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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-2001 Jurisprudence                 

  • A.M. No. MTJ-99-1188 July 2, 2001 - JOSE E. GURAY v. FABIAN M. BAUTISTA

  • A.M. No. P-01-1481 July 5, 2001 - RCBC v. NOEL V. QUILANTANG

  • G.R. No. 135199 July 5, 2001 - CRISOSTOMO MAGAT, ET AL. v. ALBERT M. DELIZO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 141285 July 5, 2001 - CEBU INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE, ET AL. v. CEBU INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE EMPLOYEES’ UNION

  • G.R. No. 141947 July 5, 2001 - ISMAEL V. SANTOS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144275 July 5, 2001 - NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. 97-2-53-RTC July 6, 2001 - RE: FERDINAND J. MARCOS

  • G.R. No. 132318 July 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO F. MUERONG

  • G.R. No. 134114 July 6, 2001 - NESTLE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134779 July 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. HERSON FLORAGUE, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 137608-09 July 6, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REMEGIO TAGANNA

  • G.R. No. 143375 July 6, 2001 - RUTH D. BAUTISTA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131856-57 July 9, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM MONTINOLA

  • G.R. Nos. 85494, 85496 & 195071 July 10, 2001 - CHOITHRAM JETHMAL RAMNANI, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126166 July 10, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ALLAN TEJADA

  • G.R. No. 133928 July 10, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NECESARIO HIJAPON, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 136267 July 10, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FIDEL ABRENICA CUBCUBIN, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 142801-802 July 10, 2001 - BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB, ET AL. v. RONALDO B. ZAMORA, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1253 July 11, 2001 - KIAT REAPORT, ET AL. v. EFREN S. MARIANO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1452 July 11, 2001 - FERMA C. PORTIC v. MARIO B. LOPEZ, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. P-01-1479 July 11, 2001 - OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR v. RUBEN B. ALBAYTAR

  • G.R. No. 104802 July 11, 2001 - AURELIA S. LLANA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 108301 & 132539 July 11, 2001 - MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108346 July 11, 2001 - MARIANO Z. VELARDE, ET AL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 135210 July 11, 2001 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. ISABELA CULTURAL CORP.

  • G.R. No. 137050 July 11, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GEORGE CORTES

  • G.R. No. 137891 July 11, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS PATRIARCA

  • G.R. No. 140365 July 11, 2001 - CESAR P. UY, ET AL v. VICTORINO P. EVANGELISTA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 140974 July 11, 2001 - RAMON ORO v. GERARDO D. DIAZ

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1349 July 12, 2001 - BERNADETTE MONDEJAR v. MARINO S. BUBAN

  • G.R. No. 101974 July 12, 2001 - VICTORIA P. CABRAL v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 102313 July 12, 2001 - R. F. NAVARRO & CO. v. FORTUNATO A. VAILOCES, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 102696, 102716, 108257 & 120954 July 12, 2001 - ALBERTO LOOYUKO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104223 July 12, 2001 - TIBURCIO SAMONTE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104383 July 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VALERIANO AMESTUZO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112590 July 12, 2001 - STATE INVESTMENT HOUSE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 131638-39 July 12, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LORETO D. MEDENILLA

  • G.R. No. 138737 July 12, 2001 - FINMAN GEN. ASSURANCE CORP., v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138576-77 July 13, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY JACOB

  • A.M. No. MTJ-00-1322 July 17, 2001 - RENATO H. SANCHEZ v. GEMINIANO A. EDUARDO

  • A.M. No. P-01-1484 July 17, 2001 - JOSE R. ASTORGA v. NICOLASITO S. SOLAS

  • G.R. Nos. 103550 & 103551 July 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. ROMERICO PORRAS

  • G.R. No. 133814 July 17, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANDRES ORTIZ

  • G.R. Nos. 134540-41 July 18, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. DIONISIO BATALLER

  • G.R. Nos. 109559 & 109581 July 19, 2001 - BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111535 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALEJANDRO CAMPOS

  • G.R. Nos. 113255-56 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO S. GONZALES

  • G.R. No. 125698 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FRANCISCO E. HAPA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 128153-56 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICENTE P. BUISON

  • G.R. No. 131216 July 19, 2001 - LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 132177 July 19, 2001 - JOSE F. CAOIBES v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133190 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANTOS LOR

  • G.R. No. 135145 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAYMOND G. MAXION

  • G.R. No. 137545 July 19, 2001 - TERESITA D. GAITE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139789 July 19, 2001 - POTENCIANO ILUSORIO, ET AL. v. ERLINDA K. ILUSORIO BILDNER, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139967 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MANUEL TALAVERA

  • G.R. Nos. 141011 & 141028 July 19, 2001 - CITYTRUST BANKING CORP. v. ISAGANI C. VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 144179 July 19, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMSHAND C. THAMSEY

  • A.M. No. MTJ-01-1350 July 20, 2001 - LORENZO PASCUAL, ET AL. v. CESAR M. DUMLAO

  • G.R. No. 110263 July 20, 2001 - ASIAVEST MERCHANT BANKERS (M) BERHAD v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117187 July 20, 2001 - UNION MOTOR CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120176 July 20, 2001 - MA. VALENTINA SANTANA-CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124442 July 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO S. COMPACION

  • G.R. No. 132926 July 20, 2001 - ELVIRA AGULLO v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 133580 July 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MAXIMO GENEBLAZO

  • G.R. Nos. 135030-33 July 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MERCY LOGAN

  • G.R. No. 135666 July 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MELCHOR B. GARCIA

  • G.R. No. 135865 July 20, 2001 - NAGKAKAISANG KAPISANAN KAPITBAHAYAN SA COMMONWEALTH AVE. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138501 July 20, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ERNESTO M. LAXA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139150 July 20, 2001 - PABLO DELA CRUZ v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142024 July 20, 2001 - GUILLERMO SARABIA v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL.

  • G.R. No. 145838 July 20, 2001 - NICASIO I. ALCANTARA v. COMMISSION ON THE SETTLEMENT OF LAND PROBLEMS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 146079 July 20, 2001 - KANEMITSU YAMAOKA v. PESCARICH MANUFACTURING CORP., ET AL.

  • A.M. No. RTJ-00-1564 July 26, 2001 - MARISSA M. GORDON, ET AL. v. FRISCO T. LILAGAN

  • G.R. Nos. 132325-26 July 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO ESPINA

  • G.R. No. 133225 July 26, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. EDWIN CONCEPCION, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113176 & 113342 July 30, 2001 - HANIL DEVELOPMENT CO. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • A.M. Nos. P-00-1381 & A.M. No. P-00-1382 July 31, 2001 - EFREN B. MALLARE v. RONALD ALLAN A. FERRY

  • G.R. No. 105647 July 31, 2001 - ERNESTO BIONA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 121298 & 122123 July 31, 2001 - GENARO RUIZ, SR., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 129329 July 31, 2001 - ESTER M. ASUNCION v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 130707 July 31, 2001 - VERONICA ROBLE, ET AL. v. DOMINADOR ARBASA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 134634 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LAZARO CLARIÑO, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 134831-32 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON N. LOGMAO

  • G.R. Nos. 136827 & 136799 July 31, 2001 - SECRETARY OF AGRARIAN REFORM, ET AL. v. TROPICAL HOMES

  • G.R. No. 136847 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL v. RODULFO P. VILLARIN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 138289 July 31, 2001 - GRACIANO PALELE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 139180 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLANDO RIVERA

  • G.R. No. 139529 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TIMOTEO BRACERO

  • G.R. No. 139622 July 31, 2001 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PEDRO PERRERAS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 142616 July 31, 2001 - PHIL. NATIONAL BANK v. RITRATTO GROUP INC., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 143687 July 31, 2001 - RAMON ESTANISLAO, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 144702 July 31, 2001 - U.I.C. ET AL. v. U.I.C. TEACHING AND NON-TEACHING PERSONNEL AND EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 145389 July 31, 2001 - ANIANO A. DESIERTO, ET AL. v. RONNIE C. SILVESTRE

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    G.R. No. 105647   July 31, 2001 - ERNESTO BIONA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    FIRST DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 105647 * . July 31, 2001.]

    HEIRS OF ERNESTO BIONA, NAMELY: EDITHA B. BLANCAFLOR, MARIANITA D. DE JESUS, VILMA B. BLANCAFLOR, ELSIE B. RAMOS and PERLITA B. CARMEN, Petitioners, v. THE COURT OF APPEALS and LEOPOLDO HILAJOS, Respondents.

    D E C I S I O N


    KAPUNAN, J.:


    Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 31, 1992, reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 26, Surallah, South Cotabato and the Resolution dated May 26, 1992, denying the subsequent motion for reconsideration.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    Quoting from the decision of the Court of Appeals, the antecedent facts are as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    On October 23, 1953, the late Ernesto Biona, married to plaintiff-appellee Soledad Biona, was awarded Homestead Patent No. V-840 over the property subject of this suit, a parcel of agricultural land denominated as lot 177 of PLS-285-D, located in Bo. 3, Banga, Cotabato, containing an area of ten (10) hectares, forty-three (43) acres and sixty-eight (68) centares, Original Certificate of Title No. (V-2323) P-3831 was issued in his name by the Register of Deeds of Cotabato (Exh. C). On June 3, 1954, Ernesto and Soledad Biona obtained a loan from the then Rehabilitation Finance Corporation (now the Development Bank of the Philippines) and put up as collateral the subject property (Exh. 4). On June 12, 1956, Ernesto Biona died (Exh. B) leaving as his heirs herein plaintiffs-appellees, namely, his wife, Soledad Estrobillo Vda. De Biona, and five daughters, Editha B. Blancaflor, Marianita B. de Jesus, Vilma B. Blancaflor, Elsie B. Ramos and Perlita B. Carmen.

    On March 1, 1960, plaintiff-appellee Soledad Biona obtained a loan from defendant-appellant in the amount of P1,000 and as security therefore, the subject property was mortgaged. It was further agreed upon by the contracting parties that for a period of two years until the debt is paid, Defendant-Appellant shall occupy the land in dispute and enjoy the usufruct thereof.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    The two-year period elapsed but Soledad Biona was not able to pay her indebtedness. Defendant-appellant continued occupying and cultivating the subject property without protest from Plaintiffs-Appellees.

    On July 3, 1962, Defendant-Appellant paid the sum of P1,400.00 to the Development Bank of the Philippines to cancel the mortgage previously constituted by the Biona spouses on June 3, 1953 (Exhs. 4 and 6).

    Thereafter, and for a period of not less than twenty-five years, Defendant-Appellant continued his peaceful and public occupation of the property, declaring it in his name for taxation purposes (Exhs. 10 and 11), paying real estate property taxes thereon (Exhs. 12, 13, 13-a to 13-e, F, G, H and I), and causing the same to be tenanted (Exhs. 7, 8, 9).

    On June 19, 1985, plaintiffs-appellees, filed a complaint for recovery of ownership, possession, accounting and damages, with a prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and/or restraining order against defendant-appellant alleging, among others, that the latter had unlawfully been depriving them of the use, possession and enjoyment of the subject property; that the entire parcel of land, which was devoted and highly suited to palay and corn, was yielding three harvests annually, with an average of one hundred twenty (120) sacks of corn and eighty cavans of rice per hectare; that plaintiffs-appellees were deprived of its total produce amounting to P150,000.00. Plaintiffs-appellees prayed for the award of moral damages in the sum of P50,000.00, exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000,00 and litigation expenses in the amount of P2,000.00.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    On September 19, 1986, Defendant-Appellant filed his answer with counterclaim traversing the material allegations in the complaint and alleging, by way of affirmative and special defenses, that: on September 11, 1961, Soledad Biona, after obtaining the loan of P1,000.00 from defendant-appellant, approached and begged the latter to buy the whole of Lot No. 177 since it was then at the brink of foreclosure by the Development Bank of the Philippines and she had no money to redeem the same nor the resources to support herself and her five small children; that defendant-appellant agreed to buy the property for the amount of P4,300.00, which consideration was to include the redemption price to be paid to the Development Bank of the Philippines; that the purchase price paid by defendant far exceeded the then current market value of the property and defendant had to sell his own eight-hectare parcel of land in Surallah to help Soledad Biona; that to evidence the transaction, a deed of sale was handwritten by Soledad Biona and signed by her and the defendant; that at the time of the sale, half of the portion of the property was already submerged in water and from the years 1969 to 1984, two and one-half hectares thereof were eroded by the Allah River; that by virtue of his continuous and peaceful occupation of the property from the time of its sale and for more than twenty-five years thereafter, defendant possesses a better right thereto subject only to the rights of the tenants whom he had allowed to cultivate the land under the Land Reform Program of the government; that the complaint states no cause of action; that plaintiff’s alleged right, if any, is barred by the statutes of fraud. As counterclaim, Defendant-Appellant prayed that plaintiffs-appellees be ordered to execute a formal deed of sale over the subject property and to pay him actual, moral and exemplary damages as the trial court may deem proper. He likewise prayed for the award of attorney’s fees in the sum of P10,000.00.

    During the hearing of the case, plaintiffs-appellees presented in evidence the testimonies of Editha Biona Blancaflor and Vilma Biona Blancaflor, and documentary exhibits A to G and their submarkings.

    Defendant-appellant, for his part, presented the testimonies of himself and Mamerto Famular, including documentary exhibits 1 to 13, F, G, H, I, and their submarkings. 1

    On January 31, 1990, the RTC rendered a decision with the following dispositive portion:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I (SIC) VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, decision is hereby rendered:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    1. ordering the defendant to vacate possession of the lot in question to the extent of six-tenths (6/10) of the total area thereof and to deliver the same to the plaintiff Soledad Estrobillo Biona upon the latter’s payment of the sum of 1,000.00 TO THE FORMER IN REDEMPTION OF ITS MORTGAGE CONSTITUTED UNDER exh. "1" of defendant;

    2. ordering the defendant to vacate the possession of the remaining four-tenths (4/10) of the area of the lot in question, representing the shares of the children of the late Ernesto Biona and deliver the same to said plaintiffs; the defendant shall render an accounting of the net produce of the area ordered returned to the co-plaintiffs of Soledad Biona commencing from the date of the filing of the complaint until possession thereto has been delivered to said co-plaintiffs and to deliver or pay 25% of said net produce to said co-plaintiffs;chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    3. ordering the defendant to pay the costs of this suit.

    The defendant’s counter-claim are dismissed for lack of merit.

    SO ORDERED. 2

    Dissatisfied, herein private respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals which reversed the trial court’s ruling. The dispositive portion reads as follows:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgment appealed from is set aside and a new one entered dismissing the complaint, and the plaintiffs-appellees are ordered to execute a registrable deed of conveyance of the subject property in favor of the defendant-appellant within ten (10) days from the finality of this decision. With costs against plaintiffs-appellees. 3

    Hence, the instant petition where the following assignment of errors were made:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THE SIGNATURE OF SOLEDAD ESTROBILLO IN THE DEED OF SALE (EXHIBIT "2"), A PRIVATE DOCUMENT, IS GENUINE.

    II RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DEED OF SALE (EXHIBIT 2) IS VALID AND COULD LEGALLY CONVEY TO PRIVATE RESPONDENT OWNERSHIP AND TITLE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.

    III RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT HEREIN PETITIONERS HAD LOST THEIR RIGHT TO RECOVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY BY VIRTUE OF THE EQUITABLE PRINCIPLE OF LACHES.

    IV RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT’S RIGHT OF ACTION UNDER THE DEED OF SALE (EXHIBIT "2") HAD PRESCRIBED. 4

    As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the pivotal issue in the instant case is whether or not the deed of sale is valid and if it effectively conveyed to the private respondents the subject property.

    In ruling in favor of the petitioners, the trial court refused to give weight to the evidence of private respondent which consisted of (1) the handwritten and unnotarized deed of sale executed by Soledad Biona in favor of the private respondent; and (2) the corresponding acknowledgment receipt of the amount of P3,500.00 as partial payment for the land in dispute. To the mind of the trial court, the signature of Soledad Biona on the deed of sale was not genuine. There was no direct evidence to prove that Soledad Biona herself signed the document. Moreover, the deed of sale was not notarized and therefore, did not convey any rights to the vendee. The trial court also ruled that petitioners’ rights over the land have not allegedly prescribed.cralaw : red

    On the other hand, the respondent Court of Appeals accepted as genuine the deed of sale (Exh. 2) which "sets forth in unmistakable terms that Soledad Biona agreed for the consideration of P4,500.00, to transfer to defendant-appellant Lot 177. The fact that payment was made is evidenced by the acknowledgment receipt for P3,500.00 (Exh. 3) signed by Soledad Biona, and private respondent previous delivery of P1,000.00 to her pursuant to the Mutual Agreement (Exh. 1). The contract of sale between the contracting parties was consummated by the delivery of the subject land to private respondent who since then had occupied and cultivated the same continuously and peacefully until the institution of this suit." 5

    Given the contrary findings of the trial court and the respondent court, there is a need to re-examine the evidence altogether. After a careful study, we are inclined to agree with the findings and conclusions of the respondent court as they are more in accord with the law and evidence on record.

    As to the authenticity of the deed of sale, we subscribe to the Court of Appeals’ appreciation of evidence that private respondent has substantially proven that Soledad Biona indeed signed the deed of sale of the subject property in his favor. His categorical statement in the trial court that he himself saw Soledad Estrobillo affix her signature on the deed of sale lends credence. This was corroborated by another witness, Mamerto Famular. Although the petitioners consider such testimony as self-serving and biased, 6 it can not, however, be denied that private respondent has shown by competent proof that a contract of sale where all the essential elements are present for its validity was executed between the parties. 7 The burden is on the petitioners to prove the contrary which they have dismally failed to do. As aptly stated by the Court of Appeals:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Having established the due execution of the subject deed of sale and the receipt evidencing payment of the consideration, the burden now shifted to plaintiffs-appellees to prove by contrary evidence that the property was not so transferred. They were not able to do this since the very person who could deny the due execution of the document, Soledad Biona, did not testify. She similarly failed to take the witness stand in order to deny her signatures on Exhs. 2 and 3. Admitting as true that she was under medication in Manila while the hearing of the case was underway, it was easy enough to get her deposition. Her non-presentation gives rise to the presumption that if her testimony was taken, the same would be adverse to the claim by Plaintiffs-Appellees.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    It must also be noted that under Sec. 22 Rule 132 of our procedural law, evidence respecting handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by the witness or the court, with writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is offered. Our own close scrutiny of the signature of Soledad Biona appearing on Exh. 1, the document admitted by the contending parties, reveals that it is the same as the signatures appearing on Exhs. 2 and 3, the documents in dispute. Admittedly, as was pointed out by the trial court, the "S" in Exhs. 2 and 3 were written in printed type while that in Exh. 1 is in handwriting type. But a careful look at the text of Exh. 2 would reveal that Soledad Biona alternately wrote the letter "S" in longhand and printed form. Thus, the words "Sum" and "Sept.," found in the penultimate and last paragraphs of the document, respectively, were both written in longhand, while her name appearing on first part of the document, as well as the erased word "Sept." in the last paragraph thereof were written in printed form. Moreover, all doubts about the genuineness of Soledad Biona’s signatures on Exhs. 2 and 3 are removed upon their comparison to her signature appearing on the special power of attorney (Exh. A) presented in evidence by plaintiffs-appellees during trial. In said document, Soledad Biona signed her name using the same fact that Soledad Estrobillo Biona wrote her entire name on Exh. 2 while she merely affixed her maiden name on the other two documents may have been due to the lesser options left to her when the lawyers who drafted the two documents (Exhs. 2 and 3) already had typewritten the names "SOLEDAD ESTROBILLO" thereon whereas in Exh. 2, it was Soledad Biona herself who printed and signed her own name. Thus, in the special power of attorney (Exh. A), Soledad Biona signed her name in the same manner it was typewritten on the document. 8

    We agree with the private respondent that all the requisites for a valid contract of sale are present in the instant case. For a valuable consideration of P4,500.00, Soledad Biona agreed to sell and actually conveyed the subject property to private Respondent. The fact that the deed of sale was not notarized does not render the agreement null and void and without any effect. The provision of Article 1358 of the Civil Code 9 on the necessity of a public document is only for convenience, and not for validity or enforceability. 10 The observance of which is only necessary to insure its efficacy, so that after the existence of said contract had been admitted, the party bound may be compelled to execute the proper document. 11 Undeniably, a contract has been entered into by Soledad Biona and the private Respondent. Regardless of its form, it was valid, binding and enforceable between the parties. We quote with favor the respondent court’s ratiocination on the matter:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    . . . The trial court cannot dictate the manner in which the parties may execute their agreement, unless the law otherwise provides for a prescribed form, which is not so in this case. The deed of sale so executed, although a private document, is effective as between the parties themselves and also as the third persons having no better title, and should be admitted in evidence for the purpose of showing the rights and relations of the contracting parties (Carbonell v. Court of Appeals, 69 SCRA 99; Elumbaring v. Elumbaring, 12 Phil. 384). Under Art. 1356 of the Civil Code, contracts shall be obligatory in whatever form they may have been entered into provided all the essential requisites for their necessary elements for a valid contract of sale were met when Soledad Biona agreed to sell and actually conveyed Lot 177 to defendant-appellant who paid the amount of P4,500.00 therefore. The deed of sale (Exh. 2) is not made ineffective merely because it is not notarized or does not appear in a public document. The contract is binding upon the contracting parties, Defendant-Appellant and Soledad Biona, including her successors-in-interest. Pursuant to Art. 1357, plaintiffs-appellees may be compelled by defendant-appellant to execute a public document to embody their valid and enforceable contract and for the purpose of registering the property in the latter’s name (Clarin v. Rulona, 127 SCRA 512; Heirs of Amparo v. Santos, 108 SCRA 43; Araneta v. Montelibano, 14 Phil. 117). 12

    Finally, we find no merit in petitioners’ contention that their right over the land has not prescribed. The principle of laches was properly applied against petitioner. Laches has been defined as the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier, it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned it or declined to assert it. 13 In the instant case, the Court of Appeals point to the circumstances that warrant the principle to come into play:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    Laches had been defined to be such neglect or omission to assert a right taken in conjunction with the lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to an adverse party, as will bar him in equity (Heirs of Batiog Lacamen v. Heirs of Laruan, 65 SCRA 605, 609-610). In the instant suit, Soledad Biona, at the time of the execution of the deed of sale (Exh. 2) on September 11, 1961, could only alienate that portion of Lot 177 belonging to her, which is seven-twelfths of the entire property. She had no power or authority to dispose of the shares of her co-owners, the five daughters of the deceased Ernesto Biona, who were entitled to an indivisible five-twelfths portion of the whole property. It is not disputed, however, that as early as 1960, when Soledad Biona borrowed money from defendant-appellant (Exh. L), the latter entered, possessed and started occupying the same in the concept of an owner. He caused its cultivation through various tenants under Certificates of Land Transfer (Exhs. 7-9), declared the property in his name, religiously paid taxes thereon, reaped benefits therefrom, and executed other acts of dominion without any protest or interference from plaintiffs-appellees for more than twenty-five years. Even when the five daughters of the deceased Ernesto Biona were way past the age of majority, when they could have already asserted their right to their share, no sale in defendant-appellant’s favor was ever brought or any other action was taken by them to recover their share. Instead, they allowed defendant-appellant to peacefully occupy the property without protest. Although it is true that no title to registered land in derogation of that of the registered owner shall be acquired by prescription or adverse possession as the right to recover possession of registered land is imprescriptible, jurisprudence has laid down the rule that a person and his heirs may lose their right to recover back the possession of such property and title thereto by reason of laches. (Victoriano v. Court of Appeals, 194 SCRA 19; Lola v. CA, 145 SCRA 439, 449). Indeed, it has been ruled in the case of Miguel v. Catalino, 26 SCRA 234, 239, that:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    ‘Courts can not look with favor at parties who, by their silence, delay and inaction, knowingly induce another to spend time, effort and expense in cultivating the land, paying taxes and making improvements thereof for 30 long years, only to spring from ambush and claim title when the possessor’s efforts and the rise of land values offer an opportunity to make easy profit at his expense.’

    Thus, notwithstanding the invalidity of the sale with respect to the share of plaintiffs-appellees, the daughters of the late Ernesto Biona, they [allowed] the vendee, Defendant-Appellant herein, to enter, occupy and possess the property in the concept of an owner without demurrer and molestation for a long period of time, never claiming the land as their own until 1985 when the property has greatly appreciated in value. Vigilantibus non dormientibus sequitas subvenit. 14

    WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.chanrob1es virtua1 1aw 1ibrary

    SO ORDERED.

    Puno, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

    Davide, Jr., C.J., on official leave.

    Endnotes:



    * This case was transferred to the ponente pursuant to the resolution in A.M. No. 00-9-03-SC. — Re: Creation of Special Committee on Case Backlog dated February 27, 2001.

    1. Rollo, pp. 40-42.

    2. Id., at 60-61.

    3. Id., at 50.

    4. Id., at 11-12.

    5. Id., at 45.

    6. Rollo, p. 14-15.

    7. See Dizon v. Court of Appeals, 302 SCRA 288 (1999); Villanueva v. Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 89 (1997).

    8. Id., at 46-47.

    9. ART. 1358. The following must appear in a public document:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) Acts and contracts which have for their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights over immovable property; sales of real property; sales of real property or of an interest therein are governed by Articles 1403, No. 2, and 1405;

    (2) The cession, repudiation or renunciation of hereditary rights or of those of the conjugal partnership of gains;

    (3) The power to administer property, or any other power which has for its object an act appearing or which should appear in a public document, or should prejudice a third person;

    (4) The cession of actions or rights proceeding from an act appearing in a public document.

    All other contracts where the amount involved exceeds five hundred pesos must appear in writing, even a private one. But sales of goods, chattels or things in action are governed by Articles 1403, No. 2 and 1405.

    10. Caoili v. Court of Appeals, 314 SCRA 345 (1999).

    11. Cenido v. Apacionado, 318 SCRA 688 (1999).

    12. Id., at 48.

    13. Vda. De Cabrera v. CA, 267 SCRA 339, 355 (1997).

    14. Rollo, pp. 48-50.

    G.R. No. 105647   July 31, 2001 - ERNESTO BIONA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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