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SPOUSES DOMINGO v.

ROCES
G.R. No.147468
April 9, 2003
DOCTRINE
The annotation at the title of a property pursuant to Rule 74, Sec. 4 is not confined to the heirs or original
distributes of the estate properties.

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Facts:
Cesar and Lilia Roces were owners of two contiguous parcels of land. In 1962, the GSIS caused the
annotation of an adverse claim on their titles, alleging that the spouses had mortgaged the same to it.
Later on, when the titles were to be surrendered to GSIS, the spouses failed to do so, and the GSIS had
such title duplicates in their possession declared null and void.
Cesar Roces died intestate. He was survived by his widow and their children.
In 1992, a certain Reynaldo Montinola, a nephew of Lilia Roces, executed an affidavit of self-adjudication
over the subject properties. A year later, he filed a petition against GSIS for the cancellation of the title
which was in the possession of GSIS. GSIS lost the case, and its titles were cancelled, and ownership
awarded to Montinola.
Later in the same year, Montinola sold the property in favor of the Petitioners, the Domingo Spouses.
Such sale was subject to the provision of Section 4 of Rule 74:
Subject to the provision of Sec. 4, Rule 74 of the RoC with respect to the inheritance left by the
deceased Sps. Cesar Roces and Lilia Montinola

5. Now came the Defendants Roces siblings. They alleged that the affidavit of selfadjudication Montinola
executed was null and void for Lilia Roces was not even dead. Because of this, the sale of the property
was done without authority, and therefore null and void as well.
6. But the Domingo Spouses, the buyers, contended that despite the annotation of the provision of Rule 74,
they were buyers in good faith, and by that very fact, in addition to the siblings being in estoppel and
guilty of laches, the sale was valid.
Issue:
Could the sale have been valid, in light of a fact that the Spouses Domingo were not covered by the Rule
74 annotation? (AKA: Were the spouses buyers in good faith? )

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Were the respondents guilty of laches and estoppel?


Held:
Rule 74 clearly covers transfers of real property to any person.
Contrary to petitioner's contention, the effects of this provision are not confined to the heirs or original
distributes of the estate properties;
As the provision provides, such effects affect any transferee of the property. There is no doubt the
Spouses Domingo were covered by any transferee
Therefore, buyers of real property the title of which contains an annotation pursuant to Section 4, Rule 74
cannot be considered innocent purchasers for value;
The presence of an irregularity in the title which excites or arouses suspicion should prompt the buyer to
look beyond the certificate and investigate the title of the vendor;
This the spouses did not do, and hence cannot at all be considered buyers in good faith.
As to the claim that the respondents were guilty of laches and estoppel, it is untenable.

8. Estoppel by laches arises from the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert
it.
9. In the case at bar, only four months elapsed from the time respondents discovered Montinolas fraudulent
acts, sometime in May 1993, to the time they filed their complaint on September 6, 1993. This relatively
short span of time can hardly be called unreasonable, especially considering that respondents used this
period of time to investigate the transfers of the property