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Evidence Cases Part 3 (Last Part)

Evidence Cases Part 3 (Last Part)

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Published by: Sui on Aug 08, 2010
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11/25/2012

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EN BANC[G.R. No. 12794. October 14, 1918.]ELADIO ALPUERTO, plaintiff-appellee, vs. JOSE PEREZ PASTOR and MANUEL ROA, provincial sheriff of Cebu, defendants-appellants.Jose Martinez de San Agustin, for appellants.Gullas & Briones, for appellee.SYLLABUS1. PRIVATE DOCUMENT; LEGAL RECOGNITION. The expression "legally recognized," as used of aprivate document in article 1225 of the Civil Code, has reference to the recognition of the validity of theinstrument by the parties to its execution when it is signed and delivered.2. ID.; PRIVIES OF PARTIES SIGNING. The word "privies," as used in article 1225 of the Civil Code,denotes not only the idea of succession in right of heirship or testamentary legacy, but also successionby virtue of acts inter vivos, as by assignment, subrogation, or purchase  in fact any act whereby thesuccessor is substituted in the place of the predecessor in interest. The purchaser at an execution sale is,therefore, a privy of the execution debtor.3. ID.; THIRD PARTIES. The expression "third parties," as used in article 1227 of the Civil Code,means, simply, persons who have not intervened in the execution of the instrument either as principalsor witnesses4. ID., DATE OF EXECUTION OF INSTRUMENT. Article 1227 of the Civil Code does not operate toprohibit the introduction of evidence to show that an instrument was executed as a private documenton the date shown on its face. On the contrary, such evidence is admissible; and the instrument will begiven effect from the true and proven date of its execution, as against those who signed it and theirprivies, with all the force of a public instrument The effect of article 1227 is to create a presumptionwhen no evidence other than the recitals of the document itself is adduced to show the true date of itsexecution. In other words, the recital of a private document as to the date of its execution is notaccepted as legal proof; and if the date is not proved by other competent evidence, the instrument canhave effect only from the date of the acts specified in article 1227.5. FRAUD; CONVEYANCE IN FRAUD OF CREDITORS; BADGES OF FRAUD. The coexistence of numerous badges of fraud in a conveyance of property, made by a person against whom an action torecover a large sum of money was pending, is held in this case to create a presumption of fraudsufficiently strong to justify declaring the sale void, the court not being impressed with the proof submitted by the purchaser tending to show that the sale was made in good faith.6. ID.; ID.; ID.; CASE AT BAR. A creditor who, after long litigation, had recovered judgment for aconsiderable sum of money against his debtor, levied execution upon certain parcels of property as
 
property of the latter. A son-in-law of the latter then intervened and claimed the land by purchase madeby contract of sale with pacto de retro while the litigation was pending but before final judgment ineither instance. The land in question included substantially all of the debtor's property; and theconsideration alleged to have been given was less than half its value. This sale is held to be void, as thesuspicious circumstances attending the alleged transaction raised a presumption of fraud, even apartfrom the presumption expressed in article 1297 of the Civil Code, and the purchaser did notsatisfactorily prove that he was a purchaser in good faith. The secrecy of the purported sale and therelation of kinship existing between the parties are noted as circumstances indicative of collusion.D E C I S I O NSTREET, J p:The three parcels of real property which constitute the subject matter of the contention in this caseformerly belonged to Juan Llenos, and both the interested parties in this action claim title under him,the plaintiff as party in possession under a contract of sale with pacto de retro, and the defendant aspurchaser at a public sale under an execution directed against Llenos. The plaintiff, Eladio Alpuerto, asksthe court to make a declaration against the defendant, Jose Perez Pastor, to the effect that the plaintiff is the owner thereof in full and absolute dominion. He also prays that the sale of the property effectedby the sheriff, Manuel Roa, to said defendant be declared null.The defendant Pastor denies the right of the plaintiff to the relief sought, and asserts that thetransaction by which the plaintiff claims to have acquired title was simulated or fictitious and that thesupposed conveyance was effected for the purpose of defrauding the defendant as creditor of JuanLlenos. This defendant therefore in turn prays the court to declare that he himself is the true owner of the property and that a judgment be entered condemning the plaintiff to surrender possession to him.From a judgment entered in the Court of First Instance of Cebu in favor of the plaintiff, the defendantshave appealed. It appears that, pending the proceedings, the defendant Pastor has died and anadministrator, Eustaquio Lopez, has been substituted in his stead. Throughout the opinion, however,Pastor, the name of the original party defendant, will be used in referring to the interest nowrepresented by the administrator.The plaintiff claims by virtue of the document (Exhibit A), which purports to be a contract of sale withthe privilege of repurchase. It recites a consideration of P2,500 the payment of which is acknowledged;and the stipulated period within which the vendor may repurchase the property is fixed at two years.This document is signed by the two contracting parties (Juan Llenos and Eladio Alpuerto) and is attestedby two subscribing witnesses. It purports on its face to have been executed on July 3, 1912; but it wasnot acknowledged before a notary until December 3. 1914. The property in question is assessed for thepurposes of taxation at P5,000 or P6,000; and is worth more than twice the amount which the plaintiff claims to have paid for it.At the time of the supposed sale to Eladio Alpuerto there had been pending for nearly two years, in theCourt of First Instance of Cebu, an action in which Jose Perez Pastor was plaintiff and Juan Llenos wasdefendant. In this action the plaintiff sought to recover from Juan Llenos a considerable sum of money;
 
and Eladio Alpuerto, as son- in-law of Juan Llenos, was aware of this litigation from the beginning. OnJanuary 27, 1913, or about six months after the alleged sale of the property in question to EladioAlpuerto, judgment was rendered in said action in favor of the plaintiff for the sum of P3,789.13, withinterest and costs. This judgment was affirmed upon appeal to the Supreme Court on November 20,1914. 1 An execution was thereafter issued on April 12, 1915, from the Court of First Instance upon said judgment and was levied upon the property in question as the property of Juan Llenos. Before the salewas effected the plaintiff herein, Eladio Alpuerto, notified the sheriff that he claimed the property as hisown. Nevertheless, the sheriff proceeded under indemnification and sold the property at public sale toJose Perez Pastor for the sum of P1,100.The case stated in the cross-complaint as a ground of relief to the defendant has its basis in the rulestated in subsection 3 of article 1291 of the Civil Code, which declares generally that a contract executedin fraud of creditors is subject to rescission; and upon this issue the burden of proof is of course uponPastor, as the party assailing the transaction, to show that the transfer was fraudulent; though it shouldhere be remembered that proof on this point may be accomplished by the aid of presumptions, as inother cases. (Article 1215, Civil Code.)The argument against the validity of the conveyance from Juan Llenos to Eladio Alpuerto is based on twopropositions, namely: (1) that said conveyance must, under the second paragraph of article 1297, inconnection with article 1227, of the Civil Code, be presumed to be fraudulent; and (2) that furthermorethe transaction is shown by the evidence to have been fraudulent in fact.The second paragraph of article 1297 of the Civil Code says that a transfer of property made by oneagainst whom a condemnatory judgment has been pronounced in either instance is to be presumedfraudulent. The cardinal question on this branch of the case is therefore this. Was the transfer inquestion made after a judgment had been entered against Juan Llenos in either instance ? This in turndepends upon the question whether the contract of sale shall be considered effective as from the dateupon which it purports to have been executed (July 3, 1912) or from the date when it was acknowledgedbefore a notary public (December 3, 1914), for in the interval between these two dates final judgmenthad been rendered against Juan Llenos both in the Court of First Instance and in the Supreme Court.The solution of the problem thus presented requires us to consider the combined effect of articles 1225and 1227 of the Civil Code. Article 1225 declares that a private document legally recognized shall have,with regard to those who sign it and their privies (causahabientes), the same force as a publicinstrument.The expression "legally recognized" (reconocido legalmente), as here used, must be taken to meanrecognized, or acknowledged, by the person, or persons, executing or emitting the document  in thiscase the vendor, Juan Llenos, and the vendee, Eladio Alpuerto. The act of legal recognition occurred, weassume, when the document was signed by the parties and delivered in the presence of the attestingwitnesses, who were called upon to bear witness to the transaction.Concerning the meaning of the expression "privies" (causahabientes), in this article, the followingpassage is found in the Commentary of Manresa:

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