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Goni v. CA Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (TABACLERA) owned 3

haciendas known as San Sebastian, Sarria and Dulce Nombre de Maria
September 23,1986 in Bais, Negros Occidental. Praxedes Villanueva wanted to but the
Fernan, J. haciendas but did not have sufficient funds to pay the price so, with the
sai consent of TABACLERA, he offered the haciendas to Santiago Villegas,
later substituted by Joaquin Villegas. Gaspar Vicente stood as the
SUMMARY: Villanueva wanted to buy the 3 haciendas owned by guarantor in a document “Escritura de Taspaso de Cuenta” since
TABACLERA but since he had no sufficient funds, he offered the TABLACLERA did not agree to the transaction without a guaranty.
haciendas to Villegas with Vicente as guarantor. The amount realized
from this transaction was still not enough so he entered into a The amount realized from the transaction between Villegas and
promise to sell 3 lots of one of the haciendas with Vicente. Villanueva was not enough so Villanueva contracted or promised to sell
Subsequently, 2 of the 3 lots (lot nos 4 and 13) were subject of a lease fields no. 3, 4, 13 of Hacienda Dulce Nombre for P13,807 to Vicente. The
to Vicente for 5 years. When Villanueva died, the inventory included amount of P12,460.24 was the amount debited from Vicente since it
the 3 lots in question. Vicente instituted an action for recovery of was the amount needed to complete the purchase price. Villanueva was
property and damages against heirs and Goni, the administrator. TC able to raise funders by selling a property in Ayungon Negros
and CA ruled in favor of Vicente. SC reversed this ruling stating that Occidental so he went to Vicente to rescind the contract/promise to sell
Vicente should surrender the lots to the heirs and pay corresponding but since the amount was already debited, this was not possible. They
annual rent for the fields. agreed that lots 4 and 13 would be leased to Vincent for 5 years starting
1950-1951 at annual rental of 15% of the gross income, rent to be
DOCTRINE: Disqualification by reason of interest is anchored on deducted from money advanced by Vicente.
Section 20(a) of Rule 130, commonly known as the Survivorship
Disqualification Rule or Dead Man Statute. In 1949, TABACLERA executed formal deed of sale of the 3 haciendas
in favor of Villanueva, including fields 3,4,and 13 which were registered
The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation in the latter’s name. These fields were mortgaged to the Rehailitation
to give false testimony in regard to the transaction in question on the and Finance Corporation later transferred to PNB for total indebtedness
part of the surviving party and further to put the two parties to a suit of P334,400. Meanwhile, fields 3 and 13 were delivered to Vicente.
upon terms of equality in regard to the opportunity of giving Villanueva additionally executed a “Documento de la Venta Definitive”
testimony. It is designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff when in favor of Villegas covering Lot 314 of Hacienda Sarria.
death has closed the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove
from the surviving party the temptation to falsehood and the In 1951, Villanueva died. Included in the inventory for intestate
possibility of fictitious claims against the deceased. But in this case, proceedings were fields nos. 3 and 4 (listed as lot 257 of inventory) and
such provision is inapplicable since such protection was effectively 13 (listed as lot no. 723). Vicente instituted an action for recovery of
waived when counsel for petitioners cross-examined Vicente. "A property and damages against Goni in his capacity as administrator of
waiver occurs when plaintiff's deposition is taken by the the estate. Vicente sought to recover field no. 3 by virtue of the
representative of the estate or when counsel for the representative contract/promise to sell. Gonie filed an answer with counterclaim for
cross-examined the plaintiff as to matters occurring during deceased's accounting of the produce of fields 4 and 13 and surrender thereof at
lifetime the end of the 5th crop year in 1955 plus moral damages, atty. fees.
Vicente filed an amended complaint to include a prayer for damages
FACTS: representing produce of field no. 3 until delivery thereof to him. He
later amended to include as parties-defendants heirs of Villanueva.

protection because the defendants-heirs are properly the

The parties entered into a stipulation of facts agreeing on the costs of "representatives" of the deceased, not only because they succeeded to
production and produce of the 3 fields. There were two witnesses for the decedent's right by descent or operation of law, but more
Vicente: Vicente himself who testified on the facts occurring before the importantly because they are so placed in litigation that they are called
death of Villanueva and Epifanio Equio a clerk of TABACLERA Agency I on to defend which they have obtained from the deceased and make the
Bais Sugar Central. Defendants on the other hand presented GOni who defense which the deceased might have made if living, or to establish a
testified on the alleged verbal lease agreement. claim which deceased might have been interested to establish, if living.

TC judgment in favor of Vicente, that the heirs should deliver filed no. 3 Such protection, however, was effectively waived when counsel for
to the former and to execute a formal deed of sale covering the 3 fields. petitioners cross-examined Vicente. "A waiver occurs when plaintiff's
It ordered the heirs to pay Vicente actual or compensatory damages deposition is taken by the representative of the estate or when counsel
P81,204 which was 15% of the total gross income of field 3 for crop for the representative cross-examined the plaintiff as to matters
years 1950-51 to 1958-59. Both parties appealed occurring during deceased's lifetime. Also, the heirs presented a
counterclaim against Vicente. When Vicente thus took the witness
CA affirmed TC decision with modification on the amount of damages stand, it was in a dual capacity as plaintiff in the action for recovery of
which should be total net income from filed 3 from 1950-51 until the property and as defendant in the counterclaim for accounting and
field is delivered to Vicente. surrender of fields nos. 4 and 13. Evidently, as defendant in the
counterclaim, he was not disqualified from testifying as to matters of
ISSUES AND RULING: fact occurring before the death of Villanueva, said action not having
been brought against, but by the estate or representatives of the
1.(RELEVANT) WON Gaspar Vicente may testify on matters of fact estate/deceased person. Likewise, under a great majority of statutes,
occurring before the death of Villanueva which constitutes a claim the adverse party is competent to testify to transactions or
or demand upon his estate in violation of Rule 130 Sec. 20 communications with the deceased or incompetent person which were
paragraph A—YES! made with an agent of such person in cases in which the agent is still
alive and competent to testify. But the testimony of the adverse party
Under ordinary circumstances, Vicente would be disqualified by reason must be confined to those transactions or communications which were
of interest from testifying as to any matter of fact occurring before the had with the agent. The contract/promise to sell under consideration
death of Villanueva, such disqualification being anchored on Section was signed by petitioner Gonñ i as attorney-in- fact of Villanueva. He was
20(a) of Rule 130, commonly known as the Survivorship privy to the circumstances surrounding the execution of such contract
Disqualification Rule or Dead Man Statute. and therefore could either confirm or deny any allegations made by
Vicente with respect to said contract. The inequality or injustice sought
The object and purpose of the rule is to guard against the temptation to to be avoided by Section 20(a) of Rule 130, where one of the parties no
give false testimony in regard to the transaction in question on the part longer has the opportunity to either confirm or rebut the testimony of
of the surviving party and further to put the two parties to a suit upon the other because death has permanently sealed the former's lips, does
terms of equality in regard to the opportunity of giving testimony. It is not actually exist in the case at bar, for the reason that Gonñ i could and
designed to close the lips of the party plaintiff when death has closed did not negate the binding effect of the contract/promise to sell. Thus,
the lips of the party defendant, in order to remove from the surviving while admitting the existence of the said contract/promise to sell, Gonñ i
party the temptation to falsehood and the possibility of fictitious claims testified that the same was subsequently novated into a verbal contract
against the deceased. This case remains within the ambit of the of lease over fields nos. 4 and 13 of the Hacienda Dulce Nombre de

Maria possession, but it certainly could not explain why it took him 4 years
before instituting an action in court.
2. WON the written promise to sell was novated into a verbal
agreement of lease during the lifetime of Villanueva- YES! TC and CA believed more in the promise to sell than the lease
agreement simply because the former had been reduced to writing,
Novation takes place when the object or principal condition of an while the latter was merely verbal. It must be observed, though, that the
obligation is changed or altered. "Novation is never presumed. It must contract/promise to sell was signed by petitioner Gonñ i as attorney-in-
be established that the old and the new contracts are incompatible in all fact of Villanueva, an indication that final arrangements were made by
points, or that the will to novate appear by express agreement of the Gonñ i in the absence of Villanueva. It was therefore natural for Vicente to
parties or in acts of equivalent import. have demanded that the agreement be in writing to erase any doubt of
its binding effect upon Villanueva. On the other hand, the verbal lease
The novation of the written contract/promise to sell into a verbal agreement was negotiated by and between Villanueva and Vicente.
agreement of lease was clearly and convincingly proven not only by the Being close friends and relatives it can be safely assumed that they did
testimony of petitioner Gonñ i, but likewise by the acts and conduct of the not find it necessary to reduce the same into writing. Also, it was stated
parties subsequent to the execution of the contract/promise to sell. by the CA that Goni, as a sugar planter had full knowledge as to annual
Thus, after the milling season of crop year 1949-50, only fields nos. 4 income of lots 4 and 13 and since there was the amount of P12460.25
and 13 were delivered to Vicente. Fields nos. 3, 4 and 13 were to be liquidated, Gonie never deemed it wise to demand a yearly
subsequently registered in Villanueva's name and mortgaged with the accounting. It was only after the expiration of the 5 year lease that Goni
RFC. Villanueva likewise executed a deed of sale covering Hacienda demanded accounting of the production of the 2 lots leased to Vicente.
Sarria in favor of Joaquin Villegas. All these were known to Vicente, yet It is the custom among the sugar planters in the locality that the Lessee
he did not take any steps toward protecting his claim over fields nos. 3, usually demands an advance amount to cover the rental for the period
4 and 13 either by demanding during the lifetime of Villanueva that the of the lease, and the demand of an accounting will be only made after
latter execute a similar document in his favor, or causing notice of his the expiration of the lease period. It was adduced during the trial that
adverse claim to be annotated on the certificate of title of said lots. If it the amount of P12,460.75 was considered as an advance rental of the 2
were true that he made demands on Villanueva for the surrender of lots which was leased to Vicente lots nos. 4 and 13; so there was no
field no. 3 as well as the execution of the corresponding deed of sale, he necessity on the part of to make a yearly demand for an accounting for
should have, upon refusal of the latter to do so, immediately or within a the total production of 2 parcels leased. Goni and Heirs having clearly
reasonable time thereafter, instituted an action for recovery, or caused and sufficiently shown that the contract/promise to sell was
his adverse claim to be annotated on the certificate of title. Considering subsequently novated into a verbal lease agreement, it follows that they
that field no. 3, containing an area of 3 hectares, 75 ares and 60 are entitled to a favorable decision on their counterclaim.
centares, is the biggest among the 3 lots, an ordinary prudent man
would have taken these steps if he honestly believed he had any right
thereto. Vicente did neither. In fact such inaction persisted even during DISPOSITIVE: judicial administrator of the estate of private respondent
the pendency of the intestate proceedings wherein he could have Gaspar Vicente and/or his successors-in-interest are hereby ordered to:
readily intervened to seek exclusion of fields nos. 3, 4 and 13 from the a) surrender possession of fields nos. 4 and 13 of the Hacienda Dulce
inventory of properties. Nombre de Maria to petitioners; b) render an accounting of the produce
of said fields for the period beginning crop-year 1950-51 until complete
The explanation of Vicente that there were small sugar cane growing on possession thereof shall have been delivered to petitioners; and c) to
field 3 may be plausible explanation why he could not take immediate pay the corresponding annual rent for the said fields in an amount

equivalent to 15% of the gross produce of said fields, for the periods the marriage of Dinal to the witness having been dissolved by the death
beginning crop-year 1950-51 until said fields shall have been of her husband, she is no longer his wife, and therefore not subject to
surrendered to petitioners, deducting from the amount due petitioners any disqualification arising from the status of marriage.
the sum of P12,460.24 advanced by private respondent Gaspar Vicente.
o The testimony is further insisted as it is sufficient at this time
to say some of them would be both material and relevant, to such a
degree that if proven to the satisfaction of the court, they might have
United States vs. Antipolo [G.R. No. L-13109. March 6, 1918.] lead to the acquittal of the accused, as they purported to relate to the
dying declarations of the deceased, concerning the cause of his death,
TOPIC: Disqualification by reason of privileged communication the general purport being that his injuries were due to a fall and not to
the acts imputed to the accused.

ISSUE: W/N Susana Ezpeleta, widow of the victim, should be allowed to
• Antipolo was charged with the Murder of Fortunato Dinal. Trial testify – YES
Court convicted him of Homicide.

• The Trial Judge refused to permit Susana Ezpeleta, the widow

of the man whom the Antipolo is accused of having murdered, to testify • According to Greenleaf, the rationale for the rule that neither
as a witness on behalf of the defense concerning certain alleged dying the husband nor the wife can testify for or against the other in a
declarations. proceeding is to secure domestic happiness by placing the protecting
seal of the law upon all confidential communications between husband
o She was asked: "On what occasion did your husband die?" and wife; and whatever has come to the knowledge of either by means
of the hallowed confidence which that relation inspires, cannot be
• The fiscal objected on the following ground: "I object to the afterwards divulged in testimony even through the other party be no
testimony of this witness. She has just testified that she is the widow of longer living.
the deceased, Fortunato Dinal, and that being so I believe that she is not
competent to testify under the Rules of Procedure in either civil or o This case DOES NOT fall with the text of the statute or the
criminal cases, unless it be with the consent of her husband, and as he reason upon which it is based.
is dead and cannot grant that permission, it follows that this witness is
disqualified from testifying in this case in which her husband is the o The purpose of the rule is to protect accused persons against
injured party." statements made in the confidence engendered by the marital relation,
and to relieve the husband or wife to whom such confidential
• Counsel for defendant insisted that the witness was competent, communications might have been made from the obligation of revealing
arguing that the disqualification which the fiscal evidently had in mind them to the prejudice of the other spouse.
relates only to cases in which a husband or wife of one of the parties to
a proceeding is called to testify; that the parties to the prosecution of a • Obviously, when a person at the point of death as a result of
criminal case are the Government and the accused; that, furthermore, injuries he has suffered makes a statement regarding the manner in

which he received those injuries, the communication so made is in no

sense confidential. On the contrary, such a communication is made for
the express purpose that it may be communicated after the death of the The testimony of a third person as to a conversation between husband
declarant to the authorities concerned in inquiring into the cause of his and wife is admissible.

• The rule relates only to cases when one the spouses is a party
to the case. The word “afterwards” refers as to when a marriage has FACTS:
been dissolved otherwise than by the death of one of the spouses — as,
for instance, by decree of annulment or divorce. • It appears from the evidence that the victim of the alleged
murder, Dr. Pablo G. Sityar, performed a surgical operation upon the
• The declarations of a deceased person while in anticipation of defendant's wife for appendicitis and certain other ailments. After her
certain impending death, concerning the circumstances leading up to release from the hospital she was required to go several times to the
the death, are admissible in a prosecution of the person charged with clinic of Doctor Sityar, for the purpose of dressing the wounds caused
killing the declarant. by the operation. On these occasions she was accompanied by her
husband, the defendant.
• The defendant states that on one of the visits, Doctor Sityar
March 6, 1943|Ostrand, J. | Marital Communications sent him out on an errand to buy some medicine, and that while
defendant was absent on this errand Doctor Sityar outraged the wife.
Digester: Yee, Jenine The defendant further states that his wife informed him of the outrage
shortly after leaving the clinic. Notwithstanding this it nevertheless
appears that he again went there on March 28th to consult the deceased
about some lung trouble from which he, the defendant, was suffering..
SUMMARY: Defendant killed Dr. Sityar. The trial court convicted He was given some medical treatment and appears to have made at
defendant of murder because of a letter written by the wife to the least one more visit to the clinic without revealing any special
defendant. The letter was illegally seized (no search warrant) by the resentment.
police and shows that the wife feared that the defendant would result to
physical violence in dealing with Dr. Sityar. The defendant argues that • On May 12, 1924, the defendant, suffering from some stomach
the letter is inadmissible as evidence and, in the absence of trouble, entered the Philippine General Hospital where he remained
premeditation, should consequently be guilty of homicide only. The until May 18, 1924, and where he was under the care of two other
Court ruled that the letter was not privileged but excluded the letter in physicians. While in the hospital her received a letter (Exhibit 5) from
evidence because it was pure hearsay. Doctor Sityar asking the immediate settlement of the account for the
professional services rendered his wife. Shortly after his release from
DOCTRINE: If documents were obtained from the addressee by the hospital the defendant sought an interview with Doctor Sityar and
voluntary delivery, they are privileged; but if they were obtained went to the latter's office several times without finding him in. On one
surreptitiously or otherwise without the addressee's consent, the of these occasions he was asked by an employee of the office, the nurse
privilege should cease. Cabanñ era, if he had come to settle his account, to which the defendant
answered that he did not believe he owed the doctor anything.

• In the afternoon of May 26th the defendant again went to the effect that where a privileged communication from one spouse to
office of the deceased and found him there alone. According to the another comes into the hands of a third party, whether legally or not,
evidence of the prosecution, the defendant then, without any without collusion and voluntary disclosure on the part of either of the
preliminary quarrel between the two, attacked the deceased with a fan- spouses, the privilege is thereby extinguished and the communication,
knife and stabbed him twice. The deceased made an effort to escape but if otherwise competent, becomes admissible Such is the view of the
the defendant pursued him and overtaking him in the hall outside the majority of this court.
office, inflicted another wound upon him and as a consequence if the
three wounds he died within a few minutes. • Professor Wigmore states the rule as follows: For documents of
communication coming into the possession of a third person, a
• The defendants made his escape but surrendered himself in the distinction should obtain, analogous to that already indicated for a
evening of the following day. client's communications (ante, par. 2325, 2326); i. e., if they were
obtained from the addressee by voluntary delivery, they should still be
• TRIAL COURT: Murder because committed with premeditation. privileged (for otherwise the privilege could by collusion be practically
Took into consideration, Exhibit L, a letter written to the defendant by nullified for written communications); but if they were obtained
his wife and siezed by the police in searching his effects on the day of surreptitiously or otherwise without the addressee's consent, the
his arrest. It is dated May 25, 1924, two days before the commission of privilege should cease
the crime and shows that the writer feared that the defendant
contemplated resorting to physical violence in dealing with the o The letter in question was obtained through a search for which
deceased. no warrant appears to have been issued.

• DEFENDANT: documents obtained by illegal searches of the

defendant's effects are not admissible in evidence in a criminal case. In
RULING: The sentence appealed from is therefore modified by reducing discussing this point we can do not better than to quote Professor
the penalty to fourteen years, eight months and one day of reclusion Wigmore:
temporal, with the corresponding accessory penalties and with the
costs against the appellant. So ordered. • COURT: In Weeks vs. United States, which reverted to the
original doctrine of Boyd v. United States, but with a condition, viz., that
the illegality of the search and seizure should first have been directly
litigated and established by a motion, made before trial, for the return
Whether defendant is guilty of murder or homicide—HOMICIDE. of the things seized; so that, after such a motion, and then only, the
illegality would be noticed in the main trial and the evidence thus
obtained would be excluded

[SUB-ISSUE] Whether the letter is inadmissible as evidence—YES. o Here the illegality of the search and seizure was not "directly
litigated and established by a motion, made before trial, for the return
• DEFENDANT: The letter was a privileged communication and of the things seized."
therefore not admissible in evidence.

• COURT: The numerical weight of authority is, however, to the


• COURT: The letter Exhibit L must, however, be excluded for • This may possibly be good law, though Wigmore cites no
reasons not discussed in the briefs. The letter was written by the wife of authority in support of his assertion, but as far as we can see it has little
the defendant and if she had testified at the trial the letter might have or nothing to do with the present case.
been admissible to impeach her testimony, but she was not put on the
witness-stand and the letter was therefore not offered for that purpose. • The prosecution maintains that the crime was committed with
If the defendant either by answer or otherwise had indicated his assent alevosia. This contention is based principally on the fact that one of the
to the statements contained in the letter it might also have been wounds received by the deceased showed a downward direction
admissible, but such is not the case here; the fact that he had the letter indicating that the deceased was sitting down when the wound was
in his possession is no indication of acquiescence or assent on his part. inflicted. We do not think this fact is sufficient proof. The direction of
The letter is therefore nothing but pure hearsay and its admission in the wound would depend largely upon the manner in which the knife
evidence violates the constitutional right of the defendant in a criminal was held.
case to be confronted with the witnesses for the prosecution and have
the opportunity to cross-examine them. In this respect there can be no • For the reasons stated we find the defendant guilty of simple
difference between an ordinary communication and one originally homicide, without aggravating or extenuating circumstances.

Whether defendant acted in self-defense—No.

Conversations between husband and wife
• DEFENDANT: He went to Doctor Sityar's office to protest
• The question is radically different from that of the admissibility against the amount of the fee charged by the doctor and, in any event, to
of testimony of a third party as to a conversation between a husband ask for an extension of the time of payment; that during the
and wife overheard by the witness. Testimony of that character is conversation upon that subject the deceased insulted him by telling him
admissible on the ground that it relates to a conversation in which both that inasmuch as he could not pay the amount demanded he could send
spouses took part and on the further ground that where the defendant his wife to the office as she was the one treated, and that she could then
has the opportunity to answer a statement made to him by his spouse talk the matter over with the decease; that this statement was made in
and fails to do so, his silence implies assent. That cannot apply where such an insolent and contemptuous manner that the defendant became
the statement is contained in an unanswered letter. greatly incensed and remembering the outrage committed upon his
wife, he assumed a threatening attitude and challenged the deceased to
• The Attorney-General in support of the contrary view quotes go downstairs with him and there settle the matter; that the deceased
Wigmore, as follows: thereupon took a pocket-knife from the center drawer of his desk and
attacked the defendant, endeavoring to force him out of the office; that
• . . . Express communication is always a proper mode of the defendant, making use of his knowledge of fencing, succeeded in
evidencing knowledge or belief. Communication to a husband or wife is taking the knife away from the deceased and blinded by fury stabbed
always receivable to show probable knowledge by the other (except him first in the right side of the breast and then in the epigastric region,
where they are living apart or are not in good terms), because, while it and fearing that the deceased might secure some other weapon or
is not certain that the one will tell the other, and while the probability is receive assistance from the people in the adjoining room, he again
less upon some subjects than upon others, still there is always some stabbed him, this time in the back.
probability, — which is all that can be fairly asked for admissibility

• COURT: The defendant's testimony as to the struggle described

is in conflict with the evidence presented by the prosecution.

• COURT: But assuming that it is true, it is very evident that it

fails to establish a case of self-defense and that, in reality, the only
question here to be determined is whether the defendant is guilty of
murder or of simple homicide.