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Bautista vs.

51 O.G. 805 (1995)


As owner of the lot subject of the case, Nicolas

Anasco sold the same to Valentin Justiniani. In the same
year, Valentin sold this property to Claudio Justiniani, In
October 12, 1935, Claudio Justiniani executed a public
instrument whereby he sold the same property for P100 to
Apolonio Aparece in whose name it was assessed since
1935. While Aparece was
in possession, Hermogenes Bautista illegally entered a part of
the land and took possession thereof. Thus, Aparece file a
complaint with the guerilla forces then operating in the province of
Bohol. When the case was called for hearing, and after
inspection was made by a guerilla
officer, Bautista executed a public instrument wherein h
e promised to return theland toAparece in good will, and
recognized Aparece’s lawful ownership over the land.
Thus, possession of the land was restored to Aparece.
However, claiming that the property belongs to him, and
alleging that with the aid of armed men and pretending to
be owner, usurped the land, Bautista filed a complaint in
the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Bohol. The CFI rendered
judgment declaring Aparece as owner of the land. On appeal,
Bautista raised as defense the error of the trial court in admitting the
public instrument which he executed as evidence. He argued
that the document was executed under duress, violence, and
intimidation, and that the guerilla officer before whom it was
executed, had no jurisdiction over the matter.


Whether or not the trial court erred in admitting as

evidence, a public document executed before an officer who
had no jurisdiction over the matter

This argument is beside the point. The test for the admissibility
or inadmissibility of a certain document is whether or not it is
relevant, material or competent.
The public document is not only relevant, but is also material
and competent to the issue of ownership between the parties
litigants. Relevant evidence is one that has any value in
reason as tending to prove any matter probable in ac action. And
evidence is said to be material when it is directed to prove a fact in
issue as determined by the rules of substantive law and
pleadings, while competent evidence is one that is not excluded
by law in a particular case. With these criteria in mind, we hold
that the mere fact that the public document
wase xe c u t e d b e fo r e a g u e r i l l a o ffi c e r d o e s n o t m a ke
t h e s am e as i r r e l e va n t , i mm at e r i al o r incompetent
to the main issue raised in the pleadings. The
public document, considered together with the
other evidence, documentary and oral, satisfies the Court that
the portions of land in question really belong to defendant Aparece.