the city. There they lived thru the years to the present. 8. Isabelo Obaob 75.52 9.06 208.38
9. Jose Barrientos 39.53 4.74 744.18 Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not
contiguous, to the property. Came the need for this school’s
10. Cecilia Manzano in expansion; it became pressing. On September 14, 1961, plaintiff’s
City Engineer, pursuant to the Mayor’s directive to clear squatters’
lieu of Urbano Ramos Paid up to houses on city property, gave each of defendants thirty (30) days to
vacate and remove his construction or improvement on the premises.
(deceased) 46.65 5.60 Feb. 1962 This was followed by the City Treasurer’s demand on each defendant,
made in February and March, 1962, for the payment of the amount
11. Elena Ramos 34.80 2.78 186.26 due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate in fifteen (15) days.
Defendants refused. Hence, this suit to recover possession. 2
12. Estefania Nepacina 41.80 3.34 504.34
The Judgment below directed defendants to vacate the premises; to
13. Modesta Sanchez 33.48 2.68 444.88 pay the amounts heretofore indicated opposite their respective
names; and to pay their monthly rentals from March, 1962, until they
14. Marcial Lazaro 22.40 1.79 688.32 vacate the said premises, and the costs. Defendants appealed.

15. Marciano Alano 25.80 2.06 255.44 1. We are called upon to rule on the forefront question of whether the
trial court properly found that the city needs the premises for school
16. Honorio Beriño 24.00 1.92 188.16 purposes.

17. Gloria Velasco 32.40 2.59 56.98 The city’s evidence on this point is Exhibit E, the certification of the
Chairman, Committee on Appropriations of the Municipal Board. That
18. Wilarico Ricamata 40.20 4.82 Paid up to document recites that the amount of P100,000.00 had been set aside
in Ordinance 4566, the 1962-1963 Manila City Budget, for the
March 1962. construction of an additional building of the Epifanio de los Santos
Elementary School. It is indeed correct to say that the court below, at
19. Benedicto Diaz 40.20 4.82 Paid up to the hearing, ruled out the admissibility of said document. But then, in
the decision under review, the trial judge obviously revised his views.
March 1962. He there declared that there was need for defendants to vacate the
premises for school expansion; he cited the very document, Exhibit E,
20. Ana Dequis Alunan 64.26 7.71 30.84 aforesaid.

21. Lorenzo Carandang 45.03 5.40 437.40 It is beyond debate that a court of justice may alter its ruling while the
case is within its power, to make it conformable to law and justice. 3
22. Juan N. Pecayo 25.52 3.06 30.60 Such was done here. Defendants’ remedy was to bring to the
attention of the court its contradictory stance. Not having done so, this
23. Felicidad Miranda 48.02 5.76 132.48 Court will not reopen the case solely for this purpose. 4

________ Anyway, elimination of the certification, Exhibit E, as evidence, would


not profit defendants. For, in reversing his stand, the trial judge could
P7,580.69 well have taken — because he was duty bound to take — judicial
notice 5 of Ordinance 4566. The reason being that the city charter of
Manila requires all courts sitting therein to take judicial notice of all delay of the day of reckoning. Rampancy of forcible entry into
ordinances passed by the municipal board of Manila. 6 And, government lands particularly, is abetted by the apathy of some public
Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification aforesaid that an officials to enforce the government’s rights. Obstinacy of these
appropriation of P100,000.00 was set aside for the "construction of squatters is difficult to explain unless it is spawned by official
additional building" of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School. tolerance, if not outright encouragement or protection. Said squatters
have become insensible to the difference between right and wrong.
Furthermore, defendants’ position is vulnerable to assault from a third To them, violation of law means nothing. With the result that squatting
direction. Defendants have absolutely no right to remain in the still exist, much to the detriment of public interest. It is high time that,
premises. The excuse that they have permits from the mayor is at in this aspect, sanity and the rule of law be restored. It is in this
best flimsy. The permits to occupy are revocable on thirty day’s environment that we look into the validity of the permits granted
notice. They have been asked to leave; they refused to heed. It is in defendants herein.
this factual background that we say that the city’s need for the
premises is unimportant. The city’s right to throw defendants out of These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were issued by
the area cannot be gainsaid. The city’s dominical right to possession the mayors in 1947 and 1948 when the effects of the war had
is paramount. If error there was in the finding that the city needs the simmered down and when these defendants could have very well
land, such error is harmless and will not justify reversal of the adjusted themselves. Two decades have now elapsed since the
judgment below. 7 unlawful entry. Defendants could have, if they wanted to, located
permanent premises for their abode. And yet, usurpers that they are,
2. But defendants insist that they have acquired the legal status of they preferred to remain on city property.
tenants. They are wrong.
Defendants’ entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions are as
They entered the land, built houses of second class materials thereon illegal, without permits. 8 The city charter enjoins the mayor to
— without the knowledge and consent of the city. Their homes were "safeguard all the lands" of the City of Manila. 9
erected without city permits. These constructions are illegal. In a
language familiar to all, defendants are squatters. Surely enough, the permits granted did not "safeguard" the city’s land
in question. It is our considered view that the Mayor of the City of
Since the last global war, squatting on another’s property in this Manila cannot legalize forcible entry into public property by the simple
country has become a widespread vice. It was and is a blight. expedient of giving permits or, for that matter, executing leases.
Squatters’ areas pose problems of health, sanitation. They are
breeding places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for the Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of
law and the right of others, even those of the government are being the city officials will elevate it into a lawful act. In principle, a
flouted. Knowingly, squatters have embarked on the pernicious act of compound of illegal entry and official permit to stay is obnoxious to
occupying property whenever and wherever convenient to their our concept of proper official norm of conduct. Because, such permit
interests — without as much as leave, and even against the will, of does not serve social justice; it fosters moral decadence. It does not
the owner. They are emboldened seemingly because of their belief promote public welfare; it abets disrespect for the law. It has its roots
that they could violate the law with impunity. The pugnaciousness of in vice; so it is an infected bargain. Official approval of squatting
some of them has tied up the hands of legitimate owners. The latter should not, therefore, be permitted to obtain in this country where
are thus prevented from recovering possession by peaceful means. there is an orderly form of government.
Government lands have not been spared by them. They know, of
course, that intrusion into property, government or private, is wrong. We, accordingly, rule that the Manila mayors did not have authority to
But, then, the mills of justice grind slow, mainly because of lawyers give permits, written or oral, to defendants, and that the permits herein
who, by means fair or foul, are quite often successful in procuring granted are null and void.
RULE 130
3. Let us look into the houses and constructions planted by
defendants on the premises. They clearly hinder and impair the use of G.R. No. L-31189 March 31, 1987
that property for school purposes. The courts may well take judicial
notice of the fact that housing school children in the elementary MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIAS, petitioner,
grades has been and still is a perennial problem in the city. The vs.
selfish interests of defendants must have to yield to the general good. THE COURT OF APPEALS, NORMA LEUENBERGER and
The public purpose of constructing the school building annex is FRANCISCO SOLIVA, respondents.
paramount. 10
Enrique I. Soriano, Jr. for private respondents.
In the situation thus obtaining, the houses and constructions aforesaid
constitute public nuisance per se. And this, for the reason that they
hinder and impair the use of the property for a badly needed school
building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth of the land. 11
PARAS, J.:
They shackle the hands of the government and thus obstruct
performance of its constitutionally ordained obligation to establish and
maintain a complete and adequate system of public education, and This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the decision * of
more, to "provide at least free public primary instruction." 12 respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on September 29, 1969 in
CA-G.R. No. 35036-R (Rollo, p. 11) setting aside the decision ** of the
Reason dictates that no further delay should be countenanced. The Court of First Intance of Negros Occidental, Branch I, dated
public nuisance could well have been summarily abated by the city September 24, 1964 which dismissed the complaint for recovery of
authorities themselves, even without the aid of the courts. 13 possession in Civil Case No. 181-S and declared the cemetery site on
Lot No. 76 in Victorias as property of the municipality of Victorias
4. Defendants challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance (Record on Appeal, p. 9).
of Manila. They say that the case should have been started in the
municipal court. They prop up their position by the averment that The dispositive portion of the questioned decision reads as follows:
notice for them to vacate was only served in September, 1961, and
suit was started in July, 1962. Their legal ground is Section 1, Rule 70 IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the
of the Rules of Court. We have reached the conclusion that their lower court is hereby set aside and another is hereby
forcible entry dates back to the period from 1945 to 1947. That entry rendered:
was not legalized by the permits. Their possession continued to
remain illegal from incipiency. Suit was filed long after the one-year (1) Ordering the defendant municipality and/or thru its
limitation set forth in Section 1 of Rule 70 And the Manila Court of appropriate officials to return and deliver the
First Instance has jurisdiction. 14 possession of the portion of Lot 76 used as cemetery
or burial site of the plaintiff-appellant.
Upon the premises, we vote to affirm the judgment under review.
Costs against defendants-appellants. So ordered. (2) Ordering defendant municipality to pay the plaintiff-
appellant the sum of P400.00 a year from 1963 until
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, the possession of said land is actually delivered.
J.P., Zaldivar, and Ruiz Castro, JJ., concur.
Lot No. 76 containing an area of 208,157 sq. meters forms a part of
Cadastral Lot No. 140 (Rollo, p. 11), a 27.2460 ha. sugar land located
in Bo. Madaniog, Victorias, Negros Occidental, in the name of the aside the decision of the lower court (Record on AppeaL p. 9); hence,
deceased Gonzalo Ditching under Tax Declaration No. 3429 of this petition for review on certiorari.
Negros Occidental for the year 1941 (Exh. "3," Folder of Exhibits, p.
22). He was survived by his widow Simeona Jingeo Vda. de Ditching This petition was filed with the Court on November 6, 1969 (Rollo, p.
and a daughter, Isabel, who died in 1928 (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 7) 2), the Record on Appeal on December 19, 1969 (Rollo, p. 80). On
leaving one off-spring, respondent Norma Leuenberger, who was then January 5, 1970, the Court gave due course to the petition (Rollo, p.
only six months old (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 34). 84).

Respondent Norma Leuenberger, married to Francisco Soliva, The Brief for the Petitioner was filed on April 1, 1970 (Rollo, p. 88), the
inherited the whole of Lot No. 140 from her grandmother, Simeona J. Brief for Respondents was filed on May 18, 1970 (Rollo, p. 92).
Vda. de Ditching (not from her predeceased mother Isabel Ditching).
In 1952, she donated a portion of Lot No. 140, about 3 ha., to the On July 8, 1970, the Court resolved to consider the case submitted for
municipality for the ground of a certain high school and had 4 ha. decision without Petitioner's Reply Brief, Petitioner having failed to file
converted into a subdivision. (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 24). the brief within the period which expired on June 10, 1970 (Rollo. p.
99).
In 1963, she had the remaining 21 ha. or 208.157 sq. m. relocated by
a surveyor upon request of lessee Ramon Jover who complained of On motion of counsel for the Respondents (Rollo, p. 104), the Court
being prohibited by municipal officials from cultivating the land. It was resolved on June 30, 1972 to allow respondent Francisco Soliva to
then that she discovered that the parcel of land, more or less 4 ha. or continue the appeal in behalf of the estate of respondent Norma
33,747 sq.m. used by Petitioner Municipality of Victorias, as a Leuenberger who died on January 25, 1972, Respondent Francisco
cemetery from 1934, is within her property which is now Identified as Soliva having been appointed special administrator in Special
Lot 76 and covered by TCT No. 34546 (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 7-9; Proceedings No. 84-V of the Court of First Instance of Negros
Exh. "4," Folder of Exhibits, p. 23 and Exh. "A," Folder of Exhibits, p. Occidental (Rollo, p. 110).
1).
In their brief, petitioner raised the following errors of respondent Court
On May 20, 1963, Respondent wrote the Mayor of Victorias regarding of Appeals: (Brief for the Petitioner, p. 1-3);
her discovery, demanding payment of past rentals and requesting
delivery of the area allegedly illegally occupied by Petitioner (Exh. "G, I.
Folder of Exhibits, p. 15). When the Mayor replied that Petitioner
bought the land she asked to be shown the papers concerning the The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding that
sale but was referred by the Mayor to the municipal treasurer who respondents Norma Leuenberger and Francisco Soliva
refused to show the same (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 32-33). are the lawful owners of the land in litigation as they
are estopped from questioning the possession and
On January 11, 1964, Respondents filed a complaint in the Court of ownership of herein petitioner which dates back to
First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch 1, for recovery of more than 30 years.
possession of the parcel of land occupied by the municipal cemetery
(Record on Appeal, p. 1). In its answer, petitioner Municipality, by way II.
of special defense, alleged ownership of the lot, subject of the
complaint, having bought it from Simeona Jingco Vda. de Ditching
The Honorable Court of Appeals also erred in ordering
sometime in 1934 (Record on Appeal, p. 7). The lower court decided
the petition petitioner to deliver the possession of the
in favor of the Municipality. On appeal Respondent appellate Court set
land in question to the respondents Nomia
Leuenberger and Francisco Soliva, by holding that non- In lieu of a Deed of Sale, petitioner presented a certificate issued by
annotation on the Torrens Certificate of Title could not the Archives Division of the Bureau of Records Management in
affect the said land when the possession by the Manila, of a page of the 1934 Notarial Register of Vicente D. Aragon
petitioner of the said land for over 30 years and using it with the following entries:
as a public cemetery for that length of time are
sufficient proof of purchase and transfer of title and Nature of Instrument — Compra venta 2 porciones
non-annotation of the Certificate of Title did not render Terrenos: Lotes Nos. 140-A y 140-B, Victorias, Neg.
the sale ineffectual Occidental pago por esso despues aprobacion
Jusgado la Instance, Neg. Occidental causa civil 5116
III. Vendedora: — Simeona Jingco Vda. de Ditching . . .
administradora Abint. G. Ditching
The Honorable Court of Appeals further erred in
ordering the petitioner Municipality of Victories to pay Comprador: — Municipio Victorias, Neg. Occidental . . .
the respondents the sum of P400.00 a year from 1963 . por su Pres.Mpal Vicente B. Arnaes
until possession is actually delivered because under
the law, an owner of a piece of land has no obligation Valor: — P750.00 ...
to pay rentals as it owns and possesses the same.
Vease copia correspondiente.
There is merit in the petition.
Names of-persons Executing/ Acknowledging:
It is undisputed that petitioner failed to present before the Court a
Deed of Sale to prove its purchase of the land in question which is Simeona Vda. de Ditching
included in the Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-34546 in the name of
private respondent Norma Leuenberger. Adm. Abint actuacion especial No. 5116

The pivotal issue in this case is whether or not the secondary Jusgado la Instance Neg. Occidental
evidence presented by the petitioner municipality is sufficient to
substantiate its claim that it acquired the disputed land by means of a Vendedora
Deed of Sale.
Vicente B. Arnaes
Under the Best Evidence Rule when the original writing is lost or
otherwise unavailable, the law in point provides:
Pres. Municipal. Victorias
Sec. 4. Secondary evidence when original is lost or
Comprador
destroyed. — When the original writing has been lost or
destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, upon proof
of its execution and loss or destruction or unavailability, Witnesses to the Signatures:
its contents may be proved by a copy, or by a recital of
its contents in some authentic document, or by the Esteban Jalandoni
recollection of witnesses. (Rule 130, Rules of Court).
Gregorio Elizalde
Date: Month (e) the names of the witnesses Esteban Jalandoni and Gregoria
Elizado; and the date of the sale on July 9, 1934.
9 Julio 1934
It is beyond question that the foregoing certificate is an authentic
Fees: P2.00 document clearly corroborated and supported by: (a) the testimony of
the municipal councilor of Victorias, Ricardo Suarez, (Original TSN
Cedulas: Hearing of September 14, 1964, pp. 1222) who negotiated the sale;
(b) the testimony of Emilio Cuesta, (Original TSN Hearing of
Exenta por susexo September 14, 1964, pp. 2238) the municipal treasurer of said
municipality, since 1932 up to the date of trial on September 14, 1964,
F1027880 Enero 26/34 Victories, Neg. who personally paid the amount of P750.00 to Felipe Leuenberger as
Occidental consideration of the Contract of Sale; (c) Certificate of Settlement
(Original Exhibits, p. 20) "as evidence of said payment;" (d) Tax
Declaration No. 429 (Ibid., p. 22) which was cancelled and was
Remarks.
substituted by Tax Declaration No. 3600 covering the portion of the
property unsold (Decision, CFI, Neg. Occidental Orig. Record on
En Victorias, Neg. Occidental Appeal, p. 6) and (e) Tax Declaration No. 3601 (Ibid, p. 23) in the
name of the Municipal Government of Victorias covering the portion
Los annexes A. y B. estan unidos occupied as cemetery.

solamente en el original de la Tax Declaration No. 3601 shows on its face the boundaries as
follows:
escritura.
North — NE — Lot No. 140-C of the Subdivision
Respondent Court of Appeals was of the view (Rollo, p. 16) that a
mere entry in the notarial register of a notary public of an alleged sale South — SW — Lot No. 140-C of the Subdivision
cannot prove that a particular piece of land was sold by one person to
another, one of the important requirements being the indication of the West — NW — Lots Nos. 140-C & 140-B of the
area and the technical description of the land being sold. In the Subdivision.
present case, since no deed of sale could be produced, there is no
way of telling what particular portion of the property was sold to
The area is 33,747 sq.m.
defendant municipality and how big was the sale of the land conveyed
to the defendant municipality.
At the back Exh. 4-A, the sale of a portion of the lot to the Municipality
of Victorias was clearly explained as follows:
It will be observed that the entries in the notarial register clearly show:
(a) the nature of the instrument. — a deed of sale; (b) the subject of
the sale — two parcels of land, Lot Nos. 140-A and 140-B; (c) the Note: The whole Lot No. 140, belongs to Norma
parties of the contract — the vendor Simeona J. Vda. de Ditching in Leuenberger as evidenced by a Transfer of Cert. of
her capacity as Administrator in Civil Case No. 5116 of the Court of Title No. 18672. Portion of this Lot, (30,000 sq.m. was
First Instance of Negros Occidental and the vendee, Vicente B. sold to Municipality of Victories for Cemetery Site as
Ananosa, Municipal Mayor of Victorias; (d) the consideration P750.00; evidenced by a Deed of Sale executed by Simeona
Jingco Vda. de Ditching in favor of the aforesaid
Municipality and ratified by Notary Public Mr. Vicente there are over 1000 graves in the cemetery. (Decision, Court of
Aragon under Doc. No. 132; Page No. 2; Book No. 10, Appeals, Rollo, pp. 11-22).
Series of 1934.
As correctly observed by Justice Magno S. Gatmaitan in his
At the lowest portion under Memoranda it was explained that — dissenting opinion (Rollo, pp. 23-28) in the decision of this case by the
Court of Appeals, the evidence establishes without debate that the
The area under this declaration includes 3,746 sq. property was originally registered in 1916. Plaintiff was born only in
meters donated by Mrs. Simeona Jingco Vda. de 1928 and cannot possibly be the registered owner of the original lot
Ditching and used as road leading to the cemetery. " 140 at the time. Indeed, according to her own evidence, (Exhibit A;
(EXIL 4; Original Exhibits, p. 23). Original Record pp. 13) she became the registered owner only in
1963. Likewise, it is undisputed that in the intestate estate of Gonzalo
The above-mentioned testimonies and documentary evidence Ditching, the grandfather of private respondent Norma Leunberger, it
sufficiently Identify the land sold by the predecessors-in-interest of was her grandmother, Simeona, the surviving spouse of Gonzalo who
private respondent. To insist on the technical description of the land in was named judicial administratrix. According to Norma's own
dispute would be to sacrifice substance to form which would testimony, Isabel her mother, died in 1928 (TSN Aug. 12, 1964, p. 34)
undoubtedly result in manifest injustice to the petitioner. while Simeona the grandmother died in 1942. (Ibid.) Therefore, as of
1934 when a document of sale was executed by Simeona in favor of
Moreover, it is expressly provided by law that the thing sold shall be the municipality of Victories as indubitably shown in the notarial
understood as delivered, when it is placed in the control and register (Exhibit 5.A) in question, Simeona was still the administratrix
possession of the vendee. (Civil Code Art. 1497). Where there is no of the properties left by her husband, Gonzalo and of their conjugal
express provision that title shall not pass until payment of the price, partnership. Consequently, she is the only person who could legally
and the thing gold has been delivered, title passes from the moment dispose of by sale this particular four- hectare portion of Lot 140. And
the thing sold is placed in the possession and control of the buyer. so it is, that in 1934, Simeona Ditching in her capacity as judicial
(Kuenzle & Streiff vs. Watson & Co., 13 PhiL 26 [1909]). Delivery administratrix made and executed the document described in the
produces its natural effects in law, the principal and most important of Report as Lots 140-A and 140-B, showing clearly that they are
which being the conveyance of ownership, without prejudice to the portions of the original big Lot 140. As this conveyance was executed
right of the vendor to payment of the price. (Ocejo, Perez & Co. vs. by the judicial administratrix, unquestionably the party authorized to
International Banking Corp., 37 PhiL 631 [1918]). dispose of the same, the presumption must be that she did so upon
proper authority of the Court of First Instance.
Similarly, when the sale is made through a public instrument, the
execution thereof shall be equivalent to the delivery of the thing which As to the description of the property sold, the fact that a notarial report
is the object of the contract, if from the deed, the contrary does not shows that they are portions of Lot 140 and the property in question
appear or cannot be clearly inferred. (Civil Code Art. 1498). The occupied by the public cemetery is admittedly a portion of said lot in
execution of the public instrument operates as a formal or symbolic the absence of evidence that there were other portions of Lot 140
delivery of the property sold and authorizes the buyer to use the ceded unto the petitioner municipality, the inevitable conclusion is that
document as proof of ownership. (Florendo v. Foz, 20 PhiL 388 the sale executed in the Notarial Register refers to the disputed lot.
[1911]).
Unfortunately, the purchaser Municipality of Victorias failed to register
In the case at bar it is undisputed that petitioner had been in open, said Deed of Sale; hence, when Simeona Jingco Vda. de Ditching
public, adverse and continuous possession of the land for a period of died, her grand-daughter, respondent Norma Leuenberger claimed to
more than thirty years. In fact, according to the municipal treasurer have inherited the land in dispute and succeeded in registering said
land under the Torrens system. Said land is now covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-34036 (Exhibit A, supra) issued by the Art. 1456. If the property is acquired through mistake or
Register of Deeds of -Negros Occidental on March 11, 1963 in the fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law,
name of Norma Leuenberger, married to Francisco Soliva, containing considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit
an area of 208,157 square meters. As registered owner, she is of the person from whom the property comes.
unquestionably entitled to the protection afforded to a holder of a
Torrens Title. Thus, it has been held that where the land is decreed in the name of a
person through fraud or mistake, such person is by operation of law
Admittedly, it is well-settled that under the Torrens System "Every considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the persons
person receiving a certificate of title in pursuance of a decree of from whom the property comes. The beneficiary shag have the right
registration, . . . shall hold the same free of all encumbrance except t• enforce the trust, notwithstanding the irrevocability of the Torrens
those noted on said certificate ... " (Sec. 39, Act 496; now Sec. 43, PD title and the trustee and his successors-in-interest are bound to
1529). execute the deed of reconveyance. (Pacheco vs. Arro, 85 Phil. 505;
Escobar vs. Locsin, 74 Phil. 86).
In the instant case, however, respondent Norma Leuenberger
admitted that she inherited the land covered by Transfer Certificate of As the land in dispute is held by private respondents in trust for the
Title No. T-34036 from her grandmother, who had already sold the Municipality of Victorias, it is logical to conclude that the latter can
land to the petitioner in 1934; hence, she merely stepped into the neither be deprived of its possession nor be made to pay rentals
shoes of her grandmother and she cannot claim a better right than her thereof. Private respondent is in equity bound to reconvey the subject
predecessor-in-interest. When she applied for registration of the land to the cestui que trust the Municipality of Victorias. The Torrens
disputed land, she had no legal right to do so as she had no system was never calculated to foment betrayal in the performance of
ownership of the land since land registration is not a mode of a trust. (Escobar vs. Locsin, 74 Phil. 86).
acquiring ownership but only of confirming ownership of the land.
(Grande, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 115 Phil. 521.)"The For a more expeditious disposition of the case at bar, Rule 39 of the
Torrens System was not established as a means for the acquisition of Rules of Court provides:
title to private land, ..." It is intended merely to confirm and register the
title which one may already have on the land. Where the applicant SEC. 10. Judgment for Specific acts; vesting title. — ...
possesses no title or ownership over the parcel of land, he cannot If real or personal property is within the Philippines, the
acquire one under the Torrens system of Registration. (Torela, et al., court in lieu of directing a conveyance thereof may
vs. Torela, et al., L-27843, October 11, 1979). enter judgment divesting the title of any party and
vesting it in others and such judgment shall have the
While an inherently defective Torrens title may not ordinarily be force and effect of a conveyance executed in due form
cancelled even after proof of its defect, the law nevertheless of law.
safeguards the rightful party's interest in the titled land from fraud and
improper use of technicalities by snowing such party, in appropriate Finally, the conclusions and findings of fact by the trial court are
cases, to judicially seek reconveyance to him of whatever he has entitled to great weight on appeal and should not be disturbed unless
been deprived of as long as the land has not been transferred or for strong and cogent reasons because the trial court is in a better
conveyed to a purchaser in good faith. (Pedro Pascua, et al., vs. position to examine real evidence, as well as to observe the
Mariano Gopuyoc et al., L-23197, May 31, 1977.) demeanor of the witnesses while testifying in the case. (Chase v.
Buencamino, Sr., 136 SCRA 365 [1985]).
The Civil Code provides:
PREMISES CONSIDERED, the judgment of the respondent appellate
court is hereby SET ASIDE and the decision of the Court of First
Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch I-Silay City in Civil Case No. of dried marijuana flowering tops, two (2) pieces of dried marijuana
181-S declaring the cemetery site (Exh. E-2) on Lot No. 76 in flowering tops and crushed dried marijuana flowering tops, which are
Victories as the property of the municipality of Victorias, is hereby prohibited drug, for and in consideration of P20.00.
REINSTATED. Additionally, We hereby order (a) the petitioner to
Upon arraignment, Tandoy entered a plea of not guilty. After trial, Judge
have the disputed land segregated by a licensed surveyor from the
Buenaventura J. Guerrero rendered a decision the dispositive portion
rest of Lot No. 76 described in Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-
of which declared:
34036 and to have the corresponding subdivision plan, duly approved
by the Land Registration Commission, submitted to the court of origin WHEREFORE, the Court finds Mario Tandoy y Lim guilty
for approval; (b) the private respondents Norma Leuenberger and beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 4, Art. II, Rep. Act
Francisco Soliva to be divested of their title to the disputed land under No. 6425, as amended, and is hereby sentenced to life
Rule 39, Sec. 10, Rules of Court; and (c) the Register of Deeds of imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00 and cost.: nad
Negros Occidental to cancel Transfer Certificate of Title No. 34036 The marijuana confiscated in this case is declared confiscated
and issue, in lieu thereof, one title in the name of the Municipality of and forfeited and ordered turned over to the Dangerous Drugs
Victories for the disputed land and another title in the names of the Board for proper disposal.
private respondents Norma Leuenberger and Francisco Soliva for the
rest of Lot No. 76. Without costs. SO ORDERED.
The accused-appellant raises the following assignment of errors in this
SO ORDERED. appeal:

[G.R. No. 80505 : December 4, 1990.] 1. The Court a quo erred in finding accused guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of the crime charged despite lack of evidence
192 SCRA 28 to prove that he sold marijuana to the poseur-buyer.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff- 2. The Court a quo erred in admitting in evidence against the
Appellee, vs. MARIO TANDOY y LIM, Defendant-Appellant. accused Exh. "E-2-A" which is merely a xerox copy of the
P10.00 bill allegedly used as buy-bust money.

DECISION The evidence of the prosecution may be summarized as follows:


On May 27, 1986, at about 3:30 p.m. Lt. Salido, Jr. of the Makati Police
Station dispatched Pfc. Herino de la Cruz, and Detectives Pablo R.
CRUZ, J.: Singayan, Nicanor Candolesas, Luisito de la Cruz, Estanislao
Dalumpines, Antonio Manalastas and Virgilio Padua to conduct a buy-
bust operation at Solchuaga St., Barangay Singkamas, Makati.
The decision of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 133 dated
October 13, 1987, convicting Mario Tandoy of the crime of violation of The target area was a store along the said street, and Singayan was to
Art. II, Sec. 4 of Rep. Act No. 6425 known as the Dangerous Drugs Act pose as the buyer. He stood alone near the store waiting for any pusher
of 1972, is before us on appeal. to approach. The other members of the team strategically positioned
themselves. Soon, three men approached Singayan. One of them was
The information against the accused-appellant read as follows: the accused-appellant, who said without preamble: "Pare, gusto mo
That on or about the 27th day of May 1986, in the Municipality of Makati, bang umiskor?" Singayan said yes. The exchange was made then and
Metro Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable there — two rolls/pieces of marijuana for one P10.00 and two P5.00
Court, the above-named accused without being authorized by law, did bills marked ANU (meaning Anti-Narcotics Unit).
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell eight (8) pieces
The team then moved in and arrested Tandoy. Manalastas and Tandoy submits that "one will not sell this prohibited drug to another
Candolesas made a body search of the accused-appellant and took who is a total stranger until the seller is certain of the identity of the
from him the marked money, as well as eight more rolls/foils of buyer."
marijuana and crushed leaves.: nad
The conjecture must be rejected.: nad
The arresting officers brought Tandoy to the Office of the Anti-Narcotics
In People v. Paco, 5 this Court observed:
Unit, Makati Police Station, for investigation by Detective Marvin
Pajilan. The accused-appellant chose to remain silent after having been Drug-pushing when done on a small level as in this case belongs to that
informed of his constitutional rights. class of crimes that may be committed at anytime and at any place.
After the offer to buy is accepted and the exchange is made, the illegal
These events were narrated under oath by De la Cruz, Singayan and
transaction is completed in a few minutes. The fact that the parties are
Pajilan. 1 Microscopic, chemical and chromotographic examination
in a public place and in the presence of other people may not always
was performed on the confiscated marijuana by Raquel P. Angeles,
discourage them from pursuing their illegal trade as these factors may
forensic chemist of the National Bureau of Investigation, who later
even serve to camouflage the same. Hence, the Court has sustained
testified that the findings were positive. The marijuana was offered as
the conviction of drug pushers caught selling illegal drugs in a billiard
an exhibit. 2
hall (People v. Rubio, G.R. No. 66875, June 19, 1986, 142 SCRA 329;
As might be expected, the accused-appellant had a different story. His People v. Sarmiento, G.R. No. 72141, January 12, 1987, 147 SCRA
testimony was that from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. of the day in question, he 252), in front of a store (People vs. Khan, supra) along a street at 1:45
was playing "cara y cruz" with 15 other persons along Solchuaga St. p.m. (People v. Toledo, G.R. No. 67609, November 22, 1985, 140
when somebody suddenly said that policemen were making arrests. SCRA 259), and in front of a house (People v. Policarpio, G.R. No.
The players grabbed the bet money and scampered. However, he and 69844, February 23, 1988).
a certain Danny (another "cara y cruz" player) were caught and taken
As the Court has also held, "What matters is not an existing familiarity
to the Narcotics Command headquarters in Makati. There they were
between the buyer and the seller but their agreement and the acts
mauled and warned that if they did not point to their fellow pushers, they
constituting the sale and delivery of the marijuana leaves." 6
would rot in jail. The accused-appellant denied he had sold marijuana
to Singayan and insisted the bills taken from him were the bet money Under the second assigned error, the accused-appellant invokes the
he had grabbed at the "cara y cruz" game. 3 best evidence rule and questions the admission by the trial court of the
xerox copy only of the marked P10.00 bill.
The trial court, which had the opportunity to observe the demeanor of
the witnesses and to listen to their respective testimonies, gave more The Solicitor General, in his Comment, correctly refuted that contention
credence to the statements of the arresting officers. Applying the thus:
presumption that they had performed their duties in a regular manner, This assigned error centers on the trial court's admission of the P10.00
it rejected Tandoy's uncorroborated allegation that he had been bill marked money (Exh. E-2-A) which, according to the appellant, is
manhandled and framed. Tandoy had not submitted sufficient evidence excluded under the best evidence rule for being a mere xerox copy.
of his charges, let alone his admission that he had no quarrel with the Apparently, appellant erroneously thinks that said marked money is an
peace officers whom he had met only on the day of his arrest. ordinary document falling under Sec. 2, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules
In People v. Patog, 4 this Court held: of Court which excludes the introduction of secondary evidence except
in the five (5) instances mentioned therein.:-cralaw
When there is no evidence and nothing to indicate the principal witness
for the prosecution was actuated by improper motives, the presumption The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the document
is that he was not so actuated and his testimony is entitled to full faith are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether or not
and credit. such document was actually executed, or exists, or in the
circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best
evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision * of the Court
(Cf. Moran, op. cit., pp. 76-77; 4 Martin, op. cit., p. 78.) of Appeals dated November 27, 1987 in CA-GR CV No. 07448
entitled, "Basilio de Vera, Luis de Vera, Felipe de Vera, Heirs of
Since the aforesaid marked money was presented by the prosecution
Eustaquia de Vera-Papa, represented by Gliceria Papa-Francisco,
solely for the purpose of establishing its existence and not its contents,
and Heirs of Maria de Vera-Torres, represented by Luis V. Torres,
other substitutionary evidence, like a xerox copy thereof, is therefore
plaintiffs-appellees versus Spouses Mariano Aguilar and Leona V.
admissible without the need of accounting for the original.
Aguilar, defendants-appellants", which reversed the decision ** of the
Moreover, the presentation at the trial of the "buy-bust money" was not Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Third Judicial Region, Branch 14, for
indispensable to the conviction of the accused-appellant because the failure of petitioners to prove the loss or destruction of the original
sale of the marijuana had been adequately proved by the testimony of deed of sale and of all its duplicate original copies.
the police officers. So long as the marijuana actually sold by the
accused-appellant had been submitted as an exhibit, the failure to The undisputed facts are as follows:
produce the marked money itself would not constitute a fatal omission.
We are convinced from the evidence on record that the prosecution has Petitioners Basilio, Luis, Felipe, Eustaquia and Maria, all surnamed de
overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the Vera and respondent Leona, married to respondent Mariano Aguilar,
accused-appellant with proof beyond reasonable doubt of his guilt. He are the children and heirs of the late Marcosa Bernabe who died on
must therefore suffer the penalty prescribed by law for those who would May 10, 1960. In her lifetime, Marcosa Bernabe owned the disputed
visit the scourge of drug addiction upon our people. parcel of land situated in Camalig, Meycauayan, Bulacan, with an
area of 4,195 square meters, designated as Cadastral Lot No. 3621,
WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED and the challenged decision Cad. 337, Case No. 4, Meycauayan Cadastre.
AFFIRMED in toto, with costs against the accused-appellant.: nad
SO ORDERED The disputed property was mortgaged by petitioners Basilio and
Felipe de Vera to a certain Atty. Leonardo Bordador. When the
G.R. No. 83377 February 9, 1993 mortgage had matured, the respondents redeemed the property from
Atty. Leonardo Bordador and in turn Marcosa Bernabe sold the same
BASILIO DE VERA, LUIS DE VERA, FELIPE DE VERA, HEIRS OF to them as evidenced by a deed of absolute sale dated February 11,
EUSTAQUIA DE VERA-PAPA represented by GLICERIA PAPA- 1956.
FRANCISCO, et al., petitioners,
vs. On February 13, 1956, the respondents registered the deed with the
SPOUSES MARIANO AGUILAR and LEONA V. Registry of Deeds of Bulacan resulting in the cancellation of the tax
AGUILAR, respondents. declaration in the name of Marcosa Bernabe and the issuance of
another in the name of the Aguilars. Since then and up to the present,
Pablo M. Gancayaco for petitioners. the Aguilars have been paying taxes on the land.

De Mesa, Villarica & Associates for respondents. On July 20, 1977, respondent Mariano Aguilar was issued a free
patent to the land on the basis of which Original Certificate of Title No.
P-1356(M) was issued in his name.

CAMPOS, JR., J.: On September 1, 1980, the petitioners wrote to the respondents
claiming that as children of Marcosa Bernabe, they were co-owners of
the property and demanded partition thereof on threats that the
respondents would be charged with perjury and/or falsification. The
petitioners also claimed that the respondents had resold the property the disputed parcel of land. Furthermore, respondents contended that
to Marcosa Bernabe on April 28, 1959. since the petitioners have failed to produce the original of the alleged
deed of sale dated April 28, 1959, the same was not the best
On September 27, 1980, the respondents wrote in reply to the evidence of the alleged sale hence it should have been excluded and
petitioners that they were the sole owners of the disputed parcel of should not have been accorded any evidentiary value. On the other
land and denied that the land was resold to Marcosa Bernabe. hand, the petitioners claimed that the existence of the document of
sale dated April 28, 1959 had been duly established by the testimony
True to petitioners' threat, they filed a falsification case against the of the notary public before whom it was acknowledged and by Luis de
respondents. However, on March 31, 1981, Assistant Provincial Fiscal Vera who was present during its execution and that the loss of the
Arsenio N. Mercado of Bulacan recommended dismissal of the charge original document had been proven by the testimony of the
of falsification of public document against the respondents for lack of representatives of the offices of the National Archives and the
a prima facie case. Provincial Assessor of Bulacan.

On March 26, 1981, petitioners filed a suit for reconveyance of the lot On November 29, 1987, the Court of Appeals rendered its decision
covered by Original Certificate of Title No. P-1356(M). reversing the trial court's decision. It found that the loss or destruction
of the original deed of sale has not been duly proven by the
On July 31, 1985, the trial court rendered its decision *** the petitioners. Hence, secondary evidence, i.e., presentation of the
dispositive portion of which reads as follows: xeroxed copy of the alleged deed of sale is inadmissible.

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering Hence this petition.


defendants:
The crux of this case is whether or not the petitioners have
1. To reconvey the property in question to the plaintiffs; satisfactorily proven the loss of the original deed of sale so as to allow
the presentation of the xeroxed copy of the same.
2. To pay plaintiffs P10,000.00 as litigation expenses;
We rule in the negative.
3. To pay plaintiffs P5,000.00 as exemplary damages;
Section 4 of Rule 130 (now Section 5, Rule 130) of the Rules of Court
4. To pay P10,000.00 as attorney's fees. on Secondary Evidence states:

SO ORDERED.1 Sec. 4. Secondary evidence when original is lost or


destroyed. — When the original writing has been lost or
destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, upon proof
In ruling in favor of the petitioners, the trial court admitted, over the
of its execution and loss or destruction, or
objection of the respondents, Exhibit A purporting to be a xeroxed
unavailability, its contents may be proved by a copy, or
copy of an alleged deed of sale executed on April 28, 1959 by the
by a recital of its contents in some authentic document,
respondents selling, transferring and conveying unto Marcosa
or by the recollection of witnesses.
Bernabe the disputed parcel of land for and in consideration of
P1,500.00.
Secondary evidence is admissible when the original documents were
actually lost or destroyed. But prior to the introduction of such
Not contented with the decision, respondents appealed to the Court of
secondary evidence, the proponent must establish the former
Appeals contending that they never sold back to Marcosa Bernabe
existence of the instrument. The correct order of proof is as custody the document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who
follows: Existence; execution; loss; contents although this order may has made any other investigation which is sufficient to satisfy the
be changed if necessary in the discretion of the court. The sufficiency court that the instrument is indeed lost.5
of proof offered as a predicate for the admission of an alleged lost
deed lies within the judicial discretion of the trial court under all the However, all duplicates or counterparts must be accounted for before
circumstances of the particular case.2 using copies. For, since all the duplicates or multiplicates are parts of
the writing itself to be proved, no excuse for non-production of the
A reading of the decision of the trial court shows that it merely ruled writing itself can be regarded as established until it appears that all of
on the existence and due execution of the alleged deed of sale dated its parts are unavailable (i.e. lost, retained by the opponent or by a
April 28, 1959. It failed to look into the facts and circumstances third person or the like).6
surrounding the loss or destruction of the original copies of the alleged
deed of sale. In the case at bar, Atty. Emiliano Ibasco, Jr., notary public who
notarized the document testified that the alleged deed of sale has
In the case at bar, the existence of an alleged sale of a parcel of land about four or five original copies.7 Hence, all originals must be
was proved by the presentation of a xeroxed copy of the alleged deed accounted for before secondary evidence can be given of any one.
of absolute sale. This petitioners failed to do. Records show that petitioners merely
accounted for three out of four or five original copies.
In establishing the execution of a document the same may be
established by the person or persons who executed it, by the person In reversing the trial court, the respondent Court of Appeals
before whom its execution was acknowledged, or by any person who considered the following points:
was present and saw it executed or who, after its execution, saw it
and recognized the signatures; or by a person to whom the parties to Asked on the witness stand where the original of the
the instrument had previously confessed the execution thereof.3 document (Exhibit A) was, plaintiff-appellee Luis de
Vera answered that it was with the Provincial Assessor
We agree with the trial court's findings that petitioners have sufficiently in Malolos, Bulacan, whereupon the appellees reserved
established the due execution of the alleged deed of sale through the its (sic) right to present it in evidence (p. 11, tsn.,
testimony of the notary public to wit: August 11, 1981, Steno, Tecson). The same question
propounded to the same witness at the next hearing,
Preponderance of evidence clearly disclosed the facts he replied that in the early part of 1976 his sister Maria
that Atty. Ismael Estela prepared Exhibit A. Atty. borrowed from him the original document and a
Emiliano Ibasco, Jr. positively identified the signatures certified true copy thereof and brought them to the
appearing therein to be that (sic) of the spouses and Office of the Register of Deeds in Malolos "for the
witnesses Luis de Vera and Ismael Estela, in his purpose of having it registered;" and that when she
capacity as Notary Public who ratified the document.4 returned she told him that the original copy of the
document was submitted to that office "and it (the
After the due execution of the document has been established, it must property) was transferred in the name of Marcosa
next be proved that said document has been lost or destroyed. The Bernabe instead of Mariano Aguilar" (p. 8, tsn.,
destruction of the instrument may be proved by any person knowing December 10, 1981, Steno, Crisostomo; p. 9, tsn., Mar.
the fact. The loss may be shown by any person who knew the fact of 16, 1982, Steno, Vallarta).
its loss, or by any one who had made, in the judgment of the court, a
sufficient examination in the place or places where the document or Indeed, upon the appellees' own evidence the original
papers of similar character are usually kept by the person in whose of the deed of sale in question, a purported xerox copy
and certified true copy of which are marked as Exhibits [G.R. No. 162571. June 15, 2005]
A and B, has not been lost or destroyed. It was
submitted to the Office of the Register of Deeds of
Malolos for registration. The appellees, therefore,
should have asked the office to produce it in court and ARNEL L. AGUSTIN, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS
if it could not be produced for one reason or another AND MINOR MARTIN JOSE PROLLAMANTE,
should have called the Register of Deeds or his REPRESENTED BY HIS MOTHER/GUARDIAN FE ANGELA
representative to explain why. That they failed to do. PROLLAMANTE, respondents.
The loss or destruction of the original of the document
in question has not, therefore, been established. DECISION
Hence, secondary evidence of it is inadmissible . . . .
CORONA, J.:
Neither did the testimony of notary public Ibasco, Jr. to
the effect that he did not have a copy of the deed of At issue in this petition for certiorari [1] is whether or not the Court
sale in question because his files were burned when of Appeals (CA) gravely erred in exercising its discretion, amounting to
his office at Ronquillo Street, Manila was gutted by fire lack or excess of jurisdiction, in issuing a decision[2] and
in 1971 and 1972 (p. 4, tsn., November 10, 1981, resolution[3] upholding the resolution and order of the trial court,[4] which
Steno, Crisostomo) establish the loss or destruction of denied petitioners motion to dismiss private respondents complaint for
the original document in question. What was lost or support and directed the parties to submit themselves to
destroyed in the custody of Atty. Ibasco, Jr. was but deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) paternity testing.
one of the duplicate original copies on file with him. Nor Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued
did the testimony of Hipolito Timoteo, representative of Martins alleged biological father, petitioner Arnel L. Agustin, for support
the Assessor's Office of Bulacan, to the effect that he and support pendente lite before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
failed to see the deed of absolute sale annotated on Quezon City, Branch 106.[5]
the simple copy of tax declaration No. 15412 (p. 7, tsn.,
Aug. 12, 1982, Steno, Vallarta) and of David In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe in
Montenegro, Jr. of the National Archives to the effect 1992, after which they entered into an intimate relationship. Arnel
that his office had no copy of the document in question supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday on November 10,
because the notary public might not have submitted a 1999. Despite Arnels insistence on abortion, Fe decided otherwise and
copy thereof; or that it was lost or destroyed during the gave birth to their child out of wedlock, Martin, on August 11, 2000 at
transmittal; and that most of the record before 1960 the Capitol Medical Hospital in Quezon City. The babys birth certificate
were destroyed by termites (pp. 8-12, tsn., Oct. 5, was purportedly signed by Arnel as the father. Arnel shouldered the
1982, Steno, Tecson), prove loss or destruction of the pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused Fes repeated
original and of all the duplicate original copies of the requests for Martins support despite his adequate financial capacity
document in question.8 and even suggested to have the child committed for adoption. Arnel
also denied having fathered the child.
We find no cogent reason to rule otherwise. On January 19, 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin
at the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot, Arnel sped off in
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated November his van, with the open car door hitting Fes leg. This incident was
27, 1987 is hereby AFFIRMED. reported to the police. In July 2001, Fe was diagnosed with leukemia
and has, since then, been undergoing chemotherapy. On March 5,
SO ORDERED. 2002, Fe and Martin sued Arnel for support.[6]
In his amended answer, Arnel denied having sired Martin because certificate was a forgery and that, under the law, an illegitimate child is
his affair and intimacy with Fe had allegedly ended in 1998, long before not entitled to support if not recognized by the putative father.[14] In his
Martins conception. He claimed that Fe had at least one other secret motion, Arnel manifested that he had filed criminal charges for
lover. Arnel admitted that their relationship started in 1993 but he never falsification of documents against Fe (I.S. Nos. 02-5723 and 02-7192)
really fell in love with (Fe) not only because (she) had at least one secret and a petition for cancellation of his name appearing in Martins birth
lover, a certain Jun, but also because she proved to be scheming and certificate (docketed as Civil Case No. Q-02-46669). He attached the
overly demanding and possessive. As a result, theirs was a stormy on- certification of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory that his
and-off affair. What started as a romantic liaison between two signature in the birth certificate was forged.
consenting adults eventually turned out to be a case of fatal attraction
where (Fe) became so obsessed with (Arnel), to the point of even The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the complaint and
entertaining the idea of marrying him, that she resorted to various ordered the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing at the
devious ways and means to alienate (him) from his wife and family. expense of the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court.
Unable to bear the prospect of losing his wife and children, Arnel Thus, this petition.
terminated the affair although he still treated her as a friend such as by
referring potential customers to the car aircon repair shop[7] where she In a nutshell, petitioner raises two issues: (1) whether a complaint
worked. Later on, Arnel found out that Fe had another erstwhile secret for support can be converted to a petition for recognition and (2)
lover. In May 2000, Arnel and his entire family went to the United States whether DNA paternity testing can be ordered in a proceeding for
for a vacation. Upon their return in June 2000, Arnel learned that Fe support without violating petitioners constitutional right to privacy and
was telling people that he had impregnated her. Arnel refused to right against self-incrimination.[15]
acknowledge the child as his because their last intimacy was sometime The petition is without merit.
in 1998.[8] Exasperated, Fe started calling Arnels wife and family. On
January 19, 2001, Fe followed Arnel to the Capitol Hills Golf and First of all, the trial court properly denied the petitioners motion to
Country Club parking lot to demand that he acknowledge Martin as his dismiss because the private respondents complaint on its face showed
child. According to Arnel, he could not get through Fe and the that they had a cause of action against the petitioner. The elements of
discussion became so heated that he had no alternative but to move a cause of action are: (1) the plaintiffs primary right and the defendants
on but without bumping or hitting any part of her body.[9] Finally, Arnel corresponding primary duty, and (2) the delict or wrongful act or
claimed that the signature and the community tax certificate (CTC) omission of the defendant, by which the primary right and duty have
attributed to him in the acknowledgment of Martins birth certificate were been violated. The cause of action is determined not by the prayer of
falsified. The CTC erroneously reflected his marital status as single the complaint but by the facts alleged.[16]
when he was actually married and that his birth year was 1965 when it In the complaint, private respondents alleged that Fe had amorous
should have been 1964.[10] relations with the petitioner, as a result of which she gave birth to Martin
In his pre-trial brief filed on May 17, 2002, Arnel vehemently denied out of wedlock. In his answer, petitioner admitted that he had sexual
having sired Martin but expressed willingness to consider any proposal relations with Fe but denied that he fathered Martin, claiming that he
to settle the case.[11] had ended the relationship long before the childs conception and birth.
It is undisputed and even admitted by the parties that there existed a
On July 23, 2002, Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order sexual relationship between Arnel and Fe. The only remaining question
directing all the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing is whether such sexual relationship produced the child, Martin. If it did,
pursuant to Rule 28 of the Rules of Court.[12] as respondents have alleged, then Martin should be supported by his
Arnel opposed said motion by invoking his constitutional right father Arnel. If not, petitioner and Martin are strangers to each other
against self-incrimination.[13] He also moved to dismiss the complaint and Martin has no right to demand and petitioner has no obligation to
for lack of cause of action, considering that his signature on the birth give support.
Preliminaries aside, we now tackle the main issues. as one to compel recognition. Further, that the two causes of
action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim
Petitioner refuses to recognize Martin as his own child and denies inheritance, may be joined in one complaint is not new in our
the genuineness and authenticity of the childs birth certificate which he jurisprudence.
purportedly signed as the father. He also claims that the order and
resolution of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals,
As early as [1922] we had occasion to rule thereon in Briz vs. Briz, et
effectively converted the complaint for support to a petition for
al. (43 Phil. 763 [1922]) wherein we said:
recognition, which is supposedly proscribed by law. According to
petitioner, Martin, as an unrecognized child, has no right to ask for
support and must first establish his filiation in a separate suit under The question whether a person in the position of the present plaintiff
Article 283[17] in relation to Article 265[18] of the Civil Code and Section can in any event maintain a complex action to compel recognition as a
1, Rule 105[19] of the Rules of Court. natural child and at the same time to obtain ulterior relief in the
character of heir, is one which in the opinion of this court must be
The petitioners contentions are without merit. answered in the affirmative, provided always that the conditions
justifying the joinder of the two distinct causes of action are present in
The assailed resolution and order did not convert the action for
the particular case. In other words, there is no absolute necessity
support into one for recognition but merely allowed the respondents to
requiring that the action to compel acknowledgment should have
prove their cause of action against petitioner who had been denying the
been instituted and prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior
authenticity of the documentary evidence of acknowledgement. But
to the action in which that same plaintiff seeks additional relief in
even if the assailed resolution and order effectively integrated an action
the character of heir. Certainly, there is nothing so peculiar to the
to compel recognition with an action for support, such was valid and in
action to compel acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be
accordance with jurisprudence. In Tayag v. Court of Appeals,[20]we
here applied different from that generally applicable in other cases. x x
allowed the integration of an action to compel recognition with an action
x
to claim ones inheritance:
The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore explicitly
In Paulino, we held that an illegitimate child, to be entitled to support
formulated by this court, is undoubtedly to some extent supported by
and successional rights from the putative or presumed parent, must
our prior decisions. Thus, we have held in numerous cases, and
prove his filiation to the latter. We also said that it is necessary to
the doctrine must be considered well settled, that a natural child
allege in the complaint that the putative father had acknowledged and
having a right to compel acknowledgment, but who has not been
recognized the illegitimate child because such acknowledgment is
in fact legally acknowledged, may maintain partition proceedings
essential to and is the basis of the right to inherit. There being no
for the division of the inheritance against his coheirs x x x; and
allegation of such acknowledgment, the action becomes one to
the same person may intervene in proceedings for the distribution of
compel recognition which cannot be brought after the death of the
the estate of his deceased natural father, or mother x x x. In neither of
putative father. The ratio decidendi in Paulino, therefore, is not the
these situations has it been thought necessary for the plaintiff to show
absence of a cause of action for failure of the petitioner to allege the
a prior decree compelling acknowledgment. The obvious reason is
fact of acknowledgment in the complaint, but the prescription of the
that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the other persons
action.
who might take by inheritance are before the court; and the
declaration of heirship is appropriate to such proceedings.
Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bar, although (Underscoring supplied)
petitioner contends that the complaint filed by herein private
respondent merely alleges that the minor Chad Cuyugan is an
Although the instant case deals with support rather than
illegitimate child of the deceased and is actually a claim for
inheritance, as in Tayag, the basis or rationale for integrating them
inheritance, from the allegations therein the same may be considered
remains the same. Whether or not respondent Martin is entitled to
support depends completely on the determination of filiation. A mother, the alleged father and child are analyzed to establish
separate action will only result in a multiplicity of suits, given how parentage. Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use of
intimately related the main issues in both cases are. To DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. Eventually, as the
paraphrase Tayag, the declaration of filiation is entirely appropriate to appropriate case comes, courts should not hesitate to rule on the
these proceedings. admissibility of DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should
apply the results of science when competently obtained in aid of
On the second issue, petitioner posits that DNA is not recognized situations presented, since to reject said result is to deny progress.
by this Court as a conclusive means of proving paternity. He also
contends that compulsory testing violates his right to privacy and right
The first real breakthrough of DNA as admissible and authoritative
against self-incrimination as guaranteed under the 1987 Constitution.
evidence in Philippine jurisprudence came in 2002 with our en
These contentions have no merit.
banc decision in People v. Vallejo[24] where the rape and murder victims
Given that this is the very first time that the admissibility of DNA DNA samples from the bloodstained clothes of the accused were
testing as a means for determining paternity has actually been the focal admitted in evidence. We reasoned that the purpose of DNA testing
issue in a controversy, a brief historical sketch of our past decisions (was) to ascertain whether an association exist(ed) between the
featuring or mentioning DNA testing is called for. evidence sample and the reference sample. The samples collected
(were) subjected to various chemical processes to establish their
In the 1995 case of People v. Teehankee[21] where the appellant profile.
was convicted of murder on the testimony of three eyewitnesses, we
stated as an obiter dictum that while eyewitness identification is A year later, in People v. Janson,[25] we acquitted the accused
significant, it is not as accurate and authoritative as the scientific forms charged with rape for lack of evidence because doubts persist(ed) in
of identification evidence such as the fingerprint or the DNA test our mind as to who (were) the real malefactors. Yes, a complex offense
result (emphasis supplied). (had) been perpetrated but who (were) the perpetrators? How we wish
we had DNA or other scientific evidence to still our doubts!
Our faith in DNA testing, however, was not quite so steadfast in the
previous decade. In Pe Lim v. Court of Appeals,[22] promulgated in In 2004, in Tecson, et al. v. COMELEC[26] where the Court en
1997, we cautioned against the use of DNA because DNA, being a banc was faced with the issue of filiation of then presidential candidate
relatively new science, (had) not as yet been accorded official Fernando Poe Jr., we stated:
recognition by our courts. Paternity (would) still have to be resolved by
such conventional evidence as the relevant incriminating acts, verbal In case proof of filiation or paternity would be unlikely to satisfactorily
and written, by the putative father. establish or would be difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines
genetic codes obtained from body cells of the illegitimate child and
In 2001, however, we opened the possibility of admitting DNA as
any physical residue of the long dead parent could be resorted to. A
evidence of parentage, as enunciated in Tijing v. Court of Appeals:[23]
positive match would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. Court
of Appeals, this Court has acknowledged the strong weight of DNA
A final note. Parentage will still be resolved using conventional testing
methods unless we adopt the modern and scientific ways available.
Fortunately, we have now the facility and expertise in using DNA test
Moreover, in our en banc decision in People v. Yatar,[27] we
for identification and parentage testing. The University of the
affirmed the conviction of the accused for rape with homicide, the
Philippines Natural Science Research Institute (UP-NSRI) DNA
principal evidence for which included DNA test results. We did a lengthy
Analysis Laboratory has now the capability to conduct DNA typing
discussion of DNA, the process of DNA testing and the reasons for its
using short tandem repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on
admissibility in the context of our own Rules of Evidence:
the fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) copies, one copy
from the mother and the other from the father. The DNA from the
Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is a molecule that encodes the testimony they would allow at trial, including the introduction of new
genetic information in all living organisms. A persons DNA is the same kinds of scientific techniques. DNA typing is one such novel
in each cell and it does not change throughout a persons lifetime; the procedure.
DNA in a persons blood is the same as the DNA found in his saliva,
sweat, bone, the root and shaft of hair, earwax, mucus, urine, skin Under Philippine law, evidence is relevant when it relates directly to a
tissue, and vaginal and rectal cells. Most importantly, because of fact in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence.
polymorphisms in human genetic structure, no two individuals have Applying the Daubert test to the case at bar, the DNA evidence
the same DNA, with the notable exception of identical twins. obtained through PCR testing and utilizing STR analysis, and which
was appreciated by the court a quo is relevant and reliable since it is
xxx xxx xxx reasonably based on scientifically valid principles of human genetics
and molecular biology.
In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, courts should
consider, inter alia, the following factors: how the samples were Significantly, we upheld the constitutionality of compulsory DNA
collected, how they were handled, the possibility of contamination of testing and the admissibility of the results thereof as evidence. In that
the samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the samples, case, DNA samples from semen recovered from a rape victims vagina
whether proper standards and procedures were followed in were used to positively identify the accused Joel Kawit Yatar as the
conducting the tests, and the qualification of the analyst who rapist. Yatar claimed that the compulsory extraction of his blood sample
conducted the tests. for DNA testing, as well as the testing itself, violated his right against
self-incrimination, as embodied in both Sections 12 and 17 of Article III
In the case at bar, Dr. Maria Corazon Abogado de Ungria was duly of the Constitution. We addressed this as follows:
qualified by the prosecution as an expert witness on DNA print or
identification techniques. Based on Dr. de Ungrias testimony, it was The contention is untenable. The kernel of the right is not against all
determined that the gene type and DNA profile of appellant are compulsion, but against testimonial compulsion. The right against self-
identical to that of the extracts subject of examination. The blood incrimination is simply against the legal process of extracting from the
sample taken from the appellant showed that he was of the following lips of the accused an admission of guilt. It does not apply where the
gene types: vWA 15/19, TH01 7/8, DHFRP29/10 and CSF1PO 10/11, evidence sought to be excluded is not an incrimination but as part of
which are identical with semen taken from the victims vaginal canal. object evidence.
Verily, a DNA match exists between the semen found in the victim
and the blood sample given by the appellant in open court during the Over the years, we have expressly excluded several kinds of object
course of the trial. evidence taken from the person of the accused from the realm of self-
incrimination. These include photographs,[28] hair,[29] and other bodily
Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these advances in substances.[30] We have also declared as constitutional several
science and technology in the Philippine criminal justice system, so procedures performed on the accused such as pregnancy tests for
we must be cautious as we traverse these relatively uncharted waters. women accused of adultery,[31] expulsion of morphine from ones
Fortunately, we can benefit from the wealth of persuasive mouth[32] and the tracing of ones foot to determine its identity with
jurisprudence that has developed in other jurisdictions. Specifically, bloody footprints.[33] In Jimenez v. Caizares,[34] we even authorized the
the prevailing doctrine in the U.S. has proven instructive. examination of a womans genitalia, in an action for annulment filed by
her husband, to verify his claim that she was impotent, her orifice being
In Daubert v. Merrell Dow (509 U.S. 579 (1993); 125 L. Ed. 2d 469) it too small for his penis. Some of these procedures were, to be sure,
was ruled that pertinent evidence based on scientifically valid rather invasive and involuntary, but all of them were constitutionally
principles could be used as long as it was relevant and reliable. sound. DNA testing and its results, per our ruling in Yatar,[35] are now
Judges, under Daubert, were allowed greater discretion over which similarly acceptable.
Nor does petitioners invocation of his right to privacy persuade us. of the public health law shall establish the paternity of and liability for
In Ople v. Torres,[36] where we struck down the proposed national the support of a child pursuant to this act. Such acknowledgment must
computerized identification system embodied in Administrative Order be reduced to writing and filed pursuant to section four thousand one
No. 308, we said: hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law with the registrar of the
district in which the birth occurred and in which the birth certificate has
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to privacy been filed. No further judicial or administrative proceedings are
does not bar all incursions into individual privacy. The right is not required to ratify an unchallenged acknowledgment of paternity.
intended to stifle scientific and technological advancements that
enhance public service and the common good... Intrusions into the (b) An acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to section one
right must be accompanied by proper safeguards that enhance public hundred eleven-k of the social services law or section four thousand
service and the common good. one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law may be rescinded by
either signators filing of a petition with the court to vacate the
Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of legality of searches acknowledgment within the earlier of sixty days of the date of signing
and seizures,[37] and the infringement of privacy of the acknowledgment or the date of an administrative or a judicial
communication[38] where the constitutional right to privacy has been proceeding (including a proceeding to establish a support order)
critically at issue. Petitioners case involves neither and, as already relating to the child in which either signator is a party. For purposes of
stated, his argument that his right against self-incrimination is in this section, the "date of an administrative or a judicial proceeding"
jeopardy holds no water. His hollow invocation of his constitutional shall be the date by which the respondent is required to answer the
rights elicits no sympathy here for the simple reason that they are not petition. After the expiration of sixty days of the execution of the
in any way being violated. If, in a criminal case, an accused whose very acknowledgment, either signator may challenge the acknowledgment
life is at stake can be compelled to submit to DNA testing, we see no of paternity in court only on the basis of fraud, duress, or material
reason why, in this civil case, petitioner herein who does not face such mistake of fact, with the burden of proof on the party challenging the
dire consequences cannot be ordered to do the same. voluntary acknowledgment. Upon receiving a partys challenge to
an acknowledgment, the court shall order genetic marker tests
DNA paternity testing first came to prominence in the United or DNA tests for the determination of the childs paternity and
States, where it yielded its first official results sometime in 1985. In the shall make a finding of paternity, if appropriate, in accordance
decade that followed, DNA rapidly found widespread general with this article. Neither signators legal obligations, including the
acceptance.[39] Several cases decided by various State Supreme obligation for child support arising from the acknowledgment, may be
Courts reflect the total assimilation of DNA testing into their rules of suspended during the challenge to the acknowledgment except for
procedure and evidence. good cause as the court may find. If a party petitions to rescind an
The case of Wilson v. Lumb[40] shows that DNA testing is so acknowledgment and if the court determines that the alleged father is
commonly accepted that, in some instances, ordering the procedure not the father of the child, or if the court finds that an acknowledgment
has become a ministerial act. The Supreme Court of St. Lawrence is invalid because it was executed on the basis of fraud, duress, or
County, New York allowed a party who had already acknowledged material mistake of fact, the court shall vacate the acknowledgment of
paternity to subsequently challenge his prior acknowledgment. The paternity and shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the
Court pointed out that, under the law, specifically Section 516 of the registrar of the district in which the childs birth certificate is filed and
New York Family Court Act, the Family Court examiner had the duty, also to the putative father registry operated by the department of
upon receipt of the challenge, to order DNA tests:[41] social services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-two-c of the
social services law. In addition, if the mother of the child who is the
516-a. Acknowledgment of paternity. (a) An acknowledgment of subject of the acknowledgment is in receipt of child support services
paternity executed pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the pursuant to title six-A of article three of the social services law, the
social services law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five-b court shall immediately provide a copy of the order to the child support
enforcement unit of the social services district that provides the paternity of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to this
mother with such services. article and article four of this act.

(c) A determination of paternity made by any other state, whether (b) Whenever the court directs a genetic marker or DNA test pursuant
established through the parents acknowledgment of paternity or to this section, a report made as provided in subdivision (a) of this
through an administrative or judicial process, must be accorded full section may be received in evidence pursuant to rule forty-five
faith and credit, if and only if such acknowledgment meets the hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules if offered by any
requirements set forth in section 452(a)(7) of the social security act. party.
(emphasis supplied)
(c) The cost of any test ordered pursuant to subdivision (a) of this
DNA testing also appears elsewhere in the New York Family Court
section shall be, in the first instance, paid by the moving party. If the
Act:[42]
moving party is financially unable to pay such cost, the court may
direct any qualified public health officer to conduct such test, if
532. Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of records or reports practicable; otherwise, the court may direct payment from the funds of
of test results; costs of tests. the appropriate local social services district. In its order of disposition,
however, the court may direct that the cost of any such test be
a) The court shall advise the parties of their right to one or more apportioned between the parties according to their respective abilities
genetic marker tests or DNA tests and, on the courts own motion or to pay or be assessed against the party who does not prevail on the
the motion of any party, shall order the mother, her child and the issue of paternity, unless such party is financially unable to pay.
alleged father to submit to one or more genetic marker or DNA tests (emphasis supplied)
of a type generally acknowledged as reliable by an accreditation body
designated by the secretary of the federal department of health and In R.E. v. C.E.W.,[43] a decision of the Mississippi Supreme Court,
human services and performed by a laboratory approved by such an DNA tests were used to prove that H.W., previously thought to be an
accreditation body and by the commissioner of health or by a duly offspring of the marriage between A.C.W. and C.E.W., was actually the
qualified physician to aid in the determination of whether the alleged child of R.E. with whom C.E.W. had, at the time of conception,
father is or is not the father of the child. No such test shall be maintained an adulterous relationship.
ordered, however, upon a written finding by the court that it is
not in the best interests of the child on the basis of res judicata, In Erie County Department of Social Services on behalf of Tiffany
equitable estoppel, or the presumption of legitimacy of a child M.H. v. Greg G.,[44] the 4th Department of the New York Supreme
born to a married woman. The record or report of the results of any Courts Appellate Division allowed G.G., who had been adjudicated as
such genetic marker or DNA test ordered pursuant to this section or T.M.H.s father by default, to have the said judgment vacated, even after
pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the social services law six years, once he had shown through a genetic marker test that he
shall be received in evidence by the court pursuant to subdivision (e) was not the childs father. In this case, G.G. only requested the tests
of rule forty-five hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules after the Department of Social Services, six years after G.G. had been
where no timely objection in writing has been made thereto and that if adjudicated as T.M.H.s father, sought an increase in his support
such timely objections are not made, they shall be deemed waived obligation to her.
and shall not be heard by the court. If the record or report of the
results of any such genetic marker or DNA test or tests indicate In Greco v. Coleman,[45] the Michigan Supreme Court while ruling
at least a ninety-five percent probability of paternity, the on the constitutionality of a provision of law allowing non-modifiable
admission of such record or report shall create a rebuttable support agreements pointed out that it was because of the difficulty of
presumption of paternity, and shall establish, if unrebutted, the determining paternity before the advent of DNA testing that such
support agreements were necessary:
As a result of DNA testing, the accuracy with which paternity can be antigens, red cell isoenzymes, human leukocyte antigens, serum
proven has increased significantly since the parties in this lawsuit proteins, or DNA identification profiling, to determine whether
entered into their support agreement(current testing methods can the alleged father is likely to be, or is not, the father of the child.
determine the probability of paternity to 99.999999% accuracy). If the court orders a blood or tissue typing or DNA identification
However, at the time the parties before us entered into the disputed profiling to be conducted and a party refuses to submit to the
agreement, proving paternity was a very significant obstacle to an typing or DNA identification profiling, in addition to any other
illegitimate child's access to child support. The first reported results of remedies available, the court may do either of the following:
modern DNA paternity testing did not occur until 1985. ("In fact, since
its first reported results in 1985, DNA matching has progressed to (a) Enter a default judgment at the request of the appropriate
'general acceptance in less than a decade'"). Of course, while prior party.
blood-testing methods could exclude some males from being the
possible father of a child, those methods could not affirmatively (b) If a trial is held, allow the disclosure of the fact of the refusal
pinpoint a particular male as being the father. Thus, when the unless good cause is shown for not disclosing the fact of refusal.
settlement agreement between the present parties was entered in
1980, establishing paternity was a far more difficult ordeal than at (2) A blood or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling shall be
present. Contested paternity actions at that time were often no more conducted by a person accredited for paternity determinations by a
than credibility contests. Consequently, in every contested paternity nationally recognized scientific organization, including, but not limited
action, obtaining child support depended not merely on whether the to, the American association of blood banks.
putative father was, in fact, the child's biological father, but rather on
whether the mother could prove to a court of law that she was only xxx xxx xxx
sexually involved with one man--the putative father. Allowing parties
the option of entering into private agreements in lieu of proving
(5) If the probability of paternity determined by the qualified
paternity eliminated the risk that the mother would be unable meet her
person described in subsection (2) conducting the blood or
burden of proof.
tissue typing or DNA identification profiling is 99% or higher, and
the DNA identification profile and summary report are admissible
It is worth noting that amendments to Michigans Paternity law have as provided in subsection (4), paternity is presumed. If the
included the use of DNA testing:[46] results of the analysis of genetic testing material from 2 or more
persons indicate a probability of paternity greater than 99%, the
722.716 Pretrial proceedings; blood or tissue typing determinations as contracting laboratory shall conduct additional genetic paternity
to mother, child, and alleged father; court order; refusal to submit to testing until all but 1 of the putative fathers is eliminated, unless
typing or identification profiling; qualifications of person conducting the dispute involves 2 or more putative fathers who have
typing or identification profiling; compensation of expert; result of identical DNA.
typing or identification profiling; filing summary report; objection;
admissibility; presumption; burden of proof; summary disposition. (6) Upon the establishment of the presumption of paternity as
provided in subsection (5), either party may move for summary
Sec. 6. disposition under the court rules. this section does not abrogate the
right of either party to child support from the date of birth of the child if
(1) In a proceeding under this act before trial, the court, upon applicable under section 7. (emphasis supplied)
application made by or on behalf of either party, or on its own
motion, shall order that the mother, child, and alleged father In Rafferty v. Perkins,[47] the Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled
submit to blood or tissue typing determinations, which may that DNA test results showing paternity were sufficient to overthrow the
include, but are not limited to, determinations of red cell
presumption of legitimacy of a child born during the course of a him to submit himself for DNA testing. Under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules
marriage: of Civil Procedure, the remedy of certiorari is only available when any
tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in excess of its or his
The presumption of legitimacy having been rebutted by the results of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
the blood test eliminating Perkins as Justin's father, even considering excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and
the evidence in the light most favorable to Perkins, we find that no adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.[52] In Land Bank of the
reasonable jury could find that Easter is not Justin's father based upon Philippines v. the Court of Appeals[53] where we dismissed a special civil
the 99.94% probability of paternity concluded by the DNA testing. action for certiorari under Rule 65, we discussed at length the nature of
such a petition and just what was meant by grave abuse of discretion:
In S.J.F. and J.C.F. v. R.C.W.,[48] the North Dakota Supreme Court
upheld an order for genetic testing given by the Court of Appeals, even Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and whimsical
after trial on the merits had concluded without such order being given. exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction or, in other
Significantly, when J.C.F., the mother, first filed the case for paternity words, where the power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by
and support with the District Court, neither party requested genetic reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility, and it must be
testing. It was only upon appeal from dismissal of the case that the so patent or gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty
appellate court remanded the case and ordered the testing, which the or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all
North Dakota Supreme Court upheld. in contemplation of law.
The case of Kohl v. Amundson,[49] decided by the Supreme Court The special civil action for certiorari is a remedy designed for the
of South Dakota, demonstrated that even default judgments of paternity correction of errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment.
could be vacated after the adjudicated father had, through DNA testing,
The raison detre for the rule is when a court exercises its jurisdiction,
established non-paternity. In this case, Kohl, having excluded himself an error committed while so engaged does not deprive it of the
as the father of Amundsons child through DNA testing, was able to have jurisdiction being exercised when the error is committed. If it did,
the default judgment against him vacated. He then obtained a ruling
every error committed by a court would deprive it of its jurisdiction and
ordering Amundson to reimburse him for the amounts withheld from his every erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. In such a
wages for child support. The Court said (w)hile Amundson may have a scenario, the administration of justice would not survive. Hence,
remedy against the father of the child, she submit(ted) no authority that where the issue or question involved affects the wisdom or legal
require(d) Kohl to support her child. Contrary to Amundson's position, soundness of the decisionnot the jurisdiction of the court to render
the fact that a default judgment was entered, but subsequently vacated, said decisionthe same is beyond the province of a special civil action
(did) not foreclose Kohl from obtaining a money judgment for the for certiorari.
amount withheld from his wages.
In M.A.S. v. Mississippi Dept. of Human Services,[50] another case The proper recourse of the aggrieved party from a decision of the CA
decided by the Supreme Court of Mississippi, it was held that even if is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised
paternity was established through an earlier agreed order of filiation, Rules of Court. On the other hand, if the error subject of the recourse
child support and visitation orders could still be vacated once DNA is one of jurisdiction, or the act complained of was perpetrated by a
testing established someone other than the named individual to be the quasi-judicial officer or agency with grave abuse of discretion
biological father. The Mississippi High Court reiterated this doctrine amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the proper remedy
in Williams v. Williams.[51] available to the aggrieved party is a petition for certiorari under Rule
65 of the said Rules. (emphasis supplied)
The foregoing considered, we find no grave abuse of discretion on
the part of the public respondent for upholding the orders of the trial
In the instant case, the petitioner has in no way shown any
court which both denied the petitioners motion to dismiss and ordered
arbitrariness, passion, prejudice or personal hostility that would amount
to grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals. The allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious
respondent court acted entirely within its jurisdiction in promulgating its mood" and in a manner offensive to petitioner's dignity and
decision and resolution, and any error made would have only been an personality," contrary to morals, good customs and public policy."1
error in judgment. As we have discussed, however, the decision of the
respondent court, being firmly anchored in law and jurisprudence, was In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of
correct. the event and sought moral damages, attorney's fees and other
expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition to
costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's
Epilogue discretion. The transcript on which the civil case was based was
culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by
petitioner.2 The transcript reads as follows:
For too long, illegitimate children have been marginalized by
fathers who choose to deny their existence. The growing sophistication Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) —
of DNA testing technology finally provides a much needed equalizer for Good Afternoon M'am.
such ostracized and abandoned progeny. We have long believed in the
merits of DNA testing and have repeatedly expressed as much in the Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) —
past. This case comes at a perfect time when DNA testing has finally Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo, nakalimot
evolved into a dependable and authoritative form of evidence ka na kung paano ka napunta rito, porke
gathering. We therefore take this opportunity to forcefully reiterate our member ka na, magsumbong ka kung
stand that DNA testing is a valid means of determining paternity. ano ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby
DENIED. The Court of Appeals decision dated January 28, 2004 in CA- CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty ako noon.
G.R. SP No. 80961 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED. CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses
na nila akong binalikan, sabing ganoon
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995 —

SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner, ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo,


vs. ayaw kung (sic) mag explain ka, kasi
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. hanggang 10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi
GARCIA, respondents. ka na pumasok. Ngayon ako ang
babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States,
nag-aaply ka sa review mo, kung
kakailanganin ang certification mo,
KAPUNAN, J.: kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa akin
makakahingi.
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City alleging that the private
respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's office,
CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako.
ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko up to
10:00 p.m. ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-
explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka kung paano
ESG — Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na ka puma-rito. "Putang-ina" sasabi-
kung paano ka pumasok dito sa hotel. sabihin mo kamag-anak ng nanay at
Magsumbong ka sa Union kung gusto tatay mo ang mga magulang ko.
mo. Nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka
nakapasok dito "Do you think that on ESG — Wala na akong pakialam, dahil
your own makakapasok ka kung hindi nandito ka sa loob, nasa labas ka
ako. Panunumbyoyan na kita puwede ka ng hindi pumasok, okey yan
(Sinusumbatan na kita). nasaloob ka umalis ka doon.

CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na M'am sana CHUCHI — Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako


ang duty ko. ng mga taga Union.

ESG — Kaso ilang beses na akong ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako, pero
binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic) ko. huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka
makakapasok kung hindi ako. Kung
ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang sa akin,
paano ka pumasok sa hotel, kung on dahil tapos ka na.
your own merit alam ko naman kung
gaano ka "ka bobo" mo. Marami ang CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am na utang
nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka papasa. na loob.

CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng exam ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang


noon. na loob, kasi kung baga sa no,
nilapastangan mo ako.
ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.
CHUCHI — Paano kita
CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni nilapastanganan?
Dr. Tamayo
ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi
ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako. na ako makikipagusap sa 'yo. Lumabas
ka na. Magsumbong ka.3
CHUCHI — Eh, di sana —
As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the
ESG — Huwag mong ipagmalaki na said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal, private
may utak ka kasi wala kang utak. Akala respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of
mo ba makukuha ka dito kung hindi ako. Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An Act to
prohibit and penalize wire tapping and other related violations of
private communication, and other purposes." An information charging E
petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted T
herewith: A
A
INFORMATION s
s
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses t
Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of Republic Act No. .
4200, committed as follows: C
i
That on or about the 22nd day of t
February, 1988, in Pasay City Metro y
Manila, Philippines, and within the F
jurisdiction of this honorable court, the i
above-named accused, Socorro D. s
Ramirez not being authorized by Ester c
S. Garcia to record the latter's a
conversation with said accused, did then l
and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously, with the use of a tape Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash
recorder secretly record the said the Information on the ground that the facts charged do not constitute
conversation and thereafter an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an order May 3,
communicate in writing the contents of 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with
the said recording to other person. petitioner that 1) the facts charged do not constitute an offense under
R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation punished by R.A. 4200 refers to a
Contrary to law. the taping of a communication by a person other than a participant to
the communication.4
Pasay City, Metro Manila, September
16, 1988. From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for
Review on Certiorari with this Court, which forthwith referred the case
M to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division) of June
A 19, 1989.
R
I On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its
A assailed Decision declaring the trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null
N and void, and holding that:
O
M [T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense
. punishable under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In thus
C quashing the information based on the ground that the
U facts alleged do not constitute an offense, the
N
respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for
correctible by certiorari.5 any person, not authorized by all the parties to any private
communication to secretly record such communication by means of a
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party
Reconsideration which respondent Court of Appeals denied in its sought to be penalized by the statute ought to be a party other than or
Resolution6 dated June 19, 1990. Hence, the instant petition. different from those involved in the private communication. The
statute's intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue"7 that recording is underscored by the use of the qualifier "any".
the applicable provision of Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded,
taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to the "even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private
conversation. She contends that the provision merely refers to the conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter (will)
unauthorized taping of a private conversation by a party other than qualify as a violator" 13 under this provision of R.A. 4200.
those involved in the communication.8 In relation to this, petitioner
avers that the substance or content of the conversation must be A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports
alleged in the Information, otherwise the facts charged would not the respondent court's conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our
constitute a violation of R.A. 4200.9 Finally, petitioner agues that R.A. lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape
4200 penalizes the taping of a "private communication," not a "private recording of private conversations or communications taken either by
conversation" and that consequently, her act of secretly taping her the parties themselves or by third persons. Thus:
conversation with private respondent was not illegal under the said
act. 10 xxx xxx xxx

We disagree. Senator Tañada: That qualified only "overhear".

First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or
statute. Where the language of a statute is clear and unambiguous, recorded, the element of secrecy would not appear to
the law is applied according to its express terms, and interpretation be material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the recording
would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either is not made by all the parties but by some parties and
impossible 11 or absurb or would lead to an injustice. 12 involved not criminal cases that would be mentioned
under section 3 but would cover, for example civil
Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized cases or special proceedings whereby a recording is
Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of Private Communication made not necessarily by all the parties but perhaps by
and Other Purposes," provides: some in an effort to show the intent of the parties
because the actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any person, not being even subsequent to the contract or the act may be
authorized by all the parties to any private indicative of their intention. Suppose there is such a
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or recording, would you say, Your Honor, that the
cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to intention is to cover it within the purview of this bill or
secretly overhear, intercept, or record such outside?
communication or spoken word by using a device
commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or Senator Tañada: That is covered by the purview of this
detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or bill, Your Honor.
however otherwise described.
Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not knowing that what is being recorded may be used
in the prosecution of offense but as evidence to be against him, I think it is unfair.
used in Civil Cases or special proceedings?
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Tañada: That is right. This is a complete ban
on tape recorded conversations taken without the (Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March
authorization of all the parties. 12, 1964)

Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that
Honor? under Section 1 of the bill as now worded, if a party
secretly records a public speech, he would be
Senator Tañada: I believe it is reasonable because it is penalized under Section 1? Because the speech is
not sporting to record the observation of one without public, but the recording is done secretly.
his knowing it and then using it against him. It is not
fair, it is not sportsmanlike. If the purpose; Your honor, Senator Tañada: Well, that particular aspect is not
is to record the intention of the parties. I believe that all contemplated by the bill. It is the communication
the parties should know that the observations are being between one person and another person — not
recorded. between a speaker and a public.

Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of xxx xxx xxx
recorders.
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March
Senator Tañada: Well no. For example, I was to say 12, 1964)
that in meetings of the board of directors where a tape
recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the xxx xxx xxx
parties know. It is but fair that the people whose
remarks and observations are being made should know The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together
that the observations are being recorded. with the above-quoted deliberations from the Congressional Record,
therefore plainly supports the view held by the respondent court that
Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand. the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private
communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not
Senator Tañada: That is why when we take statements distinguish.
of persons, we say: "Please be informed that whatever
you say here may be used against you." That is Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of
fairness and that is what we demand. Now, in spite of the statute. The substance of the same need not be specifically
that warning, he makes damaging statements against alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of
his own interest, well, he cannot complain any secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private
more. But if you are going to take a recording of the communications by means of the devices enumerated therein. The
observations and remarks of a person without him mere allegation that an individual made a secret recording of a private
knowing that it is being taped or recorded, without him communication by means of a tape recorder would suffice to
constitute an offense under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor
General pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent court: exchange of communication between individuals —
"Nowhere (in the said law) is it required that before one can be free from every unjustifiable intrusion by whatever
regarded as a violator, the nature of the conversation, as well as its means.17
communication to a third person should be professed." 14
In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with
Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private communication" the issue of telephone wiretapping, we held that the use of a
in Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include "private conversations" telephone extension for the purpose of overhearing a private
narrows the ordinary meaning of the word "communication" to a point conversation without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because
of absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin a telephone extension devise was neither among those "device(s) or
word communicare, meaning "to share or to impart." In its ordinary arrangement(s)" enumerated therein, 19 following the principle that
signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting "penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the
signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting, accused."20 The instant case turns on a different note, because the
as in a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process by which meanings or applicable facts and circumstances pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200
thoughts are shared between individuals through a common system of suffer from no ambiguity, and the statute itself explicitly mentions the
symbols (as language signs or gestures)" 16 These definitions are unauthorized "recording" of private communications with the use of
broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal, written or expressive tape-recorders as among the acts punishable.
communications of "meanings or thoughts" which are likely to include
the emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22, 1988, between WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is
petitioner and private respondent, in the privacy of the latter's office. clear and unambiguous and leaves us with no discretion, the instant
Any doubts about the legislative body's meaning of the phrase petition is hereby DENIED. The decision appealed from is
"private communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
the terms "conversation" and "communication" were interchangeably
used by Senator Tañada in his Explanatory Note to the bill quoted SO ORDERED.
below:
G.R. No. L-28100 November 29, 1971
It has been said that innocent people have nothing to
fear from their conversations being overheard. But this GABRIEL BAGUIO, plaintiff-Appellant,
statement ignores the usual nature of conversations as vs.
well the undeniable fact that most, if not all, civilized TEOFILA L. VDA. DE JALAGAT, for herself and in representation
people have some aspects of their lives they do not of her minor children, DOMINADOR, LEA and TEONIFE all
wish to expose. Free conversationsare often surnamed JALAGAT; ANABELLA JALAGAT and EMMANUEL
characterized by exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable JALAGAT, defendants-appellees.
falsehoods, and the expression of anti-social desires of
views not intended to be taken seriously. The right to Bonifacio P. Legaspi for plaintiff-appellant.
the privacy of communication, among others, has
expressly been assured by our Constitution. Needless
Cecilio P. Luminarias for defendants-appellees.
to state here, the framers of our Constitution must have
recognized the nature of conversations between
individuals and the significance of man's spiritual
nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They must
have known that part of the pleasures and satisfactions FERNANDO, J.:
of life are to be found in the unaudited, and free
The specific legal question raised in this appeal from an order of Rule 17 of the new Rules of Court, which case involved the same
dismissal by the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental, presided parcel of land as the one in the instant case, as prayed for, Civil Case
by the Hon. Benjamin K. Gorospe, one which has not as yet been the No. 2639 should be as it is hereby [dismissed]. The Court's previous
subject of a definitive ruling is whether or not on a motion to dismiss dismissal of Civil Case No. 1574 has the effect of an adjudication
on the ground of res judicata that the cause of action is barred by a upon the merits and consequently is a bar to and may be pleaded in
prior judgment, a lower court may take judicial notice of such previous abatement of any subsequent action against the same parties over
case decided by him resulting in the prior judgment relied upon. Judge the same issues and the same subject-matter by the same plaintiff.
Gorospe answered in the affirmative. So do we. An affirmance is thus [So ordered]"2 Hence, this appeal.
called for.
The order of dismissal, as noted at the outset, must be sustained. It is
The case started with the complaint for the quieting of title to real in accordance with law.
property filed by plaintiff, now appellant, Gabriel Baguio, on February,
14, 1966. There was on March 7, 1966 a motion to dismiss filed by 1. The sole error assigned is that a bar by prior judgement cannot be
defendants, now appellees, on the ground that the cause of action is raised in a motion to dismiss when such ground does not appear on
barred by a prior judgment. This was the argument advanced: "The the face of the complaint. What immediately calls attention in the
instant complaint or case, besides being clearly unfounded and rather sketchy and in conclusive discussion in the six-page brief of
malicious, is identical to or the same as that Civil Case No. 1574 filed applicant is that there was no denial as to the truth of the statement
by the same plaintiff and against Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, now made by Judge Gorospe that there was a previous dismissal the
deceased and whose legal heirs and successors in interest are the same plaintiff's complaint against the predecessor-in-interest of
very defendants in the instant complaint or Civil Case No. 2639. Said defendants, who as expressly admitted by appellant was the
Civil Case No. 1574 was filed on October 7, 1958 for 'Recovery of deceased husband of one of them and father of the rest. There was
Possession and Ownership of Real Estate' and entitled Gabriel no denial either of the property involved being the same and of the
Baguio, plantiff, versus Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, defendant, finality of the decsion in the previous case which would show that
involving practically the same property and practically the same appellant's claim was devoid of any support in law. It would be
parties as defendants are the widow and the children, respectively, therefore futile for the court to continue with the case as there had
thus the legal or forced heirs of the deceased Melecio Jalagat. That been such a prior judgment certainly binding on appellant. What then
the said Case No. 1574, which is identical to or is the same case as was there for the lower court to do? Was there any sense in its being
the instant one, has already been duly and finally terminated as could engaged in what was essentially a fruitless, endeavor as the outcome
be clear from [an] order of this Honorable Court [dated December 6, was predictible?
1965]."1 There was an opposition on the part of plaintiff made on
March 26, 1966 on the ground that for prior judgment or res Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-deserved reproach if the
judicata to suffice as a basis for dismissal it must be apparent on the Rules of Court would sanction such a proceeding distinguished by
face of the complaint. It was then alleged that there was nothing in the nothing but its futility. It ought to be clear even to appellant that under
complaint from which such a conclusion may be inferred. Then, on the circumstances, the lower court certainly could take judicial notice
September 26, 1966, came the order complained of worded thus: of the finality of a judgment in a case that was previously pending and
"Acting on the motion to dismiss filed by counsel for the defendants thereafter decided by it. That was all that was done by the lower court
under date of March 4, 1966, anchored on the ground that plaintiff's in decreeing the dismissal. Certainly such an order is not contrary to
cause of action is barred by a prior judgement which this Court finds law. A citation from the comments of former Chief Justice Moran is
to be well-founded as it has already dismissed plaintiff's complaint in relevant. Thus: "Courts have also taken judicial notice of previous
Civil Case No. 1574 against Melecio Jalagat alias Mening Jalagat, cases to determine whether or not the case pending is a moot one, or
defendants predecessor in interest from whom they have derived their whether or not a previous ruling is applicable in the case under
rights, in an order dated December 6, 1965, pursuant to Section 3 of consideration."3
2. There is another equally compelling consideration. Appellant handwriting of the deceased can he determined by the probate court,
undoubtedly had recourse to a remedy which under the law then in as comparison can be made with the standard writings of the testator.
force could be availed of. It would have served the cause of justice
better, not to mention the avoidance of needless expense on his part Assailed order of dismissal, set aside.
and the vexation to which appellees were subjected if he did reflect a
little more on the matter. Then the valuable time of this Tribunal would
not have been frittered away on a useless find hopeless appeal. It SYLLABUS
has, ever been the guiding principle from Alonso v. Villamor,4 a 1910
decision, that a litigant should not be allowed to worship at the altar of
technicality. That is not to dispense justice according to law. Parties, 1. CIVIL LAW; SUCCESSION; HOLOGRAPHIC WILLS; PROBATE
and much more so their counsel, should ever keep such an imperative THEREOF; DEFINITION. — Pursuant to Article 811 of the Civil Code,
of our legal system in mind.5 probate of holographic wills is the allowance of the will by the Court
after its due execution has been proved.
WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of September 26, 1966 is
hereby affirmed. With costs against plaintiff. 2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NUMBER OF WITNESSES REQUIRED. — The
probate of holographic wills may be uncontested or not. If
[G.R. No. L-58509. December 7, 1982.] uncontested, at least one identifying witness is required and, if no
witness is available, experts may be resorted to. If contested, at least
IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION TO APPROVE THE WILL OF three identifying witnesses are required.
RICARDO B. BONILLA, deceased, MARCELA
RODELAS, Petitioner-Appellant, v. AMPARO ARANZA, ET AL., 3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT POSSIBLE WHERE ORIGINAL WILL HAS
oppositors-appellees, ATTY. LORENZO SUMULONG, intervenor. BEEN LOST OR DESTROYED AND NO OTHER COPY IS
AVAILABLE; REASON. — If the holographic will has been lost or
Luciano A. Joson for Petitioner-Appellant. destroyed and no other copy is available, the will cannot be probated
because the best and only evidence is the handwriting of the testator
Cesar C. Paralejo for Oppositor-Appellee. in said will. It is necessary that there be a comparison between
sample handwritten statements of the testator and the handwritten
SYNOPSIS will.

The probate court ordered the dismissal of appellant’s petition for the 4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; PHOTOSTATIC COPY OR XEROX COPY
allowance of the holographic will of deceased Ricardo B. Bonilla on MAY BE ALLOWED; CASE AT BAR. — A photostatic copy or xerox
the ground that the alleged photostatic copy of the will which was copy of the holographic will may be allowed because comparison can
presented for probate, cannot stand in lieu of the lost original, for the be made with the standard writings of the testator. In the case of Gan
law regards the document itself as the material proof of the v. Yap, 104 Phil. 509, the Court ruled that "the execution and the
authenticity of the said will, citing the case of Gan v. Yap, 104 Phil. contents of a lost or destroyed holographic will may not be proved by
509, 522. On appeal, the only question is whether a holographic will the bare testimony of witnesses who have seen and/or read such will.
which was lost or cannot be found can be proved by means of a The will itself must be presented; otherwise, it shall produce no effect.
photostatic copy. The law regards the document itself as material proof of authenticity."
But, in Footnote 8 of said decision, it says that "Perhaps it may be
The Supreme Court, in setting aside the lower court’s order of proved by a photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed
dismissal, held that a photostatic or xerox copy of a lost or destroyed or carbon copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the
holographic will may be admitted because the authenticity of the authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and
tested before the probate court." Evidently, the photostatic or xerox "The appellees likewise moved for the consolidation of the case with
copy of the lost or destroyed holographic will may be admitted another case (Sp. Proc. No. 8275). Their motion was granted by the
because then the authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased can court in an order dated April 4, 1977.
be determined by the probate court.
"On November 13, 1978, following the consolidation of the cases, the
appellees moved again to dismiss the petition for the probate of the
DECISION will. They argued that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"(1) The alleged holographic was not a last will but merely an
RELOVA, J.: instruction as to the management and improvement of the schools
and colleges founded by decedent Ricardo B. Bonilla; and

This case was certified to this Tribunal by the Court of Appeals for "(2) Lost or destroyed holographic wills cannot be proved by
final determination pursuant to Section 3, Rule 50 of the Rules of secondary evidence unlike ordinary wills.
Court.
"Upon opposition of the appellant, the motion to dismiss was denied
As found by the Court of Appeals:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph by the court in its order of February 23, 1979.

". . . On January 11, 1977, appellant filed a petition with the Court of "The appellees then filed a motion for reconsideration on the ground
First Instance of Rizal for the probate of the holographic will of that the order was contrary to law and settled pronouncements and
Ricardo B. Bonilla and the issuance of letters testamentary in her rulings of the Supreme Court, to which the appellant in turn filed an
favor. The petition, docketed as Sp. Proc. No. 8432, was opposed by opposition. On July 23, 1979, the court set aside its order of February
the appellees Amparo Aranza Bonilla, Wilferine Bonilla Treyes, 23, 1979 and dismissed the petition for the probate of the will of
Expedita Bonilla Frias and Ephraim Bonilla on the following Ricardo B. Bonilla. The court said:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
grounds:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
‘. . . It is our considered opinion that once the original copy of the
"(1) Appellant was estopped from claiming that the deceased left a will holographic will is lost, a copy thereof cannot stand in lieu of the
by failing to produce the will within twenty days of the death of the original.
testator as required by Rule 75, section 2 of the Rules of
Court:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph ‘In the case of Gan v. Yap, 104 Phil. 509, 522, the Supreme Court
held that ‘in the matter of holographic wills the law, it is reasonable to
"(2) The alleged copy of the alleged holographic will did not contain a suppose, regards the document itself as the material proof of
disposition of property after death and was not intended to take effect authenticity of said wills.
after death, and therefore it was not a will;
‘MOREOVER, this Court notes that the alleged holographic will was
"(3) The alleged holographic will itself, and not an alleged copy executed on January 25, 1962 while Ricardo B. Bonilla died on May
thereof, must be produced, otherwise it would produce no effect, as 13, 1976. In view of the lapse of more than 14 years from the time of
held in Gan v. Yap, 104 Phil. 509; and the execution of the will to the death of the decedent, the fact that the
original of the will could not be located shows to our mind that the
"(4) The deceased did not leave any will, holographic or otherwise, decedent had discarded before his death his allegedly missing
executed and attested as required by law. Holographic Will.
Appellant’s motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, an appeal copy; or by other similar means, if any, whereby the authenticity of the
to the Court of Appeals in which it is contended that the dismissal of handwriting of the deceased may be exhibited and tested before the
appellant’s petition is contrary to law and well-settled jurisprudence. probate court." Evidently, the photostatic or xerox copy of the lost or
destroyed holographic will may be admitted because then the
On July 7, 1980, appellees moved to forward the case to this Court on authenticity of the handwriting of the deceased can be determined by
the ground that the appeal does not involve question of fact and the probate court.
alleged that the trial court committed the following assigned
errors:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph WHEREFORE, the order of the lower court dated October 3, 1979,
denying appellant’s motion for reconsideration dated August 9, 1979,
"I. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT A LOST of the Order dated July 23, 1979, dismissing her petition to approve
HOLOGRAPHIC WILL MAY NOT BE PROVED BY A COPY the will of the late Ricardo B. Bonilla, is hereby SET ASIDE.
THEREOF;
SO ORDERED.
"II. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE
DECEDENT HAS DISCARDED BEFORE HIS DEATH THE MISSING
HOLOGRAPHIC WILL; [G.R. No. L-23893. October 29, 1968.]

"III. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING APPELLANT’S VILLA REY TRANSIT INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. EUSEBIO E.
WILL."cralaw virtua1aw library FERRER, PANGASINAN TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., and
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION, Defendants, EUSEBIO E.
The only question here is whether a holographic will which was lost or FERRER and PANGASINAN TRANSPORTATION CO.,
can not be found can be proved by means of a photostatic copy. INC., Defendants-Appellants.
Pursuant to Article 811 of the Civil Code, probate of holographic wills
is the allowance of the will by the court after its due execution has PANGASINAN TRANSPORTATION CO., INC., third-party plaintiff-
been proved. The probate may be uncontested or not. If uncontested, appellant, v. JOSE M. VILLARAMA, third-party Defendant-
at least one identifying witness is required and, if no witness is Appellee.
available, experts may be resorted to. If contested, at least three
identifying witnesses are required. However, if the holographic will has Chuidian Law Office for plaintiff-appellant Villa Rey Transit, Inc.
been lost or destroyed and no other copy is available, the will can not
be probated because the best and only evidence is the handwriting of Bengzon, Zarraga & Villegas for defendant-appellant Pangasinan
the testator in said will. It is necessary that there be a comparison Transportation Co., Inc.
between sample handwritten statements of the testator and the
handwritten will. But, a photostatic copy or xerox copy of the Laurea & Pison for third-party defendant-appellee Jose
holographic will may be allowed because comparison can be made Villarama.
with the standard writings of the testator. In the case of Gan v. Yap,
104 Phil. 509, the Court ruled that "the execution and the contents of
a lost or destroyed holographic will may not be proved by the bare SYLLABUS
testimony of witnesses who have seen and/or read such will. The will
itself must be presented; otherwise, it shall produce no effect. The law
regards the document itself as material proof of authenticity." But, in 1. COMMERCIAL LAW; CORPORATIONS; CORPORATION
Footnote 8 of said decision, it says that "Perhaps it may be proved by SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM MEMBERS THEREOF;
a photographic or photostatic copy. Even a mimeographed or carbon DOCTRINE OF PIERCING THE CORPORATE VEIL. — The doctrine
that a corporation is a legal entity distinct and separate from the
members and stockholders who compose it is recognized and 4. ID.; ID.; PURCHASER IN GOOD FAITH; RULE OF CAVEAT
respected in all cases which are within reason and the law. When the EMPTOR. — The 10 year prohibition upon Villarama is not against his
fiction is urged as a means of perpetrating a fraud or an illegal act or application for, or purchase of, certificates of public convenience, but
as a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation, the merely the operation of TPU along the lines covered by the
circumvention of statutes, the achievement or perfection of a certificates sold by him to Pantranco. Consequently, the sale between
monopoly or generally the perpetration of knavery or crime, the veil Fernando and the Corporation is valid, such that the rightful
with which the law covers and isolates the corporation from the ownership of the disputed certificates still belongs to the plaintiff being
members or stockholders who compose it will be lifted to allow for its the prior purchaser in good faith and for value thereof. In view of the
consideration merely as an aggregation of individuals. ancient rule of caveat emptor prevailing in this jurisdiction, what was
acquired by Ferrer in the sheriff’s sale was only the right which
2. ID.; ID.; ALTER EGO; CORPORATION BOUND BY CONTRACT Fernando, judgment debtor, had in the certificates of public
WHEN SHOWN AS ALTER EGO OF COVENANTOR. — The convenience on the day of the sale.
preponderance of evidence have shown that the Villa Rey Transit, Inc.
is an alter ego of Jose M. Villarama, and that the restrictive clause in 5. ADMINISTRATIVE LAW; PUBLIC SERVICE LAW; CERTIFICATE
the contract entered into by the latter and Pantranco is also OF PUBLIC CONVENIENCE; SALE THEREOF; APPROVAL BY
enforceable and binding against the said Corporation. For the rule is PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION NOT NECESSARY FOR THIS
that a seller or promissor may not make use of a corporate entity as a CONSUMMATION OF THE SALE IN THE INSTANT CASE. — There
means of evading the obligation of his covenant. Where the is no merit in Pantranco and Ferrer’s theory that the sale of the
corporation is substantially the alter ego of the covenantor to the certificates of public convenience in question, between the corporation
restrictive agreement, it can be enjoined from competing with the and Fernando, was not consummated, it being only a conditional sale
covenantee. subject to the suspensive condition of its approval by the Public
Service Commission. It is clear, that the requisite approval of the PSC
3. CIVIL LAW; CONTRACTS; VALIDITY OF STIPULATION IN is not a condition precedent for the validity and consummation of the
RESTRAINT OF TRADE. — The 10-year restrictive clause in the sale.
contract between Villarama and Pantranco, while in the nature of an
agreement suppressing competition, it is, however, merely ancillary or
incidental to the main agreement which is that of sale. The DECISION
suppression or restraint is only partial or limited: first, in scope, it
refers only to application for TPU by the seller in competition with the
lines sold to the buyer; second, in duration, it is only for ten (10) years; ANGELES, J.:
and third, with respect to situs or territory, the restraint is only along
the lines covered by the certificates sold. In view of these limitations,
coupled with the consideration of P350,000.00 for just two certificates This is a tri-party appeal from the decision of the Court of First
of public convenience, and considering, furthermore, that the disputed Instance of Manila, Civil Case No. 41845, declaring null and void the
stipulation is only incidental to a main agreement, the same is sheriff’s sale of two certificates of public convenience in favor of
reasonable and it is not harmful nor obnoxious to public service. It defendant Eusebio E. Ferrer and the subsequent sale thereof by the
does not appear that the ultimate result of the clause or stipulation latter to defendant Pangasinan Transportation Co., Inc.; declaring the
would be to leave solely to Pantranco the right to operate along the plaintiff Villa Rey Transit, Inc., to be the lawful owner of the said
lines in question, thereby establishing a monopoly or predominance certificates of public convenience; and ordering the private
approximating thereto. The main purpose of the restraint was to defendants, jointly and severally, to pay to the plaintiff, the sum of
protect for a limited time the business of the buyer. P5,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees. The case against the PSC was
dismissed. approval, with a prayer for the issuance of a provisional authority in
favor of the vendee Corporation to operate the service therein
The rather ramified circumstances of the instant case can best be involved. 1 On May 19, 1959, the PSC granted the provisional permit
understood by a chronological narration of the essential facts, to prayed for, upon the condition that "it may be modified or revoked by
wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library the Commission at any time, shall be subject to whatever action that
may be taken on the basic application and shall be valid only during
Prior to 1959, Jose M. Villarama was an operator of a bus the pendency of said application." Before the PSC could take final
transportation, under the business name of Villa Rey Transit, pursuant action on said application for approval of sale, however, the Sheriff of
to certificates of public convenience granted him by the Public Service Manila, on July 7, 1959, levied on two of the five certificates of public
Commission (PSC, for short) in Cases Nos. 44213 and 104651, which convenience involved therein, namely those issued under PSC cases
authorized him to operate a total of thirty-two (32) units on various Nos. 59494 and 63780, pursuant to a writ of execution issued by the
routes or lines from Pangasinan to Manila, and vice-versa. On Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 13798, in favor
January 8, 1959, he sold the aforementioned two certificates of public of Eusebio Ferrer, plaintiff, judgment creditor, against Valentin
convenience to the Pangasinan Transportation Company, Inc. Fernando, defendant, judgment debtor. The Sheriff made and entered
(otherwise known as Pantranco), for P350,000.00 with the condition, the levy in the records of the PSC. On July 16, 1959, a public sale
among others, that the seller (Villarama) "shall not for a period of 10 was conducted by the Sheriff of the said two certificates of public
years from the date of this sale, apply for any TPU service identical or convenience. Ferrer was the highest bidder, and a certificate of sale
competing with the buyer."cralaw virtua1aw library was issued in his name.

Barely three months thereafter, or on March 6, 1959, a corporation Thereafter, Ferrer sold the two certificates of public convenience to
called Villa Rey Transit, Inc. (which shall be referred to hereafter as Pantranco, and jointly submitted for approval their corresponding
the Corporation) was organized with a capital stock of P500,000.00 contract of sale to the PSC. 2 Pantranco therein prayed that it be
divided into 5,000 shares of the par value of P100.00 each; authorized provisionally to operate the service involved in the said two
P200,000.00 was the subscribed stock; Natividad R. Villarama (wife of certificates.
Jose M. Villarama) was one of the incorporators, and she subscribed
for P1,000.00; the balance of P199,000.00 was subscribed by the The applications for approval of sale, filed before the PSC, by
brother and sister-in-law of Jose M. Villarama; of the subscribed Fernando and the Corporation, Case No. 124057, and that of Ferrer
capital stock, P105,000.00 was paid to the treasurer of the and Pantranco, Case No. 126278, were scheduled for a joint hearing.
corporation, who was Natividad R. Villarama. In the meantime, to wit, on July 22, 1959, the PSC issued an order
disposing that during the pendency of the cases and before a final
In less than a month after its registration with the Securities and resolution on the aforesaid applications, the Pantranco shall be the
Exchange Commission (March 10, 1959), the Corporation, on April 7, one to operate provisionally the service under the two certificates
1959, bought five certificates of public convenience, forty-nine buses, embraced in the contract between Ferrer and Pantranco. The
tools and equipment from one Valentin Fernando, for the sum of Corporation took issue with this particular ruling of the PSC and
P249,000.00, of which P100,000.00 was paid upon the signing of the elevated the matter to the Supreme Court, 3 which decreed, after
contract; P50,000.00 was payable upon the final approval of the sale deliberation, that until the issue on the ownership of the disputed
by the PSC; P49,500.00 one year after the final approval of the sale; certificates shall have been finally settled by the proper court, the
and the balance of P50,000.00 "shall be paid by the BUYER to the Corporation should be the one to operate the lines provisionally.
different suppliers of the SELLER."cralaw virtua1aw library
On November 4, 1959, the Corporation filed in the Court of First
The very same day that the aforementioned contract of sale was Instance of Manila, a complaint for the annulment of the sheriff’s sale
executed, the parties thereto immediately applied with the PSC for its of the aforesaid two certificates of public convenience (PSC Cases
Nos. 59494 and 63780) in favor of the defendant Ferrer, and the question by Valentin Fernando to the Corporation, is valid. He also
subsequent sale thereof by the latter to Pantranco, against Ferrer, assails the award of P5,000.00 as attorney’s fees in favor of the
Pantranco and the PSC. The plaintiff Corporation prayed therein that Corporation, and the failure to award moral damages to him as prayed
all the orders of the PSC relative to the parties’ dispute over the said for in his counterclaim.
certificates be annulled.
The Corporation, on the other hand, prays for a review of that portion
In separate answers, the defendants Ferrer and Pantranco averred of the decision awarding only P5,000.00 as attorney’s fees, and
that the plaintiff Corporation had no valid title to the certificates in insisting that it is entitled to an award of P100,000.00 by way of
question because the contract pursuant to which it acquired them exemplary damages.
from Fernando was subject to a suspensive condition — the approval
of the PSC — which has not yet been fulfilled, and, therefore, the After a careful study of the facts obtaining in the case, the vital issues
Sheriff’s levy and the consequent sale at public auction of the to be resolved are: (1) Does the stipulation between Villarama and
certificates referred to, as well as the sale of the same by Ferrer to Pantranco, as contained in the deed of sale, that the former "SHALL
Pantranco, were valid and regular, and vested unto Pantranco, a NOT FOR A PERIOD OF 10 YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THIS
superior right thereto. SALE, APPLY FOR ANY TPU SERVICE IDENTICAL OR
COMPETING WITH THE BUYER," apply to new lines only or does it
Pantranco, on its part, filed a third-party complaint against Jose M. include existing lines?; (2) Assuming that said stipulation covers all
Villarama, alleging that Villarama and the Corporation, are one and kinds of lines, is such stipulation valid and enforceable?; (3) In the
the same; that Villarama and/or the Corporation was disqualified from affirmative, that said stipulation is valid, did it bind the Corporation?
operating the two certificates in question by virtue of the
aforementioned agreement between said Villarama and Pantranco, For convenience, We propose to discuss the foregoing issues by
which stipulated that Villarama "shall not for a period of 10 years from starting with the last proposition.
the date of this sale, apply for any TPU service identical or competing
with the buyer."cralaw virtua1aw library The evidence has disclosed that Villarama, albeit was not an
incorporator or stockholder of the Corporation, alleging that he did not
Upon the joinder of the issues in both the complaint and third- party become such, because he did not have sufficient funds to invest, his
complaint, the case was tried, and thereafter decision was rendered in wife, however, was an incorporator with the least subscribed number
the terms as above stated. of shares, and was elected treasurer of the Corporation. The finances
of the Corporation which, under all concepts in the law, are supposed
As stated at the beginning, all the parties involved have appealed to be under the control and administration of the treasurer keeping
from the decision. They submitted a joint record on appeal. them as trust fund for the Corporation, were, nonetheless,
manipulated and disbursed as if they were the private funds of
Pantranco disputes the correctness of the decision insofar as it holds Villarama, in such a way and extent that Villarama appeared to be the
that Villa Rey Transit, Inc. (Corporation) is a distinct and separate actual owner-treasurer of the business without regard to the rights of
entity from Jose M. Villarama, that the restriction clause in the the stockholders. The following testimony of Villarama, 4 together with
contract of January 8, 1959 between Pantranco and Villarama is null the other evidence on record, attests to that
and void, that the Sheriff’s sale of July 16, 1959, is likewise null and effect:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
void; and the failure to award damages in its favor and against
Villarama. "Q. Doctor, I want to go back again to the incorporation of the Villa
Rey Transit, Inc. You heard the testimony presented here by the bank
Ferrer, for his part, challenges the decision insofar as it holds that the regarding the initial opening deposit of ONE HUNDRED FIVE
sheriff’s sale is null and void, and the sale of the two certificates in THOUSAND PESOS, of which amount Eighty-Five Thousand Pesos
was a check drawn by yourself personally. In the direct examination
you told the Court that the reason you drew a check for Eighty-Five
Thousand Pesos was because you and your wife, or your wife, had JUDGE: Reform the question.
spent the money of the stockholders given to her for incorporation.
Will you please tell the Honorable Court if you knew at the time your "Q. The subscription of your brother-in-law, Mr. Reyes, is Fifty Two
wife was spending the money to pay debts, you personally know she Thousand Pesos, did your wife give you Fifty-Two Thousand Pesos?
was spending the money of the incorporators?
"A. I have testified before that sometimes my wife gives me money
"A. You know my money and my wife’s money are one. We never talk and I do not know exactly for what."cralaw virtua1aw library
about those things.
The evidence further show that the initial cash capitalization of the
"Q. Doctor, your answer then is that since your money and your wife’s corporation of P105,000.00 was mostly financed by Villarama. Of the
money are one money and you did not know when your wife was P105,000.00 deposited in the First National City Bank of New York,
paying debts with the incorporator’s money? representing the initial paid-up capital of the Corporation, P85,000.00
was covered by Villarama’s personal check. The deposit slip for the
"A. Because sometimes she uses my money, and sometimes the said amount of P105,000.00 was admitted in evidence as Exh. 23,
money given to her she gives to me and I deposit the money. which shows on its face that P20,000.00 was paid in cash and
P85,000.00 thereof was covered by Check No. F-50271 of the First
"Q. Actually, aside from your wife, you were also the custodian of National City Bank of New York. The testimonies of Alfonso Sancho 5
some of the incorporators here, in the beginning? and Joaquin Amansec, 6 both employees of said bank, have proved
that the drawer of the check was Jose Villarama himself.
"A. Not necessarily, they give to my wife and when my wife hands to
me I did not know it belonged to the incorporators. Another witness, Celso Rivera, accountant of the Corporation,
testified that while in the books of the corporation there appears an
"Q. It supposes then your wife gives you some of the money received entry that the treasurer received P95,000.00 as second installment of
by her in her capacity as treasurer of the corporation? the paid-in subscriptions, and, subsequently, also P100,000.00 as the
first installment of the offer for second subscriptions worth
"A. Maybe. P200,000.00 from the original subscribers, yet Villarama directed him
(Rivera) to make vouchers liquidating the sum. 7 Thus, it was made to
"Q. What did you do with the money, deposit in a regular account? appear that the P95,000.00 was delivered to Villarama in payment for
equipment purchased from him, and the P100,000.00 was loaned as
"A. Deposit in my account. advances to the stockholders. The said accountant, however, testified
that he was not aware of any amount of money that had actually
"Q. Of all the money given to your wife, she did not receive any passed hands among the parties involved, 8 and actually the only
check? money of the corporation was the P105,000.00 covered by the deposit
slip Exh. 23, of which, as mentioned above, P85,000.00 was paid by
"A. I do not remember. Villarama’s personal check.

"Q. Is it usual for you, Doctor, to be given Fifty Thousand Pesos Further, the evidence show that when the Corporation was in its initial
without even asking what is this? months of operation, Villarama purchased and paid with his personal
checks Ford trucks for the Corporation. Exhibits 20 and 21 disclose
x x x that the said purchases were paid by Philippine Bank of Commerce
Checks Nos. 992618-B and 993621-B, respectively. These checks question must be deemed to have been lost, as even the Corporation
have been sufficiently established by Fausto Abad, Assistant admits such loss. Viewed upon this light, there can be no doubt as to
Accountant of Manila Trading & Supply Co., from which the trucks the admissibility in evidence of Exhibits 6 to 19 and 22.
were purchased 9 and Aristedes Solano, an employee of the
Philippine Bank of Commerce, 10 as having been drawn by Villarama. Taking account of the foregoing evidence, together with Celso
Rivera’s testimony, 16 it would appear that: Villarama supplied the
Exhibits 6 to 19 and Exh. 22, which are photostatic copies of ledger organization expenses and the assets of the Corporation, such as
entries and vouchers showing that Villarama had co-mingled his trucks and equipments; 17 there was no actual payment by the
personal funds and transactions with those made in the name of the original subscribers of the amounts of P95,000.00 and P100,000.00
Corporation, are very illuminating evidence. Villarama has assailed as appearing in the books; 18 Villarama made use of the money of the
the admissibility of these exhibits, contending that no evidentiary Corporation and deposited them to his private accounts; 19 and the
value whatsoever should be given to them since "they were merely Corporation paid his personal accounts. 20
photostatic copies of the originals, the best evidence being the
originals themselves." According to him, at the time Pantranco offered Villarama himself admitted that he mingled the corporate funds with
the said exhibits, it was the most likely possessor of the originals his own money. 21 He also admitted that gasoline purchases of the
thereof because they were stolen from the files of the Corporation and Corporation were made in his name 22 because "he had existing
only Pantranco was able to produce the alleged photostat copies account with Stanvac which was properly secured and he wanted the
thereof. Corporation to benefit from the rebates that he received." 23

Section 5 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides for the requisites The foregoing circumstances are strong persuasive evidence showing
for the admissibility of secondary evidence when the original is in the that Villarama has been too much involved in the affairs of the
custody of the adverse party, thus: (1) opponent’s possession of the Corporation to altogether negative the claim that he was only a part-
original; (2) reasonable notice to opponent to produce the original; (3) time general manager. They show beyond doubt that the Corporation
satisfactory proof of its existence; and (4) failure or refusal of is his alter ego.
opponent to produce the original in court. 11 Villarama has practically
admitted the second and fourth requisites. 12 As to the third, he It is significant that not a single one of the acts enumerated above as
admitted their previous existence in the files of the Corporation and proof of Villarama’s oneness with the Corporation has been denied by
also that he had seen some of them. 13 Regarding the first element, him. On the contrary, he has admitted them with offered excuses.
Villarama’s theory is that since even at the time of the issuance of the
subpoena duces tecum, the originals were already missing, therefore, Villarama has admitted, for instance, having paid P85,000.00 of the
the Corporation was no longer in possession of the same. However, it initial capital of the Corporation with the lame excuse that "his wife
is not necessary for a party seeking to introduce secondary evidence had requested him to reimburse the amount entrusted to her by the
to show that the original is in the actual possession of his adversary. It incorporators and which she had used to pay the obligations of Dr.
is enough that the circumstances are such as to indicate that the Villarama (her husband) incurred while he was still the owner of Villa
writing is in his possession or under his control. Neither is it required Rey Transit, a single proprietorship. "But with his admission that he
that the party entitled to the custody of the instrument should, on had received P350,000.00 from Pantranco for the sale of the two
being notified to produce it, admit having it in his possession. 14 certificates and one unit, 24 it becomes difficult to accept Villarama’s
Hence, secondary evidence is admissible where he denies having it in explanation that he and his wife, after consultation, 25 spent the
his possession. The party calling for such evidence may introduce a money of their relatives (the stockholders) when they were supposed
copy thereof as in the case of loss. For, among the exception to the to have their own money. Even if Pantranco paid the P50,000.00 in
best evidence rule is "when the original has been lost, destroyed, or check to him, as claimed, it could have been easy for Villarama to
cannot be produced in court. 15 The originals of the vouchers in have deposited said check in his account and issued his own check to
pay his obligations. And there is no evidence adduced that the said illegal act or as a vehicle for the evasion of an existing obligation, the
amount of P350,000.00 was all spent or was insufficient to settle his circumvention of statutes, the achievement or perfection of a
prior obligations in his business, and in the light of the stipulation in monopoly or generally the perpetration of knavery or crime, 30 the veil
the deed of sale between Villarama and Pantranco that P350,000.00 with which the law covers and isolates the corporation from the
of the selling price was earmarked for the payments of accounts due members or stockholders who compose it will be lifted to allow for its
to his creditors, the excuse appears unbelievable. consideration merely as an aggregation of individuals.

On his having paid for purchases by the Corporation of trucks from Upon the foregoing considerations, We are of the opinion, and so
the Manila Trading & Supply Co. with his personal checks, his reason hold, that the preponderance of evidence have shown that the Villa
was that he was only sharing with the Corporation his credit with Rey Transit, Inc. is an alter ego of Jose M. Villarama, and that the
some companies. And his main reason for mingling his funds with that restrictive clause in the contract entered into by the latter and
of the Corporation and for the latter’s paying his private bills is that it Pantranco is also enforceable and binding against the said
would be more convenient that he kept the money to be used in Corporation. For the rule is that a seller or promissor may not make
paying the registration fees on time, and since he had loaned money use of a corporate entity as a means of evading the obligation of his
to the Corporation, this would be set-off by the latter’s paying his bills. covenant. 31 Where the Corporation is substantially the alter ego of
Villarama admitted, however, that the corporate funds in his the covenantor to the restrictive agreement, it can be enjoined from
possession were not only for registration fees but for other important competing with the covenantee. 32
obligations which were not specified. 26
The Corporation contends that even on the supposition that Villa Rey
Indeed, while Villarama was not the Treasurer of the Corporation but Transit, Inc. and Villarama are one and the same, the restrictive
was, allegedly, only a part-time Manager, 27 he admitted not only clause in the contract between Villarama and Pantranco does not
having held the corporate money but that he advanced and lent funds include the purchase of existing lines but it only applies to application
for the Corporation, and yet there was no Board Resolution allowing it. for new lines. The clause in dispute reads thus:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
28
"(4) The SELLER shall not, for a period of ten (10) years from the date
Villarama’s explanation on the matter of his involvement with the of this sale apply for any TPU service identical or competing with the
corporate affairs of the Corporation only renders more credible BUYER." (Emphasis supplied)
Pantranco’s claim that his control over the corporation, especially in
the management and disposition of its funds, was so extensive and As We read the disputed clause, it is evident from the context thereof
intimate that it is impossible to segregate and identify which money that the intention of the parties was to eliminate the seller as a
belonged to whom. The interference of Villarama in the complex competitor of the buyer for ten years along the lines of operation
affairs of the corporation, and particularly its finances, are much too covered by the certificates of public convenience subject of their
inconsistent with the ends and purposes of the Corporation Law, transaction. The word "apply" as broadly used has for frame of
which, precisely, seeks to separate personal responsibilities from reference, a service by the seller on lines or routes that would
corporate undertakings. It is the very essence of incorporation that the compete with the buyer along the routes acquired by the latter. In this
acts and conduct of the corporation be carried out in its own corporate jurisdiction, prior authorization is needed before anyone can operate a
name because it has its own personality. TPU service, 33 whether the service consists in a new line or an old
one acquired from a previous operator. The clear intention of the
The doctrine that a corporation is a legal entity distinct and separate parties was to prevent the seller from conducting any competitive line
from the members and stockholders who compose it is recognized for 10 years since, anyway, he has bound himself not to apply for
and respected in all cases which are within reason and the law. 29 authorization to operate along such lines for the duration of such
When the fiction is urged as a means of perpetrating a fraud or an period. 34
business sold."cralaw virtua1aw library
If the prohibition is to be applied only to the acquisition of new
certificates of public convenience thru an application with the Public As to whether or not such a stipulation in restraint of trade is valid, our
Service Commission, this would, in effect, allow the seller just the jurisprudence on the matter 37 says:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
same to compete with the buyer as long as his authority to operate is
only acquired thru transfer or sale from a previous operator, thus "The law concerning contracts which tend to restrain business or trade
defeating the intention of the parties. For what would prevent the has gone through a long series of changes from time to time with the
seller, under the circumstances, from having a representative or changing condition of trade and commerce. With trifling exceptions,
dummy apply in the latter’s name and then later on transferring the said changes have been a continuous development of a general rule.
same by sale to the seller? Since stipulations in a contract is the law The early cases show plainly a disposition to avoid and annul all
between the contracting parties, contract which prohibited or restrained any one from using a lawful
trade `at any time or at any place,’ as being against the benefit of the
"Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the state. Later, however, the rule became well established that if the
performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and restraint was limited to `a certain time’ and within `a certain place,’
observe honesty and good faith." (Art. 19, New Civil Code.) such contracts were valid and not `against the benefit of the state.’
Later cases, and we think the rule is now well established, have held
We are not impressed of Villarama’s contention that the rewording of that a contract in restraint of trade is valid providing there is a
the two previous drafts of the contract of sale between Villarama and limitation upon either time or place. A contract, however, which
Pantranco is significant in that as it now appears, the parties intended restrains a man from entering into business or trade without either a
to effect the least restriction. We are persuaded, after an examination limitation as to time or place, will be held invalid.
of the supposed drafts, that the scope of the final stipulation, while not
as long and prolix as those in the drafts, is just as broad and "The public welfare of course must always be considered and if it be
comprehensive. At most, it can be said that the re- wording was done not involved and the restraint upon one party is not greater than
merely for brevity and simplicity. protection to the other requires, contracts like the one we are
discussing will be sustained. The general tendency, we believe, of
The evident intention behind the restriction was to eliminate the seller modern authority, is to make the test whether the restraint is
as a competitor, and this must be, considering such factors as the reasonably necessary for the protection of the contracting parties. If
good will 35 that the seller had already gained from the riding public the contract is reasonable necessary to protect the interest of the
and his adeptness and proficiency in the trade. On this matter, Corbin, parties, it will be upheld." (Emphasis supplied.)
an authority on Contracts, has this to say: 36
Analyzing the characteristics of the questioned stipulation, We find
"When one buys the business of another as a going concern, he that although it is in the nature of an agreement suppressing
usually wishes to keep it going; he wishes to get the location, the competition, it is, however, merely ancillary or incidental to the main
building, the stock, in trade, and the customers. He wishes to step into agreement which is that of sale. The suppression or restraint is only
the seller’s shoes and to enjoy the same business relations with other partial or limited: first, in scope, it refers only to application for TPU by
men. He is willing to pay much more if he can get the `good will’ of the the seller in competition with the lines sold to the buyer; second, in
business, meaning by this the good will of the customers, that they duration, it is only for ten (10) years; and third, with respect to situs or
may continue to tread the old footpath to his door and maintain with territory, the restraint is only along the lines covered by the certificates
him the business relations enjoyed by the seller. sold. In view of these limitations, coupled with the consideration of
P350,000.00 for just two certificates of public convenience, and
". . . In order to be well assured of this, he obtains and pays for the considering, furthermore, that the disputed stipulation is only
seller’s promise not to reopen business in competition with the incidental to a main agreement, the same is reasonable and it is not
harmful nor obnoxious to public service. 38 It does not appear that the territory between two operators, each company imposing upon itself
ultimate result of the clause or stipulation would be to leave solely to an obligation not to operate in any territory covered by the routes of
Pantranco the right to operate along the lines in question, thereby the other. Restraints of this type, among common carriers, have
establishing a monopoly or predominance approximating thereto. We always been covered by the general rule invalidating agreements in
believe the main purpose of the restraint was to protect for a limited restraint of trade. 42
time the business of the buyer.
Neither are the other cases relied upon by the plaintiff-appellee
Indeed, the evils of monopoly are farfetched here. There can be no applicable to the instant case. In Pampanga Bus Co. Inc. v. Enriquez,
danger of price controls or deterioration of the service because of the 43 the undertaking of the applicant therein not to apply for the lifting of
close supervision of the Public Service Commission. 39 This Court restrictions imposed on his certificates of public convenience was not
had stated long ago 40 that "when one devotes his property to a use an ancillary or incidental agreement. The restraint was the principal
in which the public has an interest, he virtually grants to the public an objective. On the other hand, in Red Line Transportation Co. Inc. v.
interest in that use and submits it to such public use under reasonable Gonzaga, 44 the restraint there in question not to ask for extension of
rules and regulations to be fixed by the Public Utility the line, or trips, or increase of equipment — was not an agreement
Commission."cralaw virtua1aw library between the parties but a condition imposed in the certificate of public
convenience itself.
Regarding that aspect of the clause that it is merely ancillary or
incidental to a lawful agreement, the underlying reason sustaining its Upon the foregoing considerations, Our conclusion is that the
validity is well explained in 36 Am. Jur. 537-539, to stipulation prohibiting Villarama for a period of 10 years to "apply" for
it:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph TPU service along the lines covered by the certificates of public
convenience sold by him to Pantranco is valid and reasonable. Having
". . . Numerous authorities hold that a covenant which is incidental to arrived at this conclusion, and considering that the preponderance of
the sale and transfer of a trade or business, and which purports to the evidence have shown that Villa Rey Transit, Inc. is itself the alter
bind the seller not to engage in the same business in competition with ego of Villarama, We hold, as prayed for in Pantranco’s third party
the purchaser, is lawful and enforceable. While such covenants are complaint, that the said Corporation should, until the expiration of the
designed to prevent competition on the part of the seller, it is ordinarily 1-year period abovementioned, be enjoined from operating the lines
neither their purpose nor effect to stifle competition generally in the subject of the prohibition.
locality, nor to prevent it at all in a way or to an extent injurious to the
public. The business in the hands of the purchaser is carried on just To avoid any misunderstanding, it is here to be emphasized that the
as it was in the hands of the seller; the former merely takes the place 10-year prohibition upon Villarama is not against his application for, or
of the latter; the commodities of the trade are as open to the public as purchase of, certificates of public convenience, but merely the
they were before; the same competition exists as existed before; there operation of TPU along the lines covered by the certificates sold by
is the same employment furnished to others after as before; the profits him to Pantranco. Consequently, the sale between Fernando and the
of the business go as they did before to swell the sum of public Corporation is valid, such that the rightful ownership of the disputed
wealth; the public has the same opportunities of purchasing, if it is a certificates still belongs to the plaintiff being the prior purchaser in
mercantile business; and production is not lessened if it is a good faith and for value thereof. In view of the ancient rule of caveat
manufacturing plant."cralaw virtua1aw library emptor prevailing in this jurisdiction, what was acquired by Ferrer in
the sheriff’s sale was only the right which Fernando, judgment debtor,
The reliance by the lower court on the case of Red Line had in the certificates of public convenience on the day of the sale.
Transportation Co. v. Bachrach, 41 and finding that the stipulation is 45
illegal and void seems misplaced. In the said Red Line case, the
agreement therein sought to be enforced was virtually a division of Accordingly, by the "Notice of Levy Upon Personalty" the
Commissioner of Public Service was notified that "by virtue of an public convenience in question, despite constructive and actual
Order of Execution issued by the Court of First Instance of knowledge on their part of a prior sale executed by Fernando in favor
Pangasinan, the rights, interests, or participation which the defendant, of the said corporation, which necessitated the latter to file the action
VALENTIN A. FERNANDO — in the above entitled case may have in to annul the sheriff’s sale to Ferrer and the subsequent transfer to
the following realty/personalty is attached or levied upon, to wit: The Pantranco, it is entitled to collect actual and compensatory damages,
rights, interests and participation on the Certificates of Public and attorney’s fees in the amount of P25,000.00. The evidence on
Convenience issued to Valentin A. Fernando, in Cases Nos. 59494, record, however, does not clearly show that said defendants acted in
etc. . . . Lines — Manila to Lingayen, Dagupan, etc. vice versa." Such bad faith in their acquisition of the certificates in question. They
nootice of levy only shows that Ferrer, the vendee at auction of said believed that because the bill of sale has yet to be approved by the
certificates, merely stepped into the shoes of the judgment debtor. Of Public Service Commission, the transaction was not a consummated
the same principle is the provision of Article 1544 of the Civil Code, sale, and, therefore, the title to or ownership of the certificates was
that "If the same thing should have been sold to different vendees, the still with the seller. The award by the lower court of attorney’s fees of
ownership shall be transferred to the person who may have first taken P5,000.00 in favor of Villa Rey Transit, Inc. is, therefore, without basis
possession thereof in good faith, if it should be movable property. and should be set aside.

"There is no merit in Pantranco and Ferrer’s theory that the sale of the Eusebio Ferrer’s charge that by reason of the filing of the action to
certificates of public convenience in question, between the annul the sheriff’s sale, he had suffered and should be awarded
Corporation and Fernando, was not consummated, it being only a moral, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees, cannot be
conditional sale subject to the suspensive condition of its approval by entertained, in view of the conclusion herein reached that the sale by
the Public Service Commission. "While section 20(g) of the Public Fernando to the Corporation was valid.
Service Act provides that "subject to established limitation and
exceptions and saving provisions to the contrary, it shall be unlawful Pantranco, on the other hand, justifies its claim for damages with the
for any public service or for the owner, lessee or operator thereof, allegation that when it purchased Villarama’s business for
without the approval and authorization of the Commission previously P350,000.00, it intended to build up the traffic along the lines covered
had . . . to sell, alienate, mortgage, encumber or lease its property, by the certificates but it was not afforded an opportunity to do so since
franchise, certificates, privileges, or rights or any part thereof, . . ., "the barely three months had elapsed when the contract was violated by
same section also provides:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph Villarama operating along the same lines in the name of Villa Rey
Transit, Inc. It is further claimed by Pantranco that the underhanded
". . . Provided, however, that nothing herein contained shall be manner in which Villarama violated the contract is pertinent in
construed to prevent the transaction from being negotiated or establishing punitive or moral damages. Its contention as to the
completed before its approval or to prevent the sale, alienation, or proper measure of damages is that it should be the purchase price of
lease by any public service of any of its property in the ordinary P350,000.00 that it paid to Villarama. While We are fully in accord
course of its business."cralaw virtua1aw library with Pantranco’s claim of entitlement to damages it suffered as a
result of Villarama’s breach of his contract with it, the record does not
It is clear, therefore, that the requisite approval of the PSC is not a sufficiently supply the necessary evidentiary materials upon which to
condition precedent for the validity and consummation of the sale. base the award and there is need for further proceedings in the lower
court to ascertain the proper amount.
Anent the question of damages allegedly suffered by the parties, each
of the appellants has its or his own version to allege. PREMISES CONSIDERED, the judgment appealed from is hereby
modified as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Villa Rey Transit, Inc. claims that by virtue of the "tortious acts" of
defendants (Pantranco and Ferrer) in acquiring the certificates of 1. The sale of the two certificates of public convenience in question by
Valentin Fernando to Villa Rey Transit, Inc. is declared preferred over he failed to register the portion of the lot in his name and title to the
that made by the Sheriff at public auction of the aforesaid certificate of property remained in Arrastias name.
public convenience in favor of Eusebio Ferrer;
On January 10, 1995, respondent commissioned geodetic
2. Reversed, insofar as it dismisses the third-party complaint filed by engineer Narciso Manansala to survey his property. Manansala
Pangasinan Transportation Co. against Jose M. Villarama, holding prepared a sketch/subdivision plan of respondents lot. His survey
that Villa Rey Transit, Inc. is an entity distinct and separate from the revealed that 6,471 sq. m. thereof was occupied by petitioner spouses.
personality of Jose M. Villarama, and insofar as it awards the sum of Respondent sent a demand letter to petitioner spouses to vacate
P5,000.00 as attorney’s fees in favor of Villa Rey Transit, Inc.; the encroached area. Petitioner spouses refused and insisted that it
was part of their land. Thus, respondent filed a complaint for unlawful
3. The case is remanded to the trial court for the reception of evidence detainer (Civil Case No. 1329) against petitioner spouses before the
in consonance with the above findings as regards the amount of Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Lubao, Pampanga. After trial, the MTC
damages suffered by Pantranco; and ruled in favor of respondent. However, on appeal, the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) dismissed the case. It ruled that MTC had no jurisdiction
4. On equitable considerations, without costs. So ordered. over the subject matter as it is a boundary dispute and the proper action
should have been an accion reinvindicatoria before the RTC.
BEST EVIDENCE RULE Consequently, respondent filed a case for accion
reinvindicatoria against petitioner spouses with the RTC of Guagua,
SPS. RONALD HUTCHISON and VALENTINE NAVALLE- Pampanga.[1] At the trial, respondent adduced in evidence the
HUTCHISON, petitioners, vs. ENRIQUE M. Quitclaim Deed to prove his title over the disputed area. He likewise
BUSCAS, respondent. testified on the survey conducted by Manansala. Another geodetic
engineer, Angelito H. Nicdao, testified that in the unlawful detainer case
DECISION earlier filed by the respondent, he was directed by the MTC judge
PUNO, J.: hearing the case to conduct a verification survey of the parties lots. In
compliance with the order, he surveyed the two (2) lots using the title
of petitioner spouses and the records of the Bureau of Lands.[2] His
The case at bar concerns a boundary dispute involving 6,471
survey revealed that petitioner spouses encroached on 6,471 sq. m. of
square meters of land in San Juan, Lubao, Pampanga. Petitioner
the adjacent land claimed by respondent. Respondent offered in
spouses RONALD and VALENTINE HUTCHISON seek the reversal of evidence the verification plan and report of Nicdao relative to his
the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66077, dated survey.
February 19, 2003, holding that respondent ENRIQUE M. BUSCAS is
entitled to the possession of the disputed area. On the part of petitioner spouses, petitioner Valentine Hutchison
testified that she purchased Lot No. 7216 in Lubao, Pampanga,
The records show that on October 1, 1987, petitioner spouses
covering an area of 76,207 sq. m., and title thereto was duly issued in
purchased from V.A. Development Enterprises, Inc. a 76,207-sq. m. her name and that of her spouse.
land (designated as Lot No. 7216) in San Juan, Lubao, Pampanga.
They occupied the land after a title was issued in their names. After trial, the RTC dismissed[3] the complaint for lack of merit. It
ruled that respondents Quitclaim Deed was not sufficient proof of
On August 22, 1989, one Juanita Arrastia, the owner of a lot ownership; that respondent failed to clearly identify the property
adjacent to that of petitioner spouses, sold a portion of her land to
claimed as it was only marked with an X sign, and; that petitioner
respondent. The transaction, covering 7,581 sq. m. (designated as Lot
spouses, as registered owners, are entitled to possession of the
No. 7047-A), was evidenced by a Quitclaim Deed in favor of disputed lot.
respondent. Respondent occupied 1,100 sq. m. of his land. However,
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial Petitioner spouses contend that there was a gross
court. [4] It ruled that respondent is entitled to possession of the disputed misapprehension of facts by the Court of Appeals and its legal
area as he was able to prove his claim of ownership and the identity of conclusions were contrary to law and jurisprudence. They assert that
the subject land. respondent failed to identify the portion of land he was claiming
and prove his ownership thereof. They allege that: (a) respondents
Hence, this appeal where petitioner spouses assign the following identification of his 7,581 sq. m. property with a mere X mark on the
errors: Annex A of the Quirclaim Deed is insufficient as the attached Annex A
I was not presented at the trial, and; (b) the surveys conducted by the
geodetic engineers cannot be used to identify respondents lot as they
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION THAT were based on the records of the Bureau of Lands and not on the
THE RESPONDENT SUFFICIENTLY IDENTIFIED THE PROPERTY document of title of respondent.
HE SEEKS TO RECOVER. We find for the petitioner spouses.

II In civil cases, the law requires that the party who alleges a fact and
substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue has the burden of
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS LEGAL CONCLUSION proving it.[5] This evidentiary rule is based on the principle that the suitor
OF LAW THAT THE TITLE OF THE RESPONDENT TO THE who relies upon the existence of a fact should be called upon to prove
SUBJECT PROPERTY IS THE QUITCLAIM DEED OVER A it.[6]
PORTION OF LAND. Article 434 of the New Civil Code[7] provides that to successfully
maintain an action to recover the ownership of a real property, the
III person who claims a better right to it must prove two (2) things:
first, the identity of the land claimed, and; second, his title thereto.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS LEGAL CONCLUSION In the case at bar, we find that respondent failed to establish these
THAT THE RESPONDENT STRENGTHENED HIS TITLE BY THE two (2) legal requirements.
SURVEY HE CAUSED TO BE PREPARED.
The first requisite: the identity of the land. In an accion
reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better right to the
IV
property must first fix the identity of the land he is claiming by
describing the location, area and boundaries thereof.[8] Anent the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION OF LAW second requisite, i.e., the claimants title over the disputed area, the rule
THAT THE RESPONDENT PROVED BY A PREPONDERANCE OF is that a party can claim a right of ownership only over the parcel
EVIDENCE THAT HIS PROPERTY WAS ENCROACHED UPON BY of land that was the object of the deed.[9] Respondent sought to
THE PETITIONERS. prove these legal requisites by anchoring his claim on the Quitclaim
Deed over a portion of land which was executed by Arrastia in his favor.
V However, a cursory reading of the Quitclaim Deed shows that the
subject land was described, thus:
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION OF LAW
THAT THE RESPONDENT IS DECLARED OWNER OF THE 6,471 x x x a portion of that property situated at San Juan, Lubao,
SQUARE-METERS DISPUTED LOT, AND THE PETITIONERS ARE Pampanga which portion subject of this sale consists of 7,581 square
THUS ORDERED TO VACATE THE SAME. meters more or less, as indicated particularly in the herein
attached plan marked as Annex A and made an integral part
hereof, and the subject property with an X sign.
Thus, the Quitclaim Deed specified only the extent of the area the existence of a fact should be called upon to prove that fact.[16] In
sold, i.e., 7,581 sq. m. of Arrastias land. Annex A of the Deed, where the case at bar, as respondent failed to prove his title to and
the entire lot of Arrastia was particularly described and where the identity of the contested land, there exists no legal ground upon
specific portion of the property sold to respondent was marked, which to turn over the possession of the disputed area to him.
was not presented by respondent at the trial. As the Deed itself
failed to mention the metes and bounds of the land subject of the sale, IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of
it cannot be successfully used by respondent to identify the area he the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66077, dated February 19,
2003, is hereby reversed and set aside. The Decision of the Regional
was claiming and prove his ownership thereof. Indeed, the presentation
of the Annex A is essential as what defines a piece of land is not the Trial Court of Guagua, Pampanga, dismissing the complaint for accion
size mentioned in the instrument but the boundaries thereof which reinvindicatoria in Civil Case No. G-3183, is reinstated. No
enclose the land and indicate its exact limits.[10] pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Neither can the surveys of the lots of petitioner spouses and
respondent prove the identity of the contested area and respondents
ownership thereof. The records show that when geodetic engineers G.R. No. 160065 February 28, 2006
Manansala and Nicdao surveyed the lands, they merely relied on the
self-serving statement of respondent that he owns the portion of the lot FELINO EBREO, SPOUSES ANTONIO and EVELYN P. BERAÑA,
adjacent to petitioner spouses. They were not shown the Deed of IGNACIO EBREO and ELEUTERIA CUETO,Petitioners,
Quitclaim and its Annex A or any other document of title which vs.
described the specific portion of the land allegedly conveyed to GIL EBREO, represented by His Attorney-in-Fact, FELIXBERTO
respondent.[11] Thus, the surveys cannot be given evidentiary weight to EBREO, FLAVIANO EBREO and HOMOBONO
prove the identity of the land sold to respondent and his ownership CUETO, Respondents.
thereof.
DECISION
Moreover, the rules on evidence provide that where the contents
of the document are the facts in issue, the best evidence is the CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
instrument itself.[12] In the case at bar, the identity of the land
claimed and respondents ownership thereof are the very facts in
Does an annotation in a tax declaration of an alleged Deed of Sale
issue. The best evidence to prove these facts is the Quitclaim
sufficiently prove conveyance of title to a property? This is the issue
Deed and its Annex A where respondent derives his title and
presented to Us in the present petition.
where the land from which he purchased a part was described with
particularity, indicating the metes and bounds thereof.
Respondents failure to adduce in evidence Annex A of the Quitclaim The factual antecedents of this case are narrated herein:
Deed or produce secondary evidence, after proof of its loss, destruction
or unavailability,[13] is fatal to his cause. A Complaint dated 04 January 1994, docketed as Civil Case No. 4132
for Partition, Reconveyance, Accounting and Damages, was filed by
Finally, it bears stress that in an action to recover real property, Gil Ebreo, represented by his Attorney-in-Fact Felixberto Ebreo,
the settled rule is that the plaintiff must rely on the strength of his Flaviano Ebreo and Homobono Cueto against petitioners Felino
title, not on the weakness of the defendants title.[14] This Ebreo, Spouses Antonio Ebreo and Evelyn P. Beraña-Ebreo, Ignacio
requirement is based on two (2) reasons: first, it is possible that neither Ebreo and Eleuteria Cueto before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
the plaintiff nor the defendant is the true owner of the property in Batangas City, Branch 7.
dispute,[15] and second, the burden of proof lies on the party who
substantially asserts the affirmative of an issue for he who relies upon
From plaintiffs’ account in their complaint, Felipe Ebreo died intestate Tax Declaration was transferred in the name of Santiago Puyo as
in 1926 leaving behind as heirs his five children, Gil, Flaviano, Felino, owner. However, the deed of sale evidencing this transaction was
Ignacio, and Felipa.1 Subsequently, Felipa died leaving behind her never presented.
heirs, Genoveva, Homobono and Eleuteria all surnamed Cueto.
Genoveva died in 1991 without any issue. Defendants-spouses As narrated by the defendants, Tax Declaration No. 39241,5 beginning
Antonio Ebreo and Evelyn Beraña are the son and daughter-in-law, in the year 1969 covering Lot 9046-F was under the names of the
respectively, of defendant Felino, one of the five children of Felipe heirs of Felipe Ebreo. Thereafter, upon the sale of the lot by the heirs
Ebreo. of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo, Tax Declaration No. 39241 was
cancelled and a new one, Tax Declaration No. 482216 dated 15
Felipe Ebreo left to his children an untitled parcel of land situated in January 1973, was issued in the name of Santiago Puyo. On this tax
Barangay Sampaga, Batangas City, more particularly described as declaration, the alleged sale of Lot 9046-F by the Heirs of Felipe
follows: Ebreo to Santiago Puyo was annotated. Soon, Tax Declaration No.
48221 was cancelled by Tax Declaration No. 40427 for the year 1974,
Isang palagay na lupang palayanin o linangin ipinamumuwis sa ilalim still in the name of Santiago Puyo. Upon the sale by Santiago Puyo of
ng Tax Declaration No. 39949 S-1953, na ang mga karatig sa Ilaya ay Lot 9046- F to Antonio Ebreo on 23 July 1976, Tax Declaration No.
Prudencia Coz, sa Silangan ay Pablo Cantro at Santiago Banaag, sa 4042 was cancelled and a new one, Tax Declaration No. 50669,8 for
ibaba ay Ilat (Creek) at sa Kanluran ay Marcos at Fortunato Banaag the year 1977, was issued in the name of Antonio Ebreo. This Tax
may luwang na 31,781 metros kuwadrados humigit kumulang at may Declaration was later on revised and cancelled by Tax Declaration
balor amiliorada na halagang ₱950.00, lalong kilala sa Lote 9046 ng No. 075-534 upon the marriage of defendant Antonio Ebreo to
sukat katastro dito sa Batangas.2 defendant Evelyn Beraña. From 1977 up to 1994, defendants-
spouses Antonio Ebreo and Evelyn Beraña religiously paid the taxes
Pursuant to the subdivision made by their father Felipe, Lot No. 9046 due on the land.9
was subdivided into six lots identified as Lots A, B, C, D, E and
F.3 lawph!l.net Defendants further alleged that the Deed of Absolute Sale of Lot No.
9046-F by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo was executed
On 11 September 1967, the five heirs of Felipe Ebreo, through and ratified sometime in 1968 before Attorney Doroteo M. Chavez of
themselves and their representatives, executed and signed a Batangas City. From 1968 to 1976, Mr. Santiago Puyo possessed
document entitled, "Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi ng Lupa"4 where they said lot peacefully, continuously, publicly and in the concept of owner.
extrajudicially partitioned the above-described property except the As stated earlier, on 23 July 1976, Lot No. 9046-F was sold by
portion known as Lot No. 9046-F. As agreed upon by these heirs, Lot Santiago Puyo by way of Absolute Sale, to defendant Antonio Ebreo.
No. 9046-F, with an area of 13,799 square meters, shall remain under The Deed of Absolute Sale or "Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa"10 was duly
the co-ownership of Gil, Flaviano, Felino, Ignacio and the heirs of executed and ratified before one Attorney Meynardo L. Atienza.
Felipa Ebreo. However, plaintiffs were surprised to discover that Lot
9046-F was declared for taxation purposes in the name of defendant After due proceedings, a decision11 dated 18 August 1997, was
Antonio Ebreo. Based on plaintiffs’ recitals, they alleged that they rendered by the RTC which disposed:
never sold, ceded, conveyed or transferred their rights, share and co-
ownership over Lot 9046- F. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered as
follows:
Answering the complaint, the defendants countered that after the
execution of the Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi ng Lupa, by and among (1) Ordering the parties-in-interest (heirs of Felipe Ebreo
the heirs of the late Felipe Ebreo, Lot 9046-F was sold by the heirs to and/or their representatives) to partition Lot No. 9046-F among
Santiago Puyo. By virtue of this sale, the corresponding Real Property themselves by proper instruments of conveyance under Sec.
2, Rule 69 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and in default son Antonio Ebreo self-serving, they are also uncorroborated by
thereof, the partition shall be conducted in accordance with independent witnesses. Defendant-appellants did not even look for a
Sec. 3, et. seq., of the same Rule. copy of the deed of sale on the notarial registry of Atty. Chavez, the
notary public who allegedly notarized the deed of sale. Neither did
(2) Ordering the dismissal of the Counterclaim of the they look for a copy in the archives of the Court where it should have
defendants. been submitted as required by the notarial law. In the words of the
trial court, "the decisive documentary evidence remains an elusive
(3) Ordering the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the phantom and conspicuously unproven." The controversial deed of
plaintiffs the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS sale not having been produced as required by the rules of evidence,
(₱20,000.00), Philippine Currency, for and as attorney’s fee. the trial court was correct in ruling that Santiago Puyo acquired no
rights whatsoever to Lot No. 9046-F.
(4) Ordering the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the
costs of suit.12 Since there was no valid transfer of the ownership of the subject lot
from the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo, the subsequent
Defendants- appellants appealed the decision of the RTC to the Court transfer thereof to Antonio Ebreo is ineffectual. It is essential that the
of Appeals. In a decision13 dated 27 February 2003, the Court of seller is the owner of the property he is selling (Noel vs. Court of
Appeals denied the appeal for lack of merit and affirmed in toto the Appeals, 240 SCRA 78). Moreover, the fact that the tax declarations
decision of the trial court. The Court of Appeals held: for said lot were issued in the name of Antonio Ebreo is of no moment
for they are not conclusive proof of ownership. It must be remembered
The main issue in this case is whether or not a valid transfer of Lot that a tax declaration may be issued to any claimant even if it is not
No. 9046-F was effected which conveyed ownership of the property to supported by any deed.
Santiago Puyo. The defendant-appellants rely on the Deed of Sale
supposedly executed by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo in favor of Santiago Neither can defendant-appellants’ open, adverse, notorious and
Puyo. However, defendant-appellants failed to produce the alleged continuous possession of the land for several years amount to
Deed of Sale in violation of the Best Evidence Rule. ownership for they are co-owners of the land as evidenced by the
"Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi Ng Lupa." A co-owner cannot acquire by
xxxx prescription the share of the other co-owners absent a clear
repudiation of co-ownership duly communicated to the other co-
owners. (Trinidad v. Court of Appeals, 289 SCRA 188).14
The best evidence rule, applied to documentary evidence, operates
as a rule of exclusion, that is, secondary (or substitutionary) evidence
cannot inceptively be introduced as the original writing itself must be The motion for reconsideration of the defendants-appellants was
produced in court, except in the four instances mentioned in Section denied in the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 22 September
3. (Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Volume II, Seventh 2003.15
Revised Edition, p. 555). Defendant-appellants miserably failed to
prove that their case is included among the exceptions to the Rule. Hence this petition for review on certiorari.

The testimony of Felino Ebreo regarding the execution of the Deed of The following issues are submitted for resolution in this petition:
Sale cannot be given credence. In fact, it was contradicted by his
supposed co-sellers and co-owners. His claim that it was borrowed by 1) Whether or not the annotation of the Deed of Sale
Eleuteria Cueto and never returned to him was also refuted by appearing in Tax Declaration No. 48221 is a sufficient proof of
Eleuteria Cueto. Not only are the testimonies of Felino Ebreo and his transfer in line with the doctrine of presumption of regularity of
performance of official duty.
2) Whether or not entries in official records are admissible in D.V. ₱2,500.00
evidence to establish the fact of valid transfer of Lot No. 9046-
F that effectively conveyed ownership of the property from the Doc. on file
heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo.16
Doc. No. 312
After a painstaking review of the records, we find the petition bereft of
merit. First, it is important to re-state the general rule that the findings Page No. 17
of the trial court which are factual in nature, especially when affirmed
by the Court of Appeals deserve to be respected and affirmed by this Book No. VI
court provided they are supported by substantial evidence on record,
as in the case at bench.17 Series of 196718
As recounted by defendants, now petitioners, Antonio and Evelyn The testimony of Pajilan went on as follows:
Ebreo, Lot 9046-F was sold by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo initially to
Santiago Puyo sometime in 1967 or 1968 as evidenced by a deed of
Q I am showing to you a tax declaration No. 32941 in the name of Gil
sale executed and ratified before Atty. Doroteo Chavez in Batangas
Flaviano, Felino, Ignacio, Genoveva, Eleuteria Cueto which is already
City. Santiago Puyo caused the transfer of the tax declaration in his
marked as Exhibit "10" for the defendants in this case and Exhibit "F"
name and caused the sale to be annotated therein. Only this
for the plaintiff, will you please examine the same and identify it?
annotation in the tax declaration was offered as proof of the sale.
Santiago Puyo took possession, cultivated the land, exercised
uninterrupted ownership and paid real estate taxes thereon for a A Witness is examining the document. I think this tax declaration is an
period of eight years. owner’s copy, Sir.

Petitioners went on further to state that the Deed of Sale from the Q But this tax declaration was issued by your office, the City Assessor
heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo could not be presented of Batangas?
because the copy on file with the Office of the City Assessor was lost
in the fire which occurred in 23 May 1979 that gutted the building A Yes, Sir.
housing their office. From then on, petitioners advance that they have
paid the real estate taxes on the land and were in open, continous Q Can you inform before this Honorable Court, if this tax declaration
and uninterrupted possession until the Complaint for Partition, was still existing in your office or a copy thereof?
Reconveyance and Damages was filed by the Respondents.
A This tax declaration could not be found because our office was
On the basis of the above narrations, petitioners insist that there was burned on May 29, 1979, it could not be found anymore, Sir.
a valid transfer of the lot from the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago
Puyo, and thereafter from Santiago Puyo to them. To buttress this Q You are also required by this Honorable Court to bring a copy of the
claim of sale by the heirs to Santiago Puyo, petitioners presented the tax declaration No. 48221, do you have copy of the same?
testimony of Antonio Pajilan of the City Assessors Office of Batangas
City who testified on the annotation in Tax Declaration No. 48221. The A I have copy of that tax declaration, Sir.
annotation reads:
Q Will you please produce the same?
Deed of sale
Witness is producing a copy of tax declaration No. 32941 in the name nor did he personally see the said deed of sale. For these reasons,
of Santiago Puyo. the testimony of Pajilan is inconclusive.

A Can you explain how this tax declaration was placed in the name of Petitioners next argue that Tax Declaration No. 48221 in the name of
Santiago Puyo? Santiago Puyo enjoys the presumption of regularity in its issuance. It
is a good time as any to re-state that this rule is a mere presumption,
Q Previously this tax declaration was owned by Gil, Flaviano, Felino, not absolute nor inflexible and applies only in the absence of proof to
Ignacio Ebreo and Genoveva, Eleuteria and Homobono Cueto under the contrary.21 Besides, the mere fact that the disputed property may
PD 32941 this tax declaration is under 48221 in the name of Santiago have been declared for taxation purposes in the name of the
Puyo and this was transferred by a virtue of Deed of Sale annotated in petitioners does not necessarily prove ownership. In the same
the tax declaration and in the Deed of Sale and purchase value was manner, neither does the payment of taxes conclusively prove
there: 2,500.00 document docketed No. 312, Page 17, Book No. 6, ownership of the land paid for.22 It is merely an indicium of a claim of
Series of 1967, Doroteo de Chavez, the Notary Public, Sir. ownership.23

Q Can you explain why this annotation was placed or written in this Petitioners also presented the testimony of Felino Ebreo, father of
tax declaration No. 48221? petitioner Antonio Ebreo, who testified that the heirs of Felipe Ebreo
sold Lot 9046 –F to Santiago Puyo.24 When queried on the
A This was placed under Tax Declaration No. 48221 because the whereabouts of the document of sale, Felino alleged that it was
office of the City Assessor transferred the tax declaration and borrowed by his niece Eleuteria Cueto who is the daughter of one of
annotated the instrument used in the transfer of the tax declaration, the heirs, Felipa Ebreo.25 According to Felino, Eleuteria refused to
Sir. return the document and even got angry when he tried to demand its
return.26 From Felino’s account,27 there are three copies of the
Q Do you have copy of that document which is the basis of the missing deed of sale. Lamentably, petitioners failed to present any
transfer? one of them.

A We could not be located (sic) because as I have said earlier our Finally, petitioners presented Asuncion Aguado, step-daughter of
office was burned on May 23, 1979, Sir. Santiago Puyo, who testified that her stepfather Santiago Puyo
bought the subject lot from the Ebreo heirs.28 Similar to Pajilan’s
Q So what does this phrase Deed of Sale, what do you mean by that? testimony, Aguado’s testimony cannot be given much weight in view
of the fact that save for her bare allegations that Lot 9046-F was
purchased by her stepfather Santiago Puyo, she was not likewise
A I placed that, that is the title of the instrument used in the transfer of
present when the deed was executed. In her testimony she merely
this tax declaration, Sir.19
stated that her stepfather paid taxes for his real estate properties but
could not state with specificity if the payment was made for Lot 9056-
It is worth noting that Antonio Pajilan, an employee of the City F.29
Assessor’s Office of Batangas City20 who testified regarding Tax
Declaration No. 48221 dated 15 January 1973 on which was
To summarize, the testimonies of Pajilan, Felino Ebreo and Asuncion
annotated the alleged sale between the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to
Aguado are at most secondary evidence; hence, they are
Santiago Puyo, was employed in the said office only in the year 1978.
inadmissible considering that the petitioners, as offerors of the Deed
Thus, he did not make nor did he witness the causing of the
of Sale, thereof failed to prove any of the exceptions provided in
annotation as he was not yet employed in the said office at that time.
Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court and to establish conditions
Likewise, he was neither present when the deed of sale was executed
for their admissibility.30 Even if they are admitted, they have no Indeed, before a party is allowed to adduce secondary evidence to
probative value.31 This rule provides: prove the contents of the original of the deed, the offeror is mandated
to prove the following:
SEC. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. – When
the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall "(a) the execution and existence of the original (b) the loss and
be admissible other than the original document itself except in the destruction of the original or its non-production in court; and (c)
following cases: unavailability of the original is not due to bad faith on the part of the
offeror."32
(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be
produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror; On this score, the factual findings of the trial court are worth
repeating. It held:
(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of
the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter The pivotal document of sale allegedly executed by the heirs of Felipe
fails to produce it after reasonable notice; Ebreo in favor of Santiago Puyo and chiefly relied upon by defendant
Antonio Ebreo as the derivative basis of his ownership is sadly
(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other missing and remains a phantom in the dark. The testimonies of Felino
documents which cannot be examined in court without great Ebreo, Asuncion Aguado and Antonio Ebreo to prove by way of
loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is recollection of witnesses that Lot 9046-F was sold to Santiago Puyo
only the general result of the whole; and sometime in 1967 for ₱2,500.00 by virtue of a deed notarized before
deceased Atty. Doroteo Chavez merits scant consideration. They
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a were the verbal say-so of interested parties and attributed acts to a
public officer or is recorded in a public office. party whose lips had been sealed by death. Quite evidently, their
testimony should be taken cum grano salis – with a grain of salt.
Under this rule, it is axiomatic that before a party is allowed to adduce
secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original of a deed or Both the testimonies of Asuncion Aguado and Antonio Ebreo lacked
document, the party has to prove with the requisite quantum of the legal underpinning needed to prove the deed of sale. Their
evidence, the loss or destruction or unavailability of all the copies of testimonies were not recollection of witnesses who saw the execution
the original of the said deed or document. As former Supreme Court and delivery of the document. According to Sec. 4, Rule 130, the
Chief Justice Manuel V. Moran declared: contents of the lost writing may be proved, inter alia, by the
recollection of witnesses. As matters stand, however, Aguado’s
"Where there are two or more originals, it must appear that all of them testimony relates not to the execution of the document but to what her
have been lost, destroyed or cannot be produced before secondary father (Santiago Puyo) did with the property after it was already
evidence can be given of any one. For example, a lease was acquired. (t.s.n. pp. 4-7, Direct, May 17, 1995) Similarly, Antonio
executed in duplicate, one being retained by the lessor and the other Ebreo’s testimony does not refer to the execution and delivery of the
by the lessee. Either copy was, therefore, an original, and could have deed of sale but of having allegedly seen said document when he
been introduced as evidence of the contract without the production of purchased the lot from Santiago Puyo. He testified that "when I
the other. One of these originals could not be found. The non- bought it from Santiago Puyo, he brought with him the Tax
production of the other was not accounted for it was held that "under Declaration in the name of Santiago Puyo as well as the deed of sale
these circumstances, the rule is that no secondary evidence of the between my father and his brothers and Santiago Puyo." (t.s.n. pp.
contents of either is admissible until it is shown that originals must be 13-14, Direct, Aug. 16, 1995). In fine, they were not witnesses to the
accounted for before secondary evidence can be given of any one." execution and delivery of the document of sale to qualify their
testimonies under the phrase "recollection of witnesses."
Neither does the testimony of Felino Ebreo evoke faith and the primary document. While the sale allegedly took place in 1967,
confidence. His salutary recollection of the missing document failed to said deed was annotated on Exh. "9" which however only "begins with
instill credulity. For one, it was uncorroborated by any of the parties to the year 1973." Moreover, while the alleged sale took place in 1967,
the alleged deed of sale. In fact, such sale was directly controverted yet Tax. Decl. No. 32941 (Exh. "10") that was issued on Feb. 7, 1968
by his supposed co-sellers and co-owners Gil and Flaviano. (t.s.n. pp. still carried the names of Gil, Flaviano, Felino and Ignacio, all EBREO
7-8, Direct, July 18, 1994; t.s.n. pp. 22-23, Cross, Sept. 29, 1994) and Genoveva, Eleuteria and Homobono, all CUETO and not the
Then too, it appears rather unusual for the heirs to retain Lot 9046-F name of Santiago Puyo. There even appears thereon the annotation
in co-ownership in their partition agreement of 1967 and sell the said that the 1968 tax was paid on Jan. 29, 1968 – with no mention of
Lot that very same year (1967) if not on the same occasion. Felino Santiago Puyo despite his having allegedly acquired the property the
Ebreo did not give the exact date of the supposed sale to Santiago year before (1967).
Puyo except to say that it was sold in 1967. The Court got the
impression, though, that it was on the same occasion as the partition Riveting further its attention to the typewritten entry on Exh. "9", the
agreement. (t.s.n. pp. 6-7, 14-16, Direct, Feb. 28, 1995) More Court finds it rather strange that such an entry appears on the Tax
important, his humanistic bias to favor his son Antonio Ebreo and his Declaration. Firstly, it is not a widely accepted practice to make such
natural interest to defend his actuations leading to the issuance of the annotation. Secondly, there is more than meets the eye in the
Tax Decl. 50669 (Exh. "2") which he signed caution us to accept his conspicuous presence of this annotation only on this particular Tax
testimony with great care. He does not have the cold neutrality of a Declaration (Exh. "9"). All other tax declarations in this case do not
disinterested party. He was covetous of gain. The Tax Decl. No. have similar entry to identify the documentary basis for the issuance
50669 that transferred in 1976 the property in the name of Antonio of the latest tax declaration. Thirdly, not even Tax Decl. Nos. 50669
Ebreo was signed by Felino Ebreo himself (Exh. "2"). This illustrated a and 075-534 (Exhs. "2" and "3") of Antonio Ebreo carry such
dialectical connection between him and his favored son Antonio annotation to indicate that he acquired the property by virtue of Doc.
Ebreo. Finally, Felino Ebreo’s claim that he could not produce it No. 70, Page No. 15, Book No. I, Series of 1976 of the Notarial
because it was borrowed by his niece Eleuteria Cueto and never Register of Atty. Meynardo L. Atienza. The pregnant suspicion lurks
returned to him was squarely refuted by said Eleuteria Cueto when that the alleged particulars of the document of sale from Santiago
she testified in rebuttal for the plaintiffs. (t.s.n. pp. 9, 12-13, Direct, Puyo to Antonio Ebreo were belatedly annotated.
Feb. 28, 1995) (See testimony of Eleuteria Cueto in rebuttal on July
17, 1997) As icing on the cake, Gil Ebreo categorically stated it was Felino
Ebreo who authored the transfer. He testified on cross-examination
While many things have been said about the crucial deed of sale, the that it was his eldest brother Felino Ebreo who was the caretaker of
decisive documentary evidence remains an elusive phantom and the lot and in-charge of the payment of taxes. It was his brother Felino
conspicuously unproven. The ownership of Santiago Puyo becomes who sold the subject lot known as Lot No. 9046-F in favor of his son
moreover doubtful because while the alleged sale was executed by Antonio Ebreo. (t.s.n. pp. 16-17, Cross, July 18, 1994) The evidence
the heirs of Felipe Ebreo in 1967 yet the earliest Tax Declaration in tended to show that indeed it was Felino Ebreo who had the
the name of Santiago Puyo was issued only in 1973 (Exh. "9") or 1974 opportunity to cause the transfer as it was he (Felino) who took
(Exh. "4") as far as the record of this case can reveal. The issuance of possession of the lot and acted as its overseer. (t.s.n. pp. 3-4, Direct,
a new tax declaration in the name of the sunrise owner (Puyo) which Nov. 17, 1994)
was late by six (6) or seven (7) years naturally cast a slur on the
veracity of the sale. The alleged document of sale executed between Santiago Puyo and
Antonio Ebreo denominated as "Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa" (Exh. "1"),
The typewritten entry on Tax Decl. No. 48221 (Exhs. "9" and "9-A") was ineffectual for the purpose of transferring ownership of disputed
detailing the particulars of the alleged deed of sale in favor of Lot No. 9046-F to said Antonio Ebreo because the alleged vendor
Santiago Puyo is patently suspicious and a very very poor ersatz for Santiago Puyo has not, as heretofore explained, acquired it from the
heirs of Felipe Ebreo as the transaction has no supporting document DECISION
of sale. It is self-evident that the seller cannot transfer more than what
he has or as oftenly stated hyperbolically, the river cannot rise above
its source. Moreover, Clerk of Court Jose C. Corales certified that the CRUZ, J.:
Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa (Doc. No. 70, Page No. 15, Book No. I,
Series of 1976) despite diligent efforts could not be found in the old
CFI vault located at the Capitol Building, Batangas City. (Exh. "E" – The private respondent Conrado Salonga filed a complaint for collection
Rebuttal) and damages against petitioner Lucio Cruz ** in the Regional Trial
Court of Lucena City alleging that in the course of their business
The fact that tax declarations for Lot [No.] 9046-F were issued in the transactions of buying and selling fish, the petitioner borrowed from him
name of defendant Antonio Ebreo (Exhs. "2" and "3") and that he paid an amount of P35,000.00, evidenced by a receipt dated May 4, 1982,
the taxes for the land (Exh. "8") provides no evidentiary value that he marked as Exhibit D, reading as follows:
was the owner thereof. The existence of the tax declarations and 5/4/82
payment of taxes did not transmogrify his possession into ownership.
Tax declarations are not sufficient evidence to prove possession in Received the amount of Thirty Five Thousand Cash from Rodrigo
the concept of owners. (Martinez, D., Summary of 1990 Supreme Quiambao and Conrado Salonga on the day of May 4, 1982.
Court Rulings, Part. II, p. 734) Tax receipts are not conclusive Sgd. Lucio Cruz
evidence of ownership.33
The plaintiff claimed that of this amount, only P20,000.00 had been
In sum, considering that the annotation of the disputed Deed of Sale paid, leaving a balance of P10,000.00; that in August 1982, he and the
in a tax declaration is not sufficient proof of the transfer of property defendant agreed that the latter would grant him an exclusive right to
and inasmuch as the subject of inquiry is the Deed of Sale, it was purchase the harvest of certain fishponds leased by Cruz in exchange
incumbent on the petitioners to adduce in evidence the original or a for certain loan accommodations; that pursuant thereto, Salonga
copy of the deed consistent with Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of delivered to Cruz various loans totaling P15,250.00, evidenced by four
Court. In the absence of the said document, the exhortations of receipts and an additional P4,000.00, the receipt of which had been
petitioners regarding the existence of said deed of sale must fail. lost; and that Cruz failed to comply with his part of the agreement by
refusing to deliver the alleged harvest of the fishpond and the amount
of his indebtedness.
Wherefore, premises considered, the instant petition is Denied for lack
of merit and the decision of the Court of Appeals dated 27 February Cruz denied having contracted any loan from Salonga. By way of
2003 affirming in toto the decision of the trial court dated 18 August special defense, he alleged that he was a lessee of several hectares of
1997 is likewise Affirmed. Costs against petitioners. a fishpond owned by Nemesio Yabut and that sometime in May 1982,
he entered into an agreement with Salonga whereby the latter would
SO ORDERED. purchase (pakyaw) fish in certain areas of the fishpond from May 1982
to August 15, 1982. They also agreed that immediately thereafter,
PAROL EVIDENCE RULE Salonga would sublease (bubuwisan) the same fishpond for a period of
one year. Cruz admitted having received on May 4, 1982, the amount
[G.R. No. 79962 : December 10, 1990.] of P35,000.00 and on several occasions from August 15, 1982, to
September 30, 1982, an aggregate amount of P15,250.00. He
192 SCRA 209
contended however, that these amounts were received by him not as
LUCIO R. CRUZ, Petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS AND loans but as consideration for their "pakyaw" agreement and payment
CONRADO Q. SALONGA, Respondents. for the sublease of the fishpond. He added that it was the private
respondent who owed him money since Salonga still had unpaid rentals
for the 10-month period that he actually occupied the fishpond. Cruz 7) That defendant Lucio Cruz in compliance with their verbal
also claimed that Salonga owed him an additional P4,000.00 arising sublease agreement had received from the plaintiff Conrado
from another purchase of fish from other areas of his leased fishpond. Salonga the following sums of money:
In a pre-trial conference held on August 24, 1984, petitioner and private a) P8,000.00 on August 15, 1982 as evidenced by
respondent entered into the following partial stipulation of facts. Annex "B" of the Complaint. (Exh. E);
COURT: b) The sum of P500.00 on September 4, 1982, as
evidenced by Annex "C" of the complaint (Exh. F);
Plaintiff and defendant, through their respective counsel, during the pre-
trial conference, agreed on the following stipulation of facts: c) The sum of P3,000.00 on September 19, 1982 as
evidenced by Annex "D" of the complaint (Exh. G);
1) That plaintiff Conrado Salonga entered into a contract of what
and
is commonly called as 'pakyawan' with defendant Lucio Cruz on
the fishes contained in a fishpond which defendant Lucio Cruz d) The sum of P3,750.00 on September 30, 1982 as
was taking care of as lessee from the owner Mr. Nemesio Annex "E" of the complaint (Exh. H).
Yabut, with a verbal contract for the sum of P28,000.00
At the trial, the private respondent claimed that aside from the amounts
sometime in May 1982.
of P35,000.00 (Exh. D), P8,000.00 (Exh. E), P500.00 (Exh. F),
2) That because of the necessity, defendant Lucio Cruz at that P3,000.00 (Exh. G) and P3,750.00 (Exh. H) mentioned in the partial
time needed money, he requested plaintiff Conrado Salonga to stipulation of facts, he also delivered to the petitioner P28,000.00, which
advance the money of not only P28,000.00 but P35,000.00 in constituted the consideration for their "pakyaw" agreement. This was
order that Lucio Cruz could meet his obligation with the owner evidenced by a receipt dated May 14, 1982 marked as Exhibit I and
of the fishpond in question, Mr. Nemesio Yabut; reading as follows:
3) That the amount of P35,000.00 as requested by defendant May 14, 1982
Lucio Cruz was in fact delivered by plaintiff Conrado Salonga
Tinatanggap ko ang halagang dalawampu't walong libong piso
duly received by the defendant Lucio Cruz, as evidenced by a
(P28,000.00) bilang halaga sa pakyaw nila sa akin sa sangla sa
receipt dated May 4, 1982, duly signed by defendant Lucio Cruz
kahong bilang #8 maliit at sa kaputol na sapa sa gawing may
4) That pursuant to said contract of "pakyaw," plaintiff Conrado bomba. Ito ay tatagal hanggang Agosto 1982.
Salonga was able to harvest the fishes contained in the fishpond
SGD. LUCIO CRUZ
administered by Lucio Cruz in August 1982.
Salonga also claimed that he had paid Cruz the amount of P4,000 but
5) Immediately thereafter the aforesaid harvest thereon, they
the receipt of which had been lost and denied being indebted to the
entered again on a verbal agreement whereby plaintiff Conrado
petitioner for P4,000 for the lease of other portions of the fishpond.
Salonga and defendant Lucio Cruz had agreed that defendant
Lucio Cruz will sublease and had in fact subleased the fishpond For his part, the petitioner testified that he entered into a "pakyaw" and
of Nemesio Yabut to the herein plaintiff for the amount of sublease agreement with the private respondent for a consideration of
P28,000.00 for a period of one year beginning August 15, 1982. P28,000 for each transaction. Out of the P35,000 he received from the
private respondent on May 4, 1982, P28,000 covered full payment of
6) That sometime on June 15, 1983, Mayor Nemesio Yabut,
their "pakyaw" agreement while the remaining P7,000 constituted the
who is the owner of the fishpond, took back the subject matter
advance payment for their sublease agreement. The petitioner denied
of this case from the defendant Lucio Cruz.
having received another amount of P28,000 from Salonga on May 14,
1982. He contended that the instrument dated May 14, 1982 (Exh. I)
was executed to evidence their "pakyaw" agreement and to fix its
duration. He was corroborated by Sonny Viray, who testified that it was The respondent court also found that the amounts of P35,000.00,
he who prepared the May 4, 1982, receipt of P35,000.00, P28,000 of P8,000.00, P500.00, P3,000.00, P3,750.00 and P4,000.00 were not
which was payment for the "pakyaw" and the excess of P7,000.00 as payments for the "pakyaw" and sublease agreement but for loans
advance for the sublease. extended by Salonga to Cruz. It also accepted Salonga's claim that the
amount of P28,000.00 was delivered to the petitioner on May 14, 1982,
The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioner and ordered the private
as payment on the "pakyaw" agreement apart from the P35,000.00
respondent to pay the former the sum of P3,054.00 plus P1,000.00 as
(Exh. D) that was paid on May 4, 1982. However, it agreed that the
litigation expenses and attorney's fees, and the costs. Judge Eriberto
amount of P6,000.00 received by the private respondent from the
U. Rosario, Jr. found that the transactions between the petitioner and
petitioner should be credited in favor of the latter.
the private respondent were indeed "pakyaw" and sublease
agreements, each having a consideration of P28,000.00, for a total of The petitioner is now before this Court, raising the following issues:
P56,000.00. Pursuant to these agreements, Salonga paid Cruz
1. The public respondent Court of Appeals gravely erred in (1)
P35,000.00 on May 4, 1982 (Exh. D); P8,000.00 on August 15, 1982
disregarding parol evidence to Exhibits "D" and "I" despite the
(Exh. E); P500.00 on September 4, 1982 (Exh. F); P3,000 on
fact that these documents fall under the exceptions provided for
September 19, 1982; P3,750 on September 30, 1982 (Exh. H) and
in Sec. 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court and thereby in (2)
P4,000.00 on an unspecified date. The trial court noted an earlier
making a sweeping conclusion that the transaction effected
admission of the private respondent that on an unspecified date he
between the private respondent and petitioner is one of contract
received the sum of P6,000.00 from the petitioner. This amount was
of loan and not a contract of lease.
credited to the petitioner and deducted from the total amount paid by
the private respondent. As the one-year contract of sublease was pre- 2. Assuming for the sake of argument that exhibits "D" and "I"
terminated two months short of the stipulated period, the rentals were evidence separate transactions, the latter document should be
correspondingly reduced. disregarded, the same not having been pleaded as a cause of
action.
On appeal, the decision of the trial court was reversed. The respondent
court instead ordered the petitioner to pay the private respondent the 3. Whether or not the Stipulation of Facts entered into by the
sum of P24,916.00 plus P1,500.00 as litigation expenses and attorney's parties herein relative to their executed transactions during the
fees, on the following justification: hearing of their case a quo, are binding upon them and as well
as, upon the public respondent?
Exhibit "I" is very clear in its non-reference to the transaction behind
Exhibit "D." What only gives the semblance that Exhibit "I" is an Our ruling follows:
explanation of the transaction behind Exhibit "D" are the oral Rule 130, Sec. 7, of the Revised Rules of Court provides: 1
testimonies given by the defendant and his two witnesses. On the other
hand, Exhibit "I" is very clear in its language. Thus, its tenor must not Sec. 7. Evidence of Written Agreements. — When the terms of an
be clouded by any parol evidence introduced by the defendant. And agreement have been reduced to writing, it is to be considered as
with the tenor of Exhibit "I" remaining unembellished, the conclusion containing all such terms, and therefore, there can be, between the
that Exhibit "D" is a mere tentative receipt becomes untenable. parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of the terms of the
agreement other than the contents of the writing, except in the following
The trial court erred when it relied on the self-serving testimonies of the cases:
defendant and his witness as against the receipts both parties
presented and adopted as their own exhibits. As said before, Exhibit "I" a) When a mistake or imperfection of the writing or its failure to express
is very clear in its tenor. And if it is really the intention of Exhibit "I" to the true intent and agreement of the parties, or the validity of the
explain the contents of Exhibit "D", such manifestation or intention is agreement is put in issue by the pleadings;
not found in the four corners of the former document. b) When there is an intrinsic ambiguity in the writing. The term
"agreement" includes wills.
The reason for the rule is the presumption that when the parties have A distinction should be made between a statement of fact expressed in
reduced their agreement to writing they have made such writing the the instrument and the terms of the contractual act. The former may be
only repository and memorial of the truth, and whatever is not found in varied by parol evidence but not the latter. 5 Section 7 of Rule 130
the writing must be understood to have been waived or abandoned. 2 clearly refers to the terms of an agreement and provides that "there can
be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence
The rule, however, is not applicable in the case at bar, Section 7, Rule
of the terms of the agreement other than the contents of the writing."
130 is predicated on the existence of a document embodying the terms
of an agreement, but Exhibit D does not contain such an agreement. It The statement in Exhibit I of the petitioner's receipt of the P28,000.00
is only a receipt attesting to the fact that on May 4, 1982, the petitioner is just a statement of fact. It is a mere acknowledgment of the distinct
received from the private respondent the amount of P35,000. It is not act of payment made by the private respondent. Its reference to the
and could have not been intended by the parties to be the sole amount of P28,000.00 as consideration of the "pakyaw" contract does
memorial of their agreement. As a matter of fact, Exhibit D does not not make it part of the terms of their agreement. Parol evidence may
even mention the transaction that gave rise to its issuance. At most, therefore be introduced to explain Exhibit I, particularly with respect to
Exhibit D can only be considered a casual memorandum of a the petitioner's receipt of the amount of P28,000.00 and of the date
transaction between the parties and an acknowledgment of the receipt when the said amount was received.
of money executed by the petitioner for the private respondent's
Even if it were assumed that Exhibits D and I are covered by the parol
satisfaction. A writing of this nature, as Wigmore observed is not
evidence rule, its application by the Court of Appeals was improper.
covered by the parol evidence rule.
The record shows that no objection was made by the private
A receipt — i.e. a written acknowledgment, handed by one party to the respondent when the petitioner introduced evidence to explain the
other, of the manual custody of money or other personality — will in circumstances behind the execution and issuance of the said
general fall without the line of the rule; i.e. it is not intended to be an instruments. The rule is that objections to evidence must be made as
exclusive memorial, and the facts may be shown irrespective of the soon as the grounds therefor become reasonably apparent. 6 In the
terms of the receipt. This is because usually a receipt is merely a written case of testimonial evidence, the objection must be made when the
admission of a transaction independently existing, and, like other objectionable question is asked or after the answer is given if the
admissions, is not conclusive. 3 objectionable features become apparent only by reason of such
answer. 7
The "pakyaw" was mentioned only in Exhibit I, which also declared the
petitioner's receipt of the amount of P28,000.00 as consideration for the For failure of the private respondent to object to the evidence
agreement. The petitioner and his witnesses testified to show when and introduced by the petitioner, he is deemed to have waived the benefit
under what circumstances the amount of P28,000.00 was received. of the parol evidence rule. Thus, in Abrenica v. Gonda, 8 this Court
Their testimonies do not in any way vary or contradict the terms of held:
Exhibit I. While Exhibit I is dated May 14, 1982, it does not make any
. . . it has been repeatedly laid down as a rule of evidence that a protest
categorical declaration that the amount of P28,000.00 stated therein
or objection against the admission of any evidence must be made at
was received by the petitioner on that same date. That date may not
the proper time, and that if not so made it will be understood to have
therefore be considered conclusive as to when the amount of
been waived. The proper time to make a protest or objection is when,
P28,000.00 was actually received.
from the question addressed to the witness, or from the answer thereto,
A deed is not conclusive evidence of everything it may contain. For or from the presentation of proof, the inadmissibility of evidence is, or
instance, it is not the only evidence of the date of its execution, nor its may be inferred.
omission of a consideration conclusive evidence that none passed, nor
It is also settled that the court cannot disregard evidence which would
is its acknowledgment of a particular consideration an objection to other
ordinarily be incompetent under the rules but has been rendered
proof of other and consistent considerations; and, by analogy, the
admissible by the failure of a party to object thereto. Thus:
acknowledgment in a deed is not conclusive of the fact. 4
. . . The acceptance of an incompetent witness to testify in a civil suit, 7) That defendant Lucio Cruz in compliance with their verbal sublease
as well as the allowance of improper questions that may be put to him agreement had received from the plaintiff Conrado Salonga the
while on the stand is a matter resting in the discretion of the litigant. He following sums of money: (Emphasis Supplied.)
may assert his right by timely objection or he may waive it, expressly or
(a) P8,000.00 on August 15, 1982, as evidenced by Annex "B" of the
by silence. In any case the option rests with him. Once admitted, the
complaint;
testimony is in the case for what it is worth and the judge has no power
to disregard it for the sole reason that it could have been excluded, if it (b) the sum of P500.00 on September 4, 1982, as evidenced by Annex
had been objected to, nor to strike it out on its own motion. (Emphasis "C" of the complaint;
supplied.) 9 (c) the sum of P3,000.00 on September 19, 1982, as evidenced by
We find that it was error for the Court of Appeals to disregard the parol Annex "D" of the complaint;
evidence introduced by the petitioner and to conclude that the amount (d) the sum of P3,750.00 on September 30, 1982, as Annex "E" of the
of P35,000.00 received on May 4, 1982 by the petitioner was in the complaint; 11
nature of a loan accommodation. The Court of Appeals should have
considered the partial stipulation of facts and the testimonies of the These admissions bind not only the parties but also the court, unless
witnesses which sought to explain the circumstances surrounding the modified upon request before the trial to prevent manifest injustice.
execution of Exhibits D and I and their relation to one another. We find, however, that the Court of Appeals did not act in excess of its
We are satisfied that the amount of P35,000.00 was received by the jurisdiction when it appreciated Exhibit I despite the fact that it was not
petitioner as full payment of their "pakyaw" agreement for P28,000.00 pleaded as a cause of action and was objected to by the petitioner.
and the remaining P7,000.00 as advance rentals for their sublease According to Rule 10 of the Rules of Court:
agreement. The claim that the excess of P7,000.00 was advance Sec. 5. Amendment to conform to or authorize presentation of
payment of the sublease agreement is bolstered by the testimony of the evidence. — When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by
private respondent himself when during the cross examination he express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all
testified that: respects, as if they had been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment
ATTY. CRUZ: of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause them to conform to the
evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any
Q And during the time you were leasing the fishpond, is it not a fact that party at any time, even after judgment; but failure to amend does not
you pay lease rental to the defendant? affect the result of the trial of these issues. If evidence is objected to at
SALONGA: the trial on the ground that it is not within the issues made by the
pleadings, the court may allow the pleadings to be amended and shall
A No sir, because I have already advanced him money.
do so freely when the presentation of the merits of the action will be
Q What advance money are you referring to? subserved thereby and the objecting party fails to satisfy the court that
the admission of such evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his
A Thirty-Five Thousand Pesos (P35,000.00), sir. 10
action or defense upon the merits. The court may grant a continuance
It was also error to treat the amounts received by the petitioner from to enable the objecting party to meet such evidence.
August 15, 1982, to September 30, 1982, from the private respondent
In Co Tiamco v. Diaz, 12 the Supreme Court held:
as loan accommodations when the partial stipulation of facts clearly
stated that these were payments for the sublease agreement. The . . . When evidence is offered on a matter not alleged in the pleadings,
pertinent portions read: the court may admit it even against the objection of the adverse party,
when the latter fails to satisfy the court that the admission of the
evidence would prejudice him in maintaining his defense upon the
merits, and the court may grant him continuance to enable him to meet ————
the situation created by the evidence . . .
Total amount to be paid by
While it is true that the private respondent did not even file a motion to
the private respondent to
amend his complaint in order that it could conform to the evidence
presented, this did not prevent the court from rendering a valid the petitioner P51,334.00
judgment on the issues proved. As we held in the Co Tiamco case: Total amount to be paid
. . . where the failure to order an amendment does not appear to have by the private respondent P51,334.00
caused a surprise or prejudice to the objecting party, it may be allowed
as a harmless error. Well-known is the rule that departures from Total amount paid by
procedure may be forgiven when they do not appear to have impaired the private respondent 48,250.00
the substantial rights of the parties.
————
The following computation indicates the accountability of the private
respondent to the petitioner: Deficiency in the amount
Exh. D, May 4, 1982 — P35,000.00 paid by the private respondent P3,084.00
Exh. E, Aug. 15, 1982 — 8,000.00 ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is
REVERSED and that of the Regional Trial Court of Laguna AFFIRMED,
Exh. F, Sept. 4, 1982 — 500.00 with the modification that the private respondent shall pay the petitioner
Exh. G, Sept. 19, 1982 — 3,000.00 the sum of P3,084.00 instead of P3,054.00, plus costs. It is so ordered.
Exh. H, Sept. 30, 1982 — 3,750.00
G.R. No. 105419 September 27, 1993
Lost receipt 4,000.00
———— PIONEER SAVINGS & LOAN BANK, petitioner,
vs.
P54,250.00 THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and MANUEL P.
Less: (amount received by the SANTOS, respondents.
private respondent from the Ynson and Associates for petitioner.
petitioner) (6,000.00)
Florante Calingo for private respondent.
————
Total amount paid by the
private respondent to
PADILLA, J.:
the petitioner 48,250.00
Amount to be paid by the private respondent to the petitioner: This petition for review seeks the reversal of the decision of the Court
of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 26670, promulgated on 30 April
1. Pakyaw P28,000.00
19921 which affirmed in toto the judgment of the Regional Trial Court,
2. Sublease — 28,000 per annum Branch 142, Makati, Metro Manila in Civil Case No. 10311, ordering,
among other things, delivery to therein defendant (herein private
Less: 2 months: 4,666 23,334.00
respondent) of the motor vehicle, subject of the complaint for delivery Sometime in August 1984, respondent Santos ceased to be employed
of personal property filed by petitioner against private respondent with petitioner bank. He took the car with him. On 12 April 1985,
Manuel F. Santos. petitioner filed a complaint against respondent Santos for recovery of
the motor vehicle, with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of replevin.
Respondent appellate court summarized the facts of the case as Upon posting of a replevin bond by petitioner, the Regional Trial Court
follows: of Makati, Branch 142, issued an order of seizure and the subject car
was thus delivered to petitioner.
PLAINTIFF Pioneer Savings and Loan Bank acquired
ownership over a motor vehicle by virtue of a Deed of After trial, the lower court rendered judgment in favor of respondent
Sale (Exhibit 'B'), executed by and between Finasia Santos, the dispositive part of which reads as follows:
Investment and Finance Corporation and the plaintiff
bank. Said motor vehicle is specifically described as Premises considered, the Court hereby renders
follows: make: Toyota Corolla; type: 4-door Sedan; judgment in favor of the defendant, ordering the
Motor No.: 4K-1489878; Serial plaintiff:
No. KE70-9101485; Plate No. PBZ-784; Model 1982;
and color: Mint Green. 1. to deliver to the defendant the subject motor vehicle
complete with its battery and the four tire replacement.
SUBSEQUENTLY, defendant Manuel Santos, in his
capacity as manager of plaintiff bank's General 2. to pay the defendant P10,000.00 as moral damages
Services Department, was given the privilege to use and P10,000.00 as exemplary damages;
and possess the aforementioned vehicle coterminous
with his employment. In a regular board meeting of 3. to pay the defendant the sum of P10,000.00 as and
plaintiff Pioneer Savings and Loan Bank held on June for attorney's fees;
28, 1984 at its principal office, the Board unanimously
passed Resolution No. 26, Series of 1984, authorizing 4. to pay the defendant P2,000.00 as litigation
any two among the President, Arturo G. Eudela, and expenses.
the two First Vice Presidents namely: Francisco
Pangilinan and Antonio M. Siojo, to jointly sign any Should the motor vehicle no longer be available, or in
deed or contract involving the sale, transfer or defendant's estimation already in a determinated or
conveyance of bank's assets or properties, pursuant to dilapidated condition, the defendent has the option to
the recommendation of the Executive Committee refuse to accept the motor vehicle, in which case the
(Exhibit 'C'). Pursuant to said authority, the plaintiff plaintiff shall pay to the defendant the sum of
bank, through its President, Arturo Eudela and First P40,000.00 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum
Vice President, Atty. Francisco S. Pangilinan, for a from June 14, 1985 until fully paid.
consideration of P40,000.00 in cash actually received
from defendant Manuel Santos in the presence of Noel
Cost against the plaintiff. 3
Pineda, a bank employee, sold, transferred and
conveyed unto the defendant the afore-described
motor vehicle, free from all liens and encumbrances. As aforestated, this decision was affirmed in toto by
Said document of sale is duly notarized. 2 respondent Court of Appeals. Hence, this petition for review
on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules Court.
In this petition, the main contention of the petitioner is that there was (Phil.) Inc. vs. Murphy Tire Corporation, et al. [C.A.] 49
actually no consideration in the sale of the motor vehicle to O.G. 189.)
respondent Santos. The petitioner alleges that the deed of sale
merely served as security for the time deposit placements of private While parol evidence is admissible in a variety of ways
respondent's relatives with the petitioner bank which was then to explain the meaning of written contracts, it cannot
undergoing financial difficulties and was under consideration for serve the purpose of incorporating into the contract
closure by the Central Bank of the Philippines. Petitioner avers that additional contemporaneous conditions which are not
the "underlying agreement," a special arrangement between petitioner mentioned at all in the writing, unless there has been
and respondent Santos was that in the event private respondent's fraud or mistake. (Yu Tek and Co. v. Gonzales, 29 Phil.
relatives failed to recover their time deposits due to the bank's 384.)
closure, then private respondent could keep the car as recompense.
We find merit in the private respondent's contention that petitioner
According to petitioner, the relatives of private respondent were able failed to produce any instrument or written document which would
to recover their time deposit placements, through the Philippine prove that the deed of sale in question was only a security for the time
Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) after petitioner bank was placed deposit placements of respondent's relatives in the petitioner bank.
under receivership by the Central Bank of the Philippines so that there The two (2) main witnesses for the petitioner, namely, Messrs. Eudela
was no further reason for respondent Santos to keep the vehicle in and Pangilinan, were not mere employees of the bank. They were
question. Furthermore, petitioner assails the validity of the deed of bank officers; one being a lawyer (Pangilinan), and supposed to be
sale for not having been duly notarized because the signatories steeped in legal and banking knowledge and practices. As such, they
thereto (the two [2] officers of the bank) never appeared before the were expected to know the consequences of their act of signing a
notary public who notarized the document. document which outrightly transferred ownership over the subject
vehicle in favor of respondent Santos. They could have incorporated
It is further contended by petitioner that respondent Court of Appeals in the deed of sale (if such was the intention or agreement of the
and the trial court should not have discarded the testimonies of tho parties) a stipulation that transfer of ownership and registration of the
two (2) officers of petitioner bank, namely, Messrs. Eudela and vehicle in Santos' name were conditioned on the failure of his relatives
Pangilinan, who clearly denied having received payment of to recover their time deposit placements in petitioner bank. No such
P40,000.00 from respondent Santos, and which testimonies were stipulation was incorporated in the deed of sale which was an outright
supported by the bank's records that did not reflect any entry at all of and unconditional transfer of ownership of the motor vehicle to
the said amount of P40,000.00. respondent Santos.

The petition is devoid of merit. Lastly, we see neither reason nor basis for resolving whether or not
the deed of sale was duly notarized as this question is being raised in
The core issue in this appeal is whether or not the deed of sale of the this appeal for the first time. It is settled doctrine that questions not
vehicle to respondent Santos may be proved or altered by parol raised in the lower court cannot be raised for the first time on appeal.5
evidence under the Parol Evidence Rule.
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with
4
In De la Rama vs. Ledesma, this Court held: costs against petitioner.

It is a well accepted principle of law that evidence of a SO ORDERED.


prior or contemporaneous verbal agreement is
generally not admissible to vary, contradict or defeat
the operation of a valid instrument. (American Factors
BALDOMERO INCIONG, JR., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS under the provisions of the second paragraph does not become a
and PHILIPPINE BANK OF solidary co-debtor to all intents and purposes. There is a difference
COMMUNICATIONS, respondents. between a solidary co-debtor, and a fiador in solidum (surety). The
latter, outside of the liability he assumes to pay the debt before the
SYLLABUS
property of the principal debtor has been exhausted, retains all the
1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PAROL EVIDENCE RULE; DOES other rights, actions and benefits which pertain to him by reason of
NOT SPECIFY THAT THE WRITTEN AGREEMENT BE A the fiansa; while a solidary co-debtor has no other rights than those
PUBLIC INSTRUMENT.- Clearly, the rule does not specify that the bestowed upon him in Section 4, Chapter 3, Title 1, Book IV of the
written agreement be a public document.What is required is that Civil Code." [Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. V, 1992
the agreement be in writing as the rule is in fact founded on "long ed., p. 502]
experience that written evidence is so much more certain and APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL
accurate than that which rests in fleeting memory only, that it would
be unsafe, when parties have expressed the terms of their contract Emilio G. Abrogena for petitioner.
in writing, to admit weaker evidence to control and vary the Teogenes X. Velez for private respondent.
stronger and to show that the parties intended a different contract
from that expressed in the writing signed by them" [FRANCISCO, DECISION
THE RULES OF COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, Vol. VII, Part I,
1990 ed., p. 179] Thus, for the parol evidence rule to apply, a ROMERO, J.:
written contract need not be in any particular form, or be signed by
both parties. As a general rule, bills, notes and other instruments This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court
of a similar nature are not subject to be varied or contradicted by of Appeals affirming that of the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental,
parol or extrinsic evidence. Branch 18,[1] which disposed of Civil Case No. 10507 for collection of a
sum of money and damages, as follows:
2. CIVIL LAW; OBLIGATIONS; SOLIDARY OR JOINT AND
SEVERAL OBLIGATION, DEFINED.- A solidary or joint and "WHEREFORE, defendant BALDOMERO L. INCIONG, JR. is
several obligation is one in which each debtor is liable for the entire adjudged solidarily liable and ordered to pay to the plaintiff Philippine
obligation, and each creditor is entitled to demand the whole Bank of Communications, Cagayan de Oro City, the amount of FIFTY
obligation. [TOLENTINO, CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES, THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00),with interest thereon from May 5,
Vol. IV, 1991 ed., p. 217] Section 4, Chapter 3, Title 1, Book IV of 1983 at 16% per annum until fully paid; and 6% per annum on the
the Civil Code states the law on joint and several total amount due, as liquidated damages or penalty from May 5, 1983
obligations. Under Art. 1207 thereof, when there are two or more until fully paid; plus 10% of the total amount due for expenses of
debtors in one and the same obligation, the presumption is that the litigation and attorney's fees; and to pay the costs.
obligation is joint so that each of the debtors is liable only for the
proportionate part of the debt. There is a solidary liability only when
The counterclaim, as well as the cross claim, are dismissed for lack of
the obligation expressly so states, when the law so provides or
merit.
when the nature of the obligation so requires. [Sesbreo v. Court of
Appeals, G.R. No. 89252, May 24, 1993, 222 SCRA 466, 481.]
SO ORDERED."
3. ID.; GUARANTY; GUARANTOR AS DISTINGUISHED FROM
SOLIDARY DEBTOR.- While a guarantor may bind himself Petitioner's liability resulted from the promissory note in the amount
solidarily with the principal debtor, the liability of a guarantor is of P50,000.00 which he signed with Rene C. Naybe and Gregorio D.
different from that of a solidary debtor. Thus, Tolentino explains: "A Pantanosas on February 3, 1983, holding themselves jointly and
guarantor who binds himself in solidum with the principal debtor severally liable to private respondent Philippine Bank of
Communications, Cagayan de Oro City branch. The promissory note latter's uncorroborated testimony on his limited liability cannot prevail
was due on May 5, 1983. over the presumed regularity and fairness of the transaction, under Sec.
5 (q) of Rule 131. The lower court added that it was "rather odd" for
Said due date expired without the promissors having paid their petitioner to have indicated in a copy and not in the original, of the
obligation. Consequently, on November 14, 1983 and on June 8, 1984, promissory note, his supposed obligation in the amount of P5,000.00
private respondent sent petitioner telegrams demanding payment only. Finally, the lower court held that even granting that said limited
thereof.[2] On December 11, 1984 private respondent also sent by amount had actually been agreed upon, the same would have been
registered mail a final letter of demand to Rene C. Naybe. Since both
merely collateral between him and Naybe and, therefore, not binding
obligors did not respond to the demands made, private respondent filed upon the private respondent as creditor-bank.
on January 24, 1986 a complaint for collection of the sum of P50,000.00
against the three obligors. The lower court also noted that petitioner was a holder of a
Bachelor of Laws degree and a labor consultant who was supposed to
On November 25, 1986, the complaint was dismissed for failure of take due care of his concerns, and that, on the witness stand, Pio Tio
the plaintiff to prosecute the case. However, on January 9, 1987, the denied having participated in the alleged business venture although he
lower court reconsidered the dismissal order and required the sheriff to knew for a fact that the falcata logs operation was encouraged by the
serve the summonses. On January 27, 1987, the lower court dismissed
bank for its export potential.
the case against defendant Pantanosas as prayed for by the private
respondent herein. Meanwhile, only the summons addressed to Petitioner appealed the said decision to the Court of Appeals
petitioner was served as the sheriff learned that defendant Naybe had which, in its decision of August 31, 1990, affirmed that of the lower
gone to Saudi Arabia. court. His motion for reconsideration of the said decision having been
denied, he filed the instant petition for review on certiorari.
In his answer, petitioner alleged that sometime in January 1983,
he was approached by his friend, Rudy Campos, who told him that he On February 6,1991, the Court denied the petition for failure of
was a partner of Pio Tio, the branch manager of private respondent in petitioner to comply with the Rules of Court and paragraph 2 of Circular
Cagayan de Oro City, in the falcata logs operation business. Campos No. 1-88, and to sufficiently show that respondent court had committed
also intimated to him that Rene C. Naybe was interested in the business any reversible error in its questioned decision.[4] His motion for the
and would contribute a chainsaw to the venture. He added that, reconsideration of the denial of his petition was likewise denied with
although Naybe had no money to buy the equipment Pio Tio had finality in the Resolution of April 24, 1991.[5] Thereafter, petitioner filed
assured Naybe of the approval of a loan he would make with private a motion for leave to file a second motion for reconsideration which, in
respondent. Campos then persuaded petitioner to act as a "co-maker" the Resolution of May 27, 1991, the Court denied. In the same
in the said loan. Petitioner allegedly acceded but with the Resolution, the Court ordered the entry of judgment in this case.[6]
understanding that he would only be a co-maker for the loan of
Unfazed, petitioner filed a motion for leave to file a motion for
P5,000.00.
clarification. In the latter motion, he asserted that he had attached
Petitioner alleged further that five (5) copies of a blank promissory Registry Receipt No. 3268 to page 14 of the petition in compliance with
note were brought to him by Campos at his office. He affixed his Circular No. 1-88. Thus, on August 7,1991, the Court granted his prayer
signature thereto but in one copy, he indicated that he bound himself that his petition be given due course and reinstated the same.[7]
only for the amount of P5,000.00.Thus, it was by trickery, fraud and
Nonetheless, we find the petition unmeritorious.
misrepresentation that he was made liable for the amount of
P50,000.00. Annexed to the petition is a copy of an affidavit executed on May
In the aforementioned decision of the lower court, it noted that the 3, 1988, or after the rendition of the decision of the lower court, by
typewritten figure "P50,000-" clearly appears directly below the Gregorio Pantanosas, Jr., an MTCC judge and petitioner's co-maker in
admitted signature of the petitioner in the promissory note.[3] Hence, the the promissory note. It supports petitioner's allegation that they were
induced to sign the promissory note on the belief that it was only for
P5,000.00, adding that it was Campos who caused the amount of the What is required is that agreement be in writing as the rule is in fact
loan to be increased to P50,000.00. founded on "long experience that written evidence is so much more
certain and accurate than that which rests in fleeting memory only, that
The affidavit is clearly intended to buttress petitioner's contention it would be unsafe, when parties have expressed the terms of their
in the instant petition that the Court of Appeals should have declared contract in writing, to admit weaker evidence to control and vary the
the promissory note null and void on the following grounds: (a) the stronger and to show that the parties intended a different contract from
promissory note was signed in the office of Judge Pantanosas, outside that expressed in the writing signed by them."[11] Thus, for the parol
the premises of the bank; (b) the loan was incurred for the purpose of
evidence rule to apply, a written contract need not be in any particular
buying a second-hand chainsaw which cost only P5,000.00; (c) even a form, or be signed by both parties.[12] As a general rule, bills, notes and
new chainsaw would cost only P27,500.00; (d) the loan was not other instruments of a similar nature are not subject to be varied or
approved by the board or credit committee which was the practice, at it contradicted by parol or extrinsic evidence.[13]
exceeded P5,000.00; (e) the loan had no collateral; (f) petitioner and
Judge Pantanosas were not present at the time the loan was released By alleging fraud in his answer,[14] petitioner was actually in the
in contravention of the bank practice, and (g) notices of default are sent right direction towards proving that he and his co-makers agreed to a
simultaneously and separately but no notice was validly sent to loan of P5,000.00 only considering that, where a parol
him.[8] Finally, petitioner contends that in signing the promissory note, contemporaneous agreement was the inducing and moving cause of
his consent was vitiated by fraud as, contrary to their agreement that the written contract, it may be shown by parol evidence.[15] However,
the loan was only for the amount of P5,000. 00, the promissory note fraud must be established by clear and convincing evidence, mere
stated the amount of P50,000.00. preponderance of evidence, not even being adequate.[16] Petitioner's
attempt to prove fraud must, therefore, fail as it was evidenced only by
The above-stated points are clearly factual. Petitioner is to be his own uncorroborated and, expectedly, self-serving testimony.
reminded of the basic rule that this Court is not a trier of facts. Having
lost the chance to fully ventilate his factual claims below, petitioner may Petitioner also argues that the dismissal of the complaint against
no longer be accorded the same opportunity in the absence of grave Naybe, the principal debtor, and against Pantanosas, his co-maker,
abuse of discretion on the part of the court below. Had he presented constituted a release of his obligation, especially because the dismissal
Judge Pantanosas' affidavit before the lower court, it would have of the case against Pantanosas was upon the motion of private
strengthened his claim that the promissory note did not reflect the respondent itself. He cites as basis for his argument, Article 2080 of the
correct amount of the loan. Civil Code which provides that:
Nor is there merit in petitioner's assertion that since the promissory
"The guarantors, even though they be solidary, are released from their
note "is not a public deed with the formalities prescribed by law but x x
obligation whenever by some act of the creditor, they cannot be
x a mere commercial paper which does not bear the signature of x x x
subrogated to the rights, mortgages, and preferences of the latter."
attesting witnesses," parol evidence may "overcome" the contents of
the promissory note.[9] The first paragraph of the parol evidence
rule[10] states: It is to be noted, however, that petitioner signed the promissory
note as a solidary co-maker and not as a guarantor. This is patent even
from the first sentence of the promissory note which states as follows:
"When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is
considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can be,
between the parties and their successors-in-interest, no evidence of "Ninety one (91) days after date, for value received, I/we, JOINTLY
such terms other than the contents of the written agreement." and SEVERALLY promise to pay to the PHILIPPINE BANK OF
COMMUNICATIONS at its office in the City of Cagayan de Oro,
Philippines the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND ONLY (P50,000. 00)
Clearly, the rule does not specify that the written agreement be a
Pesos, Philippine Currency, together with interest x x x at the rate of
public document.
SIXTEEN (16) per cent per annum until fully paid."
A solidary or joint and several obligation is one in which each of the case against Judge Pontanosas may not be deemed as having
debtor is liable for the entire obligation, and each creditor is entitled to discharged petitioner from liability as well. As regards Naybe, suffice it
demand the whole obligation.[17] On the other hand, Article 2047 of the to say that the court never acquired jurisdiction over him. Petitioner,
Civil Code states: therefore, may only have recourse against his co-makers, as provided
by law.
"By guaranty a person, called the guarantor, binds himself to the
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is
creditor to fulfill the obligation of the principal debtor in case the latter
hereby DENIED and the questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is
should fail to do so.
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
If a person binds himself solidarily with the principal debtor, the SO ORDERED.
provisions of Section 4, Chapter 3, Title I of this Book shall be
observed, In such a case the contract is called a suretyship." (Italics
supplied.)

While a guarantor may bind himself solidarily with the principal debtor,
the liability of a guarantor is different from that of a solidary
debtor. Thus, Tolentino explains:

"A guarantor who binds himself in solidum with the principal debtor
under the provisions of the second paragraph does not become a
solidary co-debtor to all intents and purposes. There is a difference
between a solidary co-debtor, and a fiador in solidum (surety).The
later, outside of the liability he assumes to pay the debt before the
property of the principal debtor has been exhausted, retains all the
other rights, actions and benefits which pertain to him by reason of
the fiansa; while a solidary co-debtor has no other rights than those
bestowed upon him in Section 4, Chapter 3, title I, Book IV of the Civil
Code."[18]

Section 4, Chapter 3, Title I, Book IV of the Civil Code states the


law on joint and several obligations. Under Art. 1207 thereof, when
there are two or more debtors in one and the same obligation, the
presumption is that the obligation is joint so that each of the debtors is
liable only for a proportionate part of the debt. There is a solidarity
liability only when the obligation expressly so states, when the law so
provides or when the nature of the obligation so requires.[19]
Because the promissory note involved in this case expressly states
that the three signatories therein are jointly and severally liable, any
one, some or all of them may be proceeded against for the entire
obligation.[20] The choice is left to the solidary creditor to determine
against whom he will enforce collection.[21] Consequently, the dismissal

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