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A.M. No. MTJ-99-1226 January 31, 2000


(Formerly OCA IPI No. 97-315-MTJ)
GLORIA LUCAS, complainant,
vs.
JUDGE AMELIA A. FABROS, MeTC, Branch 9, Manila, respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
QUISUMBING, J .:
In a verified complaint
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dated May 20, 1997, complainant Gloria Lucas charged respondent, Judge Amelia A. Fabros of
the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 9, Manila, with Gross Ignorance of the Law and Grave Abuse of Discretion relative to
Civil Case No. 151248 entitled "Editha F. Gacad, represented by Elenita F. Castelo vs. Gloria Lucas, for Ejectment".
Complainant, who was the defendant in the aforecited case, alleged that Judge Amelia A. Fabros issued an Order
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dated
February 26, 1997 granting the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration of the Order
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dated January 13, 1997, which
dismissed the case for failure of plaintiff and her counsel to appear at the Preliminary Conference.
Complainant averred that it is elementary, under Section 19 (c) of the Rules of Summary Procedure, that a motion for
reconsideration is prohibited, but respondent judge, in violation of the rule, granted the motion for reconsideration. She
added that, notwithstanding the fact that the respondent herself had pointed out in open court that the case is governed by
the Rules on Summary Procedure,
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the judge ordered the revival of the case out of malice, partiality and with intent to
cause an injury to complainant.
Further, complainant alleged that the actuations of the respondent is in blatant disregard of the established rules on
procedure, and it is an instance where the doctrine of IPSA LOQUITOR may once again may be applied by the Court to
discipline judges.
On June 18, 1997, respondent judge was required to comment on the administrative complaint. In her Comment
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dated
September 16, 1997, she admitted that she granted the motion for reconsideration even if the same is a prohibited motion
in an ejectment case. She explained, however, that it was granted in the interest of justice.
In her Comment, respondent stated:
The Order subject of this complaint is the Order dated January 13, 1997 dismissing the complaint for ejectment
for failure of the plaintiff to appear for preliminary conference and more importantly her lawyer, Atty. Jose Suing,
who was duly empowered to appear for preliminary conference by virtue of a Special Power of Attorney.
Immediately upon learning the said order of dismissal and awarding of attorney's fees, Atty. Suing filed a Motion
for Reconsideration on January 17, 1997 (Annex "A") stating that he failed to appear due to a sudden excruciating
stomach pain. He further stated that his Secretary called the Court but to no avail until finally the call came
through and she was informed that the case was dismissed. Over the objection of the defendant that the Motion
for Reconsideration was a prohibited pleading which this Presiding Judge is fully aware of under the Rule on
Summary Procedure, the Motion for Reconsideration was nonetheless granted in the interest of justice. The
question is poised. Are the actuations of judges to be governed strictly by the Rule on Summary Procedure
despite their belief in good faith that in special cases, its observance would result in a miscarriage of justice? This
Presiding Judge does not think so. Judges are supposed to responsible Public Officials and should be able to
perceive and discern circumstances which might lead to miscarriage of justice, thus, negating the very purpose
and essence of the Rule on Summary Procedure. The Rule on Summary Procedure is not a straight jacket and it
is believed it was never meant to be that. This is the reason why we have in the Rules of Court Section 5 (g) of
Rule 135 which is one of the inherent powers of the Court, that is, to amend and control its process and orders so
as to make them conformable to law and justice. Ignorance of the law, to the mind of the undersigned, is the act
of a judge in taking legal steps or adopting procedure unknowingly aware that they are contrary to established
Rules which should be known to the judge. This Presiding Judge in this particular case was fully aware of the
Rule on Summary Procedure. She fully knew that the Motion for Reconsideration was a prohibited pleading but
she still considered it because to deny it would result in a miscarriage of justice. It was not a capricious, whimsical
and despotic act when viewed in the light of this circumstance.1wphi1.nt
With respect to the allegation that the charge of ignorance of the law was compounded by the failure to issue a
writ of execution, it bears stressing that the Order dated January 13, 1997 never gained finality because the
plaintiff was able to file the Motion for Reconsideration within the fifteen (15) day period, that is, on January 17,
1997. But even if it is argued validly that the Motion for Reconsideration being a prohibited pleading did not
interrupt the running of the period of appeal, still the said Order did not gain finality as far as defendant Gloria
Lucas is concerned because as the record shows, it was she who received the Order, not her lawyer, Atty. Sulit.
The complaint and the Comment were referred to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and
recommendation after the case was docketed as an administrative matter. On August 25, 1997, OCA in a Memorandum,
submitted the following findings:
After a careful perusal of the records of the case, we find that respondent Judge Fabros abused her discretion in
granting the Motion for Reconsideration.
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Respondent Judge Fabros maintained that she could not be guilty of gross ignorance of the law as she knows
that a motion for reconsideration of judgment is a prohibited motion in an ejectment case. She explained that
although there is already a judgment dismissing the case, she granted the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration in
the interest of justice since the reasons stated in the motion for reconsideration are meritorious.
Respondent failed to realize that the first duty of the court is to apply the law and that when the law is clear and
unambiguous, there is no room for interpretation. Although her intention was good, this could not free her from
liability.
Respondent should have denied the motion since the plaintiff had other judicial remedies like appeal.
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The Office of the Court Administrator recommended that respondent judge be fined in the amount of P2,000.00 for grave
abuse of discretion. The Court, however, finds this recommendation without factual and legal basis.
As a rule, a motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading under Section 19 of the Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure.1wphi1 Thus,
Sec. 19. Prohibited pleadings and motions. The following pleadings, motions, or petitions shall not be allowed
in the cases covered by this Rule.
x x x x x x x x x
(c) Motion for new trial, or for reconsideration of a judgment, or for reopening of trial;
x x x x x x x x x
This rule, however, applies only where the judgment sought to be reconsidered is one rendered on the merits. As held by
the Court in an earlier case involving Sec. 15 (c) of the Rules on Summary Procedure, later Sec. 19 (c) of the Revised
Rules on Summary Procedure effective November 15, 1991: "The motion prohibited by this Section is that which seeks
reconsideration of the judgment rendered by the court after trial on the merits of the case."
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Here, the order of dismissal
issued by respondent judge due to failure of a party to appear during the preliminary conference is obviously not a
judgment on the merits after trial of the case. Hence, a motion for the reconsideration of such order is not the prohibited
pleading contemplated under Section 19 (c) of the present Rule on Summary Procedure. Thus, respondent judge
committed no grave abuse of discretion, nor is she guilty of ignorance of the law, in giving due course to the motion for
reconsideration subject of the present complaint.
ACCORDINGLY, the complaint filed against respondent Judge Amelia A. Fabros is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

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G.R. No. L-37453 May 25, 1979
RIZALINA GABRIEL GONZALES, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and LUTGARDA SANTIAGO, respondents.
GUERRERO, J .:
This is a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, First Division,
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promulgated on May 4, 1973 in CA
G.R. No. 36523-R which reversed the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal dated December 15, 1964 and
allowed the probate of the last will and testament of the deceased Isabel Gabriel. *
It appears that on June 24, 1961, herein private respondent Lutgarda Santiago filed a petition with the Court of First
Instance of Rizal docketed as Special Proceedings No. 3617, for the probate of a will alleged to have been executed by
the deceased Isabel Gabriel and designating therein petitioner as the principal beneficiary and executrix.
There is no dispute in the records that the late Isabel Andres Gabriel died as a widow and without issue in the municipality
of Navotas, province of Rizal her place of residence, on June 7, 1961 at the age of eighty-five (85), having been born in
1876. It is likewise not controverted that herein private respondent Lutgarda Santiago and petitioner Rizalina Gabriel
Gonzales are nieces of the deceased, and that private respondent, with her husband and children, lived with the
deceased at the latters residence prior an- d up to the time of her death.
The will submitted for probate, Exhibit "F", which is typewritten and in Tagalog, appears to have been executed in Manila
on the 15th day of April, 1961, or barely two (2) months prior to the death of Isabel Gabriel. It consists of five (5) pages,
including the pages whereon the attestation clause and the acknowledgment of the notary public were written. The
signatures of the deceased Isabel Gabriel appear at the end of the will on page four and at the left margin of all the pages.
The attestation clause, which is found on page four, reads as follows:
PATUNAY NG MGA SAKSI
Kaming mga nakalagdang mga saksi o testigo na ang aming mga tinitirahan ay nakasulat sa gawing
kanan at kahilira ng aming mga pangalan sa ibaba nito, ay pagpapatutuo na ipinakilala ipinaalam at
ipinahayag sa amin ni Isabel Gabriel na ang kasulatang ito na binubuo ng Limang Dahon (Five Pages)
pati na ang dahong ito, na siya niyang TESTAMENTO AT HULING HABILIN, ngayong ika 15 ng Abril,
1961, ay nilagdaan ng nasabing testadora na si Isabel Gabriel ang nasabing testamento sa ibaba o ilalim
ng kasulatan na nasa ika apat na dahon (page four) at nasa itaas ng patunay naming ito, at sa kaliwang
panig ng lahat at bawat dahon (and on the left hand margin of each and every page), sa harap ng lahat at
bawat isa sa amin, at kami namang mga saksi ay lumagda sa harap ng nasabing testadora, at sa harap
ng lahat at bawat isa sa amin, sa ilalim ng patunay ng mga saksi at sa kaliwang panig ng lahat at bawa't
dahon ng testamentong ito.
At the bottom thereof, under the heading "Pangalan", are written the signatures of Matilde D. Orobia, Celso D. Gimpaya
and Maria R. Gimpaya, and opposite the same, under the heading "Tirahan", are their respective places of residence, 961
Highway 54, Philamlife, for Miss Orobia, and 12 Dagala St., Navotas, Rizal, for the two Gimpayas. Their signatures also
appear on the left margin of all the other pages. The WW is paged by typewritten words as follows: "Unang Dahon" and
underneath "(Page One)", "Ikalawang Dahon" and underneath "(Page Two)", etc., appearing at the top of each page.
The will itself provides that the testatrix desired to be buried in the Catholic Cemetery of Navotas, Rizal in accordance with
the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, all expenses to be paid from her estate; that all her obligations, if any, be paid;
that legacies in specified amounts be given to her sister, Praxides Gabriel Vda. de Santiago, her brother Santiago Gabriel,
and her nephews and nieces, Benjamin, Salud, Rizalina (herein petitioner), Victoria, Ester, Andres, all surnamed Gabriel,
and Evangeline, Rudyardo Rosa, Andrea, Marcial, Numancia, Verena an surnamed Santiago. To herein private
respondent Lutgarda Santiago, who was described in the will by the testatrix as "aking mahal na pamangkin na aking
pinalaki, inalagaan at minahal na katulad ng isang tunay na anak" and named as universal heir and executor, were
bequeathed all properties and estate, real or personal already acquired, or to be acquired, in her testatrix name, after
satisfying the expenses, debts and legacies as aforementioned.
The petition was opposed by Rizalina Gabriel Gonzales, herein petitioner, assailing the document purporting to be the will
of the deceased on the following grounds:
1. that the same is not genuine; and in the alternative
2. that the same was not executed and attested as required by law;
3. that, at the time of the alleged execution of the purported wilt the decedent lacked testamentary
capacity due to old age and sickness; and in the second alternative
4. That the purported WW was procured through undue and improper pressure and influence on the part
of the principal beneficiary, and/or of some other person for her benefit.
Lutgarda Santiago filed her Answer to the Opposition on February 1, 1962. After trial, the court a quo rendered judgment,
the summary and dispositive portions of which read:
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Passing in summary upon the grounds advanced by the oppositor, this Court finds:
1. That there is no iota of evidence to support the contentio that the purported will of the deceased was
procured through undue and improper pressure and influence on the part of the petitioner, or of some
other person for her benefit;
2. That there is insufficient evidence to sustain the contention that at the time of the alleged execution of
the purported will, the deceased lacked testamentary capacity due to old age and sickness;
3. That sufficient and abundant evidence warrants conclusively the fact that the purported will of the
deceased was not executed and attested as required by law;
4. That the evidence is likewise conclusive that the document presented for probate, Exhibit 'F' is not the
purported win allegedly dictated by the deceased, executed and signed by her, and attested by her three
attesting witnesses on April 15, 1961.
WHEREFORE, Exhibit "F", the document presented for probate as the last wig and testament of the
deceased Isabel Gabriel is here by DISALLOWED.
From this judgment of disallowance, Lutgarda Santiago appealed to respondent Court, hence, the only issue decided on
appeal was whether or not the will in question was executed and attested as required by law. The Court of Appeals, upon
consideration of the evidence adduced by both parties, rendered the decision now under review, holding that the will in
question was signed and executed by the deceased Isabel Gabriel on April 15, 1961 in the presence of the three attesting
witnesses, Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya, signing and witnessing the document in the presence of
the deceased and of each other as required by law, hence allow ed probate.
Oppositor Rizalina Gabriel Gonzales moved for reconsideration
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of the aforesaid decision and such motion was
opposed
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by petitioner-appellant Lutgarda Santiago. Thereafter. parties submitted their respective Memoranda,
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and on
August 28, 1973, respondent Court, Former Special First Division, by Resolution
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denied the motion for reconsideration
stating that:
The oppositor-appellee contends that the preponderance of evidence shows that the supposed last wig
and testament of Isabel Gabriel was not executed in accordance with law because the same was signed
on several occasions, that the testatrix did not sign the will in the presence of all the instrumental
witnesses did not sign the will in the presence of each other.
The resolution of the factual issue raised in the motion for reconsideration hinges on the appreciation of
the evidence. We have carefully re-examined the oral and documentary evidence of record, There is no
reason to alter the findings of fact in the decision of this Court sought to be set aside.
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In her petition before this Court, oppositor Rizalina Gabriel Gonzales contends that respondent Court abused its discretion
and/or acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction in reverssing the findings of fact and conclusions of the trial court. The
Court, after deliberating on the petition but without giving due course resolved, in the Resolution dated Oct. 11, 1973 to
require the respondents to comment thereon, which comment was filed on Nov. 14, 1973. Upon consideration of the
allegations, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition, as well as the Comment
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of private respondent
thereon, We denied the petition by Resolution on November 26, 1973,
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the question raised being factual and for
insufficient showing that the findings of fact by respondent Court were unsupported by substantial evidence.
Subsequently, or on December 17, 1973, petitioner Rim Gabriel Goes fried a Motion for Reconsideration
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which private
respondent answered by way of her Comment or Opposition
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filed on January 15, 1974. A Reply and Rejoinder to Reply
followed. Finally, on March 27, 1974, We resolved to give due course to the petition.
The petitioner in her brief makes the following assignment of errors:
I. The respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that the document, Exhibit "F" was executed and attested as required
by law when there was absolutely no proof that the three instrumental witnesses were credible witness
II. The Court of Appeals erred in reversing the finding of the lower court that the preparation and execution of the win
Exhibit "F", was unexpected and coincidental.
III. The Court of Appeals erred in finding that Atty, Paraiso was not previously furnished with the names and residence
certificates of the witnesses as to enable him to type such data into the document Exhibit "F".
IV. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the fact that the three typewritten lines under the typewritten words
"Pangalan" and "Tinitirahan" were left blank shows beyond cavil that the three attesting witnesses were all present in the
same occasion.
V. The Court of Appeals erred in reversing the trial court's finding that it was incredible that Isabel Gabriel could have
dictated the wilt Exhibit "F , without any note or document, to Atty. Paraiso.
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VI. The Court of Appeals erred in reversing the finding of the trial court that Matilde Orobia was not physically present
when the Will Exhibit "F" was allegedly signed on April 15, 1961 by the deceased Isabel Gabriel and the other witnesses
Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya.
VII. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the trial court gave undue importance to the picture takings as proof that
the win was improperly executed.
VIII. The Court of Appeals erred in holding that the grave contradictions, evasions, and misrepresentations of witnesses
(subscribing and notary) presented by the petitioner had been explained away, and that the trial court erred in rejecting
said testimonies.
IX. The Court of Appeals acted in excess of its appellate jurisdiction or has so far departed from the accepted and usual
course of judicial proceedings, as to call for an exercise of the power of supervision.
X. The Court of Appeals erred in reversing the decision of the trial court and admitting to probate Exhibit "F", the alleged
last will and testament of the deceased Isabel Gabriel.
It will be noted from the above assignments of errors that the same are substantially factual in character and content.
Hence, at the very outset, We must again state the oft-repeated and well-established rule that in this jurisdiction, the
factual findings of the Court of Appeals are not reviewable, the same being binding and conclusive on this Court. This rule
has been stated and reiterated in a long line of cases enumerated in Chan vs. CA (L-27488, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA
737, 743)
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and Tapas vs. CA (L-22202, February 27; 1976, 69 SCRA 393),
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and in the more recent cases of Baptisia
vs. Carillo and CA (L32192, July 30, 1976, 72 SCRA 214, 217) and Vda. de Catindig vs. Heirs of Catalina Roque (L-
25777, November 26, 1976, 74 SCRA 83, 88). In the case of Chan vs. CA, this Court said:
... from Guico v. Mayuga, a 1936 decision, the opinion being penned by the then Justice Recto, it has been well-settled
that the jurisdiction of tills Court in cases brought to us from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising the
errors of law imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive. More specifically, in a decision exactly a month later, this
Court, speaking through the then Justice Laurel, it was held that the same principle is applicable, even if the Court of
Appeals was in disagreement with the lower court as to the weight of the evidence with a consequent reversal of its
findings of fact ...
Stated otherwise, findings of facts by the Court of Appeals, when supported by substantive evidence are not reviewable
on appeal by certiorari. Said findings of the appellate court are final and cannot be disturbed by Us particularly because its
premises are borne out by the record or based upon substantial evidence and what is more, when such findings are
correct. Assignments of errors involving factual issues cannot be ventilated in a review of the decision of the Court of
Appeals because only legal questions may be raised. The Supreme Court is not at liberty to alter or modify the facts as
set forth in the decision of the Court of Appeals sought to be reversed. Where the findings of the Court of Appeals are
contrary to those of the trial court, a minute scrutiny by the Supreme Court is in order, and resort to duly-proven evidence
becomes necessary. The general rule We have thus stated above is not without some recognized exceptions.
Having laid down the above legal precepts as Our foundation, We now proceed to consider petitioner's assignments of
errors.
Petitioner, in her first assignment, contends that the respondent Court of Appeals erred in holding that the document,
Exhibit "F", was executed and attested as required by law when there was absolutely no proof that the three instrumental
witnesses were credible witnesses. She argues that the require. ment in Article 806, Civil Code, that the witnesses must
be credible is an absolute requirement which must be complied with before an alleged last will and testament may be
admitted to probate and that to be a credible witness, there must be evidence on record that the witness has a good
standing in his community, or that he is honest and upright, or reputed to be trustworthy and reliable. According to
petitioner, unless the qualifications of the witness are first established, his testimony may not be favorably considered.
Petitioner contends that the term "credible" is not synonymous with "competent" for a witness may be competent under
Article 820 and 821 of the Civil Code and still not be credible as required by Article 805 of the same Code. It is further
urged that the term "credible" as used in the Civil Code should receive the same settled and well- known meaning it has
under the Naturalization Law, the latter being a kindred legislation with the Civil Code provisions on wigs with respect to
the qualifications of witnesses.
We find no merit to petitioner's first assignment of error. Article 820 of the Civil Code provides the qualifications of a
witness to the execution of wills while Article 821 sets forth the disqualification from being a witness to a win. These
Articles state:
Art. 820. Any person of sound mind and of the age of eighteen years or more, and not blind, deaf or
dumb, and able to read and write, may be a witness to the execution of a will mentioned in article 806 of
this Code. "Art. 821. The following are disqualified from being witnesses to a will:
(1) Any person not domiciled in the Philippines,
(2) Those who have been convicted of falsification of a document, perjury or false testimony.
Under the law, there is no mandatory requirement that the witness testify initially or at any time during the trial as to his
good standing in the community, his reputation for trustworthythiness and reliableness, his honesty and uprightness in
order that his testimony may be believed and accepted by the trial court. It is enough that the qualifications enumerated in
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Article 820 of the Civil Code are complied with, such that the soundness of his mind can be shown by or deduced from his
answers to the questions propounded to him, that his age (18 years or more) is shown from his appearance, testimony ,
or competently proved otherwise, as well as the fact that he is not blind, deaf or dumb and that he is able to read and write
to the satisfaction of the Court, and that he has none of the disqualifications under Article 821 of the Civil Code. We reject
petitioner's contention that it must first be established in the record the good standing of the witness in the community, his
reputation for trustworthiness and reliableness, his honesty and uprightness, because such attributes are presumed of the
witness unless the contrary is proved otherwise by the opposing party.
We also reject as without merit petitioner's contention that the term "credible" as used in the Civil Code should be given
the same meaning it has under the Naturalization Law where the law is mandatory that the petition for naturalization must
be supported by two character witnesses who must prove their good standing in the community, reputation for
trustworthiness and reliableness, their honesty and uprightness. The two witnesses in a petition for naturalization are
character witnesses in that being citizens of the Philippines, they personally know the petitioner to be a resident of the
Philippines for the period of time required by the Act and a person of good repute and morally irreproachable and that said
petitioner has in their opinion all the qualifications necessary to become a citizen of the Philippines and is not in any way
disqualified under the provisions of the Naturalization Law (Section 7, Commonwealth Act No. 473 as amended).
In probate proceedings, the instrumental witnesses are not character witnesses for they merely attest the execution of a
will or testament and affirm the formalities attendant to said execution. And We agree with the respondent that the rulings
laid down in the cases cited by petitioner concerning character witnesses in naturalization proceedings are not applicable
to instrumental witnesses to wills executed under the Civil Code of the Philippines.
In the case at bar, the finding that each and everyone of the three instrumental witnesses, namely, Matilde Orobia, Celso
Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya, are competent and credible is satisfactorily supported by the evidence as found by the
respondent Court of Appeals, which findings of fact this Tribunal is bound to accept and rely upon. Moreover, petitioner
has not pointed to any disqualification of any of the said witnesses, much less has it been shown that anyone of them is
below 18 years of age, of unsound mind, deaf or dumb, or cannot read or write.
It is true that under Article 805 of the New Civil Code, every will, other than a holographic will, must be subscribed at the
end thereof by the testator himself or by the testator's name written by some other person in his presence, and by his
express direction, and attested and subscribed by three or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of
one another, While the petitioner submits that Article 820 and 821 of the New Civil Code speak of the competency of a
witness due to his qualifications under the first Article and none of the disqualifications under the second Article, whereas
Article 805 requires the attestation of three or more credible witnesses, petitioner concludes that the
term credible requires something more than just being competent and, therefore, a witness in addition to
being competent under Articles 820 and 821 must also be a credible witness under Article 805.
Petitioner cites American authorities that competency and credibility of a witness are not synonymous terms and one may
be a competent witness and yet not a credible one. She exacerbates that there is no evidence on record to show that the
instrumental witnesses are credible in themselves, that is, that they are of good standing in the community since one was
a family driver by profession and the second the wife of the driver, a housekeeper. It is true that Celso Gimpaya was the
driver of the testatrix and his wife Maria Gimpaya, merely a housekeeper, and that Matilde Orobia was a piano teacher to
a grandchild of the testatrix But the relation of employer and employee much less the humble or financial position of a
person do not disqualify him to be a competent testamentary witness. (Molo Pekson and Perez Nable vs. Tanchuco, et
al., 100 Phil. 344; Testate Estate of Raymundo, Off. Gaz., March 18,1941, p. 788).
Private respondent maintains that the qualifications of the three or more credible witnesses mentioned in Article 805 of the
Civil Code are those mentioned in Article 820 of the same Code, this being obvious from that portion of Article 820 which
says "may be Q witness to the execution of a will mentioned in Article 805 of this Code," and cites authorities that the
word "credible" insofar as witnesses to a will are concerned simply means " competent." Thus, in the case of Suntay vs.
Suntay, 95 Phil. 500, the Supreme Court held that "Granting that a will was duly executed and that it was in existence at
the time of, and not revoked before, the death of the testator, still the provisions of the lost wig must be clearly and
distinctly proved by at least two credible witnesses. 'Credible witnesses' mean competent witnesses and not those who
testify to facts from or upon hearsay. " emphasis supplied).
In Molo Pekson and Perez Nable vs. Tanchuco, et al., 100 Phil. 344, the Supreme Court held that "Section 620 of the
same Code of Civil Procedure provides that any person of sound mind, and of the age of eighteen years or more, and not
blind, deaf, or dumb and able to read and write, may be a witness to the execution of a will. This same provision is
reproduced in our New Civil Code of 1950, under Art. 820. The relation of employer and employee, or being a relative to
the beneficiary in a win, does not disqualify one to be a witness to a will. The main qualification of a witness in the
attestation of wills, if other qualifications as to age, mental capacity and literacy are present, is that said witness must be
credible, that is to say, his testimony may be entitled to credence. There is a long line of authorities on this point, a few of
which we may cite:
A 'credible witness is one who is not is not to testify by mental incapacity, crime, or other cause. Historical
Soc of Dauphin County vs. Kelker 74 A. 619, 226 Pix 16, 134 Am. St. Rep. 1010. (Words and Phrases,
Vol. 10, p. 340).
As construed by the common law, a 'credible witness' to a will means a 'competent witness.' Appeal of
Clark, 95 A. 517, 114 Me. 105, Ann. Cas. 1917A, 837. (lbid, p. 341).
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Expression 'credible witness' in relation to attestation of wins means 'competent witness that is, one
competent under the law to testify to fact of execution of will. Vernon's Ann. Civ St. art. 8283. Moos vs.
First State Bank of Uvalde, Tex . Civ. App. 60 S.W. 2nd 888, 889. (Ibid, p. 342)
The term 'credible', used in the statute of wills requiring that a will shall be attested by two credible
witnesses means competent; witnesses who, at the time of attesting the will, are legally competent to
testify, in a court of justice, to the facts attested by subscribing the will, the competency being determined
as of the date of the execution of the will and not of the timr it is offered for probate, Smith vs. Goodell 101
N.E. 255, 256, 258 111. 145. (Ibid.)
Credible witnesses as used in the statute relating to wills, means competent witnesses that is, such
persons as are not legally disqualified from testifying in courts of justice, by reason of mental incapacity,
interest, or the commission of crimes, or other cause excluding them from testifying generally, or
rendering them incompetent in respect of the particular subject matter or in the particular suit. Hill vs.
Chicago Title & Trust co 152 N.E. 545, 546, 322 111. 42. (Ibid. p, 343)
In the strict sense, the competency of a person to be an instrumental witness to a will is determined by the statute, that is
Art. 820 and 821, Civil Code, whereas his credibility depends On the appreciation of his testimony and arises from the
belief and conclusion of the Court that said witness is telling the truth. Thus, in the case of Vda. de Aroyo v. El Beaterio
del Santissimo Rosario de Molo, No. L-22005, May 3, 1968, the Supreme Court held and ruled that: "Competency as a
witness is one thing, and it is another to be a credible witness, so credible that the Court must accept what he says. Trial
courts may allow a person to testify as a witness upon a given matter because he is competent, but may thereafter decide
whether to believe or not to believe his testimony." In fine, We state the rule that the instrumental witnesses in Order to be
competent must be shown to have the qualifications under Article 820 of the Civil Code and none of the disqualifications
under Article 821 and for their testimony to be credible, that is worthy of belief and entitled to credence, it is not mandatory
that evidence be first established on record that the witnesses have a good standing in the community or that they are
honest and upright or reputed to be trustworthy and reliable, for a person is presumed to be such unless the contrary is
established otherwise. In other words, the instrumental witnesses must be competent and their testimonies must be
credible before the court allows the probate of the will they have attested. We, therefore, reject petitioner's position that it
was fatal for respondent not to have introduced prior and independent proof of the fact that the witnesses were "credible
witnesses that is, that they have a good standing in the community and reputed to be trustworthy and reliable.
Under the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth assignments of errors, petitioner disputes the findings of
fact of the respondent court in finding that the preparation and execution of the will was expected and not coincidental, in
finding that Atty. Paraiso was not previously furnished with the names and residence certificates of the witnesses as to
enable him to type such data into the document Exhibit "F", in holding that the fact that the three typewritten lines under
the typewritten words "pangalan" and "tinitirahan" were left blank shows beyond cavil that the three attesting witnesses
were all present in the same occasion, in holding credible that Isabel Gabriel could have dictated the will without note or
document to Atty. Paraiso, in holding that Matilde Orobia was physically present when the will was signed on April 15,
1961 by the deceased Isabel Gabriel and the other witnesses Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya, in holding that the trial
court gave undue importance to the picture takings as proof that the will was improperly executed, and in holding that the
grave contradictions, evasions and misrepresentations of the witnesses (subscribing and notary) presented by the
petitioner had been explained away.
Since the above errors are factual We must repeat what We have previously laid down that the findings of fact of the
appellate court are binding and controlling which We cannot review, subject to certain exceptions which We win consider
and discuss hereinafter. We are convinced that the appellate court's findings are sufficiently justified and supported by the
evidence on record. Thus, the alleged unnaturalness characterizing the trip of the testatrix to the office of Atty. Paraiso
and bringing all the witnesses without previous appointment for the preparation and execution of the win and that it was
coincidental that Atty. Paraiso was available at the moment impugns the finding of the Court of Appeals that although Atty.
Paraiso admitted the visit of Isabel Gabriel and of her companions to his office on April 15, 1961 was unexpected as there
was no prior appointment with him, but he explained that he was available for any business transaction on that day and
that Isabel Gabriel had earlier requested him to help her prepare her will. The finding of the appellate court is amply based
on the testimony of Celso Gimpaya that he was not only informed on the morning of the day that he witnessed the will but
that it was the third time when Isabel Gabriel told him that he was going to witness the making of her will, as well as the
testimony of Maria Gimpaya that she was called by her husband Celso Gimpaya to proceed to Isabel Gabriel's house
which was nearby and from said house, they left in a car to the lawyer's office, which testimonies are recited in the
respondent Court's decision.
The respondent Court further found the following facts: that Celso Gimpaya and his wife Maria Gimpaya obtained
residence certificates a few days before Exhibit "F" was executed. Celso Gimpaya's residence certificate No. A-5114942
was issued at Navotas, Rizal on April 13, 1961 while Maria Gimpaya's residence certificate No. A-5114974 was issued
also at Navotas, Rizal on April 14, 1961. The respondent Court correctly observed that there was nothing surprising in
these facts and that the securing of these residence certificates two days and one day, respectively, before the execution
of the will on April 15, 1961, far from showing an amazing coincidence, reveals that the spouses were earlier notified that
they would be witnesses to the execution of Isabel Gabriel's will.
We also agree with the respondent Court's conclusion that the excursion to the office of Atty. Paraiso was planned by the
deceased, which conclusion was correctly drawn from the testimony of the Gimpaya spouses that they started from the
Navotas residence of the deceased with a photographer and Isabel Gabriel herself, then they proceeded by car to Matilde
Orobia's house in Philamlife, Quezon City to fetch her and from there, all the three witnesses (the Gimpayas and Orobia)
8

passed by a place where Isabel Gabriel stayed for about ten to fifteen minutes at the clinic of Dr. Chikiamco before they
proceeded to Atty. Cipriano Paraiso's office.
It is also evident from the records, as testified to by Atty. Paraiso, that previous to the day that. the will was executed on
April 15, 1961, Isabel Gabriel had requested him to help her in the execution of her will and that he told her that if she
really wanted to execute her will, she should bring with her at least the Mayor of Navotas, Rizal and a Councilor to be her
witnesses and that he (Atty. Paraiso) wanted a medical certificate from a physician notwithstanding the fact that he
believed her to be of sound and disposition mind. From this evidence, the appellate court rightly concluded, thus: "It is,
therefore, clear that the presence of Isabel Gabriel and her witnesses Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya
including the photographer in the law office of Atty. Paraiso was not coincidental as their gathering was pre-arranged by
Isabel Gabriel herself."
As to the appellate court's finding that Atty. Paraiso was not previously furnished with the names and residence
certificates of the witnesses as to enable him to type such data into the document Exhibit ' L which the petitioner assails
as contradictory and irreconcilable with the statement of the Court that Atty. Paraiso was handed a list (containing the
names of the witnesses and their respective residence certificates) immediately upon their arrival in the law office by
Isabel Gabriel and this was corroborated by Atty. Paraiso himself who testified that it was only on said occasion that he
received such list from Isabel Gabriel, We cannot agree with petitioner's contention. We find no contradiction for the,
respondent Court held that on the occasion of the will making on April 15, 1961, the list was given immediately to Atty.
Paraiso and that no such list was given the lawyer in any previous occasion or date prior to April 15, 1961.
But whether Atty. Paraiso was previously furnished with the names and residence certificates of the witnesses on a prior
occasion or on the very occasion and date in April 15, 1961 when the will was executed, is of no moment for such data
appear in the notarial acknowledgment of Notary Public Cipriano Paraiso, subscribed and sworn to by the witnesses on
April 15, 1961 following the attestation clause duly executed and signed on the same occasion, April 15, 1961. And since
Exhibit "F" is a notarial will duly acknowledged by the testatrix and the witnesses before a notary public, the same is a
public document executed and attested through the intervention of the notary public and as such public document is
evidence of the facts in clear, unequivocal manner therein expressed. It has in its favor the presumption of regularity. To
contradict all these, there must be evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant. (Yturalde vs.
Azurin, 28 SCRA 407). We find no such evidence pointed by petitioner in the case at bar.
Likewise, the conclusion of the Court of Appeals in holding that the fact that the three typewritten lines under the
typewritten words "pangalan ' and "tinitirahan" were left blank shows beyond cavil that the three attesting witnesses were
all present in the same occasion merits Our approval because tills conclusion is supported and borne out by the evidence
found by the appellate court, thus: "On page 5 of Exhibit "F", beneath the typewritten words "names", "Res. Tax Cert. date
issued" and place issued the only name of Isabel Gabriel with Residence Tax certificate No. A-5113274 issued on
February 24, 1961 at Navotas Rizal appears to be in typewritten form while the names, residence tax certificate numbers,
dates and places of issuance of said certificates pertaining to the three (3) witnesses were personally handwritten by Atty.
Paraiso. Again, this coincides with Atty. Paraiso's even the sale must be made to close relatives; and the seventh was the
appointment of the appellant Santiago as executrix of the will without bond. The technical description of the properties in
paragraph 5 of Exhibit F was not given and the numbers of the certificates of title were only supplied by Atty. Paraiso. "
It is true that in one disposition, the numbers of the Torrens titles of the properties disposed and the docket number of a
special proceeding are indicated which Atty. Paraiso candidly admitted were supplied by him, whereupon petitioner
contends that it was incredible that Isabel Gabriel could have dictated the will Exhibit "F" without any note or document to
Atty. Paraiso, considering that Isabel Gabriel was an old and sickly woman more than eighty-one years old and had been
suffering from a brain injury caused by two severe blows at her head and died of terminal cancer a few weeks after the
execution of Exhibit "F". While we can rule that this is a finding of fact which is within the competency of the respondent
appellate court in determining the testamentary capacity of the testatrix and is, therefore, beyond Our power to revise and
review, We nevertheless hold that the conclusion reached by the Court of Appeals that the testatrix dictated her will
without any note or memorandum appears to be fully supported by the following facts or evidence appearing on record.
Thus, Isabel Gabriel, despite her age, was particularly active in her business affairs as she actively managed the affairs of
the movie business ISABELITA Theater, paying the aparatistas herself until June 4, 1961, 3 days before her death. She
was the widow of the late Eligio Naval, former Governor of Rizal Province and acted as coadministratrix in the Intestate
Estate of her deceased husband Eligio Naval. The text of the win was in Tagalog, a dialect known and understood by her
and in the light of all the circumstances, We agree with the respondent Court that the testatrix dictated her will without any
note or memorandum, a fact unanimously testified to by the three attesting witnesses and the notary public himself.
Petitioner's sixth assignment of error is also bereft of merit. The evidence, both testimonial and documentary is, according
to the respondent court, overwhelming that Matilde Orobia was physically present when the will was signed on April 15,
1961 by the testatrix and the other two witnesses, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya. Such factual finding of the
appellate court is very clear, thus: "On the contrary, the record is replete with proof that Matilde Orobia was physically
present when the will was signed by Isabel Gabriel on April '15, 1961 along with her co-witnesses Celso Gimpaya and
Maria Gimpaya. The trial court's conclusion that Orobia's admission that she gave piano lessons to the child of the
appellant on Wednesdays and Saturdays and that April 15, 1961 happened to be a Saturday for which reason Orobia
could not have been present to witness the will on that day is purely conjectural. Witness Orobia did not admit having
given piano lessons to the appellant's child every Wednesday and Saturday without fail. It is highly probable that even if
April 15, 1961 were a Saturday, she gave no piano lessons on that day for which reason she could have witnessed the
execution of the will. Orobia spoke of occasions when she missed giving piano lessons and had to make up for the same.
Anyway, her presence at the law office of Atty. Paraiso was in the morning of April 15, 1961 and there was nothing to
preclude her from giving piano lessons on the afternoon of the same day in Navotas, Rizal."
9

In addition to the testimony of Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya that Matilde was present on April 15,
1961 and that she signed the attestation clause to the will and on the left-hand margin of each of the pages of the will, the
documentary evidence which is the will itself, the attestation clause and the notarial acknowledgment overwhelmingly and
convincingly prove such fact that Matilde Orobia was present on that day of April 15, 1961 and that she witnessed the will
by signing her name thereon and acknowledged the same before the notary public, Atty. Cipriano P. Paraiso. The
attestation clause which Matilde Orobia signed is the best evidence as to the date of signing because it preserves in
permanent form a recital of all the material facts attending the execution of the will. This is the very purpose of the
attestation clause which is made for the purpose of preserving in permanent form a record of the facts attending the
execution of the will, so that in case of failure in the memory of the subscribing witnesses, or other casualty they may still
be proved. (Thompson on Wills, 2nd ed., Sec. 132; Leynez vs. Leynez, 68 Phil. 745).
As to the seventh error assigned by petitioner faulting the Court of Appeals in holding that the trial court gave undue
importance to the picture-takings as proof that the win was improperly executed, We agree with the reasoning of the
respondent court that: "Matilde Orobia's Identification of the photographer as "Cesar Mendoza", contrary to what the other
two witnesses (Celso and Maria Gimpaya) and Atty. Paraiso said that the photographer was Benjamin Cifra, Jr., is at
worst a minor mistake attributable to lapse of time. The law does not require a photographer for the execution and
attestation of the will. The fact that Miss Orobia mistakenly Identified the photographer as Cesar Mendoza scarcely
detracts from her testimony that she was present when the will was signed because what matters here is not the
photographer but the photograph taken which clearly portrays Matilde Orobia herself, her co-witnesses Celso Gimpaya. "
Further, the respondent Court correctly held: "The trial court gave undue importance to the picture takings, jumping
therefrom to the conclusion that the will was improperly executed. The evidence however, heavily points to only one
occasion of the execution of the will on April 15, 1961 which was witnessed by Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and Maria
Gimpaya. These witnesses were quite emphatic and positive when they spoke of this occasion. Hence, their Identification
of some photographs wherein they all appeared along with Isabel Gabriel and Atty. Paraiso was superfluous."
Continuing, the respondent Court declared: "It is true that the second picture-taking was disclosed at the cross
examination of Celso Gimpaya. But this was explained by Atty. Paraiso as a reenactment of the first incident upon the
insistence of Isabel Gabriel. Such reenactment where Matilde Orobia was admittedly no longer present was wholly
unnecessary if not pointless. What was important was that the will was duly executed and witnessed on the first occasion
on April 15, 1961 , " and We agree with the Court's rationalization in conformity with logic, law and jurisprudence which do
not require picture-taking as one of the legal requisites for the execution or probate of a will.
Petitioner points to alleged grave contradictions, evasions and misrepresentations of witnesses in their respective
testimonies before the trial court. On the other hand, the respondent Court of Appeals held that said contradictions,
evasions and misrepresentations had been explained away. Such discrepancies as in the description of the typewriter
used by Atty. Paraiso which he described as "elite" which to him meant big letters which are of the type in which the will
was typewritten but which was Identified by witness Jolly Bugarin of the N.B.I. as pica the mistake in mentioning the name
of the photographer by Matilde Orobia to be Cesar Mendoza when actually it was Benjamin Cifra, Jr. these are indeed
unimportant details which could have been affected by the lapse of time and the treachery of human memory such that by
themselves would not alter the probative value of their testimonies on the true execution of the will, (Pascual vs. dela
Cruz, 28 SCRA 421, 424) for it cannot be expected that the testimony of every person win be Identical and coinciding with
each other with regard to details of an incident and that witnesses are not expected to remember all details. Human
experience teach us "that contradictions of witnesses generally occur in the details of certain incidents, after a long series
of questionings, and far from being an evidence of falsehood constitute a demonstration of good faith. In as much as not
all those who witness an incident are impressed in like manner, it is but natural that in relating their impressions, they
should not agree in the minor details; hence the contradictions in their testimony." (Lopez vs. Liboro, 81 Phil. 429).
It is urged of Us by the petitioner that the findings of the trial court should not have been disturbed by the respondent
appellate court because the trial court was in a better position to weigh and evaluate the evidence presented in the course
of the trial. As a general rule, petitioner is correct but it is subject to well-established exceptions. The right of the Court of
Appeals to review, alter and reverse the findings of the trial court where the appellate court, in reviewing the evidence has
found that facts and circumstances of weight and influence have been ignored and overlooked and the significance of
which have been misinterpreted by the trial court, cannot be disputed. Findings of facts made by trial courts particularly
when they are based on conflicting evidence whose evaluation hinges on questions of credibility of contending witnesses
hes peculiarly within the province of trial courts and generally, the appellate court should not interfere with the same. In
the instant case, however, the Court of Appeals found that the trial court had overlooked and misinterpreted the facts and
circumstances established in the record. Whereas the appellate court said that "Nothing in the record supports the trial
court's unbelief that Isabel Gabriel dictated her will without any note or document to Atty. Paraiso;" that the trial court's
conclusion that Matilde Orobia could not have witnessed anybody signing the alleged will or that she could not have
witnessed Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya sign the same or that she witnessed only the deceased signing it, is a
conclusion based not on facts but on inferences; that the trial court gave undue importance to the picture-takings, jumping
therefrom to the conclusion that the will was improperly executed and that there is nothing in the entire record to support
the conclusion of the court a quo that the will signing occasion was a mere coincidence and that Isabel Gabriel made an
appointment only with Matilde Orobia to witness the signing of her will, then it becomes the duty of the appellate court to
reverse findings of fact of the trial court in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction over the lower courts.
Still the petitioner insists that the case at bar is an exception to the rule that the judgment of the Court of Appeals is
conclusive as to the facts and cannot be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Again We agree with the petitioner that among
the exceptions are: (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or conjectures; (2)
when the inference is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when
the presence of each other as required by law. " Specifically, We affirm that on April 15, 1961 the testatrix Isabel Gabriel,
together with Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and his wife Maria Gimpaya, and a photographer proceeded in a car to the
10

office of Atty. Cipriano Paraiso at the Bank of P.I. Building, Manila in the morning of that day; that on the way, Isabel
Gabriel obtained a medical certificate from one Dr. Chikiamko which she gave to Atty. Paraiso upon arriving at the latter's
office and told the lawyer that she wanted her will to be made; that Atty. Paraiso asked Isabel Gabriel to dictate what she
wanted to be written in the will and the attorney wrote down the dictation of Isabel Gabriel in Tagalog, a language known
to and spoken by her; that Atty. Paraiso read back to her what he wrote as dictated and she affirmed their correctness; the
lawyer then typed the will and after finishing the document, he read it to her and she told him that it was alright; that
thereafter, Isabel Gabriel signed her name at the end of the will in the presence of the three witnesses Matilde Orobia,
Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya and also at the left-hand margin of each and every page of the document in the
presence also of the said three witnesses; that thereafter Matilde Orobia attested the will by signing her name at the end
of the attestation clause and at the left-hand margin of pages 1, 2, 3 and 5 of the document in the presence of Isabel
Gabriel and the other two witnesses, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya; then, Celso Gimpaya signed also the will at the
bottom of the attestation clause and at the left-hand margin of the other pages of the document in the presence of Isabel
Gabriel, Matilde Orobia and Maria Gimpaya; that Maria Gimpaya followed suit, signing her name at the foot of the
attestation clause and at the left-hand margin of every page in the presence of Isabel Gabriel, Matilde Orobia and Celso
Gimpaya; that thereafter, Atty. Paraiso notarized the will as Page No. 94, Book No. IV, Series of 1961, in his Notarial
Register. On the occasion of the execution and attestation of the will, a photographer took pictures, one Exhibit "G",
depicting Matilde Orobia, the testatrix Isabel Gabriel, Celso Gimpaya, Maria Gimpaya and Atty. Paraiso, taken on said
occasion of the signing of the will, and another, Exhibit "H", showing Matilde Orobia signing testimony that he had earlier
advised Isabel Gabriel to bring with her at least the Mayor and a Councilor of Navotas, Rizal to be her witnesses for he did
not know beforehand the Identities of the three attesting witnesses until the latter showed up at his law office with Isabel
Gabriel on April 15, 1961. Atty. Paraiso's claim which was not controverted that he wrote down in his own hand the date
appearing on page 5 of Exhibit "F" dissipates any lingering doubt that he prepared and ratified the will on the date in
question."
It is also a factual finding of the Court of Appeals in holding that it was credible that Isabel Gabriel could have dictated the
will, Exhibit "F", without any note or document to Atty. Paraiso as against the contention of petitioner that it was incredible.
This ruling of the respondent court is fully supported by the evidence on record as stated in the decision under review,
thus: "Nothing in the record supports the trial court's unbelief that Isabel Gabriel dictated her will without any note or
document to Atty. Paraiso. On the contrary, all the three attesting witnesses uniformly testified that Isabel Gabriel dictated
her will to Atty. Paraiso and that other than the piece of paper that she handed to said lawyer she had no note or
document. This fact jibes with the evidence which the trial court itself believed was unshaken that Isabel Gabriel was
of sound disposing memory when she executed her will.
Exhibit "F" reveals only seven (7) dispositions which are not complicated but quite simple. The first was Isabel Gabriel's
wish to be interred according to Catholic rites the second was a general directive to pay her debts if any; the third
provided for P1,000.00 for her sister Praxides Gabriel Vda. de Santiago and P2,000.00 for her brother Santiago Gabriel;
the fourth was a listing of her 13 nephews and nieces including oppositor-appellee Rizalina Gabriel and the amount for
each legatee the fifth was the institution of the petitioner-appellant, Lutgarda Santiago as the principal heir mentioning in
general terms seven (7) types of properties; the sixth disposed of the remainder of her estate which she willed in favor of
appellant Lutgarda Santiago but prohibiting the sale of such properties to anyone except in extreme situations in which
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting, (6) when the Court of
Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both
appellant and appellee. (Roque vs. Buan, et al., G.R. No. L-22459, Oct. 31, 1967; Ramos vs. Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.,
G.R. No. L-22533, Feb. 9, 1967; Hilarion Jr. vs. City of Manila, G.R. No. L-19570; Sept. 14, 1967).
Petitioner's insistence is without merit. We hold that the case at bar does not fall within any of the exceptions enumerated
above. We likewise hold that the findings of fact of the respondent appellate court are fully supported by the evidence on
record. The conclusions are fully sustained by substantial evidence. We find no abuse of discretion and We discern no
misapprehension of facts. The respondent Court's findings of fact are not conflicting. Hence, the well-established rule that
the decision of the Court of Appeals and its findings of fact are binding and conclusive and should not be disturbed by this
Tribunal and it must be applied in the case at bar in its full force and effect, without qualification or reservation. The above
holding simply synthesize the resolutions we have heretofore made in respect ' to petitioner's previous assignments of
error and to which We have disagreed and, therefore, rejected.
The last assignments of error of petitioner must necessarily be rejected by Us as We find the respondent Court acted
properly and correctly and has not departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings as to call for the
exercise of the power of supervision by the Supreme Court, and as We find that the Court of Appeals did not err in
reversing the decision of the trial court and admitting to probate Exhibit "F", the last will and testament of the deceased
Isabel Gabriel.
We rule that the respondent Court's factual findings upon its summation and evaluation of the evidence on record is
unassailable that: "From the welter of evidence presented, we are convinced that the will in question was executed on
April 15, 1961 in the presence of Matilde Orobia, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya signing and witnessing the same in
the the will on a table with Isabel Gabriel, Celso Gimpaya and Maria Gimpaya sitting around the table. Atty. Paraiso, after
finishing the notarial act, then delivered the original to Isabel Gabriel and retained the other copies for his file and notarial
register. A few days following the signing of the will, Isabel Gabriel, Celso Gimpaya and another photographer arrived at
the office of Atty. Paraiso and told the lawyer that she wanted another picture taken because the first picture did not turn
out good. The lawyer told her that this cannot be done because the will was already signed but Isabel Gabriel insisted that
a picture be taken, so a simulated signing was performed during which incident Matilde Orobia was not present.
Petitioner's exacerbation centers on the supposed incredibility of the testimonies of the witnesses for the proponent of the
will, their alleged evasions, inconsistencies and contradictions. But in the case at bar, the three instrumental witnesses
11

who constitute the best evidence of the will making have testified in favor of the probate of the will. So has the lawyer who
prepared it, one learned in the law and long in the practice thereof, who thereafter notarized it. All of them are
disinterested witnesses who stand to receive no benefit from the testament. The signatures of the witnesses and the
testatrix have been identified on the will and there is no claim whatsoever and by anyone, much less the petitioner, that
they were not genuine. In the last and final analysis, the herein conflict is factual and we go back to the rule that the
Supreme Court cannot review and revise the findings of facts of the respondent Court of Appeals.
WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with costs against
the petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

12

[G.R. No. 80739. August 2, 1992.]

GRACIA R. JOVEN, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. MANUEL A. PATRON, in his capacity as Presiding
Judge of the RTC, Branch 59, Lucena City, Roberto Paguia & Fernando Lasala, Respondents.

SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; MUNICIPAL COURTS; EXCLUSIVE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION OVER CASES OF FORCIBLE
ENTRY AND UNLAWFUL DETAINER; RULE WHEN QUESTION OF OWNERSHIP WAS INVOLVED THEREIN. The
respondents argue that the Municipal Circuit Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the action for forcible entry on the
principal ground that a question of ownership was involved therein. This view does not jibe with the following observations
from Chief Justice Moran based on a consistent line of decisions from this Court: [Moran, Comments on the Rules of
Court, 1980 Ed., Vol. 3, p. 317 citing Mediran v. Villanueva, 37 Phil. 752, 759-760.] It would be a mistake to suppose that
an action involves a question of title merely because the plaintiff may allege in his complaint that he is the owner of the
land. Just as the plaintiff may introduce proof of his title in order to show the character of his (sic) prior possession, so he
may allege ownership in himself as a material and relevant fact in the case, and the insertion of such an allegation in the
complaint cannot by any possibility place the cause beyond the jurisdiction of the magistrates court, provided it otherwise
sufficiently appears that what the plaintiff really seeks is the restoration of possession as against an intruder who has
seized the property within the period of one year. Much less can the defendant in such an action defeat the jurisdiction of
the magistrates court by setting up title in himself. In this connection it should be borne in mind that the factor which
defeats the jurisdiction of the court of the justice of the peace is the necessity to adjudicate the question of title. The
circumstance that proof of title is introduced at the hearing or that a claim of ownership is made by either or both of the
parties is not material.

2. ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT DEFEATED BY INSTITUTION OF SEPARATE ACTION FOR ANNULMENT OF MORTGAGE.
There is no question that under Section 1, par. A (1), of the said Rule, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts have jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer except where the
question of ownership is involved or where the damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered by the plaintiff exceed
P20,000.00 at the time of the filing of the complaint. [All types of ejectment cases are now covered by the 1991 Revised
Rules on Summary Procedure.] However, it is incorrect to say that the question of ownership was involved in the
ejectment case filed by the petitioner simply because she alleged in her complaint that she was the original owner of the
subject properties. That the petitioner instituted a separate action for the annulment of the mortgage is not a valid reason
either for defeating the summary remedy of ejectment. On the contrary, it only bolsters the conclusion that the ejectment
case did not involve the question of title as this was the subject of the annulment case before the Regional Trial Court of
Lucena City. The Rule on Summary Procedure was clearly applicable because the ejectment case involved only the
restoration of possession of the subject land and not its ownership.

3. ID.; RULES ON SUMMARY PROCEDURE; PROHIBITED PLEADINGS AND MOTIONS; MOTION FOR
RECONSIDERATION; APPLICATION IN CASE AT BAR. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court did not err in holding that
the motion for reconsideration was not covered by the prohibition under Section 15 (c). [Now Sec. 19 (c) of the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure, effective Nov. 15, 1991.] The motion prohibited by this Section is that which seeks
reconsideration of the judgment rendered by the court after trial on the merits of the case. [Justice Leo D. Medialdea,
Outline-Rule on Summary Procedure in Special Cases and Jurisdiction of Courts.] The decision dismissing the petitioners
ejectment case for lack of jurisdiction was not an adjudication on the merits. Review thereof could therefore be sought by
the petitioner through her motion for reconsideration and this motion, which was not pro forma, had the effect of
suspending the running of the period to appeal.

4. ID.; SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS; FORECLOSURE OF MORTGAGE; RULE ON THE RIGHT OF POSSESSION OVER
THE MORTGAGED PROPERTY; GOVERNING LAWS. Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118,
provides that in case of extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage, the court may issue as a matter of course a writ of
possession in favor of the purchaser even during the redemption period, provided that a proper motion has been filed, a
bond is approved, and no third person is involved. Section 6 of the Act provides that where an extrajudicial sale is made,
"redemption shall be governed by the provisions of sections four hundred and sixty-four to four hundred and sixty-six,
inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure, in so far as these are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act." Sections
464-466 of the Code of Civil Procedure were superseded by Sections 25-27 and Section 31 of Rule 39 of the Rules of
Court, which in turn were replaced by Sections 29 to 31 and Section 35 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. Section
35 provides that "if no redemption be made within twelve (12) months after the sale, the purchaser, or his assignee, is
entitled to a conveyance and the possession of property, . . . . The possession of the property shall be given to the
purchaser or last redemptioner by the same officer unless a third party is actually holding the property adversely to the
judgment debtor." To give effect to his right of possession, the purchaser must invoke the aid of the courts and ask for a
writ of possession. He cannot simply take the law into his own hands and enter the property without judicial authorization.
We have consistently held that he need not bring a separate and independent suit for this purpose. Nevertheless, it is
essential that he ask for and be granted a writ of possession in order that he may be legally installed in the property he
has bought. Section 63 (b) of P.D. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, requires that in case of
non-redemption, the purchaser at a foreclosure sale shall file with the Register of Deeds either a final deed of sale
executed by the person authorized by virtue of the power of attorney embodied in the deed of mortgage or his sworn
statement attesting to the fact of non-redemption. The Register of Deeds shall thereupon issue a new certificate in favor of
the purchaser after the owners duplicate certificate shall have been previously delivered and canceled.

5. ID.; ID.; THE BUYER IN A FORECLOSURE SALE BECOMES THE ABSOLUTE OWNER OF THE PROPERTY
PURCHASED IF IT IS NOT REDEEMED DURING THE PERIOD OF ONE YEAR AFTER THE REGISTRATION OF THE
13

SALE. In F. David Enterprises v. Insular Bank of Asia and America, this Court held: It is settled that the buyer in a
foreclosure sale becomes the absolute owner of the property purchased if it is not redeemed during the period of one year
after the registration of the sale. As such, he is entitled to the possession of the said property and can demand it at any
time following the consolidation of ownership in his name and the issuance to him of a new transfer certificate of title. The
buyer can in fact demand possession of the land even during the redemption period except that he has to post a bond in
accordance with Section 7 of Act No. 3135 as amended. No such bond is required after the redemption period if the
property is not redeemed. Possession of the land then becomes an absolute right of the purchaser as confirmed owner.
Upon proper application and proof of title, the issuance of the writ of possession becomes a ministerial duty of the court.
In the case at bar, there is no showing that after the lapse of the redemption period without the petitioner having
redeemed the lands, DBP executed an affidavit of consolidation of ownership of the subject properties. Neither has it filed
with the Register of Deeds a final deed of sale or a sworn statement attesting to the fact of non-redemption. The
circumstance that the properties are still in the name of the petitioner shows that DBP has also not yet obtained a new
certificate of title in its name. And neither does it appear that DBP, on the basis of its purchase of the lands at the
foreclosure sale, ever secured a writ of possession to authorize its entry into the said lands. Not having done any of these,
DBP had as yet not acquired any perfected right of possession that it could transfer to the private respondents. And as the
petitioner continued in actual possession of the subject premises, she could undoubtedly maintain an action for forcible
entry against the private respondents when, not being armed with a court order or a writ of possession, they simply
entered and took possession of the subject lands.

6. ID.; ID.; FORCIBLE ENTRY; ISSUE THEREIN LIMITED TO THE PHYSICAL OR MATERIAL POSSESSION OF REAL
PROPERTY. The only issue in an action for forcible entry is the physical or material possession of real property, that is,
possession de facto and not possession de jure. The philosophy underlying this remedy is that irrespective of the actual
condition of the title to the property, the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand,
violence or terror. In affording this remedy of restitution, the statute seeks to prevent breaches of the peace and criminal
disorder which might ensue from the withdrawal of the remedy. Another purpose is to discourage those persons who,
believing themselves entitled to the possession of the property, resort to force rather than to some appropriate action in
the courts to assert their claims.

7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ELEMENTS THEREOF. Under Section 1, Rule 70, of the Rules of Court, there is forcible entry when
one in physical possession of a land or building is deprived of that possession by another through force, intimidation,
threat, strategy or stealth. The words "by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth" include every situation or condition
under which one person can wrongfully enter upon real property and exclude another, who has had prior possession
thereof. To constitute the use of "force" as contemplated in the above-mentioned provision, the trespasser does not have
to institute a state of war. Nor is it even necessary that he use violence against the person of the party in possession. The
act of going on the property and excluding the lawful possessor therefrom necessarily implies the exertion of force over
the property, and this is all that is necessary. [Mediran v. Villanueva 37 Phil. 752, cited in Moran, comments on the Rules
of court, Vol. 3, 1980 Ed. p. 322-323; Martin, Rules of Court in the Philippines, 1986 Ed., Vol. 3, p. 366.]

8. ID.; CIVIL PROCEDURE; EFFECT OF SPLITTING A SINGLE CAUSE OF ACTION; RULE; NOT APPLICABLE IN
CASE AT BAR. also assert that the institution of the ejectment case resulted in the splitting of a single cause of action
into two, one for the recovery of ownership and possession and the other for recovery of possession de facto. In Drilon v.
Gaurana, (149 scra 342) this Court held: It is true that a party may not institute more than one suit for a single cause of
action (Rule 2, Sec. 3, Revised Rules of Court) and if two or more complaints are brought for different parts of a single
cause of action, the filing of the first may be pleaded in abatement of the other (Rule 2, Sec. 4 Revised Rules of Court).
However, a forcible entry or unlawful detainer action has an entirely different subject from that of an action for
reconveyance of title. What is involved in a forcible entry case is merely the issue of material possession or possession de
facto; whereas in an action for reconveyance, ownership is the issue. So much so that the pendency of an action for
reconveyance of title over the same property does not divest the city or municipal court of its jurisdiction to try the forcible
entry or unlawful detainer case, nor will it preclude or bar execution of judgment in the ejectment case where the only
issue involved is material possession or possession de facto (De la Cruz v. Court of Appeals, 133 SCRA 520 [1984]).
While there may be identity of parties and subject matter in the two actions, the issues involved and the reliefs prayed for
are not the same. In the annulment suit, the issue is the validity of the mortgage and the subsequent foreclosure sale
whereas the issue in the ejectment case is whether, assuming the mortgage and foreclosure sale to be valid, the private
respondents have the right to take possession of the property. In the former case, the relief prayed for is recovery of
ownership of the subject land while in the latter it is restoration of possession thereof to the petitioner. Hence, the
municipal court had jurisdiction to try the ejectment case while the annulment suit was being litigated in the regional trial
court. The contention that the petitioner was forum-shopping must also be rejected. As an injunction cannot be a
substitute for the other suits for recovery of possession, [PNB v. Adil, 118 SCRA 110; Pio v. Marcos, 56 SCRA 726;
Devesa v. Arbos, 13 Phil. 273] such as an action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer and accion publiciana, denial of the
injunction did not bar the petitioner from availing herself of the more appropriate remedy, to wit, the action for forcible
entry. [Garen v. Pilar, 17 Phil. 138.]
D E C I S I O N
CRUZ, J .:

The petitioner was the registered owner of three parcels of land which she mortgaged in favor of the Development Bank of
the Philippines. Upon the extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgage due to her failure to pay her loan, the properties were
sold at public auction to DBP as the highest bidder. A certificate of sale was issued and annotated on the certificate of title
on November 17, 1982.

14

After the expiration of the redemption period, no redemption having been made by the petitioner, DBP sold the subject
properties to Roberto Paguia, one of the herein private respondents, through a deed of sale executed on December 17,
1985. On January 30, 1986, Paguia took possession of the properties through his representative, Fernando Lasala, the
other private Respondent.

Earlier, the petitioner had filed on December 3, 1985, an action before the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City (raffled
later to Branch 55) for the annulment of the mortgage and its foreclosure. Named as defendants were DBP and the
private respondents. Later, when her application for preliminary injunction and restraining order was denied, she lodged
with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Lucban-Sampaloc a complaint against the private respondents for forcible entry
with a prayer for writ of mandatory injunction. This was docketed as Civil Case No. 155.

In a decision dated May 14, 1986, the case was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. But on May 29, 1986, the petitioner filed
a motion for reconsideration, which was granted. In a resolution dated July 11, 1986, 1 the private respondents were
ordered to: 1) immediately restore and deliver possession of the subject properties to the petitioner; 2) render to the
petitioner an accounting of all the fruits and products gathered from said property from the time they took possession
thereof until they vacate the same; and 3) reimburse the petitioner the total cost of such accounting.chanrobles virtual
lawlibrary

This resolution was reversed on appeal by the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City, Branch 59, 2 which held that the court
a quo had no jurisdiction over the ejectment case because of the issue of ownership raised therein and that, assuming
such jurisdiction, the decision had already become final and executory when the resolution dated July 11, 1986, was
rendered. The petitioner elevated the case to the respondent Court of Appeals, which sustained the assailed decision in
toto. 3

She is now before us in this petition for review on certiorari, contending that the Municipal Circuit Trial Court had
jurisdiction over the ejectment case and that the private respondents were guilty of forcible entry on the subject premises
for occupying the same without judicial authorization.

The petition has merit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The respondents argue that the Municipal Circuit Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the action for forcible entry on the
principal ground that a question of ownership was involved therein. This view does not jibe with the following observations
from Chief Justice Moran based on a consistent line of decisions from this Court: 4

It would be a mistake to suppose that an action involves a question of title merely because the plaintiff may allege in his
complaint that he is the owner of the land. Just as the plaintiff may introduce proof of his title in order to show the
character of his (sic) prior possession, so he may allege ownership in himself as a material and relevant fact in the case,
and the insertion of such an allegation in the complaint cannot by any possibility place the cause beyond the jurisdiction of
the magistrates court, provided it otherwise sufficiently appears that what the plaintiff really seeks is the restoration of
possession as against an intruder who has seized the property within the period of one year. Much less can the defendant
in such an action defeat the jurisdiction of the magistrates court by setting up title in himself. In this connection it should
be borne in mind that the factor which defeats the jurisdiction of the court of the justice of the peace is the necessity to
adjudicate the question of title. The circumstance that proof of title is introduced at the hearing or that a claim of ownership
is made by either or both of the parties is not material.

This ruling is embodied in Sec. 33, (2), Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, which vests municipal courts with:chanrob1es virtual
1aw library

Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer; Provided, that when, in such cases, the
defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without
deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership should be resolved only to determine the issue of
possession.chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

It is true that before the petitioner instituted the action for forcible entry in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Lucban-
Sampaloc, the case for annulment of the mortgage and foreclosure sale, which necessarily involves recovery of
ownership, was already being litigated in the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City. Even so, the municipal court could,
pending final adjudication of that case, exercise its jurisdiction to determine the right of possession (only) over the subject
properties in the ejectment case.

The private respondents also contend that the Municipal Circuit Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the complaint for
forcible entry because: a) under Section 19 par. (2) of BP 129, as amended, the Regional Trial Court has exclusive
original jurisdiction over all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property or any interest therein;
and b) under Section 1, par. A (1) of the Rule on Summary Procedure, cases of forcible entry and detainer involving the
question of ownership are expressly excluded from the summary jurisdiction of the municipal court.

Curiously, however, they also insist that an action for forcible entry and unlawful detainer shall be governed by the Rule
on Summary Procedure pursuant to Section 36 of BP 129 and that the petitioner is now estopped from assailing the
applicability of that Rule.

There is no question that under Section 1, par. A (1), of the said Rule, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts
and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts have jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer except where the
question of ownership is involved or where the damages or unpaid rentals sought to be recovered by the plaintiff exceed
15

P20,000.00 at the time of the filing of the complaint. **

However, it is incorrect to say that the question of ownership was involved in the ejectment case filed by the petitioner
simply because she alleged in her complaint that she was the original owner of the subject properties. That the petitioner
instituted a separate action for the annulment of the mortgage is not a valid reason either for defeating the summary
remedy of ejectment. On the contrary, it only bolsters the conclusion that the ejectment case did not involve the question
of title as this was the subject of the annulment case before the Regional Trial Court of Lucena City. The Rule on
Summary Procedure was clearly applicable because the ejectment case involved only the restoration of possession of the
subject land and not its ownership.

The respondent court also sustained the ruling of the Regional Trial Court that the motion for reconsideration filed by the
petitioner with the Municipal Circuit Trial Court did not stop the running of the reglementary period to appeal because such
motion was a prohibited pleading under Section 15 (c) *** of the Rule on Summary Procedure. Its conclusion was that the
Municipal Circuit Trial Court had already lost jurisdiction to issue the resolution dated July 11, 1986, because the decision
sought to be reconsidered had then become already final and executory.

We do not agree. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court did not err in holding that the motion for reconsideration was not
covered by the prohibition under Section 15 (c). The motion prohibited by this Section is that which seeks reconsideration
of the judgment rendered by the court after trial on the merits of the case. 5 The decision dismissing the petitioners
ejectment case for lack of jurisdiction was not an adjudication on the merits. Review thereof could therefore be sought by
the petitioner through her motion for reconsideration and this motion, which was not pro forma, had the effect of
suspending the running of the period to appeal.

Now, on the issue of possession:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118, provides that in case of extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage, the
court **** may issue as a matter of course a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser even during the redemption
period, provided that a proper motion has been filed, a bond is approved, and no third person is involved.

Section 6 of the Act provides that where an extrajudicial sale is made, "redemption shall be governed by the provisions of
sections four hundred and sixty-four to four hundred and sixty-six, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure, in so far as
these are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act."cralaw virtua1aw library

Sections 464-466 of the Code of Civil Procedure were superseded by Sections 25-27 and Section 31 of Rule 39 of the
Rules of Court, which in turn were replaced by Sections 29 to 31 and Section 35 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of
Court.cralawnad

Section 35 provides that "if no redemption be made within twelve (12) months after the sale, the purchaser, or his
assignee, is entitled to a conveyance and the possession of property, . . . . The possession of the property shall be given
to the purchaser or last redemptioner by the same officer unless a third party is actually holding the property adversely to
the judgment debtor."cralaw virtua1aw library

To give effect to his right of possession, the purchaser must invoke the aid of the courts and ask for a writ of possession.
He cannot simply take the law into his own hands and enter the property without judicial authorization. 6 We have
consistently held that he need not bring a separate and independent suit for this purpose. 7 Nevertheless, it is essential
that he ask for and be granted a writ of possession in order that he may be legally installed in the property he has bought.

Section 63 (b) of P.D. 1529, otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree, requires that in case of non-
redemption, the purchaser at a foreclosure sale shall file with the Register of Deeds either a final deed of sale executed by
the person authorized by virtue of the power of attorney embodied in the deed of mortgage or his sworn statement
attesting to the fact of non-redemption. The Register of Deeds shall thereupon issue a new certificate in favor of the
purchaser after the owners duplicate certificate shall have been previously delivered and canceled.

In F. David Enterprises v. Insular Bank of Asia and America, 8 this Court held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

It is settled that the buyer in a foreclosure sale becomes the absolute owner of the property purchased if it is not
redeemed during the period of one year after the registration of the sale. As such, he is entitled to the possession of the
said property and can demand it at any time following the consolidation of ownership in his name and the issuance to him
of a new transfer certificate of title. The buyer can in fact demand possession of the land even during the redemption
period except that he has to post a bond in accordance with Section 7 of Act No. 3135 as amended. No such bond is
required after the redemption period if the property is not redeemed. Possession of the land then becomes an absolute
right of the purchaser as confirmed owner. Upon proper application and proof of title, the issuance of the writ of
possession becomes a ministerial duty of the court. (Emphasis supplied)

In the case at bar, there is no showing that after the lapse of the redemption period without the petitioner having
redeemed the lands, DBP executed an affidavit of consolidation of ownership of the subject properties. Neither has it filed
with the Register of Deeds a final deed of sale or a sworn statement attesting to the fact of non-redemption. The
circumstance that the properties are still in the name of the petitioner shows that DBP has also not yet obtained a new
certificate of title in its name. And neither does it appear that DBP, on the basis of its purchase of the lands at the
foreclosure sale, ever secured a writ of possession to authorize its entry into the said lands.

Not having done any of these, DBP had as yet not acquired any perfected right of possession that it could transfer to the
16

private respondents. And as the petitioner continued in actual possession of the subject premises, she could undoubtedly
maintain an action for forcible entry against the private respondents when, not being armed with a court order or a writ of
possession, they simply entered and took possession of the subject lands.

The only issue in an action for forcible entry is the physical or material possession of real property, that is, possession de
facto and not possession de jure. The philosophy underlying this remedy is that irrespective of the actual condition of the
title to the property, the party in peaceable quiet possession shall not be turned out by strong hand, violence or terror. In
affording this remedy of restitution, the statute seeks to prevent breaches of the peace and criminal disorder which might
ensue from the withdrawal of the remedy. Another purpose is to discourage those persons who, believing themselves
entitled to the possession of the property, resort to force rather than to some appropriate action in the courts to assert
their claims. 9

Under Section 1, Rule 70, of the Rules of Court, there is forcible entry when one in physical possession of a land or
building is deprived of that possession by another through force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth. The words "by
force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth" include every situation or condition under which one person can wrongfully
enter upon real property and exclude another, who has had prior possession thereof. To constitute the use of "force" as
contemplated in the above-mentioned provision, the trespasser does not have to institute a state of war. Nor is it even
necessary that he use violence against the person of the party in possession. The act of going on the property and
excluding the lawful possessor therefrom necessarily implies the exertion of force over the property, and this is all that is
necessary. 10

It is noted that the petitioner instituted the action for annulment of mortgage on December 3, 1985, while the deed of sale
in favor of the private respondent was executed on December 17, 1985. Paguia cannot say that when he took possession
of the subject land on January 30, 1986, he was acting in good faith. Neither can he claim that he had no knowledge of
the pendency of that litigation because he was in fact one of the defendants in that case. In any event, the fact that the
titles were still in the name of the petitioner should have warned him of the need to ascertain the status of the properties
before he took possession of them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The private respondents also assert that the institution of the ejectment case resulted in the splitting of a single cause of
action into two, one for the recovery of ownership and possession and the other for recovery of possession de facto.

In Drilon v. Gaurana, 11 this Court held:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

It is true that a party may not institute more than one suit for a single cause of action (Rule 2, Sec. 3, Revised Rules of
Court) and if two or more complaints are brought for different parts of a single cause of action, the filing of the first may be
pleaded in abatement of the other (Rule 2, Sec. 4 Revised Rules of Court). However, a forcible entry or unlawful detainer
action has an entirely different subject from that of an action for reconveyance of title. What is involved in a forcible entry
case is merely the issue of material possession or possession de facto; whereas in an action for reconveyance, ownership
is the issue. So much so that the pendency of an action for reconveyance of title over the same property does not divest
the city or municipal court of its jurisdiction to try the forcible entry or unlawful detainer case, nor will it preclude or bar
execution of judgment in the ejectment case where the only issue involved is material possession or possession de facto
(De la Cruz v. Court of Appeals, 133 SCRA 520 [1984]).

While there may be identity of parties and subject matter in the two actions, the issues involved and the reliefs prayed for
are not the same. In the annulment suit, the issue is the validity of the mortgage and the subsequent foreclosure sale
whereas the issue in the ejectment case is whether, assuming the mortgage and foreclosure sale to be valid, the private
respondents have the right to take possession of the property. In the former case, the relief prayed for is recovery of
ownership of the subject land while in the latter it is restoration of possession thereof to the petitioner. Hence, the
municipal court had jurisdiction to try the ejectment case while the annulment suit was being litigated in the regional trial
court.

The contention that the petitioner was forum-shopping must also be rejected. As an injunction cannot be a substitute for
the other suits for recovery of possession, 12 such as an action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer and accion
publiciana, denial of the injunction did not bar the petitioner from availing herself of the more appropriate remedy, to wit,
the action for forcible entry. 13

In sum, the respondent court erred when it affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court declaring that the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the ejectment case filed by the petitioner. We find that it had.

ACCORDINGLY, the petition is GRANTED and the resolution of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Lucban, Sampaloc
dated July 11, 1986, in Civil Case No. 155 is REINSTATED. Costs against the private respondents.chanrobles
virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

SO ORDERED.

17

G.R. No. 105866 July 6, 1993
VICTORIA D. BAYUBAY, represented by her attorney-in-fact, MARIBEL MAMARIL, petitioner,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS, Former Fourth Division and BIG MAK BURGER, INC., respondents.
CRUZ, J .:
The proceeding at bar traces its origin to an action for ejectment filed by petitioner Victoria D. Bayubay in the Municipal
Trial Court of Los Baos, Laguna, on April 11, 1990, on the ground of expiration of the contract of lease.
Private respondent Big Mak Burger argued in its answer that it had the option to renew the term of the lease contract
"under such conditions as may be agreed upon by the parties" and set up the defense of estoppel. It also alleged a
counterclaim for damages and reinbursement of expenses allegedly inccured by it on the leased promises.
The Municipal Trial Court issued summons with the notification that the case would be heard under the Rule on Summary
Procedure.
After three pre-trial meetings and the marking of the exhibits, which included the lease contract and the exchange of
letters between the parties, Judge Romulo G. Carteciano rendered a decision holding that the contract of lease had
expired because no extension had been agreed upon by the parties as required by the agreement.
1

The private respondent appealed to the Regional Trial Court of Calamba, Laguna, on the ground that "the MTC violated
Secs. 6 and 7 of the Rules on Summary Procedure by rendering judgment without ordering the parties to submit their
respective position papers and affidavits of their respective witnesses, as a consequence of which, defendant's right to
due process was violated."
2

On December 23, 1991, the Regional Trial Court affirmed the appealed decision in toto.
3
However, it was reversed by the
Court of Appeals, which ordered the remand of the case to the Municipal Trial Court for further proceedings.
4

The decision of the Court of Appeals is now before us. The petitioner contends that the respondent court erred in ruling
that: (1) the failure of the MTC to give the private respondent the opportunity to submit its position paper and/or affidavit of
witnesses constituted a denial of due process; (2) the questions raised were not only questions of law because the
answer contained a counterclaim for reimbursement of improvements allegedly made by the lessee on the premises, and
damages; and (3) there was still a necessity for the MTC to issue an order following the close of the pre-trial conference.
In its Comment, the private respondent refutes these contentions and argues that (1) the petition raises questions of fact
as well as law, such as the expenses incurred by the lessor in the improvement of the leased premises and the damages
sustained by it as a result of the filing of the complaint; (2) it was deprived of the opportunity to submit its position paper
and/or affidavits of witnesses and so denied due process; and (3) there was a need to remand the case to the MTC so
that evidence could be presented to prove the factual issues through position papers and affidavits.
We see nothing wrong with the decision of the Court of Appeals remanding the case to the Municipal Trial Court for
further proceedings. The respondent court was merely enforcing the mandatory provisions of the Rule on Summary
Procedure.
The record shows that the Municipal Trial Court failed to take into account the following pertinent provisions of the Rule:
Sec. 6. Preliminary Conference. Not later than thirty (30) days after the last answer is filed, the case
shall be calendared for a preliminary conference. Among other matters, should the parties fail to arrive at
an amicable settlement, the court must clarify and define the issues of the case, which must be clearly
and distinctly set forth in the order to be issued immediately after such preliminary conference, together
with the other matters taken up during the same.
Sec. 7. Submission of affidavits. Within ten (10) days from receipt of the order mentioned in the next
preceding section, the parties shall submit the affidavits of witnesses and other evidences on the factual
issues defined therein, together with a brief statement of their petitions setting forth the law and the facts
relied upon by them.
The above provisions require that immediately after the preliminary conference, the Municipal Trial Court should issue
an order clearly and distinctly setting forth the issues of the case and the other matters taken up during the preliminary
conference.
The order is an important part of the summary procedure because it is its receipt by the parties that begins the ten-day
period to submit the affidavits and other evidence mentioned in Sec. 7.
The minutes of the Municipal Trial Court dated August 22, 1989, contained a notation that the pre-trial had been
"terminated" and that the parties were to submit position papers.
5
However, there was no order to this effect nor was
there an indication of when the position papers were to be submitted for the purpose of discussing the factual questioning
raised.
As correctly observed by the Court of Appeals
18

We think that the failure of the MTC to give the petitioner the opportunity to submit its position paper
and/or affidavit of witnesses constituted a denial of due process. True, between August 22, 1989 and
December 18, 1989, when the MTC rendered its decision was a period
of more than three months. But under the Rule on Summary Procedure, the ten-day period for submitting
affidavits and position papers did not commence to run, until receipt by a party of the order of the court
embodying the results of the pre-trial conference. Here, as already stated, the MTC never issued such an
order and so the ten day period never started to run.
It is not true, as the MTC said, that the only questions raised were questions of law. The petitioner's
answer contained a counterclaim for reimbursement of improvements allegedly made by it on the
premises, as well as claim for damages for alleged bad faith of private respondent in bringing the case
questions which obviously, required at least the affidavits of witnesses.
The Court of Appeals did not err therefore in calling for the remand of the case to the Municipal Trial Court. While the
municipal judge may be commended for his zeal in speeding up the resolution of the case, he nevertheless cannot be
sustained for his non-observance of the Rule on Summary Procedure.
We conclude with the following reminder:
Rules of procedure are intended to ensure the orderly administration of justice and the protection of
substantive rights in judicial and extra-judicial proceedings. It is a mistake to suppose that substantive law
and adjective law are contradictory to each other or, as has been often suggested, that enforcement of
procedural rules should never be permitted if it will result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the
litigants. This is not exactly true; the concept is much misunderstood. As a matter of fact the policy of the
courts is to give affect to both kinds of law, as complementing each other, in the just and speedy
resolution of the dispute between the parties. Observance of both substantive and procedural rights is
equally guaranteed by due process, whatever the source of such rights, be it the Constitution itself or only
a statute or a rule of court.
6

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, with costs against the petitioner. It is so ordered.

19

A.M. No. MTJ-93-799 May 18, 1994
RURAL BANK OF MALALAG, INC., Complainant, v. JUDGE SEGUNDINO D. MANIWANG, Respondent.
QUIASON, J .:
In a letter-complaint dated March 11, 1993, the Rural Bank of Malalag Inc., through its manager, Antonio P. Dulanas,
charged Judge Segundino D. Maniwang of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Malalag-Sulop, Davao del Sur, with
undue delay in the disposition of six collection cases, namely Civil Cases Nos. 226, 227, 228, 229, 230 and 231.
I
Civil Cases Nos. 226, 227 and 228 were filed on September 10, 1991. Complainant alleged that no action was taken by
respondent with respect to these civil actions except for the pre-trial conference on March 12, 1992. Respondent admitted
that he did not take any action on the cases but he claimed that two of the cases were not triable under the Revised Rule
on Summary Procedure.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Civil Cases Nos. 229, 230 and 231 were filed on November 15, 1991. The defendants were served with summons on
November 27, 1991; hence, the answers were due on December 12, 1991. As no answers were filed as of May 6, 1992,
complainant filed a motion for the resolution of said cases on May 7, 1992.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
On June 2, 1992, the defendants filed a motion to admit their answers. On June 10, 1992, respondent admitted the
answers and denied the motion for resolution on the grounds that the answers raised "factual matters which need to be
clarified in a formal hearing."chanrobles virtual law library
On June 26, 1992, complainant filed a second motion for resolution of the cases.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
In his Order dated July 10, 1992, respondent denied complainant's motion to declare defendants in default, stating: (a)
that the said motion was a prohibited pleading under Section 15 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure; (b) that he
could not just disregard the answers filed by defendants for they raise a meritorious defense; and (c) that there were
factual matters which should be clarified in a formal hearing.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
After the preliminary conference on August 20, 1992, respondent issued pre-trial orders stating, in common, that the
following factual issues had yet to be resolved:
1. Whether or not defendants have fully paid their indebtedness to plaintiff.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual
law library
2. Whether or not defendants signed a Special Power of Attorney authorizing Mrs. Dulanas (complainant's representative)
to withdraw all the checks due them as public school teachers (Rollo, p. 25).
As required by respondent, complainant filed its position paper. The defendants, however, did not file their position
paper.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
On September 15, 1992, complainant again filed a motion to resolve the cases, arguing that the defendants had waived
their right to present evidence after having failed to submit their position papers.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
In his Order dated October 27, 1992, respondent denied complainant's motion to resolve, stating that there was a need to
conduct a hearing in order to resolve the factual issues. Furthermore, he claimed that the records pertinent to the said
factual issues were in the hands of the officials of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), necessitating
the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum. He also noted that the hearing "would also give the defendants the opportunity
to establish the merits of their defense and prevent a denial of substantial justice" (Rollo, pp. 37-
38).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Complainant alleged that respondent failed to resolve the civil cases pursuant to Section 6 of the Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure after the defendants therein failed to file their answers to the complaints, and pursuant to Section 10
thereof, after the defendants failed to submit their position papers. It also alleged that respondent deviated from the
Revised Rule of Summary Procedure by conducting regular trials, under the guise of "clarificatory hearings."chanrobles
virtual law library
In his comment, respondent averred that when Civil Cases Nos. 229, 230 and 231 were filed on November 15, 1991 in
the MCTC of Malalag-Sulop, where he was the acting presiding judge, he had other duties as acting judge of Sta. Cruz,
Davao del Sur and as permanent circuit judge in Padada-Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. In May 1991, he was designated to try
a case in the MCTC of Bansalan-Magsaysay. He could only conduct the hearing of cases in the MCTC of Malalag-Sulop
once a week, giving preference to criminal cases involving detained prisoners. Thus, not all the cases in the MCTC of
Malalag-Sulop could be heard and tried by him, including the civil cases filed by
complainant.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
20

Respondent denied the charge of deviation from the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure in the handling of Civil Cases
Nos. 229, 230 and 231. According to him, his denial of the motions to resolve the cases filed by complainant was, in fact,
consistent with due process in order to give the defendants a chance to establish their claim of payment. He argued that
there would have been a failure of justice if he resolved the cases of complainant on the basis of the complaints and its
evidence alone, in disregard of the meritorious defense in the answers.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
He also denied the charge that he held full-blown trials in contravention of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure,
asserting that what he conducted were only "clarificatory hearings" for the purpose of allowing the DECS representatives
to bring to court the payrolls of the defendants. The first "clarificatory hearing" was continued on another date because the
payrolls submitted to the court were voluminous and one of the DECS representative failed to attend the hearing.
II
We find respondent's explanations unsatisfactory.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Respondent's explanation for his inaction in Civil Cases Nos. 226, 227 and 228 was that two of the cases cannot be tried
in accordance with the summary procedure because of the amount involved. He was referring to Civil Case No. 226,
which involved the collection of the amount of P19,890.91 and attorney's fees of P5,000.00 and Civil Case No. 227, which
involved the amount of P19,666.07 and attorney's fees of P5,000.00.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
library
It is true that the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure does not apply where the total amount of the plaintiff's claim
exceeds P10,000.00, exclusive of interests and costs. But if Civil Cases Nos. 226 and 227 cannot be heard summarily,
respondent has not explained why he failed to set these cases for trial in accordance with the regular procedure. From
March 12, 1992, the date of the pre-trial, up to March 22, 1993, the date of the filing of the administrative complaint, there
was no action taken by respondent on these cases. While these cases were filed on September 10, 1991, respondent set
them for pre-trial only on March 13, 1992.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Respondent has not explained either why Civil Case No. 228, which involved only the amount of P7,390.95, was not
heard under the summary procedure.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
He has not shown his case load in the MCTC of Malalag-Sulop, MCTC of Padada-Kiblawan, and MCTC of Sta. Cruz,
Davao del Sur. However, taking into account his multifarious duties, respondent's culpability is slightly
diminished.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
As to Civil Cases Nos. 229, 230 and 231, respondent has not explained why after the defendants failed to file their
answer, he did not follow Section 6 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, which provides:
Effect of failure to answer. - Should the defendants fail to answer the complaint within the period above provided, the
court, motu proprio, or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the
complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein: Provided, however, that the court may in its discretion reduce the
amount of damages and attorney's fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise unconscionable . . . .
He has not explained the justification for allowing the admission of the answers, which were filed more than five months
after their due date.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
He has not explained why he did not decide the cases after the defendants failed to submit the affidavits of their witnesses
on the factual issues defined in the orders, together with their position papers setting forth the law and the facts relied
upon by them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
Section 9 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure is very explicit that:
Within ten (10) days from receipt of the order mentioned in the next preceding section, the parties shall submit the
affidavits of their witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues defined in the order, together with their position
papers setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them.
Said Section 9 should be read together with Section 10 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure, the first paragraph of
which provides:
Within thirty (30) days after receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the
same, the court shall render judgment.
xxx xxx xxx
While the third paragraph of Section 10 of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure allows the court, should it find it
necessary to clarify certain material facts, to issue "an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and require the parties
to submit affidavits or other evidence on the said matters within ten (10) days from receipt of said order," it has to render
judgment "within fifteen (15) days after the receipt of the last clarificatory affidavits or the expiration of the period for filing
the same."chanrobles virtual law library
21

It is clear from said provisions, that a court cannot resort to "clarificatory procedure," when the parties fail to submit their
affidavits and position paper as required by Section 9 of the Rule. The courts cannot issue subpoena duces tecum in
cases triable summarily merely on the basis of the answers. It is only after evaluating the affidavits and positions papers
submitted by the parties that the court can determine whether he should resort to the "clarificatory procedure" provided in
Section 10 of the Rule. If any of the parties fail to submit their evidence and position paper within the reglementary period,
the court cannot thereby set the "clarificatory procedure" into motion. Otherwise, a party can derail the proceedings and
defeat the purpose of the summary procedure by not filing the affidavits of his witnesses and his position paper, thus
forcing the court to resort to said procedure.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved the IMPOSE on respondent a FINE of P5,000.00, with a warning that a repetition of
the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
SO ORDERED.
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