You are on page 1of 48

Heirs of Gabatan v CA

TOPIC: Proof of filiation of illegitimate children


FACTS:
 The respondent alleges that she is the sole owner of a land located in Cagayan de Oro City which she
inherited from her mother, Hermogena, the only child of Juan Gabatan and his wife, Laureana
Clarito.
 Respondent alleged that upon the death of Juan Gabatan, his land was entrusted to his brother,
Teofilo Gabatan (Teofilo), and Teofilo’s wife, Rita Gabatan, for administration.
 It was also claimed that prior to her death Hermogena demanded for the return of the land but to
no avail. After Hermogena’s death, respondent also did the same but petitioners refused to heed the
numerous demands to surrender the subject property.
 Petitioners denied that respondent’s mother Hermogena was the daughter of Juan Gabatan with
Laureana Clarito and that Hermogena or respondent is the rightful heir of Juan Gabatan. They
further contend that Juan Gabatan died single in 1934 and without any issue and that Juan was
survived by one brother and two sisters, namely: Teofilo (petitioners’ predecessor-in-interest),
Macaria and Justa.
 These siblings and/or their heirs, inherited the subject land from Juan Gabatan and have been in
actual, physical, open, public, adverse, continuous and uninterrupted possession thereof in the
concept of owners for more than fifty (50) years and enjoyed the fruits of the improvements
thereon, to the exclusion of the whole world including respondent.
 October 20, 1995 = the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondent
 CA affirmed such decision declaring that respondent’s claim of filiation with Juan Gabatan was
sufficiently established during trial.
o The proof was a Deed of Absolute Sale on July 30, 1966 containing such declaration which was
signed by Teofilo and the latter’s nearest relatives by consanguinity, is a tangible proof that they
acknowledged Hermogena’s status as the daughter of Juan Gabatan.
o Teofilo formally recognized Hermogena’s right to heirship from Juan Gabatan which ultimately
passed on to respondent.
ISSUE: W/N Hermogena Clareto "GABATAN" is the child and sole heir of Juan Gabatan;
HELD: No.
 Our laws dictate that the best evidence of such familial tie was the record of birth
appearing the Civil Register, or an authentic document or a final judgment – in the
absence of these, any proof that the child enjoyed the continuous possession of the
status of a legitimate child – only in the absence of these two classes of evidence is the
anyone allowed to present other porrof admissible under the Rules of Court of the
proof of paternity and filiation
The Court has consistently ruled that the trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the
civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding.
To prove the relationship of respondent’s mother to Juan Gabatan, our laws dictate that the best
evidence of such familial tie was the record of birth appearing in the Civil Register, or an authentic
document or a final judgment. In the absence of these, respondent should have presented proof that her
mother enjoyed the continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. Only in the absence of
these two classes of evidence is the respondent allowed to present other proof admissible under the
Rules of Court of her mother’s relationship to Juan Gabatan.
However, respondent’s mother’s (Hermogena’s) birth certificate, which would have been the
best evidence of Hermogena’s relationship to Juan Gabatan, was never offered as evidence at the RTC.
Neither did respondent present any authentic document or final judgment categorically evidencing
Hermogena’s relationship to Juan Gabatan.
Respondent relied on the testimony of her witnesses but none of these witnesses had personal
knowledge of the fact of marriage of Juan to Laureana or the fact of birth of Hermogena to Juan and
Laureana. They were not yet born or were very young when Juan supposedly married Laureana or when
Hermogena was born and they all admitted that none of them were present at Juan and Laureana’s
wedding or Hermogena’s birth. These witnesses based their testimony on what they had been told by, or
heard from, others as young children. Their testimonies were, in a word, hearsay.
Aside from the testimonies of respondent’s witnesses, both the RTC and the CA relied heavily on a
photocopy of a Deed of Absolute Sale presented by respondent and which appeared to be signed by the
siblings and the heirs of the siblings of Juan Gabatan.
However, the admission of this Deed of Absolute Sale, including its contents and the signatures
therein, as competent evidence was vigorously and repeatedly objected to by petitioners’ counsel for
being a mere photocopy and not being properly authenticated. After a close scrutiny of the said
photocopy of the Deed of Absolute Sale, the Court cannot uphold the admissibility of the same.
Under the best evidence rule, when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence
shall be admissible other than the original document itself. Although the best evidence rule admits of
exceptions and there are instances where the presentation of secondary evidence would be allowed,
such as when the original is lost or the original is a public record, the basis for the presentation of
secondary evidence must still be established. Thus, in Department of Education Culture and Sports v. Del
Rosario, we held that a party must first satisfactorily explain the loss of the best or primary evidence
before he can resort to secondary evidence. A party must first present to the court proof of loss or other
satisfactory explanation for non-production of the original instrument.
In the case at bar, a perusal of the transcript of the testimony of Felicisima Nagac Pacana (who
identified the photocopy of the Deed of Absolute Sale) plainly shows that she gave no testimony
regarding the whereabouts of the original, whether it was lost or whether it was recorded in any public
office.

Case Digest: Macua vda. de Avenido v. Hoybia Avenido


PEREGRINA MACUA VDA. DE AVENIDO, Petitioner, vs. TECLA HOYBIA AVENIDO, Respondent.

G.R. No. 173540, 22 January 22 2014.

PEREZ, J.:

This case involves a contest between two women both claiming to have been validly married to the same
man, now deceased.

Tecla Hoybia Avenido (Tecla) instituted on 11 November 1998, a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of
Marriage against Peregrina Macua Vda. de Avenido (Peregrina) on the ground that Tecla is the lawful wife
of the deceased Eustaquio Avenido (Eustaquio).

Tecla alleged that her marriage to Eustaquio was solemnized on 30 September 1942 in Talibon, Bohol in
rites officiated by the Parish Priest of the said town. While the a marriage certificate was recorded with the
local civil registrar, the records of the LCR were destroyed during World War II. Tecla and Eustaquio begot
four children, but Eustaquio left his family in 1954.

In 1979, Tecla learned that Eustaquio got married to another woman by the name of Peregrina, which
marriage she claims must be declared null and void for being bigamous. In support of her claim, Tecla
presented eyewitnesses to the ceremony, the birth certificate of their children and certificates to the fact
that the marriage certificate/records were destroyed.

Peregrina, on the other hand averred that she is the legal surviving spouse of Eustaquio who died on 22
September 1989, their marriage having been celebrated on 30 March 1979 and showed the marriage
contract between her and Eustaquio.

RTC ruled in favor of Peregrina. It relied on Tecla’s failure to present her certificate of marriage to
Eustaquio. Without such certificate, RTC considered as useless the certification of the Office of the Civil
Registrar of Talibon over the lack of records.

The CA, on appeal, ruled in favor of Tecla. It held there was a presumption of lawful marriage between
Tecla and Eustaquio as they deported themselves as husband and wife and begot four children. Such
presumption, supported by documentary evidence consisting of the same Certifications disregarded by
the RTC, and testimonial evidence created sufficient proof of the fact of marriage. The CA found that its
appreciation of the evidence presented by Tecla is well in accord with Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court.

ISSUE: Between Tecla and Peregrina, who was the legal wife of Eustaquio?

RULING: TECLA

While a marriage certificate is considered the primary evidence of a marital union, it is not regarded as the
sole and exclusive evidence of marriage. The fact of marriage may be proven by relevant evidence other
than the marriage certificate. Hence, even a person’s birth certificate may be recognized as competent
evidence of the marriage between his parents.

It is an error on the part of the RTC to rule that without the marriage certificate, no other proof can be
accepted.

The execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing officer, by
witnesses who saw and recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to whom the parties
have previously narrated the execution thereof.

In this case, due execution was established by the eyewitness testimonies and of Tecla herself as a party
to the event. The subsequent loss was shown by the testimony of the officiating priest. Since the due
execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly shown by the evidence presented, secondary
evidence–testimonial and documentary–may be admitted to prove the fact of marriage.

The starting point then, is the presumption of marriage.

Every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. Persons dwelling together in apparent
matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to the case, to
be in fact married. The reason is that such is the common order of society, and if the parties were not
what they thus hold themselves out as being, they would be living in the constant violation of decency and
of law.

RULE ON ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE

MCC INDUSTRIAL SALES CORPORATION, petitioner, vs.


SSANGYONG CORPORATION, respondents.
G.R. No. 170633; October 17, 2007
Facts:
Petitioner is engaged in the business of importing and wholesaling stainless steel products. One
of its suppliers is the responded, an international trading company with head office in Seoul,
South Korea and regional headquarters in Makati City, Philippines. The two corporations
conducted business through telephone calls and facsimile or telecopy transmissions. Respondent
would send the pro forma invoices containing the details of the steel product order to petitioner;
if the latter conforms thereto, its representative affixes his signature on the faxed copy and sends
it back to the respondent, again by fax.
Respondent filed a civil action for damages due to breach of contract against petitioner before
the Regional Trial Court of Makati City. In its complaint, respondent alleged that defendants
breached their contract when they refused to open the letter of credit in the amount of
US$170,000.00 for the remaining 100MT of steel under Pro Forma Invoice Nos. ST2-
POSTS0401-1 and ST2-POSTS0401-2.
After respondent rested its case, petitioner filed a Demurrer to Evidence alleging that respondent
failed to present the original copies of the pro forma invoices on which the civil action was
based. Petitioner contends that the photocopies of the pro forma invoices presented by
respondent Ssangyong to prove the perfection of their supposed contract of sale are inadmissible
in evidence and do not fall within the ambit of R.A. No. 8792, because the law merely admits as
the best evidence the original fax transmittal. On the other hand, respondent posits that, from a
reading of the law and the Rules on Electronic Evidence, the original facsimile transmittal of the
pro forma invoice is admissible in evidence since it is an electronic document and, therefore, the
best evidence under the law and the Rules. Respondent further claims that the photocopies of
these fax transmittals (specifically ST2-POSTS0401-1 and ST2-POSTS0401-2) are admissible
under the Rules on Evidence because the respondent sufficiently explained the non-production of
the original fax transmittals.
Issue:
Whether the print-out and/or photocopies of facsimile transmissions are electronic evidence and
admissible as such?
Held:
Electronic document shall be regarded as the equivalent of an original document under the Best
Evidence Rule, as long as it is a printout or output readable by sight or other means, showing to
reflect the data accurately. Thus, to be admissible in evidence as an electronic data message or to
be considered as the functional equivalent of an original document under the Best Evidence
Rule, the writing must foremost be an “electronic data message” or an “electronic document.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 8792 defines the “Electronic Data
Message” refers to information generated, sent, received or stored by electronic, optical or
similar means, but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram,
telex or telecopy.
The phrase “but not limited to, electronic data interchange (EDI), electronic mail, telegram, telex
or telecopy” in the IRR’s definition of “electronic data message” is copied from the Model Law
on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law
(UNCITRAL), from which majority of the provisions of R.A. No. 8792 were taken. While
Congress deleted this phrase in the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, the drafters of the IRR
reinstated it. The deletion by Congress of the said phrase is significant and pivotal.
Moreover, when Congress formulated the term “electronic data message,” it intended the same
meaning as the term “electronic record” in the Canada law. This construction of the term
“electronic data message,” which excludes telexes or faxes, except computer-generated faxes, is
in harmony with the Electronic Commerce Law’s focus on “paperless” communications and the
“functional equivalent approach” that it espouses. Facsimile transmissions are not, in this sense,
“paperless,” but verily are paper-based.
[I]n an ordinary facsimile transmission, there exists an original paper-based information or data
that is scanned, sent through a phone line, and re-printed at the receiving end. … [I]n a virtual or
paperless environment, technically, there is no original copy to speak of, as all direct printouts of
the virtual reality are the same, in all respects, and are considered as originals. Ineluctably, the
law’s definition of “electronic data message,” which, as aforesaid, is interchangeable with
“electronic document,” could not have included facsimile transmissions, which have an original
paper-based copy as sent and a paper-based facsimile copy as received. These two copies are
distinct from each other, and have different legal effects. While Congress anticipated future
developments in communications and computer technology when it drafted the law, it excluded
the early forms of technology, like telegraph, telex and telecopy (except computer-generated
faxes, which is a newer development as compared to the ordinary fax machine to fax machine
transmission), when it defined the term “electronic data message.”
[T]he terms “electronic data message” and “electronic document,” as defined under the
Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, do not include a facsimile transmission. Accordingly, a
facsimile transmission cannot be considered as electronic evidence. It is not the functional
equivalent of an original under the Best Evidence Rule and is not admissible as electronic
evidence.
ELLERY MARCH G. TORRES v. PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT and GAMING
CORPORATION
G.R. No. 193531
December 14, 2011

Facts:
Petitioner was a Slot Machine Operations Supervisor (SMOS) of respondent Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). On the basis of an alleged intelligence
report of padding of the Credit Meter Readings (CMR) of the slot machines at PAGCOR-
Hyatt Manila, then Casino Filipino-Hyatt (CF Hyatt), which involved the slot machine
and internal security personnel of respondent PAGCOR, and in connivance with slot
machine customers, respondent PAGCOR’s Corporate Investigation Unit (CIU) allegedly
conducted an investigation to verify the veracity of such report. The CIU discovered the
scheme of CMR padding which was committed by adding zero after the first digit of the
actual CMR of a slot machine or adding a digit before the first digit of the actual CMR.
Based on the CIU’s investigation of all the CMR receipts and slot machine jackpot slips
issued by CF Hyatt for the months of February and March 2007, the CIU identified the
members of the syndicate who were responsible for such CMR padding, which included
herein petitioner.

On May 4, 2007, the CIU served petitioner with a Memorandum of Charges for
dishonesty, serious misconduct, fraud and violation of office rules and regulations which
were considered grave offenses where the penalty imposable is dismissal.
On September 14, 2007, petitioner filed with the CSC a Complaint against PAGCOR and
its Chairman Efraim Genuino for illegal dismissal, non-payment of backwages and other
benefits. The complaint alleged among others: (1) that he denied all the charges against
him; (2) that he did ask for a formal investigation of the accusations against him and for
PAGCOR to produce evidence and proofs to substantiate the charges, but respondent
PAGCOR did not call for any formal administrative hearing; (3) that he tried to
persuade respondent PAGCOR to review and reverse its decision in a letter of
reconsideration dated August 13, 2007 addressed to the Chairman, the members of the
Board of Directors and the Merit Systems Protection Board; and (4) that no resolution
was issued on his letter reconsideration, thus, the filing of the complaint. Petitioner
claimed that as a result of his unlawful, unjustified and illegal termination/dismissal, he
was compelled to hire the services of a counsel in order to protect his rights.

In so ruling, the CSC found that the issue for resolution was whether petitioner’s appeal
had already prescribed which the former answered in the positive. The CSC did not give
credit to petitioner’s claim that he sent a facsimile transmission of his letter
reconsideration within the period prescribed by the Uniform Rules on Administrative
Cases in the Civil Service. It found PAGCOR’s denial of having received petitioner’s
letter more credible as it was supported by certifications issued by its employees. It
found that a verification of one of the telephone numbers where petitioner allegedly sent
his letter reconsideration disclosed that such number did not belong to the PAGCOR’s
Office of the Board of Directors; and that petitioner should have mentioned about the
alleged facsimile transmission at the first instance when he filed his complaint and not
only when respondent PAGCOR raised the issue of prescription in its Comment.

The CA then concluded that PAGCOR’s decision which was contained in a letter dated
August 4, 2007 dismissing petitioner from the service had already attained finality since
there was no motion for reconsideration filed by petitioner in the manner and within the
period provided for under the Revised Uniform Rules on the Administrative Cases in the
Civil Service.

Issue:
The threshold issue for resolution is whether the CA erred when it affirmed the CSC’s
dismissal of the appeal for being filed beyond the reglementary period.

Held:
Clearly, a motion for reconsideration may either be filed by mail or personal delivery.
When a motion for reconsideration was sent by mail, the same shall be deemed filed on
the date shown by the postmark on the envelope which shall be attached to the records
of the case. On the other hand, in case of personal delivery, the motion is deemed filed
on the date stamped thereon by the proper office. And the movant has 15 days from
receipt of the decision within which to file a motion for reconsideration or an appeal
therefrom.
A facsimile or fax transmission is a process involving the transmission and reproduction
of printed and graphic matter by scanning an original copy, one elemental area at a
time, and representing the shade or tone of each area by a specified amount of electric
current. The current is transmitted as a signal over regular telephone lines or via
microwave relay and is used by the receiver to reproduce an image of the elemental area
in the proper position and the correct shade. The receiver is equipped with a stylus or
other device that produces a printed record on paper referred to as a facsimile.
A facsimile is not a genuine and authentic pleading. It is, at best, an exact copy
preserving all the marks of an original. Without the original, there is no way of
determining on its face whether the facsimile pleading is genuine and authentic and was
originally signed by the party and his counsel. It may, in fact, be a sham pleading.
Moreover, a facsimile transmission is not considered as an electronic evidence under the
Electronic Commerce Act. In MCC Industrial Sales Corporation v. Ssangyong
Corporation, We determined the question of whether the original facsimile
transmissions are “electronic data messages” or “electronic documents” within the
context of the Electronic Commerce Act, and We said:
We, therefore, conclude that the terms “electronic data message” and “electronic
document,” as defined under the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, do not include a
facsimile transmission. Accordingly, a facsimile transmission cannot be considered as
electronic evidence. It is not the functional equivalent of an original under the Best
Evidence Rule and is not admissible as electronic evidence.

G.R. No. 182835 April 20, 2010


RUSTAN ANG y PASCUA, Petitioner,
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and IRISH SAGUD, Respondents.

Facts: The herein petitioner, Rustan Ang and the private respondent, Irish Sagud were lovers
during their college days in Wesleyan University in Maria Aurora Province of Aurora. Eventually,
Irish heard that Rustan has a live-in-partner whom Rustan got pregnant. Because of this, Irish
decided to broke up with Rustan. The latter asked Irish to elope with him, since he does not
love the other girl, to which Irish refused. To pressure Irish to get back with him he send
multimedia messages to Irish, bearing a picture of a naked woman, who spread her legs with a
face of Irish superimposed on it. Rustan even added in the text message that it is easy for him
to spread those pictures in the internet. Because of this scenario, Irish, asked help from the Vic-
Mayor of the municipality, to which coordination with the local police was made. Entrapment
operation was conducted and arrested Rustan.

Issue: Whether or not Rustan’s contention that the multimedia messages should not be made
admissible for the basic reason that such was not properly authenticated as provided by the
Rules on Electronic Documents?

Held: No, the Supreme Court mentioned the following:


Rustan claims that the obscene picture sent to Irish through a text message constitutes an
electronic document. Thus, it should be authenticated by means of an electronic signature, as
provided under Section 1, Rule 5 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence (A.M. 01-7-01-SC).
But, firstly, Rustan is raising this objection to the admissibility of the obscene picture, Exhibit A,
for the first time before this Court. The objection is too late since he should have objected to the
admission of the picture on such ground at the time it was offered in evidence. He should be
deemed to have already waived such ground for objection.
Besides, the rules he cites do not apply to the present criminal action. The Rules on Electronic
Evidence applies only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings, and administrative
proceedings.
Indeed the assertion of Rustan will not be given merit for the basic reason that such contention
was only raised before this court to which the latter had a presumption that Rustan has waived
his right to question the authenticity of the pictures. Moreover, the court avers that such
assertion of Rustan cannot be made possible in criminal case; such can only be made before,
civil and administrative actions.
The high court denied the petition.

E. PAROL EVIDENCE

PRINCIPLE: As explained by a leading commentator on our Rules of Court, the parol


evidence rule does not apply, and may not properly be invoked by either party to the
litigation against the other, where at least one of the parties to the suit is not party or a
privy of a party to the written instrument in question and does not base a claim on the
instrument or assert a right originating in the instrument or the relation established thereby.
(Francisco on Evidence, Vol. VII, part I of the Rules of Court, p. 155 citing 32 C.J.S. 79.).

FACTS:

Victoria Lechugas (petitioner) bought a land from a certain Leoncia Lasangue. After the
purchase of the land, the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Leoncia Lasangue in her favor
specified a certain land Lot No. 5456 stated in the contract. When the defendants
(respondents) occupied Lot No. 5456, petitioner filed a complaint for forcible entry with
damages (ejectment case) against the defendants but it was dismissed. Petitioner
appealed the case to the CFI (now RTC) of Iloilo.

While the appeal for the ejectment case was pending, petitioner filed another case in the
RTC for the recovery of possession against the same defendants involving the same Lot
No. 5456. During the trial, the defendants presented their star witness in the person of
Leoncia Lasangue herself.

Leoncia Lasangue testified during the trial. That according to her, the lot that she sold to the
petitioner was not Lot No. 5456 but another lot, Lot 5522. Lasangue did not know how to
read and write, so the document of sale was prepared by the petitioner, thereafter, the
former was made to sign it. Based on her testimony, the lot indicated in the Deed of Sale
which she sold to petitioner was erroneous. It was clear that she did not intend to sell a
piece of land already sold by her father to the predecessor-in-interest of the defendants
(respondents). This was objected by the petitioner under the Parole Evidence Rule.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Parole Evidence Rule apply in this case

HELD:

No. The Parole Evidence Rule will not apply in this case because it is Leoncia Lasangue who
is one of the parties to the subject Deed of Sale not the defendants. The defendants in the
case were not parties to the Deed of Sale executed between Leoncia Lasange and petitioner
Lechugas.

The petitioner's reliance on the parol evidence rule is misplaced. The rule is not applicable
where the controversy is between one of the parties to the document and third persons. The
deed of sale was executed by Leoncia Lasangue in favor of Victoria Lechugas. The dispute
over what was actually sold is between petitioner and the private respondents. In the case
at bar, through the testimony of Leoncia Lasangue, it was shown that what she really
intended to sell and to be the subject of Exhibit A was Lot No. 5522 but not being able to
read and write and fully relying on the good faith of her first cousin, the petitioner, she just
placed her thumbmark on a piece of paper which petitioner told her was the document
evidencing the sale of land. The deed of sale described the disputed lot instead.

Bar Q: X bought a land from Y. After the purchase of the land, a Deed of Sale was executed.
The Deed of Sale specified Lot No. 5456 as the subject of the contract. When Z occupied Lot
No. 5456, X filed an ejectment suit against Z, thereafter filed a petition for the recovery of
possession against the same defendants and the same disputed lot. Defendants Z took Y to
testify before the trial court. Based on Y’s testimony, the lot indicated in the Deed of Sale
which she sold to X was erroneous and not the lot she intended to sell. X objected on the
ground of the Parole Evidence Rule. Rule on the objection. (1000points) 

Baldomero Inciong, Jr. vs


Court of Appeals
In February 1983, Rene Naybe took out a loan from Philippine Bank of Communications
(PBC) in the amount of P50k. For that he executed a promissory note in the same amount.
Naybe was able to convince Baldomero Inciong, Jr. and Gregorio Pantanosas to co-sign
with him as co-makers. The promissory note went due and it was left unpaid. PBC
demanded payment from the three but still no payment was made. PBC then sue the three
but PBC later released Pantanosas from its obligations. Naybe left for Saudi Arabia hence
can’t be issued summons and the complaint against him was subsequently dropped.
Inciong was left to face the suit. He argued that that since the complaint against Naybe was
dropped, and that Pantanosas was released from his obligations, he too should have been
released.
ISSUE: Whether or not Inciong should be held liable.
HELD: Yes. Inciong is considering himself as a guarantor in the promissory note. And he
was basing his argument based on Article 2080 of the Civil Code which provides that
guarantors are released from their obligations if the creditors shall release their debtors. It is
to be noted however that Inciong did not sign the promissory note as a guarantor. He signed
it as a solidary co-maker.
A guarantor who binds himself in solidum with the principal debtor does not become a
solidary co-debtor to all intents and purposes. There is a difference between a solidary co-
debtor and a fiador in solidum (surety). The latter, outside of the liability he assumes to pay
the debt before the property of the principal debtor has been exhausted, retains all the other
rights, actions and benefits which pertain to him by reason of the fiansa; while a solidary co-
debtor has no other rights than those bestowed upon him.
Because the promissory note involved in this case expressly states that the three
signatories therein are jointly and severally liable, any one, some or all of them may be
proceeded against for the entire obligation. The choice is left to the solidary creditor (PBC)
to determine against whom he will enforce collection. Consequently, the dismissal of the
case against Pontanosas may not be deemed as having discharged Inciong from liability as
well. As regards Naybe, suffice it to say that the court never acquired jurisdiction over him.
Inciong, therefore, may only have recourse against his co-makers, as provided by law.

Facts:
Private respondent Rafael Ortanez filed with the Quezon City RTC a complaint for annulment of
marriage with damages against petitioner Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez, on grounds of lack of marriage
license and/or psychological incapacity of the petitioner.

Among the exhibits offered by private respondent were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged telephone
conversations between petitioner and unidentified persons.

Teresita submitted her Objection/Comment to Rafael’s oral offer of evidence. However, the trial
court admitted all of private respondent’s offered evidence and later on denied her motion for
reconsideration, prompting petitioner to file a petition for certiorari with the CA to assail the
admission in evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes.
These tape recordings were made and obtained when private respondent allowed his friends from
the military to wire tap his home telephone.

CA denied the petition because (1) Tape recordings are not inadmissible per se. They and any other
variant thereof can be admitted in evidence for certain purposes, depending on how they are
presented and offered and on how the trial judge utilizes them in the interest of truth and fairness
and the even handed administration of justice; and (2) A petition for certiorari is notoriously
inappropriate to rectify a supposed error in admitting evidence adduced during trial. The ruling on
admissibility is interlocutory; neither does it impinge on jurisdiction. If it is erroneous, the ruling
should be questioned in the appeal from the judgment on the merits and not through the special civil
action of certiorari. The error, assuming gratuitously that it exists, cannot be anymore than an error
of law, properly correctible by appeal and not by certiorari.
Petitioner then filed the present petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Issue:
W/N the recordings of the telephone conversations are admissible in evidence

W/N the remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court was properly availed of by the
petitioner in the Court of Appeals

Held:
1. No. Rep. Act No. 4200 entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related
Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for other purposes” expressly makes such tape
recordings inadmissible in evidence thus:
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or
arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using
a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-
recorder, or however otherwise described. . . .

Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, or
meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained, obtained or secured
by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in
any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.

Absent a clear showing that both parties to the telephone conversations allowed the recording of the
same, the inadmissibility of the subject tapes is mandatory under Rep. Act No. 4200.

2. Yes and no. The extraordinary writ of certiorari is generally not available to challenge an
interlocutory order of a trial court. The proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary appeal from an
adverse judgment, incorporating in said appeal the grounds for assailing the interlocutory order.
However, where the assailed interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal
would not afford adequate and expeditious relief, the Court may allow certiorari as a mode of
redress.

Delay in reciprocal obligation - In reciprocal obligations, neither party incurs in delay if


the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in a proper manner with what is
incumbent upon him.

FINANCIAL BUILDING CORPORATION vs. RUDLIN INTERNATIONAL


CORPORATION, BLOOMFIELD EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION, INC., RODOLFO J.
LAGERA, MA. ERLINDA J. LAGERA AND JOSAPHAT R. BRAVANTE, G.R.
No. 164186, October 4, 2010; with accompanying case -- RUDLIN
INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, BLOOMFIELD EDUCATIONAL
FOUNDATION, INC., RODOLFO J. LAGERA, MA. ERLINDA J. LAGERA
ANDJOSAPHAT R. BRAVANTE vs. FINANCIAL BUILDING CORPORATION, G.R.
No. 164347, October 4, 2010.

“x x x.

Considering that FBC had not completed the corrective/repair works in accordance with
the Contract Documents and as approved or certified in writing by the Architect as to its
completion, its demand for the payment of the final balance was premature. Under the
Letter-Agreement dated June 5, 1986, final payment was subject to reconciliation of
their accounts regarding the upgrading and downgrading done on the
project. Obviously, this cannot be complied with unless FBC as the defaulting party
completes the repair/corrective works for only then can the actual cost of additives and
deductives be determined. In reciprocal obligations, neither party incurs in delay if
the other does not comply or is not ready to comply in a proper manner with what
is incumbent upon him.[41] When the substandard waterproofing caused extensive
damage to the school building, it was incumbent upon FBC to institute at its own
expense the proper repairs in accordance with the guaranty-warranty stated in the
Construction Agreement. Thus, Rudlin cannot be said to have incurred delay in the
reconciliation of accounts, as a precondition for final payment; instead, it is FBC who
was guilty of delay by its stubborn refusal to replace or re-execute the defective
waterproofing of the subject school building.

-----------TO AVOID THE OPERATION OF THE PAROL EVIDENCE RULE, THE RULES
OF COURT ALLOWS A PARTY TO PRESENT EVIDENCE MODIFYING, EXPLAINING
OR ADDING TO THE TERMS OF THE WRITTEN AGREEMENT IF HE PUTS IN ISSUE
IN HIS PLEADING, THE FAILURE OF THE WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO EXPRESS
THE TRUE INTENT AND AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES.

The failure of the written agreement to express the true intention of the parties is
either by reason of mistake, fraud, inequitable conduct or accident, which nevertheless
did not prevent a meeting of the minds of the parties(Article 1359 of the Civil Code of
the Philippines) (MODESTO LEOVERAS VS. CASIMERO VALDEZ, G.R. NO.
169985, JUNE 15, 2011, BRION, J.).

MODESTO LEOVERAS, Petitioner, vs.CASIMERO VALDEZ, Respondent.

G.R. No. 169985 June 15, 2011

BRION, J.:

Facts:

Maria Sta. Maria and Dominga Manangan were the registered owners - three-fourths (¾) and one-fourth
(¼) pro-indiviso, respectively - of a parcel of land. Sta. Maria sold her three-fourths (¾) share to Benigna
Llamas. The sale was duly annotated at the back of OCT No. 24695. When Benigna died in 1944, she
willed her three-fourths (¾) share equally to her sisters Alejandra Llamas and Josefa Llamas. 8 Thus,
Alejandra and Josefa each owned one-half (½) of Benigna’s three-fourths (¾) share. Alejandra’s heirs
sold their predecessor’s one-half (½) share (roughly equivalent to 10,564 square meters) to the
respondent, as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale. Also, Josefa sold her own one-half (½) share
(subject property) to the respondent and the petitioner, as evidenced by another Deed of Absolute Sale.
The respondent and the petitioner executed an Agreement, allotting their portions of the subject property.
The petitioner and the respondent executed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim over the subject property. The
parties took possession of their respective portions of the subject property and declared it in their name
for taxation purposes.

The respondent asked the Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan on the requirements for the
transfer of title over the portion allotted to him on the subject property. To his surprise, the respondent
learned that the petitioner had already obtained in his name two transfer certificates of title.

The respondent filed a complaint for Annulment of Title, Reconveyance and Damages against the
petitioner, seeking the reconveyance of the 1,004-square meter portion (disputed property) covered by
TCT No. 195813, on the ground that the petitioner is entitled only to the 3,020 square meters identified in
the parties’ Agreement.

The respondent sought the nullification of the petitioner’s titles by contesting the authenticity of the
petitioner’s documents. Particularly, the respondent assailed the Benigna Deed by presenting Benigna’s
death certificate. The respondent argued that Benigna could not have executed a deed, which purports to
convey 4,024 square meters to the petitioner, in 1969 because Benigna already died in 1944. The
respondent added that neither could Sta. Maria have sold to the parties her three-fourths (¾) share in
1969 because she had already sold her share to Benigna in 1932. 22

The petitioner asked for the dismissal of the complaint and for a declaration that he is the lawful owner of
the parcels of land covered by his titles.

The RTC dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC by ruling against the authenticity
of the Benigna Deed and the Affidavit. As the totality of the evidence presented sufficiently sustains [the
respondent’s] claim that the titles issued to [the petitioner] were based on forged and spurious
documents, it behooves this Court to annul these certificates of title. Hence, this petition for revie.

Issues:

Whether the CA erred in ordering the reconveyance of the parcel of land covered by the petitioner’s titles.

Held:

We partially grant the petition.

An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful landowner, whose land
was wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of another, to compel the registered owner to
transfer or reconvey the land to him. 33 The plaintiff in this action must allege and prove his ownership of
the land in dispute and the defendant’s erroneous, fraudulent or wrongful registration of the property.

The petitioner’s argument confuses registration of title with ownership. 52 While the petitioner’s ownership
over the land covered by TCT No. 195812 is undisputed, his ownership only gave him the right to apply
for the proper transfer of title to the property in his name. Obviously, the petitioner, even as a rightful
owner, must comply with the statutory provisions on the transfer of registered title to lands. 53 Section 53 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides that the subsequent registration of title procured by the
presentation of a forged deed or other instrument is null and void. Thus, the subsequent issuance of TCT
No. 195812 gave the petitioner no better right than the tainted registration which was the basis for the
issuance of the same title. The Court simply cannot allow the petitioner’s attempt to get around the proper
procedure for registering the transfer of title in his name by using spurious documents.

Reconveyance is the remedy of the rightful owner only

While the CA correctly nullified the petitioner’s certificates of title, the CA erred in ordering the
reconveyance of the entire subject property in the respondent’s favor. The respondent himself admitted
that the 3,020- square meter portion covered by TCT No. 195812 is the petitioner’s just share in the
subject property.54 Thus, although the petitioner obtained TCT No. 195812 using the same spurious
documents, the land covered by this title should not be reconveyed in favor of the respondent since he is
not the rightful owner of the property covered by this title.

Citibank NA Mastercard
vs Teodoro GR No
150905 23
September 2003
Facts: Efren Teodoro is a Citibank Card credit card holder. Bt 1995 his outstanding
obligation ballooned to 191,693.25 inclusive of interest and service charges. During the
trial, Citibank presented several sales invoices or charge slips, which added up to only
P24,388.36. Although mere photocopies of the originals, the invoices were marked in
evidence as Exhibits F to F-4. Because all these copies appeared to bear the signatures of
respondent, the trial court deemed them sufficient proof of his purchases with the use of the
credit card. MTC decided in favour of Citibank. Teodoro appealed to RTC and affirmed MTC
decision. CA reversed.
Issue: WON CA erred in holding that petitioner failed to prove the due execution and the
cause of the unavailability and non-production of the charge slips marked in evidence as
Exhibits F to F-4
Decision: SC affirmed CA decision.
The original copies of the sales invoices are the best evidence to prove the alleged
obligation. Photocopies thereof are mere secondary evidence.
Before a party is allowed to adduce secondary evidence to prove the contents of the original
sales invoices, the offeror must prove the following: (1) the existence or due execution of
the original; (2) the loss and destruction of the original or the reason for its nonproduction
in court; and (3) on the part of the offeror, the absence of bad faith to which the
unavailability of the original can be attributed. The correct order of proof is as
follows: existence, execution, loss, and contents.

The loss of the originals and reasonable diligence in the search for them were conditions
that were not met, because the sales invoices might have been found by
Equitable. Hernandez, testifying that he had requested the originals from Equitable, failed to
show that he had subsequently followed up the request.

When more than one original copy exists, it must appear that all of them have been lost,
destroyed, or cannot be produced in court before secondary evidence can be given of any
one. A photocopy may not be used without accounting for the other originals.
Triplicates were produced, although the cardholder signed the sales invoice only once.
During the trial, Hernandez explained that an original copy had gone to respondent, another
to the merchant, and still another to petitioner.

Each of these three copies is regarded as an original in accordance with Section 4 (b) of
Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner failed to show that all three original copies were
unavailable, and that due diligence had been exercised in the search for them.

Advertisements

19. COUNTRY BANKERS INSURANCE CORPORATION VS ANTONIO LAGMAN

GR NO 165487; July 13, 2011

PEREZ J:

FACTS:

Nelson Santos (Santos) applied for a license with the National Food
Authority (NFA) to engage in the business of storing not more than 30,000 sacks of
palay valued at P5,250,000.00 in his warehouse at Barangay Malacampa, Camiling,
Tarlac. Under Act No. 3893 or the General Bonded Warehouse Act, as amended, the
approval for said license was conditioned upon posting of a cash bond, a bond
secured by real estate, or a bond signed by a duly authorized bonding company, the
amount of which shall be fixed by the NFA Administrator at not less than thirty-three
and one third percent (33 1/3%) of the market value of the maximum quantity of
rice to be received.

Accordingly, Country Bankers Insurance Corporation (Country Bankers)


issued Warehouse Bond No. 03304for P1,749,825.00 on 5 November 1989 and
Warehouse Bond No. 02355[for P749,925.00 on 13 December 1989 (1989 Bonds)
through its agent, Antonio Lagman (Lagman). Santos was the bond principal,
Lagman was the surety and the Republic of the Philippines, through the NFA was the
obligee. In consideration of these issuances, corresponding Indemnity Agreements
were executed by Santos, as bond principal, together with Ban Lee Lim Santos (Ban
Lee Lim), Rhosemelita Reguine (Reguine) and Lagman, as co-signors. The latter
bound themselves jointly and severally liable to Country Bankers for any damages,
prejudice, losses, costs, payments, advances and expenses of whatever kind and
nature, including attorneys fees and legal costs, which it may sustain as a
consequence of the said bond; to reimburse Country Bankers of whatever amount it
may pay or cause to be paid or become liable to pay thereunder; and to pay interest
at the rate of 12% per annum computed and compounded monthly, as well as to
pay attorneys fees of 20% of the amount due it.

Santos then secured a loan using his warehouse receipts as collateral.


When the loan matured, Santos defaulted in his payment. The sacks of palay
covered by the warehouse receipts were no longer found in the bonded warehouse.
By virtue of the surety bonds, Country Bankers was compelled to pay
P1,166,750.37.

Consequently, Country Bankers filed a complaint for a sum of money


docketed as Civil Case No. 95-73048 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila.
In his Answer, Lagman alleged that the 1989 Bonds were valid only for 1 year from
the date of their issuance, as evidenced by receipts; that the bonds were never
renewed and revived by payment of premiums; that on 5 November 1990, Country
Bankers issued Warehouse Bond No. 03515 (1990 Bond) which was also valid for
one year and that no Indemnity Agreement was executed for the purpose; and that
the 1990 Bond supersedes, cancels, and renders no force and effect the 1989
Bonds.

The bond principals, Santos and Ban Lee Lim, were not served with summons
because they could no longer be found. The case was eventually dismissed against
them without prejudice. The other co-signor, Reguine, was declared in default for
failure to file her answer.

On 21 September 1998, the trial court rendered judgment declaring Reguine and
Lagman jointly and severally liable to pay Country Bankers the amount of
P2,400,499.87. CA reversed the decision of RTC

ISSUE:

Whether the 1989 Bonds have expired and the 1990 Bond novates the 1989 Bonds.

HELD:

NO. The Court of Appeals held that the 1989 bonds were effective only for one (1)
year, as evidenced by the receipts on the payment of premiums

RATIO:

The official receipts in question serve as proof of payment of the premium for one
year on each surety bond. It does not, however, automatically mean that the surety
bond is effective for only one (1) year. In fact, the effectivity of the bond is not
wholly dependent on the payment of premium. Section 177 of the Insurance Code
expresses:

Sec. 177. The surety is entitled to payment of the premium as soon as the contract
of suretyship or bond is perfected and delivered to the obligor. No contract of
suretyship or bonding shall be valid and binding unless and until the premium
therefor has been paid, except where the obligee has accepted the bond, in which
case the bond becomes valid and enforceable irrespective of whether or not the
premium has been paid by the obligor to the surety:Provided, That if the contract of
suretyship or bond is not accepted by, or filed with the obligee, the surety shall
collect only reasonable amount, not exceeding fifty per centum of the premium due
thereon as service fee plus the cost of stamps or other taxes imposed for the
issuance of the contract or bond: Provided, however, That if the non-acceptance of
the bond be due to the fault or negligence of the surety, no such service fee,
stamps or taxes shall be collected.

Carina Amor Claveria.


19. COUNTRY BANKERS INSURANCE CORPORATION VS ANTONIO LAGMAN

GR NO 165487; July 13, 2011

PEREZ J:

FACTS:

Nelson Santos (Santos) applied for a license with the National Food
Authority (NFA) to engage in the business of storing not more than 30,000 sacks of
palay valued at P5,250,000.00 in his warehouse at Barangay Malacampa, Camiling,
Tarlac. Under Act No. 3893 or the General Bonded Warehouse Act, as amended, the
approval for said license was conditioned upon posting of a cash bond, a bond
secured by real estate, or a bond signed by a duly authorized bonding company, the
amount of which shall be fixed by the NFA Administrator at not less than thirty-three
and one third percent (33 1/3%) of the market value of the maximum quantity of
rice to be received.

Accordingly, Country Bankers Insurance Corporation (Country Bankers)


issued Warehouse Bond No. 03304for P1,749,825.00 on 5 November 1989 and
Warehouse Bond No. 02355[for P749,925.00 on 13 December 1989 (1989 Bonds)
through its agent, Antonio Lagman (Lagman). Santos was the bond principal,
Lagman was the surety and the Republic of the Philippines, through the NFA was the
obligee. In consideration of these issuances, corresponding Indemnity Agreements
were executed by Santos, as bond principal, together with Ban Lee Lim Santos (Ban
Lee Lim), Rhosemelita Reguine (Reguine) and Lagman, as co-signors. The latter
bound themselves jointly and severally liable to Country Bankers for any damages,
prejudice, losses, costs, payments, advances and expenses of whatever kind and
nature, including attorneys fees and legal costs, which it may sustain as a
consequence of the said bond; to reimburse Country Bankers of whatever amount it
may pay or cause to be paid or become liable to pay thereunder; and to pay interest
at the rate of 12% per annum computed and compounded monthly, as well as to
pay attorneys fees of 20% of the amount due it.

Santos then secured a loan using his warehouse receipts as collateral.


When the loan matured, Santos defaulted in his payment. The sacks of palay
covered by the warehouse receipts were no longer found in the bonded warehouse.
By virtue of the surety bonds, Country Bankers was compelled to pay
P1,166,750.37.
Consequently, Country Bankers filed a complaint for a sum of money
docketed as Civil Case No. 95-73048 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila.
In his Answer, Lagman alleged that the 1989 Bonds were valid only for 1 year from
the date of their issuance, as evidenced by receipts; that the bonds were never
renewed and revived by payment of premiums; that on 5 November 1990, Country
Bankers issued Warehouse Bond No. 03515 (1990 Bond) which was also valid for
one year and that no Indemnity Agreement was executed for the purpose; and that
the 1990 Bond supersedes, cancels, and renders no force and effect the 1989
Bonds.

The bond principals, Santos and Ban Lee Lim, were not served with summons
because they could no longer be found. The case was eventually dismissed against
them without prejudice. The other co-signor, Reguine, was declared in default for
failure to file her answer.

On 21 September 1998, the trial court rendered judgment declaring Reguine and
Lagman jointly and severally liable to pay Country Bankers the amount of
P2,400,499.87. CA reversed the decision of RTC

ISSUE:

Whether the 1989 Bonds have expired and the 1990 Bond novates the 1989 Bonds.

HELD:

NO. The Court of Appeals held that the 1989 bonds were effective only for one (1)
year, as evidenced by the receipts on the payment of premiums

RATIO:

The official receipts in question serve as proof of payment of the premium for one
year on each surety bond. It does not, however, automatically mean that the surety
bond is effective for only one (1) year. In fact, the effectivity of the bond is not
wholly dependent on the payment of premium. Section 177 of the Insurance Code
expresses:

Sec. 177. The surety is entitled to payment of the premium as soon as the contract
of suretyship or bond is perfected and delivered to the obligor. No contract of
suretyship or bonding shall be valid and binding unless and until the premium
therefor has been paid, except where the obligee has accepted the bond, in which
case the bond becomes valid and enforceable irrespective of whether or not the
premium has been paid by the obligor to the surety:Provided, That if the contract of
suretyship or bond is not accepted by, or filed with the obligee, the surety shall
collect only reasonable amount, not exceeding fifty per centum of the premium due
thereon as service fee plus the cost of stamps or other taxes imposed for the
issuance of the contract or bond: Provided, however, That if the non-acceptance of
the bond be due to the fault or negligence of the surety, no such service fee,
stamps or taxes shall be collected.

BAGUIO TRINITY DEVELOPERS, G.R. No. 188381

INC., herein represented by

RICARDO JULIAN,

Petitioner, Present:

VELASCO, JR., J., Chairperson,

- versus - PERALTA,

ABAD,

SERENO,* and

PERLAS-BERNABE, JJ.

THE HEIRS OF JOSE RAMOS

and THE HEIRS OF LEOPOLDO

and VICTORINA NEPA; and the Promulgated:

HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,

Respondents. December 14, 2011


x --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

ABAD, J.:

The case is about a) the requirement in a petition for annulment of judgment


of the submission of a certified true copy of the assailed judgment or order and b)
laches as a bar to a property owners action to annul a reconstituted version of his
title registered in another persons name.

The Facts and the Case

Spouses Meliton Grabiles and Leona Calderon (the Grabiles) were the original
registered owners of a 2,933-square-meter lot in Rosario, La Union. [1] After a
number of successive transfers the lot was eventually sold to petitioner Baguio
Trinity Developers, Inc. on January 3, 1994, resulting in the issuance of Transfer
Certificate of Title T-38340 in its name.
It appears, however, that in 1985 Anastacio Laroco and Leona Javier filed a
reconstitution proceeding before Branch 31 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Agoo, La Union, covering the Grabiles original title. But for some reasons, the
RTCs order of October 20, 1986 directed the reconstitution of the title in the name
of one Maria Bernal. This order was annotated on the Grabiles Original Certificate
of Title (OCT) 1082 issued by the Register of Deeds of La Union.

In 1986, Melicia Silva filed a second petition purportedly on behalf of the


Grabiles for the reconstitution of their original title also before Branch 31 of the
RTC of Agoo. In its order of October 28, 1986, the RTC ordered the reconstitution
of the title in the name of the Grabiles as OCT RO-4717. Entry 89953 of this
reconstituted original title stated that the property had been sold in 1939 to a
certain Jose Ramos. So, too, in 1944, the southern portion of the lot, covering
1,372 square meters, was sold to Quirini Parrocha who in turn sold it in 1955 to the
spouses Leopoldo and Victorina Nepa (the Nepas). Respondents in this case are the
heirs of these two buyers, Jose Ramos and the Nepas (the Ramos and Nepa heirs).

On September 14, 1995 petitioner Baguio Trinity filed a complaint for recovery
and declaration of nullity of title and damages before the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC) of Rosario, La Union, against the Ramos and Nepa heirs who held
reconstituted titles over the property. Since Baguio Trinity presented the issue on
the validity of the reconstituted titles issued by the RTC, a superior court, the MTC
dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.

On December 3, 1997 petitioner Baguio Trinity filed a second complaint for


recovery of property, declaration of nullity of title, and damages before the RTC of
Agoo, Branch 32. But, by Order of May 31, 2004, the RTC dismissed the
complaint for lack of jurisdiction after finding that the assessed value of the subject
property was below P20,000.00. Moreover, the court said that it could not annul an
order issued by a co-equal court. The RTC also denied Baguio Trinitys motion for
reconsideration, prompting it to file a petition for certiorari with the Court of
Appeals (CA) on October 13, 2004. On September 13, 2007[2] the CA dismissed
the petition, stating that Baguio Trinitys remedy should have been a petition to
annul judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court.

Three years later from the time the RTC dismissed the complaint or on
December 20, 2007 petitioner Baguio Trinity filed with the CA a petition for
annulment of the reconstitution orders that the RTC of Agoo, Branch 31, issued on
October 20, 1986 and October 28, 1986, impleading the Ramos and Nepa heirs.
Baguio Trinity claimed that the RTC had no jurisdiction to order reconstitution for
the Grabiles title since this was not lost. Further, the Grabiles could not have
authorized anyone to institute the proceedings on their behalf since they had been
long dead. Thus, the orders should be annulled for lack of jurisdiction.

On May 8, 2008 the CA[3] dismissed the petition on the grounds that it failed to
attach a) a certified copy of the RTC Order dated October 20, 1986, and b) copies
of the affidavits of witnesses and the documents, and the pleadings filed during the
reconstitution proceedings, the notices of hearing, and the titles issued to
petitioners predecessors-in-interest in support of petitioners cause of action.
Further, petitioner paid insufficient docket fees.

Petitioner Baguio Trinity filed a motion for reconsideration and attached a copy of
the affidavit of Cresencio Aspiras, their immediate predecessor, together with
copies of reconstituted titles issued to previous owners to show the chain of
ownership before Baguio Trinity acquired title to the property. It also paid the
deficiency in the docket fees and explained that a certified true copy of the assailed
Order cannot be obtained because the records were destroyed during the July 16,
1990 earthquake per RTC Certification of November 14, 2007.

But the CA denied petitioners motion of November 7, 2008, citing Section 4, par. 2
of Rule 47 which provides that a certified copy of the judgment or final order shall
be attached to the original copy of the petition. The mandatory tenor of the
requirement, said the CA, precluded Baguio Trinitys submission of some other
copy of such judgment or final order.

In any event, the CA held that the petition was barred by laches since Baguio
Trinity had notice of the reconstitution orders as early as 1995 when it filed an
action (the first that it filed) for declaration of nullity of titles and damages before
the MTC, a wrong court. Baguio Trinity filed its action to annul the orders of
reconstitution with the CA only on December 21, 2007 or 12 years after that court
affirmed the RTC order dismissing the complaint (the second action filed) before
the RTC of Agoo, Branch 32.

Because the CA denied petitioner Baguio Trinitys motion for reconsideration of its
ruling in its resolution of April 24, 2009, petitioner has taken recourse to this
Court.

The Issue
The only issue before this Court is whether or not the CA erred in dismissing
petitioner Baguio Trinitys action for annulment of judgment a) by reason of its
failure to comply with the requirement of submission of certified true copies of the
assailed RTC orders; and b) on ground of laches.

The Courts Rulings

One. In denying the petition before it, one of the grounds the CA gave was
that petitioner Baguio Trinity failed to attach to its petition for annulment of
judgment a certified copy of the judgment or final order, which requirement is
mandatory. Without it, the court would have no bases to form a decision. Besides,
said the CA, petitioner could have obtained a certified copy of the same from the
Land Registration Authority (LRA) which is usually furnished a copy, just as
petitioner was able to secure a copy of the October 28, 1986 Order from the
LRA. The Register of Deeds is also usually furnished a copy of such order.

Evidently, when Section 4, Rule 47 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provided that a
certified copy of the judgment or final order or resolution shall be attached to the
original copy of the petition intended for the court and indicated as such by the
petitioner, it wanted to ensure that the Court is shown a genuine copy of the
challenged judgment or final order before it acts on the petition.

The Court is aware of the necessity of mandating strict compliance with procedural
rules. Here, however, the 1990 earthquake resulted in the loss or destruction of the
RTC records of the case. The administration of justice cannot stop to grind because
of such loss and no one should suffer or benefit from it.
And who can issue a certified copy of the lost orders? The answer is that it can be
issued by the public officer in custody of the original of the document. [4] Here, it is
the clerk of court of the RTC that issued the challenged reconstitution orders. But
the clerk of court issued a certification, conformably with Section 28 of Rule 132,
that the relevant records are no longer available having been lost to an
earthquake. That the record custodian could no longer issue a certified copy should
not of course prevent an aggrieved party from pursuing his petition. The rules
allow such party to submit appropriate secondary evidence.

Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules of Evidence provides that when the original
document has been lost and its unavailability has been established, a party may
prove its contents by a copy or by a recital of its contents in some authentic
document or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated. Copies of the
challenged reconstitution orders from the LRA or the Register of Deeds are of
course available to petitioner Baguio Trinity. But it could just as validly submit
faithful copies of its challenged reconstitution orders, authenticated by a verified
statement that these are copies of the original orders. The Baguio Trinity
did. Consequently, the CA had no valid reason denying its petition for failure to
attach a copy of the assailed reconstitution orders.

Notably, the respondent Ramos and Nepa heirs have not questioned the
authenticity of the submitted copies. At any rate, the Court notes that petitioner
Baguio Trinity attached certified machine copies of the assailed Orders supplied by
the LRA as annexes to the present petition.

As for copies of documents and pleadings filed during the reconstitution


proceedings, the notices of hearing, and the titles issued to petitioners
predecessors-in-interest, which the CA wanted petitioner Baguio Trinity to submit,
these could very well be adduced during the hearing since their relevance could
hardly be discerned until the issues have been joined.

Two. The CA also dismissed petitioners action for annulment of final orders on the
further ground that such action is already barred by laches. The CA pointed out
that petitioner Baguio Trinity learned of the reconstitution orders as early as
1995. Still, the action for the annulment of those orders was filed only 12 years
later on December 21, 2007.

The RTC of Agoo ordered the reconstitution of the Grabiles title when, if
Baguio Trinitys allegations were to be believed, the original of such title actually
existed and had since been replaced through subsequent sales, terminating their
ownership of the property. As things now stand, two sets of titles covering the
same property, one based on transactions emanating from the original and another
based on the reconstituted titles exist. One has to give way to the other.

Petitioner Baguio Trinity initially brought an action to annul the


reconstituted versions of the Grabiles title before the MTC of Rosario, La Union,
on September 14, 1995 but that court dismissed the same for lack of jurisdiction
and opined that it should be filed with the RTC.

Baguio Trinity filed a second action on December 3, 1997 for recovery of


property, declaration of nullity of the titles, and damages before the RTC of Agoo,
Branch 32, against the Ramos and Nepa heirs who held the reconstituted titles. But
the RTC dismissed the action on May 31, 2004 saying that it cannot annul the
orders issued by a co-equal court. This, the CA Sixth Division affirmed and held
that Baguio Trinity should have availed itself of a petition for annulment under
Rule 47.

Baguio Trinity finally filed before the CA an action for annulment of the
reconstitution orders on the ground that the RTC did not have jurisdiction to issue
them. It is not right for the CA to dismiss such action by reason of laches simply
because no inaction is evident on Baguio Trinitys part. In fact, it had been an
unintentional object of relay between the lower courts which contributed to the
delay in the proceedings.

The petition for annulment alleged serious charges which if true can
invalidate respondents title. Such title had been subjected to two reconstitution
proceedings that could have divested the true owner of title over his property. The
conflict between the two sets of titles has to be resolved. The present standoff
cannot remain indefinitely under a titling system that assures the existence of only
one valid title for every piece of registered land. Evidently, laches cannot bar an
action sought to relieve such intolerable standoff.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and sets aside the Court of
Appeals Resolutions dated May 8, 2008 and November 7, 2008 and directs such
court to hear and decide the merits of the petition for annulment of judgment.

SO ORDERED.

Heirs of Gabatan v CA
TOPIC: Proof of filiation of illegitimate children
FACTS:
 The respondent alleges that she is the sole owner of a land located in Cagayan de Oro City which she
inherited from her mother, Hermogena, the only child of Juan Gabatan and his wife, Laureana
Clarito.
 Respondent alleged that upon the death of Juan Gabatan, his land was entrusted to his brother,
Teofilo Gabatan (Teofilo), and Teofilo’s wife, Rita Gabatan, for administration.
 It was also claimed that prior to her death Hermogena demanded for the return of the land but to
no avail. After Hermogena’s death, respondent also did the same but petitioners refused to heed the
numerous demands to surrender the subject property.
 Petitioners denied that respondent’s mother Hermogena was the daughter of Juan Gabatan with
Laureana Clarito and that Hermogena or respondent is the rightful heir of Juan Gabatan. They
further contend that Juan Gabatan died single in 1934 and without any issue and that Juan was
survived by one brother and two sisters, namely: Teofilo (petitioners’ predecessor-in-interest),
Macaria and Justa.
 These siblings and/or their heirs, inherited the subject land from Juan Gabatan and have been in
actual, physical, open, public, adverse, continuous and uninterrupted possession thereof in the
concept of owners for more than fifty (50) years and enjoyed the fruits of the improvements
thereon, to the exclusion of the whole world including respondent.
 October 20, 1995 = the RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondent
 CA affirmed such decision declaring that respondent’s claim of filiation with Juan Gabatan was
sufficiently established during trial.
o The proof was a Deed of Absolute Sale on July 30, 1966 containing such declaration which was
signed by Teofilo and the latter’s nearest relatives by consanguinity, is a tangible proof that they
acknowledged Hermogena’s status as the daughter of Juan Gabatan.
o Teofilo formally recognized Hermogena’s right to heirship from Juan Gabatan which ultimately
passed on to respondent.
ISSUE: W/N Hermogena Clareto "GABATAN" is the child and sole heir of Juan Gabatan;
HELD: No.
 Our laws dictate that the best evidence of such familial tie was the record of birth
appearing the Civil Register, or an authentic document or a final judgment – in the
absence of these, any proof that the child enjoyed the continuous possession of the
status of a legitimate child – only in the absence of these two classes of evidence is the
anyone allowed to present other porrof admissible under the Rules of Court of the
proof of paternity and filiation
The Court has consistently ruled that the trial court cannot make a declaration of heirship in the
civil action for the reason that such a declaration can only be made in a special proceeding.
To prove the relationship of respondent’s mother to Juan Gabatan, our laws dictate that the best
evidence of such familial tie was the record of birth appearing in the Civil Register, or an authentic
document or a final judgment. In the absence of these, respondent should have presented proof that her
mother enjoyed the continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. Only in the absence of
these two classes of evidence is the respondent allowed to present other proof admissible under the
Rules of Court of her mother’s relationship to Juan Gabatan.
However, respondent’s mother’s (Hermogena’s) birth certificate, which would have been the
best evidence of Hermogena’s relationship to Juan Gabatan, was never offered as evidence at the RTC.
Neither did respondent present any authentic document or final judgment categorically evidencing
Hermogena’s relationship to Juan Gabatan.
Respondent relied on the testimony of her witnesses but none of these witnesses had personal
knowledge of the fact of marriage of Juan to Laureana or the fact of birth of Hermogena to Juan and
Laureana. They were not yet born or were very young when Juan supposedly married Laureana or when
Hermogena was born and they all admitted that none of them were present at Juan and Laureana’s
wedding or Hermogena’s birth. These witnesses based their testimony on what they had been told by, or
heard from, others as young children. Their testimonies were, in a word, hearsay.
Aside from the testimonies of respondent’s witnesses, both the RTC and the CA relied heavily on a
photocopy of a Deed of Absolute Sale presented by respondent and which appeared to be signed by the
siblings and the heirs of the siblings of Juan Gabatan.
However, the admission of this Deed of Absolute Sale, including its contents and the signatures
therein, as competent evidence was vigorously and repeatedly objected to by petitioners’ counsel for
being a mere photocopy and not being properly authenticated. After a close scrutiny of the said
photocopy of the Deed of Absolute Sale, the Court cannot uphold the admissibility of the same.
Under the best evidence rule, when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence
shall be admissible other than the original document itself. Although the best evidence rule admits of
exceptions and there are instances where the presentation of secondary evidence would be allowed,
such as when the original is lost or the original is a public record, the basis for the presentation of
secondary evidence must still be established. Thus, in Department of Education Culture and Sports v. Del
Rosario, we held that a party must first satisfactorily explain the loss of the best or primary evidence
before he can resort to secondary evidence. A party must first present to the court proof of loss or other
satisfactory explanation for non-production of the original instrument.
In the case at bar, a perusal of the transcript of the testimony of Felicisima Nagac Pacana (who
identified the photocopy of the Deed of Absolute Sale) plainly shows that she gave no testimony
regarding the whereabouts of the original, whether it was lost or whether it was recorded in any public
office.

MODESTO LEOVERAS, Petitioner, vs.CASIMERO VALDEZ, Respondent.

G.R. No. 169985 June 15, 2011

BRION, J.:

Facts:

Maria Sta. Maria and Dominga Manangan were the registered owners - three-fourths (¾) and one-fourth
(¼) pro-indiviso, respectively - of a parcel of land. Sta. Maria sold her three-fourths (¾) share to Benigna
Llamas. The sale was duly annotated at the back of OCT No. 24695. When Benigna died in 1944, she
willed her three-fourths (¾) share equally to her sisters Alejandra Llamas and Josefa Llamas. 8 Thus,
Alejandra and Josefa each owned one-half (½) of Benigna’s three-fourths (¾) share. Alejandra’s heirs
sold their predecessor’s one-half (½) share (roughly equivalent to 10,564 square meters) to the
respondent, as evidenced by a Deed of Absolute Sale. Also, Josefa sold her own one-half (½) share
(subject property) to the respondent and the petitioner, as evidenced by another Deed of Absolute Sale.
The respondent and the petitioner executed an Agreement, allotting their portions of the subject property.
The petitioner and the respondent executed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim over the subject property. The
parties took possession of their respective portions of the subject property and declared it in their name
for taxation purposes.
The respondent asked the Register of Deeds of Lingayen, Pangasinan on the requirements for the
transfer of title over the portion allotted to him on the subject property. To his surprise, the respondent
learned that the petitioner had already obtained in his name two transfer certificates of title.

The respondent filed a complaint for Annulment of Title, Reconveyance and Damages against the
petitioner, seeking the reconveyance of the 1,004-square meter portion (disputed property) covered by
TCT No. 195813, on the ground that the petitioner is entitled only to the 3,020 square meters identified in
the parties’ Agreement.

The respondent sought the nullification of the petitioner’s titles by contesting the authenticity of the
petitioner’s documents. Particularly, the respondent assailed the Benigna Deed by presenting Benigna’s
death certificate. The respondent argued that Benigna could not have executed a deed, which purports to
convey 4,024 square meters to the petitioner, in 1969 because Benigna already died in 1944. The
respondent added that neither could Sta. Maria have sold to the parties her three-fourths (¾) share in
1969 because she had already sold her share to Benigna in 1932. 22

The petitioner asked for the dismissal of the complaint and for a declaration that he is the lawful owner of
the parcels of land covered by his titles.

The RTC dismissed the complaint. On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC by ruling against the authenticity
of the Benigna Deed and the Affidavit. As the totality of the evidence presented sufficiently sustains [the
respondent’s] claim that the titles issued to [the petitioner] were based on forged and spurious
documents, it behooves this Court to annul these certificates of title. Hence, this petition for revie.

Issues:

Whether the CA erred in ordering the reconveyance of the parcel of land covered by the petitioner’s titles.

Held:

We partially grant the petition.

An action for reconveyance is a legal and equitable remedy granted to the rightful landowner, whose land
was wrongfully or erroneously registered in the name of another, to compel the registered owner to
transfer or reconvey the land to him. 33 The plaintiff in this action must allege and prove his ownership of
the land in dispute and the defendant’s erroneous, fraudulent or wrongful registration of the property.

The petitioner’s argument confuses registration of title with ownership. 52 While the petitioner’s ownership
over the land covered by TCT No. 195812 is undisputed, his ownership only gave him the right to apply
for the proper transfer of title to the property in his name. Obviously, the petitioner, even as a rightful
owner, must comply with the statutory provisions on the transfer of registered title to lands. 53 Section 53 of
Presidential Decree No. 1529 provides that the subsequent registration of title procured by the
presentation of a forged deed or other instrument is null and void. Thus, the subsequent issuance of TCT
No. 195812 gave the petitioner no better right than the tainted registration which was the basis for the
issuance of the same title. The Court simply cannot allow the petitioner’s attempt to get around the proper
procedure for registering the transfer of title in his name by using spurious documents.

Reconveyance is the remedy of the rightful owner only


While the CA correctly nullified the petitioner’s certificates of title, the CA erred in ordering the
reconveyance of the entire subject property in the respondent’s favor. The respondent himself admitted
that the 3,020- square meter portion covered by TCT No. 195812 is the petitioner’s just share in the
subject property.54 Thus, although the petitioner obtained TCT No. 195812 using the same spurious
documents, the land covered by this title should not be reconveyed in favor of the respondent since he is
not the rightful owner of the property covered by this title.

SPOUSES GUILLERMO AGBADA and MAXIMA AGBADA, petitioners,


vs. INTER-URBAN DEVELOPERS, INC., and REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT-BR. 105, QUEZON CITY, respondents.

DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision of the Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 54273, "Spouses Guillermo and Maxima Agbada
v. Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, Branch 105, and Inter-Urban
Developers, Inc.," which dismissed the Petition for Annulment of Judgment
with Preliminary Injunction filed by petitioner-spouses, specifically to nullify
and to set aside the Summary Judgment rendered by respondent Regional
Trial Court in its Civil Case No. Q-93-18592, "Inter-Urban Developers,
Inc. (represented by Philip Tiam Lee) v. Spouses Guillermo and Maxima
Agbada," for Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage, as well as
the Resolution of the appellate court denying reconsideration of the assailed
CA Decision.
On 21 February 1991 petitioner-spouses Guillermo Agbada and Maxima
Agbada borrowed P1,500,000.00 from respondent Inter-Urban Developers,
Inc. through its president, Simeon L. Ong Tiam. To secure the loan, the
[1]

parties concurrently executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over a parcel


of land and the improvements thereon situated in Tandang Sora, Quezon City
owned by the spouses. The loan was payable within six (6) months from 21
[2]

February 1991 at three percent (3%) interest per month, otherwise, failure to
discharge the loan within the stipulated period would entitle Inter-Urban
Developers, Inc. to foreclose the mortgage judicially or extra-judicially. The [3]

spouses failed to pay the loan within the six-month period despite several out-
of-court demands made by respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. [4]

On 10 December 1993 Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. filed with the Regional


Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 105, a complaint for foreclosure of real
estate mortgage. On 2 March 1994, without assistance of counsel, the
[5]

spouses filed their unverified answer admitting that they had borrowed the
amount of P1,500,000.00 from respondent and had executed the real estate
mortgage to secure the loan but denying that it was payable within six (6)
months and at three percent (3%) interest per month. As affirmative defense
[6]

they alleged in their answer that -

[petitioner-spouses] and Simeon L. Ong Tiam, then acting for and in behalf of [Inter-
Urban Developers], were compadre and comadre, for this reason, after the execution
of the Real Estate Mortgage Contract x x x [Spouses Guillermo and Maxima Agbada]
were only charged with interest at legal rate and the period for the said contract is five
(5) years from execution thereof x x x x That the said contract is merely simulated and
for formality sake only x x x x That the claim or demand set forth in the plaintiffs
complaint is not yet due and demandable, thus, the complaint states no cause of action
against the defendants x x x x[7]

The parties filed their respective pre-trial briefs with petitioner-spouses


again filing their own and without the assistance of counsel. When the pre-trial
was set on 21 April 1994 it had to be postponed on account of petitioner-
spouses' absence. It was reset to 13 May 1994 but it was again postponed
upon request of petitioner Guillermo Agbada who had no lawyer yet to assist
him. But he submitted a one-page hand written letter addressed to the trial
judge asking for continuance of the pre-trial and further admitting liability for
the due and demandable loan:"hindi ko po nais makipaglaban dito sa kasong
ito dahilan po itong perang ito dapat ko pong bayaran." On 8 June 1994, pre-
[8]

empting the pre-trial conference, Inter-Urban Developers, Inc.moved for


summary judgment alleging that -

1. In [the spouses] answer which is dated 1 March 1994, they admit the amount of
indebtedness as alleged in the Complaint; 2. They likewise admit in their Special and
Affirmative Defenses that they have executed the Real Estate Mortgage Contract
subject of this Complaint; 3. What [the spouses] are questioning in this Complaint is
only the period and their compadre, Simeon Ong Tiam, then President of [Inter-Urban
Developers], to be payable after five years and at the legal rate of interest; 4. Their
Compadre, Simeon Ong Tiam, and the [Inter-Urban Developers] are not one and the
same entity so that their alleged arrangement with their compadre does not in anyway
bind [Inter-Urban Developers] who has relied on the subject Deed of Real Estate
Mortgage; the said mortgage contract which execution, [the spouses] admit, clearly
shows that they contracted with the [Inter-Urban Developers], the amount
of P1,500,000.00 payable within six months from execution at the interest rate of
three percent per month x x x x 5. The [petitioner] Mr. Guillermo Agbada, in one
scheduled setting, has written this Honorable Court, as borne by the records of this
case, that he is admitting the total amount of indebtedness and is only bidding for time
because he has already arranged with a bank to pay the total amount of indebtedness
so as to terminate the case once and for all x x x x [9]

The motion for summary judgment was supported by an affidavit of the


treasurer-cashier of Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. to the effect that she
witnessed the execution of the mortgage contract and that she personally
gave the check of P1,500,000.00 for the loan. The spouses opposed the [10]

motion although they failed to submit supporting counter- affidavits. [11]

On 7 July 1994, this time with the assitance of counsel, petitioner-spouses


Agbada moved to amend their answer to allege that the mortgage contract
was not reflective of the true intention of the parties since in reality the loan
was interest-free and would mature only after five (5) years from execution
thereof and that consequently they were denying under oath the due
execution and authenticity of the mortgage document, although the proposed
answer was still not verified by them. Interestingly, the amended answer
[12]

departed from the allegation in the original answer that the loan would earn
interest at the legal rate. The trial court denied the amendment of the
answer holding that the change would substantially alter the gist of the
defense. [13]

On 13 January 1995 the trial court promulgated its Summary Judgment in


favor of respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. It held that Simeon Ong
Tiam, compadre of petitioner-spouses and then president of Inter-Urban
Developers, Inc. could not have obligated his principal by contemporaneous
agreement amending the maturity of the loan from six (6) months tofive (5)
years and the interest rate from three percent (3%) per month to the default or
statutory rate, much less interest-free, since the undertaking was contrary to
the express provisions of the duly executed loan and mortgage contract. The [14]

trial court awarded Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. the amounts of "P1.5 million
with monthly interest of 3% from February 21, 1991 until fully paid plus
attorneys fees of P10,000.00 including the real estate taxes and registration
expenses. In case of failure of defendants to do so within ninety (90) days
from finality, the decree of foreclosure shall issue." [15]

Petitioner-spouses did not appeal the Summary Judgment nor did they
pay the judgment debt. On 31 May 1995 Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. moved
for a decree of foreclosure which the spouses did not oppose nor did they
attend the hearing on the motion. On 14 July 1995 the trial court granted the
[16]

motion and issued a decree of foreclosure. On 19 August 1996 respondent


[17]

moved for an order authorizing the sale of the mortgaged real estate for failure
of the spouses to pay the judgment debt. Once again the petitioner-spouses
[18]

did not oppose the motion nor did they attend the hearing thereon. On 26 [19]
August 1996 the trial court ordered the foreclosure sale of the mortgaged
property. On 10 September 1996 Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. moved ex
[20]

parte for the appointment of a special sheriff to attend to the foreclosure sale
since no sheriff was assigned in RTC-Br. 105. On [21]
11
September 1996, acting on the ex parte motion, the trial court ordered the Ex-
Oficio Sheriff to designate a special sheriff to carry out the foreclosure sale.
On 6 November 1996 the mortgaged real estate was sold at public auction
[22]

to respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. as highest bidder


for P4,637,092.74 which was supposed to be in full satisfaction of the
judgment debt. [23]

On 3 April 1997, upon motion of Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. and despite


petitioner-spouses' opposition thereto on the ground that the purchase price of
the mortgaged property was below its appraised value according to an
appraisal report, the trial court confirmed the sale in favor of Inter-Urban
Developers, Inc. The trial court ruled that it could not have given weight to
[24]

the appraisal report since this report was not authenticated nor was the
appraiser presented as witness during the hearing of the motion to allow Inter-
Urban Developers, Inc. an opportunity to cross-examine on the appraised
value of the property. [25]

The spouses moved for reconsideration of the confirmation order insisting


on the inadequacy of the purchase price but on 25 September 1997 the trial
court denied the motion. On 27 October 1997, for the second time, the
spouses moved for reconsideration of the order denying their first motion for
reconsideration, calling the attention of the court to their affidavit to the effect
that the appraiser deliberately absented himself from the hearing of the
motion. On 6 March 1998 the trial court denied the motion. Petitioner-
[26] [27]

spouses did not appeal the order of confirmation of the sale nor any of the
subsequent orders.
On 13 April 1998 petitioner-spouses filed with the Court of Appeals a
motion for extension of time to file a petition for review of a subject matter they
did not identify. In a Resolution of 16 April 1998 the appellate court granted
[28]

the motion and docketed the purported petition as CA-G.R. SP No. 47325
under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as amended. On 24 April
[29]

1998 the spouses moved for a second extension of the period to file their
petition for review which on 22 May 1998 the Court of Appeals denied with
[30]

finality and recorded entry of judgment of the denial. On 29 January


[31]

1998 Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. moved for the issuance of a writ of


possesion over the foreclosed real estate.
On 26 February 1999 the petitioner-spouses filed a Motion to Tender the
Full Obligation of the Defendant Spouses alleging that they had paid their
obligation worth P6,307,532.66 in the form of cashier's check which they left
[32]

with the maid of the counsel of record for Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. On 21 [33]

July 1999 the trial court denied the motion. On 23 March 1999 for the first
[34]

time since Summary Judgment had been rendered against them, petitioner-
spouses filed with the trial court a Motion to Cancel Certificate of Sale for
being Signed by an Unauthorized Officer/Person and to Recall Summary
Judgment for Lack of Jurisdiction which was denied on 20 July 1999. On 21
[35] [36]

July 1999 the trial court issued a writ of possesion in favor of


respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. over the subject real property. [37]

On 10 August 1999 petitioner-spouses Guillermo Agbada and Maxima


Agbada filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for annulment of judgment
with prayer for preliminary injunction.The petition sought the annulment of
the Summary Judgment for alleged violation of their right to due process
arising from the absence of a full-blown trial on a genuine issue of fact that the
loan and mortgage would mature only on the fifth year following its execution
on 21 February 1991. The petition did not question compliance with legal
[38]

requirements of the foreclosure proceedings or any part thereof.


On 21 January 2000 the Court of Appeals dismissed the petition and held
that the subject matter thereof was barred by res judicata, referring to CA G.R.
SP No. 47325 wherein the appellate court denied with finality petitioner-
spouses' second motion for extension of time to file Petition for Review. The [39]

Court of Appeals also ruled that petitioner-spouses were in no position to ask


for annulment of the Summary Judgment since their negligence denied them
the right to avail of other remedies otherwise open to them, such as appeal,
and that the spouses were estopped from assailing the jurisdiction of the trial
court after filing several motions to re-evaluate the assessed value of the
mortgaged property. On 11 July 2000 the appellate court denied
[40]

reconsideration of its Decision, hence, the instant petition for review on


[41]

certiorari.
Petitioner-spouses argue that they were deprived of due process when
their defense, i.e., that the real estate mortgage carries a default interest rate
and matures only on the fifth year following its execution on 21 February
1991, was considered sham and refused full blown trial, contrary to our ruling
in Paz v. Court of Appeals. They further allege in their statement of facts that
[42]

On February 2, 1991, plaintiff Guillermo Agbada, being then an official of a security


agency which is a sister company of respondent Inter-Urban Developer and because
of financial problem faced by the couple, arranged with Simeon Lee Ong Tiam (his
close compadre, being the sponsor and god father in the wedding of his daughter and
said Ong Tiam being the President of Inter-Urban Development) obtained a loan from
respondent corporation under the agreement, in view of their relationship, that the
loan would only carry legal interest, and would be payable within a period of 5
years. It is to be noted at this point that Inter-Urban Developers is not a money lending
or financial institution but is engaged in real estate development and the granting of
loans was not part of its principal business. It was clearly understood by petitioners as
well as by the responsible officers of Inter-Urban, particularly, Simeon Lee Ong and
the other officers, who, in fact, have close family ties and relationship with petitioners,
that the loan was only an accommodation, hence, the charging only of nominal
interest and its repayment within a period of 4 (sic) years. Petitioners were convinced
to sign what they were then informed was only a formality, a sham deed of mortgage
which on its face purported to show that a rate of interest different from that initially
agreed upon appeared and the period of maturity of the loan was changed from 5
years to 6 months. [43]

On the other hand, respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. claims that


petitioner-spouses did not deny under oath the authenticity and due execution
of the real estate mortgage document, hence, were barred from setting up the
defense that the interest rate and maturity provisions of the loan and
mortgage contract were different from those stipulated in the written
agreement. Respondent further argues that the alleged promise made by
[44]

Simeon Ong Tiam even if true cannot be enforced against Inter-Urban


Developers, Inc. since there is nothing to show that he was authorized to
enter into the alleged contemporaneous agreement. Finally, respondent
asserts that there were other remedies available to petitioners which they
failed to exhaust by their own negligence, thus rendering the petition for
annulment of judgment clearly unavailing and that they voluntarily submitted
to the jurisdiction of the trial court by seeking affirmative relief from the effects
of the assailed Summary Judgment. [45]

The petition has no merit. As explained quite frequently, a party may be


barred from raising questions of jurisdiction where estoppel by laches has set
in. In a general sense, estoppel by laches is failure or neglect for an
[46]

unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do what, by exercising due


diligence, ought to have been done earlier, warranting a presumption that the
party entitled to assert it has either abandoned to defend it or has acquiesced
to the correctness and fairness of its resolution. The doctrine is based on
grounds of public policy which for peace of society requires the
discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a
mere question of time but is principally an issue of inequity or unfairness of
permitting a right or claim to be enforced or espoused. Verily, after voluntarily
submitting a cause, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or
power of the court just so he could escape an adverse decision on the merits.
In the instant case, the allegation of deprivation of due process took more
than four (4) years of hibernation, so to speak, from 13 January 1995 when
the trial court promulgated its Summary Judgment only to resurrect after failed
attempts to thwart the transfer of title over the foreclosed real estate in favor of
respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. Evidently, petitioner-spouses are
barred by laches from assailing the regularity of the Summary Judgment as
shown not only by their silence when they should have defended their alleged
right to establish their understanding of the interest rate and maturity of the
loan and mortgage contract, but also by their full and knowing participation in
the proceedings, with the assistance of counsel, leading to the confirmation of
the foreclosure sale in favor of respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc.
During the period of their obtrusive reticence, instead of pushing for a full-
blown trial where they could have ventilated their affirmative defense,
petitioner-spouses merely disagreed with the finding of the trial court
regarding the appraised value of the foreclosed property, thus strongly
implying their acquiescence to the due and demandable loan, and in fact
attempted to write off the loan completely and recover the foreclosed lot and
improvements thereon by filing a Motion to Tender the Full Obligation of the
Defendant Spouses in the form of a cashiers check worth P6,307,532.66
which the trial court denied in due time for obvious lack of merit.
The foregoing circumstances also show that the due process routine
vigorously pursued only now by petitioner-spouses is a clear-cut afterthought
meant to delay the settlement of an otherwise uncomplicated property
dispute. Aside from clogging court dockets, the strategy is deplorably a
common curse resorted to by losing litigants in the hope of evading manifest
obligations

A natural question is why anyone should want to plead groundlessly when he should
know that he will not be able to make his pleading good when proof is called
for. Unfortunately, there are reasons. A defendant from whom payment is sought x x x
often wants delay. Indeed, that may well be the very reason why suit had to be
brought. And defendant can have delay by the simple device of denying the debt, and
perhaps gilding the lily by adding pleas of payment and breach of warranty a trilogy
known in the trade as the last refuge of the deadbeat.
[47]

It bears stressing that the proper remedy to seek reversal of judgment in


an action for foreclosure of real estate mortgage is not a petition for
annulment of judgment but an appeal from the judgment itself or from the
order confirming the sale of the foreclosed real estate. Since petitioner-
spouses failed to avail of appeal without sufficient justification, they cannot
conveniently resort to the action for annulment for otherwise they would
benefit from their own inaction and negligence. [48]

Granting arguendo that the assailed Summary Judgment is properly


brought before this Court, we nonetheless find nothing irregular in its
promulgation to justify its nullification or reversal. Summary judgment or
accelerated judgment is a procedural technique to promptly dispose of cases
where the facts appear undisputed and certain from the pleadings,
depositions, admissions and affidavits on record, or for weeding out sham
claims or defenses at an early stage of the litigation to avoid the expense and
loss of time involved in a trial. Its object is to separate what is formal or
[49]

pretended in denial or averment from what is genuine and substantial so that


only the latter may subject a party in interest to the burden of trial. In the
instant case, it is our conclusion that there is no basis for protesting
the Summary Judgment since the trial court faithfully adhered to the proper
function of accelerated judgment by adjudicating only the character of the
issues raised in the pleadings as genuine, sham or fictitious, and only upon
clear determination thereof did the court a quo proceed to render verdict.
Since the civil action before the trial court was for foreclosure of real estate
mortgage, the material issues were the existence of the debt and its
demandability. Petitioner-spouses admitted the existence of the debt in favor
of respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. as well as the authenticity and due
execution of the deed of real estate mortgage. The mortgage deed, which the
spouses duly signed and acknowledged before a notary public, pegged the
loans maturity date at six (6) months from 21 February 1991 at three percent
(3%) interest per month.In effect, by the admission of the due execution of the
loan and mortgage deed, petitioner-spouses confessed that they voluntarily
signed it, and by the admission of the genuineness of the document, they also
acknowledged that at the time it was signed it was in the words and figures
exactly as set out in the pleading of respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc.
Petitioner-spouses would however claim that a contemporaneous
agreement was entered into between them and Simeon Ong Tiam who was
then the president of Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. that the loan was in reality
for a period of five (5) years from 21 February 1991 and, as alleged in their
amended answer, interest-free or contrarily, as stated in their other pleadings,
at statutory rate of interest. The defense would thus not only self-contradict
but also appear to override and discard the simultaneous written formal
agreement between the parties.
In the instant case, while petitioner-spouses appear to tender a material
issue of fact, i.e., demandability and interest rate of the loan, summary
judgment would nonetheless be proper where it is shown that issues tendered
are sham, fictitious, contrived, set up in bad faith, or patently unsubstantial.
To forestall summary judgment, it is essential for the non-moving party to
[50]

confirm the existence of genuine issues where he has substantial, plausible


and fairly arguable defense, i.e., issues of fact calling for the presentation of
evidence upon which a reasonable findings of fact could return a verdict for
the non-moving party although mere scintilla of evidence in support of the
party opposing summary judgment will be insufficient to preclude entry
thereof. The proper inquiry would therefore be whether the affirmative
[51]

defense offered by petitioner-spouses constitutes genuine issue of fact


requiring a full-blown trial.
We rule that the affirmative defense sets up a sham issue which justifies
summary judgment. For one, petitioner-spouses have not explained how their
affirmative defense, since it attempts to vary a written agreement, could be
proved by admissible evidence. It would be useless to avail of a complete trial
where the issue proposed by petitioner-spouses could not be resolved in any
manner other than by referring to the explicit terms of the loan and mortgage
agreement. To be sure, where the parties have reduced their agreement in
writing, it is presumed that they have made the writing the only repository and
memorial of the truth and whatever is not found in the writing must be
understood to have been waived and abandoned.Specifically, under Sec. 9,
Rule 130, Revised Rules of Evidence, the trial court is barred from admitting
evidence which proves or tends to prove the alleged concurrent agreement
with Simeon Ong Tiam which alters or varies the terms of the deed between
the parties -

Sec. 9 Evidence of written agreements. - When the terms of an agreement have been
reduced to writing, it is considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there
can be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of such terms
other than the contents of the written agreement. However, a party may present
evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms of the written agreement if he puts in
issue in his pleading: (a) An intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written
agreement; (b) The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent and
agreement of the parties thereto; (c) The validity of the written agreement; or (d) The
existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their successors in interest after the
execution of the written agreement x x x x

While it is true that contracting parties may establish stipulations, clauses,


terms and conditions as they may deem convenient provided they are not
contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy, the parol
evidence rule forbids any addition to or contradiction of the terms of an
agreement reduced into writing by testimony purporting to show that, at or
before the signing of the document, other or different terms were orally agreed
upon by the parties. As applied herein, the alleged terms of the
contemporaneous agreement between petitioner-spouses and Simeon Ong
Tiam cannot be proved for they are not embodied in the mortgage deed but
exist only in their faint recollection. Only the terms of the loan and mortgage
agreement providing for six (6) months maturity from date of execution thereof
and the interest rate of three percent (3%) per month are worth considering
and implementing.
The instant case is not unprecedented. In Tarnate v. Court of
Appeals involving a case of foreclosure of real estate mortgage that was
[52]

resolved by means of summary judgment where neither the existence of the


loans and the mortgage deeds nor the fact of default on the due repayments
was disputed, we rejected as genuine issue the contention of petitioners
therein that they were misled by respondent bank to believe that the loans
were long-term accommodations since the loan documents admittedly
executed by the parties clearly contradicted petitioners asseverations and the
parties must have realized that when the terms of the agreement were
unequivocally reduced in writing, they could hardly be controverted by oral
evidence to the contrary. Similarly, in Heirs of Amparo del Rosario v. Santos,
where we rejected the alteration of the conditions imposed in the deed of
[53]

sale, this Court ruled that appellants therein could not be allowed to introduce
evidence of conditions allegedly agreed upon by them other than those
stipulated in the deed of sale because when they reduced their agreement in
writing, it is presumed that they have made the writing the only repository and
memorial of truth, and whatever is not found in the writing must be understood
to have been waived and abandoned.
Petitioner-spouses cannot invoke any of the exceptions to the parol
evidence rule, more particularly, the alleged failure of the writing to express
the true intent and agreement of the parties. The exception obtains only where
the written contract is so ambiguous or obscure in terms that the contractual
intention of the parties cannot be understood from a mere reading of the
instrument, thus necessitating the reception of relevant extrinsic evidence of
the contractual provision in dispute to enable the court to make a proper
interpretation of the instrument. However, in the case at bar, the loan and
[54]

mortgage deed is clear and without ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in


specifying the maturity of the loan exactly after six (6) months from date of
execution thereof at interest rate of three percent (3%) per month, and
certainly these unmistakable terms forbid petitioner-spouses from introducing
evidence aliunde of the alleged contemporaneous agreement in violation of
the parol evidence rule.
Indeed the literal meaning of the stipulations is bolstered by the intention
of the parties as inferred from their contemporaneous and subsequent acts.
It is a matter of record that, without hesitation, petitioner Guillermo Agbada
[55]

asked for the postponement of the pre-trial conference through a one-page


handwritten letter addressed to the trial judge admitting liability for the due and
demandable loan: Hindi ko po nais makipaglaban dito sa kasong ito dahilan
po itong perang ito ay dapat ko pong bayaran Furthermore, when
[56]

proceedings had been ongoing in the trial court for more than four (4) years,
petitioner-spouses plainly assailed the finding of the trial court vis--vis the
appraised value of the foreclosed property, without more, thus strongly
implying their acquiescence to the due and demandable loan, and in fact
attempted to pay the loan completely and recover the foreclosed lot and
improvements thereon by tendering a cashiers check worth P6,307,532.66
through a house help.
Furthermore, for purposes of defeating respondents motion for summary
judgment, petitioner-spouses did not avail of any means to prove prima
facie that Simeon Ong Tiam had authority to change the terms of the real
estate mortgage by a contemporaneous agreement or, at the very least, to
corroborate their allegations by means of the verified statements of Simeon
Ong Tiam himself. Verily the spouses were not able to adduce even a single
explanation why respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. would suddenly and
conveniently abandon the formalities which it had gone through in drafting and
executing the real estate mortgage in place of an alleged coincidental and
plain verbal novation of the original stipulations on interest rate and duration of
the loan. In the absence of even prima facie basis for inferring authority on the
part of Simeon Ong Tiam or inferring his corroboration of petitioner-spouses
affirmative defense, we cannot bind over Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. to the
test of trial to meet the affirmative defense. In Narra Integrated Corporation v.
Court of Appeals we rejected as genuine issue for lengthy trial the claim that
[57]

the contractual undertaking of one person was also binding upon another
without first showing a plausible and fairly arguable and substantial
circumstance indicating privity and consent to the contract by the other person
upon whom compliance was also sought.
Other circumstances confirm the sham character of petitioner-spouses
defense. To be sure, they failed to offer any counter-affidavit which would
have debunked the allegations in the motion for summary judgment as well as
its supporting documents and explained their failure to act swiftly and
precisely on the issue. In Heirs of Amparo Del Rosario v. Santos, and Tiu v.
[58]

Court of Appeals, we noted that the failure to adduce counter-evidence


[59]

strongly indicated the absence of serious factual issue to prevent summary


judgment. It has also been said that while parties are not required to offer
affidavits in support of, or in opposition to, summary judgment motions,
however, once a properly supported motion for summary judgment has been
filed, an adverse party cannot rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his
pleadings. As colorfully stated in American jurisprudence, [the rule on
summary judgment] x x x say[s] in effectMeet these affidavit facts or judicially
die. The party opposing summary judgment thus must offer either discovery
responses or affidavits that set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial. [60]

The maneuvering of petitioner-spouses before the trial court reinforces our


belief that their claim is unfounded. They contradicted themselves when they
claimed that the loan was interest-free and then in another vein contended
that it bore the statutory rate of interest, only to change their recollection
subsequently to a nominal rate of interest. Petitioner-spouses would also
vacillate with respect to the alleged reason for respondent Inter-Urban
Developers, Inc. to agree to different maturity and interest-rate provisions
since the answer filed before the trial court would assign as cause therefor the
personal relationship between them and Simeon Ong Tiam although their
memorandum before this Court would assert that the preferential treatment
was due to petitioner Guillermo Agbadas employment as consultant of a sister
company of Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. It is fatal to petitioner-spouses case,
not to mention a misuse of precious court resources, for them not to recall and
convey in precise manner the stipulations of the purported concurrent
agreement with Simeon Ong Tiam when the alleged side contract is the very
defense sought to be heard in a full-blown trial.
Moreover, instead of filing opposing affidavits to support their affirmative
defenses, petitioner-spouses absented themselves from the proceedings a
quo eventually leading to the foreclosure sale and its confirmation. They did
not pay the debt when, according to their own affirmative defense, it was
already due and demandable on the fifth year counted from 21 February
1991, that is, in any of the months in 1996. If they indeed believed in the
worthiness of their claim, they ought to have offered payment of the loan as it
was then already payable according to their own allegations and if refused by
respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. consigned the money with the trial
court. Quite the reverse, petitioner-spouses resorted to irrelevant legal
actions, i.e., a motion for extension of time to file an unspecified petition for
review with the Court of Appeals, which they did not even pursue thus
manifesting a regrettable intention to delay the adverse effects of their
prejudicial admissions and to obscure the fact of finality of the Summary
Judgment. [61]

The case of Paz v. Court of Appeals cited by petitioner-spouses does not


[62]

square with the instant petition. The Paz case involved an action for quieting
of title and recovery of possession, accounting and damages with preliminary
mandatory injunction filed by the buyers of several parcels of land against the
defendant who was a co-heir of the vendors thereof. n the defendant's
answer, he alleged that the sale was void since he was not given the
opportunity to exercise his right of pre-emption to buy the property there being
no notice of sale having been given to him and that he was ready and willing
to buy the property. Thereafter the defendant filed his own complaint seeking
to annul the sale of the lots in question again invoking his right of pre-emption
which had been denied him as a result of the seemingly deliberate omission of
a notice of sale to him. This Court ruled that summary judgment was improper
given a plausible ground of substantial defense which was fairly arguable -

In the case at bar, not only did petitioner herein and defendant in Civil Case No.
54158 assert genuine issues of fact and law which must be heard and tried, but he
even filed Civil Case No. 54408 for the annulment of sale of the controversial lots in
favor of the Nepomucenos and also opposed the survey of the controversial lots in
LRC Case No. R-3730. The court a quo failed to consider that the affidavits of the two
vendors Ramon and Luzonica Paz presented to the court by private respondent only
stated that they merely informed their brother Bienvenido of the sale by way of
showing their deeds of sale. The deeds of sale in favor of the Nepomucenos were
already fait accompli when they were shown to the petitioner, hence does not justify a
summary judgment. Petitioner asserts that he was unjustly denied as a co-heir of his
right of legal pre-emption or redemption provided for under Art. 1623 of the Civil
Code by the failure of his co-heirs to give him notice in writing of their intended
desire to sell their shares, as well as the terms/consideration thereof, in order to enable
him to match private respondents - Nepomuceno's offer to buy or his co-heirs' selling
price at P450.00 per square meter. Petitioner's allegation of the lack of written
notification to him by all his co-heirs is a factual and legal issue which cannot justify
dispensation of a trial on the merits.
[63]

Clearly, Paz differs from the case at bar. Herein petitioner-spouses were
grossly negligent in failing to pursue an affirmative defense which if true would
have certainly impelled them to raise hell the moment that the trial court
refused evidence of such allegation. Moreover, the spouses faced an
impenetrable wall barring the alteration of the specific and unambiguous terms
of the real estate mortgage which was not the case in Paz. Indeed, while the
defendant in Paz could have proved the deprivation of his right to legal pre-
emption, the petitioners in the instant case could not do so upon veritable
rules of evidence. Lastly, the representations of the defendant in Paz were
fairly arguable since the very evidence offered by the movant for summary
judgment showed the absence of the relevant notice to him. In contrast, we
cannot say that the petitioner-spouses here have adequate basis for claiming
an alleged contemporaneous agreement affecting the contractual right of
respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. absent any reasonable showing of
the latter's consent to the alteration of the real estate mortgage contract it had
earlier executed. All in all, Paz presented genuine and material issues of fact
while the instant case proffered only one issue which could properly be
characterized as sham.
Finally, we find no merit in petitioner-spouses' claim that the purchase
price of the mortgaged real property was way below its appraised value. To
begin with, they deliberately withheld the presentation of their own evidence
which might have proved this matter and thus unfortunately deprived
respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. the opportunity to cross-examine
whatever such evidence would tend to establish. Equally significant, the low
purchase price could have worked in the petitioner-spouses' favor if they
promptly exercised their equity of redemption. As held in Tarnate v. Court of
Appeals, "[a]nent the contention that the property has been sold at an
[64]

extremely low price, suffice it to say that, if correct, it would have, in fact,
favored an easy redemption of the property. That remedy could have well
been availed of but petitioners did not."
With respect to the award of attorneys fees and the reimbursement of
advances for real estate taxes and registration expenses allegedly incurred by
respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. we rule that the determination thereof
was done arbitrarily since the evidence on record, particularly the receipts
proving payment of real estate taxes and registration expenses in the names
of petitioner-spouses as payor, does not support the finding. In Warner
[65]

Barnes & Co. v. Luzon Surety we held that the trial court cannot impose
[66]

attorney's fees as well as other charges through summary judgment absent


the standard proof of liability for specified amounts truly owing. Furthermore,
since the attorney's fees along with the purported costs for real estate taxes
and registration expenses were unjustifiably satisfied from proceeds of the
sale of the mortgaged property, we must order restitution of the amounts
[67]

paid in excess of the duly established debt although the judgment may have
become final and executory. In Esler v. de la Cruz we held -
[68]
The gist of the appeal is that since the order for the dismissal of the case was issued on
August 20, 1960, and said dismissal had become final, the court could no longer issue
its order of December 9, 1960 directing the return of the property. The argument while
apparently correct would be productive of clear injustice. As a matter of principle
courts should be authorized, as in this case, at any time to order the return of property
erroneously ordered to be delivered to one party, if the order was found to have been
issued without jurisdiction. Authority for the return of the property is expressed under
the provision of Section 5 of Rule 39, Rules of Court, which reads as follows:

Sec. 5. Effect of reversal of executed judgment. - Where the judgment executed is


reversed totally or partially on appeal, the trial court, on motion, after the case is
remanded to it, may issue such orders of restitution as equity and justice may warrant
under the circumstances.

Under the same principle now expressed in Sec. 5, Rule 39, of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure respondent Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. must
[69]

return to petitioner-spouses the amounts of P10,000.00 for attorney's


fees, P1,691.15 for registration expenses and P10,582.02 for real estate
taxes, with interest thereon at twelve percent (12%) per annum from
promulgation of this Decision until fully satisfied. [70]

WHEREFORE, the instant Petition for Review on


Certiorari is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
54273, "Spouses Guillermo and Maxima Agbada v. Regional Trial Court,
Quezon City, Branch 105, and Inter-Urban Developers, Inc.," which dismissed
the petition for annulment of judgment with preliminary injunction filed by the
Spouses Guillermo and Maxima Agbada to nullify and to set aside
the Summary Judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court-Br. 105 of
Quezon City in its Civil Case No. Q-93-18592 for foreclosure of real estate
mortgage, "Inter-Urban Developers, Inc. (represented by Philip Tiam Lee) v.
Spouses Guillermo and Maxima Agbada," as well as the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals denying reconsideration of the
assailed Decision is AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that
respondent Inter-Urban Developers is directed to return to petitioner-spouses
Guillermo and Maxima Agbada the amounts of P10,000.00 for attorney's
fees, P1,691.15 for registration expenses and P10,582.02 for real estate
taxes, with interest thereon at twelve percent (12%) per annum from
promulgation of this Decision until satisfied.
Upon finality of this Decision, let this case be REMANDED to the Regional
Trial Court - Branch 105 of Quezon City for prompt completion of the
execution proceedings. No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Dizon-Pamintuan vs. People

Facts:

Teodoro Encarnacion, Undersecretary, DPWH testified that when he arrived at his residence, he
immediatelyproceeded inside the house, leaving behind his driver and two housemaids outside to pickup his
personalbelongings from his case! "t was at this point that five unidentified masked armed persons appeared from
thegrassy portion of the lot beside the house and poked their guns to his driver and two helpers and draggedthem
inside his house! They were made to lie face down on the floor and thereafter, the robbers ransackedthe house
and took away #ewelries and other personal properties including cash! $fter the intruders left thehouse he
reported the matter immediately to the police! He was later told that some of the lost items were in%hinatown
area as tipped by the informer the police and an entrapment was made with their participation! Heand his wife
posed as a buyer and were able to recogni&e items of the #ewelry stolen displayed at the stallbeing tended by
'orma Di&on Pamintuan!The trial court held that the prosecution was able to prove by evidence that the recovered
items were part of the loot and such recovered items belong to the spouses Encarnacion, the herein private
complainants! Thatthe recovered items were found in the possession of the accused and she was not able to rebut
thepresumption though the evidence for the defense alleged that the stall is owned by one (redo! The %$affirmed
the decision of the trial court but set aside the penalty imposed!

Issue:

W)' the accused knew or should have known that the items recovered from her were the proceeds of the crime of
robbery or theft!

Held:

(encing, as defined in *ection + of P!D! 'o! -+ .$nti(encing /aw0, is 1the act of any person who, withintent to
gain for himself or for another, shall buy, receive, possess, keep, ac2uire, conceal, sell or dispose of,or shall buy and
sell, or in any manner deal in any article, item, ob#ect or anything of value which he knows, or should be known to
him, to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft!1The accessory in the crimes of
robbery and theft could be prosecuted as such under the 3P% or under P!D!'o! -+! However, in the latter case, he
ceases to be a mere accessory but becomes a principal in the crimeof fencing! The state may thus choose to
prosecute him either under the 3evised Penal %ode or P!D! 'o!-+, although the preference for the latter would
seem inevitable considering that fencing isa

malum

prohibitum

, and P!D! 'o! -+ creates a presumption of fencing

14

and prescribes a higher penaltybased on the value of the property!


15

The elements of the crime of fencing are4! $ crime of robbery or theft has been committed5+! The accused, who
is not a principal or accomplice in the commission of the crime of robbery or theft, buys, receives, possesses, keeps,
ac2uires, conceals, sells or disposes, or buys and sells, or in anymanner deals in any article, item, ob#ect or
anything of value, which has been derived from the proceeds of the said crime56! The accused knows or should
have known that the said article, item, ob#ect or anything of valuehas been derived from the proceeds of the crime
of robbery or theft5 and7! There is, on the part of the accused, intent to gain for himself or for another!"n the
instant case, there is no doubt that the first, second, and fourth elements were duly established! $robbery was
committed on + (ebruary 899 in the house of the private complainants who afterwardsreported the incident to
the authorities and submitted a list of the lost items and sketches of the #ewelry thatwere later displayed for sale
at a stall tended to by the petitioner in (lorentino Torres *treet, *ta! %ru&, :anila!The public display of the articles
for sale clearly manifested an intent to gain on the part of the petitioner!*ince *ection ; of P!D! 'o! -+ e<pressly
provides that 1=m>ere possession of any good, article, item, ob#ect,or anything of value which has been the
sub#ect of robbery or thievery shall be

prima facie

evidence of fencing,1 it follows that the petitioner is presumed to have knowledge of the fact that the items found
in her possession were the proceeds of robbery or theft! The presumption is reasonable for no other natural
or logical inference can arise from the established fact of her possession of the proceeds of the crime of robberyor
theft! This presumption does not offend the presumption of innocence enshrined in the fundamental law