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EVIDENCE | B2015

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Goni v. CA Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (TABACLERA) owned 3


haciendas known as San Sebastian, Sarria and Dulce Nombre de Maria
September 23,1986 in Bais, Negros Occidental. Praxedes Villanueva wanted to but the
Fernan, J. haciendas but did not have sufficient funds to pay the price so, with the
sai consent of TABACLERA, he offered the haciendas to Santiago Villegas,
later substituted by Joaquin Villegas. Gaspar Vicente stood as the
SUMMARY: Villanueva wanted to buy the 3 haciendas owned by guarantor in a document “Escritura de Taspaso de Cuenta” since
TABACLERA but since he had no sufficient funds, he offered the TABLACLERA did not agree to the transaction without a guaranty.
haciendas to Villegas with Vicente as guarantor. The amount realized
from this transaction was still not enough so he entered into a The amount realized from the transaction between Villegas and
promise to sell 3 lots of one of the haciendas with Vicente. Villanueva was not enough so Villanueva contracted or promised to sell
Subsequently, 2 of the 3 lots (lot nos 4 and 13) were subject of a lease fields no. 3, 4, 13 of Hacienda Dulce Nombre for P13,807 to Vicente. The
to Vicente for 5 years. When Villanueva died, the inventory included amount of P12,460.24 was the amount debited from Vicente since it
the 3 lots in question. Vicente instituted an action for recovery of was the amount needed to complete the purchase price. Villanueva was
property and damages against heirs and Goni, the administrator. TC able to raise funders by selling a property in Ayungon Negros
and CA ruled in favor of Vicente. SC reversed this ruling stating that Occidental so he went to Vicente to rescind the contract/promise to sell
Vicente should surrender the lots to the heirs and pay corresponding but since the amount was already debited, this was not possible. They
annual rent for the fields. agreed that lots 4 and 13 would be leased to Vincent for 5 years starting
1950-1951 at annual rental of 15% of the gross income, rent to be
DOCTRINE: Disqualification by reason of interest is anchored on deducted from money advanced by Vicente.
Section 20(a) of Rule 130, commonly known as the Survivorship
Disqualification Rule or Dead Man Statute. In 1949, TABACLERA executed formal deed of sale of the 3 haciendas
in favor of Villanueva, including fields 3,4,and 13 which were registered
The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation in the latter’s name. These fields were mortgaged to the Rehailitation
to give false testimony in regard to the transaction in question on the and Finance Corporation later transferred to PNB for total indebtedness
part of the surviving party and further to put the two parties to a suit of P334,400. Meanwhile, fields 3 and 13 were delivered to Vicente.
upon terms of equality in regard to the opportunity of giving Villanueva additionally executed a “Documento de la Venta Definitive”
testimony. It is designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff when in favor of Villegas covering Lot 314 of Hacienda Sarria.
death has closed the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove
from the surviving party the temptation to falsehood and the In 1951, Villanueva died. Included in the inventory for intestate
possibility of fictitious claims against the deceased. But in this case, proceedings were fields nos. 3 and 4 (listed as lot 257 of inventory) and
such provision is inapplicable since such protection was effectively 13 (listed as lot no. 723). Vicente instituted an action for recovery of
waived when counsel for petitioners cross-examined Vicente. "A property and damages against Goni in his capacity as administrator of
waiver occurs when plaintiff's deposition is taken by the the estate. Vicente sought to recover field no. 3 by virtue of the
representative of the estate or when counsel for the representative contract/promise to sell. Gonie filed an answer with counterclaim for
cross-examined the plaintiff as to matters occurring during deceased's accounting of the produce of fields 4 and 13 and surrender thereof at
lifetime the end of the 5th crop year in 1955 plus moral damages, atty. fees.
Vicente filed an amended complaint to include a prayer for damages
FACTS: representing produce of field no. 3 until delivery thereof to him. He
later amended to include as parties-defendants heirs of Villanueva.
EVIDENCE | B2015
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protection because the defendants-heirs are properly the


The parties entered into a stipulation of facts agreeing on the costs of "representatives" of the deceased, not only because they succeeded to
production and produce of the 3 fields. There were two witnesses for the decedent's right by descent or operation of law, but more
Vicente: Vicente himself who testified on the facts occurring before the importantly because they are so placed in litigation that they are called
death of Villanueva and Epifanio Equio a clerk of TABACLERA Agency I on to defend which they have obtained from the deceased and make the
Bais Sugar Central. Defendants on the other hand presented GOni who defense which the deceased might have made if living, or to establish a
testified on the alleged verbal lease agreement. claim which deceased might have been interested to establish, if living.

TC judgment in favor of Vicente, that the heirs should deliver filed no. 3 Such protection, however, was effectively waived when counsel for
to the former and to execute a formal deed of sale covering the 3 fields. petitioners cross-examined Vicente. "A waiver occurs when plaintiff's
It ordered the heirs to pay Vicente actual or compensatory damages deposition is taken by the representative of the estate or when counsel
P81,204 which was 15% of the total gross income of field 3 for crop for the representative cross-examined the plaintiff as to matters
years 1950-51 to 1958-59. Both parties appealed occurring during deceased's lifetime. Also, the heirs presented a
counterclaim against Vicente. When Vicente thus took the witness
CA affirmed TC decision with modification on the amount of damages stand, it was in a dual capacity as plaintiff in the action for recovery of
which should be total net income from filed 3 from 1950-51 until the property and as defendant in the counterclaim for accounting and
field is delivered to Vicente. surrender of fields nos. 4 and 13. Evidently, as defendant in the
counterclaim, he was not disqualified from testifying as to matters of
ISSUES AND RULING: fact occurring before the death of Villanueva, said action not having
been brought against, but by the estate or representatives of the
1.(RELEVANT) WON Gaspar Vicente may testify on matters of fact estate/deceased person. Likewise, under a great majority of statutes,
occurring before the death of Villanueva which constitutes a claim the adverse party is competent to testify to transactions or
or demand upon his estate in violation of Rule 130 Sec. 20 communications with the deceased or incompetent person which were
paragraph A—YES! made with an agent of such person in cases in which the agent is still
alive and competent to testify. But the testimony of the adverse party
Under ordinary circumstances, Vicente would be disqualified by reason must be confined to those transactions or communications which were
of interest from testifying as to any matter of fact occurring before the had with the agent. The contract/promise to sell under consideration
death of Villanueva, such disqualification being anchored on Section was signed by petitioner Gonñ i as attorney-in- fact of Villanueva. He was
20(a) of Rule 130, commonly known as the Survivorship privy to the circumstances surrounding the execution of such contract
Disqualification Rule or Dead Man Statute. and therefore could either confirm or deny any allegations made by
Vicente with respect to said contract. The inequality or injustice sought
The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation to to be avoided by Section 20(a) of Rule 130, where one of the parties no
give false testimony in regard to the transaction in question on the part longer has the opportunity to either confirm or rebut the testimony of
of the surviving party and further to put the two parties to a suit upon the other because death has permanently sealed the former's lips, does
terms of equality in regard to the opportunity of giving testimony. It is not actually exist in the case at bar, for the reason that Gonñ i could and
designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff when death has closed did not negate the binding effect of the contract/promise to sell. Thus,
the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove from the surviving while admitting the existence of the said contract/promise to sell, Gonñ i
party the temptation to falsehood and the possibility of fictitious claims testified that the same was subsequently novated into a verbal contract
against the deceased. This case remains within the ambit of the of lease over fields nos. 4 and 13 of the Hacienda Dulce Nombre de
EVIDENCE | B2015
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Maria possession, but it certainly could not explain why it took him 4 years
before instituting an action in court.
2. WON the written promise to sell was novated into a verbal
agreement of lease during the lifetime of Villanueva- YES! TC and CA believed more in the promise to sell than the lease
agreement simply because the former had been reduced to writing,
Novation takes place when the object or principal condition of an while the latter was merely verbal. It must be observed, though, that the
obligation is changed or altered. "Novation is never presumed. It must contract/promise to sell was signed by petitioner Gonñ i as attorney-in-
be established that the old and the new contracts are incompatible in all fact of Villanueva, an indication that final arrangements were made by
points, or that the will to novate appear by express agreement of the Gonñ i in the absence of Villanueva. It was therefore natural for Vicente to
parties or in acts of equivalent import. have demanded that the agreement be in writing to erase any doubt of
its binding effect upon Villanueva. On the other hand, the verbal lease
The novation of the written contract/promise to sell into a verbal agreement was negotiated by and between Villanueva and Vicente.
agreement of lease was clearly and convincingly proven not only by the Being close friends and relatives it can be safely assumed that they did
testimony of petitioner Gonñ i, but likewise by the acts and conduct of the not find it necessary to reduce the same into writing. Also, it was stated
parties subsequent to the execution of the contract/promise to sell. by the CA that Goni, as a sugar planter had full knowledge as to annual
Thus, after the milling season of crop year 1949-50, only fields nos. 4 income of lots 4 and 13 and since there was the amount of P12460.25
and 13 were delivered to Vicente. Fields nos. 3, 4 and 13 were to be liquidated, Gonie never deemed it wise to demand a yearly
subsequently registered in Villanueva's name and mortgaged with the accounting. It was only after the expiration of the 5 year lease that Goni
RFC. Villanueva likewise executed a deed of sale covering Hacienda demanded accounting of the production of the 2 lots leased to Vicente.
Sarria in favor of Joaquin Villegas. All these were known to Vicente, yet It is the custom among the sugar planters in the locality that the Lessee
he did not take any steps toward protecting his claim over fields nos. 3, usually demands an advance amount to cover the rental for the period
4 and 13 either by demanding during the lifetime of Villanueva that the of the lease, and the demand of an accounting will be only made after
latter execute a similar document in his favor, or causing notice of his the expiration of the lease period. It was adduced during the trial that
adverse claim to be annotated on the certificate of title of said lots. If it the amount of P12,460.75 was considered as an advance rental of the 2
were true that he made demands on Villanueva for the surrender of lots which was leased to Vicente lots nos. 4 and 13; so there was no
field no. 3 as well as the execution of the corresponding deed of sale, he necessity on the part of to make a yearly demand for an accounting for
should have, upon refusal of the latter to do so, immediately or within a the total production of 2 parcels leased. Goni and Heirs having clearly
reasonable time thereafter, instituted an action for recovery, or caused and sufficiently shown that the contract/promise to sell was
his adverse claim to be annotated on the certificate of title. Considering subsequently novated into a verbal lease agreement, it follows that they
that field no. 3, containing an area of 3 hectares, 75 ares and 60 are entitled to a favorable decision on their counterclaim.
centares, is the biggest among the 3 lots, an ordinary prudent man
would have taken these steps if he honestly believed he had any right
thereto. Vicente did neither. In fact such inaction persisted even during DISPOSITIVE: judicial administrator of the estate of private respondent
the pendency of the intestate proceedings wherein he could have Gaspar Vicente and/or his successors-in-interest are hereby ordered to:
readily intervened to seek exclusion of fields nos. 3, 4 and 13 from the a) surrender possession of fields nos. 4 and 13 of the Hacienda Dulce
inventory of properties. Nombre de Maria to petitioners; b) render an accounting of the produce
of said fields for the period beginning crop-year 1950-51 until complete
The explanation of Vicente that there were small sugar cane growing on possession thereof shall have been delivered to petitioners; and c) to
field 3 may be plausible explanation why he could not take immediate pay the corresponding annual rent for the said fields in an amount
EVIDENCE | B2015
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equivalent to 15% of the gross produce of said fields, for the periods o The testimony is further insisted as it is sufficient at
beginning crop-year 1950-51 until said fields shall have been this time to say some of them would be both
surrendered to petitioners, deducting from the amount due petitioners material and relevant, to such a degree that if proven
the sum of P12,460.24 advanced by private respondent Gaspar Vicente. to the satisfaction of the court, they might have lead
to the acquittal of the accused, as they purported to
relate to the dying declarations of the deceased,
concerning the cause of his death, the general
1. United States vs. Antipolo [G.R. No. L-13109. March 6, 1918.] purport being that his injuries were due to a fall and
TOPIC: Disqualification by reason of privileged communication not to the acts imputed to the accused.

FACTS: ISSUE: W/N Susana Ezpeleta, widow of the victim, should be allowed to
 Antipolo was charged with the Murder of Fortunato Dinal. testify – YES
Trial Court convicted him of Homicide.
 The Trial Judge refused to permit Susana Ezpeleta, the widow  According to Greenleaf, the rationale for the rule that neither the
of the man whom the Antipolo is accused of having husband nor the wife can testify for or against the other in a
murdered, to testify as a witness on behalf of the defense proceeding is to secure domestic happiness by placing the
concerning certain alleged dying declarations. protecting seal of the law upon all confidential communications
o She was asked: "On what occasion did your husband between husband and wife; and whatever has come to the
die?" knowledge of either by means of the hallowed confidence which
 The fiscal objected on the following ground: "I object to the that relation inspires, cannot be afterwards divulged in testimony
testimony of this witness. She has just testified that she is the even through the other party be no longer living.
widow of the deceased, Fortunato Dinal, and that being so I o This case DOES NOT fall with the text of the statute or the
believe that she is not competent to testify under the Rules of reason upon which it is based.
Procedure in either civil or criminal cases, unless it be with the o The purpose of the rule is to protect accused persons
consent of her husband, and as he is dead and cannot grant against statements made in the confidence engendered
that permission, it follows that this witness is disqualified by the marital relation, and to relieve the husband or
from testifying in this case in which her husband is the injured wife to whom such confidential communications might
party." have been made from the obligation of revealing them to
 Counsel for defendant insisted that the witness was the prejudice of the other spouse.
competent, arguing that the disqualification which the fiscal  Obviously, when a person at the point of death as a result of
evidently had in mind relates only to cases in which a injuries he has suffered makes a statement regarding the manner
husband or wife of one of the parties to a proceeding is called in which he received those injuries, the communication so made
to testify; that the parties to the prosecution of a criminal is in no sense confidential. On the contrary, such a
case are the Government and the accused; that, furthermore, communication is made for the express purpose that it may be
the marriage of Dinal to the witness having been dissolved by communicated after the death of the declarant to the authorities
the death of her husband, she is no longer his wife, and concerned in inquiring into the cause of his death.
therefore not subject to any disqualification arising from the
status of marriage.
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 The rule1 relates only to cases when one the spouses is a party to
the case. The word “afterwards” refers as to when a marriage has
been dissolved otherwise than by the death of one of the spouses
— as, for instance, by decree of annulment or divorce.
 The declarations of a deceased person while in anticipation of
certain impending death, concerning the circumstances leading
up to the death, are admissible in a prosecution of the person
charged with killing the declarant.

1
Section 58 of General Orders No. 58 follows: "A husband cannot be examined for or against
his wife without her consent; nor a wife for or against her husband without his consent; nor
can either, during the marriage or afterwards, be, without the consent of the other, examined
as to any communication made by one to the other during the marriage; but this exception
does not apply to a civil action or proceeding for a crime committed by one against the other."

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