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Heirs of Victorino Sarili vs. Pedro Lagroso ( GR No.

193517; Jan 15, 2014)

Facts: Respondent, through his Attorney in Fact, filed a complaint against the Spouses Sarili and the
Register of Deeds, Caloocan on Nov 25, 1999 before the RTC-Caloocan. He alleged that he owns a certain
land in Caloocan and, during one of his vacations in the Philippines, he discovered that a new TCT was
issued by the RD in the name of Mr. Sarili by virtue of a falsified Deed of Absolute Sale dated Feb. 1978.

The Spouses claim to be innocent purchasers for Value. They claim to have purchased the property from
Mr. Rodriguez who possessed and presented a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) to sell/dispose of the same.
Such sale was executed Nov 1992 in the Spouses favour. They also denied participation in the
preparation of the Feb 1978 deed of sale which, they claim, may have been merely devised by the fixer
they hired to facilitate the issuance of the title in their names..
During the pendency of the proceedings, Mr. Victorino Sarili passed away and was substituted by his
heirs the Petitioners.

RTC Ruled in favour of the Petitioners. The deed of sale is valid. The signature of Respondent
SPA issued to Mr. Rodriguez is the same as the SPA in favor of the SPA in favour of Ms. Mojica
the Attorney in Fact of Respondent in this case; thus it proves the SPA in favour of Mr.
Rodriguez is genuine. Since Mr. Rodriguez has an SPA to dispose of the property, the sale and


transfer of the property he executed was valid, genuine, lawful, and binding.
Respondent thus appealed the RTC Decision.
CA Ruled in favour of Respondent. RTC erred in its ruling since the Nov 1992 sale was not the
source document for the transfer of the subject property but the Feb 1978 deed of sale. It
claimed that the signature of the signature of the Respondent and his Spouse in the 1978 sale
was falsified. Further, the testimony of the Respondents as to the authenticity of the signatures
was not rebutted. That being the case, it ruled the Deed of Sales and the SPA under Mr.
Rodriguez as void.

ISSUE: Was the SPA from Mr. Rodriguez clothed with the authority to dispose of the property?
RULING: NO. The proof of capacity to sell embedded in the SPA shall determine the strength of the
required buyers inquiry on the sellers capacity to sell. If the SPA is duly notarized, then mere inspection
of the face of the document already constitutes sufficient inquiry. If no SPA is provided, or there is at least
flaws in the notarial acknowledgment, the buyer must show that his investigation went beyond the
document and into the circumstances of its execution. In the case, the SPA is flawed for not indicating the
Community Tax Certificate (CTC) of the Respondent Spouses; this in violation of the RA 7160 (Local Govt
Code of 1991). Despite the flaw, the spouses Sarili failed to show that they conducted further investigation
required of them.

The Defective Notarization of the should be treated as a private document and thus can be
examined under the Rule 132, S.20 of the Rules of Court. It provides that before any private
document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be
proved either a) by anyone who saw the document executed or written; or b) by evidence of the
genuinene of the signature or handwriting of the maker. It is settled that a defective notarization
will strip the document of its public character and reduce it to a private instrument. That being
the case, evidentiary standard of its validity shall be based on preponderance of evidence.

In this case, the SPAs due execution and authenticity were not sufficiently established. Despite
the fact that Mr. Rodriguez positively identified Respondents signature based on his familiarity
with it, he failed to present evidence to authenticate the signatures of the other signatories of the
Subject SPA aside from the respondent.

ISSUE: WON there was a valid conveyance of the Subject Property to the Spouses Sarili
GR: Even if the procurement of a TCT was tainted with fraud and misrepresentation, such defective title
may be the source of a completely legal and valid title in the hands of an innocent purchaser for value.
However, a high degree of prudence is required from one who buys from a person not the registered owner
of the property. In such a case, the buyer must examine not only the certificate of title but all factual
circumstances necessary to determine any flaws in the title. They must also ascertain the identity and
legal authority of the person they are dealing with in the conveyance of such property.
As the SPA of Mr. Rodriguez was tainted with fraud or defect, the buyers must show that they went
beyond the SPA, and dwelled further into the circumstances of the sale execution. Mr. Rodriguez cannot
validly dispose of the said property under the SPA as well due to the flaw in his SPA. It is then incumbent
for the Spouses Sarili to show they are Innocent Purchasers for Value. As they, and subsequently, the
Petitioner-Heirs failed to do so, No Valid Conveyance of the Property was made in their favour.