RUFLOE vs CA

alleged that inasmuch as the Deed of Sale in favor of
Delos Reyes was falsified, no valid title was ever conveyed

Petitioner Adoracion Rufloe is the wife of Angel

to the Burgos siblings.[7] The Burgos siblings executed a

Rufloe, now deceased, while co-petitioners Alfredo and

simulated deed of sale in favor of Leonarda knowing fully

Rodrigo

well that their title was a nullity.

are

their

children. During

the

marriage

of

Adoracion and Angel, they acquired a 371-square meter
parcel of land located at Barangay Bagbagan, Muntinlupa,
which is the subject of the present controversy.

The trial court rendered a decision declaring that
Leonarda and the Burgos siblings were not innocent
purchasers for value and did not have a better right to the

Sometime in 1978, respondent Elvira Delos Reyes

property in question than the true and legal owners, the

forged the signatures of Adoracion and Angel in a Deed of

Rufloes. The trial court also held that the subsequent

Sale to make it appear that the disputed property was sold

conveyance of the disputed property to Leonarda by the

to her by the spouses Rufloe. On the basis of the said

Burgos siblings was simulated to make it appear that

deed of sale, Delos Reyes succeeded in obtaining a title in

Leonarda was a buyer in good faith. The trial court then

her name,

directed the Register of Deeds of Makati, Rizal to reinstate
the title of the spouses Rufloe, and to cancel all other

Thus, in November 1979, the Rufloes filed a

titles subsequent to the said title

complaint for damages against Delos Reyes with the RTC
of Pasay City alleging that the Deed of Sale was falsified

The issue concerning the validity of the deed of

as the signatures appearing thereon were forged because

sale between the Rufloes and Delos Reyes had already

Angel Rufloe died in 1974, which was four (4) years before

been resolved with finality

the alleged sale in favor of Delos Reyes. They also filed a

signatures of the alleged vendors, Angel and Adoracion

notice of adverse claim

Rufloe, had been forged. [12] It is undisputed that the forged

which declared that the

deed of sale was null and void and conveyed no title. It is
On December 4, 1984, during the pendency of

a well-settled principle that no one can give what one

Civil Case No. M-7690, Delos Reyes sold the subject

does not have, nemo dat quod non habet. One can sell

property to respondent siblings Anita, Angelina, Angelito

only what one owns or is authorized to sell, and the buyer

and Amy (Burgos siblings). The Burgos siblings, in turn,

can acquire no more right than what the seller can

sold

Leonarda

transfer legally.[13] Due to the forged deed of sale, Delos

Burgos. However, the sale in favor of Leonarda was not

the

same

property

Reyes acquired no right over the subject property which

registered. Thus, no title was issued in her name. The

she

subject

of

transactions subsequent to the falsified sale between the

the Burgos siblings who also continued paying the real

spouses Rufloe and Delos Reyes are likewise void,

estate taxes thereon.

including the sale made by the Burgos siblings to their

property

to

remained

their

in

aunt,

the

name

could

convey

to

the Burgos

siblings. All

the

aunt, Leonarda.
The RTC of Pasay City, Branch 108, [6] rendered its
decision declaring that the Deed of Sale in favor of Delos

We

now

determine

whether

Reyes was falsified as the signatures of the spouses Rufloe

respondents Burgos siblings and Leonarda Burgos were

had been forged. The trial court ruled that Delos Reyes did

purchasers in good faith. It has been consistently ruled

not acquire ownership over the subject property. Said

that a forged deed can legally be the root of a valid title

decision had become final and executory.

when an innocent purchaser for value intervenes.[14]

Such was the state of things when, on February 8,

An innocent purchaser for value is one who buys

1990, in the RTC of Muntinlupa, the Rufloes filed their

the property of another without notice that some other

complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Contract and

person has a right to or interest in it, and who pays a full

Cancellation

Titles against

and fair price at the time of the purchase or before

respondents Leonarda and the Burgos siblings, and Delos

receiving any notice of another persons claim.[15] The

Reyes. In their complaint, docketed the Rufloes basically

burden of proving the status of a purchaser in good faith

of

Transfer

Certificate

of

inquire into the status of the title of the [19] an action for damages. . Civil Case No. The presence of [20] for estafa. this rule respondents. One who or falls the and vendor of said within the exception can neither be denominated an legal right to sell the property.[17] [16] As a general rule. does invocation of the ordinary presumption of good faith. every person dealing with registered land. [18] The a person dealing with registered land has annotation of an adverse claim is a measure designed to a right to rely on the Torrens certificate of protect the interest of a person over a piece of real title and to dispense with the need of property. the Burgos siblings still purchased the inquiry property in question. The evidence shows that the Rufloes caused admits of an unchallenged exception: a notice of adverse claim to be annotated on the title of Delos Reyes as early as November 5. and serves as a notice and warning to third inquiring further except when the party parties dealing with said property that someone is has and claiming an interest on the same or may have a better a right than the registered owner thereof. not merit the protection of the law. property in litigation. 1984. as in this case. 1979. However. and Criminal Case No. anything arouses were both pending before the RTC of Pasay City.and for value lies upon one who asserts that innocent purchaser for value nor a status. hence. M-7690. filed by the Rufloes against Delos Reyes. may safely rely on the The circumstances surrounding this case point to correctness of the certificate of title issued therefor and will in no way oblige him to go beyond the certificate to the absolute lack of good faith on the part of determine the condition of the property. 10914-P. This suspicion should then prompt the vendee circumstance should have alerted the Burgos siblings as to to the validity of Delos Reyes title and her authority and look which excites beyond the certificate investigate the title of appearing on the face certificate. Despite the notice reasonably cautious man to make such of adverse claim. actual knowledge circumstances or that when of facts would the impel purchaser has knowledge of a defect or the lack of title in his vendor or of sufficient facts to Athe time the Burgos siblings bought the subject induce a reasonably prudent man to property on December 4. This onus probandi cannot be discharged by mere purchaser in good faith and.