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[G.R. No. 138901. June 18, 2003]

DE LA CRUZ vs. CO

THIRD DIVISION

Gentlemen:

Quoted hereunder for your information is a resolution of this Court dated JUN 18 2003.

G.R. No. 138901 (Honorio de la Cruz vs. Felisa Uy Co, Co Tong Te, Miguel Miranda, Manolito Miranda and Ma. Socorro Miranda.)

This is a petition for review on certiorari[1]cralaw assailing the Decision[2]cralaw of the Court of Appeals dated October 26, 1998 and its Resolution[3]cralaw dated May 27, 1999 in CA-G.R. CV No. 56893, "Felisa Uy and Co Tong Te vs. Miguel Miranda, et al." for recovery of land with damages.

The facts of the case as aptly narrated by the Court of Appeals in its Decision are:

"Felisa Uy Co and Co Tong Te brought this action for recovery of land with damages against Miguel Miranda, Manolito Miranda, Ma. Socorro Miranda and Honorio dela Cruz, claiming that for and in consideration of the sum of P449,990.00 they bought from defendants Miguel, Manolito and Ma. Socorro Miranda, a parcel of land situated in Barangay Tuyan, Naga, Cebu containing an area of 5,294 sq.m., that after the sale they tried to take possession of said land but were prevented from doing so by defendant Honorio dela Cruz, who claimed to be the owner of the land.

"Defendants Miranda alleged in their Answer that they bought the land in question in good faith and for value from co-defendant Honorio dela Cruz, that they were in actual and physical possession after they bought the same; they admitted that they sold the land to plaintiffs but claimed that plaintiffs are guilty of laches in seeking possession of subject land.

"Defendant Honorio dela Cruz filed separate Answer and alleged that the deed of sale in favor of the Mirandas is a falsified document.

"Plaintiffs presented in evidence a notarized Deed of Absolute Sale executed by Manolito Miranda in favor of plaintiff Felisa Uy Co dated December 7, 1989 (Exh. 'C,' also marked as Exh. '6'), a receipt (Exh. 'D') also dated December 7, 1989 acknowledging that the full consideration for the sale was P440,990.00) a tax declaration of real property in their names (Exh. 'E'); the deed of absolute sale dated July 12, 1989 covering the same property executed by Honorio dela Cruz in favor of Manolito Miranda (Exh. 'A,' also marked as Exh. '2' Miranda); the tax declaration in the name of Manolito Miranda (Exh. 'B,' also Exh. '3' Miranda); as well as copies of documents bearing the signature of Honorlo dela Cruz, and the Examination Report thereon submitted by Document Examiner Wilfredo Espina of the PNP Cebu City Police Command (Exh.'AA'). Felisa Uy Co and her daughter Virginia Co were presented as witnesses for the plaintiff. Wilfredo Espina was presented as rebuttal witness.

"Miguel Miranda identified the signature of Honorio dela Cruz and Angelisa dela Cruz on the Deed of Sale executed in favor of Manolito Miranda, as he was present when the couple signed the same and testified that the consideration of P400,000.00 was paid by him to Angelisa (tsn, May 18, 1993).

"Defendant Honorio dela Cruz presented as witnesses his brother-in-law Clodualdo Laput, who claimed to be a tenant on the land, and Romeo Varona, document examiner of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service. Honorio dela Cruz also testified in his behalf. Documents containing specimen signatures of Honorio and Angelisa dela Cruz were adduced in evidence."[4]cralaw

As found by the trial court, the deed of sale dated July 12, 1989 between petitioner and respondents is genuine. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads:

"WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered declaring plaintiff Felisa Uy Co (now co-respondent) the lawful owner of the land described in the complaint.

"Defendant Honorio dela Cruz (now petitioner) is hereby ordered to surrender the peaceful possession of the land to the plaintiffs. Without special pronouncement as to costs.

"SO ORDERED."

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied.

Hence this petition.

Petitioner's assignment of errors boils down to the crucial issue of whether the deed of sale dated July 12, 1989 is genuine.

Petitioner contends that Miguel Miranda in his testimony failed to prove the authenticity and genuineness of his (petitioner's) signature and that of his wife in the subject document. Moreover, the person who signed as witnesses and the notary public before whom it was acknowledged were not presented by respondents before the trial court to prove its authenticity.

Respondents, for their part, simply maintain that the genuineness of petitioner's signature in the deed of sale is a question of fact which is not within the ambit of this Court's power of review.

We find no reason to disturb the challenged Decision of the Court of Appeals. As correctly pointed out by respondents, the determination of the genuineness and authenticity of the deed of sale is undoubtedly a question of fact. A question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of alleged facts,[5]cralaw or when the query requires calibration of' the whole evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the existence and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well as their relation to each other and to the whole, and the probability of the situation.[6]cralaw It is settled in a horde of cases that the Supreme Court's jurisdiction in a petition for review is limited to errors of law allegedly committed by the appellate court.[7]cralaw This Court is not bound to analyze and weigh all over again the evidence already considered in the proceedings below.[8]cralaw Moreover, findings of fact of trial courts, adopted and affirmed by the appellate court, are binding and conclusive upon this Court.[9]cralaw Petitioner failed to show that this case falls under the exceptions[10]cralaw to the said rule. Thus, the petition must fail.

We likewise cannot give credence to petitioner's contention that respondents should have presented the witnesses and the notary public concerned. Basic is the rule in evidence that it is the duty of a party to present evidence to establish his defense by the amount of evidence required by law.[11]cralaw It is petitioner's stance that his signature in the deed of sale was forged. Hence, he has the burden of proving that his signature was indeed falsified.[12]cralaw This, he miserably failed to discharge.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 26, 1998 and its Resolution dated May 27, 1999 in CA-G.R. CV No. 56893 are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

Very truly yours,

(Sgd.)JULIETA Y. CARREON
Clerk of Court



Endnotes:

[1]cralaw Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended.

[2]cralaw Rollo at 15, penned by Associate Justice Minerva P. Gonzaga-Reyes (now retired Justice of this Court) and concurred in by Associate Justices Godardo A. Jacinto and Roberto A. Barrios.

[3]cralaw Id. at 25.

[4]cralaw Id. at 15-16.

[5]cralaw Tirol vs. commission on Audit, G.R. No. 133954, August 3, 2000, 337 SCRA 198, citing Ramos vs. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Go. of the P.1., 19 SCRA 289, 292 (1967); Commissioner of Internal Revenue vs. Court of Appeals. 298 SCRA 83, 91(1998); Dela Torre vs. Pepsi-Cola Products Phils., Inc., 298 SCRA 363, 373 (1998).

[6]cralaw Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No. 102508, January 30, 2002.

[7]cralaw Omandam vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128750, January 18, 2001, 349 SCRA 483, citing Co vs. Court of Appeals, 247 SCRA 195, 200 (1995) and Gobonseng, Jr. vs. Court of Appeals, 246 SCRA 472 (1995); Mirasol vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128448, February 1, 2001, 351 SCRA 44, citing congregation of the Religious of the Virgin Mary vs. court of Appeals, 291 SCRA 385, 391-392 (1998); Industrial Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Bondad, G.R. No. 136722, April 12, 2000, 330 SCRA 706; Perez vs. Court of Appeals, 374 Phil. 388 (1999); Spouses Misena vs. Rongavilla, 363 Phil. 361 (1999), citing Engineering and Machinery Corp., vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 52267, January 24, 1996, 252 SCRA 156.

[8]cralaw Republic vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116372, January 18, 2001, 349 SCRA 451; Prudential Bank and Trust Company vs. Reyes, G.R. No. 141093, February 20, 2001, 352 SCRA 316; Tin vs. People, G.R. No. 126480, August 10, 2001, 362 SCRA 594.

[9]cralaw Sendon vs. Ruiz, G.R. No. 136834, August 15, 2001, 363 SCRA 155; Marubeni Corporation vs. Lirag, G.R. No. 130998, August 10, 2001, 362 SCRA 620; Finman General Assurance Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 138737, July 12, 2001, 361 SCRA 214; Manufacturers Building, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 116847, March 16, 2001, 354 SCRA 521; Go vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112552, February 5, 2001, 351 SCRA 145; Wong vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 117857, February 2, 2001, 351 SCRA 100.

[10]cralaw (a) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures;

(b)         when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (c) where there is a grave abuse of discretion; (d) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (e) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (f) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issue of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (g) when the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (h) when the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (i) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; U) when the finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on the supposed absence of evidence but is contradicted by the evidence on record; and (k) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. Martinez vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 123547, May 21, 2001, 358 SCRA 38, 49-50; Fuentes vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109849, February 26, 1997, 268 SCRA 703, 708-709, citing Gaw vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No. 70451, March 24, 1993, 220 SCRA 405, 413; Morales vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 91003, May 23, 1991, 197 SCRA 391; Navarra vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86237, December 17, 1991, 204 SCRA 850; Bautista vs. Mangaldan Rural Bank, Inc., G.R. No. 100755, February 10, 1994, 230 SCRA 16.

[11]cralaw Section 1, Rule 131 of the Rules on Evidence; Jimenez vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 116960, April 2, 1996, 256 SCRA 84

[12]cralaw Garrido vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 101262, September 14, 1994, 236 SCRA 450.


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