JOSE TABUENA, petitioner, vs.

G.R. No. 85423
May 6, 1991
In 1926, Alfredo Tabernilla bought a parcel of land in Aklan from Juan Peralta Jr.
while they were both in the United States. In 1934, Tabernilla returned to the Philippines
and Peralta’s mother, Damasa Timtiman conveyed the land to Tabernilla based on her
son’s instructions. Damasa requested that she be allowed to stay thereon as she had been
living there all her life. Tabernilla agreed provided she paid the realty taxes on the
property, which she promised to do, and did under her name. She remained on the said
land until her death, following which Jose Tabuena, Timtiman’s son and half-brother of
Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof. Tabernilla demanded that they leave and surrender
the property but they refused, claiming the lot as their own.
In 1973, the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla filed an action for recovery of ownership
against Jose Tabuena in the RTC of Aklan. The RTC rejected Tabuena’s defense that he
was the absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited from his parents. The RTC also
disbelieved his contention that the subject of the sale between Peralta and Tabernilla was
a different piece of land. Tabuena elevated the case to the CA complaining that the trial
court, in arriving at its factual findings, motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A",
"B" and "C", which had been marked by Tabernilla’s side but never formally submitted in
evidence. The CA sustained the decision of the RTC and held that contrary to the
allegations of Tabuena, the said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as
disclosed by the transcript of stenographic notes, which it quoted at length. Hence, this

(1) Were Exhibits "A", "B" and "C" formally offered as evidence?
(2) Was the trial court amiss in taking judicial notice of evidence
submitted in another case (Civil Case No. 1327) without the consent or knowledge of
(1) No. The Court examined the records and found that the exhibits submitted
were not the documents referred to but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub-markings,
which were the last will and testament of Alfredo Tabernilla and the order of probate. It
wass not at all denied that the list of exhibits does not include Exhibits "A", "B" and "C".
In fact, the trial court categorically declared that "Exhibits "A-1, "A-2", "B", "C" and "Cl," were not among those documents or exhibits formally offered for admission by
plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear contradiction of the finding of the appellate court,
which seems to have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the
evidence mentioned in the quoted transcript.
Section 35, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides, the court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is
offered must be specified. The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an
exhibit does not mean it has thereby already been offered as part of the evidence of a
party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were marked at the pre-trial of the case
below, but this was only for the purpose of identifying them at that time. They were not
by such marking formally offered as exhibits.
(2) Yes. The lower court failed to consider conditions of the exception to the
general rule that courts are not authorized to take judicial notice, in the adjudication of

and admitted as a part of the record of the case then pending. 8 In this case. Tabuena was. and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending before the same judge. even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court. the matter was never taken up at the trial and was "unfairly sprung" upon him. in fact. As he puts it. and as a matter of convenience to all parties. WHEREFORE. or b. The exception to this rule is that in the absence of objection. 1327 was being considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. at the request or with the consent of the parties. a court may properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case pending before it.cases pending before them. when: a. . by name and number or in some other manner by which it is sufficiently designated. It is so ordered. reference is made to it for that purpose. completely unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. leaving him no opportunity to counteract. with the knowledge of the opposing party. the petition is GRANTED. when the original record of the former case or any part of it. of the contents of the records of other cases. The appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. these conditions have not been properly complied with. is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction. with costs against the private respondent.