Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1963 > December 1963 Decisions > G.R. No. L-18018 December 26, 1963 - ESPERANZA ESPIRITU, ET AL. v. FRANCISCO VALERIO:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. No. L-18018. December 26, 1963.]

ESPERANZA ESPIRITU and ANTONIA APOSTOL, Petitioners, v. FRANCISCO VALERIO, Respondent.

Agustin U. Cruz, for Petitioners.

C. Navi. Busto for Appellee.


SYLLABUS


1. SALES; SAME LAND SOLD TO TWO DIFFERENT VENDEES; VENDEE FIRST REGISTERING SALE HAS BETTER RIGHT UNDER ART. 1544, CIVIL CODE. — Where the owner of a parcel of unregistered land sold it to two different parties, — assuming that both sales are valid — the vendee whose deed of sale was first registered under the provisions of Act 3344 would have a better right.

2. ID.; ID.; ART. 1544, CIVIL CODE, NOT APPLICABLE WHERE ONE DEED OF SALE IS FALSIFIED. — Where the same parcel of land was sold to two different parties, it is held that, despite the fact that one deed of sale was registered ahead of the other, Art. 1544 of the Civil Code will not apply where said deed is found to be a forgery; the result of this being, that the right of the other vendee should prevail.


D E C I S I O N


DIZON, J.:


Appeal taken by Esperanza Espiritu and her daughter, Antonia Apostol, from the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the one rendered by the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan in Civil Case No. 13293 declaring appellee, Francisco Valerio, to be the owner of the land described in his complaint and enjoining defendants from molesting him in the peaceful possession thereof.

On September 15, 1955 Valerio filed an action to quiet title in the above mentioned Court against appellants, alleging in his complaint that he was the owner of a parcel of unregistered land containing an area of approximately 8,573 square meters situated in Barrio Olo, Municipality of Mangatarem, Pangasinan, and more particularly described in paragraph two thereof, having acquired the same from the former owner, Pelagia Vegilia, as evidenced by a deed of sale executed by the latter in his favor on January 31, 1955 (Exhibit A); that appellants had been asserting adversary rights over said land and disturbing his possession thereof.

Appellants’ answer denied the material allegations of the complaint and alleged, as affirmative defense, that they were the owners of the land in question, having acquired it by inheritance from the late Santiago Apostol, husband and father of appellants Espiritu and Apostol, respectively; that said deceased bought the property from Mariano Vegilia on June 3, 1934, as evidenced by the deed of sale Exhibit 2, who, in turn, had acquired it from his niece, Pelagia Vegilia, on May 26, 1932, by virtue of the deed of sale Exhibit 1.

The present appeal depends entirely upon the validity of the Deed of Sale Exhibit 1 allegedly executed by Pelagia Vegilia in favor of Mariano Vegilia, and of the Deed of Sale Exhibit 2 allegedly executed by the latter in favor of Santiago Apostol. If both are valid, appellants’ contention that they have a better right than that claimed by appellee would seem to be meritorious in the light of the facts of the case and the provisions of Article 1544 of the New Civil Code, it not being disputed that the Deed of Sale in favor of appellee was registered under the provisions of Act 3344 on June 16, 1955, while Exhibits 1 and 2 were similarly registered eleven days before.

Regarding the genuineness of the questioned documents, however, the Court of Appeals found as follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"Upon motion of plaintiff, the Court ordered the defendants to produce, for examination and inspection by plaintiff, the two documents referred to. The plaintiff, after examining and inspecting said documents, filed, on June 22, 1956, a supplemental complaint alleging that the document dated May 26, 1932,’ ‘is fictitious and a falsification,’ and that the private document of June 3, 1934 is likewise null and void, being without the necessary formal requisites, aside to its being fictitious and the fact that the alleged vendor acquired no right whatsoever in the land.’

"In view of these conflicting claims of the plaintiff and the defendants, the trial court correctly stated, ‘apparently, this case concerns the sales of one parcel of land by the same vendor but in favor of two different vendees. If these were the only issues in this case, there is no question that under Art 1544 of the New Civil Code, Exhibit ‘1’ would be considered to be effective as against Exhibit ‘A’, it having been registered prior to Exhibit ‘A’. But this is not the only question at issue. Over and above the application of Art 1544 of the New Civil Code is the determination of whether or not Exhibits ‘1’ and ‘2’ have been falsified. Having arrived at the conclusion that the two exhibits just mentioned had been falsified, the trial court rendered decision on July 25, 1956, ‘adjudging ownership of the land described in the complaint in favor of the plaintiff and hereby permanently and definitely enjoins the defendants to abstain and desist from disturbing and molesting the plaintiff from the peaceful enjoyment and possession of the parcel of land described in the complaint or in any way to interfere personally or by agents in the said peaceful possession by the plaintiff of the land in litigation; the defendants are hereby further ordered to pay the costs of this suit.’"

"It is principally contended by defendants-appellants that the trial court erred in deciding the case in favor of the plaintiff- appellee and against defendants-appellants, based upon the testimony of Pelagia Vegilia and Mariano Vegilia; the first, emphatically denying that she sold the land in question to Mariano Vegilia, and that she appeared before Notary Public Lino Abad Pine before whom the ‘Escritura de Compraventa Definita’, Exhibit 1, was allegedly ratified; and the second, denying that he bought the said land from Pelagia Vegilia, and that he sold the same to Santiago Apostol as recited in ‘Pecivo’, Exhibit 2. In giving credence to the testimony of the aforementioned two witnesses, the trial court said: ‘An examination of Exh.’1’ reveals the glaring fact that it cannot be determined whose thumbmark is the one appearing on said Exh.’1’ for the simple reason that it immediately precedes the name Anselmo Vegilia but it is under the name Pelagia Vegilia. Ordinarily, this thumbmark would be considered as the thumbmark of Anselmo Vegilia and not of Pelagia Vegilia. While the Judge presiding this Court does not claim any knowledge of finger print, it is, however, apparent that the thumbmark appearing in Exh.’1’ is different from the thumbmark appearing in Exh.’X’. Furthermore, it is also very clear that the one who wrote the name Anselmo Vegilia is the very one who wrote the name Pelagia Vegilia; and from said Exh.’1’ it is apparent also that Anselmo Vegilia could not have written the name Anselmo Vegilia in Exh.’1’ for the simple reason that it has been certified by the Notary Public that said Anselmo Vegilia is physically incapable (inutil physicamente), and the other factor which leads this Court to believe that Exh.’1’ has been falsified is the apparent difference of the ink used in writing the names of Pelagia Vegilia and Anselmo Vegilia from the ink used by the other persons who signed in Exh.’1’ and the apparent fact that the names Pelagia Vegilia and Anselmo Vegilia must have been written in a much later date than the other names appearing in said Exh.’1’. With respect to Exh.’2’, the denial of Mariano Vegilia as to his having purchased the land in question from Pelagia Vegilia is enough for this Court to disregard Exh.’2’. But this Court further takes into account the fact that the names Mariano Vegilia and Jose B. Aviles appearing in said Exh.’2’ must have been written by only one man."cralaw virtua1aw library

Assuming that the above findings of the Court of Appeals are reviewable, we find nothing in the record sufficient to justify their reversal.

WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

Paredes, J., did not take part.




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