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G.R. No.

96492 November 26, 1992


ROMEO REYES, ANGEL PARAYAO, and EMILIO MANANGHAYA, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, EUFROCINA DE LA CRUZ and VIOLETA DELOS
REYES, respondents.

NOCON, J.:
Petitioners Romeo Reyes, Angel Parayao and Emilio Mananghaya question the respondent Court's
decision promulgated on November 22, 1990, 1 which affirmed with modification the agrarian court's
decision promulgated January 10, 1990, 2 which ordered them and the other defendants therein to, among
others, restore possession of the disputed landholding to private respondent, Eufrocina Vda. dela Cruz.
Said respondent court's decision is now final and executory as to Olympio Mendoza and Severino
Aguinaldo, the other petitioners in the respondent court, since they did not appeal the same.
Since petitioners do not dispute the findings of fact of the respondent Court, the same shall be
quoted verbatim and are as follows:
It appears from the records that Juan Mendoza, father of herein defendant Olympio
Mendoza, is the owner of Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the
Bahay Pare Estate, Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga, with an area of 23,000
square meters and 19,000 square meters, respectively. Devoted to the production of
palay, the lots were tenanted and cultivated by Julian dela Cruz, husband of plaintiff
Eufrocina dela Cruz. Julian died on September 25, 1979.
In her complaint, Eufrocina alleged that upon the death of Julian, she succeeded him
as bona fidetenant of the subject lots; that between July 7 to July 15, 1984, Olympio
Mendoza, in conspiracy with the other defendants, prevented her daughter Violeta
and her workers through force, intimidation, strategy and stealth, from entering and
working on the subject premises; and that until the filing of the instant case,
defendants had refused to vacate and surrender the lots, thus violating her tenancy
rights. Plaintiff therefore prayed for judgment for the recovery of possession and
damages with a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction in the meantime.
Defendants Reyes, Parayao, Aguinaldo and Mananghaya, duly elected and/or
appointed barangay officials of Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga, denied
interference in the tenancy relationship existing between plaintiff and defendant
Mendoza, particularly in the cultivation of the latter's farm lots. Claiming that they
have always exercised fairness, equity, reason and impartiality in the discharge of
their official functions, they asked for the dismissal of the case and claimed moral
damages and attorney's fees in the total amount of P165,000.00 (Answer with
Counterclaim, Records, pp. 48-51).
For his part, defendant Mendoza raised abandonment, sublease and mortgage of the
farm lots without his consent and approval, and non-payment of rentals, irrigation
fees and other taxes due the government, as his defenses. He also demanded actual
and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees (Answer, pp. 77-78).

During the pendency of the case in the lower court, Mendoza of the case in the lower
court, Mendoza was in possession of the subject lots and had cultivated the same.
Upon motion of plaintiff, the court directed its Deputy Sheriff to supervise the
harvesting of the palay crops, to cause the threshing thereof and to deposit the net
harvest (after deducting from the expenses incurred), in a bonded warehouse of the
locality subject to the disposition of the court. 3
The respondent Court rendered judgment affirming the appealed agrarian court's decision with the
modification that Lot 106 is not covered by it.
The dispositive portion of the appealed decision, which was modified, states as follows:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered, in favor of plaintiff and against
defendants:
On the Mandatory Injunction:
1. Ordering said defendants to restore possession of the landholding subject of the
action to the plaintiff and enjoining said defendants and any person claiming under
them to desist from molesting them or interfering with the possession and cultivation
of the landholding descriptive in paragraph 3 of the complaint, to wit:
Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the Bahay Pare
Estate, Bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga, with a total area of 23,969
square meters, more or less, owned by a certain Juan Mendoza, and
devoted principally to the production of palay, as evidenced by a
Certification from the Ministry of Agrarian Reform issued on July 30,
1984.
2. a) Ordering the defendants to vacate the premises of the two landholding in
question and to respect the tenancy rights of plaintiff with respect to the same;
b) Ordering defendants, jointly and severally to pay unto plaintiff 220 cavans of palay
or its equivalent in cash of P33,000.00 from the principal crop year of 1984, and
every harvest time until defendants finally vacate and surrender possession and
cultivation of the landholding in question to plaintiff.
c) the prayer for moral damages, not having been sufficiently proved, the same is
denied.
d) Ordering defendants jointly and severally, to pay the costs of suit.
The awards herein provided should first be satisfied from the deposits of the harvests
ordered by the Court from which the planting and harvesting expenses have been
paid to defendant Olympio Mendoza; and if said net deposits with the Court or the
warehouses as ordered by the Court are insufficient, then the balance should be paid
by defendants, jointly and severally. 4
Defendants who are the petitioners in this case, in a Petition for Review on Certiorari, present for the
consideration of the Court:

[T]he lone issue of whether or not they can be held liable, jointly and severally, with
the other defendants, for the harvests of the litigated property, Lot No. 46, or the
money equivalent thereof starting from the principal crop years of 1984 and every
harvest time thereafter until the possession and cultivation of the aforestated
landholding are finally surrendered to the private respondent. 5
It is the position of petitioners that they are not liable jointly and severally with Olympio Mendoza and
Severino Aguinaldo because the present petition involves Lot No. 46, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the
bahay Pare Estate, bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga and not Lot No. 106 of the estate, which lot
was purchased by petitioner Romeo Reyes from Olympio Mendoza's father, Juan, and which he later
donated to the barangay Bahay Pare of Candaba, Pampanga, for the construction of the Bahay Pare
Barangay High School. 6 As to their supposed participation in the dispossession of private respondent
from the disputed landholding, petitioners present the September 30, 1987 Resolution of Investigating
Fiscal Jesus M. Pamintuan, as approved by Pampanga Provincial Fiscal Villamor I. Dizon, in I.S. No.
8576, 7 wherein private respondent's complaint against petitioners and the other defendants in the
agrarian court for violation of P.D. 583 8 was dismissed, to show that private respondent's "point is already
settled and considered closed."9 lastly, petitioners claim that they were included in the present controversy
so that their political career would be destroyed. 10
Private respondents deny petitioners' allegations and contend that it was petitioners who conspired
with Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo in ejecting them not only from Lot No. 46 but also
from Lot No. 106. They maintain that it was in Farmlot No. 46 from where they were ejected and
dispossessed, so much so that even if Farmlot No. 106 was removed by the Court of Appeals from
the judgment, as Farmlot No. 46 was harvesting palay worth at least P33,000.00 per year since
1989, private respondents, who are entitled to the possession and peaceful enjoyment of the farmlot
as provided for in Section 23 of the Agrarian Reform Law, should be compensated for the lost
income by the petitioners who are solidarily liable with Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo. 11
We find for the private respondents.
It is clear that petitioners are asking Us to re-examine all the evidence already presented and
evaluated by the trial court and re-evaluated again by the respondent appellate court. Said evidence
served as basis in arriving at the trial court and appellate court's findings of fact. We shall not
analyze such evidence all over again but instead put finis to the factual findings in this case. Settled
is the rule that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
of the Rules of Court 12 absent the exceptions which do not obtain in the instant case. 13
We agree with the appellate court in its retiocination, which We adopt, on why it has to dismiss the
appeal. Said the Court:
In her Complaint, plaintiff-appellee alleged that she "is the tenant of Farm Lots Nos.
46 and 106 Block 2, Psd-38453 of the Bahay Pare Estate, Bahay Pare, Candaba,
Pampanga, with a total area of 23,969 square meters, more or less . . ." (Complaint,
Record, vol. 1, p.1). However, during Violeta's testimony, she clarified that actually
only Lot No. 106, which contains an area of P19,000 square meters, is not included
in this controversy (T.S.N., August 10, 1989, p. 5; May 8, 1989, p. 12). This statement
was corroborated by plaintiff's counsel, Atty. Arturo Rivera, who informed the court
that the 19,000 square meter lot is subject of a pending case before the MTC of Sta.
Ana, Pampanga (Ibid.,p. 15). The inconsistency between the averment of the
complaint and the testimony of the witness should not only because there was no
showing that she intended to mislead defendants and even the trial court on the
subject matter of the suit. It would in the complaint since together with Lot 106 had

been include in the complaint since together with Lot 46, it is owned by Olympio's
father.
We also concur with the trial court's finding on the participation of the other
appellants in the dispossession of appellee. They not only knew Olympio personally,
some of them were even asked by Olympio to help him cultivate the land, thus
lending credence to the allegation that defendant Olympio, together with his codefendants, prevented plaintiff and her workers from entering the land through
"strong arm methods". (Decision of RTC, records, vol. II p. 564).
Finally, we rule that the trial court did not err when it favorably considered the
affidavits of Eufrocina and Efren Tecson (Annexes "B" and "C") although the affiants
were not presented and subjected to cross-examination. Section 16 of P.D. No. 946
provides that the "Rules of Court shall not be applicable in agrarian cases even in a
suppletory character." The same provision states that "In the hearing, investigation
and determination of any question or controversy, affidavits and counter-affidavits
may be allowed and are admissible in evidence".
Moreover, in agrarian cases, the quantum of evidence required is no more than
substantial evidence. This substantial evidence rule was incorporated in section 18,
P.D. No. 946 which took effect on June 17, 1976 (Castro vs. CS, G.R. No. 34613,
January 26, 1989). In Bagsican vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, 141 SCRA 226, the
Supreme Court defined what substantial evidence is:
Substantial evidence does not necessarily import preponderant
evidence, as is required in an ordinary civil case. It has been defined
to be such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion and its absence is not shown by
stressing that there is contrary evidence on record, direct or
circumstantial, for the appellate court cannot substitute its own
judgment or criteria for that of the trial court in determining wherein
lies the weight of evidence or what evidence is entitled to belief. 14
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the decision appealed from, the petition is hereby
DENIED for lack of merit. The decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on November 22, 1990
is AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 137757

August 14, 2000

THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
RODEGELIO TURCO, JR., aka "TOTONG", accused-appellant.
DECISION
MELO, J.:

Accused-appellant Rodegelio Turco, Jr. (aka "Totong") was charged with the crime of rape in
Criminal Case No. 2349-272, Branch I of the Regional Trial Court of Basilan of the 9th Judicial
Region, stationed in Isabela, Basilan, under the following Information:
That on or about the 8th day of July, 1995, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, viz., at
Km. 6, Begang Barangay, Municipality of Isabela, Province of Basilan, Philippines, the above-named
accused, by the use of force, threat and intimidation, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously grab the undersigned complainant by her neck, cover her mouth and forcibly make her lie
down, after which the said accused mounted on top of her and removed her short pant and panty.
Thereafter, the said accused, by the use of force, threat and intimidation, inserted his penis into the
vagina of the undersigned complainant and finally succeeded to have carnal knowledge of her,
against her will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
(p. 6, Rollo.)
At his arraignment on November 8, 1995, accused-appellant entered a plea of not guilty, after which
trial ensued.
The prosecution's version of the generative facts, as gathered from the testimony of its witnesses Alejandra Tabada, mother of the victim; PO3 Celso Y. Tan Sanchez, the police officer who
investigated the case; Orlando Pioquinto, brother-in-law of the victim; Escelea Tabada, the 13-yearold victim; and Felicitas delos Santos Timorata, the medical record clerk who used to be the medical
officer under Dr. Rimberto Sanggalang, the physician who physically examined the victim after the
incident - is abstracted in the Appellee's Brief in this wise:
Escelea Tabada and appellant Rodegelio Turco were neighbors in lower Begang, Isabela, Basilan,
their houses being only about sixty (60) meters apart (p. 6 and p. 8, t.s.n.; August 19, 1996). Escelea
was then staying with her father, Alejandro and her deaf grandmother, Perseveranda (p. 9, id). She
was twelve (12) years and six (6) months old at the time of incident, having been born on December
3, 1982 (p. 3, id).
The nightmare of Escelea began in the evening of July 1995. At around seven o'clock (7:00 p.m.) in
the evening, Escelea, after (pp. 11-12, id) [sic]. She was accompanied by a certain Cory Macapili,
the granddaughter of her neighbor, Leonora Cabase (p. 13, id).
Cory left upon reaching Escelea's home. Escelea went upstairs to join her grandmother who was
already sleeping in the room. About to enter the said room, Escelea heard a call from outside. She
recognized the voice and when she asked who was it, the party introduced himself as the
appellant, viz:
Q. After you heard your named was mentioned, what did you say if any?
A. I answered: "Who is that?"
Q. Did the person calling your name answer you?
A. I heard, sir, "me Totong".
Q. When you say the person who called your name "Lea" was "Totong" you are referring to whom?

A. Rodegelio, sir.
(p. 15, id; Underscoring supplied)
She recognized appellant Turco immediately as she had known him for four (4) years and appellant
is her second cousin (p. 34, id). Unaware of the danger that was about to befall her, Escelea
forthwith opened the door. Appellant Turco, with the use of towel, covered Escelea's face. Appellant,
aside from covering the victim's mouth, even placed his right hand on the latter's neck.
Appellant bid Eseelea to walk. When they reached a grassy part, near the pig pen which was about
twelve (12) meters away from the victim's house, appellant lost no time in laying the victim on the
grass, laid on top of the victim and took off her shortpants and panty (pp. 17-19, id). Escelea tried to
resist by moving her body but to no avail. Appellant succeeded in pursuing his evil design-by forcibly
inserting his penis inside Escelea's private part. The victim felt terrible pain (p. 20, id). Still
dissatisfied, after consummating the act, appellant kissed and held the victim's breast. Thereafter,
appellant threatened her that he will kill her if she reports the incident to anybody, thus:
"He threatened me, that if you will reveal the incident to anybody I will kill you.
(p. 21, id; Underscoring supplied)
Finally, after having satisfied his lust, appellant hurriedly went home. Escelea, on the other hand,
upon reaching home, discovered that her shortpants and panty were filled with blood (p. 23, id). For
almost ten (10) days, she just kept to herself the harrowing experience until July 18, 1995 when she
was able to muster enough courage to tell her brother-in-law, Orlando Pioquinto, about the said
incident. Orlando in turn informed Alejandro, the victim's father, about the rape of his daughter.
Alejandro did not waste time and immediately asked Escelea to see a doctor for medical
examination (p. 27, id).
Escelea was accompanied by her sister Clairlyn Pioquinto to the Provincial Hospital. She was
examined by Dr. Rimberto Sanggalang. After the issuance of the medical certificate, they went to
Isabela Municipal Station and filed Escelea's complaint against appellant (pp. 30-33, id).
(pp. 97-100, Rollo.)
The defense presented Leonora Cabase, neighbor of accused-appellant; her granddaughter
Corazon Macapili, and accused-appellant himself. Accused-appellant denied the charge. The
defense that the victim and him were sweethearts was also advanced. Leonora Cabase mentioned
this in her direct testimony.
In reaching a moral certainty of guilt, the trial court held:
While the accused denies the charge of rape, his witness, Mrs. Leonora Cabase was trying to
project that the complainant Escelea Tabada and the accused Rodegelio Turco, Jr. are sweethearts.
In the case of People vs. Casil, 241 SCRA 285, the Supreme Court agrees with the trial court that
the "sweetheart story" was a mere concoction of appellant in order to exculpate himself from criminal
liability. The claim of voluntary love affair is an affirmative defense, the allegation of a love affair
needed proof. Nowhere in the record of the case that the same was substantiated, though
mentioned by Mrs. Leonora Cabase. The accused and/or his witnesses must present any token of
the alleged relationship like love notes, mementos or pictures and the like. Such bare allegation of
the defense, not to mention its utter lack of proof, is incredulous. It is hard to understand how such a

relationship could exculpate a person from the rape of a terrified young child barely a little over the
age of twelve (12) years old. Indeed, a love relationship, even if true, will not necessarily rule out
force (People vs. Sergio Betonio, G.R. No. 119165, September 26, 1997, Case Digests of Supreme
Court Decisions, Vol. 36, No. 3, September 1-29, 1997, pp. 695-697).
There are guiding principles in rape cases as cited in People vs. Victor Abrecinoz, G.R. No. 122474,
October 17, 1997, Case Digests of Supreme Court Decisions, Vol. 37, No. 1, October 2-31, 1997,
pp. 157-160, and they are: (1) an accusation for rape can be made with facility, it is difficult to prove
but more difficult for the person accused, though innocent, to disprove it; (2) in view of the intrinsic
nature of the crime of rape where two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant
must be scrutinized with extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall
on its own merit, and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the evidence for the
defense. Thus, the credibility of the complainant is a paramount importance, and if her testimony
proves credible, the accused may be convicted on the basis thereof.
It should be noted that the complainant and the accused are second degree cousin or they are sixth
civil degree relatives. The mother of the accused is a first degree cousin of the father of the
complainant. In the culture of the Filipino family on extended family, the relationship between the
complainant and the accused being only second degree cousin, it becomes the duty of an older
relative (the accused) to protect and care for a younger relative (the complainant). It is very hard to
understand or comprehend why a cousin files a case of rape against her cousin, unless it is true.
There is no showing that there was compelling motive why the case be filed against the accused,
except that the rape really happened.
xxx
xxx
xxx
It is noted that there was no underlying reason why the complainant and/or her father would bring an
action against the accused, except that the accused had raped Escelea Tabada on July 8, 1995, at
about 7:00 o'clock in the evening. If it were not true that she was raped by the accused, why would
she expose herself to an embarrassment and traumatic experience connected with the litigation of
this rape case. We are aware of the Filipino culture especially on virginity. We likened it as a mirror,
once dropped and broken, it can no longer be pieced together ... not ever. This is true among the
Filipino folks that the complainant belonged, poor and helpless and everything is entrusted to God.
The complainant is a young girl, a little over twelve (12) years old and almost illiterate, having
attended school up to Grade III only. So poor that her family cannot even buy the cheapest television
set and she has to go to a house of a neighbor for the meager joy of seeing a television show ... and
expose herself to the danger of the dark night. All said, it is very difficult to be poor. Going to the
court is a shout for help ... let us try to hear it.
xxx
xxx
xxx
WHEREFORE, under the above circumstances and evaluation, this court finds the accused
"GUILTY" of rape and sentences him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to indemnify the

complainant the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) for moral damages without
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.
xxx
xxx
xxx
(pp. 33-37, Rollo.)
In accused-appellant's brief, he assigns the following alleged errors:
I
THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN FINDING THE
ACCUSED GUILTY OF RAPE BASED ON THE TESTIMONIES OF THE COMPLAINANT
ESCELEA TABADA AND HER WITNESS.
II
THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN RULING THAT THE
PROSECUTION, BASED ON THE AFFIDAVITS AND ORAL TESTIMONIES OF THE
COMPLAINANT AND ITS WITNESSES WAS ABLE TO PROVED [sic] BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE ACCUSED COMMITTED THE CRIME OF RAPE
AGAINST THE COMPLAINANT.
III
THAT THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO SERIOUSLY ERRED IN SENTENCING THE
ACCUSED TO SUFFER THE PENALTY OF RECLUSION PERPETUA AND TO INDEMNIFY
THE COMPLAINANT THE AMOUNT OF P50,000.00 REPRESENTING MORAL DAMAGES
BASED ON THE EVIDENCES PRESENTED BY THE PROSECUTION.
(p. 101, Rollo.)
He particularly argues that his conviction is not supported by proof beyond reasonable doubt
considering that other than the written statement of the complainant before the Police Station of
Isabela and before the Clerk of Court of the Municipal Trial Court, and her testimony during direct
examination, no other evidence was presented to conclusively prove that there was ever rape at all;
that she only presumed that it was accused-appellant who attacked her since she admitted that
immediately upon opening the door, the perpetrator hastily covered her face with a towel; that
nothing in her testimony clearly and convincingly shows that she was able to identify accusedappellant as the perpetrator; that complainant implicated accused-appellant only because her father
forced her to do so; and lastly, that no actual proof was presented that the rape of the complainant
actually happened considering that although a medical certificate was presented, the medico-legal
officer who prepared the same was not presented in court to explain the same.
We agree with the trial court.

As aptly recalled by the trial court, there are three guiding principles in the review of rape cases, to
wit: (1) an accusation of rape can be made with facility; it is difficult to prove but more difficult for the
person accused, although innocent, to disprove; (2) in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape
where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the complainant is scrutinized with
extreme caution; and (3) the evidence for the prosecution stands or falls on its own merits and
cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the defense (People vs. Gallo, 284 SCRA
590 [1998]; People vs. Balmoria, 287 SCRA 687 [1998]; People vs. Auxtero,289 SCRA 75
[1998]; People vs. Sta. Ana, 291 SCRA 188 [1998]).
Accordingly, the primordial consideration in a determination concerning the crime of rape is the
credibility of complainant's testimony.
The trial court described complainant as "a young girl, a little over twelve (12) years old and almost
illiterate, having attended school up to Grade III only. So poor that her family cannot even buy the
cheapest television set and she has to go to a house of a neighbor for the meager joy of seeing a
television show ... and exposes herself to the danger of the dark night." But verily, age, youth, and
poverty are not guarantees of credibility. Hence, thorough scrutiny must be made by the Court.
Complainant narrated the incident in this wise:
Q While you went upstairs and about to enter the room of your grandmother, did you hear anything?
A Yes, sir.
Q What was that?
A I heard a call, sir.
Q How was the call made?
A It is just by saying: "Lea".
Q After you heard your name was mentioned, what did you say if any?
A I answered: "Who is that?"
Q Did the person calling your name answer you?
A I heard, sir, "me Totong".
Q When you say the person who called your name "Lea" was "Totong", you are referring to whom?
A Rodegelio, sir.
Q When you say "Rodegelio", you are referring to Rodegelio Turco, Jr., the accused in this case?
A Yes, sir.
Q After the person calling your name "Lea" identified himself as "Totong", what did you do?

A I opened the door, sir.


Q And when you opened the door, what happened next?
A Totong with the use of towel covered my face, sir.
Q Aside from covering your face with a towel, what else did he do?
A He covered my mouth, sir.
Q Aside from covering your mouth, what else did he do?
A He placed his right hand on my neck, sir.
Q Aside from placing his right hand ... when he placed his right hand on your neck, where was he?
Was he infront or behind?
A He was at my back, sir.
Q After placing his right hand on your neck behind you, what did "Totong" do next with that position?
A He covered my mouth, sir.
Q After covering your mouth and face, what did he do next?
A He told me to walk, sir.
Q Where did he bring you?
A I don't know exactly where he brought me, sir.
Q But you know very well that he brought you to a certain place?
A I don't know exactly the place where he brought me, sir.
Q Is it far from your house where you were forcibly taken?
A Yes, sir.
Q Do you have a copra kiln?
ATTY. G.V. DELA PENA III:
The witness already answered that she does not know where she was brought, leading, Your Honor.
COURT: (Questioning the witness)
Q According to you, from your house you were brought by the accused to a place which you do not
know?

A Yes, Your Honor.


Q What place?
A Pig pen, Your Honor.
Q Do you know the owner, of that pig pen?
A Our pig pen, Your Honor.
Q Who owned that pig pen?
A My father, Your Honor.
Q How far is that pig pen to your house?
A (From this witness stand to that road outside of this building).
COURT:
It is about 12 meters. Alright, continue.
PROSECUTOR M.L. GENERALAO: (Continuing)
Q You stated in answer to the question of the Honorable Court that you were brought to the pig pen
or the place where you were sexually abused, were you place inside or outside?
ATTY. G.V. DELA PENA III:
Leading, Your Honor.
PROSECUTOR M.L. GENERALAO:
I will withdraw.
Q Will you please explain to the Court what particular place of the pig pen that you were brought by
the accused?
A Inside the grasses, sir.
Q When you were already inside the grasses near this pig pen, what did the accused do to you?
A He put me down, sir.
Q When you were already down on the ground, what did the accused do next?
A He mounted on me, sir.
Q And when the accused was already on top of you, what did he do next?

A He molested me, sir.


Q Before he molested you, did he remove anything from your body?
A Yes, sir.
Q What?
A My shortpants and panty, sir.
Q You stated that the accused while on top of you removed your pants and panty, did he totally
remove it from your body?
A Yes, sir.
Q After removing your shortpants and panty, what else did the accused do?
A He abused me, sir.
Q You said that he abused you, how did he abuse your?
A He put his private part inside my private part, sir.
Q When the accused was on top of you and he forcibly abused you, what did you do?
A I tried to move my body, sir.
Q While you were trying to move your body and while the accused was on top of you, what did the
accused do?
A He tried to insert his private part to my private part, sir.
Q And was he able to insert his private part?
A Yes, sir.
Q What did you feel when his private part was already inside your private part?
A I felt pain, sir.
Q Will you please explain why you felt when the private part of the accused was already inside your
private part?
A I felt pain when he already finished, sir.
Q By the way, before July 8, 1995, were you had been raped? Will you please tell us whether you
have already experienced or you have already your menstruation at that time?
A No, sir.

Q Now you stated to the Honorable Court ... after the accused had sexually abused you and you
said you felt pains after he consumated the sexual act, after that what did he do next after
consumating the act?
A After consumating his desire, he raised my panty and shortpants then he kissed me and hold my
nipple, sir.
Q After the accused had raised your shortpants and panty, embraced you, kissed you and hold your
breast, did he tell you anything?
A He threatened me, "that if you will reveal the incident to anybody I will kill you."
Q In what dialect? In Chavacano, sir.
A After the accused embraced you, kissed you and hold your nipple and threatened you in
Chavacano dialect, what happened next after that?
No more, sir.
(tsn, Aug. 19, 1996, pp. 14-22.)
On cross-examination, the victim did display some apparent confusion when the defense counsel
asked her about the events that transpired before the ill-fated July 8, 1995. The query prompted her
to narrate the incident prior to said date when she also watched television at the home of Leonora
Cabase, and that when she arrived home, accused-appellant came and called her "Lea" and when
she asked who was it, he answered "so Totong". When she asked what he wanted, he said he
wanted to borrow a guitar. She said that she could not lend him the guitar since her father was not
yet around. He insisted but to no avail, and hence he just went home. She went to sleep afterwards.
On re-direct examination, she clarified that when accused-appellant came to borrow the guitar on
July 8, 1995, it was about 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon. Lastly, she said that the incident of the
borrowing of the guitar and the incident that transpired at 7 o'clock in the evening on July 8, 1995
were separate incidents.
Significantly, three things could be perceived: complainant's youth, her apparent confusion
concerning the events that transpired, and her fear of both accused-appellant and her father.
At the outset, it should be remembered that the declarations on the witness stand of rape victims
who are young and immature deserve full credence (People vs. Bernaldez, 294 SCRA 317 [1998]).
Succinctly, when the offended parties are young and immature girls from the ages of twelve to
sixteen, courts are inclined to lend credence to their version of what transpired, considering not only
their relative vulnerability but also the shame and embarrassment to which they would be exposed
by court trial if the matter about which they testified were not true(People vs. Clopino, 290 SCRA 432
[1998]). In addition, we take cognizance of the trial court's observation on the segment of the Filipino
society to which the victim belongs - almost illiterate, having attended school up to the third grade
only, and so poor that she had to go to a neighbor's house to watch television, yet one who values
her virginity which like a "mirror, once dropped and broken ... can no longer be pieced together ... not
ever," this being "true among the Filipino folks [to which] complainant belonged, poor and helpless
everything is entrusted to God" (p. 35, Rollo).
The victim's relatively low level of intelligence explains the lapses in her testimony, having
intermingled two incidents. Nonetheless, it can easily be gathered from the record that the defense

counsel may have contributed to this confusion when he asked the victim what transpired "before"
the incident (tsn, August 19, 1996, p. 37). Minor lapses in a witness' testimony should be expected
when a person recounts details of an experience so humiliating and so painful to recall as
rape (People vs. Gementiza, 285 SCRA 478 [1998]).Rape, as a harrowing experience, is usually not
remembered in detail. For, such an offense is not something which enhances one's life experience
as to be worth recalling or reliving but, rather, something which causes deep psychological wounds
and casts a stigma upon the victim for the rest of her life, which her conscious or subconscious mind
would prefer to forget (People vs. Garcia, 281 SCRA 463 [1997]). These lapses do not detract from
the overwhelming testimony of a prosecution witness positively identifying the malefactor (People
vs. Baccay, 284 SCRA 296 [1998]). Further, the testimony of a witness must be considered and
calibrated in its entirety and not by truncated portions thereof or isolated passages therein (People
vs. Natan, 193 SCRA 355 [1991]).
The Court finds that the victim had no motive to falsely testify against accused-appellant. Her
testimony deserves the credence accorded thereto by the trial court (People vs. Luzorata, 286 SCRA
487 [1998]). Pertinently, no woman, especially one of tender age, would concoct a story of
defloration, allow an examination of her private parts, and thereafter pervert herself by being
subjected to a public trial if she was not motivated solely by the desire to have the culprit
apprehended and punished (People vs. Taneo, 284 SCRA 251 [1998]).
Another point to consider is the blood relationship between accused-appellant and the victim. At this
juncture, we reiterate the trial court's observation thereon - the mother of accused-appellant being a
first degree cousin of the victim's father, that makes the victim and accused-appellant second degree
cousins or sixth civil degree relatives. Filipino culture, particularly in the provinces, looks at the
extended family as closely-knit and recognizes the obligation of an older relative to protect and take
care of a younger one. On the contrary, in the instant case, the victim initiated the prosecution of her
cousin. If the charge were not true, it is indeed difficult to understand why the victim would charge
her own cousin as the malefactor. Too, she having no compelling motive to file said case against
accused-appellant, the conclusion that the rape really happened is logically reinforced.
As regards the initial delay of the victim in reporting the rape incident, suffice it to state that the delay
and initial reluctance of a rape victim to make public the assault on her virtue is not
uncommon (People vs. Gallo, supra). In the case at bar, the victim's fear of her father who had moral
ascendancy over her, was explicit. She testified that she did not disclose the incident to her father
because of fear both of her father as well as of accused-appellant (tsn, August 19, 1996, pp. 23-24).
Such reaction is typical of a twelve-year-old girl and only strengthens her credibility.
The issue of credibility of the victim having been settled, there are a few points presented by the
defense that must be passed upon:
1. Other than their blood relationship, was there an intimate relationship between accused-appellant
and the victim? The theory initially advanced by the defense in the proceedings before the court a
quo is the "sweetheart theory". In this regard, .we agree with the trial court that the "sweetheart
story" was a mere concoction of accused-appellant in order to exculpate himself from criminal
liability. In People vs. Venerable (290 SCRA 15 [1998]), we held that the sweetheart theory of the
accused was unavailing and self-serving where he failed to introduce love letters, gifts, and the like
to attest to his alleged amorous affair with the victim. Hence, the defense cannot just present
testimonial evidence in support of the theory that he and the victim were sweethearts. Independent
proof is necessary, such as tokens, mementos, and photographs. It is likewise remarkable, a
confession possibly of the bankruptcy of this theory that accused-appellant has not insisted on this
defense in his brief, seemingly abandoning this line.

We, therefore, conclude that whatever familiarity and supposed closeness there was between
accused-appellant and the victim, is explained not by an intimate relationship but by their blood
relationship. Hence, it is noticeable that on the day of the incident, when accused-appellant called
upon the victim and the latter asked who he was, the victim knew right away that her caller was
accused-appellant when the latter replied "Si Totong".
Accused-appellant, in his direct testimony, tried to deny any blood relation with the victim Escelea
Tabada and touched on the apparent friendship between them, as follows:
Q You mentioned earlier that you know the complainant, why do you know the complainant Escelea
Tabada?
A I only know her when I was already in jail, sir.
Q You mean to say that you never knew the complainant before you were arrested?
A I do not know her, sir.
COURT: (Questioning the witness)
Q Why, are you not related to the Tabadas?
A No, Your Honor.
ATTY. G.V. DELA PENA III: (Continuing)
Q Have you ever seen the complainant in Begang?
A The complainant is at Begang, sir.
Q And you mentioned that you were not related with the complainant, Mr. Witness?
A Yes, sir, we are only close.
Q So, in other words, Mr. Witness, you and the complainant Escelea Tabada were already friends?
A Yes, sir.
(tsn, June 16, 1998, pp. 42-43.)
However, on cross-examination, he notably crumbled:
Q Now, you stated in your direct examination that you are not related to the Tabadas in San Antonio
Begang, Isabela, Basilan, is that right?
A Yes, sir, we are only close.
Q Is it not a fact Mr. Witness that your mother is the first cousin of the father of Escelea Tabada?
A They are cousins, sir.

Q So, indeed you are related to the Tabadas?


A Yes, sir.
Q So, when you said that you are not related to the Tabadas, you were not telling the truth?
A Yes, sir.
(ibid, p. 51.)
2. Accused-appellant argues that no actual proof was presented that the rape actually happened
since the medico-legal officer who prepared the medical certificate was not presented in court to
explain the same.
In People vs. Bernaldez (supra), the court a quo erred in giving weight to the medical certificate
issued by the examining physician despite the failure of the latter to testify. While the certificate could
be admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule since entries in official records (under Section 44,
Rule 130, Rules of Court) constitute exceptions to the hearsay evidence rule, since it involved an
opinion of one who must first be established as an expert witness, it could not be given weight or
credit unless the doctor who issued it is presented in court to show his qualifications. We place
emphasis on the distinction between admissibility of evidence and the probative value thereof.
Evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law or the rules
(Section 3, Rule 128, Rules of Court) or is competent. Since admissibility of evidence is determined
by its relevance and competence, admissibility is, therefore, an affair of logic and law. On the other
hand, the weight to be given to such evidence, once admitted, depends on judicial evaluation within
the guidelines provided in Rule 133 and the jurisprudence laid down by the Court. Thus, while
evidence may be admissible, it may be entitled to little or no weight at all. Conversely, evidence
which may have evidentiary weight may be inadmissible because a special rule forbids its
reception (Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, Vol. II, 1998 ed., p. 550).
Withal, although the medical certificate is an exception to the hearsay rule, hence admissible as
evidence, it has very little probative value due to the absence of the examining physician.
Nevertheless, it cannot be said that the prosecution relied solely on the medical certificate (stating
that there was "[h]ymen rupture, secondary to penile insertion" as well as "foul-smelling discharges."
The diagnosis was "[r]uptured hymen secondary to rape" [p. 68, Record]). In fact, reliance was made
on the testimony of the victim herself which, standing alone even without medical examination, is
sufficient to convict (People vs. Topaguen, 369 SCRA 601 [1997]). It is well-settled that a medical
examination is not indispensable in the prosecution of rape (People vs. Lacaba, G.R. No. 130591,
November 17, 1999; People vs. Salazar, 258 SCRA 55 [1996]; People vs. Venerable, supra). The
absence of medical findings by a medico-legal officer does not disprove the occurrence of
rape (People vs. Taneo, supra). It is enough that the evidence on hand convinces the court that
conviction is proper (People vs. Auxtero, supra). In the instant case, the victim's testimony alone is
credible and sufficient to convict.
As a final observation, it must be said that the amount awarded by the trial court in favor of Escelea
Tabada as indemnification (P50,000.00 for moral damages) for the rape is incomplete based on
established jurisprudence and must be modified. In People vs. Betonio (279 SCRA 532 [1977]), we
held that the award of P50,000.00 to the victim as indemnity for rape not committed or qualified by
any of the circumstances under the Death Penalty Law, needs no proof other than the conviction of
the accused for the raped proved. This is different from the P50,000.00 awarded as moral damages
which also needs no pleading or proof as basis thereof (People vs. Prades, 293 SCRA 411 [1998]).

WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that accusedappellant Rodegelio Turco, Jr. aka "Totong" is ordered to indemnify the offended party, Escelea
Tabada, in the amount of Fifty Thousand (P50,000.00) Pesos in addition to the sum of P50,000.00
already awarded by the trial court as moral damages.
SO ORDERED.

Bautista vs. Aparece


51 O.G. 805 (1995)

Relevance
FACTS:
As owner of the lot subject of the case, Nicolas Anasco sold the same to
Valentin Justiniani. In the same year, Valentin sold this property to Claudio
Justiniani, In October 12, 1935, Claudio Justiniani executed a public instrument
whereby he sold the same property for P100 to Apolonio Aparece in whose name it
was assessed since 1935. While Aparece was in possession, Hermogenes Bautista
illegally entered a part of the land and took possession thereof. Thus, Aparece file
a complaint with the guerilla forces then operating in the province of Bohol. When
the case was called for hearing, and after inspection was made by a guerilla officer,
Bautista executed a public instrument wherein he promised to return the land to
Aparece in good will, and recognized Apareces lawful ownership over the land.
Thus, possession of the land was restored to Aparece.
However, claiming that the property belongs to him, and alleging that with
the aid of armed men and pretending to be owner, usurped the land, Bautista filed
a complaint in the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Bohol. The CFI rendered
judgment declaring Aparece as owner of the land.
On appeal, Bautista raised as defense the error of the trial court in admitting
the public instrument which he executed as evidence.
He argued that the
document was executed under duress, violence, and intimidation, and that the
guerilla officer before whom it was executed, had no jurisdiction over the matter.

ISSUE(S):
Whether or not the trial court erred in admitting as evidence, a public
document executed before an officer who had no jurisdiction over the matter.

RULING:
This argument is beside the point.
The test for the admissibility or
inadmissibility of a certain document is whether or not it is relevant, material or
competent. The public document is not only relevant, but is also material and
competent to the issue of ownership between the parties litigants. Relevant
evidence is one that has any value in reason as tending to prove any matter
probable in ac action. And evidence is said to be material when it is directed to
prove a fact in issue as determined by the rules of substantive law and pleadings,
while competent evidence is one that s not excluded by law in a particular case.
With these criteria in mind, we hold that the mere fact that the public
document was executed before a guerilla officer does not make the same as
irrelevant, immaterial or incompetent to the main issue raised in the pleadings.
The public document, considered together with the other evidence, documentary
and oral, satisfies the Court that the portions of land in question really belong to
defendant Aparece.

STATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. William Arthur BALL, Appellant.


No. 47575.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
November 14, 1960.
Dewey S. Godfrey, St. Louis, for appellant.
*784 John M. Dalton, Atty. Gen., Richard R. Nacy, Jr., Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for
respondent.
BARRETT, Commissioner.
A jury has found William Arthur Ball guilty of robbery in the first degree; the jury also
found prior felony convictions and, therefore, a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment
was imposed. V.A.M.S. 560.120, 560.135, 556.280.
The facts, briefly, as the jury could find them were that about 2:30 in the afternoon of
October 15, 1958, two colored men, one of them tall and the other short, entered the
Krekeler Jewelry Store at 1651 South 39th Street. The taller man spent ten or fifteen

minutes selecting and buying a cigarette lighter, he also talked about buying and looked
at watches and rings. As the taller man looked at jewelry and made his purchase the
shorter man looked in the cases and moved about in the store. Later in the day, about
5:50, as John Krekeler was placing rings and watches in the safe preparatory to closing
the store two men entered, one of them tall and the other short, and Krekeler
immediately recognized them as the two men who had been in the store at 2:30,
especially the taller man. He recognized the taller man's narrow-brimmed, tall hat,
brown jacket, gray stirt and particularly a scar on his face. The shorter man started to
walk behind the counter and as Krekeler intercepted him he "drew a long barreled blue .
38 and stuck it in my face." Both men followed Krekeler, the shorter man with the gun in
"his back," directing him to the watch repair department and finally into the rest room in
the rear of the store. He was told not to turn around and stood facing the wall. He could
hear jewelry being dumped into a bag and the "jingle" of the cash register. The two men
left Krekeler in the rest room and after hearing the door slam he called the police. The
two men had taken watches and rings of the stipulated value of $4,455.21 and $140 in
cash from the register. Krekeler identified the appellant from pictures, and three weeks
later, after his capture, in a hospital and upon the trial positively identified him as the
taller of the two holdup men.
In his motion for a new trial one of the claims is that there was no direct evidence of an
injury or any evidence to show that Krekeler was put "in fear of some immediate injury to
his person," one of the essential elements of robbery in the first degree. V.A.M.S.
560.120. Krekeler did not affirmatively testify that he was in fear but he could well
apprehend injury if he did not comply with their requests and in the circumstances the
jury could reasonably find "the fear" contemplated in the statute. 77 C.J.S. Robbery
16, p. 459; State v. Thompson, Mo., 299 S.W.2d 468, 474. The element of fear being a
reasonable inference from the evidence, the facts and circumstances support and
warrant the finding of robbery in the first degree. State v. Eckenfels, Mo., 316 S.W.2d
532.
Another of the appellant's sufficiently preserved claims in his motion for a new trial
(V.A.M.S. 547.030; Supreme Court Rule 27.20, V.A.M.R.) has to do with his arrest and
the testimony of the two arresting officers. On November 4, 1958, about three weeks
after the robbery, police officers in a squad car saw Ball walking on Easton Avenue. The
officers stopped him, told him that they were officers and that he was under arrest. As
officer Powell faced and searched Ball officer Ballard "holstered" his gun and attempted

"to cuff" him. Ball shoved Powell over and ran down Easton Avenue, the officers ran
after him, Powell being closest. Powell yelled, "Halt Ball, you're under arrest," and fired
one shot high in the air but Ball continued running and Powell fired four more shots, two
at his legs, one at his buttocks, and he finally fell from a bullet in his back. It is claimed
that this evidence was not material or relevant, that it was too remote from the date of
the robbery to indicate a consciousness of guilt and since it was of course prejuducial
*785 that he is entitled to a new trial. But unexplained flight and resisting arrest even
thirty days after the supposed commission of a crime is a relevant circumstance (State
v. Duncan, 336 Mo. 600, 611, 80 S.W.2d 147, 153), the remoteness of the flight goes to
the weight of the evidence rather than to its admissibility. 20 Am.Jur., Sec. 293, p. 274.
When Ball was finally subdued and arrested the officers took from his person and
impounded a brown felt hat, "a brownish" windbreaker type jacket, trousers, gray shirt
and shoesthese were exhibits one and two, Ball admitted that they belonged to him
although his evidence tended to show that he had purchased the jacket after October
15. In identifying Ball, in addition to the scar on his face, Krekeler was impressed with
and remembered the brown ensemble, particularly the "tall brown hat." These items
were of course relevant and admissible in evidence and there is no objection to them.
State v. Johnson, Mo., 286 S.W.2d 787, 792. The appellant objects, however, in his
motion for a new trial that a police officer was permitted to testify that $258.02 in
currency and two pennies were taken from his person. It is said that the introduction of
these exhibits was "immaterial and irrelevant, neither tended to prove nor disprove any
of the issues involved in this case; that said money as seized at the time of the arrest
was neither identified by Mr. Krekeler nor by any other person as the money which was
allegedly stolen from the A. L. Krekeler & Sons Jewelry Company on the 15th day of
October, 1958; that said evidence was considered by this jury to the prejudice of this
defendant convincingly."
The circumstances in which this evidence was introduced were these: After the clothes
were identified and introduced as exhibits one and two the prosecuting attorney inquired
of officer Powell, "Did you also seize his personal effects?" Defense counsel
immediately objected to any testimony relating to personal effects found on the
defendant "at the time." The court overruled the objection and state's counsel inquired,
"Well Officer, what personal effects were seized?" Defense counsel, evidently knowing
and anticipating, objected "to any testimony relevant (sic) to any personal effects seized
upon this Defendant at the time he was arrested by reason of the fact it is immaterial

and irrelevant and tends to neither prove nor disprove any facts involved and ask that
the jury be discharged and a mistrial be declared." The court overruled the objection
and the officer said, "Ball's personal effects consisted of two hundred and fifty eight
dollars and two cents in cash, with the denominations of the bill(s), two one hundred
dollar bills, a twentytwo twenties, a ten, a five, three ones and two pennies. He had a
ladies ring and a man's wristwatch. He had a crusifixion along with a small pen knife
and a black leather wallet. Maybe one or two other personal articles." All of these items
were then marked as exhibits, from three to nine, offered in evidence and described by
the officer, exhibit three being the bills and pennies comprising the $258.02. According
to the officer Mr. Krekeler was unable to identify any of these articles or the money as
having come from the jewelry store robbery and there is no objection in the motion to
any of the items other than the money and some of them were obviously not prejudicial,
for example the keys, a small penknife and wallet.
Unlike the roll of dimes in State v. Hampton, Mo., 275 S.W.2d 356, the testimony as to
the $258.02 was not offered in proof of the substantive fact of the crime. In that case the
five-dollar roll of dimes wrapped in a roll of green paper was found on the defendant the
same day of the burglary and while the fact was a circumstance admissible in evidence
it was held to not constitute substantive evidence inconsistent with the hypothesis of the
defendant's innocence of burglary. In State v. Gerberding, Mo., 272 S.W.2d 230, there
was no timely or proper objection to the proof but $4,000 was taken in a robbery and
*786 the appellant had $920 in currency in his topcoat pocket when captured the day of
the robbery. The proof of the money here was evidently on the theory that Ball did not
have or was not likely to have such a sum of money on his person prior to the
commission of the offense. 1 Wharton, Criminal Evidence, Sec. 204, p. 410. As to this
the facts were that he had been out of the penitentiary about eight months and the
inference the state would draw is that he had no visible means of support and no
employment and could not possibly have $258.02 except from robberies. Of course,
there was no such proof and Ball claimed that he had worked intermittently for a
custodian or janitor of an apartment house and that he had won the $258.02 in a series
of crap games at a named place. Not only was Krekeler unable to identify the money or
any of the items on Ball's person as having come from the jewelry store so that in fact
they were not admissible in evidence (annotation 3 A.L.R. 1213), the charge here was
that Ball and his accomplice took jewelry of the value of $4,455.21 and $140 in cash
from the cash register. There was no proof as to the denomination of the money in the
cash register, it was simply a total of $140. Here nineteen days had elapsed, there was

no proof that Ball had suddenly come into possession of the $258.02 (annotation 123
A.L.R. 119) and in all these circumstances "The mere possession of a quantity of
money is in itself no indication that the possessor was the taker of money charged as
taken, because in general all money of the same denomination and material is alike,
and the hypothesis that the money found is the same as the money taken is too forced
and extraordinary to be receivable." 1 Wigmore, Evidence, Sec. 154, p. 601. In the
absence of proof or of a fair inference from the record that the money in Ball's
possession at the time of his arrest came from or had some connection with the robbery
and in the absence of a plain showing of his impecuniousness before the robbery and
his sudden affluence (State v. Garrett, 285 Mo. 279, 226 S.W. 4), the evidence was not
in fact relevant and in the circumstances was obviously prejudicial for if it did not tend to
prove the offense for which the appellant was on trial the jury may have inferred that he
was guilty of another robbery. State v. Bray, Mo. App., 278 S.W.2d 49; People v.
Orloff, 65 Cal. App. 2d 614, 620-621, 151 P.2d 288; annotation 123 A.L.R. loc. cit. 132134 and compare the facts and circumstances in State v. Garrett, supra. The admission
of the evidence in the circumstances of this record infringed the right to a fair trial and
for that reason the judgment is reversed and the cause remanded.
PER CURIAM.

G.R. No. L-69809 October 16, 1986


EDGARDO A. GAANAN, petitioner,
vs.
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:


This petition for certiorari asks for an interpretation of Republic Act (RA) No. 4200, otherwise known
as the Anti-Wiretapping Act, on the issue of whether or not an extension telephone is among the
prohibited devices in Section 1 of the Act, such that its use to overhear a private conversation would
constitute unlawful interception of communications between the two parties using a telephone line.
The facts presented by the People and narrated in the respondent court's decision are not disputed
by the petitioner.

In the morning of October 22, 1975, complainant Atty. Tito Pintor and his client
Manuel Montebon were in the living room of complainant's residence discussing the
terms for the withdrawal of the complaint for direct assault which they filed with the
Office of the City Fiscal of Cebu against Leonardo Laconico. After they had decided
on the proposed conditions, complainant made a telephone call to Laconico (tsn,
August 26, 1981, pp. 3-5).
That same morning, Laconico telephoned appellant, who is a lawyer, to come to his
office and advise him on the settlement of the direct assault case because his regular
lawyer, Atty. Leon Gonzaga, went on a business trip. According to the request,
appellant went to the office of Laconico where he was briefed about the problem.
(Exhibit 'D', tsn, April 22, 1982, pp. 4-5).
When complainant called up, Laconico requested appellant to secretly listen to the
telephone conversation through a telephone extension so as to hear personally the
proposed conditions for the settlement. Appellant heard complainant enumerate the
following conditions for withdrawal of the complaint for direct assault.
(a) the P5,000.00 was no longer acceptable, and that the figure had been increased
to P8,000.00. A breakdown of the P8,000.00 had been made together with other
demands, to wit: (a) P5,000.00 no longer for the teacher Manuel Montebon, but for
Atty. Pintor himself in persuading his client to withdraw the case for Direct Assault
against Atty. Laconico before the Cebu City Fiscal's Office;
(b) Public apology to be made by Atty. Laconico before the students of Don Bosco
Technical High School;
(c) Pl,000.00 to be given to the Don Bosco Faculty club;
(d) transfer of son of Atty. Laconico to another school or another section of Don
Bosco Technical High School;
(e) Affidavit of desistance by Atty. Laconico on the Maltreatment case earlier filed
against Manuel Montebon at the Cebu City Fiscal's Office, whereas Montebon's
affidavit of desistance on the Direct Assault Case against Atty. Laconico to be filed
later;
(f) Allow Manuel Montebon to continue teaching at the Don Bosco Technical School;
(g) Not to divulge the truth about the settlement of the Direct Assault Case to the
mass media;
(h) P2,000.00 attorney s fees for Atty. Pintor. (tsn, August 26, 1981, pp. 47-48).
Twenty minutes later, complainant called up again to ask Laconico if he was
agreeable to the conditions. Laconico answered 'Yes'. Complainant then told
Laconico to wait for instructions on where to deliver the money. (tsn, March 10, 1983,
pp. 2-12).
Complainant called up again and instructed Laconico to give the money to his wife at
the office of the then Department of Public Highways. Laconico who earlier alerted

his friend Colonel Zulueta of the Criminal Investigation Service of the Philippine
Constabulary, insisted that complainant himself should receive the money. (tsn,
March 10, 1982, pp. 26-33). When he received the money at the Igloo Restaurant,
complainant was arrested by agents of the Philippine Constabulary.
Appellant executed on the following day an affidavit stating that he heard
complainant demand P8,000.00 for the withdrawal of the case for direct assault.
Laconico attached the affidavit of appellant to the complainant for robbery/extortion
which he filed against complainant. Since appellant listened to the telephone
conversation without complainant's consent, complainant charged appellant and
Laconico with violation of the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
After trial on the merits, the lower court, in a decision dated November 22, 1982, found both Gaanan
and Laconico guilty of violating Section 1 of Republic Act No. 4200. The two were each sentenced to
one (1) year imprisonment with costs. Not satisfied with the decision, the petitioner appealed to the
appellate court.
On August 16, 1984, the Intermediate Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the trial court, holding
that the communication between the complainant and accused Laconico was private in nature and,
therefore, covered by Rep. Act No. 4200; that the petitioner overheard such communication without
the knowledge and consent of the complainant; and that the extension telephone which was used by
the petitioner to overhear the telephone conversation between complainant and Laconico is covered
in the term "device' as provided in Rep. Act No. 4200.
In this petition for certiorari, the petitioner assails the decision of the appellate court and raises the
following issues; (a) whether or not the telephone conversation between the complainant and
accused Laconico was private in nature; (b) whether or not an extension telephone is covered by the
term "device or arrangement" under Rep. Act No. 4200; (c) whether or not the petitioner had
authority to listen or overhear said telephone conversation and (d) whether or not Rep. Act No. 4200
is ambiguous and, therefore, should be construed in favor of the petitioner.
Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 4200 provides:
Section 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:
It shall be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts
penalized in the next preceeding sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record,
wire record, disc record, or any other such record, or copies thereof, of any
communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective date of
this Act in the manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other
person or persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either verbally or in
writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, to any other
person: Provided, that the use of such record or any copies thereof as evidence in
any civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in Section 3 hereof,
shall not be covered by this prohibition.
We rule for the petitioner.

We are confronted in this case with the interpretation of a penal statute and not a rule of evidence.
The issue is not the admissibility of evidence secured over an extension line of a telephone by a
third party. The issue is whether or not the person called over the telephone and his lawyer listening
to the conversation on an extension line should both face prison sentences simply because the
extension was used to enable them to both listen to an alleged attempt at extortion.
There is no question that the telephone conversation between complainant Atty. Pintor and accused
Atty. Laconico was "private" in the sense that the words uttered were made between one person and
another as distinguished from words between a speaker and a public. It is also undisputed that only
one of the parties gave the petitioner the authority to listen to and overhear the caller's message with
the use of an extension telephone line. Obviously, complainant Pintor, a member of the Philippine
bar, would not have discussed the alleged demand for an P8,000.00 consideration in order to have
his client withdraw a direct assault charge against Atty. Laconico filed with the Cebu City Fiscal's
Office if he knew that another lawyer was also listening. We have to consider, however, that
affirmance of the criminal conviction would, in effect, mean that a caller by merely using a telephone
line can force the listener to secrecy no matter how obscene, criminal, or annoying the call may be. It
would be the word of the caller against the listener's.
Because of technical problems caused by the sensitive nature of electronic equipment and the extra
heavy loads which telephone cables are made to carry in certain areas, telephone users often
encounter what are called "crossed lines". An unwary citizzen who happens to pick up his telephone
and who overhears the details of a crime might hesitate to inform police authorities if he knows that
he could be accused under Rep. Act 4200 of using his own telephone to secretly overhear the
private communications of the would be criminals. Surely the law was never intended for such
mischievous results.
The main issue in the resolution of this petition, however, revolves around the meaning of the phrase
"any other device or arrangement." Is an extension of a telephone unit such a device or arrangement
as would subject the user to imprisonment ranging from six months to six years with the accessory
penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification for a public officer or deportation for an alien? Private
secretaries with extension lines to their bosses' telephones are sometimes asked to use answering
or recording devices to record business conversations between a boss and another businessman.
Would transcribing a recorded message for the use of the boss be a proscribed offense? or for that
matter, would a "party line" be a device or arrangement under the law?
The petitioner contends that telephones or extension telephones are not included in the enumeration
of "commonly known" listening or recording devices, nor do they belong to the same class of
enumerated electronic devices contemplated by law. He maintains that in 1964, when Senate Bill
No. 9 (later Rep. Act No. 4200) was being considered in the Senate, telephones and extension
telephones were already widely used instruments, probably the most popularly known
communication device.
Whether or not listening over a telephone party line would be punishable was discussed on the floor
of the Senate. Yet, when the bill was finalized into a statute, no mention was made of telephones in
the enumeration of devices "commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph, detectaphone or
walkie talkie or tape recorder or however otherwise described." The omission was not a mere
oversight. Telephone party lines were intentionally deleted from the provisions of the Act.
The respondent People argue that an extension telephone is embraced and covered by the term
"device" within the context of the aforementioned law because it is not a part or portion of a complete
set of a telephone apparatus. It is a separate device and distinct set of a movable apparatus
consisting of a wire and a set of telephone receiver not forming part of a main telephone set which

can be detached or removed and can be transferred away from one place to another and to be
plugged or attached to a main telephone line to get the desired communication corning from the
other party or end.
The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use of a "device or arrangement" for the purpose of
secretly overhearing, intercepting, or recording the communication. There must be either a physical
interruption through a wiretap or the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement in order to
overhear, intercept, or record the spoken words.
An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same category as a dictaphone, dictagraph or the
other devices enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. 4200 as the use thereof cannot be considered as
"tapping" the wire or cable of a telephone line. The telephone extension in this case was not installed
for that purpose. It just happened to be there for ordinary office use. It is a rule in statutory
construction that in order to determine the true intent of the legislature, the particular clauses and
phrases of the statute should not be taken as detached and isolated expressions, but the whole and
every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts. (see Commissioner of
Customs v. Esso Estandard Eastern, Inc., 66 SCRA 113,120).
In the case of Empire Insurance Com any v. Rufino (90 SCRA 437, 443-444), we ruled:
Likewise, Article 1372 of the Civil Code stipulates that 'however general the terms of
a contract may be, they shall not be understood to comprehend things that are
distinct and cases that are different from those upon which the parties intended to
agree.' Similarly, Article 1374 of the same Code provides that 'the various stipulations
of a contract shall be interpreted together, attributing to the doubtful ones that sense
which may result from all of them taken jointly.
xxx xxx xxx
Consequently, the phrase 'all liabilities or obligations of the decedent' used in
paragraph 5(c) and 7(d) should be then restricted only to those listed in the Inventory
and should not be construed as to comprehend all other obligations of the decedent.
The rule that 'particularization followed by a general expression will ordinarily be
restricted to the former' is based on the fact in human experience that usually the
minds of parties are addressed specially to the particularization, and that the
generalities, though broad enough to comprehend other fields if they stood alone, are
used in contemplation of that upon which the minds of the parties are centered.
(Hoffman v. Eastern Wisconsin R., etc., Co., 134 Wis. 603, 607, 115 NW 383, cited in
Francisco, Revised Rules of Court (Evidence), 1973 ed, pp. 180-181).
Hence, the phrase "device or arrangement" in Section 1 of RA No. 4200, although not exclusive to
that enumerated therein, should be construed to comprehend instruments of the same or similar
nature, that is, instruments the use of which would be tantamount to tapping the main line of a
telephone. It refers to instruments whose installation or presence cannot be presumed by the party
or parties being overheard because, by their very nature, they are not of common usage and their
purpose is precisely for tapping, intercepting or recording a telephone conversation.
An extension telephone is an instrument which is very common especially now when the extended
unit does not have to be connected by wire to the main telephone but can be moved from place ' to
place within a radius of a kilometer or more. A person should safely presume that the party he is
calling at the other end of the line probably has an extension telephone and he runs the risk of a

third party listening as in the case of a party line or a telephone unit which shares its line with
another. As was held in the case of Rathbun v. United States (355, U.S. 107, 2 L Ed 2d 137-138):
Common experience tells us that a call to a particular telephone number may cause
the bell to ring in more than one ordinarily used instrument. Each party to a
telephone conversation takes the risk that the other party may have an extension
telephone and may allow another to overhear the conversation. When such takes
place there has been no violation of any privacy of which the parties may complain.
Consequently, one element of 605, interception, has not occurred.
In the same case, the Court further ruled that the conduct of the party would differ in no way if
instead of repeating the message he held out his hand-set so that another could hear out of it and
that there is no distinction between that sort of action and permitting an outsider to use an extension
telephone for the same purpose.
Furthermore, it is a general rule that penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the
accused. Thus, in case of doubt as in the case at bar, on whether or not an extension telephone is
included in the phrase "device or arrangement", the penal statute must be construed as not including
an extension telephone. In the case of People v. Purisima, 86 SCRA 542, 562, we explained the
rationale behind the rule:
American jurisprudence sets down the reason for this rule to be the tenderness of the
law of the rights of individuals; the object is to establish a certain rule by conformity to
which mankind would be safe, and the discretion of the court limited. (United States
v. Harris, 177 US 305, 44 L Ed 780, 20 S Ct 609; Braffith v. Virgin Islands (CA3) 26
F2d 646; Caudill v. State, 224 Ind 531, 69 NE2d; Jennings v. Commonwealth, 109 VA
821,63 SE 1080, all cited in 73 Am Jur 2d 452). The purpose is not to enable a guilty
person to escape punishment through a technicality but to provide a precise
definition of forbidden acts." (State v. Zazzaro, 20 A 2d 737, quoted in Martin's
Handbook on Statutory Construction, Rev. Ed. pp. 183-184).
In the same case of Purisima, we also ruled that on the construction or interpretation of a legislative
measure, the primary rule is to search for and determine the intent and spirit of the law. A perusal of
the Senate Congressional Records will show that not only did our lawmakers not contemplate the
inclusion of an extension telephone as a prohibited device or arrangement" but of greater
importance, they were more concerned with penalizing the act of recording than the act of merely
listening to a telephone conversation.
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Taada. Another possible objection to that is entrapment
which is certainly objectionable. It is made possible by special
amendment which Your Honor may introduce.
Senator Diokno.Your Honor, I would feel that entrapment would be
less possible with the amendment than without it, because with the
amendment the evidence of entrapment would only consist of
government testimony as against the testimony of the defendant.
With this amendment, they would have the right, and the government
officials and the person in fact would have the right to tape record
their conversation.

Senator Taada. In case of entrapment, it would be the government.


Senator Diokno. In the same way, under this provision, neither party
could record and, therefore, the court would be limited to saying:
"Okay, who is more credible, the police officers or the defendant?" In
these cases, as experienced lawyers, we know that the Court go with
the peace offices.
(Congressional Record, Vol. 111, No. 33, p. 628, March 12, 1964).
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Diokno. The point I have in mind is that under these
conditions, with an agent outside listening in, he could falsify the
testimony and there is no way of checking it. But if you allow him to
record or make a recording in any form of what is happening, then
the chances of falsifying the evidence is not very much.
Senator Taada. Your Honor, this bill is not intended to prevent the
presentation of false testimony. If we could devise a way by which we
could prevent the presentation of false testimony, it would be
wonderful. But what this bill intends to prohibit is the use of tape
record and other electronic devices to intercept private conversations
which later on will be used in court.
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, March 12, 1964, p. 629).
It can be readily seen that our lawmakers intended to discourage, through punishment, persons such
as government authorities or representatives of organized groups from installing devices in order to
gather evidence for use in court or to intimidate, blackmail or gain some unwarranted advantage
over the telephone users. Consequently, the mere act of listening, in order to be punishable must
strictly be with the use of the enumerated devices in RA No. 4200 or others of similar nature. We are
of the view that an extension telephone is not among such devices or arrangements.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court
dated August 16, 1984 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the
crime of violation of Rep. Act No. 4200, otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 110662 August 4, 1994


TERESITA SALCEDO-ORTANEZ, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ROMEO F. ZAMORA, Presiding Judge, Br. 94, Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City and RAFAEL S. ORTANEZ, respondents.
Oscar A. Inocentes & Associates Law Office for petitioner.

Efren A. Santos for private respondent.

PADILLA, J.:
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court which seeks to reverse the
decision * of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No. 28545 entitled "Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez versus Hon. Romeo F. Zamora,
Presiding Judge, Br. 94, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and Rafael S. Ortanez".

The relevant facts of the case are as follows:


On 2 May 1990, private respondent Rafael S. Ortanez filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon
City a complaint for annulment of marriage with damages against petitioner Teresita SalcedoOrtanez, on grounds of lack of marriage license and/or psychological incapacity of the petitioner. The
complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-90-5360 and raffled to Branch 94, RTC of Quezon City
presided over by respondent Judge Romeo F. Zamora.
Private respondent, after presenting his evidence, orally formally offered in evidence Exhibits "A" to
"M".
Among the exhibits offered by private respondent were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged telephone
conversations between petitioner and unidentified persons.
Petitioner submitted her Objection/Comment to private respondent's oral offer of evidence on 9 June
1992; on the same day, the trial court admitted all of private respondent's offered evidence.
A motion for reconsideration from petitioner was denied on 23 June 1992.
A petition for certiorari was then filed by petitioner in the Court of Appeals assailing the admission in
evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes.
On 10 June 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered judgment which is the subject of the present
petition, which in part reads:
It is much too obvious that the petition will have to fail, for two basic reasons:
(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.
(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.Otherwise, we will have the sorry spectacle of a case being subject of a
counterproductive "ping-pong" to and from the appellate court as often as a trial court

is perceived to have made an error in any of its rulings with respect to evidentiary
matters in the course of trial. This we cannot sanction.
WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari being devoid of merit, is hereby
DISMISSED. 1
From this adverse judgment, petitioner filed the present petition for review, stating:
Grounds for Allowance of the Petition
10. The decision of respondent [Court of Appeals] has no basis in law nor previous
decision of the Supreme Court.
10.1 In affirming the questioned order of respondent judge, the Court
of Appeals has decided a question of substance not theretofore
determined by the Supreme Court as the question of admissibility in
evidence of tape recordings has not, thus far, been addressed and
decided squarely by the Supreme Court.
11. In affirming the questioned order of respondent judge, the Court of Appeals has
likewise rendered a decision in a way not in accord with law and with applicable
decisions of the Supreme Court.
11.1 Although the questioned order is interlocutory in nature, the
same can still be [the] subject of a petition for certiorari. 2
The main issue to be resolved is whether or not the remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court was properly availed of by the petitioner in the Court of Appeals.
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. 3
In the present case, the trial court issued the assailed order admitting all of the evidence offered by
private respondent, including tape recordings of telephone conversations of petitioner with
unidentified persons. These tape recordings were made and obtained when private respondent
allowed his friends from the military to wire tap his home telephone. 4
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. The relevant provisions of Rep. Act No. 4200 are as follows:
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 walkietalkie 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.
Clearly, respondents trial court and Court of Appeals failed to consider the afore-quoted provisions of
the law in admitting in evidence the cassette tapes in question. 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.
Additionally, it should be mentioned that the above-mentioned Republic Act in Section 2 thereof
imposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6) months and up to six (6) years for
violation of said Act. 5
We need not address the other arguments raised by the parties, involving the applicability of
American jurisprudence, having arrived at the conclusion that the subject cassette tapes are
inadmissible in evidence under Philippine law.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. SP No. 28545 is hereby SET
ASIDE. The subject cassette tapes are declared inadmissible in evidence.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995


SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents.

KAPUNAN, J.:
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro D. Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court of
Quezon City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's
office, allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a "hostile and furious mood" and in a manner
offensive to petitioner's dignity and personality," contrary to morals, good customs and public
policy." 1
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a verbatim transcript of the event and sought moral
damages, attorney's fees and other expenses of litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition
to costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial court's discretion. The transcript on which
the civil case was based was culled from a tape recording of the confrontation made by
petitioner. 2 The transcript reads as follows:

Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez (Chuchi) Good Afternoon M'am.


Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo,
nakalimot ka na kung paano ka napunta rito, porke member ka na,
magsumbong ka kung ano ang gagawin ko sa 'yo.
CHUCHI Kasi, naka duty ako noon.
ESG Tapos iniwan no. (Sic)
CHUCHI Hindi m'am, pero ilan beses na nila akong binalikan,
sabing ganoon
ESG Ito and (sic) masasabi ko sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag explain
ka, kasi hanggang 10:00 p.m., kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok.
Ngayon ako ang babalik sa 'yo, nag-aaply ka sa States, nag-aaply ka
sa review mo, kung kakailanganin ang certification mo, kalimutan mo
na kasi hindi ka sa akin makakahingi.
CHUCHI Hindi M'am. Kasi ang ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko
up to 10:00 p.m.
ESG Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo na kung paano ka pumasok dito
sa hotel. Magsumbong ka sa Union kung gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo
na kung paano ka nakapasok dito "Do you think that on your own
makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. Panunumbyoyan na kita
(Sinusumbatan na kita).
CHUCHI Itutuloy ko na M'am sana ang duty ko.
ESG Kaso ilang beses na akong binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic)
ko.
ESG Nakalimutan mo na ba kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel,
kung on your own merit alam ko naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" mo.
Marami ang nag-aaply alam kong hindi ka papasa.
CHUCHI Kumuha kami ng exam noon.
ESG Oo, pero hindi ka papasa.
CHUCHI Eh, bakit ako ang nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo
ESG Kukunin ka kasi ako.
CHUCHI Eh, di sana
ESG Huwag mong ipagmalaki na may utak ka kasi wala kang
utak. Akala mo ba makukuha ka dito kung hindi ako.

CHUCHI Mag-eexplain ako.


ESG Huwag na, hindi ako mag-papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka
kung paano ka puma-rito. "Putang-ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamaganak ng nanay at tatay mo ang mga magulang ko.
ESG Wala na akong pakialam, dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa
labas ka puwede ka ng hindi pumasok, okey yan nasaloob ka umalis
ka doon.
CHUCHI Kasi M'am, binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
ESG Nandiyan na rin ako, pero huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka
makakapasok kung hindi ako. Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey lang
sa akin, dahil tapos ka na.
CHUCHI Ina-ano ko m'am na utang na loob.
ESG Huwag na lang, hindi mo utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa
no, nilapastangan mo ako.
CHUCHI Paano kita nilapastanganan?
ESG Mabuti pa lumabas ka na. Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa
'yo. Lumabas ka na. Magsumbong ka. 3
As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and alleging that the said act of secretly taping the
confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of
Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200, entitled "An Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping
and other related violations of private communication, and other purposes." An information charging
petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated October 6, 1988 is quoted herewith:
INFORMATION
The Undersigned Assistant City Fiscal Accusses Socorro D. Ramirez of Violation of
Republic Act No. 4200, committed as follows:
That on or about the 22nd day of February, 1988, in Pasay City Metro
Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this honorable court,
the above-named accused, Socorro D. Ramirez not being authorized
by Ester S. Garcia to record the latter's conversation with said
accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously, with
the use of a tape recorder secretly record the said conversation and
thereafter communicate in writing the contents of the said recording
to other person.
Contrary to law.
Pasay City, Metro Manila, September 16, 1988.

MARIANO M.
CUNETA
Asst. City Fiscal
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a Motion to Quash the Information on the ground
that the facts charged do not constitute an offense, particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an order
May 3, 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, agreeing with petitioner that 1) the facts
charged do not constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2) the violation punished by R.A.
4200 refers to a the taping of a communication by a personother than a participant to the
communication. 4
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this
Court, which forthwith referred the case to the Court of Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division)
of June 19, 1989.
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the
trial court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and holding that:
[T]he allegations sufficiently constitute an offense punishable under Section 1 of R.A.
4200. In thus quashing the information based on the ground that the facts alleged do
not constitute an offense, the respondent judge acted in grave abuse of discretion
correctible by certiorari. 5
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration which respondent
Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution 6 dated June 19, 1990. Hence, the instant petition.
Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and principal issue" 7 that the applicable provision of
Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a private conversation by one of the parties to the
conversation. She contends that the provision merely refers to the unauthorized taping of a private
conversation by a party other than those involved in the communication. 8 In relation to this, petitioner
avers that the substance or content of the conversation must be alleged in the Information, otherwise the
facts charged would not constitute a violation of R.A. 4200. 9 Finally, petitioner agues that R.A. 4200
penalizes the taping of a "private communication," not a "private conversation" and that consequently, her
act of secretly taping her conversation with private respondent was not illegal under the said act. 10
We disagree.
First, legislative intent is determined principally from the language of a statute. Where the language
of a statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied according to its express terms, and
interpretation would be resorted to only where a literal interpretation would be either impossible 11 or
absurb or would lead to an injustice. 12
Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related
Violations of Private Communication and Other Purposes," provides:
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull 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.

The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally makes it illegal for any person, not authorized by
all the parties to any private communication to secretly record such communication by means of a
tape recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether the party sought to be penalized by the
statute ought to be a party other than or different from those involved in the private communication.
The statute's intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make such recording is underscored by
the use of the qualifier "any". Consequently, as respondent Court of Appeals correctly concluded,
"even a (person) privy to a communication who records his private conversation with another without
the knowledge of the latter (will) qualify as a violator" 13 under this provision of R.A. 4200.
A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records, moreover, supports the respondent court's
conclusion that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed contemplated to make illegal,
unauthorized tape recording of private conversations or communications taken either by the parties
themselves or by third persons. Thus:
xxx xxx xxx
Senator Taada: That qualified only "overhear".
Senator Padilla: So that when it is intercepted or recorded, the element of secrecy
would not appear to be material. Now, suppose, Your Honor, the recording is not
made by all the parties but by some parties and involved not criminal cases that
would be mentioned under section 3 but would cover, for example civil cases or
special proceedings whereby a recording is made not necessarily by all the parties
but perhaps by some in an effort to show the intent of the parties because the
actuation of the parties prior, simultaneous even subsequent to the contract or the
act may be indicative of their intention. Suppose there is such a recording, would you
say, Your Honor, that the intention is to cover it within the purview of this bill or
outside?
Senator Taada: That is covered by the purview of this bill, Your Honor.
Senator Padilla: Even if the record should be used not in the prosecution of offense
but as evidence to be used in Civil Cases or special proceedings?
Senator Taada: That is right. This is a complete ban on tape recorded
conversations taken without the authorization of all the parties.
Senator Padilla: Now, would that be reasonable, your Honor?
Senator Taada: I believe it is reasonable because it is not sporting to record the
observation of one without his knowing it and then using it against him. It is not fair, it
is not sportsmanlike. If the purpose; Your honor, is to record the intention of the
parties. I believe that all the parties should know that the observations are being
recorded.
Senator Padilla: This might reduce the utility of recorders.
Senator Taada: Well no. For example, I was to say that in meetings of the board of
directors where a tape recording is taken, there is no objection to this if all the parties
know. It is but fair that the people whose remarks and observations are being made
should know that the observations are being recorded.

Senator Padilla: Now, I can understand.


Senator Taada: That is why when we take statements of persons, we say: "Please
be informed that whatever you say here may be used against you." That is fairness
and that is what we demand. Now, in spite of that warning, he makes damaging
statements against his own interest, well, he cannot complain any more. But if you
are going to take a recording of the observations and remarks of a person without
him knowing that it is being taped or recorded, without him knowing that what is
being recorded may be used against him, I think it is unfair.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congression Record, Vol. III, No. 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964)
Senator Diokno: Do you understand, Mr. Senator, that under Section 1 of the bill as
now worded, if a party secretly records a public speech, he would be penalized under
Section 1? Because the speech is public, but the recording is done secretly.
Senator Taada: Well, that particular aspect is not contemplated by the bill. It is the
communication between one person and another person not between a speaker
and a public.
xxx xxx xxx
(Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964)
xxx xxx xxx
The unambiguity of the express words of the provision, taken together with the above-quoted
deliberations from the Congressional Record, therefore plainly supports the view held by the
respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize even those privy to the private
communications. Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not distinguish.
Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial to a violation of the statute. The substance of
the same need not be specifically alleged in the information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts
of secretly overhearing, intercepting or recording private communications by means of the devices
enumerated therein. The mere allegation that an individual made a secret recording of a private
communication by means of a tape recorder would suffice to constitute an offense under Section 1 of
R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his COMMENT before the respondent court:
"Nowhere (in the said law) is it required that before one can be regarded as a violator, the nature of
the conversation, as well as its communication to a third person should be professed." 14
Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase "private communication" in Section 1 of R.A. 4200
does not include "private conversations" narrows the ordinary meaning of the word "communication"
to a point of absurdity. The word communicate comes from the latin word communicare, meaning "to
share or to impart." In its ordinary signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or
imparting signification, communication connotes the act of sharing or imparting, as in
a conversation, 15 or signifies the "process by which meanings or thoughts are shared between
individuals through a common system of symbols (as language signs or gestures)" 16 These definitions
are broad enough to include verbal or non-verbal, written or expressive communications of "meanings or
thoughts" which are likely to include the emotionally-charged exchange, on February 22, 1988, between
petitioner and private respondent, in the privacy of the latter's office. Any doubts about the legislative

body's meaning of the phrase "private communication" are, furthermore, put to rest by the fact that the
terms "conversation" and "communication" were interchangeably used by Senator Taada in his
Explanatory Note to the bill quoted below:

It has been said that innocent people have nothing to fear from
their conversations being overheard. But this statement ignores the usual nature
of conversations as well the undeniable fact that most, if not all, civilized people have
some aspects of their lives they do not wish to expose. Freeconversations are often
characterized by exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable falsehoods, and the
expression of anti-social desires of views not intended to be taken seriously. The
right to the privacy of communication, among others, has expressly been assured by
our Constitution. Needless to state here, the framers of our Constitution must have
recognized the nature of conversations between individuals and the significance of
man's spiritual nature, of his feelings and of his intellect. They must have known that
part of the pleasures and satisfactions of life are to be found in the unaudited, and
free exchange of communication between individuals free from every unjustifiable
intrusion by whatever means. 17
In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case which dealt with the issue of telephone
wiretapping, we held that the use of a telephone extension for the purpose of overhearing a private
conversation without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200 because a telephone extension devise was
neither among those "device(s) or arrangement(s)" enumerated therein, 19 following the principle that
"penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the accused." 20 The instant case turns on a different
note, because the applicable facts and circumstances pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no
ambiguity, and the statute itself explicitly mentions the unauthorized "recording" of private
communications with the use of tape-recorders as among the acts punishable.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the case at bench is clear and unambiguous and
leaves us with no discretion, the instant petition is hereby DENIED. The decision appealed from is
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-26053

February 21, 1967

CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GERARDO GARCIA CARMENCITA VILLANUEVA, MODESTA PARAYNO NARCISO
PARAYNO, JUAN ASPERAS, MARIA TABIA SIMEON DILIMAN, AQUILINO BARRIOS
LEONORA RUIZ, LAUREANO DIZO, BERNABE AYUDA LEOGARDA DE LOS SANTOS,
ISABELO OBAOB ANDREA RIPARIP, JOSE BARRIENTOS, URBANO RAMOS, 1 ELENA
RAMOS, ESTEFANIA NEPACINA, MODESTA SANCHEZ, MARCIAL LAZARO, MARCIANA
ALANO, HONORIO BERIO SEDORA ORAYLE, GLORIA VELASCO, WILARICO RICAMATA,
BENEDICTO DIAZ, ANA DEQUIZ (MRS.) ALUNAN, LORENZO CARANDANG, JUAN
PECAYO, FELICIDAD MIRANDA EMIGDIO EGIPTO, defendants-appellants.
Mauricio Z. Alunan for defendants-appellants.
City Fiscal's Office for plaintiff-appellee.
SANCHEZ, J.:

Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one compact area, bordering Kansas,
Vermont and Singalong streets in Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens Titles Nos. 49763, 37082
and 37558. Shortly after liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants entered upon these premises
without plaintiff's knowledge and consent. They built houses of second-class materials, again without
plaintiff's knowledge and consent, and without the necessary building permits from the city. There
they lived thru the years to the present.
In November, 1947, the presence of defendants having previously been discovered, defendants
Felicidad Miranda (Emigdio Egipto), Modesta C. Parayno, Benedicto Diaz, Laureano Dizo, Jose
Barrientos, Elena Ramos, Estefania Nepacina, Modesta Sanchez, Honorio Berio, Gloria Velasco,
Ana Dequis Alunan and Benedicto Ofiaza (predecessor of defendant Carandang) were given by
Mayor Valeriano E. Fugoso written permits each labeled "lease contract" to occupy specific
areas in the property upon conditions therein set forth. Defendants Isabelo Obaob and Gerardo
Garcia (in the name of Marta A. Villanueva) received their permits from Mayor Manuel de la Fuente
on January 29 and March 18, respectively, both of 1948. The rest of the 23 defendants exhibited
none.
For their occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.

1wph1.t

Following are the rentals due as of February, 1962:

NAME

Area
Monthly
in sq.m. Rental

Amt. due from


date of delinquency
to Feb. 1962

1. Gerardo Garcia

66.00

P7.92

P1,628.97

2. Modesta C. Parayno

87.75

10.53

379.08

3. Juan Asperas

39.00

4.68

9.36

4. Maria Tabia

35.20

5.76

570.24

5. Aquilino Barrios
(Leonora Ruiz)

54.00

4.32

99.36

6. Laureano Dizo

35.00

2.80

22.40

7. Bernabe Ayuda

39.60

3.17

323.34

8. Isabelo Obaob

75.52

9.06

208.38

9. Jose Barrientos

39.53

4.74

744.18

10. Cecilia Manzano in


lieu of Urbano Ramos (deceased)

46.65

5.60

Paid up to
Feb. 1962.

11. Elena Ramos

34.80

2.78

186.26

12. Estefania Nepacina

41.80

3.34

504.34

13. Modesta Sanchez

33.48

2.68

444.88

14. Marcial Lazaro

22.40

1.79

688.32

15. Marciana Alano

25.80

2.06

255.44

16. Honorio Berio

24.00

1.92

188.16

17. Gloria Velasco

32.40

2.59

56.98

18. Wilarico Ricamata

45.83

3.67

739.68

19. Benedicto Diaz

40.20

4.82

Paid up to
March 1962.

20. Ana Dequis Alunan

64.26

7.71

30.84

21. Lorenzo Carandang

45.03

5.40

437.40

22. Juan N. Pecayo

25.52

3.06

30.60

23. Felicidad Miranda

48.02

5.76

132.48
P7,580.69

Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not contiguous, to the property. Came the
need for this school's expansion; it became pressing. On September 14, 1961, plaintiff's City
Engineer, pursuant to the Mayor's directive to clear squatters' houses on city property, gave each of
defendants thirty (30) days to vacate and remove his construction or improvement on the premises.
This was followed by the City Treasurer's demand on each defendant, made in February and March,
1962, for the payment of the amount due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate in fifteen (15)
days. Defendants refused. Hence, this suit to recover possession. 2
The judgment below directed defendants to vacate the premises; to pay the amounts heretofore
indicated opposite their respective names; and to pay their monthly rentals from March, 1962, until
they vacate the said premises, and the costs. Defendants appealed.
1. We are called upon to rule on the forefront question of whether the trial court properly
found that the city needs the premises for school purposes.
The city's evidence on this point is Exhibit E, the certification of the Chairman, Committee on
Appropriations of the Municipal Board. That document recites that the amount of
P100,000.00 had been set aside in Ordinance 4566, the 1962-1963 Manila City Budget, for
the construction of an additional building of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School. It
is indeed correct to say that the court below, at the hearing, ruled out the admissibility of said
document. But then, in the decision under review, the trial judge obviously revised his views.
He there declared that there was need for defendants to vacate the premises for school
expansion; he cited the very document, Exhibit E, aforesaid.
It is beyond debate that a court of justice may alter its ruling while the case is within its
power, to make it conformable to law and justice.3 Such was done here. Defendants' remedy
was to bring to the attention of the court its contradictory stance. Not having done so, this
Court will not reopen the case solely for this purpose. 4
Anyway, elimination of the certification, Exhibit E, as evidence, would not profit defendants.
For, in reversing his stand, the trial judge could well have taken because the was duty
bound to take judicial notice5 of Ordinance 4566. The reason being that the city charter of
Manila requires all courts sitting therein to take judicial notice of all ordinances passed by the
municipal board of Manila.6 And, Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification aforesaid
that an appropriation of P100,000.00 was set aside for the "construction of additional
building" of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School.

Furthermore, defendants' position is vulnerable to assault from a third direction. Defendants


have absolutely no right to remain in the premises. The excuse that they have permits from
the mayor is at best flimsy. The permits to occupy are recoverable on thirty days' notice.
They have been asked to leave; they refused to heed. It is in this factual background that we
say that the city's need for the premises is unimportant. The city's right to throw defendants
out of the area cannot be gainsaid. The city's dominical right to possession is paramount. If
error there was in the finding that the city needs the land, such error is harmless and will not
justify reversal of the judgment below.7
2. But defendants insist that they have acquired the legal status of tenants. They are wrong.
They entered the land, built houses of second-class materials thereon without the knowledge
and consent of the city. Their homes were erected without city permits.
These constructions are illegal. In a language familiar to all, defendants are squatters:
Since the last global war, squatting on another's property in this country has become a
widespread vice. It was and is a blight. Squatters' areas pose problems of health, sanitation.
They are breeding places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for the law and the
rights of others, even those of the government, are being flouted. Knowingly, squatters have
embarked on the pernicious act of occupying property whenever and wherever convenient to
their interests without as much as leave, and even against the will, of the owner. They are
emboldened seemingly because of their belief that they could violate the law with impunity.
The pugnaciousness of some of them has tied up the hands of legitimate owners. The latter
are thus prevented from recovering possession by peaceful means. Government lands have
not been spared by them. They know, of course, that intrusion into property, government or
private, is wrong. But, then, the mills of justice grind slow, mainly because of lawyers who, by
means, fair or foul, are quite often successful in procuring delay of the day of reckoning.
Rampancy of forcible entry into government lands particularly, is abetted by the apathy of
some public officials to enforce the government's rights. Obstinacy of these squatters is
difficult to explain unless it is spawned by official tolerance, if not outright encouragement or
protection. Said squatters have become insensible to the difference between right and
wrong. To them, violation of law means nothing. With the result that squatting still exists,
much to the detriment of public interest. It is high time that, in this aspect, sanity and the rule
of law be restored. It is in this environment that we look into the validity of the permits
granted defendants herein.
These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were issued by the mayors in 1947
and 1948 when the effects of the war had simmered down and when these defendants could
have very well adjusted themselves. Two decades have now elapsed since the unlawful
entry. Defendants could have, if they wanted to, located permanent premises for their abode.
And yet, usurpers that they are, they preferred to remain on city property.
Defendants' entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions are as illegal, without
permits.8 The city charter enjoins the mayor to "safeguard all the lands" of the City of Manila. 9
Surely enough, the permits granted did not "safeguard" the city's land in question. It is our
considered view that the Mayor of the City of Manila cannot legalize forcible entry into public
property by the simple expedient of giving permits, or, for that matter, executing leases.
Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of the city officials will
elevate it into a lawful act. In principle, a compound of illegal entry and official permit to stay

is obnoxious to our concept of proper official norm of conduct. Because, such permit does
not serve social justice; it fosters moral decadence. It does not promote public welfare; it
abets disrespect for the law. It has its roots in vice; so it is an infected bargain. Official
approval of squatting should not, therefore, be permitted to obtain in this country where there
is an orderly form of government.
We, accordingly, rule that the Manila mayors did not have authority to give permits, written or
oral, to defendants, and that the permits herein granted are null and void.
3. Let us look into the houses and constructions planted by defendants on the premises.
They clearly hinder and impair the use of that property for school purposes. The courts may
well take judicial notice of the fact that housing school children in the elementary grades has
been and still is a perennial problem in the city. The selfish interests of defendants must have
to yield to the general good. The public purpose of constructing the school building annex is
paramount.10
In the situation thus obtaining, the houses and constructions aforesaid constitute public
nuisance per se. And this, for the reason that they hinder and impair the use of the property
for a badly needed school building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth of the
land.11 They shackle the hands of the government and thus obstruct performance of its
constitutionally ordained obligation to establish and maintain a complete and adequate
system of public education, and more, to "provide at least free public primary instruction".12
Reason dictates that no further delay should be countenanced. The public nuisance could
well have been summarily abated by the city authorities themselves, even without the aid of
the courts.13
4. Defendants challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Manila. They say
that the case should have been started in the municipal court. They prop up their position by
the averment that notice for them to vacate was only served in September, 1961, and suit
was started in July, 1962. Their legal ground is Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. We
have reached the conclusion that their forcible entry dates back to the period from 1945 to
1947. That entry was not legalized by the permits. Their possession continued to remain
illegal from incipiency. Suit was filed long after the one-year limitation set forth in Section 1 of
Rule 70. And the Manila Court of First Instance has jurisdiction. 14
Upon the premises, we vote to affirm the judgment under review. Costs against defendantsappellants. So ordered.

G.R. No. L-28100 November 29, 1971


GABRIEL BAGUIO, plaintiff-Appellant,
vs.
TEOFILA L. VDA. DE JALAGAT, for herself and in representation of her minor children,
DOMINADOR, LEA and TEONIFE all surnamed JALAGAT; ANABELLA JALAGAT and
EMMANUEL JALAGAT, defendants-appellees.
Bonifacio P. Legaspi for plaintiff-appellant.

Cecilio P. Luminarias for defendants-appellees.

FERNANDO, J.:
The specific legal question raised in this appeal from an order of dismissal by the Court of First
Instance of Misamis Oriental, presided by the Hon. Benjamin K. Gorospe, one which has not as yet
been the subject of a definitive ruling is whether or not on a motion to dismiss on the ground of res
judicata that the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment, a lower court may take judicial notice
of such previous case decided by him resulting in the prior judgment relied upon. Judge Gorospe
answered in the affirmative. So do we. An affirmance is thus called for.
The case started with the complaint for the quieting of title to real property filed by plaintiff, now
appellant, Gabriel Baguio, on February, 14, 1966. There was on March 7, 1966 a motion to dismiss
filed by defendants, now appellees, on the ground that the cause of action is barred by a prior
judgment. This was the argument advanced: "The instant complaint or case, besides being clearly
unfounded and malicious, is identical to or the same as that Civil Case No. 1574 filed by the same
plaintiff and against Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, now deceased and whose legal heirs and
successors in interest are the very defendants in the instant complaint or Civil Case No. 2639. Said
Civil Case No. 1574 was filed on October 7, 1958 for 'Recovery of Possession and Ownership of
Real Estate' and entitled Gabriel Baguio, plantiff, versus Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, defendant,
involving practically the same property and practically the same parties as defendants are the widow
and the children, respectively, thus the legal or forced heirs of the deceased Melecio Jalagat. That
the said Case No. 1574, which is identical to or is the same case as the instant one, has already
been duly and finally terminated as could be clear from [an] order of this Honorable Court [dated
December 6, 1965]." 1 There was an opposition on the part of plaintiff made on March 26, 1966 on the
ground that for prior judgment or res judicata to suffice as a basis for dismissal it must be apparent on the
face of the complaint. It was then alleged that there was nothing in the complaint from which such a
conclusion may be inferred. Then, on September 26, 1966, came the order complained of worded thus:
"Acting on the motion to dismiss filed by counsel for the defendants under date of March 4, 1966,
anchored on the ground that plaintiff's cause of action is barred by a prior judgement which this Court
finds to be well-founded as it has already dismissed plaintiff's complaint in Civil Case No. 1574 against
Melecio Jalagat alias Mening Jalagat, defendants predecessor in interest from whom they have derived
their rights, in an order dated December 6, 1965, pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 17 of the new Rules of
Court, which case involved the same parcel of land as the one in the instant case, as prayed for, Civil
Case No. 2639 should be as it is hereby [dismissed]. The Court's previous dismissal of Civil Case No.
1574 has the effect of an adjudication upon the merits and consequently is a bar to and may be pleaded
in abatement of any subsequent action against the same parties over the same issues and the same
subject-matter by the same plaintiff. [So ordered]" 2 Hence, this appeal.
The order of dismissal, as noted at the outset, must be sustained. It is in accordance with law.
1. The sole error assigned is that a bar by prior judgement cannot be raised in a motion to dismiss
when such ground does not appear on the face of the complaint. What immediately calls attention in
the rather sketchy and in conclusive discussion in the six-page brief of applicant is that there was no
denial as to the truth of the statement made by Judge Gorospe that there was a previous dismissal
the same plaintiff's complaint against the predecessor-in-interest of defendants, who as expressly
admitted by appellant was the deceased husband of one of them and father of the rest. There was
no denial either of the property involved being the same and of the finality of the decsion in the
previous case which would show that appellant's claim was devoid of any support in law. It would be
therefore futile for the court to continue with the case as there had been such a prior judgment

certainly binding on appellant. What then was there for the lower court to do? Was there any sense
in its being engaged in what was essentially a fruitless, endeavor as the outcome was predictible?
Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-deserved reproach if the Rules of Court would sanction
such a proceeding distinguished by nothing but its futility. It ought to be clear even to appellant that
under the circumstances, the lower court certainly could take judicial notice of the finality of a
judgment in a case that was previously pending and thereafter decided by it. That was all that was
done by the lower court in decreeing the dismissal. Certainly such an order is not contrary to law. A
citation from the comments of former Chief Justice Moran is relevant. Thus: "Courts have also taken
judicial notice of previous cases to determine whether or not the case pending is a moot one, or
whether or not a previous ruling is applicable in the case under consideration." 3
2. There is another equally compelling consideration. Appellant undoubtedly had recourse to a
remedy which under the law then in force could be availed of. It would have served the cause of
justice better, not to mention the avoidance of needless expense on his part and the vexation to
which appellees were subjected if he did reflect a little more on the matter. Then the valuable time of
this Tribunal would not have been frittered away on a useless find hopeless appeal. It has, ever been
the guiding principle from Alonso v. Villamor, 4 a 1910 decision, that a litigant should not be allowed to
worship at the altar of technicality. That is not to dispense justice according to law. Parties, and much
more so their counsel, should ever keep such an imperative of our legal system in mind. 5
WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of September 26, 1966 is hereby affirmed. With costs against
plaintiff.
Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
Reyes, J.B.L., J., concurs in the result.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernan affirming the lower court's order of dismissal of the
case below, on motion of defendants-appellees, on the ground of its being barred by a prior
judgment.
The lower court properly took judicial notice of the case resolved by it wherein admittedly the same
lower court dismissed an identical complaint filed over the same property by the same plantiff
against the same defendants (who are the legal or forced heirs of the now deceased Melecio
Jalagat, defendant in the prior case).

Such judicial notice taken by the lower court is sanctioned under Rule 129, section 1. It in effect
supplants the evidence on motion that Rule 133, section 7 authorizes a trial court to receive "when a
motion is based on not appearing on record."
The appeal's sole assignment of error, viz, that a bar by prior judgment cannot be raised in a motion
to dismiss when such ground does not appear on the face of the complaint, is clearly bereft of basis
or merit. Such limitation of the dismissal motion to what appears on the face of the complaint applies
only when it is based on ground that the complaint fails to state a valid cause of action. 1 Rule 16,
section 3 precisely provides for a hearing of the motion to dismiss, wherein its ground (other than lack of
cause of action) may be proved or disproved in accordance with the rules of evidence and specifically
Rule 133, section 7, which provides that "(W)hen a motion is based on facts not appearing of record the
court may hear the matter on affidavts or depositions presented by the respective parties, but the court
may direct that the matter be heard wholly or partly on oral testimony or depositions."
When the ground of the dismissal motion is, a prior judgment rendered by the same court a fact
known to the court and to the parties as well, as in the case at bar the taking of judicial notice of
said prior judgment by the same court constitutes the very evidence needed to dispose of the
dismissal motion.

Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernan affirming the lower court's order of dismissal of the
case below, on motion of defendants-appellees, on the ground of its being barred by a prior
judgment.
The lower court properly took judicial notice of the case resolved by it wherein admittedly the same
lower court dismissed an identical complaint filed over the same property by the same plantiff
against the same defendants (who are the legal or forced heirs of the now deceased Melecio
Jalagat, defendant in the prior case).
Such judicial notice taken by the lower court is sanctioned under Rule 129, section 1. It in effect
supplants the evidence on motion that Rule 133, section 7 authorizes a trial court to receive "when a
motion is based on not appearing on record."
The appeal's sole assignment of error, viz, that a bar by prior judgment cannot be raised in a motion
to dismiss when such ground does not appear on the face of the complaint, is clearly bereft of basis
or merit. Such limitation of the dismissal motion to what appears on the face of the complaint applies
only when it is based on ground that the complaint fails to state a valid cause of action. 1 Rule 16,
section 3 precisely provides for a hearing of the motion to dismiss, wherein its ground (other than lack of
cause of action) may be proved or disproved in accordance with the rules of evidence and specifically
Rule 133, section 7, which provides that "(W)hen a motion is based on facts not appearing of record the
court may hear the matter on affidavts or depositions presented by the respective parties, but the court
may direct that the matter be heard wholly or partly on oral testimony or depositions."

When the ground of the dismissal motion is, a prior judgment rendered by the same court a fact
known to the court and to the parties as well, as in the case at bar the taking of judicial notice of
said prior judgment by the same court constitutes the very evidence needed to dispose of the
dismissal motion.

G.R. No. L-17885

June 30, 1965

GABRIEL P. PRIETO, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
MEDEN ARROYO, JACK ARROYO, NONITO ARROYO and ZEFERINO ARROYO,
JR., defendants-appellees.
Prila, Pardalis and Pejo for plaintiff-appellant.
Quijano and Azores and J. P. Arroyo for defendants-appellees.
MAKALINTAL, J.:
Gabriel P. Prieto appealed to the Court of Appeals from the order of the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur dismissing his complaint in Civil Case No. 4280. Since only questions of law are
involved the appeal has been certified to this Court.
In 1948 Zeferino Arroyo, Sr. filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition for
registration of several parcels of land, including Lot No. 2, Plan Psu-106730 (L.R.C. No. 144;
G.L.R.O. No. 1025). After the proper proceedings Original Certificate of Title No. 39 covering said lot
was issued in his name. The same year and in the same Court Gabriel P. Prieto filed a petition for
registration of an adjoining parcel of land, described as Lot No. 3, Plan Psu-117522 (L.R.C. No. 173;
G.L.R.O. No. 1474). As a result Original Certificate of Title No. 11 was issued in his name.
After the death of Zeferino Arroyo, Sr., Original Certificate of Title No. 39 was cancelled and in lieu
thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 was issued in the names of his heirs, the defendants in
this case, namely Meden Jack, Joker, Nonito and Zeferino, Jr., all surnamed Arroyo.
On March 6, 1956 said heirs filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition (L.R.C.
No. 144; G.L.R.O. No. 1025; Special Proceedings No. 900) in which they claimed that the technical
description set forth in their transfer certificate of title and in the original certificate of their
predecessor did not conform with that embodied in the decision of the land registration court, and
was less in area by some 157 square meters. They therefore prayed that said description be
corrected pursuant to Section 112 of the Land Registration Act; that their certificate of title be
cancelled and another one issued to them containing the correct technical description. The petition
was filed in the registration record but was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 900.
On May 23, 1956 the court issued an order directing the Register of Deeds of Camarines Sur to
"change, upon payment of his fees, the description in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 of Lot 2 in
Plan Psu-106730 so as to make it conform to that embodied in the decision of the Court on March 8,
1950, and to correct therein the spelling of the name of one of the petitioners from 'Miden Arroyo' to
'Meden Arroyo'.
On November 29, 1956 Prieto filed against the defendants in the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur (in the original registration records of the two lots) a petition to annul the order of

May 23 in Special Proceedings No. 900. At the hearing of the petition on July 12, 1957 neither he
nor his counsel appeared. Consequently, the trial court on the same day issued an order dismissing
the petition for failure to prosecute. A motion for reconsideration of that order was denied on
September 5, 1957.
On September 2, 1958 Prieto filed against the same defendants the present action for annulment of
Special Proceedings No. 900 and the order therein entered on May 23, 1956. He also prayed that
the 157 square meters allegedly taken from his lot by virtue of said order be reconveyed to him.
Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata. Plaintiff opposed, and on
January 15, 1959 the court granted the motion. It is from the order of dismissal, plaintiff having failed
to secure its reconsideration, that the appeal has been taken.
Appellant maintains that the institution of Special Proceedings No. 900 was irregular and illegal
mainly because he was not notified thereof and the same was instituted almost six years after the
issuance of the decree and title sought to be corrected, and hence the order of the court dated May
23, 1956 for the correction of the technical description in appellees' title is void ab initio.
The issue here, however, is not the validity of said Special Proceedings No. 900 but the propriety of
the dismissal of appellant's complaint on the ground of res adjudicata. The validity of the said
proceedings was the issue in the first case he filed. But because of his failure and that of his counsel
to attend the hearing the court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute. Since no appeal was
taken from the order of dismissal it had the effect of an adjudication upon the merits, the court not
having provided otherwise (Rule 30, Section 3).
Appellant contends that said order could not have the effect of a judgment because the Court did not
acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents therein, defendants-appellees here, as they
did not file any opposition or responsive pleading in that case. Appellees, on the other hand, allege
that they had voluntarily submitted to the court's jurisdiction after they were served copies of the
petition. This allegation finds support in the record, particularly in the following statement of appellant
in his brief:
This petition was originally set for hearing on December 8, 1956, but was postponed to
January 14, 1957, due to lack of notice to the respondents. Upon motion for postponements
of respondents, now defendants-appellees, the hearing of January 14, 1957 was postponed
to May 16, 1957. The hearing set for May 16, 1957 was again postponed upon motion of the
respondents to July 12, 1957.
Appellant next points out that the lower court should not have dismissed his first petition for
annulment because no "parole" evidence need be taken to support it, the matters therein alleged
being parts of the records of L.R.C. No. 144, G.L.R.O. No. 1025, and L.R.C. 173, G.L.R.O. No.
1474, which were well within the judicial notice and cognizance of the said court.
In the first place, as a general rule, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice in the
adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of other cases, even when such cases
have been tried or are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may
have been tried or are actually pending before the same judge (Municipal Council of San Pedro,
Laguna, et al. v. Colegio de San Jose, et al., 65 Phil. 318). Secondly, if appellant had really wanted
the court to take judicial notice of such records, he should have presented the proper request or
manifestation to that effect instead of sending, by counsel, a telegraphic motion for postponement of
hearing, which the court correctly denied. Finally, the point raised by counsel is now academic, as no

appeal was taken from the order dismissing his first petition, and said order had long become final
when the complaint in the present action was filed.
The contention that the causes of action in the two suits are different is untenable.
Both are based on the alleged nullity of Special Proceedings No. 900; in both appellant seeks that
the order of correction of the title of appellees be set aside. Of no material significance is the fact
that in the complaint in the instant case there is an express prayer for reconveyance of some 157
square meters of land, taken from appellant as a result of such correction of title. For that area would
necessarily have reverted to appellant had his first petition prospered, the relief asked for by him
being that "the Register of Deeds of Camarines Sur be ordered to amend Certificate of Title No. 332
by incorporating therein only and solely the description of Lot No. 2, plan Psu-106730 as appearing
in the Decree No. 5165 and maintaining consequently the description limits and area of the adjoining
land of the herein petitioner, Lot No. 3, plan Psu-117522, in accordance with Decree No. 2301 of
Land Registration No. 173." The claim for damages as well as for other additional and alternative
reliefs in the present case are not materially different from his prayer for "such other remedies, just
and equitable in the premises" contained in the former one.
There being identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between the two cases, the order
of dismissal issued in the first constitutes a bar to the institution of the second.
The appealed order is affirmed, with costs against appellant.

G.R. No. L-55960 November 24, 1988


YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners,
vs.
AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, and HONORABLE
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
Montesa, Albon, & Associates for petitioners.
De Lapa, Salonga, Fulgencio & De Lunas for respondents.

CORTES, J.:
Sy Kiat, a Chinese national. died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he was then residing,
leaving behind real and personal properties here in the Philippines worth P300,000.00 more or less.
Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy filed a petition for the
grant of letters of administration docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. C-699 of the then Court
of First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City. In said petition they alleged among others
that (a) they are the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge Sy Mat
died intestate; (c) they do not recognize Sy Kiat's marriage to Yao Kee nor the filiation of her children
to him; and, (d) they nominate Aida Sy-Gonzales for appointment as administratrix of the intestate
estate of the deceased [Record on Appeal, pp. 4-9; Rollo, p. 107.]

The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Yun Chen who alleged
that: (a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom he married on January 19, 1931 in China; (b) the
other oppositors are the legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee; and, (c) Sze Sook Wah is
the eldest among them and is competent, willing and desirous to become the administratrix of the
estate of Sy Kiat [Record on Appeal, pp. 12-13; Rollo, p. 107.] After hearing, the probate court,
finding among others that:
(1) Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee [CFI decision, pp. 12-27; Rollo, pp. 49-64;]
(2) Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate children of Yao
Kee with Sy Mat [CFI decision, pp. 28-31; Rollo. pp. 65-68;] and,
(3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are the
acknowledged illegitimate offsprings of Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego [CFI decision,
pp. 27-28; Rollo, pp. 64- 65.]
held if favor of the oppositors (petitioners herein) and appointed Sze Sook Wah as the administratrix
of the intestate estate of the deceased [CFI decision, pp. 68-69; Rollo, pp. 105-106.]
On appeal the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying that of the probate court, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower Court is hereby
MODIFIED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment rendered as follows:
(1) Declaring petitioners Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy- Bernabe and
Rodolfo Sy acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with Asuncion
Gillego, an unmarried woman with whom he lived as husband and wife without
benefit of marriage for many years:
(2) Declaring oppositors Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chun Yen, the
acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with his Chinese wife Yao
Kee, also known as Yui Yip, since the legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Mat to
Yao Kee in China had not been proven to be valid to the laws of the Chinese
People's Republic of China (sic);
(3) Declaring the deed of sale executed by Sy Kiat on December 7, 1976 in favor of
Tomas Sy (Exhibit "G-1", English translation of Exhibit "G") of the Avenue Tractor and
Diesel Parts Supply to be valid and accordingly, said property should be excluded
from the estate of the deceased Sy Kiat; and
(4) Affirming the appointment by the lower court of Sze Sook Wah as judicial
administratrix of the estate of the deceased. [CA decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 3637.]
From said decision both parties moved for partial reconsideration, which was however denied by
respondent court. They thus interposed their respective appeals to this Court.
Private respondents filed a petition with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 56045 entitled "Aida SyGonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy v. Court of Appeals, Yao Kee, Sze Sook
Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen" questioning paragraphs (3) and (4) of the dispositive portion of

the Court of Appeals' decision. The Supreme Court however resolved to deny the petition and the
motion for reconsideration. Thus on March 8, 1982 entry of judgment was made in G.R. No.
56045. **
The instant petition, on the other hand, questions paragraphs (1) and (2) of the dispositive portion of
the decision of the Court of Appeals. This petition was initially denied by the Supreme Court on June
22, 1981. Upon motion of the petitioners the Court in a resolution dated September 16, 1981
reconsidered the denial and decided to give due course to this petition. Herein petitioners assign the
following as errors:
I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DECLARING THE
MARRIAGE OF SY KIAT TO YAO YEE AS NOT HAVE (sic) BEEN PROVEN VALID
IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAWS OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING AIDA
SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE AND RODOLFO SY AS
NATURAL CHILDREN OF SY KIAT WITH ASUNCION GILLEGO. [Petition, p. 2;
Rollo, p. 6.]
I. Petitioners argue that the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in accordance with Chinese law and
custom was conclusively proven. To buttress this argument they rely on the following testimonial and
documentary evidence.
First, the testimony of Yao Kee summarized by the trial court as follows:
Yao Kee testified that she was married to Sy Kiat on January 19, 1931 in Fookien,
China; that she does not have a marriage certificate because the practice during that
time was for elders to agree upon the betrothal of their children, and in her case, her
elder brother was the one who contracted or entered into [an] agreement with the
parents of her husband; that the agreement was that she and Sy Mat would be
married, the wedding date was set, and invitations were sent out; that the said
agreement was complied with; that she has five children with Sy Kiat, but two of them
died; that those who are alive are Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho, and Sze Chun Yen,
the eldest being Sze Sook Wah who is already 38 years old; that Sze Sook Wah was
born on November 7, 1939; that she and her husband, Sy Mat, have been living in
FooKien, China before he went to the Philippines on several occasions; that the
practice during the time of her marriage was a written document [is exchanged] just
between the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom, or any elder for that
matter; that in China, the custom is that there is a go- between, a sort of marriage
broker who is known to both parties who would talk to the parents of the bride-to-be;
that if the parents of the bride-to-be agree to have the groom-to-be their son in-law,
then they agree on a date as an engagement day; that on engagement day, the
parents of the groom would bring some pieces of jewelry to the parents of the brideto-be, and then one month after that, a date would be set for the wedding, which in
her case, the wedding date to Sy Kiat was set on January 19, 1931; that during the
wedding the bridegroom brings with him a couch (sic) where the bride would ride and
on that same day, the parents of the bride would give the dowry for her daughter and
then the document would be signed by the parties but there is no solemnizing officer
as is known in the Philippines; that during the wedding day, the document is signed
only by the parents of the bridegroom as well as by the parents of the bride; that the
parties themselves do not sign the document; that the bride would then be placed in
a carriage where she would be brought to the town of the bridegroom and before

departure the bride would be covered with a sort of a veil; that upon reaching the
town of the bridegroom, the bridegroom takes away the veil; that during her wedding
to Sy Kiat (according to said Chinese custom), there were many persons present;
that after Sy Kiat opened the door of the carriage, two old ladies helped her go down
the carriage and brought her inside the house of Sy Mat; that during her wedding, Sy
Chick, the eldest brother of Sy Kiat, signed the document with her mother; that as to
the whereabouts of that document, she and Sy Mat were married for 46 years
already and the document was left in China and she doubt if that document can still
be found now; that it was left in the possession of Sy Kiat's family; that right now, she
does not know the whereabouts of that document because of the lapse of many
years and because they left it in a certain place and it was already eaten by the
termites; that after her wedding with Sy Kiat, they lived immediately together as
husband and wife, and from then on, they lived together; that Sy Kiat went to the
Philippines sometime in March or April in the same year they were married; that she
went to the Philippines in 1970, and then came back to China; that again she went
back to the Philippines and lived with Sy Mat as husband and wife; that she begot
her children with Sy Kiat during the several trips by Sy Kiat made back to China. [CFI
decision, pp. 13-15; Rollo, pp. 50-52.]
Second, the testimony of Gan Ching, a younger brother of Yao Kee who stated that he was among
the many people who attended the wedding of his sister with Sy Kiat and that no marriage certificate
is issued by the Chinese government, a document signed by the parents or elders of the parties
being sufficient [CFI decision, pp. 15-16; Rollo, pp.
52-53.]
Third, the statements made by Asuncion Gillego when she testified before the trial court to the effect
that (a) Sy Mat was married to Yao Kee according to Chinese custom; and, (b) Sy Kiat's admission
to her that he has a Chinese wife whom he married according to Chinese custom [CFI decision, p.
17; Rollo, p. 54.]
Fourth, Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien issued in Caloocan City on October 3, 1972 where
the following entries are found: "Marital statusMarried"; "If married give name of spousesYao
Kee"; "Address-China; "Date of marriage1931"; and "Place of marriageChina" [Exhibit "SS-1".]
Fifth, Sy Kiat's Alien Certificate of Registration issued in Manila on January 12, 1968 where the
following entries are likewise found: "Civil statusMarried"; and, 'If married, state name and address
of spouseYao Kee Chingkang, China" [Exhibit "4".]
And lastly, the certification issued in Manila on October 28, 1977 by the Embassy of the People's
Republic of China to the effect that "according to the information available at the Embassy Mr. Sy
Kiat a Chinese national and Mrs. Yao Kee alias Yui Yip also Chinese were married on January 19,
1931 in Fukien, the People's Republic of China" [Exhibit "5".]
These evidence may very well prove the fact of marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat. However,
the same do not suffice to establish the validity of said marriage in accordance with Chinese law or
custom.
Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced)
as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory" [In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue
Use of the Firm Name "Ozaeta, Romulo, de Leon, Mabanta and Reyes", July 30, 1979, SCRA 3, 12
citing JBL Reyes & RC Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 7.] The law requires
that "a custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence" [Article 12, Civil Code.]

On this score the Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as a source of right can not be
considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence
like any other fact" [Patriarca v. Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395 (1907).] The same evidence, if not one of a
higher degree, should be required of a foreign custom.
The law on foreign marriages is provided by Article 71 of the Civil Code which states that:
Art. 71. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws
in force in the country where they were performed and valid there as such, shall also
be valid in this country, except bigamous, Polygamous, or incestuous marriages, as
determined by Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied.) ***
Construing this provision of law the Court has held that to establish a valid foreign marriage two
things must be proven, namely: (1) the existence of the foreign law as a question of fact; and (2) the
alleged foreign marriage by convincing evidence [Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 49
(1922).]
In proving a foreign law the procedure is provided in the Rules of Court. With respect to
an unwritten foreign law, Rule 130 section 45 states that:
SEC. 45. Unwritten law.The oral testimony of witnesses, skilled therein, is
admissible as evidence of the unwritten law of a foreign country, as are also printed
and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the foreign country, if
proved to be commonly admitted in such courts.
Proof of a written foreign law, on the other hand, is provided for under Rule 132 section 25, thus:
SEC. 25. Proof of public or official record.An official record or an entry therein,
when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof
or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his
deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate
that such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a
foreign country, the certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation,
consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign
service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept
and authenticated by the seal of his office.
The Court has interpreted section 25 to include competent evidence like the testimony of a witness
to prove the existence of a written foreign law [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher 110 Phil. 686,
700-701 (1961) citing Willamette Iron and Steel Works v. Muzzal, 61 Phil. 471 (1935).]
In the case at bar petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law and custom
of China on marriage. The testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching cannot be considered as proof of
China's law or custom on marriage not only because they are
self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are competent to testify on
the subject matter. For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently, the validity of
the marriage in accordance with said law or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat
cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction.

Petitioners contend that contrary to the Court of Appeals' ruling they are not duty bound to prove the
Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been taken by this Court in the case of Sy
Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia [16 Phil. 137 (1910).]
This contention is erroneous. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle that Philippine courts
cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be alleged and proved as any other fact [Yam
Ka Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30 Phil. 46, 48 (1915); Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610 (1930).]
Moreover a reading of said case would show that the party alleging the foreign marriage presented a
witness, one Li Ung Bieng, to prove that matrimonial letters mutually exchanged by the contracting
parties constitute the essential requisite for a marriage to be considered duly solemnized in China.
Based on his testimony, which as found by the Court is uniformly corroborated by authors on the
subject of Chinese marriage, what was left to be decided was the issue of whether or not the fact of
marriage in accordance with Chinese law was duly proven [Sy Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia, supra., at p.
160.]
Further, even assuming for the sake of argument that the Court has indeed taken judicial notice of
the law of China on marriage in the aforecited case, petitioners however have not shown any proof
that the Chinese law or custom obtaining at the time the Sy Joc Lieng marriage was celebrated in
1847 was still the law when the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee took place in 1931 or eightyfour (84) years later.
Petitioners moreover cite the case of U.S. v. Memoracion [34 Phil. 633 (1916)] as being applicable to
the instant case. They aver that the judicial pronouncement in the Memoracion case, that the
testimony of one of the contracting parties is competent evidence to show the fact of marriage, holds
true in this case.
The Memoracion case however is not applicable to the case at bar as said case did not concern a
foreign marriage and the issue posed was whether or not the oral testimony of a spouse is
competent evidence to prove the fact of marriage in a complaint for adultery.
Accordingly, in the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that it is
the same as ours *** [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21076, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 552, 555.] Since Yao Kee admitted in her
testimony that there was no solemnizing officer as is known here in the Philippines [See Article 56, Civil Code] when her alleged marriage to
Sy Mat was celebrated [CFI decision, p. 14; Rollo, p. 51], it therefore follows that her marriage to Sy Kiat, even if true, cannot be recognized
in this jurisdiction [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, supra., pp. 555-556.]

II. The second issue raised by petitioners concerns the status of private respondents.
Respondent court found the following evidence of petitioners' filiation:
(1) Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien where the following are entered:
"Children if any: give number of childrenFour"; and, "NameAll living in China"
[Exhibit "SS-1";]
(2) the testimony of their mother Yao Kee who stated that she had five children with
Sy Kiat, only three of whom are alive namely, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze
Chin Yan [TSN, December 12, 1977, pp. 9-11;] and,
(3) an affidavit executed on March 22,1961 by Sy Kiat for presentation to the Local
Civil Registrar of Manila to support Sze Sook Wah's application for a marriage
license, wherein Sy Kiat expressly stated that she is his daughter [Exhibit "3".]

Likewise on the record is the testimony of Asuncion Gillego that Sy Kiat told her he has three
daughters with his Chinese wife, two of whomSook Wah and Sze Kai Choshe knows, and one
adopted son [TSN, December 6,1977, pp. 87-88.]
However, as petitioners failed to establish the marriage of Yao Kee with Sy Mat according to the laws
of China, they cannot be accorded the status of legitimate children but only that of acknowledged
natural children. Petitioners are natural children, it appearing that at the time of their conception Yao
Kee and Sy Kiat were not disqualified by any impediment to marry one another [See Art. 269, Civil
Code.] And they are acknowledged children of the deceased because of Sy Kiat's recognition of Sze
Sook Wah [Exhibit "3"] and its extension to Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen who are her sisters of the
full blood [See Art. 271, Civil Code.]
Private respondents on the other hand are also the deceased's acknowledged natural children with
Asuncion Gillego, a Filipina with whom he lived for twenty-five (25) years without the benefit of
marriage. They have in their favor their father's acknowledgment, evidenced by a compromise
agreement entered into by and between their parents and approved by the Court of First Instance on
February 12, 1974 wherein Sy Kiat not only acknowleged them as his children by Asuncion Gillego
but likewise made provisions for their support and future inheritance, thus:
xxx xxx xxx
2. The parties also acknowledge that they are common-law husband and wife and
that out of such relationship, which they have likewise decided to definitely and
finally terminate effective immediately, they begot five children, namely: Aida Sy, born
on May 30, 1950; Manuel Sy, born on July 1, 1953; Teresita Sy, born on January 28,
1955; Ricardo Sy now deceased, born on December 14, 1956; and Rodolfo Sy, born
on May 7, 1958.
3. With respect to the AVENUE TRACTOR AND DIESEL PARTS SUPPLY ... , the
parties mutually agree and covenant that
(a) The stocks and merchandize and the furniture and equipments ...,
shall be divided into two equal shares between, and distributed to, Sy
Kiat who shall own
one-half of the total and the other half to Asuncion Gillego who shall
transfer the same to their children, namely, Aida Sy, Manuel Sy,
Teresita Sy, and Rodolfo Sy.
(b) the business name and premises ... shall be retained by Sy Kiat.
However, it shall be his obligation to give to the aforenamed children
an amount of One Thousand Pesos ( Pl,000.00 ) monthly out of the
rental of the two doors of the same building now occupied by Everett
Construction.
xxx xxx xxx
(5) With respect to the acquisition, during the existence of the
common-law husband-and-wife relationship between the parties, of the real estates
and properties registered and/or appearing in the name of Asuncion Gillego ... , the
parties mutually agree and covenant that the said real estates and properties shall
be transferred in equal shares to their children, namely, Aida Sy, Manuel Sy, Teresita

Sy, and Rodolfo Sy, but to be administered by Asuncion Gillego during her lifetime ...
[Exhibit "D".] (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
This compromise agreement constitutes a statement before a court of record by which a child may
be voluntarily acknowledged [See Art. 278, Civil Code.]
Petitioners further argue that the questions on the validity of Sy Mat's marriage to Yao Kee and the
paternity and filiation of the parties should have been ventilated in the Juvenile and Domestic
Relations Court.
Specifically, petitioners rely on the following provision of Republic Act No. 5502, entitled "An Act
Revising Rep. Act No. 3278, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Caloocan', with regard to
the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court:
SEC. 91-A. Creation and Jurisdiction of the Court.
xxx xxx xxx
The provisions of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court shall
have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases:
xxx xxx xxx
(2) Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, revocation of adoption, paternity
and acknowledgment;
(3) Annulment of marriages, relief from marital obligations, legal separation of
spouses, and actions for support;
(4) Proceedings brought under the provisions of title six and title seven, chapters one
to three of the civil code;
xxx xxx xxx
and the ruling in the case of Bartolome v. Bartolome [G.R. No. L-23661, 21 SCRA 1324] reiterated in
Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L-42615, 72 SCRA 307.]
With the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary Reorganization
Act of 1980, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts were abolished. Their functions and
jurisdiction are now vested with the Regional Trial Courts [See Section 19 (7), B.P. Blg. 129 and
Divinagracia v. Belosillo, G.R. No. L-47407, August 12, 1986, 143 SCRA 356, 360] hence it is no
longer necessary to pass upon the issue of jurisdiction raised by petitioners.
Moreover, even without the exactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 we find in Rep. Act No. 5502
sec. 91-A last paragraph that:
xxx xxx xxx

If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident in any
case pending in the ordinary court, said incident shall be determined in the main
case.
xxx xxx xxx
As held in the case of Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L42615. August 10, 1976, 72 SCRA 307]:
xxx xxx xxx
It is true that under the aforequoted section 1 of Republic Act No. 4834 **** a case
involving paternity and acknowledgment may be ventilated as an incident in the intestate
or testate proceeding (See Baluyot vs. Ines Luciano, L-42215, July 13, 1976). But that
legal provision presupposes that such an administration proceeding is pending or existing
and has not been terminated. [at pp. 313-314.] (Emphasis supplied.)
xxx xxx xxx
The reason for ths rule is not only "to obviate the rendition of conflicting rulings on the same issue by
the Court of First Instance and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court" [Vda. de Baluyut v.
Luciano, G.R. No. L-42215, July 13, 1976, 72 SCRA 52, 63] but more importantly to prevent
multiplicity of suits. Accordingly, this Court finds no reversible error committed by respondent court.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 85423

May 6, 1991

JOSE TABUENA, petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIANO TABERNILLA, JR., respondents.
Ramon Dimen for petitioner.
Dionisio A. Hernandez for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:
The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the respondent court, for lack of
basis. It is argued that the lower courts should not have taken into account evidence not submitted
by the private respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court.
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting of about 440 square meters and
situated in Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In 1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof was filed
in the Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla against Jose Tabuena, the

herein petitioner. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant was
required to vacate the disputed lot.
1

As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. sometime in 1926 to Alfredo Tabernilla
while the two were in the United States. Tabernilla returned to the Philippines in 1934, and Damasa
Timtiman, acting upon her son Juan's instruction, conveyed the subject land to Tabernilla. At the
same time, she requested that she be allowed to stay thereon as she had been living there all her
life. Tabernilla agreed provided she paid the realty taxes on the property, which she promised to do,
and did. She remained on the said land until her death, following which the petitioner, her son and
half-brother of Juan Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof. The complaint was filed when demand was
made upon Tabuena to surrender the property and he refused, claiming it as his own.
The trial court rejected his defense that he was the absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited from
his parents, who acquired it even before World War II and had been living thereon since then and
until they died. Also disbelieved was his contention that the subject of the sale between Peralta and
Tabernilla was a different piece of land planted to coconut trees and bounded on three sides by the
Makato River.
Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in arriving at its factual findings, the
trial court motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked by the
plaintiff but never formally submitted in evidence. The trial court also erred when, to resolve the
ownership of the subject lot, it considered the proceedings in another case involving the same
parties but a different parcel of land.
The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order as follows:
Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following exhibits: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, 1921
addressed in Makato, Capiz, Philippines; Exh. "A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating that
the amount of P600.00the first P300.00 and then another P300.00 as interest since
October 4, 1921; Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. "B", a Spanish document; Exh.
"C", deed of conveyance filed by Tomasa Timtiman and Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh.
"C-1", paragraph 4 of Exh. "C".
In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held that, contrary to the allegations of the
appellant, the said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as disclosed by the transcript
of stenographic notes, which it quoted at length. The challenged decision also upheld the use by
the trial court of testimony given in an earlier case, to bolster its findings in the second case.
2

We have examined the record and find that the exhibits submitted were not the above-described
documents but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub-markings, which were the last will and testament of
Alfredo Tabernilla and the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of exhibits does not
include Exhibits "A", "B" and "C". In fact, the trial court categorically declared that "Exhibits "A-1, "A2", "B", "C" and "C-l," were not among those documents or exhibits formally offered for admission by
plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear contradiction of the finding of the appellate court, which seems
to have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned in the
quoted transcript.
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as follows:
Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.The court shall consider no evidence which has not been
formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.

The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not mean it has thereby
already been offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were
marked at the pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the purpose of identifying them at that
time. They were not by such marking formally offered as exhibits. As we said in Interpacific Transit,
Inc. vs. Aviles, "At the trial on the merits, the party may decide to formally offer (the exhibits) if it
believes they will advance its cause, and then again it may decide not to do so at all. In the latter
event, such documents cannot be considered evidence, nor can they be given any evidentiary
value."
3

Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the rule thus:


. . . The offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and
his judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the patties at the trial.
4

We did say in People vs. Napat-a that even if there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be
admitted against the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded
and, second, it has itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But we do not find that these
requirements have been satisfied in the case before us. The trial court said the said exhibits could
be validly considered because, even if they had not been formally offered, one of the plaintiffs
witnesses, Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them at the trial and was even cross-examined by
the defendant's counsel. We do not agree. Although she did testify, all she did was identify the
documents. Nowhere in her testimony can we find a recital of the contents of the exhibits.
5

Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran:


LEGASPI: That is this Exh. "A" about ?
A The translation of the letter.
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the letter of the sister of Juan Peralta to Alfredo
Tabernilla?
Court: The best evidence is the document. Proceed.

She also did not explain the contents of the other two exhibits.
The respondent court also held that the trial court committed no reversible error in taking judicial
notice of Tabuena's testimony in a case it had previously heard which was closely connected with
the case before it. It conceded that as a general rule "courts are not authorized to take judicial
notice, in the adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of the records of other
cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and
notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending b before the
same judge. Nevertheless, it applied the exception that:
7

. . . in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may
properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into
the record of a case pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party,
reference is made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other manner by
which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original record of the former case or any part
of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, at the request or with the
consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then pending.
8

It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in the absence of objection," "with the
knowledge of the opposing party," or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the case is
clearly referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are actually withdrawn from the
archives" and "admitted as part of the record of the case then pending." These conditions have not
been established here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely unaware that his testimony in
Civil Case No. 1327 was being considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. As
the petitioner puts it, the matter was never taken up at the trial and was "unfairly sprung" upon him,
leaving him no opportunity to counteract.
The respondent court said that even assuming that the trial court improperly took judicial notice of
the other case, striking off all reference thereto would not be fatal to the plaintiff's cause because
"the said testimony was merely corroborative of other evidences submitted by the plaintiff." What
"other evidences"? The trouble with this justification is that the exhibits it intends to corroborate, to
wit, Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", have themselves not been formally submitted.
Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for the private respondent, we feel that the
complaint should have been dismissed by the trial court for failure of the plaintiff to substantiate its
allegations. It has failed to prove that the subject lot was the same parcel of land sold by Juan
Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo Tabernilla and not another property, as the petitioner contends. Even assuming
it was the same lot, there is no explanation for the sale thereof by Juan Peralta, Jr., who was only
the son of Damasa Timtiman. According to the trial court, "there is no question that before 1934 the
land in question belonged to Damasa Timtiman." Juan Peralta, Jr. could not have validly conveyed
title to property that did not belong to him unless he had appropriate authorization from the owner.
No such authorization has been presented.
It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, as we have held in many
cases. However, that rule is also not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known exception.
In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the petitioner and his predecessors-in-interest have
possessed the disputed property since even before World War II. In light of this uncontroverted fact,
the tax declarations in their name become weighty and compelling evidence of the petitioner's
ownership. As this Court has held:
1wphi1

While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation
purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership they become strong evidence of
ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the
property.
9

It is only where payment of taxes is accompanied by actual possession of the land covered
by the tax declaration that such circumstance may be material in supporting a claim of
ownership.
10

The tax receipts accompanied by actual and continuous possession of the subject parcels of
land by the respondents and their parents before them for more than 30 years qualify them
to register title to the said subject parcels of land.
11

The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo Tabernilla did purchase the property and magnanimously
allowed Damasa Timtiman to remain there, he did not at least require her to pay the realty taxes
in his name, not hers. The explanation given by the trial court is that he was not much concerned
with the property, being a bachelor and fond only of the three dogs he had bought from America.
That is specious reasoning. At best, it is pure conjecture. If he were really that unconcerned, it is
curious that he should have acquired the property in the first place, even as dacion en pago. He
would have demanded another form of payment if he did not have the intention at all of living on the

land. On the other hand, if he were really interested in the property, we do not see why he did not
have it declared in his name when the realty taxes thereon were paid by Damasa Timtiman or why
he did not object when the payments were made in her own name.
In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena indicate that they were the
owners of the disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her forebears had been in possession
thereof for more than fifty years and, indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. She paid the
realty taxes thereon in her own name. Jose Tabuena built a house of strong materials on the
lot. He even mortgaged the land to the Development Bank of the Philippines and to two private
persons who acknowledged him as the owner. These acts denote ownership and are not
consistent with the private respondent's claim that the petitioner was only an overseer with mere
possessory rights tolerated by Tabernilla.
12

13

14

15

It is the policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual findings of the courts below and
even to regard them as conclusive where there is no showing that they have been reached
arbitrarily. The exception is where such findings do not conform to the evidence on record and
appear indeed to have no valid basis to sustain their correctness. As in this case.
The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had not
been formally offered as evidence and therefore should have been totally disregarded, conformably
to the Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it relied on the evidence submitted in Civil Case
No. 1327 and took judicial notice thereof without the consent or knowledge of the petitioner, in
violation of existing doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings here challenged are as an edifice built
upon shifting sands and should not have been sustained by the respondent court.
Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the lower court, failed to prove his claim
of ownership over the disputed property with evidence properly cognizable under our adjudicative
laws. By contrast, there is substantial evidence supporting the petitioner's contrary contentions that
should have persuaded the trial judge to rule in s favor and dismiss the complaint.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.

G.R. Nos. 115908-09 December 6, 1995


PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
DANNY GODOY, * accused-appellant.

REGALADO, J.:
Often glossed over in the emotional arguments against capital punishment is the amplitude of legal
protection accorded to the offender. Ignored by the polemicist are the safeguards designed to
minimally reduce, if not altogether eliminate, the grain of human fault. Indeed, there is no critique on
the plethora of rights enjoyed by the accused regardless of how ruthlessly he committed the crime.
Any margin of judicial error is further addressed by the grace of executive clemency. But, even
before that, all convictions imposing the penalty of death are automatically reviewed by this Court.

The cases at bar, involving two death sentences, apostrophize for the condemned the role of this
ultimate judicial intervention.
Accused-appellant Danny Godoy was charged in two separate informations filed before the Regional
Trial Court, for Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 47, with rape and kidnapping with serious
illegal detention, respectively punished under Articles 335 and 267 of the Revised Penal Code, to
wit:
In Criminal Case No. 11640 for Rape:
That on or about the evening of the 21st day of January, 1994, at Barangay Pulot
Center, Municipality of Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within
the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused by means of force, threat
and intimidation, by using a knife and by means of deceit, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with one Mia Taha to her damage
and prejudice. 1
In Criminal Case No. 11641 for Kidnapping with Serious Illegal Detention:

That on or about the 22nd day of January, 1994, at Barangay Ipilan, Municipality of
Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, a private individual, and being a teacher of the
victim, Mia Taha, and by means of deceit did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously kidnap or detained (sic) said Mia Taha, a girl of 17 years old (sic), for a
period of five (5) days thus thereby depriving said Mia Taha of her liberty against her
will and consent and without legal justification, to the damage and prejudice of said
Mia Taha. 2
During the arraignment on both indictments, appellant pleaded not guilty to said charges and, after
the pre-trial was terminated, a joint trial of the two cases was conducted by the trial court. 3
According to complainant Mia Taha, at around 7:00 P.M. of January 21, 1994, she went to the
boarding house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, at Pulot Center, Brooke's Point which is near
the Palawan National School (PNS), Pulot Branch, where she was studying. When she saw that the
house was dark, she decided to pass through the kitchen door at the back because she knew that
there was nobody inside. As soon as she opened the door, somebody suddenly grabbed her, poked
a knife on her neck, dragged her by the hand and told her not to shout. She was then forced to lie
down on the floor. Although it was dark, complainant was able to recognize her assailant, by the light
coming from the moon and through his voice, as accused-appellant Danny Godoy who was her
Physics teacher at PNS.
When she was already on the floor, appellant removed her panty with one hand while holding the
knife with the other hand, opened the zipper of his pants, and then inserted his private organ inside
her private parts against her will. She felt pain because it was her first experience and she cried.
Throughout her ordeal, she could not utter a word. She was very frightened because a knife was
continually pointed at her. She also could not fight back nor plead with appellant not to rape her
because he was her teacher and she was afraid of him. She was threatened not to report the
incident to anyone or else she and her family would be killed.
Thereafter, while she was putting on her panty, she noticed that her skirt was stained with blood.
Appellant walked with her to the gate of the house and she then proceeded alone to the boarding
house where she lived. She did not see where appellant went after she left him at the gate. When

she arrived at her boarding house, she saw her landlady but she did not mention anything about the
incident.
The following morning, January 22, 1994, complainant went home to her parents' house at Ipilan,
Brooke's Point. She likewise did not tell her parents about the incident for fear that appellant might
make good his threat. At around 3:00 P.M. of that same day, appellant arrived at the house of her
parents and asked permission from the latter if complainant could accompany him to solicit funds
because she was a candidate for "Miss PNS Pulot." When her parents agreed, she was constrained
to go with appellant because she did not want her parents to get into trouble.
Appellant and complainant then left the house and they walked in silence, with Mia following behind
appellant, towards the highway where appellant hailed a passenger jeep which was empty except for
the driver and the conductor. She was forced to ride the jeep because appellant threatened to kill her
if she would not board the vehicle. The jeep proceeded to the Sunset Garden at the poblacion,
Brooke's Point where they alighted.
At the Sunset Garden, appellant checked in and brought her to a room where they staye d for three
days. During the entire duration of their stay at the Sunset Garden, complainant was not allowed to
leave the room which was always kept locked. She was continuously guarded and constantly raped
by appellant. She was, however, never drunk or unconscious. Nonetheless, she was forced to have
sex with appellant because the latter was always carrying a knife with him.
In the early morning of January 25, 1994, appellant brought her to the house of his friend at
Edward's Subdivision where she was raped by him three times. She was likewise detained and
locked inside the room and tightly guarded by appellant. After two days, or on January 27, 1994,
they left the place because appellant came to know that complainant had been reported and
indicated as a missing person in the police blotter. They went to see a certain Naem ** from whom
appellant sought help. On that same day, she was released but only after her parents agreed to
settle the case with appellant.
Immediately thereafter, Mia's parents brought her to the District Hospital at Brooke's Point where she
was examined by Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia who made the following medical findings:
GENERAL: Well developed, nourished, cooperative, walking, conscious, coherent
Filipina.
BREAST: Slightly globular with brown colored areola and nipple.
EXTERNAL EXAM.: Numerous pubic hair, fairly developed labia majora and minora,
hymenal opening stellate in shape, presence of laceration superficial, longitudinal at
the fossa navicularis, approximately 1/2 cm. length.
INTERNAL EXAM.: Hymenal opening, stellate in shape, laceration noted, hymenal
opening admits 2 fingers with slight resistance, prominent vaginal rugae, cervix
closed.
CONCLUSION: Hymenal opening admits easily 2 fingers with slight resistance,
presence of laceration, longitudinal at the fossa navicularis approximately 1/2 cm.
length. Hymenal opening can admit an average size penis in erection with
laceration. 4

Dr. Divinagracia further testified that the hymenal opening was in stellate shape and that there was a
laceration, which shows that complainant had participated in sexual intercourse. On the basis of the
inflicted laceration which was downward at 6 o'clock position, he could not say that there was force
applied because there were no scratches or bruises, but only a week-old laceration. He also
examined the patient bodily but found no sign of bruises or injuries. The patient told him that she
was raped.
During the cross-examination, complainant denied that she wrote the letters marked as Exhibits "1"
and "2"; that she never loved appellant but, on the contrary, she hated him because of what he did to
her; and that she did not notice if there were people near the boarding house of her cousin. She
narrated that when appellant started to remove her panty, she was already lying down, and that even
as appellant was doing this she could not shout because she was afraid. She could not remember
with which hand appellant held the knife. She was completely silent from the time she was made to
lie down, while her panty was being removed, and even until appellant was able to rape her.
When appellant went to their house the following day, she did not know if he was armed but there
was no threat made on her or her parents. On the contrary, appellant even courteously asked
permission from them in her behalf and so they left the house with appellant walking ahead of her.
When she was brought to the Sunset Garden, she could not refuse because she was afraid.
However, she admitted that at that time, appellant was not pointing a knife at her. She only saw the
cashier of the Sunset Garden but she did not notice if there were other people inside. She likewise
did not ask the appellant why he brought her there.
Complainant described the lock in their room as an ordinary doorknob, similar to that on the door of
the courtroom which, even if locked, could still be opened from the inside, and she added that there
was a sliding lock inside the room. According to her, they stayed at Sunset Garden for three days
and three nights but she never noticed if appellant ever slept because everytime she woke up,
appellant was always beside her. She never saw him close his eyes.
Helen Taha, the mother of complainant, testified that when the latter arrived at their house in the
morning of January 22, 1994, she noticed that Mia appeared weak and her eyes were swollen.
When she asked her daughter if there was anything wrong, the latter merely kept silent. That
afternoon, she allowed Mia to go with appellant because she knew he was her teacher. However,
when Mia and appellant failed to come home at the expected time, she and her husband, Adjeril,
went to look for them at Ipilan. When they could not find them there, she went to the house of
appellant because she was already suspecting that something was wrong, but appellant's wife told
her that he did not come home.
Early the next morning, she and her husband went to the Philippine National Police (PNP) station at
Pulot, Brooke's Point and had the incident recorded in the police blotter. The following day, they went
to the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at Puerto Princess City, then to the police
station near the NBI, and finally to the radio station airing the Radyo ng Bayan program where she
made an appeal to appellant to return her daughter. When she returned home, a certain Naem was
waiting there and he informed her that Mia was at Brooke's Point. He further conveyed appellant's
willingness to become a Muslim so he could marry Mia and thus settle the case. Helen Taha readily
acceded because she wanted to see her daughter.
In the morning of January 27, 1994, she went to the house of Naem who sent somebody to fetch
complainant. She testified that when Mia arrived, she was crying as she reported that she was raped
by appellant, and that the latter threatened to kill her if she did not return within an hour. Because of
this, she immediately brought Mia to the hospital where the latter was examined and then they

proceeded to the municipal hall to file a complaint for rape and kidnapping. Both Mia and Helen Taha
executed separate sworn statements before the PNP at Brooke's Point.
Later, Fruit Godoy, the wife of appellant, went to their house and offered P50,000.00 for the
settlement of the case. On their part, her husband insisted that they just settle, hence all three of
them, Adjeril, Helen and Mia Taha, went to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor where they met
with the mother of appellant who gave them P30,000.00. Adjeril and Helen Taha subsequently
executed an affidavit of desistance in Criminal Case No. 7687 for kidnapping pending in the
prosecutor's office, which was sworn to before Prosecutor II Chito S. Meregillano. Helen Taha
testified that she agreed to the settlement because that was what her husband wanted. Mia Taha
was dropped from the school and was not allowed to graduate. Her father died two months later,
supposedly because of what happened.
The defense presented a different version of what actually transpired.
According to appellant, he first met Mia Taha sometime in August, 1993 at the Palawan National
School (PNS). Although he did not court her, he fell in love with her because she often told him "Sir, I
love you." What started as a joke later developed into a serious relationship which was kept a secret
from everybody else. It was on December 20, 1993 when they first had sexual intercourse as lovers.
Appellant was then assigned at the Narra Pilot Elementary School at the poblacion because he was
the coach of the Palawan delegation for chess. At around 5:00 P.M. of that day, complainant arrived
at his quarters allegedly because she missed him, and she then decided to spend the night there
with him.
Exactly a month thereafter, specifically in the evening of January 20, 1994, Erna Baradero, a teacher
at the PNS, was looking inside the school building for her husband, who was a security guard of
PNS, when she heard voices apparently coming from the Orchids Room. She went closer to listen
and she heard a girl's voice saying "Mahal na mahal kita, Sir, iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas
tayo." Upon hearing this, she immediately opened the door and was startled to see Mia Taha and
Danny Godoy holding hands. She asked them what they were doing there at such an unholy hour
but the two, who were obviously caught by surprise, could not answer. She then hurriedly closed the
door and left. According to this witness, complainant admitted to her that she was having an affair
with appellant. Desirous that such illicit relationship must be stopped, Erna Baradero informed
appellant's wife about it when the latter arrived from Manila around the first week of February, 1994.
Upon the request of appellant's wife, Erna Baradero executed an affidavit in connection with the
present case, but the same was not filed then because of the affidavit of desistance which was
executed and submitted by the parents of complainant. In her sworn statement, later marked in
evidence as Exhibit "7", Erna Baradero alleged that on January 21, 1994, she confronted Mia Taha
about the latter's indiscretion and reminded her that appellant is a married man, but complainant
retorted, "Ano ang pakialam mo," adding that she loves appellant very much.
Appellant testified that on January 21, 1994, at around 7:00 P.M., Mia Taha went to his office asking
for help with the monologue that she would be presenting for the Miss PNS contest. He agreed to
meet her at the house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan. However, when he reached the place,
the house was dark and he saw Mia waiting for him outside. Accordingly, they just sat on a bench
near the road where there was a lighted electric post and they talked about the matter she had
earlier asked him about. They stayed there for fifteen minutes, after which complainant returned to
her boarding house just across the street while appellant headed for home some fifteen meters
away.

It appears that while complainant was then waiting for appellant, Filomena Pielago, a former teacher
of Mia at PNS and who was then on her way to a nearby store, saw her sitting on a bench and asked
what she was doing there at such a late hour. Complainant merely replied that she was waiting for
somebody. Filomena proceeded to the store and, along the way, she saw Inday Zapanta watering
the plants outside the porch of her house. When Filomena Pielago returned, she saw complainant
talking with appellant and she noticed that they were quite intimate because they were holding
hands. This made her suspect that the two could be having a relationship. She, therefore, told
appellant that his wife had finished her aerobics class and was already waiting for him. She also
advised Mia to go home.
Prior to this incident, Filomena Pielago already used to see them seated on the same bench.
Filomena further testified that she had tried to talk appellant out of the relationship because his wife
had a heart ailment. She also warned Mia Taha, but to no avail. She had likewise told complainant's
grandmother about her activities. At the trial, she identified the handwriting of complainant appearing
on the letters marked as Exhibits "1" and "2", claiming that she is familiar with the same because Mia
was her former student. On cross-examination, Filomena clarified that when she saw the couple on
the night of January 21, 1994, the two were talking naturally, she did not see Mia crying, nor did it
appear as if appellant was pleading with her.
In the afternoon of the following day, January 22, 1994, appellant met Mia's mother on the road near
their house and she invited him to come up and eat "buko," which invitation he accepted. Thirty
minutes thereafter, complainant told him to ask permission from her mother for them to go and solicit
funds at the poblacion, and he did so. Before they left, he noticed that Mia was carrying a plastic bag
and when he asked her about it, she said that it contained her things which she was bringing to her
cousin's house. Appellant and Mia went to the poblacion where they solicited funds until 6:30 P.M.
and then had snacks at the Vic Tan Store.
Thereafter, complainant told appellant that it was already late and there was no more available
transportation, so she suggested that they just stay at Sunset Garden. Convinced that there was
nothing wrong in that because they already had intimate relations, aside from the fact that Mia had
repeatedly told him she would commit suicide should he leave her, appellant was prevailed upon to
stay at the hotel. Parenthetically, it was complainant who arranged their registration and
subsequently paid P400.00 for their bill from the funds they had solicited. That evening, however,
appellant told complainant at around 9:00 P.M. that he was going out to see a certain Bert Dalojo at
the latter's residence. In truth, he borrowed a motorcycle from Fernando Rubio and went home to
Pulot. He did not bring complainant along because she had refused to go home.
The following morning, January 23, 1994, appellant went to the house of complainant's parents and
informed them that Mia spent the night at the Sunset Garden. Mia's parents said that they would just
fetch her there, so he went back to Sunset Garden and waited for them outside the hotel until 5:00
P.M. When they did not arrive, he decided to go with one Isagani Virey, whom he saw while waiting
near the road, and they had a drinking session with Virey's friends. Thereafter, Virey accompanied
him back to Sunset Garden where they proceeded to Mia's room. Since the room was locked from
the inside, Virey had to knock on the door until it was opened by her.
Once inside, he talked to complainant and asked her what they were doing, but she merely
answered that what she was doing was of her own free will and that at that moment her father was
not supposed to know about it for, otherwise, he would kill her. What complainant did not know,
however, was that appellant had already reported the matter to her parents, although he opted not to
tell her because he did not want to add to her apprehensions. Isagani Virey further testified that
when he saw appellant and complainant on January 23 and 24, 1994, the couple looked very happy.

Appellant denied that they had sexual intercourse during their entire stay at Sunset Garden, that is,
from January 22 to 24, 1994, because he did not have any idea as to what she really wanted to
prove to him. Appellant knew that what they were doing was wrong but he allegedly could not avoid
Mia because of her threat that she would commit suicide if he left her. Thus, according to appellant,
on January 24, 1994 he asked Isagani Virey to accompany him to the house of Romy Vallan, a
policeman, to report the matter.
Additionally, Virey testified that appellant and Mia went to see him at his aunt's house to ask for
assistance in procuring transportation because, according to appellant, the relatives of Mia were
already looking for them and so they intend to go to Puerto Princesa City. Virey accompanied them
to the house of Romy Vallan, whose wife was a co-teacher of appellant's wife, but the latter refused
to help because of the complicated situation appellant was in.
Nevertheless, Vallan verified from the police station whether a complaint had been filed against
appellant and after finding out that there was none, he told appellant to just consult a certain Naem
who is an "imam." Appellant was able to talk to Naem at Vallan's house that same day and bared
everything about him and Mia. Naem suggested that appellant marry complainant in Muslim rites but
appellant refused because he was already married. It was eventually agreed that Naem would just
mediate in behalf of appellant and make arrangements for a settlement with Mia's parents. Later that
day, Naem went to see the parents of complainant at the latter's house.
The following day, January 25, 1994, allegedly because complainant could no longer afford to pay
their hotel bills, the couple were constrained to transfer to the house of appellant's friend, Fernando
Rubio, at Edward's Subdivision where they stayed for two days. They just walked along the national
highway from Sunset Garden to Edward's Subdivision which was only five hundred to seven
hundred meters away. The owner of the house, Fernando Rubio, as well as his brother Benedicto
Rubio, testified that the couple were very happy, they were intimate and sweet to each other, they
always ate together, and it was very obvious that they were having a relationship.
In fact, Fernando Rubio recalled that complainant even called appellant "Papa." While they were
there, she would buy food at the market, help in the cooking, wash clothes, and sometimes watch
television. When Fernando Rubio once asked her why she chose to go with appellant despite the
fact the he was a married man, Mia told him that she really loved appellant. She never told him, and
Fernando Rubio never had the slightest suspicion, that she was supposed to have been kidnapped
as it was later claimed. He also testified that several police officers lived within their neighborhood
and if complainant had really been kidnapped and detained, she could have easily reported that fact
to them. Mia was free to come and go as she pleased, and the room where they stayed was never
locked because the lock had been destroyed.
On cross-examination, Fernando Rubio declared that appellant was merely an acquaintance of his;
that it was Naem who went to the lodging house to arrange for Mia to go home; that complainant's
mother never went to his house; and that it was Chief of Police Eliseo Crespo who fetched appellant
from the lodging house and brought him to the municipal hall.
Shortly before noon of January 26, 1994, Naem again met with appellant at Edward's Subdivision
and informed him that complainant's parents were willing to talk to him at Naem's house the next
day. The following morning, or on January 27, 1994, appellant was not able to talk to complainant's
parents because they merely sent a child to fetch Mia at Edward's Subdivision and to tell her that her
mother, who was at Naem's house, wanted to see her. Appellant permitted complainant to go but he
told her that within one hour he was be going to the police station at the municipal hall so that they
could settle everything there.

After an hour, while appellant was already on his way out of Edward's Subdivision, he was met by
Chief of Police Eliseo Crespo who invited him to the police station. Appellant waited at the police
station the whole afternoon but when complainant, her parents and relatives arrived at around 5:00
P.M., he was not given the chance to talk to any one of them. That afternoon of January 27, 1994,
appellant was no longer allowed to leave and he was detained at the police station after Mia and her
parents lodged a complaint for rape and kidnapping against him.
During his detention, Mia's cousin, Lorna Casantosan, delivered to appellant on different occasions
two letters from complainant dated February 27, 1994 and March 1, 1994, respectively. As Mia's
teacher, appellant is familiar with and was, therefore, able to identify the handwriting in said letters
as that of Mia Taha. After a time, he came to know, through his mother, that an affidavit of desistance
was reportedly executed by complainants. However, he claims that he never knew and it was never
mentioned to him, not until the day he testified in court, that his mother paid P30,000.00 to Mia's
father because, although he did not dissuade them, neither did he request his mother to talk to
complainants in order to settle the case.
Under cross-examination, appellant denied that he poked a knife at and raped Mia Taha on January
21, 1994. However, he admitted that he had sex with Mia at the Sunset Garden but that was already
on January 24, 1994. While they were at Edward's Subdivision, they never had sexual relations.
Appellant was told, when complainant visited him in jail, that her father would kill her if she refused to
testify against him, although by the time she testified in court, her father had already died.
Appellant further testified that complainant has had several illicit relations in the boarding house of
her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, which was a well-known fact in Pulot. However, he decided to
have a relationship with her because he wanted to change her and that was what they had agreed
upon. Appellant denied that, during the time when they were staying together, Mia had allegedly
asked permission to leave several times but that he refused. On the contrary, he claimed that on
January 27, 1994 when she told him that her parents wanted to see her, he readily gave her
permission to go.
He also identified the clothes that Mia brought with her when they left her parents' house on January
22, 1994, but which she left behind at the Rubios' lodging house after she failed to return on January
27, 1994. The bag of clothes was brought to him at the provincial jail by Benedicto Rubio.
Appellant likewise declared that he had been detained at the provincial jail since January 27, 1994
but the warrant for his arrest was issued only on January 28, 1994; and that he did not submit a
counter-affidavit because according to his former counsel, Atty. Paredes, it was no longer necessary
since the complainants had already executed an affidavit of desistance. He admits having signed a
"Waiver of Right to Preliminary Investigation" in connection with these cases.
On rebuttal, Lorna Casantosan, the cousin of Mia Taha, denied that she delivered any letter to
appellant when the latter was still detained at the provincial jail. She admitted, on cross-examination,
that she was requested by Mia Taha to testify for her, although she clarified that she does not have
any quarrel or misunderstanding with appellant.
Mia Taha was again presented on rebuttal and she denied the testimony of Erna Baradero regarding
the incident at the Orchids Room because, according to her, the truth was that she was at the
boarding house of Toto Zapanta on that date and time. She likewise negated the claim that Erna
Baradero confronted her on January 21, 1994 about her alleged relationship with appellant
contending that she did not see her former teacher on that day. Similarly, she disclaimed having
seen and talked to Filemona Pielago on the night of January 21, 1994. She vehemently disavowed

that she and appellant were lovers, much less with intimate relations, since there never was a time
that they became sweethearts.
She sought to rebut, likewise through bare denials, the following testimonies of the defense
witnesses: that she told appellant "iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas tayo;" that she answered
"wala kang pakialam" when Erna Baradero confronted her about her relationship with appellant; that
she was the one who registered them at Sunset Garden and paid for their bill; that appellant left her
at Sunset Garden to go to Ipil on January 22, 1994; that Isagani Virey came to their room and stayed
there for five minutes, because the only other person who went there was the room boy who served
their food; that they went to the house of Virey's aunt requesting help for transportation; and that she
was free to roam around or to go out of the lodging house at Edward's Subdivision.
Mia Taha also rejected as false the testimony of appellant that she went to see him at Narra,
Palawan to have sex with him and claims that the last time she went to Narra was when she was still
in Grade VI; that she ever told him "I love you, sabik no sabik ako sa iyo" when she allegedly went to
Narra; that she wrote to him, since the letters marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" are not hers; that she
threatened to commit suicide if appellant would leave her since she never brought a blade with her;
and that at Sunset Garden and at Edward's Subdivison, she was not being guarded by appellant.
However, on cross-examination, complainant identified her signature on her test paper marked as
Exhibit "4" and admitted that the signature thereon is exactly the same as that appearing on Exhibits
"1" and "2". Then, contradicting her previous disclaimers, she also admitted that the handwriting on
Exhibits "1" and "2" all belong to her.
On sur-rebuttal, Armando Pasion, a provincial guard of the Provincial Jail, Palawan who volunteered
to testify in these cases, identified Lorna Casantosan as the person who visited appellant in jail on
February 27, 1994 at around 4:00 P.M. Since he was on duty at that time, he asked her what she
wanted and she said she would just visit appellant. Pasion then called appellant and told him he had
a visitor. Lorna Casantosan and appellant talked at the visiting area which is around ten meters
away from his post, and then he saw her hand over to appellant a letter which the latter immediately
read. This witness declared that appellant never requested him to testify.
Another sur-rebuttal witness, Desmond Selga, a jeepney driver, testified that in the afternoon of
January 22, 1994, he was plying his regular route in going to Brooke's Point and, when he passed by
Ipilan, he picked up appellant and Mia Taha. At that time, there were already several passengers
inside his jeepney. The two got off at the poblacion market. He denied that he brought them to the
Sunset Garden.
On May 20, 1994, the court a quo rendered judgment 5 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of the crimes of rape and kidnapping with serious illegal detention, and sentencing him to the
maximum penalty of death in both cases. 6By reason of the nature of the penalty imposed, these cases
were elevated to this Court on automatic review.
The records show that, on the basis of the complaints for rape 7 and kidnapping with serious illegal
detention 8 filed by Mia Taha and Helen Taha, respectively, the Municipal Trial Court of Brooke's Point
issued a resolution 9 on February 4, 1994 finding the existence of a prima facie case against appellant. On
February 10, 1994, the spouses Adjeril Taha and Helen Taha executed an affidavit of desistance
withdrawing the charge of kidnapping with serious illegal detention. 10However, pursuant to a joint
resolution 11 issued on March 11, 1994 by Prosecutor II Reynaldo R. Guayco of the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor, two separate informations for rape and for kidnapping with serious illegal detention were
nevertheless filed against appellant Danny Godoy with no bail recommended in both charges.

Appellant is now before us seeking the reversal of the judgment of the court below, on the following
assignment of errors:
I. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant (of) the crime of rape
despite the fact that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.
II. The trial court erred by failing to adhere to the doctrine/principle in reviewing the
evidence adduced in a prosecution for the crime of rape as cited in its decision
reiterating the case of People vs. Calixto (193 SCRA 303).
III. The trial court erred in concluding that the accused-appellant had consummated
the crime of rape against private complainant.
IV. The trial court erred by its failure to give any credence to Exhibits "1" and "2" as
evidence of the defense.
V. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of kidnapping
with serious illegal detention as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt.
VI. The trial court erred in giving full faith and credence to the testimonies of
prosecution witnesses and completely ignoring the testimonies of the defense
witnesses.
VII. The trial court erred in concluding that there was implied admission of guilt on the
part of the accused-appellant in view of the offer to compromise.
VIII. The trial court erred in ordering that the complainant be indemnified in the sum
of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) for each of the alleged crimes
committed.
IX. The trial court gravely erred by imposing the death penalty for each of the crimes
charged on the accused-appellant despite the fact that the crimes were allegedly
committed prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 7659. 12
A. The Rape Case
A rape charge is a serious matter with pernicious consequences. It exposes both the accused and
the accuser to humiliation, fear and anxieties, not to mention the stigma of shame that both have to
bear for the rest of their
lives. 13 By the very nature of the crime of rape, conviction or acquittal depends almost entirely on the
credibility of the complainant's testimony because of the fact that usually only the participants can testify
as to its occurrence. 14 This notwithstanding, the basic rule remains that in all criminal prosecutions
without regard to the nature of the defense which the accused may raise, the burden of proof remains at
all times upon the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused raises a
sufficient doubt as to any material element, and the prosecution is then unable to overcome this evidence,
the prosecution has failed to carry its burden of proof of the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable
doubt and the accused must be acquitted. 15
The rationale for the rule is that, confronted by the full panoply of State authority, the accused is
accorded the presumption of innocence to lighten and even reverse the heavy odds against him.

Mere accusation is not enough to convict him, and neither is the weakness of his defense. The
evidence for the prosecution must be strong per se, strong enough to establish the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt. 16 In other words, the accused may be convicted on the basis of the
lone uncorroborated testimony of the offended woman, provided such testimony is clear, positive,
convincing and otherwise consistent with human nature and the normal course of things.
There are three well-known principles that guide an appellate court in reviewing the evidence
presented in a prosecution for the crime of rape. These are: (1) while rape is a most detestable
crime, and ought to be severely and impartially punished, it must be borne in mind that it is an
accusation easy to be made, hard to be proved, but harder to be defended by the party accused,
though innocent; 17 (2) that in view of the intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are
usually involved, the testimony of the complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; 18 and (3) that
the evidence for the prosecution must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw
strength from the weakness of the evidence for the defense. 19
In the case at bar, several circumstances exist which amply demonstrate and ineluctably convince
this Court that there was no rape committed on the alleged date and place, and that the charge of
rape was the contrivance of an afterthought, rather than a truthful plaint for redress of an actual
wrong.
I. Two principal facts indispensably to be proven beyond reasonable doubt for conviction of the crime
of rape under paragraph (1), Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code are, first, that the accused had
carnal knowledge of the complainant; and, second, that the same was accomplished through force
or intimidation.
1. The prosecution has palpably failed to prove beyond peradventure of doubt that appellant had
sexual congress with complainant against her will. Complainant avers that on the night of January
21, 1994, she was sexually assaulted by appellant in the boarding house of her cousin, Merlelyn
Casantosan. Appellant, on the other hand, denied such a serious imputation and contends that on
said date and time, he merely talked with complainant outside that house. We find appellant's
version more credible and sustained by the evidence presented and of record.
According to complainant, when she entered the kitchen of the boarding house, appellant was
already inside apparently waiting for her. If so, it is quite perplexing how appellant could have known
that she was going there on that particular day and at that time, considering that she does not even
live there, unless of course it was appellant's intention to satisfy his lustful desires on anybody who
happened to come along. But then this would be stretching the imagination too far, aside from the
fact that such a generic intent with an indeterminate victim was never established nor even intimated
by the prosecution.
Moreover, any accord of credit to the complainant's story is precluded by the implausibility that
plagues it as regards the setting of the supposed sexual assault. 20 It will be noted that the place where
the alleged crime was committed is not an ordinary residence but a boarding house where several
persons live and where people are expected to come and go. The prosecution did not even bother to
elucidate on whether it was the semestral break or that the boarding house had remained closed for some
time, in order that it could be safely assumed that nobody was expected to arrive at any given time.
Appellant, on the other hand, testified that on that fateful day, he went to the boarding house upon
the invitation of complainant because the latter requested him to help her with her monologue for the
Miss PNS contest. However, they were not able to go inside the house because it was locked and
there was no light, so they just sat on a bench outside the house and talked. This testimony of
appellant was substantially corroborated by defense witness Filomena Pielago. She affirmed that in

the evening of January 21, 1994, she saw both appellant and complainant seated on a bench
outside the boarding house, and that she even advised them to go home because it was already late
and appellant's wife, who was the head teacher of witness Pielago, was waiting for him at the school
building. On rebuttal, complainant could only deny that she saw Pielago that night. Doctrinally, where
the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations one of which is
consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the
evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. 21
It was further alleged by complainant that after her alleged ravishment, she put on her panty and
then appellant openly accompanied her all the way to the gate of the house where they eventually
parted ways. This is inconceivable. It is not the natural tendency of a man to remain for long by the
side of the woman he had raped,22 and in public in a highly populated area at that. Given the stealth that
accompanies it and the anxiety to end further exposure at the scene, the logical post-incident impulse of
the felon is to distance himself from his victim as far and as soon as practicable, to avoid discovery and
apprehension. It is to be expected that one who is guilty of a crime would want to dissociate himself from
the person of his victim, the scene of the crime, and from all other things and circumstances related to the
offense which could possibly implicate him or give rise to even the slightest suspicion as to his guilt.
Verily, the guilty flee where no man pursueth.
It is of common knowledge that facts which prove or tend to prove that the accused was at the scene
of the crime are admissible as relevant, on the theory that such presence can be appreciated as a
circumstance tending to identify the appellant. 23 Consequently, it is not in accord with human
experience for appellant to have let himself be seen with the complainant immediately after he had
allegedly raped her. 24 It thus behooves this Court to reject the notion that appellant would be so foolhardy
as to accompany complainant up to the gate of the house, considering its strategic locationvis-avis complainant's boarding house which is just across the street, 25 and the PNS schoolbuilding which is
only around thirty meters away. 26
Complainant mentioned in her narration that right after the incident she went directly to her boarding
house where she saw her landlady. Yet, the landlady was never presented as a witness to
corroborate the story of complainant, despite the fact that the former was the very first person she
came in contact with from the time appellant allegedly left her at the gate of the Casantosan
boarding house after her alleged traumatic ordeal. Even though they supposedly did not talk, the
landlady could at least have testified on complainant's physical appearance and to attest to the
theorized fact that indeed she saw complainant on said date and hour, possibly with dishevelled hair,
bloody skirt and all.
We are, therefore, justifiedly inclined to believe appellant's version that it was Mia Taha who invited
him to the boarding house to help her with the monologue she was preparing for the school contest.
This is even consonant with her testimony that appellant fetched her the following day in order to
solicit funds for her candidacy in that same school affair.
In contrast, complainant's professed reason for going to the boarding house is vague and tenuous.
At first, she asserted that she was at the boarding house talking with a friend and then, later, she
said it was her cousin. Subsequently, she again wavered and said that she was not able to talk to
her cousin. Furthermore, she initially stated that on January 21, 1994 at around 7:00 P.M., she was
at the boarding house conversing with her cousin. Then in the course of her narration, she gave
another version and said that when she reached the boarding house it was dark and there was
nobody inside.
The apparent ease with which she changed or adjusted her answers in order to cover up or realign
the same with her prior inconsistent statements is readily apparent from her testimony even on this
single episode, thus:

Q Sometime on January 21, 1994, at about 7:00 o'clock in the


evening, do you remember where you were?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were you?
A I was in the boarding house of Merlylyn Casantosan, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Why were you there?
A I was conversing with my friend there, Sir.
COURT:
Q Conversing with whom?
A With my cousin, Your Honor.
Q Your cousin's name?
A Merlylyn Casantosan, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
PROSECUTOR GUAYCO:
Q You said that this Dane or Danny Godoy raped you, will you please
relate to this Honorable Court how that rape happened?
A On Friday and it was 7:00 o'clock in the evening.
COURT:
Q Of what date?
A January 21, 1994, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
PROSECUTOR GUAYCO:
Q Then what happened?
A I went to the boarding house of my cousin Merlylyn Casantosan. I
passed (through) the kitchen and then when I opened the door
somebody grabbed me suddenly.

xxx xxx xxx


Q During that time were there other people present in that boarding
house where you said Danny Godoy raped you?
A None, Sir.
COURT:
Q So, the house was empty?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q I thought your cousin was there and you were conversing?
A When I went there she was not there, Your Honor. 27 (Corrections
and emphasis supplied.)
2. Complainant testified that appellant raped her through the use of force and intimidation,
specifically by holding a knife to her neck. However, the element of force was not sufficiently
established. The physical facts adverted to by the lower court as corroborative of the prosecution's
theory on the use of force are undoubtedly the medico-legal findings of Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia.
Upon closer scrutiny, however, we find that said findings neither support nor confirm the charge that
rape was so committed through forcible means by appellant against complainant on January 21,
1994.
The reported hymenal laceration which, according to Dr. Divinagracia, was a week old and already
healed, and the conclusion therefrom that complainant had sexual intercourse with a man on the
date which she alleged, do not establish the supposed rape since the same findings and conclusion
are likewise consistent with appellant's admission that coitus took place with the consent of
complainant at Sunset Garden on January 24, 1994. 28Further, rather than substantiating the
prosecution's aforesaid theory and the supposed date of commission of rape, the finding that there were
no evident signs of extra-genital injuries tends, instead, to lend more credence to appellant's claim of
voluntary coition on a later date and the absence of a struggle or the lack of employment of physical
force. 29 In rape of the nature alleged in this case, we repeat, the testimony of the complainant must be
corroborated by physical evidence showing use of force. 30
Thus, on the basis of the laceration inflicted, which is superficial at 6 o'clock position, the aforesaid
medico-legal expert opined that it could not be categorically stated that there was force involved. On
further questioning, he gave a straightforward answer that force was not applied. 31 He also added that
when he examined the patient bodily, he did not see any sign of bruises. 32 The absence of any sign of
physical violence on the complainant's body is an indication of complainant's consent to the act. 33 While
the absence in the medical certificate of external signs of physical injuries on the victim does not
necessarily negate the commission of rape, 34 the instant case is clearly an exception to this rule since
appellant has successfully cast doubt on the veracity of that charge against him.
Even granting ex gratia argumenti that the medical report and the laceration corroborated
complainant's assertion that there was sexual intercourse, of course the same cannot be said as to
the alleged use of force. It has been held that such corroborative evidence is not considered
sufficient, since proof of facts constituting one principal element of the crime is not corroborative
proof of facts necessary to constitute another equally important element of the crime. 35

Complainant testified that she struggled a little but it was not really strong because she was afraid of
appellant. Again assuming that a sexual assault did take place as she claims, we nevertheless
strongly believe that her supposed fear is more imaginary than real. It is evident that complainant did
not use the manifest resistance expected of a woman defending her honor and chastity. 36 She failed
to make any outcry when appellant allegedly grabbed her and dragged her inside the house. There is
likewise no evidence on record that she put up a struggle when appellant forced her to lie on the floor,
removed her panty, opened the zipper of his trousers, and inserted his organ inside her genitals. Neither
did she demonstrate that appellant, in committing the heinous act, subjected her to any force of whatever
nature or form.
Complainant's explanation for her failure to shout or struggle is too conveniently general and ruefully
unconvincing to make this Court believe that she tenaciously resisted the alleged sexual attack on
her by appellant. And, if ever she did put up any struggle or objected at all to the involuntary
intercourse, such was not enough to show the kind of resistance expected of a woman defending
her virtue and honor. 37 Her failure to do anything while allegedly being raped renders doubtful her charge
of rape, 38 especially when we consider the actual mise-en-scene in the context of her asseverations.
There is a rule that the rape victim's panty and blood-stained dress are not essential, and need not
be presented, as they are not indispensable evidence to prove rape. 39 We incline to the view,
however, that this general rule holds true only if there exist other corroborative evidence sufficiently and
convincingly proving the rape charge beyond reasonable doubt. The rule should go the other way where,
as in the present case, the testimony of complainant is inherently weak and no other physical evidence
has been presented to bolster the charge of sexual abuse except for the medical report which, as earlier
discussed, even negated the existence of one of the essential elements of the crime. We cannot,
therefore, escape the irresistible conclusion that the deliberate non-presentation of complainant's bloodstained skirt, if it did exist, should vigorously militate against the prosecution's cause.
II. The conduct of the outraged woman immediately following the alleged assault is of the utmost
importance as tending to establish the truth or falsity of the charge. It may well be doubted whether a
conviction for the offense of rape should even be sustained from the uncorroborated testimony of the
woman unless the court is satisfied beyond doubt that her conduct at the time when the alleged rape
was committed and immediately thereafter was such as might be reasonably expected from her
under all the circumstances of the
case. 40
Complainant said that on the day following the supposed rape, appellant went to her parents' house
and asked permission from them to allow her to go with him to solicit funds for her candidacy.
Nowhere throughout her entire testimony did she aver or imply that appellant was armed and that by
reason thereof she was forced to leave with him. In brief, she was neither threatened nor intimidated
by appellant. Her pretense that she was afraid of the supposed threat previously made by appellant
does not inspire belief since appellant was alone and unarmed on that occasion and there was no
showing of any opportunity for him to make good his threat, even assuming that he had really voiced
any. On the contrary, complainant even admitted that appellant respectfully asked permission from
her parents for her to accompany him.
Complainant's enigmatic behavior after her alleged ravishment can only be described as
paradoxical: it was so strangely normal as to be abnormal. 41 It seems odd, if not incredible, that upon
seeing the person who had allegedly raped her only the day before, she did not accuse, revile or
denounce him, or show rage, revulsion, and disgust. 42 Instead, she meekly went with appellant despite
the presence of her parents and the proximity of neighbors which, if only for such facts, would naturally
have deterred appellant from pursuing any evil design. From her deportment, it does not appear that the
alleged threat made by appellant had instilled any fear in the mind of complainant. Such a nonchalant,

unconcerned attitude is totally at odds with the demeanor that would naturally be expected of a person
who had just suffered the ultimate invasion of her womanhood. 43

III. Rape is a very emotional word, and the natural human reactions to it are categorical: admiration
and sympathy for the courageous female publicly seeking retribution for her outrageous violation,
and condemnation of the rapist. However, being interpreters of the law and dispensers of justice,
judges must look at a rape charge without those proclivities, and deal with it with extreme caution
and circumspection. Judges must free themselves of the natural tendency to be overprotective of
every woman decrying her having been sexually abused, and demanding punishment for the abuser.
While they ought to be cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape victim goes through as she
demands justice, judges should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice
based on the law. 44
The rule, therefore, that this Court generally desists from disturbing the conclusions of the trial court
on the credibility of witnesses 45 will not apply where the evidence of record fails to support or
substantiate the lower court's findings of fact and conclusions; or where the lower court overlooked
certain facts of substance and value that, if considered, would affect the outcome of the case; or where
the disputed decision is based on a misapprehension of facts. 46
The trial court here unfortunately relied solely on the lone testimony of complainant regarding the
January 21, 1994 incident. Indeed, it is easy to allege that one was raped by a man. All that the
victim had to testify to was that appellant poked a knife at her, threatened to kill her if she shouted
and under these threats, undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her. The question then that
confronts the trial court is whether or not complainant's testimony is credible. 47 The technique in
deciphering testimony is not to solely concentrate on isolated parts of that testimony. The correct meaning
of the testimony can often be ascertained only upon a perusal of the entire testimony. Everything stated
by the witness has to be considered in relation to what else has been stated. 48
In the case at bar, the challenged decision definitely leaves much to be desired. The court below
made no serious effort to dispassionately or impartially consider the totality of the evidence for the
prosecution in spite of the teaching in various rulings that in rape cases, the testimony of the
offended party must not be accepted with precipitate credulity. 49 In finding that the crime of rape was
committed, the lower court took into account only that portion of the testimony of complainant regarding
the January 21, 1994 incident and conveniently deleted the rest. Taken singly, there would be reason to
believe that she was indeed raped. But if we are to consider the other portions of her testimony
concerning the events which transpired thereafter, which unfortunately the court a quo wittingly or
unwittingly failed or declined to appreciate, the actual truth could have been readily exposed.
There are easily perceived or discernible defects in complainant's testimony which inveigh against its
being accorded the full credit it was given by the trial court. Considered independently of any other,
the defects might not suffice to overturn the trial court's judgment of conviction; but assessed and
weighed conjointly, as logic and fairness dictate, they exert a powerful compulsion towards reversal
of said judgment. 50 Thus:
1. Complainant said that she was continuously raped by herein appellant at the Sunset Garden and
around three times at Edward's Subdivision. In her sworn statement she made the same allegations.
If this were true, it is inconceivable how the investigating prosecutor could have overlooked these
facts with their obvious legal implications and, instead, filed an information charging appellant with
only one count of rape. The incredibility of complainant's representations is further magnified by the
fact that even the trial court did not believe it, as may be inferred from its failure to consider this
aspect of her testimony, unless we were to uncharitably assume that it was similarly befuddled.

2. She claims that appellant always carried a knife, but it was never explained how she was
threatened with the same in such a manner that she was allegedly always cowed into giving in to his
innumerable sexual demands. We are not unaware that in rape cases, this claim that complainant
now advances appears to be a common testimonial expedient and face-saving subterfuge.
3. According to her, they stayed at Sunset Garden for three days and three nights and that she never
noticed if appellant slept because she never saw him close his eyes. Yet, when asked if she slept
side by side with appellant, complainant admitted that everytime she woke up, appellant was
invariably in bed beside her. 51
4. She alleged that she could never go out of the room because it was always locked and it could not
be opened from the inside. But, this was refuted by complainant's own testimony, as follows:
Q And yet the door could be opened by you from the inside?
A No, Sir, it was locked.
Q Can you describe the lock of that room?
A It's like that of the door where there is a doorknob.
ATTY. EBOL:
Let it be recorded that the lock is a doorknob and may I ask that the
door be locked and opened from the inside.
COURT:
Alright (sic) you go down the witness stand and find out for yourself if
you can open that door from the inside.
CLERK OF COURT:
Witness holding the doorknob.
COURT:
The key is made to open if you are outside, but as you're were (sic)
inside you can open it?
A Yes, sir.
Q Is there no other lock aside from that doorknob that you held?
A There was, Your Honor.
Q What is that?
A The one that slides, Your Honor.

Q And that is used when you are already inside?


A Yes, Your Honor. 52 (Emphases ours.)
5. During their entire stay at the Sunset Garden or even at Edward's Subdivision, beyond
supposedly offering token or futile resistance to the latter's sexual advances, she made no outcry, no
attempt to flee or attract attention to her plight. 53 In her own declaration, complainant mentioned that
when they checked in at Sunset Garden, she saw the cashier at the information counter where appellant
registered. She did not do anything, despite the fact that appellant at that time was admittedly not armed.
She likewise stated that a room boy usually went to their room and brought them food. If indeed she was
bent on fleeing from appellant, she could have grabbed every possible opportunity to escape.
Inexplicably, she did not. What likewise appears puzzling is the prosecution's failure to present these two
people she mentioned and whose testimonies could have bolstered or corroborated complainant's story.
6. When appellant fetched complainant in the afternoon of January 22, 1994, they left the house
together and walked in going to the highway. In her own testimony, complainant stated that appellant
went ahead of her. It is highly improbable, if appellant really had evil motives, that he would be that
careless. It is likewise beyond comprehension that appellant was capable of instilling such fear in
complainant that she could not dare take advantage of the situation, in spite of the laxity of appellant,
and run as far away from him as possible despite all the chances therefor.
7. Helen Taha, the mother of Mia, testified that as a result of the filing of the rape case, complainant
was dropped from school and was not allowed to graduate. This is absurd. Rather than support and
commiserate with the ill-fated victim of rape, it would appear that the school authorities were
heartless people who turned their backs on her and considered her an outcast. That would be
adding insult to injury. But what is more abstruse yet significant is that Mia and her parents were
never heard to complain about this apparent injustice. Such complacency cannot but make one think
and conclude that there must necessarily have been a valid justification for the drastic action taken
by the school and the docile submission thereto by the Taha family.
On the other hand, in evaluating appellant's testimony, the trial court's decision was replete with
sweeping statements and generalizations. It chose to focus on certain portions of appellant's
testimony, declared them to be preposterous and abnormal, and then hastened to conclude that
appellant is indeed guilty. The court in effect rendered a judgment of conviction based, not on the
strength of the prosecution's evidence, but on the weakness of that of the defense, which is totally
repugnant to the elementary and time-honored rule that conviction should be made on the basis of
strong, clear and compelling evidence of the prosecution. 54
IV. The main defense proffered by appellant is that he and complainant were sweethearts. While the
"sweetheart theory" does not often gain favor with this Court, such is not always the case if the hard
fact is that the accused and the supposed victim are, in truth, intimately related except that, as is
usual in most cases, either the relationship is illicit or the victim's parents are against it. It is not
improbable that in some instances, when the relationship is uncovered, the alleged victim or her
parents for that matter would rather take the risk of instituting a criminal action in the hope that the
court would take the cudgels for them than for the woman to admit to her own acts of indiscretion.
And this, as the records reveal, is precisely what happened to appellant.
Appellant's claim that he and complainant were lovers is fortified by the highly credible testimonies of
several witnesses for the defense, viz.:
1. Filomena Pielago testified that on the night of January 21, 1994, she saw appellant and
complainant sitting on a bench in front of the house where the sexual attack allegedly took place,

and the couple were talking intimately. She had warned Mia about the latter's illicit affair with
appellant.
2. Fernando Rubio, an acquaintance of appellant and owner of the house at Edward's Subdivision,
testified that he asked Mia why she decided to have an affair with appellant who is a married man.
Mia answered that she really loves him. 55 He heard her call appellant "Papa". 56 The couple looked
happy and were sweet to each other. 57
3. Benedicto Rubio, the younger brother of Fernando, testified on redirect examination that he asked
Mia if she knew what she getting into and she answered, "Yes;" then he asked her if she really loved
Sir Godoy, and she again answered in the affirmative. When he was trying to give counsel to
appellant, complainant announced that if appellant left her, she would commit suicide. 58 He could see
that the couple were happy together. 59
4. Isagani Virey, who knew appellant because the Municipal Engineering Office where he worked
was located within the premises of PNS, attested that he was able to talk to the couple and that
when he was advising appellant that what he was doing is wrong because he is married and Mia is
his student, complainant reacted by saying that no matter what happened she would not leave
Godoy, and that if she went home her father would kill her. 60 He also observed that they were happy. 61
5. Erna Baradero, a co-teacher of appellant, saw the couple the day before the alleged rape incident,
inside one of the classrooms and they were holding hands, and she heard Mia tell appellant, "Mahal
na mahal kita Sir, iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas tayo." 62 She tried to dissuade complainant
from continuing with her relationship with appellant. 63
The positive allegations of appellant that he was having an intimate relationship with complainant,
which were substantially corroborated by several witnesses, were never successfully confuted. The
rebuttal testimony of complainant merely consisted of bare, unexplained denials of the positive,
definite, consistent and detailed assertions of appellant. 64 Mere denials are self-serving negative
evidence. They cannot obtain evidentiary weight greater than the declarations of credible disinterested
witnesses. 65
Besides, appellant recounted certain facts that only he could have supplied. They were replete with
details which could have been known only to him, thereby lending credence and reliability
thereto. 66 His assertions are more logical, probable and bear the earmarks of truth. This is not to say that
the testimony of appellant should be accorded full credence. His self-interest must have colored his
account, even on the assumption that he could be trusted to stick to the literal truth. Nonetheless, there is
much in his version that does not strain the limits of credulity. More to the point, there is enough to raise
doubts that do appear to have some basis in reality. 67
Thus, the trial court's hasty pontification that appellant's testimony is improbable, ridiculous,
nonsensical and incredible is highly uncalled for. The rule of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not
mandatory. It is not a positive rule of law and is not an inflexible one. 68 It does not apply where there is
sufficient corroboration on many grounds of the testimony and the supposed inconsistencies arise merely
from a desire of the witness to exculpate himself although not completely. 69
Complainant's denial that she and appellant were lovers is belied by the evidence presented by the
defense, the most telling of which are her two handwritten letters, Exhibits "1" and "2", which she
sent to the latter while he was detained at the provincial jail. For analysis and emphasis, said letters
are herein quoted in full:
27 Feb. 94

Dane,
Kumusta kana? Kong ako hito hindi na makatiis sa sakit.
Sir, sumulat ako sa inyo dahil gusto kong malaman mo ang situation ko. Sir, kong
mahal mo ako gagawa kang paraan na mailayo ako dito sa bahay. nalaman ng
nanay at tatay ko na delayed ang mens ko ng one week. pinapainom nila ako ng
pampalaglag pero ayaw ko. pagnalaman nila na hindi ko ininom ang gamot
sinasaktan nila ako.
Sir, kong maari ay huwag ng maabutan ng Martes. dahil naabutan nila akong
maglayas sana ako. kaya ngayon hindi ako makalabas ng bahay kong wala akong
kasama, kong gaano sila kahigpit noon doble pa ngayon. ang mga gamit ko ngayon
ay wala sa lalagyan ko. tinago nila hindi ko makita, ang narito lang ay ang bihisan
kong luma. Sir kong manghiram ka kaya ng motor na gagamitin sa pagkuha sa akin.
Sa lunes ng gabi manonood kami Ng Veta eksakto alas 9:00 ay dapat dito ka sa
lugar na may Veta. tanungin mo lang kay Lorna kong saan ang Veta nila Navoor
Lozot. Mag busina ka lang ng tatlo bilang senyas na lalabas na ako at huwag kang
tatapat ng bahay dahil nandoon ang kuya ko. kong ano ang disisyon mo maari bang
magsulat ka at ipahatid kay Lorna.
alang-alang sa bata. Baka makainon ako ng gamot dahil baka pagkain ko hahaluan
nila.
Please sir . . .
(Sgd.)
Mia
Taha 70
3/1/94

Dane,
I'm sorry kong problem ang ipinadala o sinulat sa iyo sa halip sa kasiyahan. oo nag
usap na tayo nagawa ko lang naman ang sumulat sa iyo dahil naiinis na ako sa
pagmumukha ng mga magulang kong suwapang. Ang paglayas ko sana ay dahil sa
narinig ko. Sir narinig ko na magreklamo si nanay kay Arquero yong superentende sa
Palawan high tapos ang sabi ay magreklamo itong si Arquero sa DECS para
matanggal ka sa pagtuturo yan ang dahilan kong bakit naisipan kong lumayas ng
wala sa oras at wala akong tensyon na masama laban so iyo. hindi ko sinabi sa
kanila na delayed ako ay sinabi sa iyo ni Eden na sa harap niya mismo binigyan ako
ng gamot samantalang noong Sabado ng gabi lang nalaman dahil gusto kong
masuka. Oo aaminin ko nagkasala ako sa iyo, pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako
sa mga magulang ko nadala nila ako sa sulsul nila. hindi ko naipaglaban ang dapat
kong ipaglaban ngunit kong iniisip mong minahal lang kita dahil sa may kailangan
lang ako sa iyo nagkakamali ka. alam ng Diyos na hindi ganon ang hangarin ko sa
iyo. higit pa sa binilanggo ang kalagayan ko kong alam mo. kinukunsinsiya, nagtitiis
na saktan at pagsasakripisyo ng damdamin ko na gusto kang makita at yakapin ka
pero ano ang magagawa ko kong ang paglabas ko ng bahay ay hindi ako makalabas
ng mag isa may guardiya pa. tanungin mo si Lorna kong ano ginagawa nilang
pagbantay sa akin para akong puganti. hindi ito ayon sa kagustuhan ng mga

magulang ko sarili kong plano ito. Magtitiis pa ba akong hindi makakain maghapon
tubig lang ang laman ng tiyan, kong may masama akong hangarin sa iyo.
Oo, magtiis ako para maipakita kong mahal rin kita. March 2 darating ako sa bahay
na sinasabi mo. hindi ko matiyak kong anong oras dahil kukuha pa ako ng tiyempo
na wala rito ang tatay ko. Alam mo bang pati ang kapatid kong si Rowena ay
inuutusan akong lumayas dahil naawa no siya sa situation ko. siya lang ang kakampi
ko rito sa bahay malaki ang pag-asa kong makalabas ako ng bahay sa tulong niya.
Love
you
(Sgd.)
Mia
Taha 71
There is absolutely nothing left to the imagination. The letters eloquently speak for themselves. It
was complainant's handwriting which spilled the beans, so to speak. Aside from appellant, two other
defense witnesses identified the handwriting on the letters as belonging to Mia Taha. They are
Filomena Pielago and Erna Baradero who were admittedly the former teachers of complainant and
highly familiar with her handwriting. The greatest blunder committed by the trial court was in ignoring
the testimonies of these qualified witnesses and refusing to give any probative value to these two
vital pieces of evidence, on the dubious and lame pretext that no handwriting expert was presented
to analyze and evaluate the same.
Well-entrenched by now is the rule that resort to questioned document examiners, more familiarly
called handwriting experts, is not mandatory. Handwriting experts, while probably useful, are not
indispensable in examining or comparing handwriting. 72 This is so since under Section 22, Rule 132 of
the Rules of Court, the handwriting of a person may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the
handwriting of such person, because he has seen the person write, or has seen writing purporting to be
his upon which the witness has acted or been charged, and has thus acquired knowledge of the
handwriting of such person. The said section further provides that evidence respecting the 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 or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of
the judge. 73
The defense witnesses were able to identify complainant's handwriting on the basis of the
examination papers submitted to them by her in their respective subjects. This Court has likewise
carefully examined and compared the handwriting on the letters with the standard writing appearing
on the test papers as specimens for comparison and, contrary to the observations and conclusions
of the lower court, we are convinced beyond doubt that they were written by one and the same
person. More importantly, complainant herself categorically admitted that the handwriting on the
questioned letters belongs to her.
It is, therefore, extremely disconcerting, to say the least, why the trial court again chose to turn a
deaf ear to this conclusive portion of complainant's testimony:
ATTY. EBOL:
Q Did I get you right on rebuttal that Mrs. Erna Baradero and
Filomena Pielago were your teachers?

A Yes, sir.
Q And they have been your teachers for several months before this
incident of January 21, 1994, am I not correct?
A That is true, sir.
Q And you have (sic) during these past months that they have been
your teachers you took examinations in their classes in their particular
subject(s)?
A Yes, sir.
Q And some of those test papers are in the possession of your
teachers, am I correct?
A Yes, sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4" previously marked as Exhibit "4", it
appears to be your test paper and with your signature and the
alphabet appears in this exhibit appears to be that of Mia Taha,
please examine this and tell the Honorable Court if that is your test
paper?
A Yes, sir.
Q That signature Mia Taha I understand is also your signature?
A Yes, sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4-A", will you please examine this Exhibit
"4-A" and tell this Honorable Court if you are familiar with that.
A What subject is that?
Q I am just asking you whether you are familiar with that.
A I cannot remember if I have this kind of subject, sir.
Q How about this signature Mia Taha, are you not familiar with that
signature?
A That is min(e), sir.
Q I will show you Exhibit "4-C" which appears to be that in Math, are
you familiar with that signature?
A Yes, sir.
Q That is your signature?

A Yes, sir.
Q In fact, these letters in alphabet here are in your own handwriting?
A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q You will deny this Exhibit "1" your signature?
xxx xxx xxx
Q You will deny that this is your handwriting?
A That is my handwriting, sir.
Q Also Exhibit "2"?
A Yes, sir. 74
While rebuttal witness Lorna Casantosan insisted that she never delivered any letter of complainant
to herein appellant, the witness presented by the defense on sur-rebuttal, Armando Pasion, who was
the guard on duty at the provincial jail at that time, testified of his own accord because he knew that
what Casantosan said was a blatant lie. Appellant never talked to Amando Pasion nor requested him
to testify for the defense, as related by the witness himself. Hence, there exists no reason
whatsoever to disbelieve the testimony of witness Pasion to the effect that Lorna Casantosan
actually went to visit appellant in jail and in truth handed to him what turned out to be the letters
marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" for the defense.
V. The prosecution insists that the offer of compromise made by appellant is deemed to be an
admission of guilt. This inference does not arise in the instant case. In criminal cases, an offer of
compromise is generally admissible as evidence against the party making it. It is a legal maxim,
which assuredly constitutes one of the bases of the right to penalize, that in the matter of public
crimes which directly affect the public interest, no compromise whatever may be entered into as
regards the penal action. It has long been held, however, that in such cases the accused is permitted
to show that the offer was not made under a consciousness of guilt, but merely to avoid the
inconvenience of imprisonment or for some other reason which would justify a claim by the accused
that the offer to compromise was not in truth an admission of his guilt or an attempt to avoid the legal
consequences which would ordinarily ensue therefrom. 75
A primary consideration here is that the evidence for the defense overwhelmingly proves appellant's
innocence of the offense charged. Further, the supposed offer of marriage did not come from
appellant but was actually suggested by a certain Naem, who is an imam or Muslim leader and who
likewise informed appellant that he could be converted into a Muslim so he could marry complainant.
As a matter of fact, when said offer was first made to appellant, he declined because of the fact that
he was already married. On top of these, appellant did not know, not until the trial proper, that his
mother actually paid P30,000.00 for the settlement of these cases. Complainant's own mother, Helen
Taha, testified that present during the negotiations were herself, her husband, Mia, and appellant's
mother. Appellant himself was never present in any of said meetings. 76

It has been held that where the accused was not present at the time the offer for monetary
consideration was made, such offer of compromise would not save the day for the prosecution. 77 In
another case, this Court ruled that no implied admission can be drawn from the efforts to arrive at a
settlement outside the court, where the accused did not take part in any of the negotiations and the effort
to settle the case was in accordance with the established tribal customs, that is, Muslim practices and
traditions, in an effort to prevent further deterioration of the relations between the parties. 78
VI. Generally, an affidavit of desistance by the complainant is not looked upon with favor. It may,
however, create serious doubts as to the liability of appellant, especially if it corroborates appellant's
explanation about the filing of criminal charges. 79
In the cases at bar, the letters written by complainant to appellant are very revealing. Most probably
written out of desperation and exasperation with the way she was being treated by her parents,
complainant threw all caution to the winds when she wrote: "Oo, aaminin ko nagkasala ako sa iyo,
pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako sa mga magulang ko nadala nila ako sa sulsul nila, hindi ko
naipaglaban ang dapat kong ipaglaban," obviously referring to her ineptitude and impotence in
helping appellant out of his predicament. It could, therefore, be safely presumed that the rape charge
was merely an offshoot of the discovery by her parents of the intimate relationship between her and
appellant. In order to avoid retribution from her parents, together with the moral pressure exerted
upon her by her mother, she was forced to concoct her account of the alleged rape.
The Court takes judicial cognizance of the fact that in rural areas in the Philippines, young ladies are
strictly required to act with circumspection and prudence. Great caution is observed so that their
reputations shall remain untainted. Any breath of scandal which brings dishonor to their character
humiliates their entire families. 80 It could precisely be that complainant's mother wanted to save face in
the community where everybody knows everybody else, and in an effort to conceal her daughter's
indiscretion and escape the wagging tongues of their small rural community, she had to weave the
scenario of this rape drama.
Although the trial court did observe that a mother would not sacrifice her daughter to tell a story of
defloration, that is not always the case as this Court has noted a long time ago. The books disclose
too many instances of false charges of rape. 81 While this Court has, in numerous cases, affirmed the
judgments of conviction rendered by trial courts in rape charges, especially where the offended parties
were very young and presumptively had no ill motives to concoct a story just to secure indictments for a
crime as grave as rape, the Court has likewise reversed judgments of conviction and acquitted the
accused when there are strong indications pointing to the possibility that the rape charges were merely
motivated by some factors except the truth as to their commission. 82 This is a case in point. The Court,
therefore, cannot abdicate its duty to declare that the prosecution has failed to meet the exacting test of
moral certainty and proof of guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
This is not to say that the Court approves of the conduct of appellant. Indisputably, he took
advantage of complainant's feelings for him and breached his vow of fidelity to his wife. As her
teacher, he should have acted as adviser and counselor to complainant and helped her develop in
manners and virtue instead of corrupting her.83 Hence, even as he is freed from physical detention in a
prison as an instrument of human justice, he remains in the spiritual confinement of his conscience as a
measure of divine retribution. Additionally, these ruminations do not rule out such other legal options
against him as may be available in the arsenal of statutory law.
VII. The trial court, in holding for conviction, relied on the presumptio hominis that a young Filipina
will not charge a person with rape if it is not true. In the process, however, it totally disregarded the
more paramount constitutional presumption that an accused is deemed innocent until proven
otherwise.

It frequently happens that in a particular case two or more presumptions are involved. Sometimes
the presumptions conflict, one tending to demonstrate the guilt of the accused and the other his
innocence. In such case, it is necessary to examine the basis for each presumption and determine
what logical or social basis exists for each presumption, and then determine which should be
regarded as the more important and entitled to prevail over the other. It must, however, be
remembered that the existence of a presumption indicating guilt does not in itself destroy the
presumption against innocence unless the inculpating presumption, together with all of the evidence,
or the lack of any evidence or explanation, is sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence by
proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Until the defendant's guilt is shown in this
manner, the presumption of innocence continues. 84
The rationale for the presumption of guilt in rape cases has been explained in this wise:
In rape cases especially, much credence is accorded the testimony of the
complaining witness, on the theory that she will not choose to accuse her attacker at
all and subject herself to the stigma and indignities her accusation will entail unless
she is telling the truth. The rape victim who decides to speak up exposes herself as a
woman whose virtue has been not only violated but also irreparably sullied. In the
eyes of a narrow-minded society, she becomes a cheapened woman, never mind
that she did not submit to her humiliation and has in fact denounced her assailant. At
the trial, she will be the object of lascivious curiosity. People will want to be titillated
by the intimate details of her violation. She will squirm through her testimony as she
describes how her honor was defiled, relating every embarrassing movement of the
intrusion upon the most private parts of her body. Most frequently, the defense will
argue that she was not forced to submit but freely conjoined in the sexual act. Her
motives will be impugned. Her chastity will be challenged and maligned. Whatever
the outcome of the case, she will remain a tainted woman, a pariah because her
purity has been lost, albeit through no fault of hers. This is why many a rape victim
chooses instead to keep quiet, suppressing her helpless indignation rather than
denouncing her attacker. This is also the reason why, if a woman decides instead to
come out openly and point to her assailant, courts
are prone to believe that she is telling the truth regardless of its consequences. . . . 85
The presumption of innocence, on the other hand, is founded upon the first principles of justice, and
is not a mere form but a substantial part of the law. It is not overcome by mere suspicion or
conjecture; a probability that the defendant committed the crime; nor by the fact that he had the
opportunity to do so. 86 Its purpose is to balance the scales in what would otherwise be an uneven
contest between the lone individual pitted against the People and all the resources at their command. Its
inexorable mandate is that, for all the authority and influence of the prosecution, the accused must be
acquitted and set free if his guilt cannot be proved beyond the whisper of a doubt. 87 This is in consonance
with the rule that conflicts in evidence must be resolved upon the theory of innocence rather than upon a
theory of guilt when it is possible to do so. 88
On the basis of the foregoing doctrinal tenets and principles, and in conjunction with the
overwhelming evidence in favor of herein appellant, we do not encounter any difficulty in concluding
that the constitutional presumption on the innocence of an accused must prevail in this particular
indictment.
B. The Kidnapping/Illegal Detention Case
It is basic that for kidnapping to exist, there must be indubitable proof that the actual intent of the
malefactor was to deprive the offended party of her liberty. 89 In the present charge for that crime, such

intent has not at all been established by the prosecution. Prescinding from the fact that the Taha spouses
desisted from pursuing this charge which they themselves instituted, several grave and irreconcilable
inconsistencies bedevil the prosecution's evidence thereon and cast serious doubts on the guilt of
appellant, as hereunder explained:

To recall, complainant testified that appellant by himself went to fetch her at her parents' house the
day after the alleged rape incident. In her own words, appellant courteously asked her parents to
permit her to help him solicit contributions for her candidacy. When they left the house, appellant
walked ahead of her, obviously with her parents and their neighbors witnessing their departure. It is
difficult to comprehend how one could deduce from these normal and innocuous arrangement any
felonious intent of appellant to deprive complainant of her liberty. One will look in vain for a case
where a kidnapping was committed under such inauspicious circumstances as described by
complainant.
Appellant declared that when they left the house of the Taha family, complainant was bringing with
her a plastic bag which later turned out to contain her clothes. This bag was left behind by Mia at
Edward's Subdivision, as hereinbefore noted, and was later delivered to appellant by Benedicto
Rubio. Again, we cannot conceive of a ridiculous situation where the kidnap victim was first allowed
to prepare and pack her clothes, as if she was merely leaving for a pleasant sojourn with the
criminal, all these with the knowledge and consent of her parents who passively looked on without
comment.
Complainant alleged that appellant always kept her locked inside the room which they occupied,
whether at Sunset Garden or at Edward's Subdivision, and that she could not unlock the door from
the inside. We must, however, recall that when she was asked on cross-examination about the kind
of lock that was used, she pointed to the doorknob of the courtroom. The court then ordered that the
door of the courtroom be locked and then asked complainant to open it from the inside. She was
easily able to do so and, in fact, she admitted that the two locks in the room at Sunset Garden could
also be opened from the inside in the same manner. This demonstrably undeniable fact was never
assailed by the prosecution. It also failed to rebut the testimony of Fernando Rubio that the room
which was occupied by the couple at Edward's Subdivision could not even be locked because the
lock thereof was broken.
When the couple transferred to Edward's Subdivision, they walked along the national highway in
broad daylight. Complainant, therefore, had more than ample opportunity to seek the help of other
people and free herself from appellant if it were true that she was forcibly kidnapped and abused by
the latter. 90 In fact, several opportunities to do so had presented themselves from the time they left
complainant's home and during their extended stay in the hotel and in the lodging house.
According to appellant, he went to see the parents of complainant the day after they went to Sunset
Garden to inform them that Mia spent the night in said place. This was neither denied nor impugned
by Helen Taha, her husband, or any other person. On the other hand, the allegation of Helen Taha
that she made a report to the police about her missing daughter was not supported by any
corroborative evidence, such as the police blotter, nor was the police officer to whom she allegedly
reported the incident ever identified or presented in court.
We agree with appellant's contention that the prosecution failed to prove any motive on his part for
the commission of the crime charged. In one case, this Court rejected the kidnapping charge where
there was not the slightest hint of a motive for the crime. 91 It is true that, as a rule, the motive of the
accused in a criminal case is immaterial and, not being an element of a crime, it does not have to be
proved. 92 Where, however, the evidence is weak, without any motive being disclosed by the evidence, the
guilt of the accused becomes open to a reasonable doubt and, hence, an acquittal is in order. 93 Nowhere
in the testimony of either the complainant or her mother can any ill motive of a criminal nature be

reasonably drawn. What actually transpired was an elopement or a lovers' tryst, immoral though it may
be.

As a closing note, we are bewildered by the trial court's refusal to admit in evidence the bag of
clothes belonging to complainant which was presented and duly identified by the defense, on its
announced supposition that the clothes could have easily been bought from a department store.
Such preposterous reasoning founded on a mere surmise or speculation, aside from the fact that on
rebuttal the prosecution did not even seek to elicit an explanation or clarification from complainant
about said clothes, strengthens and reinforces our impression of an apparently whimsical exercise of
discretion by the court below. Matters which could have been easily verified were thus cavalierly
dismissed and supplanted by a conjecture, and on such inferential basis a conclusion was then
drawn by said court.
We accordingly deem it necessary to reiterate an early and highly regarded disquisition of this Court
against the practice of excluding evidence in the erroneous manner adopted by the trial court:
It has been observed that justice is most effectively and expeditiously administered
where trivial objections to the admission of proof are received with least favor. The
practice of excluding evidence on doubtful objections to its materiality or technical
objections to the form of the questions should be avoided. In a case of any intricacy it
is impossible for a judge of first instance, in the early stages of the development of
the proof, to know with any certainty whether the testimony is relevant or not; and
where there is no indication of bad faith on the part of the attorney offering the
evidence, the court may as a rule safely accept the testimony upon the statement of
the attorney that the proof offered will be connected later. Moreover, it must be
remembered that in the heat of the battle over which he presides, a judge of first
instance may possibly fall into error in judging the relevancy of proof where a fair and
logical connection is in fact shown. When such a mistake is made and the proof is
erroneously ruled out, the Supreme Court, upon appeal, often finds itself
embarrassed and possibly unable to correct the effects of the error without returning
the case for a new trial, a step which this court is always very loath to take. On the
other hand, the admission of proof in a court of first instance, even if the question as
to its form, materiality, or relevancy is doubtful, can never result in much harm to
either litigant, because the trial judge is supposed to know the law and it is its duty,
upon final consideration of the case, to distinguish the relevant and material from the
irrelevant and immaterial. If this course is followed and the cause is prosecuted to the
Supreme Court upon appeal, this court then has all the materials before it necessary
to make a correct judgment. 94
At any rate, despite that procedural lapse, we find in the records of these cases sufficient and
substantial evidence which warrant and demand the acquittal of appellant. Apropos thereto, we take
this opportunity to repeat this age-old observation and experience of mankind on the penological and
societal effect of capital punishment: If it is justified, it serves as a deterrent; if injudiciously imposed,
it generates resentment.
Finally, we are constrained to reiterate here that Republic Act No. 7659 which reimposed the death
penalty on certain heinous crimes took effect on December 31, 1993, that is, fifteen days after its
publication in the December 16, 1993 issues of the Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Malaya and
Philippine Times Journal, 95 and not on January 1, 1994 as is sometimes misinterpreted.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and accusedappellant Danny Godoy is hereby ACQUITTED of the crimes of rape and kidnapping with serious

illegal detention charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 11640 and 11641 of the Regional Trial Court for
Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 49. It is hereby ORDERED that he be released forthwith,
unless he is otherwise detained for any other valid cause.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 122480

April 12, 2000

BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, Inc., petitioner,


vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, COURT OF TAX APPEALS and the COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE,respondents.

PANGANIBAN, J.:
If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it
apply the same standard against itself in refunding excess payments. When it is undisputed that a
taxpayer is entitled to a refund, the State should not invoke technicalities to keep money not
belonging to it. No one, not even the State, should enrich oneself at the expense of another.
The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review assailing the March 31, 1995 Decision of the Court of
Appeals1 (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 34240, which affirmed the December 24, 1993 Decision 2 of the
Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). The CA disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of
merit.3
On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the CTA Decision affirmed by the CA reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, in [view of] all the foregoing, Petitioner's claim for refund is hereby DENIED
and this Petition for Review is DISMISSED for lack of merit. 4
Also assailed is the November 8, 1995 CA Resolution5 denying reconsideration.
The Facts
The facts of this case were summarized by the CA in this wise:
This case involves a claim for tax refund in the amount of P112,491.00 representing
petitioner's tax withheld for the year 1989.
In its Corporate Annual Income Tax Return for the year 1989, the following items are
reflected:
Income P1,017,931,831.00

Deductions P1,026,218,791.00
Net Income (Loss) (P8,286,960.00)
Taxable Income (Loss) (P8,286,960.00)
Less:
1988 Tax Credit P185,001.00
1989 Tax Credit P112,491.00
TOTAL AMOUNT P297,492.00
REFUNDABLE
It appears from the foregoing 1989 Income Tax Return that petitioner had a total
refundable amount of P297,492 inclusive of the P112,491.00 being claimed as tax
refund in the present case. However, petitioner declared in the same 1989 Income
Tax Return that the said total refundable amount of P297,492.00 will be applied
as tax credit to the succeeding taxable year.
On October 11, 1990, petitioner filed a written claim for refund in the amount of
P112,491.00 with the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue alleging that it
did not apply the 1989 refundable amount of P297,492.00 (including P112,491.00) to
its 1990 Annual Income Tax Return or other tax liabilities due to the alleged business
losses it incurred for the same year.
Without waiting for respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue to act on the claim
for refund, petitioner filed a petition for review with respondent Court of Tax Appeals,
seeking the refund of the amount of P112,491.00.
The respondent Court of Tax Appeals dismissed petitioner's petition on the ground
that petitioner failed to present as evidence its corporate Annual Income Tax Return
for 1990 to establish the fact that petitioner had not yet credited the amount of
P297,492.00 (inclusive of the amount P112,491.00 which is the subject of the
present controversy) to its 1990 income tax liability.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, however, the same was denied by
respondent court in its Resolution dated May 6, 1994. 6
As earlier noted, the CA affirmed the CTA. Hence, this Petition. 7
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
In affirming the CTA, the Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
It is incumbent upon the petitioner to show proof that it has not credited to its 1990
Annual income Tax Return, the amount of P297,492.00 (including P112,491.00), so
as to refute its previous declaration in the 1989 Income Tax Return that the said

amount will be applied as a tax credit in the succeeding year of 1990. Having failed
to submit such requirement, there is no basis to grant the claim for refund. . . .
Tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions. As such, they are regarded as in
derogation of sovereign authority and to be construed strictissimi juris against the
person or entity claiming the exemption. In other words, the burden of proof rests
upon the taxpayer to establish by sufficient and competent evidence its entitlement to
the claim for refund.8
Issue
In their Memorandum, respondents identify the issue in this wise:
The sole issue to be resolved is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the refund of
P112,491.90, representing excess creditable withholding tax paid for the taxable year 1989. 9
The Court's Ruling
The Petition is meritorious.
Main Issue:
Petitioner Entitled to Refund
It is undisputed that petitioner had excess withholding taxes for the year 1989 and was thus entitled
to a refund amounting to P112,491. Pursuant to Section 69 10 of the 1986 Tax Code which states that
a corporation entitled to a refund may opt either (1) to obtain such refund or (2) to credit said amount
for the succeeding taxable year, petitioner indicated in its 1989 Income Tax Return that it would apply
the said amount as a tax credit for the succeeding taxable year, 1990. Subsequently, petitioner
informed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it would claim the amount as a tax refund,
instead of applying it as a tax credit. When no action from the BIR was forthcoming, petitioner filed
its claim with the Court of Tax Appeals.
The CTA and the CA, however, denied the claim for tax refund. Since petitioner declared in its 1989
Income Tax Return that it would apply the excess withholding tax as a tax credit for the following
year, the Tax Court held that petitioner was presumed to have done so. The CTA and the CA ruled
that petitioner failed to overcome this presumption because it did not present its 1990 Return, which
would have shown that the amount in dispute was not applied as a tax credit. Hence, the CA
concluded that petitioner was not entitled to a tax refund.
We disagree with the Court of Appeals. As a rule, the factual findings of the appellate court are
binding on this Court. This rule, however, does not apply where, inter alia, the judgment is premised
on a misapprehension of facts, or when the appellate court failed to notice certain relevant facts
which if considered would justify a different conclusion. 11 This case is one such exception.
In the first place, petitioner presented evidence to prove its claim that it did not apply the amount as
a tax credit. During the trial before the CTA, Ms. Yolanda Esmundo, the manager of petitioner's
accounting department, testified to this fact. It likewise presented its claim for refund and a
certification issued by Mr. Gil Lopez, petitioner's vice-president, stating that the amount of P112,491
"has not been and/or will not be automatically credited/offset against any succeeding quarters'

income tax liabilities for the rest of the calendar year ending December 31, 1990." Also presented
were the quarterly returns for the first two quarters of 1990.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue, for its part, failed to controvert petitioner's claim. In fact, it
presented no evidence at all. Because it ought to know the tax records of all taxpayers, the CIR
could have easily disproved petitioner's claim. To repeat, it did not do so.
More important, a copy of the Final Adjustment Return for 1990 was attached to petitioner's Motion
for Reconsideration filed before the CTA. 12 A final adjustment return shows whether a corporation
incurred a loss or gained a profit during the taxable year. In this case, that Return clearly showed
that petitioner incurred P52,480,173 as net loss in 1990. Clearly, it could not have applied the
amount in dispute as a tax credit.
Again, the BIR did not controvert the veracity of the said return. It did not even file an opposition to
petitioner's Motion and the 1990 Final Adjustment Return attached thereto. In denying the Motion for
Reconsideration, however, the CTA ignored the said Return. In the same vein, the CA did not pass
upon that significant document.
True, strict procedural rules generally frown upon the submission of the Return after the trial. The
law creating the Court of Tax Appeals, however, specifically provides that proceedings before it "shall
not be governed strictly by the technical rules of evidence." 13 The paramount consideration remains
the ascertainment of truth. Verily, the quest for orderly presentation of issues is not an absolute. It
should not bar courts from considering undisputed facts to arrive at a just determination of a
controversy.
1wphi1

In the present case, the Return attached to the Motion for Reconsideration clearly showed that
petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990. Contrary to the holding of the CA and the CTA, petitioner could
not have applied the amount as a tax credit. In failing to consider the said Return, as well as the
other documentary evidence presented during the trial, the appellate court committed a reversible
error.
It should be stressed that the rationale of the rules of procedure is to secure a just determination of
every action. They are tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. 14 But there can be no just
determination of the present action if we ignore, on grounds of strict technicality, the Return
submitted before the CTA and even before this Court. 15 To repeat, the undisputed fact is that
petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990; accordingly, it incurred no tax liability to which the tax credit
could be applied. Consequently, there is no reason for the BIR and this Court to withhold the tax
refund which rightfully belongs to the petitioner.
Public respondents maintain that what was attached to petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration was
not the final adjustment Return, but petitioner's first two quarterly returns for 1990. 16 This allegation
is wrong. An examination of the records shows that the 1990 Final Adjustment Return was attached
to the Motion for Reconsideration. On the other hand, the two quarterly returns for 1990 mentioned
by respondent were in fact attached to the Petition for Review filed before the CTA. Indeed, to rebut
respondents' specific contention, petitioner submitted before us its Surrejoinder, to which was
attached the Motion for Reconsideration and Exhibit "A" thereof, the Final Adjustment Return for
1990. 17
CTA Case No. 4897
Petitioner also calls the attention of this Court, as it had done before the CTA, to a Decision rendered
by the Tax Court in CTA Case No. 4897, involving its claim for refund for the year 1990. In that case,

the Tax Court held that "petitioner suffered a net loss for the taxable year 1990 . . . ."
however, urges this Court not to take judicial notice of the said case. 19

18

Respondent,

As a rule, "courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of the records of other
cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and
notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending before the
same judge." 20
Be that as it may, Section 2, Rule 129 provides that courts may take judicial notice of matters ought
to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. In this case, the Court notes that a copy of
the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 was attached to the Petition for Review filed before this Court.
Significantly, respondents do not claim at all that the said Decision was fraudulent or nonexistent.
Indeed, they do not even dispute the contents of the said Decision, claiming merely that the Court
cannot take judicial notice thereof.
To our mind, respondents' reasoning underscores the weakness of their case. For if they had really
believed that petitioner is not entitled to a tax refund, they could have easily proved that it did not
suffer any loss in 1990. Indeed, it is noteworthy that respondents opted not to assail the fact
appearing therein that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990 in the same way that it refused to
controvert the same fact established by petitioner's other documentary exhibits.
In any event, the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 is not the sole basis of petitioner's case. It is
merely one more bit of information showing the stark truth: petitioner did not use its 1989 refund to
pay its taxes for 1990.
Finally, respondents argue that tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions and are to be
construedstrictissimi juris against the claimant. Under the facts of this case, we hold that petitioner
has established its claim. Petitioner may have failed to strictly comply with the rules of procedure; it
may have even been negligent. These circumstances, however, should not compel the Court to
disregard this cold, undisputed fact: that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990, and that it could not
have applied the amount claimed as tax credits.
Substantial justice, equity and fair play are on the side of petitioner. Technicalities and legalisms,
however exalted, should not be misused by the government to keep money not belonging to it and
thereby enrich itself at the expense of its law-abiding citizens. If the State expects its taxpayers to
observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it apply the same standard against itself
in refunding excess payments of such taxes. Indeed, the State must lead by its own example of
honor, dignity and uprightness.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision and Resolution of the
Court of Appeals REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is ordered to
refund to petitioner the amount of P112,491 as excess creditable taxes paid in 1989. No costs.
1wphi1.nt

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-8200

March 17, 1914

LEONARD LUCIDO, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
GELASIO CALUPITAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Pedro Guevara for appellants.
Ramon Diokno for appellee.
TRENT, J.:
In this case it appears that some chattels and real estate belonging to the plaintiff, Lucido, were
regularly sold at an execution sale on February 10, 1903, to one Rosales, who the text day
transferred a one-half interest in the property of Zolaivar. On March 30, 1903, a public document was
executed and signed by all of the above parties and the defendant, Gelasio Calupitan, wherein it
was stated that Rosales and Zolaivar, with the consent of Lucido, sold all their rights had obligation
pertaining to the property in question to Calupitan for the amount of the purchase price together with
1 per cent per month interest thereon up to the time of redemption, or 1,687 Mexican dollars, plus
33.74 Mexican dollars, the amount of the interest. It will be observed that the computation of the
transfer price is in accordance with section 465 of the Code of Civil Procedure. On the same day
Lucido and Calupitan executed the following document:
I, Gelasio Calupitan y Agarao, married, certify that I have delivered this statement to
Leonardo Lucido y Vidal to witness that his lands, which appear in the instrument I hold from
the deputy sheriff and for which he has accepted money from me, I have ceded to him all the
irrigated lands until such time as he may repurchase all said lands from me (not only he
irrigated ones), as also the Vienna chairs, the five-lamp chandelier, a lamp stand, two wall
tables, and a marble table; no coconut tree on said irrigated land is included. Apart from this,
our real agreement is to permit three (3) whole year to elapse, reckoned from the date of this
instrument, which has been drawn up n duplicate, before he may redeem or repurchase
them from me.
The lower court held that this document constituted a sale with the right to conventional redemption
set forth in articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code. The present action not having been instituted until
February 17, 1910, the fur the question arose as to whether the redemption period had expired,
which the lower court decided in the negative. The lower court further found as a fact that Lucido had
prior to the institution of the action offered the redemption price to the defendant, who refused it, and
that this offer was a sufficient compliance with article 1518 of the Civil Code. The decision of the
lower court was that the property in question should be returned to the plaintiff. From this judgment
the defendant appealed, and all three of the above rulings of the court are assigned as errors.
1. Considerable doubt might arise as to the correctness of the ruling of the lower court upon the first
question, if the document executed by the execution purchasers and the parties to this action stood
alone. In that document it appears that Calupitan acquired the rights and obligations of the execution
purchasers pertaining to the property in question. These rights and obligations are defined in the
Code of Civil Procedure to be the ownership of the property sold, subject only to the right of
redemption on the part of the judgment debtor or a redemptioner, within one year from the date of
the sale. (Secs. 463-465, Code Civ. Proc.) Were this the nature of the transaction between the
parties, however, the intervention of Lucido in the transfer would be wholly unnecessary. Hence, the
fact that he intervened as an interested party is at least some indication that the parties intended
something more or different by the document in question than a simple assignment of the rights and
obligations of the execution purchasers to a third person.

Any doubt, however, as to the character of this transaction is removed by the agreement entered into
between Lucido and calupitan on the same day. In this document it is distinctly stipulated that the
right to redeem the property is preserved to Lucido, to be exercised after the expiration of three
years. The right to repurchase must necessary imply a former ownership of the property.
Further indication that Calupitan himself considered this transaction as a sale with the right to
conventional redemption is to be found in his original answer to the complaint. This original answer
was introduced in evidence by the plaintiff over the objection of the defendant. Its admission was
proper, especially in view of the fact that it was signed by Calupitan himself, who was the time acting
as his own attorney.
Jones on evidence (secs. 272, 273), after remarking that the earlier cases were not in harmony on
the point, says:
Many of the cases holding that pleadings inadmissible as admissions were based on the
theory that most of the allegations were merely pleader's matter -- fiction stated by counsel
and sanctioned by the courts. The whole modern tendency is to reject this view and to treat
pleadings as statements of the real issues in the cause and hence as admissions of the
parties, having weight according to the circumstances of each case. But some of the
authorities still hold that if the pleading is not signed by the party there should be some proof
that he has authorized it.
On the same principles where amended pleadings have been filed, allegations in the original
pleadings are held admissible, but in such case the original pleadings can have no effect,
unless formally offered in evidence.
In this original answer it was expressly stated that the transaction was one of sale with the right to
repurchase governed by the provisions of articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code.
It further appears from the uncontradicted testimony of the plaintiff that he furnished $20 Mexican of
the account necessary to redeem the property from the execution purchasers. It therefore appears
beyond dispute that the redemption of the property from the execution purchasers was made by the
plaintiff himself by means of a loan furnished by the defendant Calupitan, who took possession of
the major portion of the land as his security for its redemption. The ruling of the lower court the
transaction between Lucido and Calupitan was one of purchase and sale with the right to redeem
was therefore correct.
2. By the terms of his agreement with Calupitan the plaintiff could not exercise his right to redeem
the property within three years from March 30, 1903; and the lower court arrived at the date upon
which the right to redeem expired by computing five years from March 30, 1906, on the ground that
there was no express agreement as to how long the right to repurchase, once available, should
continue. Counsel for the appellant admits in his brief that the complaint was filed forty-three days
before the expiration of this period. In accordance with our decision inRosales vs. Reyes and
Ordoveza (25 Phil. Rep., 495), we hold that this ruling of the court was correct.
3. The court held that the plaintiff had actually tendered the redemption price to the defendant
Calupitan. After an examination of the evidence of record as to this finding of fact, we concur therein.
We discussed the legal sufficiency of such tender in the above-cited case of Rosales vs. Reyes and
Ordoveza, and held that it was sufficient. This assignment of error must therefore be held to be
unfounded.

4. The defendants Oreta and Bueno have no interest in the subject matter of this action. it appears
that the defendant Dorado purchased the land from his codefendant Calupitan subsequent to the
tender of the redemption price to the latter by the plaintiff. It does not appear that the property was
ever registered by any one, nor was the document of sale with the right to repurchase registered by
either Calupitan or Lucido. No evidence of the purchase of the land from Calupitan by Dorado is of
record with the exception of the oral testimony although it may be taken as established that such a
sale actually took place, since all the parties interested agree on this point. Dorado himself testified
that he purchased the property with the knowledge that Calupitan had purchased the property from
Lucido subject to the right of redemption and insists that he purchased with the knowledge and
consent of Lucido. Lucido denies that he was aware of the sale of Dorado until after it had taken
place. Upon this state on facts, it is clear that the following provisions of article 1510 of the Civil
Code are applicable:
The vendor may bring his action against every possessor whose right arises that of the
vendee, even though in the second contract no mention should have been made of the
conventional redemption; without prejudice to the provisions of the Mortgage Law with
regard to third persons.
The provisions of the Mortgage Law with regard to third persons are clearly not applicable to
Dorado. (Manresa, vol., 10, p. 317.)
5. The lower court ordered the redelivery of the land to the plaintiff upon his payment to Calupitan of
P1,600, plus the costs entailed in the execution of the document of repurchase. The amount paid to
the purchaser at the execution sale for the redemption of the property was $1,720.74 Mexican. Of
this amount the plaintiff furnished $120 Mexican, and Calupitan the balance of $1,600.74 Mexican.
No amount is fixed in the document of purchase and sale above set forth, but the amount borrowed
from Calupitan to redeem the land from the execution sale being thus clearly established no
objection can be or is made to the plaintiff's paying this amount. In ordering the payment of this
amount to the defendant the lower court failed to reduce it to Philippine currency. On this appeal
plaintiff alleges that this amount in Mexican currency exceeds the amount he actually owes to the
defendant by about P100, but that rather than spend the time and incur the expense attendant to
new trial for the purpose of determining the equivalent of his amount in Philippine currency he is
agreeable to pay the defendant P1,600.74 Philippine currency, as the redemption price of the
property. In view of this offer and in case it is accepted by the defendant it will be unnecessary to go
through formality of a new trial for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of the fact that it is
claimed that Calupitan has sold the land in question to his codefendant, Macario Dorado, and it not
clearly appearing to whom the plaintiff should pay the P1.600.74, we think this amount should be
turned over to the clerk of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Laguna to be held by him
until it is determined in the proper manner who is the owner of this amount, Calupitan for Dorado.
For the foregoing reasons, judgment will be entered directing the defendants Calupitan and Dorado
to deliver the possession of the land in question to the plaintiff upon the plaintiff's depositing with the
clerk of the court the sum of P1,600.74, to be disposed of in the manner above set forth. In all other
respects the judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellants Calupitan and
Dorado.
Arellano, C.J., Carson and Araullo, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

MORELAND, J., dissenting:


I am extremely sorry to be obliged to dissent from the opinion of my brethren. Were it not for the fact
that I regard the decision in this case so fundamental in character and its effects on the law relative
to sales with the right of repurchase so far-reaching, I would be silent. I cannot permit to pass
unchallenged a doctrine which, in my judgment, if followed in the future, as it is to be presumed it will
be, renders entirely ineffective the main provisions of the statute law governing a given subject. This
decision, taken together with that of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza (25 Phil., Rep., 495), I regard
as an abrogation, a repeal of article 1508 of the Civil Code, together with those articles which
depend upon it. I dissented in the case of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza. Only one phrase of the
question was really raised, presented, or argued in that case. A further study of the question involved
both in that case and the one at bar brought the strong conviction that the decisions in this case are
not wrong in a fundamental sense but result in a destruction of the provisions of the Civil Code
governing the contract known as a sale with the right of repurchase. The question raised and argued
in this case covers the whole filed, whereas inRosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza only one phase was
touched by the briefs of the parties. I feel that the decision in Rosales vs. Reyes and
Ordoveza should be reexamined in view of the fact that the real questions involved were not
presented or argued and, therefore, not considered in the opinion in that case.
THE FACTS.
The plaintiff, by a written instrument, sold to the defendant certain lands, expressly reserving to
himself the right to repurchase the same at a given price, but without fixing in the instrument the
period within which the repurchase must be made. The conveyance contained a provision that the
repurchase could not be made "until after three years from his date." This document bears date
March 30, 1903. The contract become effective and went into operation on this date, the vendor
receiving his money and the purchaser his title and other rights created by the contract on that date.
This action was commenced February 17, 1910, nearly seven years after the date of the contract, to
compel the defendant to accept the sum specified in the conveyance as the repurchase price and to
deliver tot he plaintiff the premises described therein.
THE LAW APPLICABLE TO THE CASE
As the facts are admitted so, also, is the law governing the case. It is admitted by all that the first
paragraph of article 1508 of the Civil Code must rule in the decision of this case. I quote that article
as well as those proceeding and succeeding, to which it refers to which are material:
ART. 1506. The sale shall be rescinded for the same causes as all other obligations, and
furthermore for those mentioned in all preceding chapters and by conventional or legal
redemption.
ART. 1507. Conventional redemption shall exist when the vendor reserves to himself the
right to recover the thing sold, binding himself to fulfill that which is stated in article 1518, and
whether more may have been stipulated.
ART. 1508. The right stated in the preceding article, in default of an express stipulation, shall
last four years to be counted from the date of the contract.
When a stipulation exists, the term shall not exceed ten years.

ART. 1509. When the vendor does not comply with the provisions of article 1518, the vendee
shall irrevocably acquire the ownership of the thing sold.
xxx

xxx

xxx

ART. 1518. A vendor can not exercise the right of redemption without returning to the vendee
the price of the sale, and furthermore:
1. The expenses of the contract and any other legitimate payment made on account of the
sale.
2. The useful and necessary expenses incurred by the thing sold.
The court expressly holds that the period of limitation is four years and not ten. "on the ground that
there was no express agreement as to how long the right to repurchase. . . should continue." (See
opinion.)
The complaint I make against the decision is that, while it expressly holds that article 1508 is
applicable, it does not apply it, and bases the refusal to apply on a principle which destroys the
article altogether. It declares that the four- year limitation applies, but, instead of counting it " from
the date of the contract," as expressly required by the article referred to, begins to count it three
years from the date of the contract, thus holding the life of the redemption period to be seven years
instead of four.
I regard the findings and conclusions of the court not only fundamentally erroneous but preeminently
destructive in their results. This is no evident to me that I enter upon the further exposition of the
case with the embarrassment which one always feels when he attempts to demonstrate a
proposition which he regards as self-evident. The mere statement of a correct proposition is its own
greatest support and the statement of a proposition inherently bad is its most perfectly refutation.
The bald statement that a party is entitled to seven years in which to redeem when the code
expressly says he shall have but four s about all that need be said to demonstrate the unsoundness
of the statement. But in order that all the questions involved in the case as well as the result of the
doctrine laid down may be carefully developed, I proceed.
I shall first inquire what the purpose of article 1508 is. After finishing that inquiry I shall proceed to
determine how the article effects the contracts with which its deals.
Concerning this there can be no question. That s already very largely settled. We held in the case
of Yadao vs. Yadao (20 Phil. Rep., 260):
A pacto de retro is, in a certain aspect, the suspension of the title to the land involved. We
are of the opinion that it was of such a condition, with the purpose that the title to the real
estate in question should be definitely placed, it being, in the opinion of the legislature,
against public policy to permit such an uncertain condition relative to the title to real estate to
continue for more than ten years.
Manresa, commenting on the article under consideration (vol. 10 p. 302), says in this connection:
Above all we should note that the question of the period within which the repurchase may be
made is unanimously considered as a question of public interest. Portalis has already
observed that it is not a good thing that the title to property should be left for any long period

of time subject to indefinite conditions of this nature. For the reason, the intention of the code
is respective and limitative, and in our opinion all doubts should be resolved having this
intention in mind, as such intention is, without doubt, in better accord with the spirit of the
law.
Scaevola (vol. 23, p. 759) refers to the period of redemption created by article 1508 as the "period
within which the party must repurchase so as not to leave longer in an uncertain condition the title to
the premises." He also says:
Yet, with a ken desire for the public good, for the better interests of society and for the
greater order and development of property, every solicitous legislator can not but perceived
the danger that would lurk in redemption by leaving to the unrestricted will of the contracting
parties a remedy which might in the course of time become the means incertitude, perhaps
indefinitely, and might possibly seriously effect the orderly conveyance of property.
The illustrations Jovellanos said in his superb report on the Agrarian Law, that the
appreciation of property is always the measure of its care . . .; hence it is that the laws which
protect its exclusive utilization strengthen, while those that threaten this, lessen and weaken
the affection for it; he former stimulate individual interest and the latter discourage it; the first
are favorable, the second unjust and disastrous, to the development of agriculture."
(Scaevola, Civil Code, Vol. 23, p. 749.)
A long term for redemption renders the future of property uncertain and redounds to its
detriment, for neither does the precarious holder cultivate the ground with the same interest
as the owner, nor does he properly attend to the preservation of the building, and owing to
the fact that his employment of the property is temporary, he endeavors above all to derive
the greatest benefit therefrom, economizing to the end even the most essential expenses.
(Scaevola, Civil Code, vol. 23, p. 767.)
Moreover, there can be no doubt that one of the aims of those who framed the law relative to
the retroventa was to protect, as far as possible, the borrower from the machinations of usurers. The
purpose in limiting the duration of a sale of this nature was not only to preserve the stability and
certainly of ownership but also to prevent the usurer from fixing his own time the repayment of the
purchase price. While it may be true that a short terms is the joy of the money-lender, as contended
by some, that is so only in a limited sense and in an especially limited sense when related to a sale
with right to repurchase. The purchaser having the absolute right of possession up to the moment of
repurchase, very serious result would follow not only to the vendor but to society as well if he were
permitted to fix, without limitation, the date when the repurchased could be made.
Having seen what the purpose of Civil Code was in fixing periods beyond which the right to
repurchase cannot extend, whether the parties agree upon he time or not, I next proceed to
ascertain how the law impresses itself upon the contract of the parties.
Let us make the law personal and permit it to speak for itself. It says to person entering into a
contract of sale with the right to repurchase: "You yourselves may fix the time within which the
repurchase may be made; but while you may fix that period and writ it in your contract, I, the law, will
myself become a third party to the contract and write therein a provision which neither of you can
evade or escape, which is that the period cannot exceed ten years and that the ten years shall be
counted from the date of the contract. You may also, if you wish, refrain from fixing in your contract a
period within which the repurchase must be made; but do not think that, by refusing or failing to fix
the period, you may thereby let the contract run as it pleases you and permit the period to drag along
indefinitely. If you do not fix the period, I, the law, will myself become a third party to that contract and

will write therein a provision which neither of you can, by any sort of legerdemain, evade or escape,
which is that the repurchase must be made within four years, and that the said four years shall be
counted from the date of the contract."
This is what the law says, in effect, to the parties to the contract which I am discussing. Into every
contract of sale with right of repurchase the law itself writes a term. The parties themselves are not
free to contract as they will. They may be make only part of the contract. The law makes the
remainder. The parties may contract as they will in relation to those matters within their powers and
may create, destroy, alter and suspend rights and obligations as they please; but may they do the
same with regard to he terms which the law writes into their contract or the rights and obligations
which it create? It would seem not; and yet the decision of the court in this case permit precisely
that. The decision lays down the proposition and applies it to the case under discussion that, while
the contract between the parties is in full force and effect from its date, the vendor having received
the purchase price and the purchaser his title and his possession or income on and from that date,
nevertheless, the parties may, at will, suspend the force and operation of the term which the law
wrote into the contract. In other words, although a contract is in full force and effect in complete
operation, the parties may suspend the law applicable thereto. The contention that, although a
contract may be perfected and in operation, the parties enjoying their respective rights thereunder,
they may permit the application to such contract of only such law as pleases them and when it
pleases them needs only to be stated to provoke its immediate rejection. Yet this is in effect what the
parties to the contract before us have done. They have made a contract to which the four-year
limitation is concededly (the court so finds expressly) applicable. The contract goes into instant
operation, the parties exercising their respective rights and assuming their respective obligations
thereunder. In spite, however, of all this, they are permitted to suspend for three years the law
applicable to the contract and to say that it shall not apply for that period; that is, they are allowed to
say, with full effect, that the four years shall not begin to run from the date of the contract, a provided
by law, but from some other which they themselves fix.
In order to arrive at this, to me, extraordinary result, the date of a contract of sale with of repurchase
is held, in effect, without significance in applying article 1508 of the Civil Code to such contract. This
holding is very serious in its result for, next to the period itself, the most important factor in such a
contract is, for the purpose before us, the date thereof. This is too evident to require words when we
note that article 1508, as we have so often seen, expressly requires that the four-yea period shall be
"counted from the date of the contract." Nevertheless, no importance seems to have been attached
to the date of the contract in the application of said article. Is the date of the contract mentioned or
even remotely referred to in the decision in this case? Yes, the date is expressly found; but not for
the purpose of fixing the time from which the four years mentioned in the law should be counted; but,
rather, for the purpose of fixing the time from who which it should not be counted. Is the date of the
contract the subject of consideration in the case of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, referred to in
the decision of this case? Yes it was expressly found therein; but, as I understand it, no
consideration was given to that date with the object of fixing the precise time from which the four
years should run. On the contrary, whatever attention was given to the date, was given for the
purpose, and the sole purpose, of fixing the point from which the three years suspension of the right
to repurchase should be counted. Nowhere, in either case, has the court, so far as I can see, given
the slightest consideration of the date of the contracts in both cases, as the court expressly did
inRosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza and expressly and specially does in the case at bar, the court
refuses to count the four years from the that date, as article 1508 absolutely requires, but, instead,
counts the four years from a point placed three years after the date of the contract. It would seem
that where the law requires a thing to be done within four years from a date, the whole problem is
solved when the date is found and fixed. Absolutely nothing remains but plain addition. No question
of the court, as to the suspension, or the setting forward, of thedate of the contract three years, or
any other time. The court had found the date and set it out and fixed it in this case as in the other. It
has expressly found in this case over and over again that the date of the contract in that which it

bears, namely, March 30, 1903, and not March 30, 1906. The decision says: "On March 30, 1903, a
public document was executed," referring to the contract before us. The decision quotes the
contract, which contains these words: "The lands cannot be redeemed until after three years
from this date." "This date" is March 30, 1903. The court again expressly refers to the date of the
contract in the paragraph of the decision numbered two. There is absolutely no question therefore, of
suspending or setting forward the date of the contract three years, as the court has found that the
parties did not do it or attempt to do it but, instead, fixed the date which it bears as the date of the
contract. Why, then, is the four years not counted from that date instead of March 30,1906? I find it
impossible to explain this satisfactorily to myself. The court itself seems to give no explanation either
in this case or in Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza. The only thing we find in this connection is in the
letter case where the court says: "In all such cases it would seem that the vendor should be allowed
four years from the expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be
exercised . . . ." This is not an explanation of the action of the court, as understand it. it refer to no
law, cites no article of the Civil Code, but simply states that this is what "should be allowed." The
point, it seems to me, is what does the law says? Does article 1508 provide that the four years shall
be counted "from the expiration of the time within which the right the four years "shall be counted
from the date of the contract?" Whence comes the authority to count the four years "from the
expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be exercised," as something that
"should be allowed" except what the law allows? It seems to have the same fundamental
misapprehension as appears in the question propounded in the same decision: "In such case the
question arises, Upon what basis must the duration of the right to repurchase be calculated?" What
other basis can there be to calculate the "duration of the right to repurchase" except the basis fixed
by the law? Why look afield for a "basis" when the law puts it under the very nose? The law says it is
"the date of the contract," as plainly as words can speak. The "time within which the right to redeem
could not be exercised" has, as I view it, nothing to do with the application of the four-year period
under article 1508. It does not recognize any time or period during which the redemption can not be
made; but the precise contrary; it recognizes only a period in which it can be made. I cannot see how
one can be substituted for the other when they see exact opposites. If the four years must be
counted from the date of the contract, and the parties to the contract have fixed the date, and the
court by solemn declaration has also fixed the date, how can it be conceived that the four years can
be counted from a different date?
What I regard as the fallacy of the reasoning employed is demonstrated by the following syllogism
both premises of which are actual findings of the court, and the conclusion precisely its conclusion:
First premises: Article 1508 provides that the four years shall be "counted from the date of the
contract."
Second premises: The "date of the contract" is March 30, 1903.
The conclusion: Therefor, the four years must be counted from March 30, 1906.
As I have said before, no explanation is given for this. The mere declaration that the four years shall
be counted "from the expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be exercised"
is, it seems to me, no explanation. It merely accentuates the irremediable quality of the syllogism.
From these remarks it is clear, to my mind, that in this decision the court holds that the date of the
contract is without significance in applying article 1508 to a sale with a right to repurchase. Although
in both of the cases under discussion, the one at bar and Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, the
court found and fixed the date of the contract, it apparently held that date to be of no importance in
connection with the express wording of article 1508, disregarded it, and proceeded to count the four
years from a different date.

Nor can it be urged in palliation or explanation of the apparent failure to apply the law, after having
expressly found all the grounds necessary for its application, that it must be presumed that it was
intended to hold that the date of the contract was fixed by parties, implied at least, as of the time
when the three-year suspension terminated; and that, the true date of the contract being March 10,
1906, instead of 1903, the four years should be counted from that date. Such a suggestion cannot
be accepted. The date of a contract is fixed by law in certain cases and for certain purposes and the
parties cannot alter or change it. Manresa (vol. 10, p. 303) says that "the phrase 'date of the contract'
must not always be taken literally. The date o the contract is the date from which that contract begins
to produced its natural effects." That is, "the date which fixes the moment of the consummation of
the purchaser, the moment when the vendor is divested of his rights and receives the price that was
in such event stipulated." Scaevola (vol. 23, pp. 769, 770) says:
(A) Computation of the periods. In the solution of problems of computation, the essential
datum is the starting point, and this the code furnishes us with unsurpassable clearness. The
right to recover the thing sold, with the resultant obligations to restore and immediately, lasts
four years, or the time agreed upon, provided it does not exceed ten years, counted from the
date of the contract. This definiteness with which the legislator has fixed the commencement
of the period implicitly carries in itself the determination of the point discussed by jurists but
which is no longer of moment. May the condition of repurchase be stipulated through a
consideration distinct from that of purchase and sale? We find the answer in article 1508: If,
in computing the time, its commencement must necessarily run from the date of the contract,
and it is understood that of sale is alluded to, then the covenant of repurchase must be
consubstantial with the contract, implying a condition of the same, and both the conveyance
and the condition subsequent are governed by one single consent. The subsequent
agreement might be a new contract equivalent to a promise of sale, but to produces a
personal, not a real, action; it does not convert the original indefeasible contract into one
revocable by its nature. Legal redemption is connascent with the contract of purchase and
sale; they both came into judicial life in the same birth.
While, as Manresa says, the contract may not be of the precise date which the instrument actually
bears, the real date can not be later than the time when the contract actually takes effect, that is, the
time when the parties obtain their rights and assume their obligations under it. Parties who, on a
particular day, accepted the mutual between them, in other words, put the contract into operation,
cannot be heard to say that the date was not the real date of the contract and that the true date was
three years thence. This is especially so in respect of contracts which, from the nature of the subject
matter and form of the covenants, take on a public aspect and as to which laws have been specially
passed for the protection of the public interests.
Therefore, the purpose of article 1508 being , as we have already shown, to prevent the contract
dealt with therein from unsettling the title to the real estate which is the subject matter thereof for
periods beyond those provided for in that section, no person will be permitted, on my sort of
pretense, to produce the result by said section sought to be avoided; and especially not by a method
so wholly without foundation or merits as that of claiming that the true date of a contract is not that
on which the contract goes into full operation but such as the parties may e pleased to fix. When
contracts operate, the law applicable to them operates. The proposition that persons may make and
enjoy the benefits of contracts and still prevent the law operating upon them is one that would, if
adhered to, result of the decision in this case is to lay down precisely this proposition. The court says
that, while the contract took effect and went into full operation on the 30th of March, 1903, article
1508 of the Civil Code did not begin to operate upon it till the 30th of March, 1906; and why? Simply
because, the court seems to say, the parties agreed to suspend the tax until that time. This would
seem to be erroneous when confronted with the proposition that the law held to be suspended was
one in the interest of the public as well as the parties, May contracts suspend laws of this nature?

Moreover, the contention that the parties suspended the contract, to its date, fails, in my judgment, to
perceive the distinction between the suspension of the operation of a contract and the suspension of
the law which governs the contract. As I have already noted, parties to contracts, after they are
executed, may suspend their operation until such time as they please. In such case they take no
present benefits and incur no present obligations under the contract. No present rights or interests
are transmitted. It is executed and laid away and nothing is done under it still the date to which
its operation was suspended. This is a suspension of the operation of the contract, of the date, if you
please. Such a procedure is recognized a legal. But nothing of this was done in the case before us.
The contract took effect at once. It is the law applicable thereto which was suspended.
As I have already intimated, the doctrine that the parties may, at will, suspend the operation of the
statute and thereby destroy the force and effect of the four-year limitation is fatal to the efficacy of
the law governing sales with right to repurchase. In effect, it repeals it. it is clear, they if the parties
may suspend the law for three years, they may suspend it for ten years, or twenty years, or fifty
years, or for any period that pleases them. This, of course, makes the law a farce and destroys its
value completely.
It appears that the court in the decision under discussion foresaw, to some extent at least, the fatal
results which would follow such a doctrine and apparently sought to avoid, in part, the evil results
thereof. To accomplish this it brought into requisition the ten-year limitation found in the same article
of the code, and declared that, although the four-year period was applicable to the contract at its
origin, the ten-year period also was applicable thereto; so, that although persons may suspend the
operation of the ten-year limitation, they may not do so to such an extent that the period of
suspension added to the four years will exceed ten years. The germ of this strange theory is found in
this expression of the court:
In such a case the question arises: Upon what basis must the duration of the right to
repurchase be calculated? Any such contract must necessarily be terminated ten years from
the date of its execution, but should the vendor have the privilege to exercise this right for
the balance of the ten years, or should he be allowed only four years on the ground that
there was no express agreement of the parties upon this point? In all such cases it would
seem that the vendor should be allowed four years from the expiration of the time within
which the right to redeem could not be exercised, or in the event that four years would
extend the life of the contract beyond ten years, the balance of the ten-year period, on the
ground that vendors, where the right to redeem is not thus suspended and no express
agreement as to the length of time during which it may be exercised is made, are also
allowed four years.
The error into which the court appears to me to have fallen in making this suggestion is plain. It is
held by virtue of this suggestion, that the four-year period and the ten- year period apply to the same
contract. This appears to me to be an impossibility on its face, impossible by virtue of language itself.
When it made the suggestion by virtue of the court was engaged in interpreting a contract which, by
its express holding, was such a contract in form and nature that the four-year period and not the tenyear period applied to it. That the four-year period was applicable the court expressly holds. This
holding was arrived at by selecting between the four and ten-year period. The very first thing the
court to do in interpreting the contract was to determine which period was applicable, the four o the
ten. It held hat the four-year period was applicable. That necessarily held that ten-year period was
not. Where it is necessary to make a choice between two periods of limitation, the selection of the
one is necessarily the rejection of the other. Therefore, when the court made the suggestion that the
ten-year period was also applicable, it had already held that it was not. This, in itself, it seems to me,
is a complete refutation of the suggestion; or, perhaps better said, the suggestion is incomplete

contradiction of the previous action of the court when it held that the four and not the ten-year period
was applicable.
If anything further were needed to show the fallacy of the proposition involved in this suggestion that
both periods are applicable to the same court, the question might be put: What is the reason that the
court decided that the four- year period was applicable instead of the ten-year period?
The answer to that question completely impossible the theory now under discussion and show how
impossible it is to sustain it. Whether the four-year period or the ten-year period applies to a given
contract depends upon thenature of that contract. The four-year period applies to a contract, not by
virtue of the time which it is to run, but by virtue of the nature thereof. The test as to whether the fouryear period applies is: Did the parties expressly stipulated in their contract a period within which the
repurchase might be made? If they did not, the four-year period is applicable. That is the decisive
feature which determines whether the four-year or ten-year period is applicable. If the
parties did expressly stipulated the time within which the repurchase might be made, then the tenyear period applies. It is thus clear that the conditions which determine in favor of the application of
the four-year period are precisely the opposite of those which determine in favor of the ten-year
period. In other words, if the conditions are such that the four-year period is applicable, then they are
such as to render it impossible that the ten-year period be applicable; and we behold a condition in
which it is utterly impossible, legally or logically,that both periods of limitation be applicable to the
same contract. In spite of this, however, it is contended by the decision that, although it is conceded
that the parties did not expressly stipulated the time within which the repurchase might be made and
that, therefore, the four-year period was applicable, nevertheless, the ten-year period was also
applicable. This is impossible in the face of the fact that the court at to the threshold of the inquiry
expressly held that the ten-year limitation had no application; and the reasons given why the tenyear period has a no limitation did apply. The only reasons given, so far as I can gather, for applying
both periods to the same contract is to prevent the first error, namely permitting the parties to
suspend the operation of the four-year limitation, from destroying the efficacy of the law altogether.
For, if the parties may suspend the operation of the law at will, then not only is the four-year
restriction rendered worthless but the ten-year limitation also. To avoid this result, the decision
committed the other error of applying both limitations to the same sale. But the error committed in
saying that 2 and 2 make 5 cannot be corrected by holding thereafter than 2 and 3 make 4.
Besides the error of applying to the same contract two periods of limitation which depend upon
precisely opposite conditions, the court, in my humble opinion, has also committed the further error
of confounding the nature of the two limitations. The four-year limitation is really a limitation. Where
the parties say nothing about the time for redemption, then the law imposes a limitation as to the
time. On the other hand, the provision which contains the ten-year limitation does not create a
limitation on the contract, as does the first. It simply places a limitation upon the power of the parties
as to their stipulations. It provides that they may not contract for a longer period of redemption than
ten-years. It is not, therefore, a statute of limitations, nor does it have the significance, force or effect
thereof. The ten-year limitation prohibits an act. The four-year period limits the life of the contract.
The ten-year limitation applies to the acts of the parties. The four-year limitation applies to the
contract after it is executed. The one is a limitation. The other is a prohibition. This decision is not
made in the decision ; and, taken together with the fact that the two period of limitation depend for
their existence and limitation upon exactly opposite conditions, we see clearly the error committed
applying both limitations to the same contract. The statute had in mind the covering of two radically
different conditions, one with a limitation and the other with a prohibition. The court, by its decision,
destroyed the limitation and made the prohibition cover both conditions.
That the decision has destroyed one limitation and made the order applicable to both conditions
specified in the code is clear, for, if the parties may suspend the operation of the four-year period for

six years and then, in accordance with the holding of the court, may add the four-year period to that,
they have taken advantage of a ten-year period without fulfilling the conditions which the laws
requires before they have a right to do so. It has already been held by this court that the limitations
specified in article 1508 cannot be enlarged, as they refer to matters of public concern; and any
method which extends these limitations, or either of them, beyond the periods named in the law
trenches on the public welfare and destroys to that extent the value of the provisions designed to
preserve and protect it. Therefore, it is a matter of public concern that the parties who refused to put
in their contract the period during which they desired the right of repurchase to continue, should be
restricted in such right to the period which the law names, namely, four years; whereas, if the parties
are willing to state the period during which the right of repurchase shall run, law gives them the right
to stipulate a more generous period, namely, ten years. In other words, the law, if we so speak,
places a premium upon the open and clear expression of the time by giving the parties a ten-year
privilege as against the grant of only four years where the parties refuse to be clear and definite. It is
the policy of the law to destroy uncertainties in contracts of this character, and where the uncertainty
is the greatest the law restricts the period most. Where the uncertainty is least, the law restricts the
period less. The decision puts parties who do not expressly stipulate the period of redemption in
exactly the same position as those who do stipulate, and gives them exactly the same privileges. In
other words, under the holding of the court, the parties, although they have not expressly stipulated
the term of redemption in there contact, may, nevertheless, by the legerdemain of suspending the
operation of the statutory period for repurchase, obtain exactly the same period for their contract as
the parties to another contract who have expressly stipulated the period. This wipes out the division
or classification made in the law, destroys the difference between the parties who act openly and
those who do not and gives the same privileges to both.
There is another and fundamental reason why the decision of the court is erroneously; and that s
that the suspension of the application of the four-year limitation destroys the essential element and
charges the distinctive character of the sale with a right to repurchase, as it is known to the Spanish
law, and coverts the contract into one of mere loan on security. One of the essential requisites of the
contract of sale with pacto de retro is the right of the vendor to repurchase when he will. The code
itself speaks in no other way of the period of repurchase than to declare that the repurchase may be
made within the period specified. It is not like a promissory note or mortgage, under which the
indebtedness therein mentioned or secured must be paid on the date named. The contract under
discussion provides always, and no other description of it is given by any statute or other, that the
repurchase may be made within a given time. This means, of course, that the time when the
repurchase is made is left to the will of the vendor. He can repurchase on any one of the days which
constitute the period agreed upon or fixed by the statute.
This theory corresponds perfectly with the history of the contract. It originated, so far its Spanish
history is concerned, in the Province of Catalonia and was devised to assist landholders in
cultivating heir land. A landholders, not having sufficient funds with which to properly cultivate his
various parcels, would obtain a loan, selling, as security for the loan, one of the parcels, reserving
the right to repurchase the same. The time within which the borrower could make the repurchase
was generally not known. It if depended either upon the time when he could sell the crop which he,
perhaps at the time, had in the warehouse, or upon the time when he could harvest and market the
crops for the cultivation and harvesting of which the money was borrowed. This being so, the precise
time for repurchase could not, as a general rule, be fixed. The borrower could not say that he would
repay it six months, or nine months, or a year from date, or at any other specific time. It depended on
when the crop was ripened and ready for harvest and when it could be marketed thereafter. These
things were, in turn, dependent upon so many uncertainties that it became the custom to leave the
time during which the repurchase could be made entirely to the will of the vendor. So thoroughly was
this understood that the contract in Catalonia was called a venta a carta de gracias. This special and
distinctive feature was carried into Civil Code and, as we have seen, it is provided that the right to
repurchase shall continue (durara) for four years, during any one of the days constituting which the

repurchase can be made. Every author who treats the subject uses, with reference to the period of
redemption, the words "dentro," within, indicating that the right may be exercised at any
time withinthe period named. The fact is that the right to repurchase at any moment is such an
essential part of a sale with a right to repurchase that its existence is taken for granted by all the
authors dealing with the subject. I have found none who directly discuss the question; but all of them
go upon assumptions which sustain the proposition I am presenting.
If my contention be sustainable, then the purchaser, if he intends to create a sale right of
repurchase, has no right to prohibit the vendor a privilege which the law confers upon him and
makes use of it for the enrichment of the purchaser. It is generally stated by Spanish authors dealing
with the subject that the purchaser cannot, by stipulation in the contract, compel the vendor to
repurchase; and that if such a stipulation is placed in the contract, it changes its essential nature and
transforms it into a mere contract of loan on security, something in the nature of a pledge of real
estate. Scaevola (vol. 23, p. 764) says:
If the stipulation were such as to oblige the vendor to avail himself of his right of repurchase,
the judicial institution or organism thus created would be a different thing from a sale with a
right of repurchase, the nature of which does not allow that a covenant introduced for the
benefit of the vendor may be converted into an instrument against him of which the
purchaser may make exclusive use.
If this is true, and I regard the provision stated by Scaevola as universally accepted, then why should
not the same result follow where the purchaser prohibits the vendor from repurchasing for a given
time? Certainly the prohibition against the repurchaser is far more injurious to the vendor and
beneficial to the purchaser than the requirement that he must repurchase. The obligation to
repurchase is not necessarily a severe one, whereas the prohibition against repurchase for six
years, for example, may be a very severe blow to the vendor's interests. Not only that, but it enables
the lender to obtain by means of this contract, which the law designed primarily for the benefit of the
vendor, not only all of the privileges which inure to him by virtue thereof, but also the additional
advantage which inheres in mortgage, or, a long period during which he may draw interest or have
complete possession and control of the property purchased.
In this addition it must not be forgotten that, on the execution of a sale with a right of repurchase, the
purchaser has the right of immediate possession. Now, if he be permitted, by stipulation in the
contract, to prohibit the vendor from repurchasing for six years, then he not only obtains the title to
the property itself as security for repayment, but he also deprives the vendor of the possession of his
property for an extremely long period. This is one of the precise things that the Civil Code sought to
prevent. As a necessary consequence, the decision of the court, that a sale with a right of
repurchase is permissible which prohibits the vendor from repurchasing for six years, appears to me
to be in direct violation of the spirit which permitted the code, and results in delivering the borrower
into the power of the lender, from whose hands it was the intention and purpose of the Civil Code to
rescue him. It is no reply to my argument to urge that the code permits parties to stipulate a ten-year
period, for, under such stipulation the vendor may repurchase at any time he pleases during the ten
years.
The decision says: "But if it were held that, regardless of such a provision, the redemption right
expires within four years from the date of the contract unless there is a special provision as to how
long this right, once effective, shall continue, many other perfectly valid contract can be conceived
For instance, if the stipulation in question had provided that the right to redeem should not be
exercised within five years from the date of the contract, it is quite apparent that, according to the
argument adduced by the defendants, the vendor could not have redeemed the property at all, for
the right to do so would have expired one year previously."

This portion of the decision merely assumes that a stipulation suspending the application of the fouryear period for five years is valid. This is unquestionably true; but it misses the whole question at
issue when viewed from the standpoint from which I am now discussing it. The point is, does such a
stipulation destroy the nature of the relation between the parties; that is, does it destroy the
contract as a sale with a right of repurchase, and transform it into another and entirely different
contract? No one contends that such a stipulation is valid; the sole contention is that it is not valid,
proper, or permissible stipulation in a sale with a right to repurchase and that it destroys the essential
nature of the contract and transforms it in to something entirely different. The proposition I am
presenting is that such a stipulation converts the sale with right of repurchase, as the Code knows it,
into a mere relation of borrower and lender, thereby destroying completely the relation of vendor and
vendee; and that none of the provisions of the Civil Code relating to such a sale are applicable. Such
a stipulation may be valid and its presence may not render the agreement void in the general sense;
but it does render the contract void as a sale with right of repurchase. This is the point. The decision
assumes that the parties, in a contract of sale with a right of repurchase, may do whatever they
please and the contract still remains a sale with a right of repurchase. The contention that I am
making is that such a contract is of a highly special nature, in many of its aspects strictly statutory,
and that, when certain of its elements are destroyed, it ceases to be such a contract and becomes
something different; that when such a contract provides that the vendor must repurchase, that
stipulation changes the nature of the contract and transforms it into something different, and that
where it stipulates that the vendor shall not repurchase, that stipulation also changes the nature of
the contract and converts it into a different species of relation. To repeat, then: A stipulation in a
contract of sale with a right to repurchase that the vendor shall not repurchase during a period of
years is a stipulation in violation of the essential nature of the contract, which deprives the vendor for
the protection which the statute gives him, which places him in the power of the lender from which it
was the intention of the law to rescue him, and transforms and converts it into one of loan on
security which is governed by principles wholly different from those that govern the sale with pacto
de retro.

G.R. No. L-37420 July 31, 1984


MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, ALFREDO NARCISO, TOMAS NARCISO,
AMADO NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO, DEMETRIA NARCISO and ADELINA
NARCISO, respondents.
G.R. No. L-37421 July 31, 1984
MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, ALFREDO NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO,
BALDOMERO BUENAVENTURA, DEMETRIA NARCISO, LEONARDO QUINTO, ADELINA
NARCISO, CESARIO PUNZALAN, TOMAS NARCISO and AMADO NARCISO, respondents.
Juan R. Liwag for petitioner.
Cesar Nocon for respondents.

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
This Petition for Review on Certiorari, treated as a special civil action.

1 prays that the judgment rendered by the


then Court of Appeals in the consolidated cases, CA-G.R. NO. 34998-R entitled "Macaria A. Torres, plaintiff-appellee vs. Vicente Santillan, et
al., defendants-appellants",and CA-G.R. No. 34999-R entitled "Vicente Santillan, et al., plaintiffs-appellants vs. Macaria A. Bautista, et al.,
defendants-appellees and the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration and Petition for New Trial, be set aside; and that, instead,
The Order of the Court of First Instance of August 7, 1963 be affirmed, or, in the alternative, that the case be remanded to it for new trial.

Involved in this controversy are the respective claims of petitioner and private respondents over Lot
No. 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate (part of the friar lands) in Tanza, Cavite, with an area of
approximately 1,622 square meters. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 issued in the
name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres.
The facts of the case cover three generations. The propositus, Margarita Torres, during the Spanish
regime, was married to Claro Santillan. Vicente and Antonina were begotten of this union. Claro died
leaving Margarita a widow. Antonina married and had six children, namely: Alfredo, Salud (married to
Baldomero Buenaventura), Demetria (married to Leonardo Quinto), Adelina (married to Cesario
Punzalan), Tomas and Amado all surnamed Narciso, who, together with Vicente Santillan, are the
private respondents. Antonina died before the institution of the cases while Vicente died on June 4,
1957, 2 during the pendency of the cases in the Trial Courts, without progeny .
After the death of her husband, Margarita Torres cohabited with Leon Arvisu Arbole, without benefit
of marriage. Out of their cohabitation, petitioner Macaria Torres (later married to Francisco Bautista)
was born on June 20, 1898, and baptized on June 26, 1898. In a Certificate of Baptism issued by the
Parish Priest of Tanza, Cavite, Leon Arvisu Arbole and Margarita Torres were named as father and
mother of petitioner whose name was listed as Macaria Arvisu", (Exhibit "C" Another Baptismal
Certificate, however, listed her name as Macaria Torres, while her father's name was left blank
(Exhibit "4"). Subsequently, or on June 7, 1909, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres were married
(Exhibit "A"). Petitioner lived with and was reared by her parents. Margarita, the mother, died on
December 20, 1931 (Exhibit "D"), while Leon, the father, passed away on September 14, 1933
(Exhibit " E ").
Lot No. 551, an urban lot with an area of 1,622 sq. ms., more or less, had been leased temporarily
by the Government (Lease No. 17) to Margarita Torres who was the actual occupant of the lot. The
date of the lease cannot be determined with exactitude from the records. On December 13, 1910,
the Government, through the Director of Lands, issued to Margarita Torres, Sale Certificate No. 222
(Exhibit "B") over the said lot at the price of P428.80, payable in 20 annual installments of P20.00
each. The rental/s previously paid of P17.40 was credited to the purchase price. Testimonial
evidence is to the effect that Leon Arbole paid the installments out of his earnings as a water tender
at the Bureau of Lands, Tanza, Cavite. The last installment, however, was paid on December 17,
1936, or three (3) years after his death.
On August 25, 1933, twenty (20) days before his death, Leon Arbole sold and transferred in a
notarial deed all his rights and interest to the one-half (1/2) portion of Lot No. 551 in favor of
petitioner, for the sum of P300.00. 3
On June 6, 1953, Vicente Santillan executed an Affidavit claiming possession of Lot No. 551 and
asking for the issuance of title in his name, which he filed with the Bureau of Lands. Based thereon,
the Bureau of Lands issued the corresponding patent in the name of the legal heirs of Margarita
Torres. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 was eventually issued by the Register of Deeds of
Cavite on November 7, 1957, also in the name of said heirs.

On June 3, 1954, private respondents filed a complaint against petitioner for Forcible Entry, with the
Justice of the Peace Court of Tanza, Cavite, alleging that petitioner had entered a portion of Lot No.
551 without their consent, constructed a house. and refused to vacate upon demand. For her part,
petitioner claimed that she is a co-owner of the lot in question, being one of the daughters of
Margarita Torres. The ejectment case was decided against petitioner and the latter appealed to the
then Court of First Instance of Cavite, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 5547 (Ejectment
Case).
On June 8, 1954, petitioner instituted an action for partition of Lot No. 551 before the then Court of
First Instance of Cavite, docketed as Civil Case No. 5505 (Partition Case), alleging that said lot was
conjugal property of the spouses Margarita Torres and Leon Arbole, and that she is their legitimated
child. Private respondents filed an Answer alleging that the lot belonged exclusively to Margarita
Torres; that they are her only heirs, and that the complaint for partition should be dismissed.
The Ejectment Case and the Partition Case were jointly tried and decided on November 20, 1958
with a finding that Lot No. 551 is the paraphernal property of Margarita Torres and adjudicating to
private respondents two-thirds (2/3) of the property in equal shares, and to petitioner a one-third
(1/3) portion. 4 Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which private respondents opposed. Pending its
resolution, the Provincial Capitol of Cavite was burned, resulting in the complete destruction of the
records of the two cases, which, however, were later partially reconstituted.
On August 7, 1963, the then Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch 1, issued an Order granting
reconsideration and amending the Decision of November 20, 1958. The positive portion thereof
reads as follows:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. .5505:
(1) Declaring Macaria A. Torres as the legitimated child of the spouses Leon Arbole
and Margarita Torres;
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres;
(3) Adjudicating four-sixths (4/6th of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to
Macaria Torres, and two-sixths (2/6th) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas, Amado,
Salud, Demetria and Adelina, all surnamed Narciso, legitimate children and heirs of
the deceased Antonina Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is already dead. The parties
may make the partition among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance,
subject to confirmation by the Court. In fairness, however, to the parties, each party
should be alloted that portion of the lot where his or her house has been constructed,
as far as this is possible. In case the parties are unable to agree upon the partition,
the Court shall appoint three commissioners to make the partition.
As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed.
Without costs in both cases. 5
In concluding that petitioner is a legitimated child, the Trial Court opined:
It is undisputed that when Macaria A. Torres was born on June 20, 1898, her parents,
Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, had the capacity to marry each other. There was

no legal impediment for them to marry It has also been established that Macaria A.
Torres had been taken care of, brought up and reared by her parents until they died.
The certificate of baptism (Exh. "G") also shows that Macaria Torres was given the
family name of Arvisu, which is also the family name of her father, Leon Arbole, and
that her father is Leon Arvisu and her mother is Margarita Torres. Such being the
case, Macaria A. Torres possessed the status of an acknowledged natural child. And
when her parents were married on June 7, 1909, she became the legitimated
daughter of on Arbole and Margarita Torres. 6
Private respondents appealed. On April 2, 1973, the then Court of Appeals 7 rendered the judgment
sought to be set aside herein, the decretal part of which states:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. 5505:
(1) Declaring that Macaria A. Torres is not the legitimated child of the spouses Leon
Arbole and Margarita Torres;
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; and
(3) Adjudicating one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to Macaria
Torres, and the other half (1/2) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas, Amado, Salud,
Demetria and Adelina, an surnamed Narciso, legitimate children and heirs of
Antonina Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is already dead. The parties may make
the partition among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, subject to
confirmation by the Court. In fairness, however, to the parties, each party should be
alloted that portion of the lot where his or her house has been constructed, as far as
this is possible. In case the parties are unable to agree upon the partition, the Court
shall appoint three commissioners to make the partition.
As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed.
Without costs in both cases. 8
The Appellate Court was of the opinion that:
Macaria A. Torres is not a legitimated daughter of Leon Arvisu Arbole and Margarita
Torres, the former not having been legally acknowledged before or after the marriage
of her parents. As correctly pointed out by the appellants in their brief, the fact that
she was taken cared of, brought up and reared by her parents until they died, and
that the certificate of baptism (Exhibit "C") shows that she was given the family name
of Arvisu did not bestow upon her the status of an acknowledged natural child.
Under Article 121 of the old Civil Code, the governing law on the matter, children
shall be considered legitimated by subsequent marriage only when they have been
acknowledged by the parents before or after the celebration thereof, and Article 131
of the same code provides that the acknowledgement of a natural child must be in
the record of birth, in a will or in some public document. Article 131 then prescribed
the form in which the acknowledgment of a natural child should be made. The
certificate of baptism of Macaria A. Torres (Exhibit "C") is not the record of birth
referred to in Article 131. This article of the old Civil Code 'requires that unless the
acknowledgement is made in a will or other public document, it must be made in the

record of birth, or in other words, in the civil register (Samson vs. Corrales Tan, 48
PhiL 406). 9
A Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, dated April 16, 1973, was filed by petitioner. In
support thereof, petitioner submitted a typewritten Sworn Statement, dated March 5, 1930, of
spouses Leon Arvisu (Arbole) and Margarita Torres, 10 reading in full as follows:
SWORN STATEMENT
We, Leon Arvisu and Margarita Torres husband and wife respectively, of majority
age, and residents of the Municipality of Tanza, Province of Cavite, P.I., after being
duly sworn to according to law depose and say
That Macaria de Torres is our legitimized daughter she being born out of wedlock on
the 26 th of June 1898 all Tanza, Cavite, but as stated she was legitimized by our
subsequent marriage.
That at the time of her birth or conception, we, her parents could have married
without dispensation had we desired.
That as natural child our aforesaid daughter was surnamed de Torres after that of her
mother's at the time she was baptized as per record on file in the Church.
That as a legitimized daughter she should now be surnamed Arvisu after her father's
family name.
Wherefore, it is respectfully requested to anybody concerned that proper remedy be
made for the change of the surname of said Macaria de Torres as desired.
In testimony hereof, we hereunto signed out names at Tanza, Cavite, this 5th day of
March 1930.

(Thumbmarked) (Thumbmarked)
LEON ARVISU MARGARITA TORRES
Signed in the prsence of:
(Sgd.) Illegible (Sgd.) Macaria Bautista
x----------------------------------------------------x
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA )
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS )
MUNICIPALITY OF TANZA ) ss
PROVINCE OF CAVITE )
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of March 1930. The affiant Leon
Arvisu exhibited to me no cedula certificate being exempt on account of going over

60 years of age and Margarita Torres having exhibited no cedula certificate being
exempt on account of her sex.
Witness my hand and seal of office on the date and place aforesaid.
CONSTANCIO T.
VELASCO
Notary Public, Cavite
Province
Until Dec. 31, 1930.
Not. Reg. No. 56
P. No. 2
Book No. III Series of 1930. 11
The reason given for the non-production of the notarial document during trial was that the same was
only found by petitioner's daughter, Nemensia A. Bautista, among the personal belongings of private
respondent, Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after his death and who may have attempted to
suppress it. Private respondents, for their part, argued against new trial, and contended that it is not
newly discovered evidence which could not have been produced during the trial by the exercise of
due diligence.
The Decision of the Appellate Court was rendered by a Division of three, composed of Justices
Jesus Y. Perez, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes, ponente. When the Motion for Reconsideration
and New Trial was considered, there was disagreement, possibly as to whether or not new trial
should be granted in respect of the sworn statement of March 5, 1930. A Special Division of five was
then formed, composed of Justices Antonio Lucero Magno S. Gatmaitan, Lourdes P. San Diego,
Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes (Justice Perez having retired or having disqualified himself). In a
minute resolution of August 24, 1973, the Division of five, by a vote of three or two, denied both
reconsideration and new trial.
To warrant review, petitioner, has summarized her submission based on two assignments of error.
The first was expressed as follows:
Although the Court of Appeals is correct in declaring that Macaria A. Torres is not the
legitimated child of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, it has overlooked
to include in its findings of facts the admission made by Vicente Santillan and the
heirs of Antonina Santillan (herein respondents) that Macaria A. Torres and Vicente
Santillan and Antonina Santillan are brother and sisters with a common mother
Margarita Torres and they are the legal heirs and nearest of relatives of Margarita
Torres, and as a consequence thereof, the Court of Appeals had drawn an incorrect
conclusion in adjudicating the entire share of Margarita Torres in the conjugal
property solely to Vicente Santillan and the heirs of Antonina Santillan. (emphasis
supplied)
As we understand it, petitioner has conceded, with which we concur, that, without taking account of
the sworn statement of March 5, 1930, she cannot be considered a legitimated child of her parents.
Continuous possession of the status of a natural child, fact of delivery by the mother, etc. will not
amount to automatic recognition, but an action for compulsory recognition is still necessary, which
action may be commenced only during the lifetime of the putative parents, subject to certain
exceptions. 12

The admission adverted to appears in paragraph 3 of private respondents' original complaint in the
Ejectment Case reading:
the plaintiffs and the defendant Macaria A. Bautista are the legal heirs and nearest of
kins of Margarita Torres, who died in Tanza, Cavite on December 20, 1931.
(Emphasis supplied).
The statement, according to petitioner, is an admission of her legitimation and is controlling in the
determination of her participation in the disputed property.
We are not persuaded. In the Amended Complaint filed by private respondents in the same
Ejectment Case, the underlined portion was deleted so that the statement simply read:
That the plaintiffs are the legal heirs and nearest of kin of Margarita Torres, who died
at Tanza, Cavite, on December 20, 1931.
In virtue thereof, the Amended Complaint takes the place of the original. The latter is regarded as
abandoned and ceases to perform any further function as a pleading. The original complaint no
longer forms part of the record. 13
If petitioner had desired to utilize the original complaint she should have offered it in evidence.
Having been amended, the original complaint lost its character as a judicial admission, which would
have required no proof, and became merely an extrajudicial admission, the admissibility of which, as
evidence, required its formal offer. Contrary to petitioner's submission, therefore there can be no
estoppel by extrajudicial admission made in the original complaint, for failure to offer it in
evidence. 14
It should be noted that in the Partition Case private respondents, in their Answer (parag. 4), denied
the legitimacy of petitioner.
The second error attributed to the Appellate Court has been pleaded as follows:
Also, the Court of Appeals has gravely abused its discretion when it denied the
petition for new trial, knowing as it does that the judgment is clearly erroneous in
view of the evidence which is offered and no amount of diligence on the part of the
petitioner could it be produced in court at any time before it was offered as it was
found from the personal belongings of Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after his
death.
It is our considered opinion that new trial was warranted to prevent a possible miscarriage of justice.
Assuming that the genuineness and due execution of the Sworn Statement of March 5, 1930 is
established in accordance with procedural due process, a new trial would resolve such vital
considerations as (1) whether or not said Sworn Statement qualifies as the public document
prescribed in Article 131 of the old Civil Code; 15 (2) whether or not it conforms to an act of acknowledgment by the
parents after the celebration of their marriage as required by Article 121 of the same code; 16 and (3) whether or not petitioner's signature as
a witness to said document was the equivalent of the consent necessary for acknowledgment of an adult person under Article 133 of that
Code. 17 Affirmative answers would confer upon petitioner the status of a legitimated child of her parents, and would entitle her to enjoy
hereditary rights to her mother's estate.

Private respondents stress that since petitioner signed as a witness to the document she should be
chargeable with knowledge of its existence, and, therefore, the Sworn Statement was not newly
discovered evidence. In our view, the document can reasonably qualify as newly discovered

evidence, which could not have been produced during the trial even with the exercise of due
diligence; specially if it really had been in the possession of Vicente Santillan, an adverse party who,
it was alleged, suppressed the document.
In the interest of judicial expediency, the new trial can be conducted by respondent Appellate Court,
now empowered to do so under Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
WHEREFORE, this case is hereby remanded to the now Intermediate Appellate Court for new trial,
and depending on its outcome, said Court shall also resolve the respective participation of the
parties in the disputed property, inclusive of the estate of the deceased Vicente Santillan. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:


I concur with the judgment of the Court remanding the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court for
new trial, specifically for the admission of newly discovered evidence consisting of the sworn
statement of March 5, 1930, wherein petitioner Macaria A. Torres' parents, Leon Arbole and
Margarita Torres, expressly recognized Macaria as their "legitimized daughter" who was born out of
wedlock to them (although neither of them was under any impediment to marry at the time of her
conception), and was afterwards legitimated by their subsequent marriage. The admission of such
sworn statement, as stated in the Court's decision penned by Madame Justice Herrera, would
prevent a possible miscarriage of justice and upon the establishment of vital considerations therein
stated, would establish Macaria's status as a legitimated child, which would entitle her to en joy
hereditary rights to her mother's estate (one-half [1/2] of the property in question, at 551 of the Sta.
Cruz de Malabon estate), as awarded by the trial court, but reversed by the appellate court's split 3
to 2 decision.
I write this brief concurrence just to underscore the following:
1. Both the trial and appellate courts are in agreement that the property in question is conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres. Both of them are likewise in
agreement that Macaria is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the said propel ty corresponding to her father
Leon Arbole by virtue of her being the sole child and heir of the said Leon Arbole (not to mention that
he had during his lifetime transferred the same to her in full ownership).
What is remanded to the appellate court for resolution is the claim of Macaria that as a legitimated
child, she is entitled to an additional one-third (1/3) share in the other half of the disputed property
corresponding to her mother Margarita Torres or an additional one-sixth (1/6) of the entire property
with the remaining two-sixths (2/6) share corresponding of the heirs, namely, Vicente and Antonina,
both surnamed Santillan, who were born of Margarita Torres' first marriage with Claro Santillan.

Thus, the trial court adjudicated four-sixths (4/6) of the entire property to Macaria and she asks for
the reinstatement of such verdict of the trial court. On the other hand, the appellate court recognized
only Macaria Torres' right to one-half (1/2) or three-sixths (3/6) of the disputed property and gave her
no shop. in the other one-half 1/2 or three-sixths (3/6) pertaining to the conjugal share of her mother
Margarita.
2. I do not concur with the statement in the Court's main opinion that The admission by respondents
in their original complaint for ejectment against Macaria that they and Macaria are the legal heirs of
their deceased common mother Margarita Torres can no longer be invoked by Macaria as a judicial
admission against said respondents, simply because said respondents had thereafter filed an
amended complaint deleting the admission. Such admission did not cease to be a judicial admission
simply because respondents subsequently deleted the same in their amended complaint. The
original complaint, although replaced by an amended complaint, does not cease to be a part of the
judicial record, not having been expunged therefrom. The precedents cited for not considering this
admission against respondents, since Macaria did not formally offer in evidence the original
complaint, do not appear to be applicable and are based on pure technicality.
As far as Macaria's mother Margarita Torres is concerned, there can be no denying their maternity
and filiation. Macaria's being a duly acknowledged natural child of Margarita is established in the
record of birth, as well as by the very undisputed fact of Margarita having given birth to her. Macaria
would, therefore, be entitled to the full enjoyment of the status of a legitimated child of Margarita by
virtue of Margarita's subsequent marriage with her father Leon Arbole.
The question of admissibility of the original complaint for ejectment as a judicial admission against
respondents remains open, in my view, for proper determination and resolution by the appellate
court with the remand of this case to it for further proceedings.

Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the judgment of the Court remanding the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court for
new trial, specifically for the admission of newly discovered evidence consisting of the sworn
statement of March 5, 1930, wherein petitioner Macaria A. Torres' parents, Leon Arbole and
Margarita Torres, expressly recognized Macaria as their "legitimized daughter" who was born out of
wedlock to them (although neither of them was under any impediment to marry at the time of her
conception), and was afterwards legitimated by their subsequent marriage. The admission of such
sworn statement, as stated in the Court's decision penned by Madame Justice Herrera, would
prevent a possible miscarriage of justice and upon the establishment of vital considerations therein
stated, would establish Macaria's status as a legitimated child, which would entitle her to en joy
hereditary rights to her mother's estate (one-half [1/2] of the property in question, at 551 of the Sta.
Cruz de Malabon estate), as awarded by the trial court, but reversed by the appellate court's split 3
to 2 decision.
I write this brief concurrence just to underscore the following:

1. Both the trial and appellate courts are in agreement that the property in question is conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres. Both of them are likewise in
agreement that Macaria is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the said propel ty corresponding to her father
Leon Arbole by virtue of her being the sole child and heir of the said Leon Arbole (not to mention that
he had during his lifetime transferred the same to her in full ownership).
What is remanded to the appellate court for resolution is the claim of Macaria that as a legitimated
child, she is entitled to an additional one-third (1/3) share in the other half of the disputed property
corresponding to her mother Margarita Torres or an additional one-sixth (1/6) of the entire property
with the remaining two-sixths (2/6) share corresponding of the heirs, namely, Vicente and Antonina,
both surnamed Santillan, who were born of Margarita Torres' first marriage with Claro Santillan.
Thus, the trial court adjudicated four-sixths (4/6) of the entire property to Macaria and she asks for
the reinstatement of such verdict of the trial court. On the other hand, the appellate court recognized
only Macaria Torres' right to one-half (1/2) or three-sixths (3/6) of the disputed property and gave her
no shop. in the other one-half 1/2 or three-sixths (3/6) pertaining to the conjugal share of her mother
Margarita.
2. I do not concur with the statement in the Court's main opinion that The admission by respondents
in their original complaint for ejectment against Macaria that they and Macaria are the legal heirs of
their deceased common mother Margarita Torres can no longer be invoked by Macaria as a judicial
admission against said respondents, simply because said respondents had thereafter filed an
amended complaint deleting the admission. Such admission did not cease to be a judicial admission
simply because respondents subsequently deleted the same in their amended complaint. The
original complaint, although replaced by an amended complaint, does not cease to be a part of the
judicial record, not having been expunged therefrom. The precedents cited for not considering this
admission against respondents, since Macaria did not formally offer in evidence the original
complaint, do not appear to be applicable and are based on pure technicality.
As far as Macaria's mother Margarita Torres is concerned, there can be no denying their maternity
and filiation. Macaria's being a duly acknowledged natural child of Margarita is established in the
record of birth, as well as by the very undisputed fact of Margarita having given birth to her. Macaria
would, therefore, be entitled to the full enjoyment of the status of a legitimated child of Margarita by
virtue of Margarita's subsequent marriage with her father Leon Arbole.
The question of admissibility of the original complaint for ejectment as a judicial admission against
respondents remains open, in my view, for proper determination and resolution by the appellate
court with the remand of this case to it for further proceedings.

G.R. No. 123553 July 13, 1998


(CA-G.R. No. 33291) July 13, 1998
NORA A. BITONG, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (FIFTH DIVISION), EUGENIA D. APOSTOL, JOSE A. APOSTOL, MR. &
MS. PUBLISHING CO., LETTY J. MAGSANOC, AND ADORACION G. NUYDA, respondents.

(CA-G.R. No. 33873) July 13, 1998


NORA A. BITONG, petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS (FIFTH DIVISION) and EDGARDO B. ESPIRITU, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
These twin cases originated from a derivative suit 1 filed by petitioner Nora A. Bitong before
the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC hereafter) allegedly for the benefit of private
respondent Mr. & Ms. Publishing Co., Inc. (Mr. & Ms. hereafter), among others, to hold respondent
spouses Eugenia D. Apostol and Jose A. Apostol 2 liable for fraud, misrepresentation, disloyalty, evident
bad faith, conflict of interest and mismanagement in directing the affairs of Mr. & Ms. to the damage and
prejudice of Mr. & Ms. and its stockholders, including petitioner.
Alleging before the SEC that she had been the Treasurer and a Member of the Board of Directors of
Mr. & Ms. from the time it was incorporated on 29 October 1976 to 11 April 1989, and was the
registered owner of 1,000 shares of stock out of the 4,088 total outstanding shares, petitioner
complained of irregularities committed from 1983 to 1987 by Eugenia D. Apostol, President and
Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Petitioner claimed that except for the sale of the
name Philippine Inquirer to Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI hereafter) all other transactions and
agreements entered into by Mr. & Ms. with PDI were not supported by any bond and/or stockholders'
resolution. And, upon instructions of Eugenia D. Apostol, Mr. & Ms. made several cash advances to
PDI on various occasions amounting to P3.276 million. On some of these borrowings PDI paid no
interest whatsoever. Despite the fact that the advances made by Mr. & Ms. to PDI were booked as
advances to an affiliate, there existed no board or stockholders' resolution, contract nor any other
document which could legally authorize the creation of and support to an affiliate.
Petitioner further alleged that respondents Eugenia and Jose Apostol were stockholders, directors
and officers in both Mr. & Ms. and PDI. In fact on 2 May 1986 respondents Eugenia D. Apostol,
Leticia J. Magsanoc and Adoracion G. Nuyda subscribed to PDI shares of stock at P50,000.00 each
or a total of P150,000.00. The stock subscriptions were paid for by Mr. & Ms. and initially treated, as
receivables from officers and employees. But, no payments were ever received from respondents,
Magsanoc and Nuyda.
The petition principally sought to (a) enjoin respondents Eugenia D. Apostol and Jose A. Apostol
from further acting as president-director and director, respectively, of Mr. & Ms. and disbursing any
money or funds except for the payment of salaries and similar expenses in the ordinary course of
business, and from disposing of their Mr. & Ms. shares; (b) enjoin respondents Apostol spouses,
Magsanoc and Nuyda from disposing of the PDI shares of stock registered in their names; (c)
compel respondents Eugenia and Jose Apostol to account for and reconvey all profits and benefits
accruing to them as a result of their improper and fraudulent acts; (d) compel respondents
Magsanoc and Nuyda to account for and reconvey to Mr. & Ms. all shares of stock paid from cash
advances from it and all accessions or fruits thereof; (e) hold respondents Eugenia and Jose Apostol
liable for damages suffered by Mr. & Ms. and the other stockholders, including petitioner, by reason
of their improper and fraudulent acts; (f) appoint a management committee for Mr. & Ms. during the
pendency of the suit to prevent further dissipation and loss of its assets and funds as well as

paralyzation of business operations; and, (g) direct the management committee for Mr. & Ms. to file
the necessary action to enforce its rights against PDI and other third parties.
Private respondents Apostol spouses, Magsanoc, Nuyda, and Mr. & Ms., on the other hand, refuted
the allegations of petitioner by starting with a narration of the beginnings of Mr. & Ms. They
recounted that on 9 March 1976 Ex Libris Publishing Co., Inc. (Ex Libris hereafter) was incorporated
for the purpose of publishing a weekly magazine. Its original principal stockholders were spouses
Senator Juan Ponce Enrile (then Minister of National Defense) and Cristina Ponce Enrile
through Jaka Investments Corporation (JAKA hereafter), and respondents Eugenia and Jose
Apostol. When Ex Libris suffered financial difficulties, JAKA and the Apostols, together with new
investors Luis Villafuerte and Ramon Siy, restructured Ex Libris by organizing a new corporation
known as Mr. & Ms.
The original stockholders of Mr. & Ms., i.e., JAKA, Luis Villafuerte, Ramon Siy, the Apostols and Ex
Libriscontinued to be virtually the same up to 1989. Thereafter it was agreed among them that, they
being close friends, Mr. & Ms. would be operated as a partnership or a close corporation; respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol would manage the affairs of Mr. & Ms.; and, no shares of stock would be sold to
third parties without first offering the shares to the other stockholders so that transfers would be
limited to and only among the original stockholders.
Private respondents also asserted that respondent Eugenia D. Apostol had been informing her
business partners of her actions as manager, and obtaining their advice and consent. Consequently
the other stockholders consented, either expressly or impliedly, to her management. They offered no
objections. As a result, the business prospered. Thus, as shown in a statement prepared by the
accounting firm Punongbayan and Araullo, there were increases from 1976 to 1988 in the total
assets of Mr. & Ms. from P457,569.00 to P10,143,046.00; in the total stockholders' equity from
P203,378.00 to P2,324,954.00; and, in the net sales, from P301,489.00 to P16,325,610.00.
Likewise, cash dividends were distributed and received by the stockholders.
Private respondents further contended that petitioner, being merely a holder-in-trust of JAKA shares,
only represented and continued to represent JAKA in the board. In the beginning, petitioner
cooperated with and assisted the management until mid-1986 when relations between her and her
principals on one hand, and respondent Eugenia D. Apostol on the other, became strained due to
political differences. Hence from mid-1986 to mid-1988 petitioner refused to speak with respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol, and in 1988 the former became openly critical of the management of the latter.
Nevertheless, respondent Eugenia D. Apostol always made available to petitioner and her
representatives all the books of the corporation.
Private respondents averred that all the PDI shares owned by respondents Eugenia and Jose
Apostol were acquired through their own private funds and that the loan of P750,000.00 by PDI from
Mr. & Ms. had been fully paid with 20% interest per annum. And, it was PDI, not Mr. & Ms., which
loaned off P250,000.00 each to respondents Magsanoc and Nuyda. Private respondents further
argued that petitioner was not the true party to this case, the real party being JAKA which continued
to be the true stockholder of Mr. & Ms.; hence, petitioner did not have the personality to initiate and
prosecute the derivative suit which, consequently, must be dismissed.
On 6 December 1990, the SEC Hearing Panel 3 issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining private
respondents from disbursing any money except for the payment of salaries and other similar expenses in
the regular course of business. The Hearing Panel also enjoined respondent Apostol spouses, Nuyda and
Magsanoc from disposing of their PDI shares, and further ruled

. . . respondents' contention that petitioner is not entitled to the provisional reliefs


prayed for because she is not the real party in interest . . . is bereft of any merit. No
less than respondents' Amended Answer, specifically paragraph V, No. 8 on
Affirmative Allegations/Defenses states that "The petitioner being herself a minor
stockholder and holder-in-trust of JAKA shares represented and continues to
represent JAKA in the Board." This statement refers to petitioner sitting in the board
of directors of Mr. & Ms. in two capacities, one as a minor stockholder and the other
as the holder in trust of the shares of JAKA in Mr. & Ms. Such reference alluded to by
the respondents indicates an admission on respondents' part of the petitioner's legal
personality to file a derivative suit for the benefit of the respondent Mr. & Ms.
Publishing Co., Inc.
The Hearing Panel however denied petitioner's prayer for the constitution of a management
committee.
On 25 March 1991 private respondents filed a Motion to Amend Pleadings to Conform to
Evidence alleging that the issue of whether petitioner is the real party-in-interest had been tried by
express or implied consent of the parties through the admission of documentary exhibits presented
by private respondents proving that the real party-in-interest was JAKA, not petitioner Bitong. As
such, No. 8, par. V (Affirmative Allegations/Defenses),Answer to the Amended Petition, was
stipulated due to inadvertence and excusable mistake and should be amended. On 10 October 1991
the Hearing Panel denied the motion for amendment.
Petitioner testified at the trial that she became the registered and beneficial owner of 997 shares of
stock of Mr. & Ms. out of the 4,088 total outstanding shares after she acquired them from JAKA
through a deed of sale executed on 25 July 1983 and recorded in the Stock and Transfer Book of Mr.
& Ms. under Certificate of Shares of Stock No. 008. She pointed out that Senator Enrile decided that
JAKA should completely divest itself of its holdings in Mr. & Ms. and this resulted in the sale to her of
JAKA's interest and holdings in that publishing firm.
Private respondents refuted the statement of petitioner that she was a stockholder of Mr. & Ms. since
25 July 1983 as respondent Eugenia D. Apostol signed Certificate of Stock No. 008 only on 17
March 1989, and not on 25 July 1983. Respondent Eugenia D. Apostol explained that she stopped
using her long signature (Eugenia D. Apostol) in 1987 and changed it to E.D. Apostol, the signature
which appeared on the face of Certificate of Stock No. 008 bearing the date 25 July 1983. And, since
the Stock and Transfer Book which petitioner presented in evidence was not registered with the
SEC, the entries therein including Certificate of Stock No. 008 were fraudulent. Respondent Eugenia
D. Apostol claimed that she had not seen the Stock and Transfer Book at anytime until 21 March
1989 when it was delivered by petitioner herself to the office of Mr. & Ms., and that petitioner
repeatedly referred to Senator Enrile as "my principal" during the Mr. & Ms. board meeting of 22
September 1988, seven (7) times no less.
On 3 August 1993, after trial on the merits, the SEC Hearing Panel dismissed the derivative suit filed
by petitioner and dissolved the writ of preliminary injunction barring private respondents from
disposing of their PDI shares and any of Mr. & Ms. assets. The Hearing Panel ruled that there was
no serious mismanagement of Mr. & Ms. which would warrant drastic corrective measures. It gave
credence to the assertion of respondent Eugenia D. Apostol that Mr. & Ms. was operated like a close
corporation where important matters were discussed and approved through informal consultations at
breakfast conferences. The Hearing Panel also concluded that while the evidence presented tended
to show that the real party-in-interest indeed was JAKA and/or Senator Enrile, it viewed the real
issue to be the alleged mismanagement, fraud and conflict of interest on the part of respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol, and allowed petitioner to prosecute the derivative suit if only to resolve the real

issues. Hence, for this purpose, the Hearing Panel considered petitioner to be the real party-ininterest.
On 19 August 1993 respondent Apostol spouses sold the PDI shares registered in the name of their
holding company, JAED Management Corporation, to Edgardo B. Espiritu. On 25 August 1993
petitioner Bitong appealed to the SEC En Banc.
On 24 January 1994 the SEC En Banc 4 reversed the decision of the Hearing Panel and, among others,
ordered private respondents to account for, return and deliver to Mr. & Ms. any and all funds and assets
that they disbursed from the coffers of the corporation including shares of stock, profits, dividends and/or
fruits that they might have received as a result of their investment in PDI, including those arising from the
P150,000.00 advanced to respondents Eugenia D. Apostol, Leticia J. Magsanoc and Adoracion G. Nuyda;
account for and return any profits and fruits of all amounts irregularly or unlawfully advanced to PDI and
other third persons; and, cease and desist from managing the affairs of Mr. & Ms. for reasons of fraud,
mismanagement, disloyalty and conflict of interest.
The SEC En Banc also declared the 19 August 1993 sale of the PDI shares of JAED Management
Corporation to Edgardo B. Espiritu to be tainted with fraud, hence, null and void, and considered Mr.
& Ms. as the true and lawful owner of all the PDI shares acquired by respondents Eugenia D.
Apostol, Magsanoc and Nuyda. It also declared all subsequent transferees of such shares as
trustees for the benefit of Mr. & Ms. and ordered them to forthwith deliver said shares to Mr. & Ms.
Consequently, respondent Apostol spouses, Magsanoc, Nuyda, and Mr. & Ms. filed a petition for
review before respondent Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-GR No. SP 33291, while respondent
Edgardo B. Espiritu filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition also before respondent Court of
Appeals, docketed as CA-GR No. SP 33873. On 8 December 1994 the two (2) petitions were
consolidated.
On 31 August 1995 respondent appellate court rendered a decision reversing the SEC En Banc and
held that from the evidence on record petitioner was not the owner of any share of stock in Mr. & Ms.
and therefore not the real party-in-interest to prosecute the complaint she had instituted against
private respondents. Accordingly, petitioner alone and by herself as an agent could not file a
derivative suit in behalf of her principal. For not being the real party-in-interest, petitioner's complaint
did not state a cause of action, a defense which was never waived; hence, her petition should have
been dismissed. Respondent appellate court ruled that the assailed orders of the SEC were issued
in excess of jurisdiction, or want of it, and thus were null and void. 5 On 18 January 1996, petitioner's
motion for reconsideration was denied for lack of merit.
Before this Court, petitioner submits that in paragraph 1 under the caption "I. The Parties" of
her Amended Petition before the SEC, she stated that she was a stockholder and director of Mr. &
Ms. In par. 1 under the caption "II. The Facts" she declared that she "is the registered owner of 1,000
shares of stock of Mr. & Ms. out of the latter's 4,088 total outstanding shares" and that she was a
member of the Board of Directors of Mr. & Ms. and treasurer from its inception until 11 April 1989.
Petitioner contends that private respondents did not deny the above allegations in their answer and
therefore they are conclusively bound by this judicial admission. Consequently, private respondents'
admission that petitioner has 1,000 shares of stock registered in her name in the books of Mr. & Ms.
forecloses any question on her status and right to bring a derivative suit on behalf of Mr. & Ms.
Not necessarily. A party whose pleading is admitted as an admission against interest is entitled to
overcome by evidence the apparent inconsistency, and it is competent for the party against whom
the pleading is offered to show that the statements were inadvertently made or were made under a
mistake of fact. In addition, a party against whom a single clause or paragraph of a pleading is

offered may have the right to introduce other paragraphs which tend to destroy the admission in the
paragraph offered by the adversary. 6
The Amended Petition before the SEC alleges
I. THE PARTIES
1. Petitioner is a stockholder and director of Mr. & Ms. . . . .
II. THE FACTS
1. Petitioner is the registered owner of 1,000 shares of stock of Mr. & Ms. out of the
latter's 4,088 total outstanding shares. Petitioner, at all times material to this petition,
is a member of the Board of Directors of Mr. & Ms. and from the inception of Mr. &
Ms. until 11 April 1989 was its treasurer . . .
On the other hand, the Amended Answer to the Amended Petition states
I. PARTIES
1. Respondents admit the allegations contained in Caption I, pars. 1 to 4 of the
Petition referring to the personality, addresses and capacity of the parties to the
petition except . . . but qualify said admission insofar as they are limited, qualified
and/or expanded by allegations in the Affirmative Allegations/Defenses . . .
II. THE FACTS
1. Respondents admit paragraph 1 of the Petition, but qualify said admission as to
the beneficial ownership of the shares of stock registered in the name of the
petitioner, the truth being as stated in the Affirmative Allegations/Defenses of this
Answer . . .
V. AFFIRMATIVE ALLEGATIONS/DEFENSES
Respondents respectfully allege by way of Affirmative Allegations/Defenses, that . . . .
3. Fortunately, respondent Apostol was able to convince Mr. Luis Villafuerte to take
interest in the business and he, together with the original investors, restructured the
Ex Libris Publishing Company by organizing a new corporation known as Mr. & Ms.
Publishing Co., Inc. . . . Mr. Luis Villafuerte contributed his own P100,000.00. JAKA
and respondent Jose Z. Apostol, original investors of Ex Libris contributed
P100,000.00 each; Ex Libris Publishing Company was paid 800 shares for the name
of Mr. & Ms. magazine and goodwill. Thus, the original stockholders of respondent
Mr. & Ms. were:
Cert./No./Date Name of Stockholder No. of Shares %
001-9-15-76 JAKA Investments Corp. 1,000 21%
002-9-15-76 Luis Villafuerte 1,000 21%

003-9-15-76 Ramon L. Siy 1,000 21%


004-9-15-76 Jose Z. Apostol 1,000 21%
005-9-15-76 Ex Libris Publishing Co. 800 16%

4,800 96%
4. The above-named original stockholders of respondent Mr. & Ms. continue to be
virtually the same stockholders up to this date . . . .
8. The petitioner being herself a minor stockholder and holder-in-trust of JAKA
shares, represented and continues to represent JAKA in the Board . . . .
21. Petitioner Nora A. Bitong is not the true party to this case, the true party being
JAKA Investments Corporation which continues to be the true stockholder of
respondent Mr. & Ms. Publishing Co., Inc., consequently, she does not have the
personality to initiate and prosecute this derivative suit, and should therefore be
dismissed . . . .
The answer of private respondents shows that there was no judicial admission that petitioner was a
stockholder of Mr. & Ms. to entitle her to file a derivative suit on behalf of the corporation. Where the
statements of the private respondents were qualified with phrases such as, "insofar as they are
limited, qualified and/or expanded by," "the truth being as stated in the Affirmative
Allegations/Defenses of this Answer" they cannot be considered definite and certain enough, cannot
be construed as judicial admissions. 7
More so, the affirmative defenses of private respondents directly refute the representation of
petitioner that she is a true and genuine stockholder of Mr. & Ms. by stating unequivocally that
petitioner is not the true party to the case but JAKA which continues to be the true stockholder of Mr.
& Ms. In fact, one of the reliefs which private respondents prayed for was the dismissal of the
petition on the ground that petitioner did not have the legal interest to initiate and prosecute the
same.
When taken in its totality, the Amended Answer to the Amended Petition, or even the Answer to
the Amended Petition alone, clearly raises an issue as to the legal personality of petitioner to file the
complaint. Every alleged admission is taken as an entirety of the fact which makes for the one side
with the qualifications which limit, modify or destroy its effect on the other side. The reason for this is,
where part of a statement of a party is used against him as an admission, the court should weigh
any other portion connected with the statement, which tends to neutralize or explain the portion
which is against interest.
In other words, while the admission is admissible in evidence, its probative value is to be determined
from the whole statement and others intimately related or connected therewith as an integrated unit.
Although acts or facts admitted do not require proof and cannot be contradicted, however,
evidence aliunde can be presented to show that the admission was made through palpable
mistake. 8 The rule is always in favor of liberality in construction of pleadings so that the real matter in
dispute may be submitted to the judgment of the court. 9

Petitioner also argues that since private respondents failed to appeal the 6 December 1990 Order
and the 3 August 1993 Decision of the SEC Hearing Panel declaring that she was the real party-ininterest and had legal personality to sue, they are now estopped from questioning her personality.
Not quite. The 6 December 1990 Order is clearly an interlocutory order which cannot be considered
as having finally resolved on the merits the issue of legal capacity of petitioner. The SEC Hearing
Panel discussed the issue of legal capacity solely for the purpose of ruling on the application for writ
of preliminary injunction as an incident to the main issues raised in the complaint. Being a mere
interlocutory order, it is not appealable.
For, an interlocutory order refers to something between the commencement and end of the suit
which decides some point or matter but it is not the final decision of the whole controversy. 10 Thus,
even though the 6 December 1990 Order was adverse to private respondents, they had the legal right
and option not to elevate the same to the SEC En Banc but rather to await the decision which resolves all
the issues raised by the parties and to appeal therefrom by assigning all errors that might have been
committed by the Hearing Panel.
On the other hand, the 3 August 1993 Decision of the Hearing Panel dismissing the derivative suit
for failure to prove the charges of mismanagement, fraud, disloyalty and conflict of interest and
dissolving the writ of preliminary injunction, was favorable to private respondents. Hence, they were
not expected to appeal therefrom.
In fact, in the 3 August 1993 Decision, the Hearing Panel categorically stated that the evidence
presented showed that the real party-in-interest was not petitioner Bitong but JAKA and/or Senator
Enrile. Petitioner was merely allowed to prosecute her complaint so as not to sidetrack "the real
issue to be resolved (which) was the allegation of mismanagement, fraud and conflict of interest
allegedly committed by respondent Eugenia D. Apostol." It was only for this reason that petitioner
was considered to be capacitated and competent to file the petition.
Accordingly, with the dismissal of the complaint of petitioner against private respondents, there was
no compelling reason for the latter to appeal to the SEC En Banc. It was in fact petitioner's turn as
the aggrieved party to exercise her right to appeal from the decision. It is worthy to note that even
during the appeal of petitioner before the SEC En Banc private respondents maintained their
vigorous objection to the appeal and reiterated petitioner's lack of legal capacity to sue before the
SEC.
Petitioner then contends that she was a holder of the proper certificates of shares of stock and that
the transfer was recorded in the Stock and Transfer Book of Mr. & Ms. She invokes Sec. 63 of The
Corporation Code which provides that no transfer shall be valid except as between the parties until
the transfer is recorded in the books of the corporation, and upon its recording the corporation is
bound by it and is estopped to deny the fact of transfer of said shares. Petitioner alleges that even in
the absence of a stock certificate, a stockholder solely on the strength of the recording in the stock
and transfer book can exercise all the rights as stockholder, including the right to file a derivative suit
in the name of the corporation. And, she need not present a separate deed of sale or transfer in her
favor to prove ownership of stock.
Sec. 63 of The Corporation Code expressly provides
Sec. 63. Certificate of stock and transfer of shares. The capital stock of stock
corporations shall be divided into shares for which certificates signed by the
president or vice president, countersigned by the secretary or assistant secretary,
and sealed with the seal of the corporation shall be issued in accordance with the by-

laws. Shares of stock so issued are personal property and may be transferred by
delivery of the certificate or certificates indorsed by the owner or his attorney-in-fact
or other person legally authorized to make the transfer. No transfer however shall be
valid except as between the parties until the transfer is recorded in the books of the
corporation showing the names of the parties to the transaction, the date of the
transfer, the number of the certificate or certificates and the number of shares
transferred . . . .
This provision above quoted envisions a formal certificate of stock which can be issued only upon
compliance with certain requisites. First, the certificates must be signed by the president or vicepresident, countersigned by the secretary or assistant secretary, and sealed with the seal of the
corporation. A mere typewritten statement advising a stockholder of the extent of his ownership in a
corporation without qualification and/or authentication cannot be considered as a formal certificate of
stock. 11 Second, delivery of the certificate is an essential element of its issuance. Hence, there is no
issuance of a stock certificate where it is never detached from the stock books although blanks therein
are properly filled up if the person whose name is inserted therein has no control over the books of the
company. 12 Third, the par value, as to par value shares, or the full subscription as to no par value shares,
must first be fully paid. Fourth, the original certificate must be surrendered where the person requesting
the issuance of a certificate is a transferee from a stockholder.
The certificate of stock itself once issued is a continuing affirmation or representation that the stock
described therein is valid and genuine and is at least prima facie evidence that it was legally issued
in the absence of evidence to the contrary. However, this presumption may be rebutted. 13 Similarly,
books and records of a corporation which include even the stock and transfer book are generally
admissible in evidence in favor of or against the corporation and its members to prove the corporate acts,
its financial status and other matters including one's status as a stockholder. They are ordinarily the best
evidence of corporate acts and proceedings.
However, the books and records of a corporation are not conclusive even against the corporation but
are prima facie evidence only. Parol evidence may be admitted to supply omissions in the records,
explain ambiguities, or show what transpired where no records were kept, or in some cases where
such records were contradicted. 14The effect of entries in the books of the corporation which purport to
be regular records of the proceedings of its board of directors or stockholders can be destroyed by
testimony of a more conclusive character than mere suspicion that there was an irregularity in the manner
in which the books were kept. 15
The foregoing considerations are founded on the basic principle that stock issued without authority
and in violation of law is void and confers no rights on the person to whom it is issued and subjects
him to no liabilities.16 Where there is an inherent lack of power in the corporation to issue the stock,
neither the corporation nor the person to whom the stock is issued is estopped to question its validity
since an estopped cannot operate to create stock which under the law cannot have existence. 17
As found by the Hearing Panel and affirmed by respondent Court of Appeals, there is overwhelming
evidence that despite what appears on the certificate of stock and stock and transfer book, petitioner
was not a bona fidestockholder of Mr. & Ms. before March 1989 or at the time the complained acts
were committed to qualify her to institute a stockholder's derivative suit against private respondents.
Aside from petitioner's own admissions, several corporate documents disclose that the true party-ininterest is not petitioner but JAKA.
Thus, while petitioner asserts in her petition that Certificate of Stock No. 008 dated 25 July 1983 was
issued in her name, private respondents argue that this certificate was signed by respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol as President only in 1989 and was fraudulently antedated by petitioner who had
possession of the Certificate Book and the Stock and Transfer Book. Private respondents stress that

petitioner's counsel entered into a stipulation on record before the Hearing Panel that the certificate
was indeed signed by respondent Apostol only in 1989 and not in 1983.
In her reply, petitioner admits that while respondent Eugenia D. Apostol signed the Certificate of
Stock No. 008 in petitioner's name only in 1989, it was issued by the corporate secretary in 1983 and
that the other certificates covering shares in Mr. & Ms. had not yet been signed by respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol at the time of the filing of the complaint with the SEC although they were issued
years before.
Based on the foregoing admission of petitioner, there is no truth to the statement written in
Certificate of Stock No. 008 that the same was issued and signed on 25 July 1983 by its duly
authorized officers specifically the President and Corporate Secretary because the actual date of
signing thereof was 17 March 1989. Verily, a formal certificate of stock could not be considered
issued in contemplation of law unless signed by the president or vice-president and countersigned
by the secretary or assistant secretary.
In this case, contrary to petitioner's submission, the Certificate of Stock No. 008 was only legally
issued on 17 March 1989 when it was actually signed by the President of the corporation, and not
before that date. While a certificate of stock is not necessary to make one a stockholder, e.g., where
he is an incorporator and listed as stockholder in the articles of incorporation although no certificate
of stock has yet been issued, it is supposed to serve as paper representative of the stock itself and
of the owner's interest therein. Hence, when Certificate of Stock No. 008 was admittedly signed and
issued only on 17 March 1989 and not on 25 July 1983, even as it indicates that petitioner owns 997
shares of stock of Mr. & Ms., the certificate has no evidentiary value for the purpose of proving that
petitioner was a stockholder since 1983 up to 1989.
And even the factual antecedents of the alleged ownership by petitioner in 1983 of shares of stock of
Mr. & Ms. are indistinctive if not enshrouded in inconsistencies. In her testimony before the Hearing
Panel, petitioner said that early in 1983, to relieve Mr. & Ms. from political pressure, Senator Enrile
decided to divest the family holdings in Mr. & Ms. as he was then part of the government and Mr. &
Ms. was evolving to be an opposition newspaper. The JAKA shares numbering 1,000 covered by
Certificate of Stock No. 001 were thus transferred to respondent Eugenia D. Apostol in trust or in
blank. 18
Petitioner now claims that a few days after JAKA's shares were transferred to respondent Eugenia
D. Apostol, Senator Enrile sold to petitioner 997 shares of JAKA. For this purpose, a deed of sale
was executed and antedated to 10 May 1983. 19 This submission of petitioner is however contradicted
by the records which show that a deed of sale was executed by JAKA transferring 1,000 shares of Mr. &
Ms. to respondent Apostol on 10 May 1983 and not to petitioner. 20
Then Senator Enrile testified that in May or June 1983 he was asked at a media interview if his
family owned shares of stock in Mr. & Ms. Although he and his family were stockholders at that time
he denied it so as not to embarrass the magazine. He called up petitioner and instructed her to work
out the documentation of the transfer of shares from JAKA to respondent Apostol to be covered by a
declaration of trust. His instruction was to transfer the shares of JAKA in Mr. & Ms. and Ex Libris to
respondent Apostol as a nominal holder. He then finally decided to transfer the shareholdings to
petitioner. 21
When asked if there was any document or any written evidence of that divestment in favor of
petitioner, Senator Enrile answered that there was an endorsement of the shares of stock. He said
that there was no other document evidencing the assignment to petitioner because the stocks were

personal property that could be transferred even orally. 22 Contrary to Senator Enrile's testimony,
however, petitioner maintains that Senator Enrile executed a deed of sale in her favor.
A careful perusal of the records shows that neither the alleged endorsement of Certificate of Stock
No. 001 in the name of JAKA nor the alleged deed of sale executed by Senator Enrile directly in
favor of petitioner could have legally transferred or assigned on 25 July 1983 the shares of stock in
favor of petitioner because as of 10 May 1983 Certificate of Stock No. 001 in the name of JAKA was
already cancelled and a new one, Certificate of Stock No. 007, issued in favor of respondent Apostol
by virtue of a Declaration of Trust and Deed of Sale. 23
It should be emphasized that on 10 May 1983 JAKA executed, a deed of sale over 1,000 Mr. & Ms.
shares in favor of respondent Eugenio D. Apostol. On the same day, respondent Apostol signed a
declaration of trust stating that she was the registered owner of 1,000 Mr. & Ms. shares covered by
Certificate of Stock No. 007.
The declaration of trust further showed that although respondent Apostol was the registered owner,
she held the shares of stock and dividends which might be paid in connection therewith solely in
trust for the benefit of JAKA, her principal. It was also stated therein that being a trustee, respondent
Apostol agreed, on written request of the principal, to assign and transfer the shares of stock and
any and all such distributions or dividends unto the principal or such other person as the principal
would nominate or appoint.
Petitioner was well aware of this trust, being the person in charge of this documentation and being
one of the witnesses to the execution of this
document. 24 Hence, the mere alleged endorsement of Certificate of Stock No. 001 by Senator Enrile or
by a duly authorized officer of JAKA to effect the transfer of shares of JAKA to petitioner could not have
been legally feasible because Certificate of Stock No. 001 was already canceled by virtue of the deed of
sale to respondent Apostol.
And, there is nothing in the records which shows that JAKA had revoked the trust it reposed on
respondent Eugenia D. Apostol. Neither was there any evidence that the principal had requested her
to assign and transfer the shares of stock to petitioner. If it was true that the shares of stock covered
by Certificate of Stock No. 007 had been transferred to petitioner, the person who could legally
endorse the certificate was private respondent Eugenia D. Apostol, she being the registered owner
and trustee of the shares of stock covered by Certificate of Stock No. 007. It is a settled rule that the
trustee should endorse the stock certificate to validate the cancellation of her share and to have the
transfer recorded in the books of the corporation. 25
In fine, the records are unclear on how petitioner allegedly acquired the shares of stock of JAKA.
Petitioner being the chief executive officer of JAKA and the sole person in charge of all business and
financial transactions and affairs of JAKA 26 was supposed to be in the best position to show convincing
evidence on the alleged transfer of shares to her, if indeed there was a transfer. Considering that
petitioner's status is being questioned and several factual circumstances have been presented by private
respondents disproving petitioner's claim, it was incumbent upon her to submit rebuttal evidence on the
manner by which she allegedly became a stockholder. Her failure to do so taken in the light of several
substantial inconsistencies in her evidence is fatal to her case.
The rule is that the endorsement of the certificate of stock by the owner or his attorney-in-fact or any
other person legally authorized to make the transfer shall be sufficient to effect the transfer of shares
only if the same is coupled with delivery. The delivery of the stock certificate duly endorsed by the
owner is the operative act of transfer of shares from the lawful owner to the new transferee.

Thus, for a valid transfer of stocks, the requirements are as follows: (a) There must be delivery of the
stock certificate; (b) The certificate must be endorsed by the owner or his attorney-in-fact or other
persons legally authorized to make the transfer; and, (c) to be valid against third parties, the transfer
must be recorded in the books of the corporation. 27 At most, in the instant case, petitioner has satisfied
only the third requirement. Compliance with the first two requisites has not been clearly and sufficiently
shown.
Considering that the requirements provided under Sec. 63 of The Corporation Code should be
mandatorily complied with, the rule on presumption of regularity cannot apply. The regularity and
validity of the transfer must be proved. As it is, even the credibility of the stock and transfer book and
the entries thereon relied upon by petitioner to show compliance with the third requisite to prove that
she was a stockholder since 1983 is highly doubtful.
The records show that the original stock and transfer book and the stock certificate book of Mr. &
Ms. were in the possession of petitioner before their custody was transferred to the Corporate
Secretary, Atty. Augusto San Pedro. 28 On 25 May 1988, Assistant Corporate Secretary Renato Jose
Unson wrote Mr. & Ms. about the lost stock and transfer book which was also noted by the corporation's
external auditors, Punongbayan and Araullo, in their audit. Atty. Unson even informed respondent
Eugenia D. Apostol as President of Mr. & Ms. that steps would be undertaken to prepare and register a
new Stock and Transfer Book with the SEC. Incidentally, perhaps strangely, upon verification with the
SEC, it was discovered that the general file of the corporation with the SEC was missing. Hence, it was
even possible that the original Stock and Transfer Book might not have been registered at all.
On 20 October 1988 respondent Eugenia D. Apostol wrote Atty. Augusto San Pedro noting the
changes he had made in the Stock and Transfer Book without prior notice to the corporate
officers. 29 In the 27 October 1988 directors' meeting, respondent Eugenia D. Apostol asked about the
documentation to support the changes in the Stock and Transfer Book with regard to the JAKA shares.
Petitioner answered that Atty. San Pedro made the changes upon her instructions conformably with
established practice. 30
This simply shows that as of 1988 there still existed certain issues affecting the ownership of the
JAKA shares, thus raising doubts whether the alleged transactions recorded in the Stock and
Transfer Book were proper, regular and authorized. Then, as if to magnify and compound the
uncertainties in the ownership of the shares of stock in question, when the corporate secretary
resigned, the Stock and Transfer Book was delivered not to the corporate office where the book
should be kept but to petitioner. 31
That JAKA retained its ownership of its Mr. & Ms. shares was clearly shown by its receipt of the
dividends issued in December 1986. 32 This only means, very obviously, that Mr. & Ms. shares in
question still belonged to JAKA and not to petitioner. For, dividends are distributed to stockholders
pursuant to their right to share in corporate profits. When a dividend is declared, it belongs to the person
who is the substantial and beneficial owner of the stock at the time regardless of when the distribution
profit was earned. 33
Finally, this Court takes notice of the glaring and open admissions of petitioner made, not just seven
(7) but nine (9) times, during the 22 September 1988 meeting of the board of directors that the
Enriles were her principals or shareholders, as shown by the minutes thereof which she duly
signed 34
5. Mrs. E. Apostol explained to the Directors that through her efforts, the asset base
of the Company has improved and profits were realized. It is for this reason that the
Company has declared a 100% cash dividend in 1986. She said that it is up for the
Board to decide based on this performance whether she should continue to act as

Board Chairman or not. In this regard, Ms. N.A. Bitong expressed her recollection of
how Ex-Libris/Mr. & Ms. were organized and her participation for and on behalf of her
principals, as follows: She recalled that her principals were invited by Mrs. E. Apostol
to invest in Ex-Libris and eventually Mr. & Ms. The relationship between her
principals and Mrs. E. Apostol made it possible for the latter to have access to
several information concerning certain political events and issues. In many
instances, her principals supplied first hand and newsworthy information that made
Mr. & Ms. a popular
paper . . . .
6. According to Ms. Bitong, her principals were instrumental in helping Mr. & Ms.
survive during those years that it was cash strapped . . . . Ms. N.A. Bitong pointed out
that the practice of using the former Minister's influence and stature in the
government is one thing which her principals themselves are strongly against . . . .
7. . . . . At this point, Ms. N. Bitong again expressed her recollection of the subject
matter as follows: (a) Mrs. E. Apostol, she remembers, brought up the concept of a
cooperative-ran newspaper company in one of her breakfast session with her
principals sometime during the end of 1985. Her principals when asked for an
opinion, said that they recognized the concept as something very noble and visible . .
. . Then Ms. Bitong asked a very specific question "When you conceptualized ExLibris and Mr. & Ms., did you not think of my shareholders the Ponce Enriles as
liabilities? How come you associated yourself with them then and not now? What is
the difference?" Mrs. Apostol did not answer the question.
The admissions of a party against his interest inscribed upon the record books of a corporation are
competent and persuasive evidence against him. 35 These admissions render nugatory any argument
that petitioner is a bona fidestockholder of Mr. & Ms. at any time before 1988 or at the time the acts
complained of were committed. There is no doubt that petitioner was an employee of JAKA as its
managing officer, as testified to by Senator Enrile himself. 36 However, in the absence of a special
authority from the board of directors of JAKA to institute a derivative suit for and in its behalf, petitioner is
disqualified by law to sue in her own name. The power to sue and be sued in any court by a corporation
even as a stockholder is lodged in the board of directors that exercises its corporate powers and not in
the president or officer thereof. 37
It is well settled in this jurisdiction that where corporate directors are guilty of a breach of trust, not of
mere error of judgment or abuse of discretion, and intracorporate remedy is futile or useless, a
stockholder may institute a suit in behalf of himself and other stockholders and for the benefit of the
corporation, to bring about a redress of the wrong inflicted directly upon the corporation and
indirectly upon the stockholders. 38 The stockholder's right to institute a derivative suit is not based on
any express provision of The Corporation Code but is impliedly recognized when the law makes corporate
directors or officers liable for damages suffered by the corporation and its stockholders for violation of
their fiduciary duties.
Hence, a stockholder may sue for mismanagement, waste or dissipation of corporate assets
because of a special injury to him for which he is otherwise without redress. 39 In effect, the suit is an
action for specific performance of an obligation owed by the corporation to the stockholders to assist its
rights of action when the corporation has been put in default by the wrongful refusal of the directors or
management to make suitable measures for its protection. 40
The basis of a stockholder's suit is always one in equity. However, it cannot prosper without first
complying with the legal requisites for its institution. The most important of these is the bona

fide ownership by a stockholder of a stock in his own right at the time of the transaction complained
of which invests him with standing to institute a derivative action for the benefit of the corporation. 41
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The 31 August 1995 Decision of the Court of Appeals
dismissing the complaint of petitioner Nora A. Bitong in CA-G.R. No. SP 33291, and granting the
petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by respondent Edgardo U. Espiritu as well as annulling the
5 November 1993, 24 January 1993 and 18 February 1994 Orders of the SEC En Banc in CA-G.R.
No. SP 33873, is AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.