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PERFECTO MACABABBAD, JR.

DECEASED, SUBSTITUTED BY
HIS HEIRS SOPHIA MACABABBAD, GLENN M. MACABABBAD,
PERFECTO VENER M. MACABABBAD III AND MARY GRACE
MACABABBAD, and SPS. CHUA SENG LIN AND SAY UN AY
v.
FERNANDO G. MASIRAG, FAUSTINA G. MASIRAG, CORAZON
G. MASIRAG, LEONOR G. MASIRAG, and LEONCIO M.
GOYAGOY vs. FRANCISCA MASIRAG BACCAY, PURA MASIRAG
FERRER-MELAD, and SANTIAGO MASIRAG, Intervernors

G.R. No. 161237, January 14, 2009


PONENTE: BRION, J.

FACTS:

The deceased spouses Pedro Masirag and Pantaleona Tulauan were


the original registered owners of Lot No. 4144 of the Cadastral Survey of
Tuguegarao, as evidenced by Original Certificate of Title No. 1946. Lot No.
4144 contained an area of 6,423 square meters.

They had eight (8) children, Respondents Fernando, Faustina,


Corazon and Leonor Masirag are the children of Valeriano and Alfora
Goyagoy, while Leoncio is the son of Vicenta and Braulio Goyagoy. The
respondents allegedly did not know of the demise of their respective parents;
they only learned of the inheritance due from their parents in the first week
of March 1999 when their relative, Pilar Quinto, informed respondent
Fernando and his wife Barbara Balisi about it.

The investigation disclosed that the petitioners falsified a document


entitled “Extra-judicial Settlement with Simultaneous Sale of Portion of
Registered Land (Lot 4144) so that the respondents were deprived of their
shares in Lot No. 4144. The document ostensibly conveyed the subject
property to Macababbad for the sum of P1,800.00. Subsequently, OCT No.
1946 was cancelled and Lot No. 4144 was registered in the names of its new
owners under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 13408, presumably
after the death of Pedro and Pantaleona. Despite his exclusion from TCT No.
13408, his “Petition for another owner’s duplicate copy of TCT No. 13408,”
filed in the Court of First Instance of Cagayan, was granted on July 27,
1982. Subsequently, Macababbad registered portions of Lot No. 4144 in his
name and sold other portions to third parties.

A case was filed against Macababbad but he was able to file a motion
to dismiss the amended complaint while Chua and Say filed an “Appearance
with Motion to Dismiss. RTC granted the motion of Francisca Masirag
Baccay, Pura Masirag Ferrer-Melad, and Santiago Masirag for leave to
intervene and to admit their complaint-in-intervention.
ISSUE:

Whether an action for the nullity of an instrument prescribes in four


(4) years from discovery of the fraud that the action had not yet been barred
by prescription.

RULING:

A ruling on prescription necessarily requires an analysis of the


plaintiff’s cause of action based on the allegations of the complaint and the
documents attached as its integral parts. A motion to dismiss based on
prescription hypothetically admits the allegations relevant and material to
the resolution of this issue, but not the other facts of the case. Unfortunately,
both the respondents’ complaint and amended complaint are poorly worded,
verbose, and prone to misunderstanding. In addition, therefore, to the
complaint, we deem it appropriate to consider the clarifications made in their
appeal brief by the petitioners relating to the intent of their complaint. We
deem this step appropriate since there were no matters raised for the first
time on appeal and their restatement was aptly supported by the allegations
of the RTC complaint

Dismissal based on laches cannot also apply in this case, as it has


never reached the presentation of evidence stage and what the RTC had for
its consideration were merely the parties’ pleadings. Laches is evidentiary
in nature and cannot be established by mere allegations in the pleadings.
Without solid evidentiary basis, laches cannot be a valid ground to dismiss
the respondents’ complaint.

In relation with this conclusion, we see no merit too in the petitioners’


argument that the RTC ruling dismissing the complaint on respondents’
failure to implead indispensable parties had become final and executory for
the CA’s failure to rule on the issue. This argument lacks legal basis as
nothing in the Rules of Court states that the failure of an appellate court to
rule on an issue raised in an appeal renders the appealed order or judgment
final and executory with respect to the undiscussed issue. A court need not
rule on each and every issue raised, particularly if the issue will not vary the
tenor of the Court’s ultimate ruling.

In the present case, the CA ruling that overshadows all the issues
raised is what is stated in the dispositive portion of its decision, i.e., “the
order of the lower court dismissing the case is SET ASIDE and the case is
remanded for further proceeding.”