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Reyes v CA Mendoza, particularly in the cultivation of the latter’s farm lots

and asked for the dismissal of the case, moral damages and
G.R. No. 96492 | November 26, 1992 | J. Nocon attorney’s fees.

Mendoza raised abandonment, sublease and mortgage of the

Facts: farm lots without his consent and approval, and non-payment
of rentals, irrigation fees and other taxes due the government,
Petitioners Romeo Reyes, Angel Parayao and Emilio as his defenses.
Mananghaya question the respondent Court’s decision, which
Petitioners now bring the present Petition for Review on
affirmed with modification the agrarian court’s decision, which
ordered them and the other defendants therein to, among Certiorari.
others, restore possession of the disputed landholding to
private respondent, Eufrocina Vda. dela Cruz.
Juan Mendoza, father of defendant Olympio, is the owner of W/N the court erred in holding petitioners liable
farm lots in Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga. Devoted to the
production of palay, the lots were tenanted and cultivated by
now deceased Julian dela Cruz, husband of plaintiff Eufrocina
dela Cruz. Held:

Eufrocina alleged that her husband’s death, she succeeded No. The evidence presented before the trial court and CA
him as bona fide tenant of the subject lots; that Olympio, in served as basis in arriving at their findings of fact. The
conspiracy with the other defendants, prevented her daughter Supreme Court will not analyze such evidence all over again
Violeta and her workers through force, intimidation, strategy because settled is the rule that only questions of law may be
and stealth, from entering and working on the subject raised in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
premises; and that until the filing of the instant case, Rules of Court absent the exceptions which do not obtain in
defendants had refused to vacate and surrender the lots, thus the instant case.
violating her tenancy rights. Plaintiff therefore prayed for In agrarian cases, the quantum of evidence is no more
judgment for the recovery of possession and damages with a than substantial evidence. Substantial evidence does not
writ of preliminary mandatory injunction in the meantime. necessarily import preponderant evidence, as is required in an
Defendant barangay officials denied interference in the ordinarily civil case. It has been defined to be such relevant
tenancy relationship existing between plaintiff and defendant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion and its absence is not shown by appellee, to wit:
stressing that there is contrary evidence on record, direct or
circumstantial, for the appellate court cannot substitute its own
judgment or criteria for that of the trial court in determining xxx
wherein lies the weight of evidence or what evidence is
entitled to belief. 'Dear Mrs. Salazar:

'In compliance with my verbal promise and in abiding by the

company rules and regulations, the undersigned reported to
G.R. No. 101527 your goodself on March 7, the expiration of an approved one
month vacation leave.

REGALADO, J.: 'It is sad to know that during my absence, major changes took
place in ITM. There was a take-over of new management,
This original petition for certiorari seeks to annul the appointment and reorganization of new officers and other key
decision[1] of the National Labor Relations Commission positions have been effected. Needless to say, the position of
(hereafter, respondent commission), dated June 28, 1991, the undersigned as Personnel Manager was also filled up by a
finding that herein private respondent Angie Mendoza was newcomer.
illegally dismissed and awarding her three years backwages
and separation pay. 'In view of the above circumstances, I deem it proper and wise
to cease my employment; but with equivalent separation pay
We quote the undisputed facts as found by respondent from the company. I am happy to announce that I am one of
commission: the pioneer employees, having employed (sic) in 1971 as
secretary to then Finishing Dept. Head. Being an experienced
"Appellant Angie Mendoza had been employed with appellee and competent secretary, after two months I rose to the
since 1977. She rose from the ranks from the position of position of secretary to the Exec. Vice President. In January
secretary to the Finishing Department Head to secretary to the 1975, I was appointed to succeed and execute the duties and
Executive Vice President, and later to personnel manager up responsibilities of the resigned Personnel Manager and at
to March 7, 1986. Her latest salary was P6,190.00. In the latter same time as secretary to the executives of the company.
part of 1986, a new management group took over appellee. During the period June 1984 to June 1985, I was appointed in
Appellant, who was on leave, found out about the changes the concurrent capacity as Personnel Manager of Grand
and consequently wrote the widow of the former president of Alliance Mills, sister company of ITM.
On appeal, respondent commission reversed the labor arbiter
'For fifteen years of stay, I could proudly say that I dedicated in a decision[5] dated October 28, 1988, holding that under
one-third of my life in serving the company honestly and Article 221 of the Labor Code, respondent commission and the
efficiently, my employment records can fully vouch for that. labor arbiter have the authority to decide cases based on
position papers and documents submitted by the parties
'I sincerely hope that you will merit this request with your usual without resorting to technical rules of evidence; and that herein
kind consideration and immediate attention.' petitioner was not denied due process because on the basis of
the records of the case, an, intelligent decision could be
arrived at without resorting to a formal hearing. Petitioner went
Respectfully yours, to this Court on a petition for certiorari, entitled "Imperial
Angie S. Mendoza" Textile Mills, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations, et. al.,"
"On June 6, 1986, the instant complaint for illegal dismissal docketed as G.R. No. 86663, which was however dismissed in
was filed. Complainant alleged that she was dismissed without our resolution[6] of February 15, 1989.
sufficient grounds after 14 years of service.
The case was thereafter remanded to the labor arbiter who
"In its defense, respondent averred that complainant subsequently rendered a decision[7] on April 10, 1990
voluntarily resigned and if she was terminated such declaring the dismissal of complainant as legally effected on
termination was due to valid and just grounds. Being a the ground that she resigned voluntarily and that her dismissal
managerial employee she could be terminated for loss of trust was for a valid cause, that is, loss of trust and confidence. On
and confidence."[2] appeal, respondent commission rendered its questioned
decision reversing the findings of the labor arbiter and holding
Thereafter, the parties submitted their respective position that herein private respondent was illegally dismissed, thus:
papers. Petitioner then filed a motion to dismiss[3] alleging that:
(1) private respondent's position paper is unverified and "Was appellant illegally dismissed? We believe so. The letter
should be stricken off the record; and (2) complainant failed to dated March 31, 1986 clearly stated that she was asking for
appear despite notice, thereby depriving petitioner of its right separation pay because she found out that she had already
to cross-examine her. In an order[4] dated May 25, 1988, the been replaced during her leave of absence. x x x Appellant's
labor arbiter dismissed the complaint without prejudice, on the resignation and request for separation pay was prompted
ground that complainant's absence deprived herein petitioner solely by her removal as indicated in her letter. In short,
of the opportunity to cross-examine her. complainant was forced to resign.
"If it was loss of confidence that prompted appellee to remove There was sufficient compliance with the requirement of due
appellant, appellee had the burden of proving it. Appellee had process as petitioner was given the opportunity to present its
not adduced an iota of evidence that would account for the case through a motion to dismiss and a position paper filed
alleged 'loss of confidence.' with the labor arbiter.

"Considering, however, that complainant appears to have 2. It is contended that while the decisions of respondent
sought employment elsewhere in lieu of reinstatement, an commission may be rendered based on position papers, such
award of separation pay and three years backwages, rule is not applicable to the case at bar where the position
consistent with the rulings of the Supreme Court, is but paper submitted by the private respondent is not verified. The
proper."[8] contention is without merit.

Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in a First, the issue on the admissibility of the unverified position
resolution[9] dated August 16, 1991, hence the instant petition. paper has been passed upon by this Court in its disposition of
the aforementioned petition in G.R. No. 86663 which upheld
1. Petitioner inceptively asserts that it was denied due process the decision of respondent commission, reversing the order of
when it was not given the opportunity to cross-examine herein dismissal of the labor arbiter on the ground that the case could
private respondent during the hearing before the labor arbiter. be resolved on the basis of the position papers submitted by
the parties. In effect, it was there held by necessary implication
It is a basic rule that it is not the denial of the right to be heard that the unverified position paper submitted by herein private
but the deprivation of the opportunity to be heard which respondent is deemed sufficient. Besides, even the labor
constitutes a violation of the due process clause. As held arbiter in his order dated May 25, 1988 admits that the
in Var-Orient Shipping Co., Inc., et al. vs. Achacoso, etc., et unverified position paper is a mere procedural infirmity which
al.,[10] and subsequently reiterated in Bautista, et al. vs. does not affect the merits of the case.[12]
Secretary of Labor and Employment, et al.:[11] "Equally
unmeritorious is petitioners' allegation that they were denied Second, well-settled is the rule that procedural technicalities
due process because the decision was rendered without a do not strictly apply to proceedings before labor arbiters for
formal hearing. The essence of due process is simply an they may avail themselves of all reasonable means to speedily
opportunity to be heard, or, as applied to administrative ascertain the facts of a controversy.[13]
proceedings, an opportunity to explain one's side, or an
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling 3. Petitioner claims that the findings of respondent commission
complained of." to the effect that the former failed to adduce an iota of
evidence that would account for the alleged "loss of
confidence" is erroneous. Petitioner raised in its position paper establish any basis for the alleged loss of confidence. As it is,
filed before the labor arbiter the following facts which allegedly the same is, at most, a mere allegation.
constitute the basis for the loss of trust and confidence, to wit:
In addition, we have ruled that to constitute a valid dismissal,
two requisites must concur: (1) the dismissal must be for any
"Complainant, during the trying times of new management of the causes provided for under Article 282 of the Labor
take over, beset by shaky industrial relations, culminating in Code, and (2) only after the employee has been notified in
mass action, despite requests by new managers was nowhere writing and given the opportunity to be heard and defend
to be found. If she was interested to maintain her position, she himself as required under Sections 2 and 5, Rule XIV, Book V
could have at least reported to the company and brief the new of the Implementing Rules.[20] In the case at bar, petitioner
managers of the existing personnel problems. This, she opted categorically stated in its position paper that "(t)here was never
not to do, in fact her 'leave of absence' (was placed under any official communication from the new management group
quote as there is nothing on record that she was granted a one of the company addressed to the complainant, that her
month leave of absence), ended March 7, 1986, it was only on services were terminated,"[21] and yet it does not deny that it
March 31, 1986 that she wrote the letter opting for had appointed a replacement for private respondent even
resignation."[14] before she wrote her aforequoted letter of March 31, 1986.
Although loss of confidence is a valid cause to terminate an
employee, it must nonetheless rest on an actual breach of duty 4. Finally, petitioner asserts that findings of fact of the labor
committed by the employee and not on the employer's arbiter should be accorded respect and finality. Besides, the
caprices.[15] The burden of proof rests upon the employer to decision of the labor arbiter had become final considering that
establish that the dismissal is for cause[16] in view of the the appeal made by private respondent with respondent
security of tenure that employees enjoy under the Constitution commission was filed out of time. Records show that the
and the Labor Code.[17] The failure of the employer to do so decision of the labor arbiter was received by private
would mean that the dismissal is not justified.[18] It is likewise respondent on May 2, 1990, whereas the appeal was filed with
essential that there be substantial evidence to support a respondent commission only on May 17, 1990, which is
already beyond the 10-day reglementary period provided in
charge of loss of confidence. The employer's evidence must
clearly and convincingly establish the facts upon which the the Labor Code.
loss of confidence in the employee may fairly be made to
While it is true that factual findings of the labor arbiter are
usually binding on this Court, such situation does not obtain in
In the case at bar, the facts relied upon by petitioner barely, this case. As we have earlier declared, the alleged loss of
confidence was never sufficiently proven by herein petitioner.
In the case of Torillo vs. Leogardo, Jr., etc., et. al.,[25] we held:
It appears that the appeal with respondent commission was
indeed filed late. The general rule is that the perfection of an
appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by law "Backwages and reinstatement are two reliefs given to an
is not only mandatory but jurisdictional. Failure to conform to illegally dismissed employee. They are separate and distinct
the rules will render the judgment sought to be reviewed final from each other. However, in the event that reinstatement is
and unappealable.[22] no longer possible, separation pay is awarded to the
employee. Thus, the award of separation pay is in lieu of
We also note, in passing, that contrary to the Solicitor reinstatement and not of backwages. In other words, an
General's allegation that petitioner failed to raise the issue of illegally dismissed employee is entitled to (1) either reinstate-
timeliness of appeal before the respondent commission and is, ment, if viable, or separation pay if reinstatement is no longer
therefore, deemed to have waived its right to question the viable and (2) backwages."
same, herein petitioner did raise this issue albeit belatedly, in The payment of backwages is one of the reliefs which an
its reply to private respondent's memorandum of appeal.[23] illegally dismissed employee prays the labor arbiter and the
National Labor Relation Commission to render in his favor as a
Nevertheless, in some instances, this Court has disregarded consequence of the unlawful act committed by the employer.
such unintended lapses so as to give due course to appeals The award thereof is not private compensation or damages but
filed beyond the reglementary period on the basis of strong is in furtherance and effectuation of the public objectives of the
and compelling reasons, such as serving the ends of justice Labor Code. Even though the practical effect is the enrichment
and preventing a grave miscarriage thereof.[24] We are of the of the individual, the award of backwages is not in redress of a
opinion and so hold that in consideration of the merits of this private right, but, rather, is in the nature of a command upon
case, substantial justice could be rightfully invoked by way of the employer to make public reparation for his violation of the
an exception. This is one such case where we are convinced Labor Code,[26] such as the dismissal of an employee due to
that substance should prevail over and not be sacrificed for the unlawful act of the employer or the latter's bad
form. faith.[27] Hence, we have ruled that where the ground of loss of
confidence has neither been established nor sufficient basis
5. Petitioner asseverates that since private respondent is thereof presented, the finding that respondent employee was
already employed elsewhere, respondent commission erred in illegally dismissed was well taken and said employee,
awarding separation pay and three years backwages. We
although not reinstated, was awarded three years
disagree. backwages.[28]
With respect to the award of separation pay, we declared Bigamy is an illegal marriage committed by contracting a
in Santos vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et. second or subsequent marriage before the first marriage has
al.,[29] that where the decision ordering the reinstatement of the been legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been
employee may no longer be enforced, or is no longer feasible declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment
because of the strained relations between the parties, the rendered in the proper proceedings.1 Bigamy carries with it the
employee may be awarded separation pay as an alternative to imposable penalty of prision mayor. Being punishable by an
reinstatement. Such a situation obtains in this case and afflictive penalty, this crime prescribes in fifteen (15)
considering further the confidential nature of private years.2 The fifteen-year prescriptive period commences to run
respondent's position, we find no reason why the foregoing from the day on which the crime is discovered by the offended
doctrine should not here apply. party, the authorities, or their agents . . .3

WHEREFORE, no grave abuse of discretion having been That petitioner contracted a bigamous marriage seems
committed by respondent commission, the present petition is impliedly admitted.4 At least, it is not expressly denied. Thus
hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. the only issue for resolution is whether his prosecution for
SO ORDERED. bigamy is already time-barred, which hinges on whether its
discovery is deemed to have taken place from the time the
offended party actually knew of the second marriage or from
the time the document evidencing the subsequent marriage
JOSE C. SERMONIA, petitioner, was registered with the Civil Registry consistent with the rule
vs. on constructive notice.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Eleventh Division, HON.
DEOGRACIAS FELIZARDO, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial The antecedents: In an information filed on 26 May 1992,
Court of Pasig, Br. 151, and JOSEPH SINSAY, respondents. petitioner Jose C. Sermonia was charged with bigamy before
the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Br. 151, for contracting
Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Peña and Nolasco for petitioner. marriage with Ma. Lourdes Unson on 15 February 1975 while
Ponciano L. Escuadra for private respondent. his prior marriage to Virginia C. Nievera remained valid and
subsisting. 5

Petitioner moved to quash the information on the ground that

his criminal liability for bigamy has been extinguished by
BELLOSILLO, J.: prescription.
In the order of 1 October 1992, respondent judge denied the crime but from the time of discovery by complainant which was
motion to quash. On 27 October 1992, he likewise denied the in July 1991.
motion to reconsider his order of denial.
While we concede the point that the rule on constructive notice
Petitioner challenged the above orders before the Court of in civil cases may be applied in criminal actions if the factual
Appeals through a petition for certiorari and prohibition. In the and legal circumstances so warrant,8 we agree with the view
assailed decision of expounded by the Court of Appeals that it cannot apply in the
21 January 1993, his petition was dismissed for lack of merit. 6 crime of bigamy notwithstanding the possibility of its being
more favorable to the accused. The appellate court succinctly
In this recourse, petitioner contends that his criminal liability for explains —
bigamy has been obliterated by prescription. He avers that
since the second marriage contract was duly registered with Argued by the petitioner is that the principle of constructive
the Office of the Civil Registrar in 1975,7such fact of notice should be applied in the case at bar, principally citing in
registration makes it a matter of public record and thus support of his stand, the cases of People v. Reyes (175 SCRA
constitutes notice to the whole world. The offended party 597); and People v.Dinsay (40 SCRA 50).
therefore is considered to have had constructive notice of the
subsequent marriage as of 1975; hence, prescription This Court is of the view that the principle of constructive
commenced to run on the day the marriage contract was notice should not be applied in regard to the crime of bigamy
registered. For this reason, the corresponding information for as judicial notice may be taken of the fact that a bigamous
bigamy should have been filed on or before 1990 and not only marriage is generally entered into by the offender in secrecy
in 1992. from the spouse of the previous subsisting marriage. Also, a
bigamous marriage is generally entered into in a place where
Petitioner likewise takes issue with the "alleged concealment the offender is not known to be still a married person, in order
of the bigamous marriage" as declared by the appellate court, to conceal his legal impediment to contract another marriage.
insisting that the second marriage was publicly held at Our
Lady of Nativity Church in Marikina on In the case of real property, the registration of any transaction
15 February 1975, and adding for good measure that from the involving any right or interest therein is made in the Register of
moment of registration the marriage contract was open to Deeds of the place where the said property is located.
inspection by any interested person. Verification in the office of the Register of Deeds concerned of
the transactions involving the said property can easily be
On the other hand, the prosecution maintains that the made by any interested party. In the case of a bigamous
prescriptive period does not begin from the commission of the marriage, verification by the offended person or the authorities
of the same would indeed be quite difficult as such a marriage
may be entered into in a place where the offender is not prosecution of the violators of the said offense would almost
known to be still a married person. be impossible. The interpretation urged by the petitioner would
encourage fearless violations of a social institution cherished
Be it noted that in the criminal cases cited by the petitioner and protected by law. 9
wherein constructive notice was applied, involved therein were
land or property disputes and certainly, marriage is not To this we may also add that the rule on constructive notice
property. will make
de rigueur the routinary inspection or verification of the
The non-application to the crime of bigamy of the principle of marriages listed in the National Census Office and in various
constructive notice is not contrary to the well entrenched policy local civil registries all over the country to make certain that no
that penal laws should be construed liberally in favor of the second or even third marriage has been contracted without the
accused. To compute the prescriptive period for the offense of knowledge of the legitimate spouse. This is too formidable a
bigamy from registration thereof would amount to almost task to even contemplate.
absolving the offenders thereof for liability therefor. While the
celebration of the bigamous marriage may be said to be open More importantly, while Sec. 52 of P.D. 1529 (Property
and made of public record by its registration, the offender Registration Decree) provides for constructive notice to all
however is not truthful as he conceals from the officiating persons of every conveyance, mortgage, lease, lien,
authority and those concerned the existence of his previous attachment, order, judgment, instrument or entry affecting
subsisting marriage. He does not reveal to them that he is still registered land filed or entered in the office of the Register of
a married person. He likewise conceals from his legitimate Deeds for the province or city where the land to which it
spouse his bigamous marriage. And for these, he contracts the relates lies from the time of such registering, filing or entering,
bigamous marriage in a place where he is not known to be still there is no counterpart provision either in Act
a married person. And such a place may be anywhere, under No. 3753 (Act to Establish a Civil Register) or in Arts. 407 to
which circumstance, the discovery of the bigamous marriage is 413 of the Civil Code, which leads us to the conclusion that
rendered quite difficult and would take time. It is therefore there is no legal basis for applying the constructive notice rule
reasonable that the prescriptive period for the crime of bigamy to the documents registered in the Civil Register.
should be counted only from the day on which the said crime
was discovered by the offended party, the authorities or their Finally, petitioner would want us to believe that there was no
agency (sic). concealment at all because his marriage contract with Ms.
Unson was recorded in the Civil Registry which is open to all
Considering such concealment of the bigamous marriage by and sundry for inspection. We cannot go along with his
the offender, if the prescriptive period for the offense of bigamy argument because why did he indicate in the marriage
were to be counted from the date of registration thereof, the contract that he was "single" thus obviously hiding his true
status as a married man? Or for that matter, why did he not Professor: Atty. Cisco Franz S. Maclang
simply tell his first wife about the subsequent marriage in
Marikina so that everything would be out in the open. The
answer is obvious: He knew that no priest or minister would Facts:
knowingly perform or authorize a bigamous marriage as this
would subject him to punishment under the Marriage Atty. Orlando L. Salvador, Consultant of the Fact
Law.10 Obviously, petitioner had no intention of revealing his Finding Committee, and representing the Presidential
duplicity to his first spouse and gambled instead on the Commission on Good Government (PCGG) filed a sworn
probability that she or any third party would ever go to the local complaint, for violation of Section 3, paragraphs (e) and (g), of
civil registrar to inquire. In the meantime, through the simple Republic Act No. 3019, as amended, with the Office of the
expedience of having the second marriage recorded in the Ombudsman against the directors and officials of BUSCO,
local civil registry, he has set into motion the running of the namely: respondents Manuel H. Nieto, Jr., Jose Ma. Ozamis,
fifteen-year prescriptive period against the unwary and the Carlos O. Fortich, Rodolfo M. Cuenca, Jose L. Africa, Julio H.
unsuspecting victim of his philandering. Ozamis, and Miguel V. Gonzales; and the concerned
members of the Board of Directors of the PNB.
Were we to put our imprimatur to the theory advanced by
petitioner, in all likelihood we would be playing right into the After considering the evidence adduced, the Ombudsman
hands of philanderers. For we would be equating the contract dismissed the complaint of the PCGG on August 28, 1998 on
of marriage with ordinary deeds of conveyance and other the ground that "there is no sufficient evidence against
similar documents without due regard for the stability of respondents, both public and private, so as to make them
marriage as an inviolable social institution, the preservation of liable for criminal prosecution in court for violation of the Anti-
which is a primary concern of our society. Graft Law xxx." In other words, there was no probable cause.

WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the questioned

decision of the Court of Appeals, the same is AFFIRMED.
WONthe Ombudsman committed grave abuse of
34. Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest discretion in the determination of whether or not probable
Loans vs. Desierto, 363 SCRA 489 (2001) cause exists against the respondents.

Student: G-one T. Paisones Held:

No. necessary building permits from the city. There they lived thru
the years to the present.

Few years thereafter, defendants were given written permits
— each labeled "lease contract" — to occupy specific areas in
In any event, there is no grave abuse of discretion the property upon conditions therein set forth. For their
on the part of the Ombudsman in his determination of whether occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.
or not probable cause exists against the respondents. This
Court has consistently held that the Ombudsman has
discretion to determine whether a criminal case, given its facts Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not
and circumstances, should be filed or not. It is basically his contiguous, to the property. Came the need for this school's
call. He may dismiss the complaint forthwith should he find it expansion, plaintiff's City Engineer, pursuant to the Mayor's
to be insufficient in form and substance or, should he find it directive to clear squatters' houses on city property, gave each
otherwise, to continue with the inquiry; or he may proceed with of defendants to vacate and remove his construction or
the investigation if, in his view, the complaint is in due and improvement on the premises. This was followed by the City
proper form and substance. Treasurer's demand on each defendant for the payment of the
amount due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate.

G.R. No. L-26053 February 21, 1967

The judgment below directed defendants to vacate the
premises. Defendants appealed.

Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one ISSUE

compact area in Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens
Titles. Shortly after liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants Whether the trial court properly found that the city needs the
entered upon these premises without plaintiff's knowledge and premises for school purposes.
consent. They built houses of second-class materials, again
without plaintiff's knowledge and consent, and without the
RULING G.R. No. 85423 May 6, 1991

Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification that an JOSE TABUENA, petitioner,
appropriation of P100,000.00 was set aside for the vs.
"construction of additional building" of the Epifanio de los COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIANO TABERNILLA,
JR., respondents.
Santos Elementary School. The defendants were wrong in
insisting that they have acquired the legal status of tenants. Facts:
They entered the land, built houses of second-class materials
thereon without the knowledge and consent of the city. Their The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting
homes were erected without city pemits, thus, illegal. In a of about 440 square meters and situated in Poblacion, Makato,
language familiar to all, defendants are squatters. Aklan. In 1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof was
filed in the Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo
These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were Tabernilla against Jose Tabuena, the herein petitioner. After trial,
judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant
issued when the effects of the war had simmered down and
was required to vacate the disputed lot.
when these defendants could have very well adjusted
themselves. Two decades have now elapsed since the Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in
unlawful entry. Defendants could have, if they wanted to, arriving at its factual findings, the trial court motu proprio took
located permanent premises for their abode. And yet, usurpers cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked
that they are, they preferred to remain on city property. by the plaintiff but never formally submitted in evidence. The trial
court also erred when, to resolve the ownership of the subject lot,
Defendants' entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions it considered the proceedings in another case involving the same
are as illegal, without permits. parties but a different parcel of land.

Issue: Whether or not the evidence presented is already offered

The houses and constructions planted by defendants on the
premises clearly hinder and impair the use of that property for Held: No.
school purposes. The courts may well take judicial notice of
the fact that housing school children in the elementary grades Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as
has been and still is a perennial problem in the city. The selfish follows:
interests of defendants must have to yield to the general good.
The public purpose of constructing the school building annex Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.—The court shall
consider no evidence which has not been formally
is paramount. offered. The purpose for which the evidence is
offered must be specified.
The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit also not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known
does not mean it has thereby already been offered as part of the exception. In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the
evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were petitioner and his predecessors-in-interest have possessed the
marked at the pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the disputed property since even before World War II. In light of this
purpose of identifying them at that time. They were not by such uncontroverted fact, the tax declarations in their name become
marking formally offered as exhibits. As we said in Interpacific weighty and compelling evidence of the petitioner's ownership.
Transit, Inc. vs. Aviles, 3 "At the trial on the merits, the party may
decide to formally offer (the exhibits) if it believes they will advance The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits
its cause, and then again it may decide not to do so at all. In the "A", "B" and "C", which had not been formally offered as evidence
latter event, such documents cannot be considered evidence, nor and therefore should have been totally disregarded, conformably
can they be given any evidentiary value." to the Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it relied on
the evidence submitted in Civil Case No. 1327 and took judicial
The respondent court also held that the trial court committed no notice thereof without the consent or knowledge of the petitioner,
reversible error in taking judicial notice of Tabuena's testimony in in violation of existing doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings
a case it had previously heard which was closely connected with here challenged are as an edifice built upon shifting sands and
the case before it. It conceded that as a general rule "courts are should not have been sustained by the respondent court.
not authorized to take judicial notice, in the adjudication of cases
pending before them, of the contents of the records of other Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the
cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in lower court, failed to prove his claim of ownership over the
the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may disputed property with evidence properly cognizable under our
have been heard or are actually pending b before the same adjudicative laws. By contrast, there is substantial evidence
judge. supporting the petitioner's contrary contentions that should have
persuaded the trial judge to rule in s favor and dismiss the
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in complaint.
the absence of objection," "with the knowledge of the opposing
party," or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision
case is clearly referred to or "the original or part of the records of is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, with costs against the private
the case are actually withdrawn from the archives" and "admitted respondent. It is so ordered.
as part of the record of the case then pending." These conditions
have not been established here. On the contrary, the petitioner
was completely 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 petitioner puts it, the matter was never MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIAS, petitioner,
taken up at the trial and was "unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving vs.
him no opportunity to counteract. THE COURT OF APPEALS, NORMA LEUENBERGER and
FRANCISCO SOLIVA, respondents.
It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of
ownership, as we have held in many cases. However, that rule is Enrique I. Soriano, Jr. for private respondents.
under Tax Declaration No. 3429 of Negros Occidental for the
year 1941 (Exh. "3," Folder of Exhibits, p. 22). He was
survived by his widow Simeona Jingeo Vda. de Ditching and a
PARAS, J.: daughter, Isabel, who died in 1928 (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 7)
This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the decision * of leaving one off-spring, respondent Norma Leuenberger, who
respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on September 29, was then only six months old (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 34).
1969 in CA-G.R. No. 35036-R (Rollo, p. 11) setting aside the Respondent Norma Leuenberger, married to Francisco Soliva,
decision ** of the Court of First Intance of Negros Occidental, inherited the whole of Lot No. 140 from her grandmother,
Branch I, dated September 24, 1964 which dismissed the Simeona J. Vda. de Ditching (not from her predeceased
complaint for recovery of possession in Civil Case No. 181-S mother Isabel Ditching). In 1952, she donated a portion of Lot
and declared the cemetery site on Lot No. 76 in Victorias as No. 140, about 3 ha., to the municipality for the ground of a
property of the municipality of Victorias (Record on Appeal, p. certain high school and had 4 ha. converted into a subdivision.
9). (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 24).
The dispositive portion of the questioned decision reads as In 1963, she had the remaining 21 ha. or 208.157 sq. m.
follows: relocated by a surveyor upon request of lessee Ramon Jover
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the lower who complained of being prohibited by municipal officials from
cultivating the land. It was then that she discovered that the
court is hereby set aside and another is hereby rendered:
parcel of land, more or less 4 ha. or 33,747 sq.m. used by
(1) Ordering the defendant municipality and/or thru its Petitioner Municipality of Victorias, as a cemetery from 1934,
appropriate officials to return and deliver the possession of the is within her property which is now Identified as Lot 76 and
portion of Lot 76 used as cemetery or burial site of the plaintiff- covered by TCT No. 34546 (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 7-9; Exh.
appellant. "4," Folder of Exhibits, p. 23 and Exh. "A," Folder of Exhibits,
p. 1).
(2) Ordering defendant municipality to pay the plaintiff-
appellant the sum of P400.00 a year from 1963 until the On May 20, 1963, Respondent wrote the Mayor of Victorias
possession of said land is actually delivered. regarding her discovery, demanding payment of past rentals
and requesting delivery of the area allegedly illegally occupied
Lot No. 76 containing an area of 208,157 sq. meters forms a by Petitioner (Exh. "G, Folder of Exhibits, p. 15). When the
part of Cadastral Lot No. 140 (Rollo, p. 11), a 27.2460 ha. Mayor replied that Petitioner bought the land she asked to be
sugar land located in Bo. Madaniog, Victorias, Negros shown the papers concerning the sale but was referred by the
Occidental, in the name of the deceased Gonzalo Ditching
Mayor to the municipal treasurer who refused to show the 1972, Respondent Francisco Soliva having been appointed
same (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 32-33). special administrator in Special Proceedings No. 84-V of the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (Rollo, p. 110).
On January 11, 1964, Respondents filed a complaint in the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch 1, for In their brief, petitioner raised the following errors of
recovery of possession of the parcel of land occupied by the respondent Court of Appeals: (Brief for the Petitioner, p. 1-3);
municipal cemetery (Record on Appeal, p. 1). In its answer,
petitioner Municipality, by way of special defense, alleged MUNICIPALITY OF VICTORIAS, petitioner,
ownership of the lot, subject of the complaint, having bought it vs.
from Simeona Jingco Vda. de Ditching sometime in 1934 THE COURT OF APPEALS, NORMA LEUENBERGER and
(Record on Appeal, p. 7). The lower court decided in favor of FRANCISCO SOLIVA, respondents.
the Municipality. On appeal Respondent appellate Court set Enrique I. Soriano, Jr. for private respondents.
aside the decision of the lower court (Record on AppeaL p. 9);
hence, this petition for review on certiorari.

This petition was filed with the Court on November 6, 1969

(Rollo, p. 2), the Record on Appeal on December 19, 1969 PARAS, J.:
(Rollo, p. 80). On January 5, 1970, the Court gave due course
to the petition (Rollo, p. 84). This is a Petition for Review on certiorari of the decision * of
respondent Court of Appeals promulgated on September 29,
The Brief for the Petitioner was filed on April 1, 1970 (Rollo, p. 1969 in CA-G.R. No. 35036-R (Rollo, p. 11) setting aside the
88), the Brief for Respondents was filed on May 18, 1970 decision ** of the Court of First Intance of Negros Occidental,
(Rollo, p. 92). Branch I, dated September 24, 1964 which dismissed the
complaint for recovery of possession in Civil Case No. 181-S
On July 8, 1970, the Court resolved to consider the case and declared the cemetery site on Lot No. 76 in Victorias as
submitted for decision without Petitioner's Reply Brief, property of the municipality of Victorias (Record on Appeal, p.
Petitioner having failed to file the brief within the period which
expired on June 10, 1970 (Rollo. p. 99).
The dispositive portion of the questioned decision reads as
On motion of counsel for the Respondents (Rollo, p. 104), the follows:
Court resolved on June 30, 1972 to allow respondent
Francisco Soliva to continue the appeal in behalf of the estate IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment of the lower
of respondent Norma Leuenberger who died on January 25, court is hereby set aside and another is hereby rendered:
(1) Ordering the defendant municipality and/or thru its Petitioner Municipality of Victorias, as a cemetery from 1934,
appropriate officials to return and deliver the possession of the is within her property which is now Identified as Lot 76 and
portion of Lot 76 used as cemetery or burial site of the plaintiff- covered by TCT No. 34546 (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 7-9; Exh.
appellant. "4," Folder of Exhibits, p. 23 and Exh. "A," Folder of Exhibits,
p. 1).
(2) Ordering defendant municipality to pay the plaintiff-
appellant the sum of P400.00 a year from 1963 until the On May 20, 1963, Respondent wrote the Mayor of Victorias
possession of said land is actually delivered. regarding her discovery, demanding payment of past rentals
and requesting delivery of the area allegedly illegally occupied
Lot No. 76 containing an area of 208,157 sq. meters forms a by Petitioner (Exh. "G, Folder of Exhibits, p. 15). When the
part of Cadastral Lot No. 140 (Rollo, p. 11), a 27.2460 ha. Mayor replied that Petitioner bought the land she asked to be
sugar land located in Bo. Madaniog, Victorias, Negros shown the papers concerning the sale but was referred by the
Occidental, in the name of the deceased Gonzalo Ditching Mayor to the municipal treasurer who refused to show the
under Tax Declaration No. 3429 of Negros Occidental for the same (TSN, July 1, 1964, pp. 32-33).
year 1941 (Exh. "3," Folder of Exhibits, p. 22). He was
survived by his widow Simeona Jingeo Vda. de Ditching and a On January 11, 1964, Respondents filed a complaint in the
daughter, Isabel, who died in 1928 (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 7) Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch 1, for
leaving one off-spring, respondent Norma Leuenberger, who recovery of possession of the parcel of land occupied by the
was then only six months old (TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 34). municipal cemetery (Record on Appeal, p. 1). In its answer,
petitioner Municipality, by way of special defense, alleged
Respondent Norma Leuenberger, married to Francisco Soliva, ownership of the lot, subject of the complaint, having bought it
inherited the whole of Lot No. 140 from her grandmother, from Simeona Jingco Vda. de Ditching sometime in 1934
Simeona J. Vda. de Ditching (not from her predeceased (Record on Appeal, p. 7). The lower court decided in favor of
mother Isabel Ditching). In 1952, she donated a portion of Lot the Municipality. On appeal Respondent appellate Court set
No. 140, about 3 ha., to the municipality for the ground of a aside the decision of the lower court (Record on AppeaL p. 9);
certain high school and had 4 ha. converted into a subdivision. hence, this petition for review on certiorari.
(TSN, July 1, 1964, p. 24).
This petition was filed with the Court on November 6, 1969
In 1963, she had the remaining 21 ha. or 208.157 sq. m. (Rollo, p. 2), the Record on Appeal on December 19, 1969
relocated by a surveyor upon request of lessee Ramon Jover (Rollo, p. 80). On January 5, 1970, the Court gave due course
who complained of being prohibited by municipal officials from to the petition (Rollo, p. 84).
cultivating the land. It was then that she discovered that the
parcel of land, more or less 4 ha. or 33,747 sq.m. used by
The Brief for the Petitioner was filed on April 1, 1970 (Rollo, p. Virgilio Padua to conduct a buy-bust operation at Solchuaga
88), the Brief for Respondents was filed on May 18, 1970 St., Barangay Singkamas, Makati.
(Rollo, p. 92).
The target area was a store along the said street, and
On July 8, 1970, the Court resolved to consider the case Singayan was to pose as the buyer. He stood alone near the
submitted for decision without Petitioner's Reply Brief, store waiting for any pusher to approach. The other members
Petitioner having failed to file the brief within the period which of the team strategically positioned themselves. Soon, three
expired on June 10, 1970 (Rollo. p. 99). men approached Singayan. One of them was the accused-
appellant, who said without preamble: "Pare, gusto mo bang
On motion of counsel for the Respondents (Rollo, p. 104), the umiskor?" Singayan said yes. The exchange was made then
Court resolved on June 30, 1972 to allow respondent and there — two rolls/pieces of marijuana for one P10.00 and
Francisco Soliva to continue the appeal in behalf of the estate two P5.00 bills marked ANU (meaning Anti-Narcotics Unit).
of respondent Norma Leuenberger who died on January 25,
1972, Respondent Francisco Soliva having been appointed The team then moved in and arrested Tandoy. Manalastas
special administrator in Special Proceedings No. 84-V of the and Candolesas made a body search of the accused-appellant
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental (Rollo, p. 110). and took from him the marked money, as well as eight more
rolls/foils of marijuana and crushed leaves.: nad
In their brief, petitioner raised the following errors of
respondent Court of Appeals: (Brief for the Petitioner, p. 1-3); The arresting officers brought Tandoy to the Office of the Anti-
Narcotics Unit, Makati Police Station, for investigation by
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, Detective Marvin Pajilan. The accused-appellant chose to
vs. remain silent after having been informed of his constitutional
MARIO TANDOY y LIM, Defendant-Appellant.
These events were narrated under oath by De la Cruz,
Singayan and Pajilan. Microscopic, chemical and
chromotographic examination was performed on the
FACTS: confiscated marijuana by Raquel P. Angeles, forensic chemist
of the National Bureau of Investigation, who later testified that
On May 27, 1986, at about 3:30 p.m. Lt. Salido, Jr. of the
the findings were positive. The marijuana was offered as an
Makati Police Station dispatched Pfc. Herino de la Cruz, and
Detectives Pablo R. Singayan, Nicanor Candolesas, Luisito de
la Cruz, Estanislao Dalumpines, Antonio Manalastas and
Under the second assigned error, the accused-appellant
invokes the best evidence rule and questions the admission by
ISSUES: the trial court of the xerox copy only of the marked P10.00
1. The Court a quo erred in finding accused guilty beyond bill.:This assigned error centers on the trial court's admission
reasonable doubt of the crime charged despite lack of of the P10.00 bill marked money (Exh. E-2-A) which,
evidence to prove that he sold marijuana to the poseur-buyer. according to the appellant, is excluded under the best
evidence rule for being a mere xerox copy. Apparently,
2. The Court a quo erred in admitting in evidence against the appellant erroneously thinks that said marked money is an
accused Exh. "E-2-A" which is merely a xerox copy of the ordinary document falling under Sec. 2, Rule 130 of the
P10.00 bill allegedly used as buy-bust money. Revised Rules of Court which excludes the introduction of
secondary evidence except in the five (5) instances mentioned
RULING: The best evidence rule applies only when the contents of the
document are the subject of inquiry. Where the issue is only as
The trial court, which had the opportunity to observe the
to whether or not such document was actually executed, or
demeanor of the witnesses and to listen to their respective
exists, or in the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its
testimonies, gave more credence to the statements of the
execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and
arresting officers. Applying the presumption that they had
testimonial evidence is admissible.
performed their duties in a regular manner, it rejected
Tandoy's uncorroborated allegation that he had been Since the aforesaid marked money was presented by the
manhandled and framed. Tandoy had not submitted sufficient prosecution solely for the purpose of establishing its existence
evidence of his charges, let alone his admission that he had and not its contents, other substitutionary evidence, like a
no quarrel with the peace officers whom he had met only on xerox copy thereof, is therefore admissible without the need of
the day of his arrest. accounting for the original.
We are convinced from the evidence on record that the BASILIO DE VERA, LUIS DE VERA, FELIPE DE VERA,
prosecution has overcome the constitutional presumption of HEIRS OF EUSTAQUIA DE VERA-PAPA represented by
innocence in favor of the accused-appellant with proof beyond GLICERIA PAPA-FRANCISCO, et al., petitioners,
reasonable doubt of his guilt. He must therefore suffer the vs.
penalty prescribed by law for those who would visit the SPOUSES MARIANO AGUILAR and LEONA V. AGUILAR,
scourge of drug addiction upon our people. respondents.
G.R. No. 83377
February 9, 1993 by the respondents selling, transferring, and conveying the
parcel of land in favor of Marcos Bernabe.
Facts: • Testimony of the notary public before whom it was
Marcosa Bernabe owned a parcel of land in Bulacan. His • Testimony of Luis who was present during its execution
children are Basilio, Luis, Felipe, Eustaquia, Maria ( • Testimony of the representatives of the offices of the National
Petitioners), and Leona-married to Mariano Archives and the Provincial Assessor of Bulacan regarding the
Aguilar(Respondents) loss of the original document.

Basilio and Felipe mortgaged the parcel of land to Atty. Issue:

Whether petitioners have satisfactorily proven the loss of the
When the mortgage matured, spouses Maria and Mariano original deed of sale so as to allow the presentation of the
Aguilar redeemed the property and in turn Marcosa Bernabe secondary evidence (xeroxed copy).
sold the same to them as evidenced by a deed of absolute
sale and was registered at the Registry of Deeds in Bulacan. Ruling:
Since then, the spouses paid the taxes of the land.
No. Although the petitioners established the existence of the
Marcosa Bernabe died. alleged document, however it failed to establish the facts and
circumstances surrounding the loss or destruction of the same.
On 1980, petitioners demanded to respondents that as
children of Marcosa Bernabe, they were co-owners of the Secondary evidence is admissible when the original
property and demanded the partition thereof. They claimed documents were actually lost or destroyed. But prior to the
that the respondents had resold the property to their father introduction of such secondary evidence, the proponent must
Bernabe. establish the former existence of the instrument. The correct
order of proof is as follows: Existence; execution; loss;
Petitioners filed a case of Reconveyance against respondent contents although this order may be changed if necessary in
spouses. the discretion of the court.

The evidence presented by the plaintiff are the following: Loss may be shown by any person who knew the fact of its
loss, or by anyone who had made, in the judgment of the
• Exhibit A- A xerox copy of a Deed of Absolute Sale executed court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the
document or papers of similar character are usually kept by Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin Prollamante sued
the person in whose custody the document lost was, and has Martin’s alleged biological father, petitioner Arnel Agustin, for
been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation support and support pendente lite before the Quezon City
which is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument is RTC.
indeed lost.
In their complaint, respondents alleged that Arnel courted Fe,
However, all duplicates or counterparts must be accounted for after which they entered into an intimate relationship. Arnel
before using copies. For, since all the duplicates or supposedly impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday but despite
multiplicates are parts of the writing itself to be proved, no Arnel’s insistence on abortion, Fe decided to give birth to their
excuse for non-production of the writing itself can be regarded child out of wedlock, Martin. The baby’s birth certificate was
as established until it appears that all of its parts are purportedly signed by Arnel as the father. Arnel shouldered the
unavailable. pre-natal and hospital expenses but later refused Fe’s
repeated requests for Martin’s support despite his adequate
In the instance case petitioner Luis even claimed during the financial capacity and even suggested to have the child
trial that an original of the document existed and was committed for adoption. Arnel also denied having fathered the
submitted to the Office of the Register of Deeds of Malolos for child.
registration. The appellees, therefore, should have asked the On January 2001, while Fe was carrying five-month old Martin
office to produce it in court and if it could not be produced for at the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking lot, Arnel
one reason or another should have called the Register of sped off in his van, with the open car door hitting Fe’s leg. This
Deeds or his representative to explain why. That they failed to incident was reported to the police. Several months later, Fe
do. The loss or destruction of the original of the document in was diagnosed with leukemia and has, since then, been
question has not, therefore, been established. Hence, undergoing chemotherapy. Fe and Martin then sued Arnel for
secondary evidence of it is inadmissible. support.

Hence, all originals must be accounted for before secondary Fe and Martin moved for the issuance of an order directing all
evidence can be given of anyone. This petitioners failed to do. the parties to submit themselves to DNA paternity testing,
Records show that petitioners merely accounted for three out which Arnel opposed by invoking his constitutional right
of four or five original copies. against self-incrimination and moving to dismiss the complaint
for lack of cause of action.
Agustin v CA
The trial court denied the MTD and ordered the parties to
Facts: submit themselves to DNA paternity testing at the expense of
the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, good... Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by
thus this petition. proper safeguards that enhance public service and the
common good.

Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of legality of

Issue: searches and seizures, and the infringement of privacy of
communication where the constitutional right to privacy has
W/N the respondent court erred in denying the petitioner’s
MTD been critically at issue. Petitioner’s case involves neither and,
as already stated, his argument that his right against self-
W/N the court erred in directing parties to subject to DNA incrimination is in jeopardy holds no water.
paternity testing and was a form of unreasonable search
Ramirez v CA

G.R. No. 93833 | September 28, 1995 | J. Katipunan

1. No. The trial court properly denied the petitioner’s motion to
dismiss because the private respondents’ complaint on its face A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro Ramirez
showed that they had a cause of action against the petitioner. in the Quezon City RTC alleging that the private respondent,
The elements of a cause of action are: (1) the plaintiff’s Ester Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter’s office, allegedly
primary right and the defendant’s corresponding primary duty, vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a “hostile and furious
and (2) the delict or wrongful act or omission of the defendant, mood” and in a manner offensive to petitioner’s dignity and
by which the primary right and duty have been violated. The personality,” contrary to morals, good customs and public
cause of action is determined not by the prayer of the policy.”
complaint but by the facts alleged. In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim
2. No. In Ople v. Torres,the Supreme Court struck down the transcript of the event and sought damages. The transcript on
proposed national computerized identification system which the civil case was based was culled from a tape
embodied in Administrative Order No. 308, we said: recording of the confrontation made by petitioner.

As a result of petitioner’s recording of the event and alleging

In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the right to
privacy does not bar all incursions into individual privacy. The that the said act of secretly taping the confrontation was illegal,
right is not intended to stifle scientific and technological private respondent filed a criminal case before the Pasay RTC
advancements that enhance public service and the common for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled “An Act to prohibit
and penalize wire tapping and other related violations of The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it
private communication, and other purposes.” illegal for any person, not authorized by all the parties to any
private communication to secretly record such communication
Petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information, which the by means of a tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as
RTC later on granted, on the ground that the facts charged do to whether the party sought to be penalized by the statute
not constitute an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. ought to be a party other than or different from those involved
in the private communication. The statute’s intent to penalize
The CA declared the RTC’s decision null and void and denied
the petitioner’s MR, hence the instant petition. all persons unauthorized to make such recording is
underscored by the use of the qualifier “any”. Consequently,
as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded, “even a
(person) privy to a communication who records his private
Issue: conversation with another without the knowledge of the latter
(will) qualify as a violator” under this provision of R.A. 4200.
W/N the Anti-Wiretapping Act applies in recordings by one of
the parties in the conversation A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover,
supports the respondent court’s conclusion that in enacting
R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal,
Held: unauthorized tape recording of private conversations or
communications taken either by the parties themselves or by
Yes. Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, ” An Act to Prohibit and third persons.
Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of
Private Communication and Other Purposes,” provides: The nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of
the statute. The substance of the same need not be
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being specifically alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200
authorized by all the parties to any private communication or penalizes are the acts of secretly overhearing, intercepting or
spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other recording private communications by means of the devices
device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an individual
record such communication or spoken word by using a device made a secret recording of a private communication by means
commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under
detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or however Section 1 of R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in
otherwise described. his COMMENT before the respondent court: “Nowhere (in the
said law) is it required that before one can be regarded as a
violator, the nature of the conversation, as well as its TEOFILA L. VDA. DE JALAGAT, for herself and in
communication to a third person should be professed.” representation of her minor children, DOMINADOR, LEA and
Petitioner’s contention that the phrase “private communication” EMMANUEL JALAGAT, defendants-appellees.
in Section 1 of R.A. 4200 does not include “private
conversations” narrows the ordinary meaning of the word Bonifacio P. Legaspi for plaintiff-appellant.
“communication” to a point of absurdity. The word
communicate comes from the latin word communicare, Cecilio P. Luminarias for defendants-appellees.
meaning “to share or to impart.” In its ordinary signification,
communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting
signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or
imparting, as in a conversation, or signifies the “process by FERNANDO, J.:
which meanings or thoughts are shared between individuals
through a common system of symbols (as language signs or The specific legal question raised in this appeal from an order
gestures)” of dismissal by the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental,
presided by the Hon. Benjamin K. Gorospe, one which has not
These definitions are broad enough to include verbal or non- as yet been the subject of a definitive ruling is whether or not
verbal, written or expressive communications of “meanings or on a motion to dismiss on the ground of res judicata that the
thoughts” which are likely to include the emotionally-charged cause of action is barred by a prior judgment, a lower court
exchange, on February 22, 1988, between petitioner and may take judicial notice of such previous case decided by him
private respondent, in the privacy of the latter’s office. Any resulting in the prior judgment relied upon. Judge Gorospe
doubts about the legislative body’s meaning of the phrase answered in the affirmative. So do we. An affirmance is thus
“private communication” are, furthermore, put to rest by the called for.
fact that the terms “conversation” and “communication” were
interchangeably used by Senator Tañada in his Explanatory The case started with the complaint for the quieting of title to
Note to the Bill. real property filed by plaintiff, now appellant, Gabriel Baguio,
on February, 14, 1966. There was on March 7, 1966 a motion
to dismiss filed by defendants, now appellees, on the ground
that the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment. This
was the argument advanced: "The instant complaint or case,
GABRIEL BAGUIO, plaintiff-Appellant, besides being clearly unfounded and malicious, is identical to
vs. or the same as that Civil Case No. 1574 filed by the same
plaintiff and against Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, now
deceased and whose legal heirs and successors in interest may be pleaded in abatement of any subsequent action
are the very defendants in the instant complaint or Civil Case against the same parties over the same issues and the same
No. 2639. Said Civil Case No. 1574 was filed on October 7, subject-matter by the same plaintiff. [So ordered]"2 Hence, this
1958 for 'Recovery of Possession and Ownership of Real appeal.
Estate' and entitled Gabriel Baguio, plantiff, versus Melecio
alias Mening Jalagat, defendant, involving practically the same The order of dismissal, as noted at the outset, must be
property and practically the same parties as defendants are sustained. It is in accordance with law.
the widow and the children, respectively, thus the legal or 1. The sole error assigned is that a bar by prior judgement
forced heirs of the deceased Melecio Jalagat. That the said cannot be raised in a motion to dismiss when such ground
Case No. 1574, which is identical to or is the same case as the does not appear on the face of the complaint. What
instant one, has already been duly and finally terminated as
immediately calls attention in the rather sketchy and in
could be clear from [an] order of this Honorable Court [dated conclusive discussion in the six-page brief of applicant is that
December 6, 1965]."1 There was an opposition on the part of there was no denial as to the truth of the statement made by
plaintiff made on March 26, 1966 on the ground that for prior Judge Gorospe that there was a previous dismissal the same
judgment or res judicata to suffice as a basis for dismissal it
plaintiff's complaint against the predecessor-in-interest of
must be apparent on the face of the complaint. It was then defendants, who as expressly admitted by appellant was the
alleged that there was nothing in the complaint from which deceased husband of one of them and father of the rest. There
such a conclusion may be inferred. Then, on September 26, was no denial either of the property involved being the same
1966, came the order complained of worded thus: "Acting on and of the finality of the decsion in the previous case which
the motion to dismiss filed by counsel for the defendants under would show that appellant's claim was devoid of any support in
date of March 4, 1966, anchored on the ground that plaintiff's law. It would be therefore futile for the court to continue with
cause of action is barred by a prior judgement which this Court the case as there had been such a prior judgment certainly
finds to be well-founded as it has already dismissed plaintiff's binding on appellant. What then was there for the lower court
complaint in Civil Case No. 1574 against Melecio Jalagat alias to do? Was there any sense in its being engaged in what was
Mening Jalagat, defendants predecessor in interest from essentially a fruitless, endeavor as the outcome was
whom they have derived their rights, in an order dated
December 6, 1965, pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 17 of the
new Rules of Court, which case involved the same parcel of Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-deserved reproach
land as the one in the instant case, as prayed for, Civil Case if the Rules of Court would sanction such a proceeding
No. 2639 should be as it is hereby [dismissed]. The Court's distinguished by nothing but its futility. It ought to be clear even
previous dismissal of Civil Case No. 1574 has the effect of an to appellant that under the circumstances, the lower court
adjudication upon the merits and consequently is a bar to and certainly could take judicial notice of the finality of a judgment
in a case that was previously pending and thereafter decided DECISION
by it. That was all that was done by the lower court in
decreeing the dismissal. Certainly such an order is not PUNO, J.:
contrary to law. A citation from the comments of former Chief The case at bar concerns a boundary dispute involving 6,471
Justice Moran is relevant. Thus: "Courts have also taken square meters of land in San Juan, Lubao, Pampanga.
judicial notice of previous cases to determine whether or not Petitioner spouses RONALD and VALENTINE HUTCHISON
the case pending is a moot one, or whether or not a previous
seek the reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in
ruling is applicable in the case under consideration."3 CA-G.R. CV No. 66077, dated February 19, 2003, holding that
2. There is another equally compelling consideration. respondent ENRIQUE M. BUSCAS is entitled to the
Appellant undoubtedly had recourse to a remedy which under possession of the disputed area.
the law then in force could be availed of. It would have served The records show that on October 1, 1987, petitioner spouses
the cause of justice better, not to mention the avoidance of purchased from V.A. Development Enterprises, Inc. a 76,207-
needless expense on his part and the vexation to which sq. m. land (designated as Lot No. 7216) in San Juan, Lubao,
appellees were subjected if he did reflect a little more on the Pampanga. They occupied the land after a title was issued in
matter. Then the valuable time of this Tribunal would not have
their names.
been frittered away on a useless find hopeless appeal. It has,
ever been the guiding principle from Alonso v. Villamor,4 a On August 22, 1989, one Juanita Arrastia, the owner of a lot
1910 decision, that a litigant should not be allowed to worship adjacent to that of petitioner spouses, sold a portion of her
at the altar of technicality. That is not to dispense justice land to respondent. The transaction, covering 7,581 sq. m.
according to law. Parties, and much more so their counsel, (designated as Lot No. 7047-A), was evidenced by a Quitclaim
should ever keep such an imperative of our legal system in Deed in favor of respondent. Respondent occupied 1,100 sq.
mind.5 m. of his land. However, he failed to register the portion of the
lot in his name and title to the property remained in Arrastias

On January 10, 1995, respondent commissioned geodetic

engineer Narciso Manansala to survey his property.
Manansala prepared a sketch/subdivision plan of respondents
SPS. RONALD HUTCHISON and VALENTINE NAVALLE- lot. His survey revealed that 6,471 sq. m. thereof was
HUTCHISON, petitioners, vs. ENRIQUE M. occupied by petitioner spouses.
BUSCAS, respondent.
Respondent sent a demand letter to petitioner spouses to After trial, the RTC dismissed[3] the complaint for lack of merit.
vacate the encroached area. Petitioner spouses refused and It ruled that respondents Quitclaim Deed was not sufficient
insisted that it was part of their land. Thus, respondent filed a proof of ownership; that respondent failed to clearly identify the
complaint for unlawful detainer (Civil Case No. 1329) against property claimed as it was only marked with an X sign, and;
petitioner spouses before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of that petitioner spouses, as registered owners, are entitled to
Lubao, Pampanga. After trial, the MTC ruled in favor of possession of the disputed lot.
respondent. However, on appeal, the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) dismissed the case. It ruled that MTC had no On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the
jurisdiction over the subject matter as it is a boundary dispute trial court. [4] It ruled that respondent is entitled to possession
and the proper action should have been an accion of the disputed area as he was able to prove his claim of
reinvindicatoria before the RTC. ownership and the identity of the subject land.

Consequently, respondent filed a case for accion Hence, this appeal where petitioner spouses assign the
reinvindicatoria against petitioner spouses with the RTC of following errors:
Guagua, Pampanga.[1] At the trial, respondent adduced in I
evidence the Quitclaim Deed to prove his title over the
disputed area. He likewise testified on the survey conducted THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION
by Manansala. Another geodetic engineer, Angelito H. Nicdao, THAT THE RESPONDENT SUFFICIENTLY IDENTIFIED THE
testified that in the unlawful detainer case earlier filed by the PROPERTY HE SEEKS TO RECOVER.
respondent, he was directed by the MTC judge hearing the
case to conduct a verification survey of the parties lots. In II
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 survey revealed that petitioner spouses
encroached on 6,471 sq. m. of the adjacent land claimed by
respondent. Respondent offered in evidence the verification
plan and report of Nicdao relative to his survey. III

On the part of petitioner spouses, petitioner Valentine THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS LEGAL
Hutchison testified that she purchased Lot No. 7216 in Lubao, CONCLUSION THAT THE RESPONDENT STRENGTHENED
Pampanga, covering an area of 76,207 sq. m., and title thereto HIS TITLE BY THE SURVEY HE CAUSED TO BE
was duly issued in her name and that of her spouse. PREPARED.
IV principle that the suitor who relies upon the existence of a fact
should be called upon to prove it.[6]
OF LAW THAT THE RESPONDENT PROVED BY A Article 434 of the New Civil Code[7] provides that to
PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE THAT HIS PROPERTY successfully maintain an action to recover the ownership of a
WAS ENCROACHED UPON BY THE PETITIONERS. real property, the person who claims a better right to it must
prove two (2) things: first, the identity of the land claimed, and;
V second, his title thereto. In the case at bar, we find
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ITS CONCLUSION that respondent failed to establish these two (2) legal
OF THE 6,471 SQUARE-METERS DISPUTED LOT, AND The first requisite: the identity of the land. In an accion
THE PETITIONERS ARE THUS ORDERED TO VACATE THE reinvindicatoria, the person who claims that he has a better
SAME. right to the property must first fix the identity of the land he is
Petitioner spouses contend that there was a gross claiming by describing the location, area and boundaries
misapprehension of facts by the Court of Appeals and its legal thereof.[8] Anent the second requisite, i.e., the claimants title
conclusions were contrary to law and jurisprudence. They over the disputed area, the rule is that a party can claim a right
assert that respondent failed to identify the portion of land he of ownership only over the parcel of land that was the object of
the deed.[9] Respondent sought to prove these legal requisites
was claiming and prove his ownership thereof. They allege
that: (a) respondents identification of his 7,581 sq. m. property by anchoring his claim on the Quitclaim Deed over a portion of
with a mere X mark on the Annex A of the Quirclaim Deed is land which was executed by Arrastia in his favor. However, a
insufficient as the attached Annex A was not presented at the cursory reading of the Quitclaim Deed shows that the subject
land was described, thus:
trial, and; (b) the surveys conducted by the geodetic engineers
cannot be used to identify respondents lot as they were based x x x a portion of that property situated at San Juan, Lubao,
on the records of the Bureau of Lands and not on the Pampanga which portion subject of this sale consists of 7,581
document of title of respondent. square meters more or less, as indicated particularly in the
We find for the petitioner spouses. herein attached plan marked as Annex A and made an integral
part hereof, and the subject property with an X sign.
In civil cases, the law requires that the party who alleges a fact
and substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue has the Thus, the Quitclaim Deed specified only the extent of the area
burden of proving it.[5] This evidentiary rule is based on the sold, i.e., 7,581 sq. m. of Arrastias land. Annex A of the Deed,
where the entire lot of Arrastia was particularly described and
where the specific portion of the property sold to respondent Annex A of the Quitclaim Deed or produce secondary
was marked, was not presented by respondent at the trial. As evidence, after proof of its loss, destruction or
the Deed itself failed to mention the metes and bounds of the unavailability,[13] is fatal to his cause.
land subject of the sale, it cannot be successfully used by
respondent to identify the area he was claiming and prove his Finally, it bears stress that in an action to recover real
ownership thereof. Indeed, the presentation of the Annex A is property, the settled rule is that the plaintiff must rely on the
essential as what defines a piece of land is not the size strength of his title, not on the weakness of the defendants
mentioned in the instrument but the boundaries thereof which title.[14] This requirement is based on two (2) reasons: first, it is
enclose the land and indicate its exact limits.[10] possible that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is the true
owner of the property in dispute,[15] and second, the burden of
Neither can the surveys of the lots of petitioner spouses and proof lies on the party who substantially asserts the affirmative
respondent prove the identity of the contested area and of an issue for he who relies upon the existence of a fact
respondents ownership thereof. The records show that when should be called upon to prove that fact.[16] In the case at bar,
geodetic engineers Manansala and Nicdao surveyed the as respondent failed to prove his title to and identity of the
lands, they merely relied on the self-serving statement of contested land, there exists no legal ground upon which to turn
respondent that he owns the portion of the lot adjacent to over the possession of the disputed area to him.
petitioner spouses. They were not shown the Deed of
Quitclaim and its Annex A or any other document of title which IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision
described the specific portion of the land allegedly conveyed to of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 66077, dated
respondent.[11] Thus, the surveys cannot be given evidentiary February 19, 2003, is hereby reversed and set aside. The
weight to prove the identity of the land sold to respondent and Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Guagua, Pampanga,
his ownership thereof. dismissing the complaint for accion reinvindicatoria in Civil
Case No. G-3183, is reinstated. No pronouncement as to
Moreover, the rules on evidence provide that where the costs.
contents of the document are the facts in issue, the best
evidence is the instrument itself.[12] In the case at bar, the SO ORDERED.
identity of the land claimed and respondents ownership thereof Ebreo v Ebreo
are the very facts in issue. The best evidence to prove these
facts is the Quitclaim Deed and its Annex A where respondent DECISION
derives his title and 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
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Evelyn Beraa are the son and daughter-in-law, respectively, of
defendant Felino, one of the five children of Felipe Ebreo.

Felipe Ebreo left to his children an untitled parcel of land

Does an annotation in a tax declaration of an alleged Deed of situated in Barangay Sampaga, Batangas City, more
Sale sufficiently prove conveyance of title to a property? This particularly described as follows:
is the issue presented to Us in the present petition.

Isang palagay na lupang palayanin o linangin ipinamumuwis s

The factual antecedents of this case are narrated herein: a ilalim ng Tax Declaration No. 39949 S-
1953, na ang mga karatig sa Ilaya ay Prudencia Coz, sa Silan
gan ay Pablo Cantro at
A Complaint dated 04 January 1994, docketed as Civil Case Santiago Banaag, sa ibaba ay Ilat (Creek) at sa Kanluran ay
No. 4132 for Partition, Reconveyance, Accounting and Marcos at Fortunato Banaag may luwang na 31,781
Damages, was filed by Gil Ebreo, represented by his Attorney- metros kuwadrados humigit kumulang at
in- may balor amiliorada na halagang P950.00, lalong kilala sa Lo
Fact Felixberto Ebreo, Flaviano Ebreo and Homobono Cueto a te 9046 ng sukat katastro dito sa Batangas.[2]
gainst petitioners Felino Ebreo, Spouses Antonio Ebreo and
Evelyn P. Beraa-Ebreo,
Ignacio Ebreo and Eleuteria Cueto before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Batangas City, Branch 7.
Pursuant to the subdivision made by their father Felipe, Lot
No. 9046 was subdivided into six lots identified as Lots A, B,
From plaintiffs account in their complaint, Felipe Ebreo died C, D, E and F.[3]
intestate in 1926 leaving behind as heirs his five children,
Gil, Flaviano, Felino, Ignacio,
and Felipa.[1] Subsequently, Felipa died leaving behind her On 11 September 1967, the five heirs of Felipe Ebreo, through
heirs, Genoveva, Homobono and Eleuteria all themselves and their representatives, executed and signed a
surnamed Cueto. Genoveva died in 1991 without any document
issue. Defendants-spouses Antonio Ebreo and entitled, Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi ng Lupa[4] where
they extrajudiciallypartitioned the above-described property Santiago Puyo. Upon the sale by Santiago Puyo of Lot 9046-
except the portion known as Lot No. 9046-F. As agreed upon F to Antonio Ebreo on 23 July 1976, Tax Declaration No. 4042
by these heirs, Lot No. 9046-F, with an area of 13,799 square was cancelled and a new one, Tax Declaration No.
meters, shall remain under the co-ownership of 50669,[8] for the year 1977, was issued in the name of
Gil, Flaviano, Felino, Ignacio and the heirs Antonio Ebreo. This Tax Declaration was later on revised and
of Felipa Ebreo. However, plaintiffs were surprised to discover cancelled by Tax Declaration No. 075-534 upon the marriage
that Lot 9046-F was declared for taxation purposes in the of defendant Antonio Ebreo to defendant Evelyn Beraa. From
name of defendant Antonio Ebreo. Based on plaintiffs recitals, 1977 up to 1994, defendants-spouses Antonio Ebreo and
they alleged that they never sold, ceded, conveyed or Evelyn Beraa religiously paid the taxes due on the land.[9]
transferred their rights, share and co-ownership over Lot 9046-
Defendants further alleged that the Deed of Absolute Sale of
Lot No. 9046-F by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to
Answering the complaint, the defendants countered that after Santiago Puyo was executed and ratified sometime in 1968
the execution of the Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi ng Lupa, by before Attorney Doroteo M. Chavez of Batangas City. From
and among the heirs of the late Felipe Ebreo, Lot 9046-F was 1968 to 1976, Mr. Santiago Puyo possessed said lot
sold by the heirs to Santiago Puyo. By virtue of this sale, the peacefully, continuously, publicly and in the concept of
corresponding Real Property Tax Declaration was transferred owner. As stated earlier, on 23 July 1976, Lot No. 9046-F was
in the name of Santiago Puyo as owner. However, the deed of sold by Santiago Puyo by way of Absolute Sale, to defendant
sale evidencing this transaction was never presented. Antonio Ebreo. The Deed of Absolute Sale
or Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa[10] was duly executed and ratified
As narrated by the defendants, Tax Declaration No. before one Attorney Meynardo L. Atienza.
39241,[5] beginning in the year 1969 covering Lot 9046-F was
under the names of the heirs of Felipe Ebreo. Thereafter, upon After due proceedings, a decision[11] dated 18 August 1997,
the sale of the lot by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to was rendered by the RTC which disposed:
Santiago Puyo, Tax Declaration No. 39241 was cancelled and
a new one, Tax Declaration No. 48221[6] dated 15 January
1973, was issued in the name of Santiago Puyo. On this tax WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is rendered
declaration, the alleged sale of Lot 9046-F by the Heirs of as follows:
Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo was annotated. Soon, Tax
Declaration No. 48221 was cancelled by Tax Declaration No.
4042[7] for the year 1974, still in the name of
(1) Ordering the parties-in-interest (heirs of The main issue in this case is whether or not a valid transfer of
Felipe Ebreo and/or their representatives) to partition Lot No. Lot No. 9046-F was effected which conveyed ownership of the
9046-F among themselves by proper instruments of property to Santiago Puyo. The defendant-appellants rely on
conveyance under Sec. 2, Rule 69 of the 1997 Rules of Civil the Deed of Sale supposedly executed by the heirs of
Procedure, and in default thereof, the partition shall be Felipe Ebreo in favor of Santiago Puyo. However, defendant-
conducted in accordance with Sec. 3, et. seq., of the same appellants failed to produce the alleged Deed of Sale in
Rule. violation of the Best Evidence Rule.

(2) Ordering the dismissal of the Counterclaim of the xxxx


The best evidence rule, applied to documentary evidence,

(3) Ordering the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the operates as a rule of exclusion, that is, secondary
plaintiffs the sum of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (or substitutionary) evidence cannot inceptively be introduced
(P20,000.00), Philippine Currency, for and as attorneys fee. as the original writing itself must be produced in court, except
in the four instances mentioned in Section 3. (Regalado,
Remedial Law Compendium, Volume II, Seventh Revised
(4) Ordering the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the Edition, p. 555). Defendant-appellants miserably failed to
prove that their case is included among the exceptions to the
costs of suit.[12]

The testimony of Felino Ebreo regarding the execution of the

Defendants- appellants appealed the decision of the RTC to Deed of Sale cannot be given credence. In fact, it was
the Court of Appeals. In a decision[13] dated 27 February 2003, contradicted by his supposed co-sellers and co-owners. His
the Court of Appeals denied the appeal for lack of merit and claim that it was borrowed by Eleuteria Cueto and never
affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. The Court of returned to him was also refuted by Eleuteria Cueto. Not only
Appeals held: are the testimonies of Felino Ebreo and his son
Antonio Ebreo self-serving, they are also uncorroborated by
independent witnesses. Defendant-appellants did not even
look for a copy of the deed of sale on the notarial registry of communicated to the other co-owners. (Trinidad v. Court of
Atty. Chavez, the notary public who allegedly notarized the Appeals, 289 SCRA 188).[14]
deed of sale. Neither did they look for a copy in the archives of
the Court where it should have been submitted as required by
the notarial law. In the words of the trial court, the decisive
documentary evidence remains an elusive phantom and
conspicuously unproven. The controversial deed of sale not The motion for reconsideration of the defendants-appellants
having been produced as required by the rules of evidence, was denied in the resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 22
the trial court was correct in ruling that Santiago Puyo acquired September 2003.[15]
no rights whatsoever to Lot No. 9046-F.

Hence this petition for review on certiorari.

Since there was no valid transfer of the ownership of the
subject lot from the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo, the
subsequent transfer thereof to Antonio Ebreo is ineffectual. It
The following issues are submitted for resolution in this
is essential that the seller is the owner of the property he is
selling (Noel vs. Court of Appeals, 240 SCRA 78). Moreover,
the fact that the tax declarations 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 that a 1) Whether or not the annotation of the Deed of Sale
tax declaration may be issued to any claimant even if it is not appearing in Tax Declaration No. 48221 is a sufficient proof of
supported by any deed. transfer in line with the doctrine of presumption of regularity of
performance of official duty.

Neither can defendant-appellants open, adverse, notorious

and continuous possession of the land for several years 2) Whether or not entries in official records are
amount to ownership for they are co-owners of the land as admissible in evidence to establish the fact of valid transfer of
evidenced by the Kasulatan ng Pagbabahagi Ng Lupa.A co- Lot No. 9046-F that effectively conveyed ownership of the
owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co- property from the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo.[16]
owners absent a clear repudiation of co-ownership duly
uninterrupted possession until the Complaint for
Partition, Reconveyance and Damages was filed by the
After a painstaking review of the records, we find the petition respondents.
bereft of merit. First, it is important to re-state the general rule
that the findings 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 court provided they are On the basis of the above narrations, petitioners insist that
supported by substantial evidence on record, as in the case at there was a valid transfer of the lot from the heirs of
bench.[17] Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo, and thereafter from
Santiago Puyo to them. To buttress this claim of sale by the
heirs to Santiago Puyo, petitioners presented the testimony of
Antonio Pajilan of the City Assessors Office of Batangas City
As recounted by defendants, now petitioners, Antonio and who testified on the annotation in Tax Declaration No.
Evelyn Ebreo, Lot 9046-F was sold by the heirs of 48221. The annotation reads:
Felipe Ebreo initially to Santiago Puyo sometime in 1967 or
1968 as evidenced by a deed of sale executed and ratified
before Atty. Doroteo Chavez
in Batangas City. Santiago Puyo caused the transfer of the tax Deed of sale
declaration in his name and caused the sale to be annotated D.V. P2,500.00
therein. Only this annotation in the tax declaration was offered
as proof of the sale. Santiago Puyo took possession, cultivated Doc. on file
the land, exercised uninterrupted ownership and paid real
estate taxes thereon for a period of eight years. Doc. No. 312

Page No. 17

Petitioners went on further to state that the Deed of Sale from Book No. VI
the heirs of Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo could not be
Series of 1967[18]
presented 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 housing their office. From then
on, petitioners advance that they have paid the real estate
taxes on the land and were in open, continous and
The testimony of Pajilan went on as follows:
Q You are also required by this Honorable Court to bring a
copy of the tax declaration No. 48221, do you have copy of the
Q I am showing to you a tax declaration No. 32941 in the same?
name of Gil Flaviano, Felino,
Ignacio, Genoveva, Eleuteria Cueto which is already marked
as Exhibit 10 for the defendants in this case and Exhibit F for
the plaintiff, will you please examine the same and identify it? A I have copy of that tax declaration, Sir.

A Witness is examining the document. I think this tax Q Will you please produce the same?
declaration is an owners copy, Sir. Witness is producing a copy of tax declaration No. 32941 in
the name of Santiago Puyo.

Q But this tax declaration was issued by your office, the City
Assessor of Batangas?
A Can you explain how this tax declaration was placed in the
name of Santiago Puyo?

A Yes, Sir.
Q Previously this tax declaration was owned by
Gil, Flaviano, Felino,
Q Can you inform before this Honorable Court, if this tax Ignacio Ebreo and Genoveva, Eleuteria and Homobono Cueto
declaration was still existing in your office or a copy thereof? under PD 32941 this tax declaration is under 48221 in the
name of Santiago Puyo and this was transferred by a virtue of
Deed of Sale annotated in the tax declaration and in the Deed
of Sale and purchase value was there: 2,500.00 document
A This tax declaration could not be found because our office
docketed No. 312, Page 17, Book No. 6, Series of
was burned on May 29, 1979, it could not be found anymore,
Sir. 1967, Doroteo de Chavez, the Notary Public, Sir.
Q Can you explain why this annotation was placed or written in Felipe Ebreo to Santiago Puyo, was employed in the said
this tax declaration No. 48221? office only in the year 1978. Thus, he did not make nor did he
witness the causing of the annotation as he was not yet
employed in the said office at that time. Likewise, he was
A This was placed under Tax Declaration No. 48221 because neither present when the deed of sale was executed nor did
the office of the City Assessor transferred the tax declaration he personally see the said deed of sale. For these reasons,
the testimony of Pajilan is inconclusive.
and annotated the instrument used in the transfer of the tax
declaration, Sir.

Petitioners next argue that Tax Declaration No. 48221 in the

Q Do you have copy of that document which is the basis of the name of Santiago Puyo enjoys the presumption of regularity in
transfer? its issuance. It is a good time as any to re-state that this rule is
a mere presumption, not absolute nor inflexible and applies
only in the absence of proof to the contrary.[21] Besides, the
mere fact that the disputed property may have been declared
A We could not be located (sic) because as I have said earlier for taxation purposes in the name of the petitioners does not
our office was burned on May 23, 1979, Sir. necessarily prove ownership. In the same manner, neither
does the payment of taxes conclusively prove ownership of the
land paid for.[22] It is merely an indicium of a claim of
Q So what does this phrase Deed of Sale, what do you mean ownership.[23]
by that?

Petitioners also presented the testimony of Felino Ebreo,

A I placed that, that is the title of the instrument used in the father of petitioner Antonio Ebreo, who testified that the heirs
transfer of this tax declaration, Sir.[19] of Felipe Ebreo sold Lot 9046 F to Santiago Puyo.[24] When
queried on the whereabouts of the document of
sale, Felino alleged that it was borrowed by his
niece Eleuteria Cueto who is the daughter of one of the
It is worth noting that Antonio Pajilan, an employee of the City
heirs, Felipa Ebreo.[25] According to Felino, Eleuteria refused to
Assessors Office of Batangas City[20] who testified regarding
return the document and even got angry when he tried to
Tax Declaration No. 48221 dated 15 January 1973 on which
demand its return.[26] From Felinos account,[27] there are three
was annotated the alleged sale between the heirs of
copies of the missing deed of sale. Lamentably, petitioners
failed to present any one of them.
(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be
produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;

Finally, petitioners presented Asuncion Aguado, step-daughter

of Santiago Puyo, who testified that her stepfather
Santiago Puyo bought the subject lot from (b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of
the Ebreo heirs.[28] Similar the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter
to Pajilanstestimony, Aguados testimony cannot be given fails to produce it after reasonable notice;
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 present when the deed (c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other
was executed. In her testimony she merely stated that her documents which cannot be examined in court without great
stepfather paid taxes for his real estate properties but could loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is
not state with specificity if the payment was made for Lot only the general result of the whole; and

(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a

To summarize, the testimonies of Pajilan, Felino Ebreo and public officer or is recorded in a public office.
Asuncion Aguado are at most secondary evidence; hence,
they are inadmissible considering that the petitioners,
as offerors of the Deed of Sale, thereof failed to prove any of
the exceptions provided in Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court and to establish conditions for their admissibility.[30] Even Under this rule, it is axiomatic that before a party is allowed to
if they are admitted, they have no probative value.[31] This rule adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the
provides: original of a deed or document, the party has to prove with the
requisite quantum of evidence, the loss or destruction or
SEC. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions.
unavailability of all the copies of the original of the said deed or
When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no
document. As former Supreme Court Chief Justice Manuel V.
evidence shall be admissible other than the original document
Moran declared:
itself except in the following cases:
On this score, the factual findings of the trial court are worth
repeating. It held:
Where there are two or more originals, it must appear that all
of them have been lost, destroyed or cannot be produced
before secondary evidence can be given of any one. For
example, a lease was executed in duplicate, one being The pivotal document of sale allegedly executed by the heirs
retained by the lessor and the other by the lessee. Either copy of Felipe Ebreo in favor of Santiago Puyo and chiefly relied
was, therefore, an original, and could have been introduced as upon by defendant Antonio Ebreo as the derivative basis of his
evidence of the contract without the production of the ownership is sadly missing and remains a phantom in the
other. One of these originals could not be found. The non- dark. The testimonies of Felino Ebreo, Asuncion Aguado and
production of the other was not accounted for it was held that Antonio Ebreo to prove by way of recollection of witnesses that
under these circumstances, the rule is that no secondary Lot 9046-F was sold to Santiago Puyo sometime in 1967
evidence of the contents of either is admissible until it is shown for P2,500.00 by virtue of a deed notarized before deceased
that originals must be accounted for before secondary Atty. Doroteo Chavez merits scant consideration. They were
evidence can be given of any one. the verbal say-so of interested parties and attributed acts to a
party whose lips had been sealed by death. Quite evidently,
their testimony should be taken cum grano salis with a grain of
Indeed, before a party is allowed to adduce secondary
evidence to prove the contents of the original of the deed,
the offeror is mandated to prove the following:
Both the testimonies of Asuncion Aguado and
Antonio Ebreo lacked the legal underpinning needed to prove
the deed of sale. Their testimonies were not recollection of
(a) the execution and existence of the original (b) the loss and witnesses who saw the execution and delivery of the
destruction of the original or its non-production in court; and document. According to Sec. 4, Rule 130, the contents of the
(c) unavailability of the original is not due to bad faith on the lost writing may be proved, inter alia, by the recollection of
part of the offeror.[32] witnesses. As matters stand, however, Aguados testimony
relates not to the execution of the document but to what her
father (Santiago Puyo) did with the property after it was
already acquired. (t.s.n. pp. 4-7, Direct, May 17, 1995)
Similarly, Antonio Ebreos testimony does not refer to the
execution and delivery of the deed of sale but of having
allegedly seen said document when he purchased the lot from the name of Antonio Ebreo was signed
Santiago Puyo. He testified that when I bought it from by Felino Ebreo himself (Exh. 2). This illustrated a dialectical
Santiago Puyo, he brought with him the Tax Declaration in the connection between him and his favored son
name of Santiago Puyo as well as the deed of sale between Antonio Ebreo. Finally, Felino Ebreos claim that he could not
my father and his brothers and Santiago Puyo. (t.s.n. pp. 13- produce it because it was borrowed by his
14, Direct, Aug. 16, 1995). In fine, they were not witnesses to niece Eleuteria Cueto and never returned to him was squarely
the execution and delivery of the document of sale to qualify refuted by said Eleuteria Cueto when she testified in rebuttal
their testimonies under the phrase recollection of witnesses. for the plaintiffs. (t.s.n. pp. 9, 12-13, Direct, Feb. 28,
1995) (See testimony of Eleuteria Cueto in rebuttal on July 17,
Neither does the testimony of Felino Ebreo evoke faith and
confidence. His salutary recollection of the missing document
failed to instill credulity. For one, it was uncorroborated by any While many things have been said about the crucial deed of
of the parties to the alleged deed of sale. In fact, such sale sale, the decisive documentary evidence remains an elusive
was directly controverted by his supposed co-sellers and co- phantom and conspicuously unproven. The ownership of
owners Gil and Flaviano. (t.s.n. pp. 7-8, Direct, July 18, Santiago Puyo becomes moreover doubtful because while the
1994; t.s.n. pp. 22-23, Cross, Sept. 29, 1994) Then too, it alleged sale was executed by the heirs of Felipe Ebreo in 1967
appears rather unusual for the heirs to retain Lot 9046-F in co- yet the earliest Tax Declaration in the name of
ownership in their partition agreement of 1967 and sell the Santiago Puyo was issued only in 1973 (Exh. 9) or 1974 (Exh.
said Lot that very same year (1967) if not on the same 4) as far as the record of this case can reveal.The issuance of
occasion. Felino Ebreo did not give the exact date of the a new tax declaration in the name of the sunrise owner (Puyo)
supposed sale to Santiago Puyo except to say that it was sold which was late by six (6) or seven (7) years naturally cast a
in 1967. The Court got the impression, though, that it was on slur on the veracity of the sale.
the same occasion as the partition agreement. (t.s.n. pp. 6-7,
14-16, Direct, Feb. 28, 1995) More important, his humanistic
bias to favor his son Antonio Ebreo and his natural interest to The typewritten entry on Tax Decl. No. 48221 (Exhs. 9 and 9-
defend his actuations leading to the issuance of the Tax Decl.
A) detailing the particulars of the alleged deed of sale in favor
50669 (Exh. 2) which he signed caution us to accept his of Santiago Puyo is patently suspicious and a
testimony with great care. He does not have the cold neutrality very very poor ersatz for the primary document. While the sale
of a disinterested party. He was covetous of gain. The allegedly took place in 1967, said deed was annotated on Exh.
Tax Decl. No. 50669 that transferred in 1976 the property in 9 which however only begins with the year 1973. Moreover,
while the alleged sale took place in 1967, yet Tax. Decl. No. brother Felino Ebreo who was the caretaker of the lot and in-
32941 (Exh. 10) that was issued on Feb. 7, 1968 still carried charge of the payment of taxes. It was his brother Felino who
the names of Gil, Flaviano, Felino and Ignacio, sold the subject lot known as Lot No. 9046-F in favor of his
all EBREO and Genoveva, Eleuteria and Homobono, son Antonio Ebreo. (t.s.n. pp. 16-17, Cross, July 18, 1994) The
all CUETO and not the name of Santiago Puyo. There even evidence tended to show that indeed it was FelinoEbreo who
appears thereon the annotation that the 1968 tax was paid on had the opportunity to cause the transfer as it was he (Felino)
Jan. 29, 1968 with no mention of Santiago Puyo despite his who took possession of the lot and acted as its overseer.
having allegedly acquired the property the year before (1967). (t.s.n. pp. 3-4, Direct, Nov. 17, 1994)

Riveting further its attention to the typewritten entry on Exh. 9, The alleged document of sale executed between
the Court finds it rather strange that such an entry appears on Santiago Puyo and Antonio Ebreo denominated
the Tax Declaration. Firstly, it is not a widely accepted practice as Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa (Exh. 1), was ineffectual for the
to make such annotation. Secondly, there is more than meets purpose of transferring ownership of disputed Lot No. 9046-F
the eye in the conspicuous presence of this annotation only on to said Antonio Ebreo because the alleged vendor
this particular Tax Declaration (Exh. 9). All other tax Santiago Puyo has not, as heretofore explained, acquired it
declarations in this case do not have similar entry to identify from the heirs of Felipe Ebreo as the transaction has no
the documentary basis for the issuance of the latest tax supporting document of sale. It is self-evident that the seller
declaration. Thirdly, not even Tax Decl. Nos. 50669 and 075- cannot transfer more than what he has or as oftenly stated
534 (Exhs. 2 and 3) of Antonio Ebreo carry such annotation to hyperbolically, the river cannot rise above its source.
indicate that he acquired the property by virtue of Doc. No. 70, Moreover, Clerk of Court Jose C. Corales certified that
Page No. 15, Book No. I, Series of 1976 of the Ganap na Bilihan ng Lupa (Doc. No. 70, Page No. 15,
the Notarial Register of Atty. Meynardo L. Atienza. The Book No. I, Series of 1976) despite diligent efforts could not be
pregnant suspicion lurks that the alleged particulars of the found in the old CFI vault located at
document of sale from Santiago Puyo to Antonio Ebreo were the Capitol Building, Batangas City. (Exh. E Rebuttal)
belatedly annotated.

The fact that tax declarations for Lot [No.] 9046-F were issued
As icing on the cake, Gil Ebreo categorically stated it in the name of defendant Antonio Ebreo (Exhs. 2 and 3) and
was Felino Ebreo who authored the transfer. He testified on that he paid the taxes for the land (Exh. 8) provides no
cross-examination that it was his eldest evidentiary value that he was the owner thereof. The existence
of the tax declarations and payment of taxes did not latter would grant him an exclusive right to purchase the
transmogrify his possession into ownership. Tax declarations harvest of certain fishponds leased by Cruz in exchange for
are not sufficient evidence to prove possession in the concept certain loan accommodations; that pursuant thereto, Salonga
of owners. (Martinez, D., Summary of 1990 Supreme Court delivered to Cruz various loans totaling P15,250.00, evidenced
Rulings, Part. II, p. 734) Tax receipts are not conclusive by four receipts and an additional P4,000.00, the receipt of
evidence of ownership.[33] which had been 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. Cruz
denied having contracted any loan from Salonga. By way of
special defense, he alleged that he was a lessee of several
In sum, considering that the annotation of the disputed Deed hectares of a fishpond owned by Nemesio Yabut and that
of Sale in a tax declaration is not sufficient proof of the transfer sometime in May 1982, he entered into an agreement with
of property and inasmuch as the subject of inquiry is the Deed Salonga whereby the latter would purchase (pakyaw) fish in
of Sale, it was incumbent on the petitioners to adduce in certain areas of the fishpond from May 1982 to August 15,
evidence the original or a copy of the deed consistent with 1982. They also agreed that immediately thereafter, Salonga
Section 3, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. In the absence of would sublease (bubuwisan) the same fishpond for a period of
the said document, the exhortations of petitioners regarding one year. Cruz admitted having received on May 4, 1982, the
the existence of said deed of sale must fail. amount of P35,000.00 and on several occasions from August
15, 1982, to September 30, 1982, an aggregate amount of
P15,250.00. He contended however, that these amounts were
received by him not as loans but as consideration for their
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition
“pakyaw” agreement and payment for the sublease of the
is DENIED for lack of merit and the decision of the Court of
fishpond. He added that it was the private respondent who
Appeals dated 27 February 2003 affirming in toto the decision
owed him money since Salonga still had unpaid rentals for the
of the trial court dated 18 August 1997 is
10-month period that he actually occupied the fishpond. Cruz
likewise AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
also claimed that Salonga owed him an additional P4,000.00
Cruz vs Court of Appeals arising from another purchase of fish from other areas of his
G.R. No. 79962 December 10, 1990 leased fishpond.

Facts: The plaintiff claimed that of this amount, only

P20,000.00 had been paid, leaving a balance of P10,000.00; Issue: Whether or not Parol evidence rule will apply.
that in August 1982, he and the defendant agreed that the
Held: No. Rule 130, Sec. 7, of the Revised Rules of Court even mention the transaction that gave rise to its issuance. At
provides: most, Exhibit D can only be considered a casual memorandum
of a transaction between the parties and an acknowledgment
Sec. 7. Evidence of Written Agreements. — When the terms of of the receipt of money executed by the petitioner for the
an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is to be private respondent’s satisfaction. A writing of this nature, as
considered as containing all such terms, and therefore, there Wigmore observed is not covered by the parol evidence rule.
can be, between the parties and their successors in interest,
no evidence of the terms of the agreement other than the PIONEER SAVINGS & LOAN BANK, petitioner,
contents of the writing, except in the following cases: vs.
a) When a mistake or imperfection of the writing or its failure to SANTOS, respondents.
express the true intent and agreement of the parties, or the
validity of the agreement is put in issue by the pleadings; Ynson and Associates for petitioner.

b) When there is an intrinsic ambiguity in the writing. The term Florante Calingo for private respondent.
“agreement” includes wills.

The reason for the rule is the presumption that when the
parties have reduced their agreement to writing they have PADILLA, J.:
made such writing the only repository and memorial of the This petition for review seeks the reversal of the decision of
truth, and whatever is not found in the writing must be
the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. 26670, promulgated
understood to have been waived or abandoned.
on 30 April 19921 which affirmed in toto the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 142, Makati, Metro Manila in Civil
The rule, however, is not applicable in the case at bar, Section Case No. 10311, ordering, among other things, delivery to
7, Rule 130 is predicated on the existence of a document therein defendant (herein private respondent) of the motor
embodying the terms of an agreement, but Exhibit D does not vehicle, subject of the complaint for delivery of personal
contain such an agreement. It is only a receipt attesting to the property filed by petitioner against private respondent Manuel
fact that on May 4, 1982, the petitioner received from the F. Santos.
private respondent the amount of P35,000. It is not and could Respondent appellate court summarized the facts of the case
have not been intended by the parties to be the sole memorial as follows:
of their agreement. As a matter of fact, Exhibit D does not
PLAINTIFF Pioneer Savings and Loan Bank acquired April 1985, petitioner filed a complaint against respondent
ownership over a motor vehicle by virtue of a Deed of Sale Santos for recovery of the motor vehicle, with a prayer for the
(Exhibit 'B'), executed by and between Finasia Investment and issuance of a writ of replevin. Upon posting of a replevin bond
Finance Corporation and the plaintiff bank. Said motor vehicle by petitioner, the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 142,
is specifically described as follows: make: Toyota Corolla; issued an order of seizure and the subject car was thus
type: 4-door Sedan; Motor No.: 4K-1489878; Serial delivered to petitioner.
No. KE70-9101485; Plate No. PBZ-784; Model 1982; and
color: Mint Green. After trial, the lower court rendered judgment in favor of
respondent Santos, the dispositive part of which reads as
SUBSEQUENTLY, defendant Manuel Santos, in his capacity follows:
as manager of plaintiff bank's General Services Department,
was given the privilege to use and possess the Premises considered, the Court hereby renders judgment in
aforementioned vehicle coterminous with his employment. In a favor of the defendant, ordering the plaintiff:
regular board meeting of plaintiff Pioneer Savings and Loan 1. to deliver to the defendant the subject motor vehicle
Bank held on June 28, 1984 at its principal office, the Board complete with its battery and the four tire replacement.
unanimously passed Resolution No. 26, Series of 1984,
authorizing any two among the President, Arturo G. Eudela, 2. to pay the defendant P10,000.00 as moral damages and
and the two First Vice Presidents namely: Francisco P10,000.00 as exemplary damages;
Pangilinan and Antonio M. Siojo, to jointly sign any deed or
contract involving the sale, transfer or conveyance of bank's 3. to pay the defendant the sum of P10,000.00 as and for
assets or properties, pursuant to the recommendation of the attorney's fees;
Executive Committee (Exhibit 'C'). Pursuant to said authority,
4. to pay the defendant P2,000.00 as litigation expenses.
the plaintiff bank, through its President, Arturo Eudela and
First Vice President, Atty. Francisco S. Pangilinan, for a Should the motor vehicle no longer be available, or in
consideration of P40,000.00 in cash actually received from defendant's estimation already in a determinated or
defendant Manuel Santos in the presence of Noel Pineda, a dilapidated condition, the defendent has the option to refuse to
bank employee, sold, transferred and conveyed unto the accept the motor vehicle, in which case the plaintiff shall pay
defendant the afore-described motor vehicle, free from all liens to the defendant the sum of P40,000.00 with interest at the
and encumbrances. Said document of sale is duly notarized. 2 rate of 12% per annum from June 14, 1985 until fully paid.

Sometime in August 1984, respondent Santos ceased to be Cost against the plaintiff. 3
employed with petitioner bank. He took the car with him. On 12
As aforestated, this decision was affirmed in toto by which testimonies were supported by the bank's records that
respondent Court of Appeals. Hence, this petition for review did not reflect any entry at all of the said amount of
on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules Court. P40,000.00.

In this petition, the main contention of the petitioner is that The petition is devoid of merit.
there was actually no consideration in the sale of the motor
vehicle to respondent Santos. The petitioner alleges that the The core issue in this appeal is whether or not the deed of sale
deed of sale merely served as security for the time deposit of the vehicle to respondent Santos may be proved or altered
placements of private respondent's relatives with the petitioner by parol evidence under the Parol Evidence Rule.
bank which was then undergoing financial difficulties and was In De la Rama vs. Ledesma,4 this Court held:
under consideration for closure by the Central Bank of the
Philippines. Petitioner avers that the "underlying agreement," a It is a well accepted principle of law that evidence of a prior or
special arrangement between petitioner and respondent contemporaneous verbal agreement is generally not
Santos was that in the event private respondent's relatives admissible to vary, contradict or defeat the operation of a valid
failed to recover their time deposits due to the bank's closure, instrument. (American Factors (Phil.) Inc. vs. Murphy Tire
then private respondent could keep the car as recompense. Corporation, et al. [C.A.] 49 O.G. 189.)

According to petitioner, the relatives of private respondent While parol evidence is admissible in a variety of ways to
were able to recover their time deposit placements, through explain the meaning of written contracts, it cannot serve the
the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. (PDIC) after petitioner purpose of incorporating into the contract additional
bank was placed under receivership by the Central Bank of the contemporaneous conditions which are not mentioned at all in
Philippines so that there was no further reason for respondent the writing, unless there has been fraud or mistake. (Yu Tek
Santos to keep the vehicle in question. Furthermore, petitioner and Co. v. Gonzales, 29 Phil. 384.)
assails the validity of the deed of sale for not having been duly
notarized because the signatories thereto (the two [2] officers We find merit in the private respondent's contention that
of the bank) never appeared before the notary public who petitioner failed to produce any instrument or written document
notarized the document. which would prove that the deed of sale in question was only a
security for the time deposit placements of respondent's
It is further contended by petitioner that respondent Court of relatives in the petitioner bank. The two (2) main witnesses for
Appeals and the trial court should not have discarded the the petitioner, namely, Messrs. Eudela and Pangilinan, were
testimonies of tho two (2) officers of petitioner bank, namely, not mere employees of the bank. They were bank officers; one
Messrs. Eudela and Pangilinan, who clearly denied having being a lawyer (Pangilinan), and supposed to be steeped in
received payment of P40,000.00 from respondent Santos, and legal and banking knowledge and practices. As such, they
were expected to know the consequences of their act of "WHEREFORE, defendant BALDOMERO L. INCIONG, JR. is
signing a document which outrightly transferred ownership adjudged solidarily liable and ordered to pay to the plaintiff
over the subject vehicle in favor of respondent Santos. They Philippine Bank of Communications, Cagayan de Oro City, the
could have incorporated in the deed of sale (if such was the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00),with
intention or agreement of the parties) a stipulation that transfer interest thereon from May 5, 1983 at 16% per annum until fully
of ownership and registration of the vehicle in Santos' name paid; and 6% per annum on the total amount due, as
were conditioned on the failure of his relatives to recover their liquidated damages or penalty from May 5, 1983 until fully
time deposit placements in petitioner bank. No such stipulation paid; plus 10% of the total amount due for expenses of
was incorporated in the deed of sale which was an outright litigation and attorney's fees; and to pay the costs.
and unconditional transfer of ownership of the motor vehicle to
respondent Santos. The counterclaim, as well as the cross claim, are dismissed for
lack 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 SO ORDERED."
being raised in this appeal for the first time. It is settled Petitioner's liability resulted from the promissory note in the
doctrine that questions not raised in the lower court cannot be
amount of P50,000.00 which he signed with Rene C. Naybe
raised for the first time on appeal.5 and Gregorio D. Pantanosas on February 3, 1983, holding
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED themselves jointly and severally liable to private respondent
with costs against petitioner. Philippine Bank of Communications, Cagayan de Oro City
branch. The promissory note was due on May 5, 1983.

Said due date expired without the promissors having paid their
Inciong v CA obligation. Consequently, on November 14, 1983 and on June
DECISION 8, 1984, private respondent sent petitioner telegrams
demanding payment thereof.[2] On December 11, 1984 private
ROMERO, J.: respondent also sent by registered mail a final letter of
demand to Rene C. Naybe. Since both obligors did not
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the
Court of Appeals affirming that of the Regional Trial Court of respond to the demands made, private respondent filed on
Misamis Oriental, Branch 18,[1] which disposed of Civil Case January 24, 1986 a complaint for collection of the sum of
No. 10507 for collection of a sum of money and damages, as P50,000.00 against the three obligors.
On November 25, 1986, the complaint was dismissed for In the aforementioned decision of the lower court, it noted that
failure of the plaintiff to prosecute the case. However, on the typewritten figure "P50,000-" clearly appears directly below
January 9, 1987, the lower court reconsidered the dismissal the admitted signature of the petitioner in the promissory
order and required the sheriff to serve the summonses. On note.[3] Hence, the latter's uncorroborated testimony on his
January 27, 1987, the lower court dismissed the case against limited liability cannot prevail over the presumed regularity and
defendant Pantanosas as prayed for by the private respondent fairness of the transaction, under Sec. 5 (q) of Rule 131. The
herein. Meanwhile, only the summons addressed to petitioner lower court added that it was "rather odd" for petitioner to have
was served as the sheriff learned that defendant Naybe had indicated in a copy and not in the original, of the promissory
gone to Saudi Arabia. note, his supposed obligation in the amount of P5,000.00
only. Finally, the lower court held that even granting that said
In his answer, petitioner alleged that sometime in January limited amount had actually been agreed upon, the same
1983, he was approached by his friend, Rudy Campos, who would have been merely collateral between him and Naybe
told him that he was a partner of Pio Tio, the branch manager and, therefore, not binding upon the private respondent as
of private respondent in Cagayan de Oro City, in the falcata creditor-bank.
logs operation business. Campos also intimated to him that
Rene C. Naybe was interested in the business and would The lower court also noted that petitioner was a holder of a
contribute a chainsaw to the venture. He added that, although Bachelor of Laws degree and a labor consultant who was
Naybe had no money to buy the equipment Pio Tio had supposed to take due care of his concerns, and that, on the
assured Naybe of the approval of a loan he would make with witness stand, Pio Tio denied having participated in the
private respondent. Campos then persuaded petitioner to act alleged business venture although he knew for a fact that the
as a "co-maker" in the said loan. Petitioner allegedly acceded falcata logs operation was encouraged by the bank for its
but with the understanding that he would only be a co-maker export potential.
for the loan of P5,000.00.
Petitioner appealed the said decision to the Court of Appeals
Petitioner alleged further that five (5) copies of a blank which, in its decision of August 31, 1990, affirmed that of the
promissory note were brought to him by Campos at his lower court. His motion for reconsideration of the said decision
office. He affixed his signature thereto but in one copy, he having been denied, he filed the instant petition for review
indicated that he bound himself only for the amount of on certiorari.
P5,000.00. Thus, it was by trickery, fraud and
misrepresentation that he was made liable for the amount of On February 6,1991, the Court denied the petition for failure of
P50,000.00. petitioner to comply with the Rules of Court and paragraph 2 of
Circular No. 1-88, and to sufficiently show that respondent
court had committed any reversible error in its questioned
decision.[4] His motion for the reconsideration of the denial of chainsaw would cost only P27,500.00; (d) the loan was not
his petition was likewise denied with finality in the Resolution approved by the board or credit committee which was the
of April 24, 1991.[5] Thereafter, petitioner filed a motion for practice, at it exceeded P5,000.00; (e) the loan had no
leave to file a second motion for reconsideration which, in the collateral; (f) petitioner and Judge Pantanosas were not
Resolution of May 27, 1991, the Court denied. In the same present at the time the loan was released in contravention of
Resolution, the Court ordered the entry of judgment in this the bank practice, and (g) notices of default are sent
case.[6] simultaneously and separately but no notice was validly sent
to him.[8] Finally, petitioner contends that in signing the
Unfazed, petitioner filed a motion for leave to file a motion for promissory note, his consent was vitiated by fraud as, contrary
clarification. In the latter motion, he asserted that he had to their agreement that the loan was only for the amount of
attached Registry Receipt No. 3268 to page 14 of the petition P5,000. 00, the promissory note stated the amount of
in compliance with Circular No. 1-88.Thus, on August 7,1991, P50,000.00.
the Court granted his prayer that his petition be given due
course and reinstated the same.[7] The above-stated points are clearly factual. Petitioner is to be
reminded of the basic rule that this Court is not a trier of
Nonetheless, we find the petition unmeritorious. facts. Having lost the chance to fully ventilate his factual
Annexed to the petition is a copy of an affidavit executed on claims below, petitioner may no longer be accorded the same
May 3, 1988, or after the rendition of the decision of the lower opportunity in the absence of grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the court below. Had he presented Judge Pantanosas'
court, by Gregorio Pantanosas, Jr., an MTCC judge and
petitioner's co-maker in the promissory note. It supports affidavit before the lower court, it would have strengthened his
petitioner's allegation that they were induced to sign the claim that the promissory note did not reflect the correct
promissory note on the belief that it was only for P5,000.00, amount of the loan.
adding that it was Campos who caused the amount of the loan Nor is there merit in petitioner's assertion that since the
to be increased to P50,000.00. promissory note "is not a public deed with the formalities
The affidavit is clearly intended to buttress petitioner's prescribed by law but x x x a mere commercial paper which
contention in the instant petition that the Court of Appeals does not bear the signature of x x x attesting witnesses," parol
evidence may "overcome" the contents of the promissory
should have declared the promissory note null and void on the
following grounds: (a) the promissory note was signed in the note.[9] The first paragraph of the parol evidence rule[10] states:
office of Judge Pantanosas, outside the premises of the bank; "When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to
(b) the loan was incurred for the purpose of buying a second- writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed
hand chainsaw which cost only P5,000.00; (c) even a new upon and there can be, between the parties and their
successors-in-interest, no evidence of such terms other than his co-maker, constituted a release of his obligation, especially
the contents of the written agreement." because the dismissal of the case against Pantanosas was
upon the motion of private respondent itself. He cites as basis
Clearly, the rule does not specify that the written agreement be for his argument, Article 2080 of the Civil Code which provides
a public document. that:
What is required is that agreement be in writing as the rule is "The guarantors, even though they be solidary, are released
in fact founded on "long experience that written evidence is so from their obligation whenever by some act of the creditor,
much more certain and accurate than that which rests in they cannot be subrogated to the rights, mortgages, and
fleeting memory only, that it would be unsafe, when parties preferences of the latter."
have expressed the terms of their contract in writing, to admit
weaker evidence to control and vary the stronger and to show It is to be noted, however, that petitioner signed the
that the parties intended a different contract from that promissory note as a solidary co-maker and not as a
expressed in the writing signed by them."[11] Thus, for the parol guarantor. This is patent even from the first sentence of the
evidence rule to apply, a written contract need not be in any promissory note which states as follows:
particular form, or be signed by both parties.[12] As a general
rule, bills, notes and other instruments of a similar nature are "Ninety one (91) days after date, for value received, I/we,
not subject to be varied or contradicted by parol or extrinsic JOINTLY and SEVERALLY promise to pay to the PHILIPPINE
evidence.[13] BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS at its office in the City of
Cagayan de Oro, Philippines the sum of FIFTY THOUSAND
By alleging fraud in his answer,[14] petitioner was actually in the ONLY (P50,000. 00) Pesos, Philippine Currency, together with
right direction towards proving that he and his co-makers interest x x x at the rate of SIXTEEN (16) per cent per annum
agreed to a loan of P5,000.00 only considering that, where a until fully paid."
parol contemporaneous agreement was the inducing and
moving cause of the written contract, it may be shown by parol A solidary or joint and several obligation is one in which each
evidence.[15] However, fraud must be established by clear and debtor is liable for the entire obligation, and each creditor is
convincing evidence, mere preponderance of evidence, not entitled to demand the whole obligation.[17] On the other hand,
even being adequate.[16] Petitioner's attempt to prove fraud Article 2047 of the Civil Code states:
must, therefore, fail as it was evidenced only by his own "By guaranty a person, called the guarantor, binds himself to
uncorroborated and, expectedly, self-serving testimony. the creditor to fulfill the obligation of the principal debtor in
Petitioner also argues that the dismissal of the complaint case the latter should fail to do so.
against Naybe, the principal debtor, and against Pantanosas,
If a person binds himself solidarily with the principal debtor, the proceeded against for the entire obligation.[20]The choice is left
provisions of Section 4, Chapter 3, Title I of this Book shall be to the solidary creditor to determine against whom he will
observed, In such a case the contract is called a suretyship." enforce collection.[21] Consequently, the dismissal of the case
(Italics supplied.) against Judge Pontanosas may not be deemed as having
discharged petitioner from liability as well. As regards Naybe,
While a guarantor may bind himself solidarily with the principal suffice it to say that the court never acquired jurisdiction over
debtor, the liability of a guarantor is different from that of a him. Petitioner, therefore, may only have recourse against his
solidary debtor. Thus, Tolentino explains: co-makers, as provided by law.
"A guarantor who binds himself in solidum with the principal WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review on certiorari is
debtor under the provisions of the second paragraph does not hereby DENIED and the questioned decision of the Court of
become a solidary co-debtor to all intents and purposes. There Appeals is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
is a difference between a solidary co-debtor, and a fiador in
solidum (surety). The later, outside of the liability he assumes SO ORDERED.
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

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