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II.

What need to be proved


Republic
SUPREME
Manila

of

the

Philippines
COURT

EN BANC
G.R. No. L-26053

February 21, 1967

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

Alunan

for

defendants-appellants.

SANCHEZ, J.:
Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one compact area, bordering Kansas, Vermont
and Singalong streets in Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens Titles Nos. 49763, 37082 and 37558.
Shortly after liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants entered upon these premises without plaintiff's
knowledge and consent. They built houses of second-class materials, again without plaintiff's knowledge
and consent, and without the necessary building permits from the city. There they lived thru the years to
the present.
In November, 1947, the presence of defendants having previously been discovered, defendants Felicidad
Miranda (Emigdio Egipto), Modesta C. Parayno, Benedicto Diaz, Laureano Dizo, Jose Barrientos, Elena
Ramos, Estefania Nepacina, Modesta Sanchez, Honorio Berio, Gloria Velasco, Ana Dequis Alunan and
Benedicto Ofiaza (predecessor of defendant Carandang) were given by Mayor Valeriano E. Fugoso
written permits each labeled "lease contract" to occupy specific areas in the property upon
conditions therein set forth. Defendants Isabelo Obaob and Gerardo Garcia (in the name of Marta A.
Villanueva) received their permits from Mayor Manuel de la Fuente on January 29 and March 18,
respectively, both of 1948. The rest of the 23 defendants exhibited none.
For their occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.1wph1.t
Following are the rentals due as of February, 1962:

NAME

Area
in sq.m.

Monthly
Rental

Amt.
due
from
date
of
delinquency
to Feb. 1962

1. Gerardo Garcia

66.00

P7.92

P1,628.97

2. Modesta C. Parayno

87.75

10.53

379.08

3. Juan Asperas

39.00

4.68

9.36

4. Maria Tabia

35.20

5.76

570.24

54.00

4.32

99.36

6. Laureano Dizo

35.00

2.80

22.40

7. Bernabe Ayuda

39.60

3.17

323.34

8. Isabelo Obaob

75.52

9.06

208.38

9. Jose Barrientos

39.53

4.74

744.18

46.65

5.60

Paid
Feb. 1962.

11. Elena Ramos

34.80

2.78

186.26

12. Estefania Nepacina

41.80

3.34

504.34

13. Modesta Sanchez

33.48

2.68

444.88

14. Marcial Lazaro

22.40

1.79

688.32

15. Marciana Alano

25.80

2.06

255.44

16. Honorio Berio

24.00

1.92

188.16

17. Gloria Velasco

32.40

2.59

56.98

18. Wilarico Ricamata

45.83

19. Benedicto Diaz

5.
Aquilino
(Leonora Ruiz)

10.
Cecilia
Manzano
lieu of Urbano Ramos (deceased)

Barrios

in

up

to

3.67

739.68

40.20

4.82

Paid
up
March 1962.

to

20. Ana Dequis Alunan

64.26

7.71

30.84

21. Lorenzo Carandang

45.03

5.40

437.40

22. Juan N. Pecayo

25.52

3.06

30.60

23. Felicidad Miranda

48.02

5.76

132.48
P7,580.69

Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not contiguous, to the property. Came the
need for this school's expansion; it became pressing. On September 14, 1961, plaintiff's City Engineer,
pursuant to the Mayor's directive to clear squatters' houses on city property, gave each of defendants
thirty (30) days to vacate and remove his construction or improvement on the premises. This was followed
by the City Treasurer's demand on each defendant, made in February and March, 1962, for the payment
of the amount due by reason of the occupancy and to vacate in fifteen (15) days. Defendants refused.
Hence, this suit to recover possession.2
The judgment below directed defendants to vacate the premises; to pay the amounts heretofore indicated
opposite their respective names; and to pay their monthly rentals from March, 1962, until they vacate the
said premises, and the costs. Defendants appealed.

1. We are called upon to rule on the forefront question of whether the trial court properly found
that the city needs the premises for school purposes.
The city's evidence on this point is Exhibit E, the certification of the Chairman, Committee on
Appropriations of the Municipal Board. That document recites that the amount of P100,000.00
had been set aside in Ordinance 4566, the 1962-1963 Manila City Budget, for the construction of
an additional building of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School. It is indeed correct to say
that the court below, at the hearing, ruled out the admissibility of said document. But then, in the
decision under review, the trial judge obviously revised his views. He there declared that there
was need for defendants to vacate the premises for school expansion; he cited the very
document, Exhibit E, aforesaid.
It is beyond debate that a court of justice may alter its ruling while the case is within its power, to
make it conformable to law and justice.3 Such was done here. Defendants' remedy was to bring to
the attention of the court its contradictory stance. Not having done so, this Court will not reopen
the case solely for this purpose.4
Anyway, elimination of the certification, Exhibit E, as evidence, would not profit defendants. For, in
reversing his stand, the trial judge could well have taken because the was duty bound to take
judicial notice5 of Ordinance 4566. The reason being that the city charter of Manila requires all
courts sitting therein to take judicial notice of all ordinances passed by the municipal board of
Manila.6 And, Ordinance 4566 itself confirms the certification aforesaid that an appropriation of
P100,000.00 was set aside for the "construction of additional building" of the Epifanio de los
Santos Elementary School.
Furthermore, defendants' position is vulnerable to assault from a third direction. Defendants have
absolutely no right to remain in the premises. The excuse that they have permits from the mayor
is at best flimsy. The permits to occupy are recoverable on thirty days' notice. They have been
asked to leave; they refused to heed. It is in this factual background that we say that the city's
need for the premises is unimportant. The city's right to throw defendants out of the area cannot
be gainsaid. The city's dominical right to possession is paramount. If error there was in the finding
that the city needs the land, such error is harmless and will not justify reversal of the judgment
below.7
2. But defendants insist that they have acquired the legal status of tenants. They are wrong.
They entered the land, built houses of second-class materials thereon without the knowledge and
consent of the city. Their homes were erected without city permits.
These constructions are illegal. In a language familiar to all, defendants are squatters:
Since the last global war, squatting on another's property in this country has become a
widespread vice. It was and is a blight. Squatters' areas pose problems of health, sanitation. They
are breeding places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for the law and the rights of
others, even those of the government, are being flouted. Knowingly, squatters have embarked on
the pernicious act of occupying property whenever and wherever convenient to their interests
without as much as leave, and even against the will, of the owner. They are emboldened
seemingly because of their belief that they could violate the law with impunity. The
pugnaciousness of some of them has tied up the hands of legitimate owners. The latter are thus
prevented from recovering possession by peaceful means. Government lands have not been
spared by them. They know, of course, that intrusion into property, government or private, is
wrong. But, then, the mills of justice grind slow, mainly because of lawyers who, by means, fair or
foul, are quite often successful in procuring delay of the day of reckoning. Rampancy of forcible
entry into government lands particularly, is abetted by the apathy of some public officials to

enforce the government's rights. Obstinacy of these squatters is difficult to explain unless it is
spawned by official tolerance, if not outright encouragement or protection. Said squatters have
become insensible to the difference between right and wrong. To them, violation of law means
nothing. With the result that squatting still exists, much to the detriment of public interest. It is high
time that, in this aspect, sanity and the rule of law be restored. It is in this environment that we
look into the validity of the permits granted defendants herein.
These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were issued by the mayors in 1947 and
1948 when the effects of the war had simmered down and when these defendants could have
very well adjusted themselves. Two decades have now elapsed since the unlawful entry.
Defendants could have, if they wanted to, located permanent premises for their abode. And yet,
usurpers that they are, they preferred to remain on city property.
Defendants' entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions are as illegal, without permits. 8 The
city charter enjoins the mayor to "safeguard all the lands" of the City of Manila. 9
Surely enough, the permits granted did not "safeguard" the city's land in question. It is our
considered view that the Mayor of the City of Manila cannot legalize forcible entry into public
property by the simple expedient of giving permits, or, for that matter, executing leases.
Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of the city officials will elevate it
into a lawful act. In principle, a compound of illegal entry and official permit to stay is obnoxious to
our concept of proper official norm of conduct. Because, such permit does not serve social
justice; it fosters moral decadence. It does not promote public welfare; it abets disrespect for the
law. It has its roots in vice; so it is an infected bargain. Official approval of squatting should not,
therefore, be permitted to obtain in this country where there is an orderly form of government.
We, accordingly, rule that the Manila mayors did not have authority to give permits, written or oral,
to defendants, and that the permits herein granted are null and void.
3. Let us look into the houses and constructions planted by defendants on the premises. They
clearly hinder and impair the use of that property for school purposes. The courts may well take
judicial notice of the fact that housing school children in the elementary grades has been and still
is a perennial problem in the city. The selfish interests of defendants must have to yield to the
general good. The public purpose of constructing the school building annex is paramount. 10
In the situation thus obtaining, the houses and constructions aforesaid constitute public nuisance
per se. And this, for the reason that they hinder and impair the use of the property for a badly
needed school building, to the prejudice of the education of the youth of the land. 11 They shackle
the hands of the government and thus obstruct performance of its constitutionally ordained
obligation to establish and maintain a complete and adequate system of public education, and
more, to "provide at least free public primary instruction".12
Reason dictates that no further delay should be countenanced. The public nuisance could well
have been summarily abated by the city authorities themselves, even without the aid of the
courts.13
4. Defendants challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Manila. They say that the
case should have been started in the municipal court. They prop up their position by the averment
that notice for them to vacate was only served in September, 1961, and suit was started in July,
1962. Their legal ground is Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court. We have reached the
conclusion that their forcible entry dates back to the period from 1945 to 1947. That entry was not
legalized by the permits. Their possession continued to remain illegal from incipiency. Suit was

filed long after the one-year limitation set forth in Section 1 of Rule 70. And the Manila Court of
First Instance has jurisdiction.14
Upon the premises, we vote to affirm the judgment under review. Costs against defendants-appellants. So
ordered.

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


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

there for the lower court to do? Was there any sense in its being engaged in what was essentially a
fruitless, endeavor as the outcome was predictible?
Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-deserved reproach if the Rules of Court would sanction such
a proceeding distinguished by nothing but its futility. It ought to be clear even to appellant that under the
circumstances, the lower court certainly could take judicial notice of the finality of a judgment in a case
that was previously pending and thereafter decided by it. That was all that was done by the lower court in
decreeing the dismissal. Certainly such an order is not contrary to law. A citation from the comments of
former Chief Justice Moran is relevant. Thus: "Courts have also taken judicial notice of previous cases to
determine whether or not the case pending is a moot one, or whether or not a previous ruling is applicable
in the case under consideration." 3
2. There is another equally compelling consideration. Appellant undoubtedly had recourse to a remedy
which under the law then in force could be availed of. It would have served the cause of justice better, not
to mention the avoidance of needless expense on his part and the vexation to which appellees were
subjected if he did reflect a little more on the matter. Then the valuable time of this Tribunal would not
have been frittered away on a useless find hopeless appeal. It has, ever been the guiding principle
from Alonso v. Villamor, 4 a 1910 decision, that a litigant should not be allowed to worship at the altar of
technicality. That is not to dispense justice according to law. Parties, and much more so their counsel,
should ever keep such an imperative of our legal system in mind. 5
WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of September 26, 1966 is hereby affirmed. With costs against
plaintiff.
Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ., concur.
Reyes, J.B.L., J., concurs in the result.
Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur in the main opinion of Mr. Justice Fernan affirming the lower court's order of dismissal of the case
below, on motion of defendants-appellees, on the ground of its being barred by a prior judgment.
The lower court properly took judicial notice of the case resolved by it wherein admittedly the same lower
court dismissed an identical complaint filed over the same property by the same plantiff against the same
defendants (who are the legal or forced heirs of the now deceased Melecio Jalagat, defendant in the prior
case).
Such judicial notice taken by the lower court is sanctioned under Rule 129, section 1. It in effect supplants
the evidence on motion that Rule 133, section 7 authorizes a trial court to receive "when a motion is
based on not appearing on record."
The appeal's sole assignment of error, viz, that a bar by prior judgment cannot be raised in a motion to
dismiss when such ground does not appear on the face of the complaint, is clearly bereft of basis or merit.
Such limitation of the dismissal motion to what appears on the face of the complaint applies only when it
is based on ground that the complaint fails to state a valid cause of action. 1 Rule 16, section 3 precisely
provides for a hearing of the motion to dismiss, wherein its ground (other than lack of cause of action)
may be proved or disproved in accordance with the rules of evidence and specifically Rule 133, section 7,
which provides that "(W)hen a motion is based on facts not appearing of record the court may hear the
matter on affidavts or depositions presented by the respective parties, but the court may direct that the
matter be heard wholly or partly on oral testimony or depositions."

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

G.R. No. L-17885

June 30, 1965

GABRIEL P. PRIETO, plaintiff-appellant, vs. MEDEN ARROYO, JACK ARROYO, NONITO ARROYO
and ZEFERINO ARROYO, JR., defendants-appellees.
MAKALINTAL, J.:
Gabriel P. Prieto appealed to the Court of Appeals from the order of the Court of First Instance of
Camarines Sur dismissing his complaint in Civil Case No. 4280. Since only questions of law are involved
the appeal has been certified to this Court.
In 1948 Zeferino Arroyo, Sr. filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition for registration
of several parcels of land, including Lot No. 2, Plan Psu-106730 (L.R.C. No. 144; G.L.R.O. No. 1025).
After the proper proceedings Original Certificate of Title No. 39 covering said lot was issued in his name.
The same year and in the same Court Gabriel P. Prieto filed a petition for registration of an adjoining
parcel of land, described as Lot No. 3, Plan Psu-117522 (L.R.C. No. 173; G.L.R.O. No. 1474). As a result
Original Certificate of Title No. 11 was issued in his name.
After the death of Zeferino Arroyo, Sr., Original Certificate of Title No. 39 was cancelled and in lieu thereof
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 was issued in the names of his heirs, the defendants in this case,
namely Meden Jack, Joker, Nonito and Zeferino, Jr., all surnamed Arroyo.
On March 6, 1956 said heirs filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition (L.R.C. No.
144; G.L.R.O. No. 1025; Special Proceedings No. 900) in which they claimed that the technical
description set forth in their transfer certificate of title and in the original certificate of their predecessor did
not conform with that embodied in the decision of the land registration court, and was less in area by
some 157 square meters. They therefore prayed that said description be corrected pursuant to Section
112 of the Land Registration Act; that their certificate of title be cancelled and another one issued to them
containing the correct technical description. The petition was filed in the registration record but was
docketed as Special Proceedings No. 900.
On May 23, 1956 the court issued an order directing the Register of Deeds of Camarines Sur to "change,
upon payment of his fees, the description in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 of Lot 2 in Plan Psu106730 so as to make it conform to that embodied in the decision of the Court on March 8, 1950, and to
correct therein the spelling of the name of one of the petitioners from 'Miden Arroyo' to 'Meden Arroyo'.
On November 29, 1956 Prieto filed against the defendants in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur
(in the original registration records of the two lots) a petition to annul the order of May 23 in Special
Proceedings No. 900. At the hearing of the petition on July 12, 1957 neither he nor his counsel appeared.
Consequently, the trial court on the same day issued an order dismissing the petition for failure to
prosecute. A motion for reconsideration of that order was denied on September 5, 1957.
On September 2, 1958 Prieto filed against the same defendants the present action for annulment of
Special Proceedings No. 900 and the order therein entered on May 23, 1956. He also prayed that the 157
square meters allegedly taken from his lot by virtue of said order be reconveyed to him.
Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata. Plaintiff opposed, and on
January 15, 1959 the court granted the motion. It is from the order of dismissal, plaintiff having failed to
secure its reconsideration, that the appeal has been taken.
Appellant maintains that the institution of Special Proceedings No. 900 was irregular and illegal mainly
because he was not notified thereof and the same was instituted almost six years after the issuance of

the decree and title sought to be corrected, and hence the order of the court dated May 23, 1956 for the
correction of the technical description in appellees' title is void ab initio.
The issue here, however, is not the validity of said Special Proceedings No. 900 but the propriety of the
dismissal of appellant's complaint on the ground of res adjudicata. The validity of the said proceedings
was the issue in the first case he filed. But because of his failure and that of his counsel to attend the
hearing the court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute. Since no appeal was taken from the order of
dismissal it had the effect of an adjudication upon the merits, the court not having provided otherwise
(Rule 30, Section 3).
Appellant contends that said order could not have the effect of a judgment because the Court did not
acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents therein, defendants-appellees here, as they did
not file any opposition or responsive pleading in that case. Appellees, on the other hand, allege that they
had voluntarily submitted to the court's jurisdiction after they were served copies of the petition. This
allegation finds support in the record, particularly in the following statement of appellant in his brief:
This petition was originally set for hearing on December 8, 1956, but was postponed to January
14, 1957, due to lack of notice to the respondents. Upon motion for postponements of
respondents, now defendants-appellees, the hearing of January 14, 1957 was postponed to May
16, 1957. The hearing set for May 16, 1957 was again postponed upon motion of the
respondents to July 12, 1957.
Appellant next points out that the lower court should not have dismissed his first petition for annulment
because no "parole" evidence need be taken to support it, the matters therein alleged being parts of the
records of L.R.C. No. 144, G.L.R.O. No. 1025, and L.R.C. 173, G.L.R.O. No. 1474, which were well within
the judicial notice and cognizance of the said court.
In the first place, as a general rule, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice in the
adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of other cases, even when such cases
have been tried or are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases
may have been tried or are actually pending before the same judge (Municipal Council of San
Pedro, Laguna, et al. v. Colegio de San Jose, et al., 65 Phil. 318). Secondly, if appellant had really
wanted the court to take judicial notice of such records, he should have presented the proper
request or manifestation to that effect instead of sending, by counsel, a telegraphic motion for
postponement of hearing, which the court correctly denied. Finally, the point raised by counsel is
now academic, as no appeal was taken from the order dismissing his first petition, and said order
had long become final when the complaint in the present action was filed.
The contention that the causes of action in the two suits are different is untenable.
Both are based on the alleged nullity of Special Proceedings No. 900; in both appellant seeks that the
order of correction of the title of appellees be set aside. Of no material significance is the fact that in the
complaint in the instant case there is an express prayer for reconveyance of some 157 square meters of
land, taken from appellant as a result of such correction of title. For that area would necessarily have
reverted to appellant had his first petition prospered, the relief asked for by him being that "the Register of
Deeds of Camarines Sur be ordered to amend Certificate of Title No. 332 by incorporating therein only
and solely the description of Lot No. 2, plan Psu-106730 as appearing in the Decree No. 5165 and
maintaining consequently the description limits and area of the adjoining land of the herein petitioner, Lot
No. 3, plan Psu-117522, in accordance with Decree No. 2301 of Land Registration No. 173." The claim for
damages as well as for other additional and alternative reliefs in the present case are not materially
different from his prayer for "such other remedies, just and equitable in the premises" contained in the
former one.

There being identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between the two cases, the order of
dismissal issued in the first constitutes a bar to the institution of the second. Affirmed
G.R. No. L-55960 November 24, 1988
YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners, vs. AIDA SY-GONZALES,
MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, and HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents.
CORTES, J.:
Sy Kiat, a Chinese national. died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he was then residing,
leaving behind real and personal properties here in the Philippines worth P300,000.00 more or less.
Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy filed a petition for the
grant of letters of administration docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. C-699 of the then Court of
First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City. In said petition they alleged among others that (a)
they are the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge Sy Mat died intestate;
(c) they do not recognize Sy Kiat's marriage to Yao Kee nor the filiation of her children to him; and, (d)
they nominate Aida Sy-Gonzales for appointment as administratrix of the intestate estate of the deceased
[Record on Appeal, pp. 4-9; Rollo, p. 107.]
The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Yun Chen who alleged that:
(a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom he married on January 19, 1931 in China; (b) the other
oppositors are the legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee; and, (c) Sze Sook Wah is the eldest
among them and is competent, willing and desirous to become the administratrix of the estate of Sy Kiat
[Record on Appeal, pp. 12-13; Rollo, p. 107.] After hearing, the probate court, finding among others that:
(1) Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee [CFI decision, pp. 12-27; Rollo, pp. 49-64;]
(2) Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate children of Yao Kee
with Sy Mat [CFI decision, pp. 28-31; Rollo. pp. 65-68;] and,
(3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are the
acknowledged illegitimate offsprings of Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego [CFI decision, pp.
27-28; Rollo, pp. 64- 65.]
held if favor of the oppositors (petitioners herein) and appointed Sze Sook Wah as the administratrix of
the intestate estate of the deceased [CFI decision, pp. 68-69; Rollo, pp. 105-106.]
On appeal the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying that of the probate court, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower Court is hereby MODIFIED
and SET ASIDE and a new judgment rendered as follows:
(1) Declaring petitioners Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy- Bernabe and Rodolfo
Sy acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego, an
unmarried woman with whom he lived as husband and wife without benefit of marriage
for many years:
(2) Declaring oppositors Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chun Yen, the
acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with his Chinese wife Yao Kee,

also known as Yui Yip, since the legality of the alleged marriage of Sy Mat to Yao Kee in
China had not been proven to be valid to the laws of the Chinese People's Republic of
China (sic);
(3) Declaring the deed of sale executed by Sy Kiat on December 7, 1976 in favor of
Tomas Sy (Exhibit "G-1", English translation of Exhibit "G") of the Avenue Tractor and
Diesel Parts Supply to be valid and accordingly, said property should be excluded from
the estate of the deceased Sy Kiat; and
(4) Affirming the appointment by the lower court of Sze Sook Wah as judicial
administratrix of the estate of the deceased. [CA decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp. 36- 37.]
From said decision both parties moved for partial reconsideration, which was however denied by
respondent court. They thus interposed their respective appeals to this Court.
Private respondents filed a petition with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 56045 entitled "Aida SyGonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy v. Court of Appeals, Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah,
Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen" questioning paragraphs (3) and (4) of the dispositive portion of the Court
of Appeals' decision. The Supreme Court however resolved to deny the petition and the motion for
reconsideration. Thus on March 8, 1982 entry of judgment was made in G.R. No. 56045. **
The instant petition, on the other hand, questions paragraphs (1) and (2) of the dispositive portion of the
decision of the Court of Appeals. This petition was initially denied by the Supreme Court on June 22,
1981. Upon motion of the petitioners the Court in a resolution dated September 16, 1981 reconsidered
the denial and decided to give due course to this petition. Herein petitioners assign the following as
errors:
I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DECLARING THE
MARRIAGE OF SY KIAT TO YAO YEE AS NOT HAVE (sic) BEEN PROVEN VALID IN
ACCORDANCE WITH LAWS OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.
II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING AIDA SYGONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE AND RODOLFO SY AS NATURAL
CHILDREN OF SY KIAT WITH ASUNCION GILLEGO. [Petition, p. 2; Rollo, p. 6.]
I. Petitioners argue that the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in accordance with Chinese law and custom
was conclusively proven. To buttress this argument they rely on the following testimonial and
documentary evidence.
First, the testimony of Yao Kee summarized by the trial court as follows:
Yao Kee testified that she was married to Sy Kiat on January 19, 1931 in Fookien, China;
that she does not have a marriage certificate because the practice during that time was
for elders to agree upon the betrothal of their children, and in her case, her elder brother
was the one who contracted or entered into [an] agreement with the parents of her
husband; that the agreement was that she and Sy Mat would be married, the wedding
date was set, and invitations were sent out; that the said agreement was complied with;
that she has five children with Sy Kiat, but two of them died; that those who are alive are
Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho, and Sze Chun Yen, the eldest being Sze Sook Wah who is
already 38 years old; that Sze Sook Wah was born on November 7, 1939; that she and
her husband, Sy Mat, have been living in FooKien, China before he went to the
Philippines on several occasions; that the practice during the time of her marriage was a
written document [is exchanged] just between the parents of the bride and the parents of
the groom, or any elder for that matter; that in China, the custom is that there is a go-

between, a sort of marriage broker who is known to both parties who would talk to the
parents of the bride-to-be; that if the parents of the bride-to-be agree to have the groomto-be their son in-law, then they agree on a date as an engagement day; that on
engagement day, the parents of the groom would bring some pieces of jewelry to the
parents of the bride-to-be, and then one month after that, a date would be set for the
wedding, which in her case, the wedding date to Sy Kiat was set on January 19, 1931;
that during the wedding the bridegroom brings with him a couch (sic) where the bride
would ride and on that same day, the parents of the bride would give the dowry for her
daughter and then the document would be signed by the parties but there is no
solemnizing officer as is known in the Philippines; that during the wedding day, the
document is signed only by the parents of the bridegroom as well as by the parents of the
bride; that the parties themselves do not sign the document; that the bride would then be
placed in a carriage where she would be brought to the town of the bridegroom and
before departure the bride would be covered with a sort of a veil; that upon reaching the
town of the bridegroom, the bridegroom takes away the veil; that during her wedding to
Sy Kiat (according to said Chinese custom), there were many persons present; that after
Sy Kiat opened the door of the carriage, two old ladies helped her go down the carriage
and brought her inside the house of Sy Mat; that during her wedding, Sy Chick, the eldest
brother of Sy Kiat, signed the document with her mother; that as to the whereabouts of
that document, she and Sy Mat were married for 46 years already and the document was
left in China and she doubt if that document can still be found now; that it was left in the
possession of Sy Kiat's family; that right now, she does not know the whereabouts of that
document because of the lapse of many years and because they left it in a certain place
and it was already eaten by the termites; that after her wedding with Sy Kiat, they lived
immediately together as husband and wife, and from then on, they lived together; that Sy
Kiat went to the Philippines sometime in March or April in the same year they were
married; that she went to the Philippines in 1970, and then came back to China; that
again she went back to the Philippines and lived with Sy Mat as husband and wife; that
she begot her children with Sy Kiat during the several trips by Sy Kiat made back to
China. [CFI decision, pp. 13-15; Rollo, pp. 50-52.]
Second, the testimony of Gan Ching, a younger brother of Yao Kee who stated that he was among the
many people who attended the wedding of his sister with Sy Kiat and that no marriage certificate is issued
by the Chinese government, a document signed by the parents or elders of the parties being sufficient
[CFI
decision,
pp.
15-16;
Rollo,
pp.
52-53.]
Third, the statements made by Asuncion Gillego when she testified before the trial court to the effect that
(a) Sy Mat was married to Yao Kee according to Chinese custom; and, (b) Sy Kiat's admission to her that
he has a Chinese wife whom he married according to Chinese custom [CFI decision, p. 17; Rollo, p. 54.]
Fourth, Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien issued in Caloocan City on October 3, 1972 where the
following entries are found: "Marital statusMarried"; "If married give name of spousesYao Kee";
"Address-China; "Date of marriage1931"; and "Place of marriageChina" [Exhibit "SS-1".]
Fifth, Sy Kiat's Alien Certificate of Registration issued in Manila on January 12, 1968 where the following
entries are likewise found: "Civil statusMarried"; and, 'If married, state name and address of spouse
Yao Kee Chingkang, China" [Exhibit "4".]
And lastly, the certification issued in Manila on October 28, 1977 by the Embassy of the People's
Republic of China to the effect that "according to the information available at the Embassy Mr. Sy Kiat a
Chinese national and Mrs. Yao Kee alias Yui Yip also Chinese were married on January 19, 1931 in
Fukien, the People's Republic of China" [Exhibit "5".]

These evidence may very well prove the fact of marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat. However, the
same do not suffice to establish the validity of said marriage in accordance with Chinese law or custom.
Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed (practiced) as a
social rule, legally binding and obligatory" [In the Matter of the Petition for Authority to Continue Use of
the Firm Name "Ozaeta, Romulo, de Leon, Mabanta and Reyes", July 30, 1979, SCRA 3, 12 citing JBL
Reyes & RC Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 7.] The law requires that "a custom
must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence" [Article 12, Civil Code.] On this score the
Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as a source of right can not be considered by a court of
justice unless such custom is properly established by competent evidence like any other fact" [Patriarca v.
Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395 (1907).] The same evidence, if not one of a higher degree, should be required of a
foreign custom.
The law on foreign marriages is provided by Article 71 of the Civil Code which states that:
Art. 71. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in
force in the country where they were performed and valid there as such, shall also be
valid in this country, except bigamous, Polygamous, or incestuous marriages, as
determined by Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied.) ***
Construing this provision of law the Court has held that to establish a valid foreign marriage two things
must be proven, namely: (1) the existence of the foreign law as a question of fact; and (2) the alleged
foreign marriage by convincing evidence [Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 49 (1922).]
In proving a foreign law the procedure is provided in the Rules of Court. With respect to
an unwritten foreign law, Rule 130 section 45 states that:
SEC. 45. Unwritten law.The oral testimony of witnesses, skilled therein, is admissible
as evidence of the unwritten law of a foreign country, as are also printed and published
books of reports of decisions of the courts of the foreign country, if proved to be
commonly admitted in such courts.
Proof of a written foreign law, on the other hand, is provided for under Rule 132 section 25, thus:
SEC. 25. Proof of public or official record.An official record or an entry therein, when
admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a
copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and
accompanied, if the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer
has the custody. If the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the
certificate may be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul,
vice consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines
stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and authenticated by the seal
of his office.
The Court has interpreted section 25 to include competent evidence like the testimony of a witness to
prove the existence of a written foreign law [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher 110 Phil. 686, 700-701
(1961) citing Willamette Iron and Steel Works v. Muzzal, 61 Phil. 471 (1935).]
In the case at bar petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law and custom of
China on marriage. The testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching cannot be considered as proof of China's law
or
custom
on
marriage
not
only
because
they
are
self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are competent to testify on the
subject matter. For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently, the validity of the

marriage in accordance with said law or custom, the marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat cannot be
recognized in this jurisdiction.
Petitioners contend that contrary to the Court of Appeals' ruling they are not duty bound to prove the
Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been taken by this Court in the case of Sy Joc
Lieng v. Sy Quia [16 Phil. 137 (1910).]
This contention is erroneous. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle that Philippine courts
cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be alleged and proved as any other fact [Yam Ka
Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30 Phil. 46, 48 (1915); Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610 (1930).]
Moreover a reading of said case would show that the party alleging the foreign marriage presented a
witness, one Li Ung Bieng, to prove that matrimonial letters mutually exchanged by the contracting parties
constitute the essential requisite for a marriage to be considered duly solemnized in China. Based on his
testimony, which as found by the Court is uniformly corroborated by authors on the subject of Chinese
marriage, what was left to be decided was the issue of whether or not the fact of marriage in accordance
with Chinese law was duly proven [Sy Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia, supra., at p. 160.]
Further, even assuming for the sake of argument that the Court has indeed taken judicial notice of the law
of China on marriage in the aforecited case, petitioners however have not shown any proof that the
Chinese law or custom obtaining at the time the Sy Joc Lieng marriage was celebrated in 1847 was still
the law when the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee took place in 1931 or eighty-four (84) years later.
Petitioners moreover cite the case of U.S. v. Memoracion [34 Phil. 633 (1916)] as being applicable to the
instant case. They aver that the judicial pronouncement in the Memoracion case, that the testimony of
one of the contracting parties is competent evidence to show the fact of marriage, holds true in this case.
The Memoracion case however is not applicable to the case at bar as said case did not concern a foreign
marriage and the issue posed was whether or not the oral testimony of a spouse is competent evidence
to prove the fact of marriage in a complaint for adultery.
Accordingly, in the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that it is the
same as ours *** [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21076, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 552, 555.] Since
Yao Kee admitted in her testimony that there was no solemnizing officer as is known here in the
Philippines [See Article 56, Civil Code] when her alleged marriage to Sy Mat was celebrated [CFI
decision, p. 14; Rollo, p. 51], it therefore follows that her marriage to Sy Kiat, even if true, cannot be
recognized in this jurisdiction [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, supra., pp. 555-556.]
II. The second issue raised by petitioners concerns the status of private respondents.
Respondent court found the following evidence of petitioners' filiation:
(1) Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien where the following are entered: "Children if
any: give number of childrenFour"; and, "NameAll living in China" [Exhibit "SS-1";]
(2) the testimony of their mother Yao Kee who stated that she had five children with Sy
Kiat, only three of whom are alive namely, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chin Yan
[TSN, December 12, 1977, pp. 9-11;] and,
(3) an affidavit executed on March 22,1961 by Sy Kiat for presentation to the Local Civil
Registrar of Manila to support Sze Sook Wah's application for a marriage license,
wherein Sy Kiat expressly stated that she is his daughter [Exhibit "3".]

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

xxx xxx xxx


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

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

G.R. No. 85423

May 6, 1991

JOSE TABUENA, petitioner, vs.


JR., respondents.

COURT

OF

APPEALS

and

EMILIANO

TABERNILLA,

CRUZ, J.:
The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the respondent court, for lack of basis. It
is argued that the lower courts should not have taken into account evidence not submitted by the private
respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court.
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting of about 440 square meters and
situated in Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In 1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof was filed in the
Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla against Jose Tabuena, the herein
petitioner. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff and the defendant was required to
vacate the disputed lot. 1
As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. sometime in 1926 to Alfredo Tabernilla while
the two were in the United States. Tabernilla returned to the Philippines in 1934, and Damasa Timtiman,
acting upon her son Juan's instruction, conveyed the subject land to Tabernilla. At the same time, she
requested that she be allowed to stay thereon as she had been living there all her life. Tabernilla agreed
provided she paid the realty taxes on the property, which she promised to do, and did. She remained on
the said land until her death, following which the petitioner, her son and half-brother of Juan Peralta, Jr.,
took possession thereof. The complaint was filed when demand was made upon Tabuena to surrender
the property and he refused, claiming it as his own.
The trial court rejected his defense that he was the absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited from his
parents, who acquired it even before World War II and had been living thereon since then and until they
died. Also disbelieved was his contention that the subject of the sale between Peralta and Tabernilla was
a different piece of land planted to coconut trees and bounded on three sides by the Makato River.
Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in arriving at its factual findings, the trial
court motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked by the plaintiff
but never formally submitted in evidence. The trial court also erred when, to resolve the ownership of the
subject lot, it considered the proceedings in another case involving the same parties but a different parcel
of land.
The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order as follows:
Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following exhibits: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, 1921
addressed in Makato, Capiz, Philippines; Exh. "A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating that the
amount of P600.00the first P300.00 and then another P300.00 as interest since October 4,
1921; Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. "B", a Spanish document; Exh. "C", deed of
conveyance filed by Tomasa Timtiman and Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", paragraph
4 of Exh. "C".
In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held that, contrary to the allegations of the appellant, the
said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as disclosed by the transcript of stenographic
notes, which it quoted at length. 2 The challenged decision also upheld the use by the trial court of
testimony given in an earlier case, to bolster its findings in the second case.
We have examined the record and find that the exhibits submitted were not the above-described
documents but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub-markings, which were the last will and testament of

Alfredo Tabernilla and the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of exhibits does not include
Exhibits "A", "B" and "C". In fact, the trial court categorically declared that "Exhibits "A-1, "A-2", "B", "C"
and "C-l," were not among those documents or exhibits formally offered for admission by plaintiffadministratrix." This is a clear contradiction of the finding of the appellate court, which seems to have
confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned in the quoted
transcript.
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as follows:
Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally
offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not mean it has thereby already
been offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were marked at the
pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the purpose of identifying them at that time. They were
not by such marking formally offered as exhibits. As we said in Interpacific Transit, Inc. vs. Aviles, 3 "At the
trial on the merits, the party may decide to formally offer (the exhibits) if it believes they will advance its
cause, and then again it may decide not to do so at all. In the latter event, such documents cannot be
considered evidence, nor can they be given any evidentiary value."
Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the rule thus:
. . . The offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and his
judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the patties at the trial. 4
We did say in People vs. Napat-a 5 that even if there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be
admitted against the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and,
second, it has itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But we do not find that these
requirements have been satisfied in the case before us. The trial court said the said exhibits could be
validly considered because, even if they had not been formally offered, one of the plaintiffs witnesses,
Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them at the trial and was even cross-examined by the defendant's
counsel. We do not agree. Although she did testify, all she did was identify the documents. Nowhere in
her testimony can we find a recital of the contents of the exhibits.
Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran:
LEGASPI: That is this Exh. "A" about ?
A The translation of the letter.
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the letter of the sister of Juan Peralta to Alfredo Tabernilla?
Court: The best evidence is the document. Proceed.

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

. . . in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may
properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the
record of a case pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is
made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other manner by which it is
sufficiently designated; or when the original record of the former case or any part of it, is actually
withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, at the request or with the consent of the
parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then pending. 8
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in the absence of objection," "with the
knowledge of the opposing party," or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the case is clearly
referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are actually withdrawn from the archives" and
"admitted as part of the record of the case then pending." These conditions have not been established
here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327
was being considered by the trial court in the case then pending before it. As the petitioner puts it, the
matter was never taken up at the trial and was "unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no opportunity to
counteract.
The respondent court said that even assuming that the trial court improperly took judicial notice of the
other case, striking off all reference thereto would not be fatal to the plaintiff's cause because "the said
testimony was merely corroborative of other evidences submitted by the plaintiff." What "other
evidences"? The trouble with this justification is that the exhibits it intends to corroborate, to wit, Exhibits
"A", "B" and "C", have themselves not been formally submitted.
Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for the private respondent, we feel that the complaint
should have been dismissed by the trial court for failure of the plaintiff to substantiate its allegations. It has
failed to prove that the subject lot was the same parcel of land sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo
Tabernilla and not another property, as the petitioner contends. Even assuming it was the same lot, there
is no explanation for the sale thereof by Juan Peralta, Jr., who was only the son of Damasa Timtiman.
According to the trial court, "there is no question that before 1934 the land in question belonged to
Damasa Timtiman." Juan Peralta, Jr. could not have validly conveyed title to property that did not belong
to him unless he had appropriate authorization from the owner. No such authorization has been
presented.
It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, as we have held in many
cases.1wphi1However, that rule is also not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known
exception. In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the petitioner and his predecessors-in-interest
have possessed the disputed property since even before World War II. In light of this uncontroverted fact,
the tax declarations in their name become weighty and compelling evidence of the petitioner's ownership.
As this Court has held:
While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of ownership for taxation
purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership they become strong evidence of
ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of actual possession of the
property. 9
It is only where payment of taxes is accompanied by actual possession of the land covered by the
tax declaration that such circumstance may be material in supporting a claim of ownership. 10
The tax receipts accompanied by actual and continuous possession of the subject parcels of land
by the respondents and their parents before them for more than 30 years qualify them to register
title to the said subject parcels of land. 11
The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo Tabernilla did purchase the property and magnanimously
allowed Damasa Timtiman to remain there, he did not at least require her to pay the realty taxes

in his name, not hers. The explanation given by the trial court is that he was not much concerned with the
property, being a bachelor and fond only of the three dogs he had bought from America. That is specious
reasoning. At best, it is pure conjecture. If he were really that unconcerned, it is curious that he should
have acquired the property in the first place, even as dacion en pago. He would have demanded another
form of payment if he did not have the intention at all of living on the land. On the other hand, if he were
really interested in the property, we do not see why he did not have it declared in his name when the
realty taxes thereon were paid by Damasa Timtiman or why he did not object when the payments were
made in her own name.
In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena indicate that they were the owners of
the disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her forebears had been in possession thereof for more than
fifty years and, indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. 12 She paid the realty taxes thereon in her
own name. 13 Jose Tabuena built a house of strong materials on the lot. 14 He even mortgaged the land to
the Development Bank of the Philippines and to two private persons who acknowledged him as the
owner. 15 These acts denote ownership and are not consistent with the private respondent's claim that the
petitioner was only an overseer with mere possessory rights tolerated by Tabernilla.
It is the policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual findings of the courts below and even
to regard them as conclusive where there is no showing that they have been reached arbitrarily. The
exception is where such findings do not conform to the evidence on record and appear indeed to have no
valid basis to sustain their correctness. As in this case.
The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had not been
formally offered as evidence and therefore should have been totally disregarded, conformably to the
Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it relied on the evidence submitted in Civil Case No. 1327
and took judicial notice thereof without the consent or knowledge of the petitioner, in violation of existing
doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings here challenged are as an edifice built upon shifting sands and
should not have been sustained by the respondent court.
Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the lower court, failed to prove his claim of
ownership over the disputed property with evidence properly cognizable under our adjudicative laws. By
contrast, there is substantial evidence supporting the petitioner's contrary contentions that should have
persuaded the trial judge to rule in s favor and dismiss the complaint.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, with
costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.

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


PEOPLE
OF
vs.
DANNY GODOY, * accused-appellant.

THE

PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,

REGALADO, J.:
Often glossed over in the emotional arguments against capital punishment is the amplitude of legal
protection accorded to the offender. Ignored by the polemicist are the safeguards designed to minimally
reduce, if not altogether eliminate, the grain of human fault. Indeed, there is no critique on the plethora of
rights enjoyed by the accused regardless of how ruthlessly he committed the crime. Any margin of judicial
error is further addressed by the grace of executive clemency. But, even before that, all convictions
imposing the penalty of death are automatically reviewed by this Court. The cases at bar, involving two
death sentences, apostrophize for the condemned the role of this ultimate judicial intervention.
Accused-appellant Danny Godoy was charged in two separate informations filed before the Regional Trial
Court, for Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 47, with rape and kidnapping with serious illegal
detention, respectively punished under Articles 335 and 267 of the Revised Penal Code, to wit:
In Criminal Case No. 11640 for Rape:
That on or about the evening of the 21st day of January, 1994, at Barangay Pulot Center,
Municipality of Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused by means of force, threat and
intimidation, by using a knife and by means of deceit, did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge with one Mia Taha to her damage and
prejudice. 1
In Criminal Case No. 11641 for Kidnapping with Serious Illegal Detention:
That on or about the 22nd day of January, 1994, at Barangay Ipilan, Municipality of
Brooke's Point, Province of Palawan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the said accused, a private individual, and being a teacher of the victim,
Mia Taha, and by means of deceit did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously
kidnap or detained (sic) said Mia Taha, a girl of 17 years old (sic), for a period of five (5)
days thus thereby depriving said Mia Taha of her liberty against her will and consent and
without legal justification, to the damage and prejudice of said Mia Taha. 2
During the arraignment on both indictments, appellant pleaded not guilty to said charges and, after the
pre-trial was terminated, a joint trial of the two cases was conducted by the trial court. 3
According to complainant Mia Taha, at around 7:00 P.M. of January 21, 1994, she went to the boarding
house of her cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, at Pulot Center, Brooke's Point which is near the Palawan
National School (PNS), Pulot Branch, where she was studying. When she saw that the house was dark,
she decided to pass through the kitchen door at the back because she knew that there was nobody
inside. As soon as she opened the door, somebody suddenly grabbed her, poked a knife on her neck,
dragged her by the hand and told her not to shout. She was then forced to lie down on the floor. Although
it was dark, complainant was able to recognize her assailant, by the light coming from the moon and
through his voice, as accused-appellant Danny Godoy who was her Physics teacher at PNS.

When she was already on the floor, appellant removed her panty with one hand while holding the knife
with the other hand, opened the zipper of his pants, and then inserted his private organ inside her private
parts against her will. She felt pain because it was her first experience and she cried. Throughout her
ordeal, she could not utter a word. She was very frightened because a knife was continually pointed at
her. She also could not fight back nor plead with appellant not to rape her because he was her teacher
and she was afraid of him. She was threatened not to report the incident to anyone or else she and her
family would be killed.
Thereafter, while she was putting on her panty, she noticed that her skirt was stained with blood.
Appellant walked with her to the gate of the house and she then proceeded alone to the boarding house
where she lived. She did not see where appellant went after she left him at the gate. When she arrived at
her boarding house, she saw her landlady but she did not mention anything about the incident.
The following morning, January 22, 1994, complainant went home to her parents' house at Ipilan,
Brooke's Point. She likewise did not tell her parents about the incident for fear that appellant might make
good his threat. At around 3:00 P.M. of that same day, appellant arrived at the house of her parents and
asked permission from the latter if complainant could accompany him to solicit funds because she was a
candidate for "Miss PNS Pulot." When her parents agreed, she was constrained to go with appellant
because she did not want her parents to get into trouble.
Appellant and complainant then left the house and they walked in silence, with Mia following behind
appellant, towards the highway where appellant hailed a passenger jeep which was empty except for the
driver and the conductor. She was forced to ride the jeep because appellant threatened to kill her if she
would not board the vehicle. The jeep proceeded to the Sunset Garden at the poblacion, Brooke's Point
where they alighted.
At the Sunset Garden, appellant checked in and brought her to a room where they staye d for three days.
During the entire duration of their stay at the Sunset Garden, complainant was not allowed to leave the
room which was always kept locked. She was continuously guarded and constantly raped by appellant.
She was, however, never drunk or unconscious. Nonetheless, she was forced to have sex with appellant
because the latter was always carrying a knife with him.
In the early morning of January 25, 1994, appellant brought her to the house of his friend at Edward's
Subdivision where she was raped by him three times. She was likewise detained and locked inside the
room and tightly guarded by appellant. After two days, or on January 27, 1994, they left the place
because appellant came to know that complainant had been reported and indicated as a missing person
in the police blotter. They went to see a certain Naem ** from whom appellant sought help. On that same
day, she was released but only after her parents agreed to settle the case with appellant.
Immediately thereafter, Mia's parents brought her to the District Hospital at Brooke's Point where she was
examined by Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia who made the following medical findings:
GENERAL: Well developed, nourished, cooperative, walking, conscious, coherent
Filipina.
BREAST: Slightly globular with brown colored areola and nipple.
EXTERNAL EXAM.: Numerous pubic hair, fairly developed labia majora and minora,
hymenal opening stellate in shape, presence of laceration superficial, longitudinal at the
fossa navicularis, approximately 1/2 cm. length.
INTERNAL EXAM.: Hymenal opening, stellate in shape, laceration noted, hymenal
opening admits 2 fingers with slight resistance, prominent vaginal rugae, cervix closed.

CONCLUSION: Hymenal opening admits easily 2 fingers with slight resistance, presence
of laceration, longitudinal at the fossa navicularis approximately 1/2 cm. length. Hymenal
opening can admit an average size penis in erection with laceration. 4
Dr. Divinagracia further testified that the hymenal opening was in stellate shape and that there was a
laceration, which shows that complainant had participated in sexual intercourse. On the basis of the
inflicted laceration which was downward at 6 o'clock position, he could not say that there was force
applied because there were no scratches or bruises, but only a week-old laceration. He also examined
the patient bodily but found no sign of bruises or injuries. The patient told him that she was raped.
During the cross-examination, complainant denied that she wrote the letters marked as Exhibits "1" and
"2"; that she never loved appellant but, on the contrary, she hated him because of what he did to her; and
that she did not notice if there were people near the boarding house of her cousin. She narrated that
when appellant started to remove her panty, she was already lying down, and that even as appellant was
doing this she could not shout because she was afraid. She could not remember with which hand
appellant held the knife. She was completely silent from the time she was made to lie down, while her
panty was being removed, and even until appellant was able to rape her.
When appellant went to their house the following day, she did not know if he was armed but there was no
threat made on her or her parents. On the contrary, appellant even courteously asked permission from
them in her behalf and so they left the house with appellant walking ahead of her. When she was brought
to the Sunset Garden, she could not refuse because she was afraid. However, she admitted that at that
time, appellant was not pointing a knife at her. She only saw the cashier of the Sunset Garden but she did
not notice if there were other people inside. She likewise did not ask the appellant why he brought her
there.
Complainant described the lock in their room as an ordinary doorknob, similar to that on the door of the
courtroom which, even if locked, could still be opened from the inside, and she added that there was a
sliding lock inside the room. According to her, they stayed at Sunset Garden for three days and three
nights but she never noticed if appellant ever slept because everytime she woke up, appellant was always
beside her. She never saw him close his eyes.
Helen Taha, the mother of complainant, testified that when the latter arrived at their house in the morning
of January 22, 1994, she noticed that Mia appeared weak and her eyes were swollen. When she asked
her daughter if there was anything wrong, the latter merely kept silent. That afternoon, she allowed Mia to
go with appellant because she knew he was her teacher. However, when Mia and appellant failed to
come home at the expected time, she and her husband, Adjeril, went to look for them at Ipilan. When they
could not find them there, she went to the house of appellant because she was already suspecting that
something was wrong, but appellant's wife told her that he did not come home.
Early the next morning, she and her husband went to the Philippine National Police (PNP) station at
Pulot, Brooke's Point and had the incident recorded in the police blotter. The following day, they went to
the office of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) at Puerto Princess City, then to the police station
near the NBI, and finally to the radio station airing the Radyo ng Bayan program where she made an
appeal to appellant to return her daughter. When she returned home, a certain Naem was waiting there
and he informed her that Mia was at Brooke's Point. He further conveyed appellant's willingness to
become a Muslim so he could marry Mia and thus settle the case. Helen Taha readily acceded because
she wanted to see her daughter.
In the morning of January 27, 1994, she went to the house of Naem who sent somebody to fetch
complainant. She testified that when Mia arrived, she was crying as she reported that she was raped by
appellant, and that the latter threatened to kill her if she did not return within an hour. Because of this, she
immediately brought Mia to the hospital where the latter was examined and then they proceeded to the

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

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

of Romy Vallan, whose wife was a co-teacher of appellant's wife, but the latter refused to help because of
the complicated situation appellant was in.
Nevertheless, Vallan verified from the police station whether a complaint had been filed against appellant
and after finding out that there was none, he told appellant to just consult a certain Naem who is an
"imam." Appellant was able to talk to Naem at Vallan's house that same day and bared everything about
him and Mia. Naem suggested that appellant marry complainant in Muslim rites but appellant refused
because he was already married. It was eventually agreed that Naem would just mediate in behalf of
appellant and make arrangements for a settlement with Mia's parents. Later that day, Naem went to see
the parents of complainant at the latter's house.
The following day, January 25, 1994, allegedly because complainant could no longer afford to pay their
hotel bills, the couple were constrained to transfer to the house of appellant's friend, Fernando Rubio, at
Edward's Subdivision where they stayed for two days. They just walked along the national highway from
Sunset Garden to Edward's Subdivision which was only five hundred to seven hundred meters away. The
owner of the house, Fernando Rubio, as well as his brother Benedicto Rubio, testified that the couple
were very happy, they were intimate and sweet to each other, they always ate together, and it was very
obvious that they were having a relationship.
In fact, Fernando Rubio recalled that complainant even called appellant "Papa." While they were there,
she would buy food at the market, help in the cooking, wash clothes, and sometimes watch television.
When Fernando Rubio once asked her why she chose to go with appellant despite the fact the he was a
married man, Mia told him that she really loved appellant. She never told him, and Fernando Rubio never
had the slightest suspicion, that she was supposed to have been kidnapped as it was later claimed. He
also testified that several police officers lived within their neighborhood and if complainant had really been
kidnapped and detained, she could have easily reported that fact to them. Mia was free to come and go
as she pleased, and the room where they stayed was never locked because the lock had been destroyed.
On cross-examination, Fernando Rubio declared that appellant was merely an acquaintance of his; that it
was Naem who went to the lodging house to arrange for Mia to go home; that complainant's mother never
went to his house; and that it was Chief of Police Eliseo Crespo who fetched appellant from the lodging
house and brought him to the municipal hall.
Shortly before noon of January 26, 1994, Naem again met with appellant at Edward's Subdivision and
informed him that complainant's parents were willing to talk to him at Naem's house the next day. The
following morning, or on January 27, 1994, appellant was not able to talk to complainant's parents
because they merely sent a child to fetch Mia at Edward's Subdivision and to tell her that her mother, who
was at Naem's house, wanted to see her. Appellant permitted complainant to go but he told her that within
one hour he was be going to the police station at the municipal hall so that they could settle everything
there.
After an hour, while appellant was already on his way out of Edward's Subdivision, he was met by Chief of
Police Eliseo Crespo who invited him to the police station. Appellant waited at the police station the whole
afternoon but when complainant, her parents and relatives arrived at around 5:00 P.M., he was not given
the chance to talk to any one of them. That afternoon of January 27, 1994, appellant was no longer
allowed to leave and he was detained at the police station after Mia and her parents lodged a complaint
for rape and kidnapping against him.
During his detention, Mia's cousin, Lorna Casantosan, delivered to appellant on different occasions two
letters from complainant dated February 27, 1994 and March 1, 1994, respectively. As Mia's teacher,
appellant is familiar with and was, therefore, able to identify the handwriting in said letters as that of Mia
Taha. After a time, he came to know, through his mother, that an affidavit of desistance was reportedly
executed by complainants. However, he claims that he never knew and it was never mentioned to him,
not until the day he testified in court, that his mother paid P30,000.00 to Mia's father because, although

he did not dissuade them, neither did he request his mother to talk to complainants in order to settle the
case.
Under cross-examination, appellant denied that he poked a knife at and raped Mia Taha on January 21,
1994. However, he admitted that he had sex with Mia at the Sunset Garden but that was already on
January 24, 1994. While they were at Edward's Subdivision, they never had sexual relations. Appellant
was told, when complainant visited him in jail, that her father would kill her if she refused to testify against
him, although by the time she testified in court, her father had already died.
Appellant further testified that complainant has had several illicit relations in the boarding house of her
cousin, Merlylyn Casantosan, which was a well-known fact in Pulot. However, he decided to have a
relationship with her because he wanted to change her and that was what they had agreed upon.
Appellant denied that, during the time when they were staying together, Mia had allegedly asked
permission to leave several times but that he refused. On the contrary, he claimed that on January 27,
1994 when she told him that her parents wanted to see her, he readily gave her permission to go.
He also identified the clothes that Mia brought with her when they left her parents' house on January 22,
1994, but which she left behind at the Rubios' lodging house after she failed to return on January 27,
1994. The bag of clothes was brought to him at the provincial jail by Benedicto Rubio.
Appellant likewise declared that he had been detained at the provincial jail since January 27, 1994 but the
warrant for his arrest was issued only on January 28, 1994; and that he did not submit a counter-affidavit
because according to his former counsel, Atty. Paredes, it was no longer necessary since the
complainants had already executed an affidavit of desistance. He admits having signed a "Waiver of Right
to Preliminary Investigation" in connection with these cases.
On rebuttal, Lorna Casantosan, the cousin of Mia Taha, denied that she delivered any letter to appellant
when the latter was still detained at the provincial jail. She admitted, on cross-examination, that she was
requested by Mia Taha to testify for her, although she clarified that she does not have any quarrel or
misunderstanding with appellant.
Mia Taha was again presented on rebuttal and she denied the testimony of Erna Baradero regarding the
incident at the Orchids Room because, according to her, the truth was that she was at the boarding house
of Toto Zapanta on that date and time. She likewise negated the claim that Erna Baradero confronted her
on January 21, 1994 about her alleged relationship with appellant contending that she did not see her
former teacher on that day. Similarly, she disclaimed having seen and talked to Filemona Pielago on the
night of January 21, 1994. She vehemently disavowed that she and appellant were lovers, much less with
intimate relations, since there never was a time that they became sweethearts.
She sought to rebut, likewise through bare denials, the following testimonies of the defense witnesses:
that she told appellant "iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas tayo;" that she answered "wala kang
pakialam" when Erna Baradero confronted her about her relationship with appellant; that she was the one
who registered them at Sunset Garden and paid for their bill; that appellant left her at Sunset Garden to
go to Ipil on January 22, 1994; that Isagani Virey came to their room and stayed there for five minutes,
because the only other person who went there was the room boy who served their food; that they went to
the house of Virey's aunt requesting help for transportation; and that she was free to roam around or to go
out of the lodging house at Edward's Subdivision.
Mia Taha also rejected as false the testimony of appellant that she went to see him at Narra, Palawan to
have sex with him and claims that the last time she went to Narra was when she was still in Grade VI; that
she ever told him "I love you, sabik no sabik ako sa iyo" when she allegedly went to Narra; that she wrote
to him, since the letters marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" are not hers; that she threatened to commit
suicide if appellant would leave her since she never brought a blade with her; and that at Sunset Garden
and at Edward's Subdivison, she was not being guarded by appellant.

However, on cross-examination, complainant identified her signature on her test paper marked as Exhibit
"4" and admitted that the signature thereon is exactly the same as that appearing on Exhibits "1" and "2".
Then, contradicting her previous disclaimers, she also admitted that the handwriting on Exhibits "1" and
"2" all belong to her.
On sur-rebuttal, Armando Pasion, a provincial guard of the Provincial Jail, Palawan who volunteered to
testify in these cases, identified Lorna Casantosan as the person who visited appellant in jail on February
27, 1994 at around 4:00 P.M. Since he was on duty at that time, he asked her what she wanted and she
said she would just visit appellant. Pasion then called appellant and told him he had a visitor. Lorna
Casantosan and appellant talked at the visiting area which is around ten meters away from his post, and
then he saw her hand over to appellant a letter which the latter immediately read. This witness declared
that appellant never requested him to testify.
Another sur-rebuttal witness, Desmond Selga, a jeepney driver, testified that in the afternoon of January
22, 1994, he was plying his regular route in going to Brooke's Point and, when he passed by Ipilan, he
picked up appellant and Mia Taha. At that time, there were already several passengers inside his jeepney.
The two got off at the poblacion market. He denied that he brought them to the Sunset Garden.
On May 20, 1994, the court a quo rendered judgment 5 finding appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt
of the crimes of rape and kidnapping with serious illegal detention, and sentencing him to the maximum
penalty of death in both cases. 6By reason of the nature of the penalty imposed, these cases were
elevated to this Court on automatic review.
The records show that, on the basis of the complaints for rape 7 and kidnapping with serious illegal
detention 8 filed by Mia Taha and Helen Taha, respectively, the Municipal Trial Court of Brooke's Point
issued a resolution 9 on February 4, 1994 finding the existence of a prima facie case against appellant. On
February 10, 1994, the spouses Adjeril Taha and Helen Taha executed an affidavit of desistance
withdrawing the charge of kidnapping with serious illegal detention. 10However, pursuant to a joint
resolution 11 issued on March 11, 1994 by Prosecutor II Reynaldo R. Guayco of the Office of the Provincial
Prosecutor, two separate informations for rape and for kidnapping with serious illegal detention were
nevertheless filed against appellant Danny Godoy with no bail recommended in both charges.
Appellant is now before us seeking the reversal of the judgment of the court below, on the following
assignment of errors:
I. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant (of) the crime of rape despite
the fact that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
II. The trial court erred by failing to adhere to the doctrine/principle in reviewing the
evidence adduced in a prosecution for the crime of rape as cited in its decision reiterating
the case of People vs. Calixto (193 SCRA 303).
III. The trial court erred in concluding that the accused-appellant had consummated the
crime of rape against private complainant.
IV. The trial court erred by its failure to give any credence to Exhibits "1" and "2" as
evidence of the defense.
V. The trial court erred in convicting the accused-appellant of the crime of kidnapping with
serious illegal detention as the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.

VI. The trial court erred in giving full faith and credence to the testimonies of prosecution
witnesses and completely ignoring the testimonies of the defense witnesses.
VII. The trial court erred in concluding that there was implied admission of guilt on the
part of the accused-appellant in view of the offer to compromise.
VIII. The trial court erred in ordering that the complainant be indemnified in the sum of
one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) for each of the alleged crimes committed.
IX. The trial court gravely erred by imposing the death penalty for each of the crimes
charged on the accused-appellant despite the fact that the crimes were allegedly
committed prior to the effectivity of Republic Act No. 7659. 12
A. The Rape Case
A rape charge is a serious matter with pernicious consequences. It exposes both the accused and the
accuser to humiliation, fear and anxieties, not to mention the stigma of shame that both have to bear for
the
rest
of
their
lives. 13 By the very nature of the crime of rape, conviction or acquittal depends almost entirely on the
credibility of the complainant's testimony because of the fact that usually only the participants can testify
as to its occurrence. 14 This notwithstanding, the basic rule remains that in all criminal prosecutions
without regard to the nature of the defense which the accused may raise, the burden of proof remains at
all times upon the prosecution to establish his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the accused raises a
sufficient doubt as to any material element, and the prosecution is then unable to overcome this evidence,
the prosecution has failed to carry its burden of proof of the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable
doubt and the accused must be acquitted. 15
The rationale for the rule is that, confronted by the full panoply of State authority, the accused is accorded
the presumption of innocence to lighten and even reverse the heavy odds against him. Mere accusation is
not enough to convict him, and neither is the weakness of his defense. The evidence for the prosecution
must be strong per se, strong enough to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. 16 In
other words, the accused may be convicted on the basis of the lone uncorroborated testimony of the
offended woman, provided such testimony is clear, positive, convincing and otherwise consistent with
human nature and the normal course of things.
There are three well-known principles that guide an appellate court in reviewing the evidence presented in
a prosecution for the crime of rape. These are: (1) while rape is a most detestable crime, and ought to be
severely and impartially punished, it must be borne in mind that it is an accusation easy to be made, hard
to be proved, but harder to be defended by the party accused, though innocent; 17 (2) that in view of the
intrinsic nature of the crime of rape where only two persons are usually involved, the testimony of the
complainant must be scrutinized with extreme caution; 18 and (3) that the evidence for the prosecution
must stand or fall on its own merits and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the
evidence for the defense. 19
In the case at bar, several circumstances exist which amply demonstrate and ineluctably convince this
Court that there was no rape committed on the alleged date and place, and that the charge of rape was
the contrivance of an afterthought, rather than a truthful plaint for redress of an actual wrong.
I. Two principal facts indispensably to be proven beyond reasonable doubt for conviction of the crime of
rape under paragraph (1), Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code are, first, that the accused had carnal
knowledge of the complainant; and, second, that the same was accomplished through force or
intimidation.

1. The prosecution has palpably failed to prove beyond peradventure of doubt that appellant had sexual
congress with complainant against her will. Complainant avers that on the night of January 21, 1994, she
was sexually assaulted by appellant in the boarding house of her cousin, Merlelyn Casantosan. Appellant,
on the other hand, denied such a serious imputation and contends that on said date and time, he merely
talked with complainant outside that house. We find appellant's version more credible and sustained by
the evidence presented and of record.
According to complainant, when she entered the kitchen of the boarding house, appellant was already
inside apparently waiting for her. If so, it is quite perplexing how appellant could have known that she was
going there on that particular day and at that time, considering that she does not even live there, unless of
course it was appellant's intention to satisfy his lustful desires on anybody who happened to come along.
But then this would be stretching the imagination too far, aside from the fact that such a generic intent
with an indeterminate victim was never established nor even intimated by the prosecution.
Moreover, any accord of credit to the complainant's story is precluded by the implausibility that plagues it
as regards the setting of the supposed sexual assault. 20 It will be noted that the place where the alleged
crime was committed is not an ordinary residence but a boarding house where several persons live and
where people are expected to come and go. The prosecution did not even bother to elucidate on whether
it was the semestral break or that the boarding house had remained closed for some time, in order that it
could be safely assumed that nobody was expected to arrive at any given time.
Appellant, on the other hand, testified that on that fateful day, he went to the boarding house upon the
invitation of complainant because the latter requested him to help her with her monologue for the Miss
PNS contest. However, they were not able to go inside the house because it was locked and there was no
light, so they just sat on a bench outside the house and talked. This testimony of appellant was
substantially corroborated by defense witness Filomena Pielago. She affirmed that in the evening of
January 21, 1994, she saw both appellant and complainant seated on a bench outside the boarding
house, and that she even advised them to go home because it was already late and appellant's wife, who
was the head teacher of witness Pielago, was waiting for him at the school building. On rebuttal,
complainant could only deny that she saw Pielago that night. Doctrinally, where the inculpatory facts and
circumstances are capable of two or more explanations one of which is consistent with the innocence of
the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral
certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. 21
It was further alleged by complainant that after her alleged ravishment, she put on her panty and then
appellant openly accompanied her all the way to the gate of the house where they eventually parted
ways. This is inconceivable. It is not the natural tendency of a man to remain for long by the side of the
woman he had raped,22 and in public in a highly populated area at that. Given the stealth that
accompanies it and the anxiety to end further exposure at the scene, the logical post-incident impulse of
the felon is to distance himself from his victim as far and as soon as practicable, to avoid discovery and
apprehension. It is to be expected that one who is guilty of a crime would want to dissociate himself from
the person of his victim, the scene of the crime, and from all other things and circumstances related to the
offense which could possibly implicate him or give rise to even the slightest suspicion as to his guilt.
Verily, the guilty flee where no man pursueth.
It is of common knowledge that facts which prove or tend to prove that the accused was at the scene of
the crime are admissible as relevant, on the theory that such presence can be appreciated as a
circumstance tending to identify the appellant. 23 Consequently, it is not in accord with human experience
for appellant to have let himself be seen with the complainant immediately after he had allegedly raped
her. 24 It thus behooves this Court to reject the notion that appellant would be so foolhardy as to
accompany complainant up to the gate of the house, considering its strategic locationvis-avis complainant's boarding house which is just across the street, 25 and the PNS schoolbuilding which is
only around thirty meters away. 26

Complainant mentioned in her narration that right after the incident she went directly to her boarding
house where she saw her landlady. Yet, the landlady was never presented as a witness to corroborate the
story of complainant, despite the fact that the former was the very first person she came in contact with
from the time appellant allegedly left her at the gate of the Casantosan boarding house after her alleged
traumatic ordeal. Even though they supposedly did not talk, the landlady could at least have testified on
complainant's physical appearance and to attest to the theorized fact that indeed she saw complainant on
said date and hour, possibly with dishevelled hair, bloody skirt and all.
We are, therefore, justifiedly inclined to believe appellant's version that it was Mia Taha who invited him to
the boarding house to help her with the monologue she was preparing for the school contest. This is even
consonant with her testimony that appellant fetched her the following day in order to solicit funds for her
candidacy in that same school affair.
In contrast, complainant's professed reason for going to the boarding house is vague and tenuous. At
first, she asserted that she was at the boarding house talking with a friend and then, later, she said it was
her cousin. Subsequently, she again wavered and said that she was not able to talk to her cousin.
Furthermore, she initially stated that on January 21, 1994 at around 7:00 P.M., she was at the boarding
house conversing with her cousin. Then in the course of her narration, she gave another version and said
that when she reached the boarding house it was dark and there was nobody inside.
The apparent ease with which she changed or adjusted her answers in order to cover up or realign the
same with her prior inconsistent statements is readily apparent from her testimony even on this single
episode, thus:
Q Sometime on January 21, 1994, at about 7:00 o'clock in the evening,
do you remember where you were?
A Yes, sir.
Q Where were you?
A I was in the boarding house of Merlylyn Casantosan, Sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q Why were you there?
A I was conversing with my friend there, Sir.
COURT:
Q Conversing with whom?
A With my cousin, Your Honor.
Q Your cousin's name?
A Merlylyn Casantosan, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
PROSECUTOR GUAYCO:

Q You said that this Dane or Danny Godoy raped you, will you please
relate to this Honorable Court how that rape happened?
A On Friday and it was 7:00 o'clock in the evening.
COURT:
Q Of what date?
A January 21, 1994, Your Honor.
xxx xxx xxx
PROSECUTOR GUAYCO:
Q Then what happened?
A I went to the boarding house of my cousin Merlylyn Casantosan. I
passed (through) the kitchen and then when I opened the door
somebody grabbed me suddenly.
xxx xxx xxx
Q During that time were there other people present in that boarding
house where you said Danny Godoy raped you?
A None, Sir.
COURT:
Q So, the house was empty?
A Yes, Your Honor.
Q I thought your cousin was there and you were conversing?
A When I went there she was not there, Your Honor. 27 (Corrections and
emphasis supplied.)
2. Complainant testified that appellant raped her through the use of force and intimidation, specifically by
holding a knife to her neck. However, the element of force was not sufficiently established. The physical
facts adverted to by the lower court as corroborative of the prosecution's theory on the use of force are
undoubtedly the medico-legal findings of Dr. Rogelio Divinagracia. Upon closer scrutiny, however, we find
that said findings neither support nor confirm the charge that rape was so committed through forcible
means by appellant against complainant on January 21, 1994.
The reported hymenal laceration which, according to Dr. Divinagracia, was a week old and already
healed, and the conclusion therefrom that complainant had sexual intercourse with a man on the date
which she alleged, do not establish the supposed rape since the same findings and conclusion are
likewise consistent with appellant's admission that coitus took place with the consent of complainant at
Sunset Garden on January 24, 1994. 28Further, rather than substantiating the prosecution's aforesaid
theory and the supposed date of commission of rape, the finding that there were no evident signs of

extra-genital injuries tends, instead, to lend more credence to appellant's claim of voluntary coition on a
later date and the absence of a struggle or the lack of employment of physical force. 29 In rape of the
nature alleged in this case, we repeat, the testimony of the complainant must be corroborated by physical
evidence showing use of force. 30
Thus, on the basis of the laceration inflicted, which is superficial at 6 o'clock position, the aforesaid
medico-legal expert opined that it could not be categorically stated that there was force involved. On
further questioning, he gave a straightforward answer that force was not applied. 31 He also added that
when he examined the patient bodily, he did not see any sign of bruises. 32 The absence of any sign of
physical violence on the complainant's body is an indication of complainant's consent to the act. 33 While
the absence in the medical certificate of external signs of physical injuries on the victim does not
necessarily negate the commission of rape, 34 the instant case is clearly an exception to this rule since
appellant has successfully cast doubt on the veracity of that charge against him.
Even granting ex gratia argumenti that the medical report and the laceration corroborated complainant's
assertion that there was sexual intercourse, of course the same cannot be said as to the alleged use of
force. It has been held that such corroborative evidence is not considered sufficient, since proof of facts
constituting one principal element of the crime is not corroborative proof of facts necessary to constitute
another equally important element of the crime. 35
Complainant testified that she struggled a little but it was not really strong because she was afraid of
appellant. Again assuming that a sexual assault did take place as she claims, we nevertheless strongly
believe that her supposed fear is more imaginary than real. It is evident that complainant did not use the
manifest resistance expected of a woman defending her honor and chastity. 36 She failed to make any
outcry when appellant allegedly grabbed her and dragged her inside the house. There is likewise no
evidence on record that she put up a struggle when appellant forced her to lie on the floor, removed her
panty, opened the zipper of his trousers, and inserted his organ inside her genitals. Neither did she
demonstrate that appellant, in committing the heinous act, subjected her to any force of whatever nature
or form.
Complainant's explanation for her failure to shout or struggle is too conveniently general and ruefully
unconvincing to make this Court believe that she tenaciously resisted the alleged sexual attack on her by
appellant. And, if ever she did put up any struggle or objected at all to the involuntary intercourse, such
was not enough to show the kind of resistance expected of a woman defending her virtue and
honor. 37 Her failure to do anything while allegedly being raped renders doubtful her charge of
rape, 38 especially when we consider the actual mise-en-scene in the context of her asseverations.
There is a rule that the rape victim's panty and blood-stained dress are not essential, and need not be
presented, as they are not indispensable evidence to prove rape. 39 We incline to the view, however, that
this general rule holds true only if there exist other corroborative evidence sufficiently and convincingly
proving the rape charge beyond reasonable doubt. The rule should go the other way where, as in the
present case, the testimony of complainant is inherently weak and no other physical evidence has been
presented to bolster the charge of sexual abuse except for the medical report which, as earlier discussed,
even negated the existence of one of the essential elements of the crime. We cannot, therefore, escape
the irresistible conclusion that the deliberate non-presentation of complainant's blood-stained skirt, if it did
exist, should vigorously militate against the prosecution's cause.
II. The conduct of the outraged woman immediately following the alleged assault is of the utmost
importance as tending to establish the truth or falsity of the charge. It may well be doubted whether a
conviction for the offense of rape should even be sustained from the uncorroborated testimony of the
woman unless the court is satisfied beyond doubt that her conduct at the time when the alleged rape was
committed and immediately thereafter was such as might be reasonably expected from her under all the
circumstances
of
the
case. 40

Complainant said that on the day following the supposed rape, appellant went to her parents' house and
asked permission from them to allow her to go with him to solicit funds for her candidacy. Nowhere
throughout her entire testimony did she aver or imply that appellant was armed and that by reason thereof
she was forced to leave with him. In brief, she was neither threatened nor intimidated by appellant. Her
pretense that she was afraid of the supposed threat previously made by appellant does not inspire belief
since appellant was alone and unarmed on that occasion and there was no showing of any opportunity for
him to make good his threat, even assuming that he had really voiced any. On the contrary, complainant
even admitted that appellant respectfully asked permission from her parents for her to accompany him.
Complainant's enigmatic behavior after her alleged ravishment can only be described as paradoxical: it
was so strangely normal as to be abnormal. 41 It seems odd, if not incredible, that upon seeing the person
who had allegedly raped her only the day before, she did not accuse, revile or denounce him, or show
rage, revulsion, and disgust. 42 Instead, she meekly went with appellant despite the presence of her
parents and the proximity of neighbors which, if only for such facts, would naturally have deterred
appellant from pursuing any evil design. From her deportment, it does not appear that the alleged threat
made by appellant had instilled any fear in the mind of complainant. Such a nonchalant, unconcerned
attitude is totally at odds with the demeanor that would naturally be expected of a person who had just
suffered the ultimate invasion of her womanhood. 43
III. Rape is a very emotional word, and the natural human reactions to it are categorical: admiration and
sympathy for the courageous female publicly seeking retribution for her outrageous violation, and
condemnation of the rapist. However, being interpreters of the law and dispensers of justice, judges must
look at a rape charge without those proclivities, and deal with it with extreme caution and circumspection.
Judges must free themselves of the natural tendency to be overprotective of every woman decrying her
having been sexually abused, and demanding punishment for the abuser. While they ought to be
cognizant of the anguish and humiliation the rape victim goes through as she demands justice, judges
should equally bear in mind that their responsibility is to render justice based on the law. 44
The rule, therefore, that this Court generally desists from disturbing the conclusions of the trial court on
the credibility of witnesses 45 will not apply where the evidence of record fails to support or substantiate
the lower court's findings of fact and conclusions; or where the lower court overlooked certain facts of
substance and value that, if considered, would affect the outcome of the case; or where the disputed
decision is based on a misapprehension of facts.46
The trial court here unfortunately relied solely on the lone testimony of complainant regarding the January
21, 1994 incident. Indeed, it is easy to allege that one was raped by a man. All that the victim had to
testify to was that appellant poked a knife at her, threatened to kill her if she shouted and under these
threats, undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her. The question then that confronts the trial
court is whether or not complainant's testimony is credible. 47 The technique in deciphering testimony is
not to solely concentrate on isolated parts of that testimony. The correct meaning of the testimony can
often be ascertained only upon a perusal of the entire testimony. Everything stated by the witness has to
be considered in relation to what else has been stated. 48
In the case at bar, the challenged decision definitely leaves much to be desired. The court below made no
serious effort to dispassionately or impartially consider the totality of the evidence for the prosecution in
spite of the teaching in various rulings that in rape cases, the testimony of the offended party must not be
accepted with precipitate credulity. 49 In finding that the crime of rape was committed, the lower court took
into account only that portion of the testimony of complainant regarding the January 21, 1994 incident and
conveniently deleted the rest. Taken singly, there would be reason to believe that she was indeed raped.
But if we are to consider the other portions of her testimony concerning the events which transpired
thereafter, which unfortunately the court a quo wittingly or unwittingly failed or declined to appreciate, the
actual truth could have been readily exposed.
There are easily perceived or discernible defects in complainant's testimony which inveigh against its
being accorded the full credit it was given by the trial court. Considered independently of any other, the

defects might not suffice to overturn the trial court's judgment of conviction; but assessed and weighed
conjointly, as logic and fairness dictate, they exert a powerful compulsion towards reversal of said
judgment. 50 Thus:
1. Complainant said that she was continuously raped by herein appellant at the Sunset Garden and
around three times at Edward's Subdivision. In her sworn statement she made the same allegations. If
this were true, it is inconceivable how the investigating prosecutor could have overlooked these facts with
their obvious legal implications and, instead, filed an information charging appellant with only one count of
rape. The incredibility of complainant's representations is further magnified by the fact that even the trial
court did not believe it, as may be inferred from its failure to consider this aspect of her testimony, unless
we were to uncharitably assume that it was similarly befuddled.
2. She claims that appellant always carried a knife, but it was never explained how she was threatened
with the same in such a manner that she was allegedly always cowed into giving in to his innumerable
sexual demands. We are not unaware that in rape cases, this claim that complainant now advances
appears to be a common testimonial expedient and face-saving subterfuge.
3. According to her, they stayed at Sunset Garden for three days and three nights and that she never
noticed if appellant slept because she never saw him close his eyes. Yet, when asked if she slept side by
side with appellant, complainant admitted that everytime she woke up, appellant was invariably in bed
beside her. 51
4. She alleged that she could never go out of the room because it was always locked and it could not be
opened from the inside. But, this was refuted by complainant's own testimony, as follows:
Q And yet the door could be opened by you from the inside?
A No, Sir, it was locked.
Q Can you describe the lock of that room?
A It's like that of the door where there is a doorknob.
ATTY. EBOL:
Let it be recorded that the lock is a doorknob and may I ask that the door
be locked and opened from the inside.
COURT:
Alright (sic) you go down the witness stand and find out for yourself if you
can open that door from the inside.
CLERK OF COURT:
Witness holding the doorknob.
COURT:
The key is made to open if you are outside, but as you're were (sic)
inside you can open it?

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

rather take the risk of instituting a criminal action in the hope that the court would take the cudgels for
them than for the woman to admit to her own acts of indiscretion. And this, as the records reveal, is
precisely what happened to appellant.
Appellant's claim that he and complainant were lovers is fortified by the highly credible testimonies of
several witnesses for the defense, viz.:
1. Filomena Pielago testified that on the night of January 21, 1994, she saw appellant and complainant
sitting on a bench in front of the house where the sexual attack allegedly took place, and the couple were
talking intimately. She had warned Mia about the latter's illicit affair with appellant.
2. Fernando Rubio, an acquaintance of appellant and owner of the house at Edward's Subdivision,
testified that he asked Mia why she decided to have an affair with appellant who is a married man. Mia
answered that she really loves him. 55 He heard her call appellant "Papa". 56 The couple looked happy and
were sweet to each other. 57
3. Benedicto Rubio, the younger brother of Fernando, testified on redirect examination that he asked Mia
if she knew what she getting into and she answered, "Yes;" then he asked her if she really loved Sir
Godoy, and she again answered in the affirmative. When he was trying to give counsel to appellant,
complainant announced that if appellant left her, she would commit suicide. 58 He could see that the
couple were happy together. 59
4. Isagani Virey, who knew appellant because the Municipal Engineering Office where he worked was
located within the premises of PNS, attested that he was able to talk to the couple and that when he was
advising appellant that what he was doing is wrong because he is married and Mia is his student,
complainant reacted by saying that no matter what happened she would not leave Godoy, and that if she
went home her father would kill her. 60 He also observed that they were happy. 61
5. Erna Baradero, a co-teacher of appellant, saw the couple the day before the alleged rape incident,
inside one of the classrooms and they were holding hands, and she heard Mia tell appellant, "Mahal na
mahal kita Sir, iwanan mo ang iyong asawa at tatakas tayo." 62 She tried to dissuade complainant from
continuing with her relationship with appellant. 63
The positive allegations of appellant that he was having an intimate relationship with complainant, which
were substantially corroborated by several witnesses, were never successfully confuted. The rebuttal
testimony of complainant merely consisted of bare, unexplained denials of the positive, definite,
consistent and detailed assertions of appellant. 64 Mere denials are self-serving negative evidence. They
cannot obtain evidentiary weight greater than the declarations of credible disinterested witnesses. 65
Besides, appellant recounted certain facts that only he could have supplied. They were replete with
details which could have been known only to him, thereby lending credence and reliability thereto. 66 His
assertions are more logical, probable and bear the earmarks of truth. This is not to say that the testimony
of appellant should be accorded full credence. His self-interest must have colored his account, even on
the assumption that he could be trusted to stick to the literal truth. Nonetheless, there is much in his
version that does not strain the limits of credulity. More to the point, there is enough to raise doubts that
do appear to have some basis in reality. 67
Thus, the trial court's hasty pontification that appellant's testimony is improbable, ridiculous, nonsensical
and incredible is highly uncalled for. The rule of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus is not mandatory. It is not
a positive rule of law and is not an inflexible one. 68 It does not apply where there is sufficient corroboration
on many grounds of the testimony and the supposed inconsistencies arise merely from a desire of the
witness to exculpate himself although not completely. 69

Complainant's denial that she and appellant were lovers is belied by the evidence presented by the
defense, the most telling of which are her two handwritten letters, Exhibits "1" and "2", which she sent to
the latter while he was detained at the provincial jail. For analysis and emphasis, said letters are herein
quoted in full:
27 Feb. 94
Dane,
Kumusta kana? Kong ako hito hindi na makatiis sa sakit.
Sir, sumulat ako sa inyo dahil gusto kong malaman mo ang situation ko. Sir, kong mahal
mo ako gagawa kang paraan na mailayo ako dito sa bahay. nalaman ng nanay at tatay
ko na delayed ang mens ko ng one week. pinapainom nila ako ng pampalaglag pero
ayaw ko. pagnalaman nila na hindi ko ininom ang gamot sinasaktan nila ako.
Sir, kong maari ay huwag ng maabutan ng Martes. dahil naabutan nila akong maglayas
sana ako. kaya ngayon hindi ako makalabas ng bahay kong wala akong kasama, kong
gaano sila kahigpit noon doble pa ngayon. ang mga gamit ko ngayon ay wala sa lalagyan
ko. tinago nila hindi ko makita, ang narito lang ay ang bihisan kong luma. Sir kong
manghiram ka kaya ng motor na gagamitin sa pagkuha sa akin. Sa lunes ng gabi
manonood kami Ng Veta eksakto alas 9:00 ay dapat dito ka sa lugar na may Veta.
tanungin mo lang kay Lorna kong saan ang Veta nila Navoor Lozot. Mag busina ka lang
ng tatlo bilang senyas na lalabas na ako at huwag kang tatapat ng bahay dahil nandoon
ang kuya ko. kong ano ang disisyon mo maari bang magsulat ka at ipahatid kay Lorna.
alang-alang sa bata. Baka makainon ako ng gamot dahil baka pagkain ko hahaluan nila.
Please sir . . .
(Sgd.)
Mia
Taha 70
3/1/94
Dane,
I'm sorry kong problem ang ipinadala o sinulat sa iyo sa halip sa kasiyahan. oo nag usap
na tayo nagawa ko lang naman ang sumulat sa iyo dahil naiinis na ako sa pagmumukha
ng mga magulang kong suwapang. Ang paglayas ko sana ay dahil sa narinig ko. Sir
narinig ko na magreklamo si nanay kay Arquero yong superentende sa Palawan high
tapos ang sabi ay magreklamo itong si Arquero sa DECS para matanggal ka sa
pagtuturo yan ang dahilan kong bakit naisipan kong lumayas ng wala sa oras at wala
akong tensyon na masama laban so iyo. hindi ko sinabi sa kanila na delayed ako ay
sinabi sa iyo ni Eden na sa harap niya mismo binigyan ako ng gamot samantalang noong
Sabado ng gabi lang nalaman dahil gusto kong masuka. Oo aaminin ko nagkasala ako
sa iyo, pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako sa mga magulang ko nadala nila ako sa
sulsul nila. hindi ko naipaglaban ang dapat kong ipaglaban ngunit kong iniisip mong
minahal lang kita dahil sa may kailangan lang ako sa iyo nagkakamali ka. alam ng Diyos
na hindi ganon ang hangarin ko sa iyo. higit pa sa binilanggo ang kalagayan ko kong
alam mo. kinukunsinsiya, nagtitiis na saktan at pagsasakripisyo ng damdamin ko na
gusto kang makita at yakapin ka pero ano ang magagawa ko kong ang paglabas ko ng

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

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

A Yes, sir.
xxx xxx xxx
Q You will deny this Exhibit "1" your signature?
xxx xxx xxx
Q You will deny that this is your handwriting?
A That is my handwriting, sir.
Q Also Exhibit "2"?
A Yes, sir. 74
While rebuttal witness Lorna Casantosan insisted that she never delivered any letter of complainant to
herein appellant, the witness presented by the defense on sur-rebuttal, Armando Pasion, who was the
guard on duty at the provincial jail at that time, testified of his own accord because he knew that what
Casantosan said was a blatant lie. Appellant never talked to Amando Pasion nor requested him to testify
for the defense, as related by the witness himself. Hence, there exists no reason whatsoever to disbelieve
the testimony of witness Pasion to the effect that Lorna Casantosan actually went to visit appellant in jail
and in truth handed to him what turned out to be the letters marked as Exhibits "1" and "2" for the
defense.
V. The prosecution insists that the offer of compromise made by appellant is deemed to be an admission
of guilt. This inference does not arise in the instant case. In criminal cases, an offer of compromise is
generally admissible as evidence against the party making it. It is a legal maxim, which assuredly
constitutes one of the bases of the right to penalize, that in the matter of public crimes which directly
affect the public interest, no compromise whatever may be entered into as regards the penal action. It has
long been held, however, that in such cases the accused is permitted to show that the offer was not made
under a consciousness of guilt, but merely to avoid the inconvenience of imprisonment or for some other
reason which would justify a claim by the accused that the offer to compromise was not in truth an
admission of his guilt or an attempt to avoid the legal consequences which would ordinarily ensue
therefrom. 75
A primary consideration here is that the evidence for the defense overwhelmingly proves appellant's
innocence of the offense charged. Further, the supposed offer of marriage did not come from appellant
but was actually suggested by a certain Naem, who is an imam or Muslim leader and who likewise
informed appellant that he could be converted into a Muslim so he could marry complainant. As a matter
of fact, when said offer was first made to appellant, he declined because of the fact that he was already
married. On top of these, appellant did not know, not until the trial proper, that his mother actually paid
P30,000.00 for the settlement of these cases. Complainant's own mother, Helen Taha, testified that
present during the negotiations were herself, her husband, Mia, and appellant's mother. Appellant himself
was never present in any of said meetings. 76
It has been held that where the accused was not present at the time the offer for monetary consideration
was made, such offer of compromise would not save the day for the prosecution. 77 In another case, this
Court ruled that no implied admission can be drawn from the efforts to arrive at a settlement outside the
court, where the accused did not take part in any of the negotiations and the effort to settle the case was
in accordance with the established tribal customs, that is, Muslim practices and traditions, in an effort to
prevent further deterioration of the relations between the parties. 78

VI. Generally, an affidavit of desistance by the complainant is not looked upon with favor. It may, however,
create serious doubts as to the liability of appellant, especially if it corroborates appellant's explanation
about the filing of criminal charges. 79
In the cases at bar, the letters written by complainant to appellant are very revealing. Most probably
written out of desperation and exasperation with the way she was being treated by her parents,
complainant threw all caution to the winds when she wrote: "Oo, aaminin ko nagkasala ako sa iyo,
pinabilanggo kita dahil nagpanig ako sa mga magulang ko nadala nila ako sa sulsul nila, hindi ko
naipaglaban ang dapat kong ipaglaban," obviously referring to her ineptitude and impotence in helping
appellant out of his predicament. It could, therefore, be safely presumed that the rape charge was merely
an offshoot of the discovery by her parents of the intimate relationship between her and appellant. In
order to avoid retribution from her parents, together with the moral pressure exerted upon her by her
mother, she was forced to concoct her account of the alleged rape.
The Court takes judicial cognizance of the fact that in rural areas in the Philippines, young ladies are
strictly required to act with circumspection and prudence. Great caution is observed so that their
reputations shall remain untainted. Any breath of scandal which brings dishonor to their character
humiliates their entire families. 80 It could precisely be that complainant's mother wanted to save face in
the community where everybody knows everybody else, and in an effort to conceal her daughter's
indiscretion and escape the wagging tongues of their small rural community, she had to weave the
scenario of this rape drama.
Although the trial court did observe that a mother would not sacrifice her daughter to tell a story of
defloration, that is not always the case as this Court has noted a long time ago. The books disclose too
many instances of false charges of rape. 81 While this Court has, in numerous cases, affirmed the
judgments of conviction rendered by trial courts in rape charges, especially where the offended parties
were very young and presumptively had no ill motives to concoct a story just to secure indictments for a
crime as grave as rape, the Court has likewise reversed judgments of conviction and acquitted the
accused when there are strong indications pointing to the possibility that the rape charges were merely
motivated by some factors except the truth as to their commission. 82 This is a case in point. The Court,
therefore, cannot abdicate its duty to declare that the prosecution has failed to meet the exacting test of
moral certainty and proof of guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
This is not to say that the Court approves of the conduct of appellant. Indisputably, he took advantage of
complainant's feelings for him and breached his vow of fidelity to his wife. As her teacher, he should have
acted as adviser and counselor to complainant and helped her develop in manners and virtue instead of
corrupting her.83 Hence, even as he is freed from physical detention in a prison as an instrument of human
justice, he remains in the spiritual confinement of his conscience as a measure of divine retribution.
Additionally, these ruminations do not rule out such other legal options against him as may be available in
the arsenal of statutory law.
VII. The trial court, in holding for conviction, relied on the presumptio hominis that a young Filipina will not
charge a person with rape if it is not true. In the process, however, it totally disregarded the more
paramount constitutional presumption that an accused is deemed innocent until proven otherwise.
It frequently happens that in a particular case two or more presumptions are involved. Sometimes the
presumptions conflict, one tending to demonstrate the guilt of the accused and the other his innocence. In
such case, it is necessary to examine the basis for each presumption and determine what logical or social
basis exists for each presumption, and then determine which should be regarded as the more important
and entitled to prevail over the other. It must, however, be remembered that the existence of a
presumption indicating guilt does not in itself destroy the presumption against innocence unless the
inculpating presumption, together with all of the evidence, or the lack of any evidence or explanation, is
sufficient to overcome the presumption of innocence by proving the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt. Until the defendant's guilt is shown in this manner, the presumption of innocence continues. 84

The rationale for the presumption of guilt in rape cases has been explained in this wise:
In rape cases especially, much credence is accorded the testimony of the complaining
witness, on the theory that she will not choose to accuse her attacker at all and subject
herself to the stigma and indignities her accusation will entail unless she is telling the
truth. The rape victim who decides to speak up exposes herself as a woman whose virtue
has been not only violated but also irreparably sullied. In the eyes of a narrow-minded
society, she becomes a cheapened woman, never mind that she did not submit to her
humiliation and has in fact denounced her assailant. At the trial, she will be the object of
lascivious curiosity. People will want to be titillated by the intimate details of her violation.
She will squirm through her testimony as she describes how her honor was defiled,
relating every embarrassing movement of the intrusion upon the most private parts of her
body. Most frequently, the defense will argue that she was not forced to submit but freely
conjoined in the sexual act. Her motives will be impugned. Her chastity will be challenged
and maligned. Whatever the outcome of the case, she will remain a tainted woman, a
pariah because her purity has been lost, albeit through no fault of hers. This is why many
a rape victim chooses instead to keep quiet, suppressing her helpless indignation rather
than denouncing her attacker. This is also the reason why, if a woman decides instead to
come
out
openly
and
point
to
her
assailant,
courts
are prone to believe that she is telling the truth regardless of its consequences. . . . 85
The presumption of innocence, on the other hand, is founded upon the first principles of justice, and is not
a mere form but a substantial part of the law. It is not overcome by mere suspicion or conjecture; a
probability that the defendant committed the crime; nor by the fact that he had the opportunity to do
so. 86 Its purpose is to balance the scales in what would otherwise be an uneven contest between the lone
individual pitted against the People and all the resources at their command. Its inexorable mandate is
that, for all the authority and influence of the prosecution, the accused must be acquitted and set free if
his guilt cannot be proved beyond the whisper of a doubt. 87 This is in consonance with the rule that
conflicts in evidence must be resolved upon the theory of innocence rather than upon a theory of guilt
when it is possible to do so. 88
On the basis of the foregoing doctrinal tenets and principles, and in conjunction with the overwhelming
evidence in favor of herein appellant, we do not encounter any difficulty in concluding that the
constitutional presumption on the innocence of an accused must prevail in this particular indictment.
B. The Kidnapping/Illegal Detention Case
It is basic that for kidnapping to exist, there must be indubitable proof that the actual intent of the
malefactor was to deprive the offended party of her liberty. 89 In the present charge for that crime, such
intent has not at all been established by the prosecution. Prescinding from the fact that the Taha spouses
desisted from pursuing this charge which they themselves instituted, several grave and irreconcilable
inconsistencies bedevil the prosecution's evidence thereon and cast serious doubts on the guilt of
appellant, as hereunder explained:
To recall, complainant testified that appellant by himself went to fetch her at her parents' house the day
after the alleged rape incident. In her own words, appellant courteously asked her parents to permit her to
help him solicit contributions for her candidacy. When they left the house, appellant walked ahead of her,
obviously with her parents and their neighbors witnessing their departure. It is difficult to comprehend how
one could deduce from these normal and innocuous arrangement any felonious intent of appellant to
deprive complainant of her liberty. One will look in vain for a case where a kidnapping was committed
under such inauspicious circumstances as described by complainant.
Appellant declared that when they left the house of the Taha family, complainant was bringing with her a
plastic bag which later turned out to contain her clothes. This bag was left behind by Mia at Edward's

Subdivision, as hereinbefore noted, and was later delivered to appellant by Benedicto Rubio. Again, we
cannot conceive of a ridiculous situation where the kidnap victim was first allowed to prepare and pack
her clothes, as if she was merely leaving for a pleasant sojourn with the criminal, all these with the
knowledge and consent of her parents who passively looked on without comment.
Complainant alleged that appellant always kept her locked inside the room which they occupied, whether
at Sunset Garden or at Edward's Subdivision, and that she could not unlock the door from the inside. We
must, however, recall that when she was asked on cross-examination about the kind of lock that was
used, she pointed to the doorknob of the courtroom. The court then ordered that the door of the
courtroom be locked and then asked complainant to open it from the inside. She was easily able to do so
and, in fact, she admitted that the two locks in the room at Sunset Garden could also be opened from the
inside in the same manner. This demonstrably undeniable fact was never assailed by the prosecution. It
also failed to rebut the testimony of Fernando Rubio that the room which was occupied by the couple at
Edward's Subdivision could not even be locked because the lock thereof was broken.
When the couple transferred to Edward's Subdivision, they walked along the national highway in broad
daylight. Complainant, therefore, had more than ample opportunity to seek the help of other people and
free herself from appellant if it were true that she was forcibly kidnapped and abused by the latter. 90 In
fact, several opportunities to do so had presented themselves from the time they left complainant's home
and during their extended stay in the hotel and in the lodging house.
According to appellant, he went to see the parents of complainant the day after they went to Sunset
Garden to inform them that Mia spent the night in said place. This was neither denied nor impugned by
Helen Taha, her husband, or any other person. On the other hand, the allegation of Helen Taha that she
made a report to the police about her missing daughter was not supported by any corroborative evidence,
such as the police blotter, nor was the police officer to whom she allegedly reported the incident ever
identified or presented in court.
We agree with appellant's contention that the prosecution failed to prove any motive on his part for the
commission of the crime charged. In one case, this Court rejected the kidnapping charge where there was
not the slightest hint of a motive for the crime. 91 It is true that, as a rule, the motive of the accused in a
criminal case is immaterial and, not being an element of a crime, it does not have to be proved. 92 Where,
however, the evidence is weak, without any motive being disclosed by the evidence, the guilt of the
accused becomes open to a reasonable doubt and, hence, an acquittal is in order. 93 Nowhere in the
testimony of either the complainant or her mother can any ill motive of a criminal nature be reasonably
drawn. What actually transpired was an elopement or a lovers' tryst, immoral though it may be.
As a closing note, we are bewildered by the trial court's refusal to admit in evidence the bag of clothes
belonging to complainant which was presented and duly identified by the defense, on its announced
supposition that the clothes could have easily been bought from a department store. Such preposterous
reasoning founded on a mere surmise or speculation, aside from the fact that on rebuttal the prosecution
did not even seek to elicit an explanation or clarification from complainant about said clothes, strengthens
and reinforces our impression of an apparently whimsical exercise of discretion by the court below.
Matters which could have been easily verified were thus cavalierly dismissed and supplanted by a
conjecture, and on such inferential basis a conclusion was then drawn by said court.
We accordingly deem it necessary to reiterate an early and highly regarded disquisition of this Court
against the practice of excluding evidence in the erroneous manner adopted by the trial court:
It has been observed that justice is most effectively and expeditiously administered where
trivial objections to the admission of proof are received with least favor. The practice of
excluding evidence on doubtful objections to its materiality or technical objections to the
form of the questions should be avoided. In a case of any intricacy it is impossible for a
judge of first instance, in the early stages of the development of the proof, to know with

any certainty whether the testimony is relevant or not; and where there is no indication of
bad faith on the part of the attorney offering the evidence, the court may as a rule safely
accept the testimony upon the statement of the attorney that the proof offered will be
connected later. Moreover, it must be remembered that in the heat of the battle over
which he presides, a judge of first instance may possibly fall into error in judging the
relevancy of proof where a fair and logical connection is in fact shown. When such a
mistake is made and the proof is erroneously ruled out, the Supreme Court, upon appeal,
often finds itself embarrassed and possibly unable to correct the effects of the error
without returning the case for a new trial, a step which this court is always very loath to
take. On the other hand, the admission of proof in a court of first instance, even if the
question as to its form, materiality, or relevancy is doubtful, can never result in much
harm to either litigant, because the trial judge is supposed to know the law and it is its
duty, upon final consideration of the case, to distinguish the relevant and material from
the irrelevant and immaterial. If this course is followed and the cause is prosecuted to the
Supreme Court upon appeal, this court then has all the materials before it necessary to
make a correct judgment. 94
At any rate, despite that procedural lapse, we find in the records of these cases sufficient and substantial
evidence which warrant and demand the acquittal of appellant. Apropos thereto, we take this opportunity
to repeat this age-old observation and experience of mankind on the penological and societal effect of
capital punishment: If it is justified, it serves as a deterrent; if injudiciously imposed, it generates
resentment.
Finally, we are constrained to reiterate here that Republic Act No. 7659 which reimposed the death
penalty on certain heinous crimes took effect on December 31, 1993, that is, fifteen days after its
publication in the December 16, 1993 issues of the Manila Bulletin, Philippine Star, Malaya and Philippine
Times Journal, 95 and not on January 1, 1994 as is sometimes misinterpreted.
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and accusedappellant Danny Godoy is hereby ACQUITTED of the crimes of rape and kidnapping with serious illegal
detention charged in Criminal Cases Nos. 11640 and 11641 of the Regional Trial Court for Palawan and
Puerto Princesa City, Branch 49. It is hereby ORDERED that he be released forthwith, unless he is
otherwise detained for any other valid cause.
SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 122480. April 12, 2000]
BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, Inc., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, COURT OF TAX APPEALS
and the COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,respondents.
DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it apply
the same standard against itself in refunding excess payments. When it is undisputed that a taxpayer is
entitled to a refund, the State should not invoke technicalities to keep money not belonging to it. No one,
not even the State, should enrich oneself at the expense of another.

The Case
Before us is a Petition for Review assailing the March 31, 1995 Decision of the Court of Appeals [1] (CA) in
CA-GR SP No. 34240, which affirmed the December 24, 1993 Decision [2] of the Court of Tax Appeals
(CTA). The CA disposed as follows:

"WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for


lack of merit."[3]
On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the CTA Decision affirmed by the CA reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, in [view of] all the foregoing, Petitioners claim for refund is hereby
DENIED and this Petition for Review is DISMISSED for lack of merit." [4]
Also assailed is the November 8, 1995 CA Resolution[5] denying reconsideration.

The Facts
The facts of this case were summarized by the CA in this wise:
"This case involves a claim for tax refund in the amount of P112,491.00 representing
petitioners tax withheld for the year 1989.
In its Corporate Annual Income Tax Return for the year 1989, the following items are
reflected:
Income.............................P1,017,931,831.00
Deductions........................P1,026,218,791.00
Net
Income
Taxable Income (Loss).............P8,286,960.00

(Loss).................(P8,286,960.00)

Less:
1988
Tax
1989 Tax Credit...............P112,491.00
TOTAL
REFUNDABLE

Credit...............P185,001.00

AMOUNT......................P297,492.00

"It appears from the foregoing 1989 Income Tax Return that petitioner had a total
refundable amount of P297,492 inclusive of the P112,491.00 being claimed as tax refund
in the present case. However, petitioner declared in the same 1989 Income Tax Return
that the said total refundable amount of P297,492.00 will be applied as tax credit to the
succeeding taxable year.
"On October 11, 1990, petitioner filed a written claim for refund in the amount of
P112,491.00 with the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue alleging that it did
not apply the 1989 refundable amount of P297,492.00 (including P112,491.00) to its 1990
Annual Income Tax Return or other tax liabilities due to the alleged business losses it
incurred for the same year.
"Without waiting for respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue to act on the claim for
refund, petitioner filed a petition for review with respondent Court of Tax Appeals, seeking
the refund of the amount of P112,491.00.

"The respondent Court of Tax Appeals dismissed petitioners petition on the ground that
petitioner failed to present as evidence its Corporate Annual Income Tax Return for 1990
to establish the fact that petitioner had not yet credited the amount of P297,492.00
(inclusive of the amount P112,491.00 which is the subject of the present controversy) to
its 1990 income tax liability.
"Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, however, the same was denied by
respondent court in its Resolution dated May 6, 1994." [6]
As earlier noted, the CA affirmed the CTA. Hence, this Petition. [7]

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


In affirming the CTA, the Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
"It is incumbent upon the petitioner to show proof that it has not credited to its 1990
Annual income Tax Return, the amount of P297,492.00 (including P112,491.00), so as to
refute its previous declaration in the 1989 Income Tax Return that the said amount will be
applied as a tax credit in the succeeding year of 1990. Having failed to submit such
requirement, there is no basis to grant the claim for refund. x x x
"Tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions. As such, they are regarded as in
derogation of sovereign authority and to be construed strictissimi juris against the person
or entity claiming the exemption. In other words, the burden of proof rests upon the
taxpayer to establish by sufficient and competent evidence its entitlement to the claim for
refund."[8]

Issue
In their Memorandum, respondents identify the issue in this wise:
"The sole issue to be resolved is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the refund of
P112,491.00, representing excess creditable withholding tax paid for the taxable year
1989."[9]

The Courts Ruling


The Petition is meritorious.

Main Issue: Petitioner Entitled to Refund


It is undisputed that petitioner had excess withholding taxes for the year 1989 and was thus entitled to a
refund amounting to P112,491. Pursuant to Section 69 [10] of the 1986 Tax Code which states that a
corporation entitled to a refund may opt either (1) to obtain such refund or (2) to credit said amount for the

succeeding taxable year, petitioner indicated in its 1989 Income Tax Return that it would apply the said
amount as a tax credit for the succeeding taxable year, 1990. Subsequently, petitioner informed the
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it would claim the amount as a tax refund, instead of applying it as
a tax credit. When no action from the BIR was forthcoming, petitioner filed its claim with the Court of Tax
Appeals.
The CTA and the CA, however, denied the claim for tax refund. Since petitioner declared in its 1989
Income Tax Return that it would apply the excess withholding tax as a tax credit for the following year, the
Tax Court held that petitioner was presumed to have done so. The CTA and the CA ruled that petitioner
failed to overcome this presumption because it did not present its 1990 Return, which would have shown
that the amount in dispute was not applied as a tax credit. Hence, the CA concluded that petitioner was
not entitled to a tax refund.
We disagree with the Court of Appeals. As a rule, the factual findings of the appellate court are binding on
this Court. This rule, however, does not apply where, inter alia, the judgment is premised on a
misapprehension of facts, or when the appellate court failed to notice certain relevant facts which if
considered would justify a different conclusion.[11] This case is one such exception.
In the first place, petitioner presented evidence to prove its claim that it did not apply the amount as a tax
credit. During the trial before the CTA, Ms. Yolanda Esmundo, the manager of petitioners accounting
department, testified to this fact. It likewise presented its claim for refund and a certification issued by Mr.
Gil Lopez, petitioners vice-president, stating that the amount of P112,491 "has not been and/or will not be
automatically credited/offset against any succeeding quarters income tax liabilities for the rest of the
calendar year ending December 31, 1990." Also presented were the quarterly returns for the first two
quarters of 1990.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue, for its part, failed to controvert petitioners claim. In fact, it presented no
evidence at all. Because it ought to know the tax records of all taxpayers, the CIR could have easily
disproved petitioners claim. To repeat, it did not do so.
More important, a copy of the Final Adjustment Return for 1990 was attached to petitioners Motion for
Reconsideration filed before the CTA.[12] A final adjustment return shows whether a corporation incurred a
loss or gained a profit during the taxable year. In this case, that Return clearly showed that petitioner
incurred P52,480,173 as net loss in 1990. Clearly, it could not have applied the amount in dispute as a tax
credit.
Again, the BIR did not controvert the veracity of the said return. It did not even file an opposition to
petitioners Motion and the 1990 Final Adjustment Return attached thereto. In denying the Motion for
Reconsideration, however, the CTA ignored the said Return. In the same vein, the CA did not pass upon
that significant document.
True, strict procedural rules generally frown upon the submission of the Return after the trial. The law
creating the Court of Tax Appeals, however, specifically provides that proceedings before it "shall not be
governed strictly by the technical rules of evidence." [13] The paramount consideration remains the
ascertainment of truth. Verily, the quest for orderly presentation of issues is not an absolute. It should not
bar courts from considering undisputed facts to arrive at a just determination of a controversy.
In the present case, the Return attached to the Motion for Reconsideration clearly showed that petitioner
suffered a net loss in 1990. Contrary to the holding of the CA and the CTA, petitioner could not have
applied the amount as a tax credit. In failing to consider the said Return, as well as the other documentary
evidence presented during the trial, the appellate court committed a reversible error.
It should be stressed that the rationale of the rules of procedure is to secure a just determination of every
action. They are tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. [14] But there can be no just

determination of the present action if we ignore, on grounds of strict technicality, the Return submitted
before the CTA and even before this Court.[15] To repeat, the undisputed fact is that petitioner suffered a
net loss in 1990; accordingly, it incurred no tax liability to which the tax credit could be applied.
Consequently, there is no reason for the BIR and this Court to withhold the tax refund which rightfully
belongs to the petitioner.
Public respondents maintain that what was attached to petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was not the
final adjustment Return, but petitioners first two quarterly returns for 1990. [16] This allegation is wrong. An
examination of the records shows that the 1990 Final Adjustment Return was attached to the Motion for
Reconsideration. On the other hand, the two quarterly returns for 1990 mentioned by respondent were in
fact attached to the Petition for Review filed before the CTA. Indeed, to rebut respondents specific
contention, petitioner submitted before us its Surrejoinder, to which was attached the Motion for
Reconsideration and Exhibit "A" thereof, the Final Adjustment Return for 1990. [17]
CTA Case No. 4897
Petitioner also calls the attention of this Court, as it had done before the CTA, to a Decision rendered by
the Tax Court in CTA Case No. 4897, involving its claim for refund for the year 1990. In that case, the Tax
Court held that "petitioner suffered a net loss for the taxable year 1990 x x x." [18] Respondent, however,
urges this Court not to take judicial notice of the said case. [19]
As a rule, "courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of the records of other cases,
even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact
that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending before the same judge." [20]
Be that as it may, Section 2, Rule 129 provides that courts may take judicial notice of matters ought to be
known to judges because of their judicial functions. In this case, the Court notes that a copy of the
Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 was attached to the Petition for Review filed before this Court.
Significantly, respondents do not claim at all that the said Decision was fraudulent or nonexistent. Indeed,
they do not even dispute the contents of the said Decision, claiming merely that the Court cannot take
judicial notice thereof.
To our mind, respondents reasoning underscores the weakness of their case. For if they had really
believed that petitioner is not entitled to a tax refund, they could have easily proved that it did not suffer
any loss in 1990. Indeed, it is noteworthy that respondents opted not to assail the fact appearing therein -that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990 in the same way that itrefused to controvert the same
fact established by petitioners other documentary exhibits.
In any event, the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 is not the sole basis of petitioners case. It is merely one
more bit of information showing the stark truth: petitioner did not use its 1989 refund to pay its taxes for
1990.
Finally, respondents argue that tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions and are to be
construed strictissimi juris against the claimant. Under the facts of this case, we hold that petitioner has
established its claim. Petitioner may have failed to strictly comply with the rules of procedure; it may have
even been negligent. These circumstances, however, should not compel the Court to disregard this cold,
undisputed fact: that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990, and that it could not have applied the amount
claimed as tax credits.
Substantial justice, equity and fair play are on the side of petitioner. Technicalities and legalisms, however
exalted, should not be misused by the government to keep money not belonging to it and thereby enrich
itself at the expense of its law-abiding citizens. If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and
honesty in paying their taxes, so must it apply the same standard against itself in refunding excess

payments of such taxes. Indeed, the State must lead by its own example of honor, dignity and
uprightness.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of
Appeals REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is ordered to refund to
petitioner the amount of P112,491 as excess creditable taxes paid in 1989. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION

[G.R. No. 151857. April 28, 2005]

CALAMBA STEEL CENTER, INC. (formerly JS STEEL


vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.

CORPORATION), petitioner,

DECISION
PANGANIBAN, J.:
A tax refund may be claimed even beyond the taxable year following that in which the tax credit
arises. Hence, excess income taxes paid in 1995 that have not been applied to or used in 1996 may still
be the subject of a tax refund in 1997, provided that the claim for such refund is filed with the internal
revenue commissioner within two years after payment of said taxes. As a caveat, the Court stresses that
the recognition of the entitlement to a tax refund does not necessarily mean the automatic payment of the
sum claimed in the final adjustment return of the taxpayer. The amount of the claim must still be proven in
the normal course.

The Case

Before us is a Petition for Review [1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the January 10,
2002 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 58838. The assailed Decision disposed as
follows:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is DISMISSED and the assailed Decision
and Resolution are AFFIRMED. Costs against Petitioner.[3]

The Facts
Quoting the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), the CA narrated the antecedents as follows:
Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the manufacture of steel blanks for use by manufacturers
of automotive, electrical, electronics in industrial and household appliances.
Petitioner filed an Amended Corporate Annual Income Tax Return on June 4, 1996 declaring a net taxable
income of P9,461,597.00, tax credits of P6,471,246.00 and tax due in the amount of P3,311,559.00.
Petitioner also reported quarterly payments for the second and third quarters of 1995 in the amounts
of P2,328,747.26 and P1,082,108.00, respectively.
It is the proposition of the [p]etitioner that for the year 1995, several of its clients withheld taxes from their
income payments to [p]etitioner and remitted the same to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the
sum of P3,159,687.00. Petitioner further alleged that due to its income/loss positions for the three
quarters of 1996, it was unable to use the excess tax paid for and in its behalf by the withholding agents.
Thus, an administrative claim was filed by the [p]etitioner on April 10, 1997 for the refund
of P3,159,687.00 representing excess or unused creditable withholding taxes for the year 1995. The
instant petition was subsequently filed on April 18, 1997.
Respondent, in his Answer, averred, among others, that:
1) Petitioner has no cause of action;
2) Petitioner failed to comply with the procedural requirements set out in Section 5 of Revenue
Regulations No. [(RR)] 12-94;
3) It is incumbent upon [p]etitioner to prove by competent and sufficient evidence that the tax refund or tax
credit being sought is allowed under the National Internal Revenue Code and its implementing rules and
regulations; and
4) Claims for tax refund or tax credit are construed strictly against the taxpayer as they partake the nature
of tax exemption.
To buttress its claim, [p]etitioner presented documentary and testimonial evidence. Respondent, on the
other hand, presented the [r]evenue [o]fficer who conducted the examination of [p]etitioners claim and
found petitioner liable for deficiency value added tax. Petitioner also presented rebuttal evidence.
The sole issue submitted for [o]ur determination is whether or not [p]etitioner is entitled to the refund
of P3,159,687.00 representing excess or overpaid income tax for the taxable year 1995. [4]

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


In denying petitioners refund, the CA reasoned out that no evidence other than that presented before
the CTA was adduced to prove that excess tax payments had been made in 1995. From the inception of
the case to the formal offer of its evidence, petitioner did not present its 1996 income tax return to
disclose its total income tax liability, thus making it difficult to determine whether such excess tax
payments were utilized in 1996.
Hence, this Petition.[5]

The Issue
Petitioner raises this sole issue for our consideration:
Whether the Court of Appeals gravely erred when, while purportedly requiring petitioner to submit its 1996
annual income tax return to support its claim for refund, nonetheless ignored the existence of the tax
return extant on the record the authenticity of which has not been denied or its admissibility opposed by
the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.[6]

The Courts Ruling


The Petition is partly meritorious.

Sole Issue:
Entitlement to Tax Refund
Section 69 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) [7] provides:
Sec. 69. Final adjustment return. -- Every corporation liable to tax under Section 24 shall file a final
adjustment return covering the total taxable income for the preceding calendar or fiscal year. If the sum of
the quarterly tax payments made during the said taxable year is not equal to the total tax due on the
entire taxable net income of that year the corporation shall either:
(a) Pay the excess tax still due; or
(b) Be refunded the excess amount paid, as the case may be.
In case the corporation is entitled to a refund of the excess estimated quarterly income taxes paid, the
refundable amount shown on its final adjustment return may be credited against the estimated quarterly
income tax liabilities for the taxable quarters of the succeeding taxable year.

Tax Refund
Allowed by NIRC

A perusal of this provision shows that a taxable corporation is entitled to a tax refund when the sum
of the quarterly income taxes it paid during a taxable year exceeds its total income tax due also for that
year. Consequently, the refundable amount that is shown on its final adjustment return may be credited, at
its option, against its quarterly income tax liabilities for the next taxable year.
Petitioner is a corporation liable to pay income taxes under Section 24 of the NIRC. Hence, it is
a taxable corporation. In 1995, it reported that it had excess income taxes that had been paid for and on
its behalf by its withholding agents; and that, applying the above-quoted Section 69, this excess should be
credited against its income tax liabilities for 1996. However, it claimed in 1997 that it should get a refund,
because it was still unable to use the excess income taxes paid in 1995 against its tax liabilities in 1996.
Is this possible? Stating the argument otherwise, may excess income taxes paid in 1995 that could not be
applied to taxes due in 1996 be refunded in 1997?
The answer is in the affirmative. Here are the reasons:

Claim of Tax Refund Beyond the


Succeeding Taxable Year
First, a tax refund may be claimed even beyond the taxable year following that in which the tax
credit arises.
No provision in our tax law limits the entitlement to such a refund, other than the requirement that the
filing of the administrative claim for it be made by the taxpayer within a two-year prescriptive period.
Section 204(3) of the NIRC states that no refund of taxes shall be allowed unless the taxpayer files in
writing with the Commissioner [the] claim for x x x refund within two years after the payment of the tax.
Applying the aforequoted legal provisions, if the excess income taxes paid in a given taxable
year have not been entirely used by a taxable corporation against its quarterly income tax liabilities for the
next taxable year, the unused amount of the excess may still be refunded, provided that the claim for
such a refund is made within two years after payment of the tax. Petitioner filed its claim in 1997 -- well
within the two-year prescriptive period. Thus, its unused tax credits in 1995 may still be refunded.
Even the phrase succeeding taxable year in the second paragraph of the said Section 69 is a
limitation that applies only to a tax credit, not a tax refund. Petitioner herein does not claim a tax credit,
but a tax refund. Therefore, the statutory limitation does not apply.

Income Payments Merely


Declared Part of Gross Income
Second, to be able to claim a tax refund, a taxpayer only needs to declare the income payments it
received as part of its gross income and to establish the fact of withholding.
Section 5 of RR 12-94[8] states:
xxxxxxxxx
(a) Claims for Tax Credit or Refund of income tax deducted and withheld on income payments shall be
given due course only when it is shown on the return that the income payment received has been
declared as part of the gross income and the fact of withholding is established by a copy of the
Withholding Tax Statement duly issued by the payor to the payee showing the amount paid and the
amount of tax withheld therefrom.

(b) Excess Credits. -- A taxpayer's excess expanded withholding tax credits for the taxable quarter/taxable
year shall automatically be allowed as a credit for purposes of filing his income tax return for the taxable
quarter/taxable year immediately succeeding the taxable quarter/taxable year in which the aforesaid
excess credit arose, provided, however, he submits with his income tax return a copy of his income tax
return for the aforesaid previous taxable period showing the amount of his aforementioned excess
withholding tax credits.
If the taxpayer, in lieu of the aforesaid automatic application of his excess credit, wants a cash refund or a
tax credit certificate for use in payment of his other national internal tax liabilities, he shall make a written
request therefor. Upon filing of his request, the taxpayer's income tax return showing the excess
expanded withholding tax credits shall be examined. The excess expanded withholding tax, if any, shall
be determined and refunded/credited to the taxpayer-applicant. The refund/credit shall be made within a
period of sixty (60) days from date of the taxpayer's request provided, however, that the taxpayerapplicant submitted for audit all his pertinent accounting records and that the aforesaid records
established the veracity of his claim for a refund/credit of his excess expanded withholding tax credits.
That petitioner filed its amended 1995 income tax return in 1996 is uncontested. In addition, the
resulting investigation by the BIR on August 15, 1997, reveals that the income accounts were correctly
declared based on the existing supporting documents. [9] Therefore, there is no need for petitioner to show
again the income payments it received in 1995 as part of its gross income in 1996.
That petitioner filed its 1996 final adjustment return in 1997 is the crux of the controversy. However,
as will be demonstrated shortly, the lack of such a return will not defeat its entitlement to a refund.

Tax Refund Provisions:


Question of Law
Third, it is a cardinal rule that only legal issues may be raised [10] in petitions for review under Rule 45.
[11]

The proper interpretation of the provisions on tax refund is a question of law that does not call for an
examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants. [12] Having been
unable to use the excess income taxes paid in 1995 against its other tax liabilities in 1996, petitioner
clearly deserves a refund. It cannot by any sweeping denial be deprived of what rightfully belongs to it.
The truth or falsity of the contents of or entries in the 1996 final adjustment return, which has not
been formally offered in evidence and examined by respondent, involves, however, aquestion of fact. This
Court is not a trier of facts. Neither is it a collection agency for the government. Although we rule that
petitioner is entitled to a tax refund, the amount of that refund is a matter for the CTA to determine
judiciously based on the records that include its own copy of petitioners 1996 final adjustment return.

Liberal Construction
of Rules
Fourth, ordinary rules of procedure frown upon the submission of final adjustment returns after trial
has been conducted. However, both the CTA law and jurisprudence mandate that the proceedings before
the tax court shall not be governed strictly by technical rules of evidence. [13] As a rule, its findings of
fact[14] (as well as that of the CA) are final, binding and conclusive [15] on the parties and upon this Court;
however, as an exception, such findings may be reviewed or disturbed on appeal [16] when they are not
supported by evidence.[17]

Our Rules of Court apply by analogy or in a suppletory [18] character and whenever practicable and
convenient[19] and shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy
and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. [20] After all, [t]he paramount consideration
remains the ascertainment of truth.[21]
In the present case, the 1996 final adjustment return was attached as Annex A to the Reply to
Comment filed by petitioner with the CA. [22] The return shows a negative amount for itstaxable income that
year. Therefore, it could not have applied or used the excess tax credits of 1995 against its tax liabilities in
1996.

Judicial Notice
of Attached Return
Fifth, the CA and CTA could have taken judicial notice of the 1996 final adjustment return which had
been attached in CTA Case No. 5799. Judicial notice takes the place of proof and is of equal force. [23]
As a general rule, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of records in other
cases tried or pending in the same court, even when those cases were heard or are actually pending
before the same judge. However, this rule admits of exceptions, as when reference to such records is
sufficiently made without objection from the opposing parties:
. . . [I]n the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may properly treat
all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read into the record of a case pending
before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing party, reference is made to it for that purpose, by
name and number or in some other manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original
record of the former case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction,
at the request or with the consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of the case then
pending.[24]
Prior to rendering its Decision on January 12, 2000, the CTA was already well-aware of the existence
of another case pending before it, involving the same subject matter, parties and causes of action.
[25]
Because of the close connection of that case with the matter in controversy, the CTA could have easily
taken judicial notice[26] of the contested document attached in that other case.
Furthermore, there was no objection raised to the inclusion of the said 1996 final adjustment return in
petitioners Reply to Comment before the CA. Despite clear reference to that return, a reference made
with the knowledge of respondent, the latter still failed to controvert petitioners claim. The appellate court
should have cast aside strict technicalities[27] and decided the case on the basis of such uncontested
return. Verily, it had the authority to take judicial notice of its records and of the facts [that] the record
establishes.[28]
Section 2 of Rule 129 provides that courts may take judicial notice of matters x x x ought to be
known to judges because of their judicial functions. [29] If the lower courts really believed that petitioner was
not entitled to a tax refund, they could have easily required respondent to ascertain its veracity and
accuracy[30] and to prove that petitioner did not suffer any net loss in 1996.
Contrary to the contention of petitioner, BPI-Family Savings Bank v. CA [31] (on which it rests its entire
arguments) is not on all fours with the facts of this case.
While the petitioner in that case also filed a written claim for a tax refund, and likewise failed to
present its 1990 corporate annual income tax return, it nonetheless offered in evidence its top-ranking
officials testimony and certification pertaining to only two taxable years (1989 and 1990). The said return
was attached only to its Motion for Reconsideration before the CTA.
Petitioner in this case offered documentary and testimonial evidence that extended beyond two
taxable years, because the excess credits in the first (1995) taxable year had not been used up during the

second (1996) taxable year, and because the claim for the refund of those credits had been filed during
the third (1997) taxable year. Its final adjustment return was instead attached to its Reply to Comment
filed before the CA.
Moreover, in BPI-Family Savings Bank, petitioner was able to show the undisputed fact: that
petitioner had suffered a net loss in 1990 x x x. [32] In the instant case, there is no such undisputed fact as
yet. The mere admission into the records of petitioners 1996 final adjustment return is not a sufficient
proof of the truth of the contents of or entries in that return.
In addition, the BIR in BPI-Family Savings Bank did not controvert the veracity of the return or file an
opposition to the Motion and the return. Despite the fact that the return was ignored by both the CA and
the CTA, the latter even declared in another case (CTA Case No. 4897) that petitioner had suffered a net
loss for taxable year 1990. When attached to the Petition for Review filed before this Court, that Decision
was not at all claimed by the BIR to be fraudulent or nonexistent. The Bureau merely contended that this
Court should not take judicial notice of the said Decision.
In this case, however, the BIR has not been given the chance to challenge the veracity of
petitioners final adjustment return. Neither has the CTA decided any other case categorically declaring
a net loss for petitioner in taxable year 1996. After this return was attached to petitioners Reply to
Comment before the CA, the appellate court should have required the filing of other responsive pleadings
from respondent, as was necessary and proper for it to rule upon the return.

Admissibility Versus Weight


Indeed, [a]dmissibility x x x is one thing, weight is another.[33] To admit evidence and not to believe it
are not incompatible with each other x x x. [34] Mere allegations by petitioner of the figures in its 1996 final
adjustment return are not a sufficient proof of the amount of its refund entitlement. They do not even
constitute evidence[35] adverse to respondent, against whom they are being presented. [36]
While it seems that the [non-production] of a document which courts almost invariably expect will be
produced unavoidably throws a suspicion over the cause, [37] this is not really the conclusion to be arrived
at here. When petitioner purportedly filed its administrative claim for a tax refund on April 10, 1997, the
deadline for filing the 1996 final adjustment return was not yet over. Hence, it could not have attached this
return to its claim.
For reasons unknown even to this Court, petitioner failed to offer such return as evidence during the
trial phase of this case. For its negligence, petitioner cannot be allowed to seek refuge in a liberal
application of the [r]ules[38] by giving it a blanket approval of the total refund it claims. While in certain
instances, we allow a relaxation in the application of the rules, we never intend to forge a weapon for
erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. The liberal interpretation and application of rules apply
only in proper cases of demonstrable merit and under justifiable causes and circumstances. [39]
It would not be proper to allow petitioner to simply prevail and compel a refund in the amount it
claims, without affording the government a reasonable opportunity to contest the formers allegations.
[40]
Negligence consisting of the unexplained failure to offer the exhibit should not be rewarded with
undeserved leniency. Petitioner still bears the burden of proving the amount of its claim for tax refund.
After all, [t]ax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions [41] and are to be construed strictissimi
juris against the taxpayer.
Finally, even in the absence of a final adjustment return or any claim for a tax refund, respondent is
authorized by law to examine any book, paper, record or other data that may be relevant or material to
such inquiry.[42] Failure to make an assessment of petitioners proper tax liability or to contest the return
could be errors or omissions of administrative officers that should never be allowed to jeopardize the
governments financial position.

Verily, the officers of the Bureau of Internal Revenue should receive the support of the courts when
these officers attempt to perform in a conscientious and lawful manner the duties imposed upon them by
law.[43] Only after it is shown that if something is received when there is no right to demand it, and it was
duly delivered through mistake, the obligation to return it arises. [44]
In brief, we hold that petitioner is entitled to a refund; however, the amount must still be proved in
proper proceedings before the CTA.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY GRANTED, and the assailed Decision SET ASIDE.
The case is REMANDED to the Court of Tax Appeals for the proper and immediate determination of the
amount to be refunded to petitioner on the basis of the latters 1996 final adjustment return. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

[G.R. Nos. 135695-96. October 12, 2000]

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. TOMAS TUNDAG, accused-appellant.


DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
For automatic review is the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 28, in
Criminal Cases Nos.DU-6186 and DU-6203, finding appellant Tomas Tundag guilty of two counts of
incestuous rape and sentencing him to death twice.
On November 18, 1997, private complainant Mary Ann Tundag filed with the Mandaue City
Prosecutors Office two separate complaints for incestuous rape. The first complaint, docketed as Criminal
Case No. DU-6186, alleged:

That on or about the 5th day of September, 1997, in the City of Mandaue, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the father of complainant MARY
ANN TUNDAG, who is a 13-year-old girl, with deliberate intent, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latters will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[1]
The other, docketed as Criminal Case No. DU-6203, averred:
That on or about the 7th day of November, 1997, in the City of Mandaue, Philippines, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, being the father of complainant MARY
ANN TUNDAG, who is a 13-year-old girl, with deliberate intent, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
feloniously have sexual intercourse with the said offended party against the latters will.
CONTRARY TO LAW.[2]
Upon arraignment appellant, assisted by counsel de parte, pleaded Not Guilty to the charges.
The two cases were consolidated and a joint trial ensued.
Appellants defense was bare denial. He claimed that private complainant had fabricated the rape
charges against him since he and his daughter, had a quarrel when he accordingly reprimanded her for
going out whenever he was not at home.[3]
Appellant did not present any witness to reinforce his testimony.
On August 31, 1998, the trial court rendered its decision, thus:
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, Joint Judgment is hereby rendered, to wit:
I. In Criminal Case No. DU-6186 a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape,
said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death;
b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts:
(1) P50,000.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her; and
(2) Another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217
and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of
the crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance; and
c) To pay the costs.
II. In Criminal Case No. DU-6203 a) Finding the herein accused TOMAS TUNDAG guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the crime of rape,
said accused is hereby sentenced to the penalty of death;
b) To indemnify the offended party Mary Ann Tundag the following amounts:
(1) P50,000.00 by reason of the commission of the offense of rape upon her; and

(2) Another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article 2219 in relation to Articles 2217
and 2230 of the New Civil Code for the pain and moral shock suffered by her and for the commission of
the crime of rape with one qualifying aggravating circumstance; and
(3) To pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.[4]
In its judgment, the court below gave credence to complainants version of what accused did to her.
The evidence for the prosecution as adduced during the trial on the merits clearly shows that private
complainant Mary Ann Tundag is a 13 year old girl who does not know how to read and write and has an
IQ of 76% which is a very low general mental ability and was living with her father, the herein accused, at
Galaxy Compound, Mandaue City.
xxx
That on September 5, 1997 at about 10:00 oclock in the evening, she was in the house together with her
father. But before she went to sleep, her father was already lying down on the mat while herself (sic) just
lied down at his head side which was not necessarily beside him. However, when she was already
sleeping, she noticed that her father who was already undressed was beside her and was embracing
her.Then, he undressed her which she resisted but her father used a knife and told her that he would kill
her if she shouts and after that, he inserted his penis into her vagina and told her not to shout or tell
anyone.In effect, his penis penetrated her genital, which made her vagina bleed and was very painful.
That when the penis of her father was already inserted in her vagina, her father was all the time asking by
saying (sic) : Does it feel good? And at the same time, he was laughing and further, told her that a woman
who does not marry can never enter heaven and he got angry with her when she contradicted his
statement.
That while the penis of her father was inside her vagina and (he) was humping over her, she felt intense
pain that she cried and told him to pull it out but did not accede and in fact, said: Why will I pull it out when
it feels so good(?)
That after removing his penis from her vagina and after telling her that she could not go to heaven if she
did not get married, her father just stayed there and continued smoking while she cried.
That in the evening of November 7, 1997, she was at home washing the dishes while her father was just
smoking and squatting. That after she finished washing the dishes, she lied (sic) down to sleep when her
father embraced her and since she does not like what he did to her, she placed a stool between them but
he just brushed it aside and laid down with her and was able to take her womanhood again by using a
very sharp knife which he was holding and was pointing it at the right side of her neck which made her
afraid.
That in the early morning of the following day, she left her fathers place and went to her neighbor by the
name of Bebie Cabahug and told her what had happened to her, who, in turn, advised her to report the
matter to the police, which she did and accompanied by the policemen, she went to the Southern Islands
Hospital where she was examined and after her medical examination, she was brought back by the police
and was investigated by them.[5]
Appellants claim that the complainants charges were manufactured did not impress the trial court,
which found him twice guilty of rape. Now before us, appellant assails his double conviction, simply
contending that:[6]

THE TRIAL COURT HAS COMMITTED AN ERROR IN NOT ABSOLVING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT
OF THE CRIMES CHARGED IN THE INFORMATIONS DESPITE THE PRESENCE OF REASONABLE
DOUBT TO EXCULPATE HIM OF THE SAME.
Appellant flatly denies that the incidents complained of ever took place. He contends that on
September 5, 1997, he was working as a watch repairman near Gals Bakery in Mandaue City Market and
went home tired and sleepy at around 11:00 oclock that evening. On November 7, 1997, he claims he
was at work. In his brief, he argues that it was impossible for him to have raped his daughter because
when the incidents allegedly transpired, he went to work and naturally, being exhausted and tired, it is
impossible for him to do such wrongdoings.[7]
The Office of the Solicitor General disagrees with appellant and urges the Court to affirm the trial
courts decision, with the recommendation that the award of damages and indemnity ex delicto be
modified to conform to prevailing jurisprudence.
Considering the gravity of the offense charged as a heinous crime and the irreversibility of the
penalty of death imposed in each of these cases before us, the Court leaves no stone unturned in its
review of the records, including the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the
defense. Conviction must rest on nothing less than a moral certainty of guilt. [8] But here we find no room to
disturb the trial courts judgment concerning appellants guilt, because his defense is utterly untenable.
Appellants defense of alibi and denial is negative and self-serving. It hardly counts as a worthy and
weighty ground for exculpation in a trial involving his freedom and his life. Against the testimony of private
complainant who testified on affirmative matters, [9] such defense is not only trite but pathetic. Denial is an
inherently weak defense, which becomes even weaker in the face of the positive identification by the
victim of the appellant as the violator of her honor.[10] Indeed, we find that private complainant was
unequivocal in charging appellant with ravishing her. The victims account of the rapes complained of was
straightforward, detailed, and consistent.[11] Her testimony never wavered even after it had been explained
to her that her father could be meted out the death penalty if found guilty by the court. [12]
In a prosecution for rape, the complainants credibility is the single most important issue. [13] The
determination of the credibility of witnesses is primarily the function of the trial court. The rationale for this
is that the trial court has the advantage of having observed at first hand the demeanor of the witnesses on
the stand and, therefore, is in a better position to form an accurate impression and conclusion. [14] Absent
any showing that certain facts of value have clearly been overlooked, which if considered could affect the
result of the case, or that the trial courts finding are clearly arbitrary, the conclusions reached by the court
of origin must be respected and the judgment rendered affirmed. [15]
Moreover, we note here that private complainants testimony is corroborated by medical findings that
lacerations were present in her hymen. The examination conducted by Dr. Bessie Acebes upon the
private complainant yielded the following results:
Genitalia: grossly female
Pubic Hairs: scanty
Labia Majora: coaptated
Labia Minora: -doFourchette: U-shaped
Vestibule: pinkish
Hymen: + old healed laceration at 3 and 9 oclock position(s).

Orifice: admits 2 fingers with ease


Vagina:
Walls: pinkish
Ruganities: prominent
Uterus: small
Cervix: closed
Discharges: Mucoid, minimal
Smears:
Conclusions: sperm identification (-)
Gram staining of vaginal disc.[16]
Dr. Acebes testified that her findings of healed hymenal lacerations in the complainants private parts
meant a history of sexual congress on her part. [17] According to her, the lacerations may have been
caused by the entry of an erect male organ into complainants genitals. The examining physician likewise
pointed out that previous coitus may be inferred from complainants U-shaped fourchette since the
fourchette of a female who has not yet experienced sexual intercourse is V-shaped. [18] While Dr. Acebes
conceded under cross-examination, that the existence of the datum U-shape(d) fourchette does not
conclusively and absolutely mean that there was sexual intercourse or contact because it can be caused
by masturbation of fingers or other things,[19] nonetheless, the presence of the hymenal lacerations tends
to support private complainants claim that she was raped by appellant.
Appellant next contends that his daughter pressed the rape charges against him because she had
quarreled with him after he had castigated her for misbehavior. He stresses that the prosecution did not
rebut his testimony regarding his quarrel or misunderstanding with private complainant. He urges us to
consider the charges filed against him as the result of his frequent castigation of her delinquent behavior.
[20]

Such allegation of a family feud, however, does not explain the charges away. Filing a case for
incestuous rape is of such a nature that a daughters accusation must be taken seriously.It goes against
human experience that a girl would fabricate a story which would drag herself as well as her family to a
lifetime of dishonor, unless that is the truth, for it is her natural instinct to protect her honor. [21] More so,
where her charges could mean the death of her own father, as in this case.
Appellant likewise points out that it was very unlikely for him to have committed the crimes imputed
to him considering that he and his wife had ten children to attend to and care for.This argument, however,
is impertinent and immaterial. Appellant was estranged from his wife, and private complainant was the
only child who lived with him.[22] As pointed out by the Solicitor General, appellant was thus free to do as
he wished to satisfy his bestial lust on his daughter.[23]
Nor does appellants assertion that private complainant has some psychological problems and a low
IQ of 76 in any way favor his defense. These matters did not affect the credibility of her testimony that
appellant raped her twice. We note that the victim understood the consequences of prosecuting the rape
charges against her own father, as shown by the following testimony of the victim on cross-examination:
Q : Were you informed that if, and when your father will be found guilty, your father will be sentenced
to death?

A : Yes.
Q : Until now you wanted that your father will be sentenced by death?
A (Witness nodding.)
xxx
Q : I will inform you, Miss Witness, that you have filed two cases against your father and in case your
father would be found guilty, two death sentences will be imposed against him?
A: Yes.
Q: With that information, do you still want this case would proceed?
A: I want this to proceed.[24]
Indeed, appellant is guilty. But is the penalty of death imposed on him correct?
Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Section 11 of R.A. No. 7659, [25] penalizes
rape of a minor daughter by her father as qualified rape [26] and a heinous crime. In proving such felony,
the prosecution must allege and prove the elements of rape: (1) sexual congress; (2) with woman; (3) by
force or without her consent [27] and in order to warrant the imposition of capital punishment, the additional
elements that: (4) the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the rape and (5) the offender is a
parent of the victim.[28]
In this case, it was sufficiently alleged and proven that the offender was the victims father. [29] But the
victims age was not properly and sufficiently proved beyond reasonable doubt. She testified that she was
thirteen years old at the time of the rapes. However, she admitted that she did not know exactly when she
was born because her mother did not tell her. She further said that her birth certificate was likewise with
her mother. In her own words, the victim testified - [30]
COURT TO WITNESS
Q: When were you born?
A: I do not know.
Q: You do not know your birthday?
A: My mama did not tell me exactly when I asked her.
COURT: Proceed.
FISCAL PEREZ: For our failure to secure the Birth Certificate Your Honor, may we just request for
judicial notice that the victim here is below 18 years old.
ATTY. SURALTA: Admitted.
Judicial notice is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take and act on without
proof because they already know them. [31] Under the Rules of Court, judicial notice may either be
mandatory or discretionary. Section 1 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court provides when court shall take
mandatory judicial notice of facts SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. - A court shall take judicial notice without the introduction of
evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government and
symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals,
the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and
judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical
divisions.
Section 2 of Rule 129 enumerates the instances when courts may take discretionary judicial notice of
facts -

SEC. 2. Judicial notice, when discretionary. - A court may take judicial notice of matters which are of
public knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration or ought to be known to judges
because of their judicial functions.
Thus, it can be considered of public knowledge and judicially noticed that the scene of the rape is not
always nor necessarily isolated or secluded for lust is no respecter of time or place. The offense of rape
can and has been committed in places where people congregate, e.g. inside a house where there are
occupants, a five (5) meter room with five (5) people inside, or even in the same room which the victim is
sharing with the accuseds sister.[32]
The Court has likewise taken judicial notice of the Filipinas inbred modesty and shyness and her
antipathy in publicly airing acts which blemish her honor and virtue. [33]
On the other hand, matters which are capable of unquestionable demonstration pertain to fields of
professional and scientific knowledge. For example, in People v. Alicante,[34] the trial court took judicial
notice of the clinical records of the attending physicians concerning the birth of twin baby boys as
premature since one of the alleged rapes had occurred 6 to 7 months earlier.
As to matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions, an example
would be facts which are ascertainable from the record of court proceedings, e.g. as to when court
notices were received by a party.
With respect to other matters not falling within the mandatory or discretionary judicial notice, the
court can take judicial notice of a fact pursuant to the procedure in Section 3 of Rule 129 of the Rules of
Court which requires that SEC. 3. Judicial notice, when hearing necessary. - During the trial, the court, on its own initiative, or on
request of a party, may announce its intention to take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to
be heard thereon.
After the trial, and before judgment or on appeal, the proper court, on its own initiative or on request of a
party, may take judicial notice of any matter and allow the parties to be heard thereon if such matter is
decisive of a material issue in the case.
In this case, judicial notice of the age of the victim is improper, despite the defense counsels
admission, thereof acceding to the prosecutions motion. As required by Section 3 of Rule 129, as to any
other matters such as age, a hearing is required before courts can take judicial notice of such
fact. Generally, the age of the victim may be proven by the birth or baptismal certificate of the victim, or in
the absence thereof, upon showing that said documents were lost or destroyed, by other documentary or
oral evidence sufficient for the purpose.
Thus, in People v. Rebancos, 172 SCRA 426 (1989), the victim was below 12 and we found that the
rape committed was statutory rape. The mother testified that her daughter was born on October 26, 1974,
and so was only 9 years old at the time of the rape on February 12, 1984. Although no birth certificate
was presented because the victims birth had allegedly not been registered, her baptismal certificate was
duly presented. Hence, we ruled that the mothers testimony coupled with the presentation of the
baptismal certificate was sufficient to establish that the victim was below 12 at the time of the rape.
However, in People v. Vargas, 257 SCRA 603 (1996), we ruled that appellant can only be convicted
of simple rape, and not statutory rape, because of failure of the prosecution to prove the minority of the
victim, who was allegedly 10 years old at the time of the rape. The prosecution failed to present either the
birth or baptismal certificate of the victim. Also there was no showing that the said documents were lost or
destroyed to justify their non-presentation. We held that testimony of the victim and her aunt were
hearsay, and that it was not correct for the trial court to judge the age of the victim by her appearance.
In several recent cases, we have emphasized the need for independent proof of the age of the
victim, aside from testimonial evidence from the victim or her relatives. In People v. Javier,[35] we stressed
that the prosecution must present independent proof of the age of the victim, even though it is not

contested by the defense. The minority of the victim must be proved with equal certainty and clearness as
the crime itself. In People v. Cula,[36] we reiterated that it is the burden of the prosecution to prove with
certainty the fact that the victim was below 18 when the rape was committed in order to justify the
imposition of the death penalty. Since the record of the case was bereft of any independent evidence
thereon, such as the victims duly certified Certificate of Live Birth, accurately showing private
complainants age, appellant could not be convicted of rape in its qualified form. In People v. Veloso,[37] the
victim was alleged to have been only 9 years of age at the time of the rape. It held that the trial court was
correct when it ruled that the prosecution failed to prove the victims age other than through the testimony
of her father and herself.
Considering the statutory requirement in Section 335 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by
R.A. No. 7659 and R.A. No. 8353, we reiterate here what the Court has held in Javierwithout any dissent,
that the failure to sufficiently establish victims age by independent proof is a bar to conviction for rape in
its qualified form. For, in the words of Melo, J., independent proof of the actual age of a rape victim
becomes vital and essential so as to remove an iota of doubt that the case falls under the qualifying
circumstances for the imposition of the death penalty set by the law.
In this case, the first rape was committed on September 5, 1997 and is therefore governed by the
death penalty law, R.A. 7659. The penalty for the crime of simple rape or rape in its unqualified form
under Art. 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Sec. 11 of R.A. 7659, is reclusion
perpetua. The second rape was committed on November 7, 1997, after the effectivity of R.A. 8353, also
known as the Anti-Rape Law of 1997, which took effect on October 22, 1997. The penalty for rape in its
unqualified form remains the same.
As to civil indemnity, the trial court correctly awarded P50,000.00 for each count of rape as civil
indemnity. However, the award of another P50,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages under Article
2219 in relation to Articles 2217 and 2230 of the Civil Code for each count is imprecise. In rape cases, the
prevailing jurisprudence permits the award of moral damages without need for pleading or proof as to the
basis thereof.[38] Thus, pursuant to current jurisprudence, we award the amount of P50,000.00 as moral
damages for each count of rape.
The award of exemplary damages separately is also in order, but on a different basis and for a
different amount. Appellant being the father of the victim, a fact duly proved during trial, we find that the
alternative circumstance of relationship should be appreciated here as an aggravating
circumstance. Under Article 2230 of the New Civil Code, exemplary damages may be imposed when the
crime was committed with one or more aggravating circumstances. Hence, we find an award of
exemplary damages in the amount of P25,000.00 proper. Note that generally, in rape cases imposing the
death penalty, the rule is that relationship is no longer appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance
in view of the amendments introduced by R.A. Nos. 7659 and 8353. The father-daughter relationship has
been treated by Congress in the nature of a special circumstance which makes the imposition of the
death penalty mandatory.[39] However, in this case, the special qualifying circumstance of relationship was
proved but not the minority of the victim, taking the case out of the ambit of mandatory death
sentence. Hence, relationship can be appreciated as a generic aggravating circumstance in this instance
so that exemplary damages are called for. In rapes committed by fathers on their own daughters,
exemplary damages may be imposed to deter other fathers with perverse tendency or aberrant sexual
behavior from sexually abusing their own daughters.[40]
WHEREFORE, the judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 28, in Criminal
Case Nos. DU-6186 and DU-6203, is hereby MODIFIED as follows: appellant Tomas Tundag is found
guilty of two (2) counts of simple rape; and for each count, sentenced to reclusion perpetua and ordered
to pay the victim the amount of P50,000.00 as indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages, and
P25,000.00 as exemplary damages.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-8200

March 17, 1914

LEONARD
vs.
GELASIO CALUPITAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants.
Pedro
Ramon Diokno for appellee.

Guevara

LUCIDO, plaintiff-appellee,

for

appellants.

TRENT, J.:
In this case it appears that some chattels and real estate belonging to the plaintiff, Lucido, were regularly
sold at an execution sale on February 10, 1903, to one Rosales, who the text day transferred a one-half
interest in the property of Zolaivar. On March 30, 1903, a public document was executed and signed by all
of the above parties and the defendant, Gelasio Calupitan, wherein it was stated that Rosales and
Zolaivar, with the consent of Lucido, sold all their rights had obligation pertaining to the property in
question to Calupitan for the amount of the purchase price together with 1 per cent per month interest
thereon up to the time of redemption, or 1,687 Mexican dollars, plus 33.74 Mexican dollars, the amount of
the interest. It will be observed that the computation of the transfer price is in accordance with section 465
of the Code of Civil Procedure. On the same day Lucido and Calupitan executed the following document:
I, Gelasio Calupitan y Agarao, married, certify that I have delivered this statement to Leonardo
Lucido y Vidal to witness that his lands, which appear in the instrument I hold from the deputy
sheriff and for which he has accepted money from me, I have ceded to him all the irrigated lands

until such time as he may repurchase all said lands from me (not only he irrigated ones), as also
the Vienna chairs, the five-lamp chandelier, a lamp stand, two wall tables, and a marble table; no
coconut tree on said irrigated land is included. Apart from this, our real agreement is to permit
three (3) whole year to elapse, reckoned from the date of this instrument, which has been drawn
up n duplicate, before he may redeem or repurchase them from me.
The lower court held that this document constituted a sale with the right to conventional redemption set
forth in articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code. The present action not having been instituted until February
17, 1910, the fur the question arose as to whether the redemption period had expired, which the lower
court decided in the negative. The lower court further found as a fact that Lucido had prior to the
institution of the action offered the redemption price to the defendant, who refused it, and that this offer
was a sufficient compliance with article 1518 of the Civil Code. The decision of the lower court was that
the property in question should be returned to the plaintiff. From this judgment the defendant appealed,
and all three of the above rulings of the court are assigned as errors.
1. Considerable doubt might arise as to the correctness of the ruling of the lower court upon the first
question, if the document executed by the execution purchasers and the parties to this action stood alone.
In that document it appears that Calupitan acquired the rights and obligations of the execution purchasers
pertaining to the property in question. These rights and obligations are defined in the Code of Civil
Procedure to be the ownership of the property sold, subject only to the right of redemption on the part of
the judgment debtor or a redemptioner, within one year from the date of the sale. (Secs. 463-465, Code
Civ. Proc.) Were this the nature of the transaction between the parties, however, the intervention of Lucido
in the transfer would be wholly unnecessary. Hence, the fact that he intervened as an interested party is
at least some indication that the parties intended something more or different by the document in question
than a simple assignment of the rights and obligations of the execution purchasers to a third person.
Any doubt, however, as to the character of this transaction is removed by the agreement entered into
between Lucido and calupitan on the same day. In this document it is distinctly stipulated that the right to
redeem the property is preserved to Lucido, to be exercised after the expiration of three years. The right
to repurchase must necessary imply a former ownership of the property.
Further indication that Calupitan himself considered this transaction as a sale with the right to
conventional redemption is to be found in his original answer to the complaint. This original answer was
introduced in evidence by the plaintiff over the objection of the defendant. Its admission was proper,
especially in view of the fact that it was signed by Calupitan himself, who was the time acting as his own
attorney.
Jones on evidence (secs. 272, 273), after remarking that the earlier cases were not in harmony on the
point, says:
Many of the cases holding that pleadings inadmissible as admissions were based on the theory
that most of the allegations were merely pleader's matter -- fiction stated by counsel and
sanctioned by the courts. The whole modern tendency is to reject this view and to treat pleadings
as statements of the real issues in the cause and hence as admissions of the parties, having
weight according to the circumstances of each case. But some of the authorities still hold that if
the pleading is not signed by the party there should be some proof that he has authorized it.
On the same principles where amended pleadings have been filed, allegations in the original
pleadings are held admissible, but in such case the original pleadings can have no effect, unless
formally offered in evidence.
In this original answer it was expressly stated that the transaction was one of sale with the right to
repurchase governed by the provisions of articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code.

It further appears from the uncontradicted testimony of the plaintiff that he furnished $20 Mexican of the
account necessary to redeem the property from the execution purchasers. It therefore appears beyond
dispute that the redemption of the property from the execution purchasers was made by the plaintiff
himself by means of a loan furnished by the defendant Calupitan, who took possession of the major
portion of the land as his security for its redemption. The ruling of the lower court the transaction between
Lucido and Calupitan was one of purchase and sale with the right to redeem was therefore correct.
2. By the terms of his agreement with Calupitan the plaintiff could not exercise his right to redeem the
property within three years from March 30, 1903; and the lower court arrived at the date upon which the
right to redeem expired by computing five years from March 30, 1906, on the ground that there was no
express agreement as to how long the right to repurchase, once available, should continue. Counsel for
the appellant admits in his brief that the complaint was filed forty-three days before the expiration of this
period. In accordance with our decision inRosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza (25 Phil. Rep., 495), we hold
that this ruling of the court was correct.
3. The court held that the plaintiff had actually tendered the redemption price to the defendant Calupitan.
After an examination of the evidence of record as to this finding of fact, we concur therein. We discussed
the legal sufficiency of such tender in the above-cited case of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, and held
that it was sufficient. This assignment of error must therefore be held to be unfounded.
4. The defendants Oreta and Bueno have no interest in the subject matter of this action. it appears that
the defendant Dorado purchased the land from his codefendant Calupitan subsequent to the tender of the
redemption price to the latter by the plaintiff. It does not appear that the property was ever registered by
any one, nor was the document of sale with the right to repurchase registered by either Calupitan or
Lucido. No evidence of the purchase of the land from Calupitan by Dorado is of record with the exception
of the oral testimony although it may be taken as established that such a sale actually took place, since all
the parties interested agree on this point. Dorado himself testified that he purchased the property with the
knowledge that Calupitan had purchased the property from Lucido subject to the right of redemption and
insists that he purchased with the knowledge and consent of Lucido. Lucido denies that he was aware of
the sale of Dorado until after it had taken place. Upon this state on facts, it is clear that the following
provisions of article 1510 of the Civil Code are applicable:
The vendor may bring his action against every possessor whose right arises that of the vendee,
even though in the second contract no mention should have been made of the conventional
redemption; without prejudice to the provisions of the Mortgage Law with regard to third persons.
The provisions of the Mortgage Law with regard to third persons are clearly not applicable to Dorado.
(Manresa, vol., 10, p. 317.)
5. The lower court ordered the redelivery of the land to the plaintiff upon his payment to Calupitan of
P1,600, plus the costs entailed in the execution of the document of repurchase. The amount paid to the
purchaser at the execution sale for the redemption of the property was $1,720.74 Mexican. Of this
amount the plaintiff furnished $120 Mexican, and Calupitan the balance of $1,600.74 Mexican. No amount
is fixed in the document of purchase and sale above set forth, but the amount borrowed from Calupitan to
redeem the land from the execution sale being thus clearly established no objection can be or is made to
the plaintiff's paying this amount. In ordering the payment of this amount to the defendant the lower court
failed to reduce it to Philippine currency. On this appeal plaintiff alleges that this amount in Mexican
currency exceeds the amount he actually owes to the defendant by about P100, but that rather than
spend the time and incur the expense attendant to new trial for the purpose of determining the equivalent
of his amount in Philippine currency he is agreeable to pay the defendant P1,600.74 Philippine currency,
as the redemption price of the property. In view of this offer and in case it is accepted by the defendant it
will be unnecessary to go through formality of a new trial for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of the
fact that it is claimed that Calupitan has sold the land in question to his codefendant, Macario Dorado, and
it not clearly appearing to whom the plaintiff should pay the P1.600.74, we think this amount should be

turned over to the clerk of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Laguna to be held by him until it is
determined in the proper manner who is the owner of this amount, Calupitan for Dorado.
For the foregoing reasons, judgment will be entered directing the defendants Calupitan and Dorado to
deliver the possession of the land in question to the plaintiff upon the plaintiff's depositing with the clerk of
the court the sum of P1,600.74, to be disposed of in the manner above set forth. In all other respects the
judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the appellants Calupitan and Dorado.
Arellano, C.J., Carson and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
MORELAND, J., dissenting:
I am extremely sorry to be obliged to dissent from the opinion of my brethren. Were it not for the fact that I
regard the decision in this case so fundamental in character and its effects on the law relative to sales
with the right of repurchase so far-reaching, I would be silent. I cannot permit to pass unchallenged a
doctrine which, in my judgment, if followed in the future, as it is to be presumed it will be, renders entirely
ineffective the main provisions of the statute law governing a given subject. This decision, taken together
with that of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza (25 Phil., Rep., 495), I regard as an abrogation, a repeal of
article 1508 of the Civil Code, together with those articles which depend upon it. I dissented in the case
of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza. Only one phrase of the question was really raised, presented, or
argued in that case. A further study of the question involved both in that case and the one at bar brought
the strong conviction that the decisions in this case are not wrong in a fundamental sense but result in a
destruction of the provisions of the Civil Code governing the contract known as a sale with the right of
repurchase. The question raised and argued in this case covers the whole filed, whereas in Rosales vs.
Reyes and Ordoveza only one phase was touched by the briefs of the parties. I feel that the decision
in Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza should be reexamined in view of the fact that the real questions
involved were not presented or argued and, therefore, not considered in the opinion in that case.
THE FACTS.
The plaintiff, by a written instrument, sold to the defendant certain lands, expressly reserving to himself
the right to repurchase the same at a given price, but without fixing in the instrument the period within
which the repurchase must be made. The conveyance contained a provision that the repurchase could
not be made "until after three years from his date." This document bears date March 30, 1903. The
contract become effective and went into operation on this date, the vendor receiving his money and the
purchaser his title and other rights created by the contract on that date.
This action was commenced February 17, 1910, nearly seven years after the date of the contract, to
compel the defendant to accept the sum specified in the conveyance as the repurchase price and to
deliver tot he plaintiff the premises described therein.
THE LAW APPLICABLE TO THE CASE
As the facts are admitted so, also, is the law governing the case. It is admitted by all that the first
paragraph of article 1508 of the Civil Code must rule in the decision of this case. I quote that article as
well as those proceeding and succeeding, to which it refers to which are material:
ART. 1506. The sale shall be rescinded for the same causes as all other obligations, and
furthermore for those mentioned in all preceding chapters and by conventional or legal
redemption.

ART. 1507. Conventional redemption shall exist when the vendor reserves to himself the right to
recover the thing sold, binding himself to fulfill that which is stated in article 1518, and whether
more may have been stipulated.
ART. 1508. The right stated in the preceding article, in default of an express stipulation, shall last
four years to be counted from the date of the contract.
When a stipulation exists, the term shall not exceed ten years.
ART. 1509. When the vendor does not comply with the provisions of article 1518, the vendee
shall irrevocably acquire the ownership of the thing sold.
xxx

xxx

xxx

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

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

neither of you can, by any sort of legerdemain, evade or escape, which is that the repurchase must be
made within four years, and that the said four years shall be counted from the date of the contract."
This is what the law says, in effect, to the parties to the contract which I am discussing. Into every
contract of sale with right of repurchase the law itself writes a term. The parties themselves are not free to
contract as they will. They may be make only part of the contract. The law makes the remainder. The
parties may contract as they will in relation to those matters within their powers and may create, destroy,
alter and suspend rights and obligations as they please; but may they do the same with regard to he
terms which the law writes into their contract or the rights and obligations which it create? It would seem
not; and yet the decision of the court in this case permit precisely that. The decision lays down the
proposition and applies it to the case under discussion that, while the contract between the parties is in
full force and effect from its date, the vendor having received the purchase price and the purchaser his
title and his possession or income on and from that date, nevertheless, the parties may, at will, suspend
the force and operation of the term which the law wrote into the contract. In other words, although a
contract is in full force and effect in complete operation, the parties may suspend the law applicable
thereto. The contention that, although a contract may be perfected and in operation, the parties enjoying
their respective rights thereunder, they may permit the application to such contract of only such law as
pleases them and when it pleases them needs only to be stated to provoke its immediate rejection. Yet
this is in effect what the parties to the contract before us have done. They have made a contract to which
the four-year limitation is concededly (the court so finds expressly) applicable. The contract goes into
instant operation, the parties exercising their respective rights and assuming their respective obligations
thereunder. In spite, however, of all this, they are permitted to suspend for three years the law applicable
to the contract and to say that it shall not apply for that period; that is, they are allowed to say, with full
effect, that the four years shall not begin to run from the date of the contract, a provided by law, but from
some other which they themselves fix.
In order to arrive at this, to me, extraordinary result, the date of a contract of sale with of repurchase is
held, in effect, without significance in applying article 1508 of the Civil Code to such contract. This holding
is very serious in its result for, next to the period itself, the most important factor in such a contract is, for
the purpose before us, the date thereof. This is too evident to require words when we note that article
1508, as we have so often seen, expressly requires that the four-yea period shall be "counted from
the date of the contract." Nevertheless, no importance seems to have been attached to the date of the
contract in the application of said article. Is the date of the contract mentioned or even remotely referred
to in the decision in this case? Yes, the date is expressly found; but not for the purpose of fixing the time
from which the four years mentioned in the law should be counted; but, rather, for the purpose of fixing
the time from who which it should not be counted. Is the date of the contract the subject of consideration
in the case of Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, referred to in the decision of this case? Yes it was
expressly found therein; but, as I understand it, no consideration was given to that date with the object of
fixing the precise time from which the four years should run. On the contrary, whatever attention was
given to the date, was given for the purpose, and the sole purpose, of fixing the point from which
the three years suspension of the right to repurchase should be counted. Nowhere, in either case, has the
court, so far as I can see, given the slightest consideration of the date of the contracts in both cases, as
the court expressly did inRosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza and expressly and specially does in the case
at bar, the court refuses to count the four years from the that date, as article 1508 absolutely requires, but,
instead, counts the four years from a point placed three years after the date of the contract. It would seem
that where the law requires a thing to be done within four years from a date, the whole problem is solved
when the date is found and fixed. Absolutely nothing remains but plain addition. No question of the court,
as to the suspension, or the setting forward, of thedate of the contract three years, or any other time. The
court had found the date and set it out and fixed it in this case as in the other. It has expressly found in
this case over and over again that the date of the contract in that which it bears, namely, March 30, 1903,
and not March 30, 1906. The decision says: "On March 30, 1903, a public document was executed,"
referring to the contract before us. The decision quotes the contract, which contains these words: "The
lands cannot be redeemed until after three years from this date." "This date" is March 30, 1903. The court
again expressly refers to the date of the contract in the paragraph of the decision numbered two. There is
absolutely no question therefore, of suspending or setting forward the date of the contract three years, as

the court has found that the parties did not do it or attempt to do it but, instead, fixed the date which it
bears as the date of the contract. Why, then, is the four years not counted from that date instead of March
30,1906? I find it impossible to explain this satisfactorily to myself. The court itself seems to give no
explanation either in this case or in Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza. The only thing we find in this
connection is in the letter case where the court says: "In all such cases it would seem that the vendor
should be allowed four years from the expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be
exercised . . . ." This is not an explanation of the action of the court, as understand it. it refer to no law,
cites no article of the Civil Code, but simply states that this is what "should be allowed." The point, it
seems to me, is what does the law says? Does article 1508 provide that the four years shall be counted
"from the expiration of the time within which the right the four years "shall be counted from the date of the
contract?" Whence comes the authority to count the four years "from the expiration of the time within
which the right to redeem could not be exercised," as something that "should be allowed" except what the
law allows? It seems to have the same fundamental misapprehension as appears in the question
propounded in the same decision: "In such case the question arises, Upon what basis must the duration
of the right to repurchase be calculated?" What other basis can there be to calculate the "duration of the
right to repurchase" except the basis fixed by the law? Why look afield for a "basis" when the law puts it
under the very nose? The law says it is "the date of the contract," as plainly as words can speak. The
"time within which the right to redeem could not be exercised" has, as I view it, nothing to do with the
application of the four-year period under article 1508. It does not recognize any time or period during
which the redemption can not be made; but the precise contrary; it recognizes only a period in which
it can be made. I cannot see how one can be substituted for the other when they see exact opposites. If
the four years must be counted from the date of the contract, and the parties to the contract have fixed
the date, and the court by solemn declaration has also fixed the date, how can it be conceived that the
four years can be counted from a different date?
What I regard as the fallacy of the reasoning employed is demonstrated by the following syllogism both
premises of which are actual findings of the court, and the conclusion precisely its conclusion:
First premises: Article 1508 provides that the four years shall be "counted from the date of the contract."
Second premises: The "date of the contract" is March 30, 1903.
The conclusion: Therefor, the four years must be counted from March 30, 1906.
As I have said before, no explanation is given for this. The mere declaration that the four years shall be
counted "from the expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be exercised" is, it
seems to me, no explanation. It merely accentuates the irremediable quality of the syllogism.
From these remarks it is clear, to my mind, that in this decision the court holds that the date of the
contract is without significance in applying article 1508 to a sale with a right to repurchase. Although in
both of the cases under discussion, the one at bar and Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza, the court found
and fixed the date of the contract, it apparently held that date to be of no importance in connection with
the express wording of article 1508, disregarded it, and proceeded to count the four years from a different
date.
Nor can it be urged in palliation or explanation of the apparent failure to apply the law, after having
expressly found all the grounds necessary for its application, that it must be presumed that it was
intended to hold that the date of the contract was fixed by parties, implied at least, as of the time when the
three-year suspension terminated; and that, the true date of the contract being March 10, 1906, instead of
1903, the four years should be counted from that date. Such a suggestion cannot be accepted. The date
of a contract is fixed by law in certain cases and for certain purposes and the parties cannot alter or
change it. Manresa (vol. 10, p. 303) says that "the phrase 'date of the contract' must not always be taken
literally. The date o the contract is the date from which that contract begins to produced its natural
effects." That is, "the date which fixes the moment of the consummation of the purchaser, the moment

when the vendor is divested of his rights and receives the price that was in such event stipulated."
Scaevola (vol. 23, pp. 769, 770) says:
(A) Computation of the periods. In the solution of problems of computation, the essential
datum is the starting point, and this the code furnishes us with unsurpassable clearness. The right
to recover the thing sold, with the resultant obligations to restore and immediately, lasts four
years, or the time agreed upon, provided it does not exceed ten years, counted from the date of
the contract. This definiteness with which the legislator has fixed the commencement of the
period implicitly carries in itself the determination of the point discussed by jurists but which is no
longer of moment. May the condition of repurchase be stipulated through a consideration distinct
from that of purchase and sale? We find the answer in article 1508: If, in computing the time, its
commencement must necessarily run from the date of the contract, and it is understood that of
sale is alluded to, then the covenant of repurchase must be consubstantial with the contract,
implying a condition of the same, and both the conveyance and the condition subsequent are
governed by one single consent. The subsequent agreement might be a new contract equivalent
to a promise of sale, but to produces a personal, not a real, action; it does not convert the original
indefeasible contract into one revocable by its nature. Legal redemption is connascent with the
contract of purchase and sale; they both came into judicial life in the same birth.
While, as Manresa says, the contract may not be of the precise date which the instrument actually bears,
the real date can not be later than the time when the contract actually takes effect, that is, the time when
the parties obtain their rights and assume their obligations under it. Parties who, on a particular day,
accepted the mutual between them, in other words, put the contract into operation, cannot be heard to
say that the date was not the real date of the contract and that the true date was three years thence. This
is especially so in respect of contracts which, from the nature of the subject matter and form of the
covenants, take on a public aspect and as to which laws have been specially passed for the protection of
the public interests.
Therefore, the purpose of article 1508 being , as we have already shown, to prevent the contract dealt
with therein from unsettling the title to the real estate which is the subject matter thereof for periods
beyond those provided for in that section, no person will be permitted, on my sort of pretense, to produce
the result by said section sought to be avoided; and especially not by a method so wholly without
foundation or merits as that of claiming that the true date of a contract is not that on which the contract
goes into full operation but such as the parties may e pleased to fix. When contracts operate, the law
applicable to them operates. The proposition that persons may make and enjoy the benefits of contracts
and still prevent the law operating upon them is one that would, if adhered to, result of the decision in this
case is to lay down precisely this proposition. The court says that, while the contract took effect and went
into full operation on the 30th of March, 1903, article 1508 of the Civil Code did not begin to operate upon
it till the 30th of March, 1906; and why? Simply because, the court seems to say, the parties agreed to
suspend the tax until that time. This would seem to be erroneous when confronted with the proposition
that the law held to be suspended was one in the interest of the public as well as the parties, May
contracts suspend laws of this nature?
Moreover, the contention that the parties suspended the contract, to its date, fails, in my judgment, to
perceive the distinction between the suspension of the operation of a contract and the suspension of the
law which governs the contract. As I have already noted, parties to contracts, after they are executed,
may suspend their operation until such time as they please. In such case they take no present benefits
and incur no present obligations under the contract. No present rights or interests are transmitted. It is
executed and laid away and nothing is done under it still the date to which its operation was suspended.
This is a suspension of the operation of the contract, of the date, if you please. Such a procedure is
recognized a legal. But nothing of this was done in the case before us. The contract took effect at once. It
is the law applicable thereto which was suspended.
As I have already intimated, the doctrine that the parties may, at will, suspend the operation of the statute
and thereby destroy the force and effect of the four-year limitation is fatal to the efficacy of the law

governing sales with right to repurchase. In effect, it repeals it. it is clear, they if the parties may suspend
the law for three years, they may suspend it for ten years, or twenty years, or fifty years, or for any period
that pleases them. This, of course, makes the law a farce and destroys its value completely.
It appears that the court in the decision under discussion foresaw, to some extent at least, the fatal results
which would follow such a doctrine and apparently sought to avoid, in part, the evil results thereof. To
accomplish this it brought into requisition the ten-year limitation found in the same article of the code, and
declared that, although the four-year period was applicable to the contract at its origin, the ten-year period
also was applicable thereto; so, that although persons may suspend the operation of the ten-year
limitation, they may not do so to such an extent that the period of suspension added to the four years will
exceed ten years. The germ of this strange theory is found in this expression of the court:
In such a case the question arises: Upon what basis must the duration of the right to repurchase
be calculated? Any such contract must necessarily be terminated ten years from the date of its
execution, but should the vendor have the privilege to exercise this right for the balance of the ten
years, or should he be allowed only four years on the ground that there was no express
agreement of the parties upon this point? In all such cases it would seem that the vendor should
be allowed four years from the expiration of the time within which the right to redeem could not be
exercised, or in the event that four years would extend the life of the contract beyond ten years,
the balance of the ten-year period, on the ground that vendors, where the right to redeem is not
thus suspended and no express agreement as to the length of time during which it may be
exercised is made, are also allowed four years.
The error into which the court appears to me to have fallen in making this suggestion is plain. It is held by
virtue of this suggestion, that the four-year period and the ten- year period apply to the same contract.
This appears to me to be an impossibility on its face, impossible by virtue of language itself. When it
made the suggestion by virtue of the court was engaged in interpreting a contract which, by its express
holding, was such a contract in form and nature that the four-year period and not the ten-year period
applied to it. That the four-year period was applicable the court expressly holds. This holding was arrived
at by selecting between the four and ten-year period. The very first thing the court to do in interpreting the
contract was to determine which period was applicable, the four o the ten. It held hat the four-year period
was applicable. That necessarily held that ten-year period was not. Where it is necessary to make a
choice between two periods of limitation, the selection of the one is necessarily the rejection of the other.
Therefore, when the court made the suggestion that the ten-year period was also applicable, it had
already held that it was not. This, in itself, it seems to me, is a complete refutation of the suggestion; or,
perhaps better said, the suggestion is incomplete contradiction of the previous action of the court when it
held that the four and not the ten-year period was applicable.
If anything further were needed to show the fallacy of the proposition involved in this suggestion that both
periods are applicable to the same court, the question might be put: What is the reason that the court
decided that the four- year period was applicable instead of the ten-year period?
The answer to that question completely impossible the theory now under discussion and show how
impossible it is to sustain it. Whether the four-year period or the ten-year period applies to a given
contract depends upon thenature of that contract. The four-year period applies to a contract, not by virtue
of the time which it is to run, but by virtue of the nature thereof. The test as to whether the four-year
period applies is: Did the parties expressly stipulated in their contract a period within which the
repurchase might be made? If they did not, the four-year period is applicable. That is the decisive feature
which determines whether the four-year or ten-year period is applicable. If the parties did expressly
stipulated the time within which the repurchase might be made, then the ten-year period applies. It is thus
clear that the conditions which determine in favor of the application of the four-year period are precisely
the opposite of those which determine in favor of the ten-year period. In other words, if the conditions are
such that the four-year period is applicable, then they are such as to render it impossible that the ten-year
period be applicable; and we behold a condition in which it is utterly impossible, legally or logically,that
both periods of limitation be applicable to the same contract. In spite of this, however, it is contended by

the decision that, although it is conceded that the parties did not expressly stipulated the time within which
the repurchase might be made and that, therefore, the four-year period was applicable, nevertheless, the
ten-year period was also applicable. This is impossible in the face of the fact that the court at to the
threshold of the inquiry expressly held that the ten-year limitation had no application; and the reasons
given why the ten-year period has a no limitation did apply. The only reasons given, so far as I can gather,
for applying both periods to the same contract is to prevent the first error, namely permitting the parties to
suspend the operation of the four-year limitation, from destroying the efficacy of the law altogether. For, if
the parties may suspend the operation of the law at will, then not only is the four-year restriction rendered
worthless but the ten-year limitation also. To avoid this result, the decision committed the other error of
applying both limitations to the same sale. But the error committed in saying that 2 and 2 make 5 cannot
be corrected by holding thereafter than 2 and 3 make 4.
Besides the error of applying to the same contract two periods of limitation which depend upon precisely
opposite conditions, the court, in my humble opinion, has also committed the further error of confounding
the nature of the two limitations. The four-year limitation is really a limitation. Where the parties say
nothing about the time for redemption, then the law imposes a limitation as to the time. On the other hand,
the provision which contains the ten-year limitation does not create a limitation on the contract, as does
the first. It simply places a limitation upon the power of the parties as to their stipulations. It provides that
they may not contract for a longer period of redemption than ten-years. It is not, therefore, a statute of
limitations, nor does it have the significance, force or effect thereof. The ten-year limitation prohibits an
act. The four-year period limits the life of the contract. The ten-year limitation applies to the acts of the
parties. The four-year limitation applies to the contract after it is executed. The one is a limitation. The
other is a prohibition. This decision is not made in the decision ; and, taken together with the fact that the
two period of limitation depend for their existence and limitation upon exactly opposite conditions, we see
clearly the error committed applying both limitations to the same contract. The statute had in mind the
covering of two radically different conditions, one with a limitation and the other with a prohibition. The
court, by its decision, destroyed the limitation and made the prohibition cover both conditions.
That the decision has destroyed one limitation and made the order applicable to both conditions specified
in the code is clear, for, if the parties may suspend the operation of the four-year period for six years and
then, in accordance with the holding of the court, may add the four-year period to that, they have taken
advantage of a ten-year period without fulfilling the conditions which the laws requires before they have a
right to do so. It has already been held by this court that the limitations specified in article 1508 cannot be
enlarged, as they refer to matters of public concern; and any method which extends these limitations, or
either of them, beyond the periods named in the law trenches on the public welfare and destroys to that
extent the value of the provisions designed to preserve and protect it. Therefore, it is a matter of public
concern that the parties who refused to put in their contract the period during which they desired the right
of repurchase to continue, should be restricted in such right to the period which the law names, namely,
four years; whereas, if the parties are willing to state the period during which the right of repurchase shall
run, law gives them the right to stipulate a more generous period, namely, ten years. In other words, the
law, if we so speak, places a premium upon the open and clear expression of the time by giving the
parties a ten-year privilege as against the grant of only four years where the parties refuse to be clear and
definite. It is the policy of the law to destroy uncertainties in contracts of this character, and where the
uncertainty is the greatest the law restricts the period most. Where the uncertainty is least, the law
restricts the period less. The decision puts parties who do not expressly stipulate the period of redemption
in exactly the same position as those who do stipulate, and gives them exactly the same privileges. In
other words, under the holding of the court, the parties, although they have not expressly stipulated the
term of redemption in there contact, may, nevertheless, by the legerdemain of suspending the operation
of the statutory period for repurchase, obtain exactly the same period for their contract as the parties to
another contract who have expressly stipulated the period. This wipes out the division or classification
made in the law, destroys the difference between the parties who act openly and those who do not and
gives the same privileges to both.
There is another and fundamental reason why the decision of the court is erroneously; and that s that the
suspension of the application of the four-year limitation destroys the essential element and charges the

distinctive character of the sale with a right to repurchase, as it is known to the Spanish law, and coverts
the contract into one of mere loan on security. One of the essential requisites of the contract of sale
with pacto de retro is the right of the vendor to repurchase when he will. The code itself speaks in no
other way of the period of repurchase than to declare that the repurchase may be made within the period
specified. It is not like a promissory note or mortgage, under which the indebtedness therein mentioned or
secured must be paid on the date named. The contract under discussion provides always, and no other
description of it is given by any statute or other, that the repurchase may be made within a given time.
This means, of course, that the time when the repurchase is made is left to the will of the vendor. He can
repurchase on any one of the days which constitute the period agreed upon or fixed by the statute.
This theory corresponds perfectly with the history of the contract. It originated, so far its Spanish history is
concerned, in the Province of Catalonia and was devised to assist landholders in cultivating heir land. A
landholders, not having sufficient funds with which to properly cultivate his various parcels, would obtain a
loan, selling, as security for the loan, one of the parcels, reserving the right to repurchase the same. The
time within which the borrower could make the repurchase was generally not known. It if depended either
upon the time when he could sell the crop which he, perhaps at the time, had in the warehouse, or upon
the time when he could harvest and market the crops for the cultivation and harvesting of which the
money was borrowed. This being so, the precise time for repurchase could not, as a general rule, be
fixed. The borrower could not say that he would repay it six months, or nine months, or a year from date,
or at any other specific time. It depended on when the crop was ripened and ready for harvest and when it
could be marketed thereafter. These things were, in turn, dependent upon so many uncertainties that it
became the custom to leave the time during which the repurchase could be made entirely to the will of the
vendor. So thoroughly was this understood that the contract in Catalonia was called a venta a carta de
gracias. This special and distinctive feature was carried into Civil Code and, as we have seen, it is
provided that the right to repurchase shall continue (durara) for four years, during any one of the days
constituting which the repurchase can be made. Every author who treats the subject uses, with reference
to the period of redemption, the words "dentro," within, indicating that the right may be exercised at any
time withinthe period named. The fact is that the right to repurchase at any moment is such an essential
part of a sale with a right to repurchase that its existence is taken for granted by all the authors dealing
with the subject. I have found none who directly discuss the question; but all of them go upon
assumptions which sustain the proposition I am presenting.
If my contention be sustainable, then the purchaser, if he intends to create a sale right of repurchase, has
no right to prohibit the vendor a privilege which the law confers upon him and makes use of it for the
enrichment of the purchaser. It is generally stated by Spanish authors dealing with the subject that the
purchaser cannot, by stipulation in the contract, compel the vendor to repurchase; and that if such a
stipulation is placed in the contract, it changes its essential nature and transforms it into a mere contract
of loan on security, something in the nature of a pledge of real estate. Scaevola (vol. 23, p. 764) says:
If the stipulation were such as to oblige the vendor to avail himself of his right of repurchase, the
judicial institution or organism thus created would be a different thing from a sale with a right of
repurchase, the nature of which does not allow that a covenant introduced for the benefit of the
vendor may be converted into an instrument against him of which the purchaser may make
exclusive use.
If this is true, and I regard the provision stated by Scaevola as universally accepted, then why should not
the same result follow where the purchaser prohibits the vendor from repurchasing for a given time?
Certainly the prohibition against the repurchaser is far more injurious to the vendor and beneficial to the
purchaser than the requirement that he must repurchase. The obligation to repurchase is not necessarily
a severe one, whereas the prohibition against repurchase for six years, for example, may be a very
severe blow to the vendor's interests. Not only that, but it enables the lender to obtain by means of this
contract, which the law designed primarily for the benefit of the vendor, not only all of the privileges which
inure to him by virtue thereof, but also the additional advantage which inheres in mortgage, or, a long
period during which he may draw interest or have complete possession and control of the property
purchased.

In this addition it must not be forgotten that, on the execution of a sale with a right of repurchase, the
purchaser has the right of immediate possession. Now, if he be permitted, by stipulation in the contract, to
prohibit the vendor from repurchasing for six years, then he not only obtains the title to the property itself
as security for repayment, but he also deprives the vendor of the possession of his property for an
extremely long period. This is one of the precise things that the Civil Code sought to prevent. As a
necessary consequence, the decision of the court, that a sale with a right of repurchase is permissible
which prohibits the vendor from repurchasing for six years, appears to me to be in direct violation of the
spirit which permitted the code, and results in delivering the borrower into the power of the lender, from
whose hands it was the intention and purpose of the Civil Code to rescue him. It is no reply to my
argument to urge that the code permits parties to stipulate a ten-year period, for, under such stipulation
the vendor may repurchase at any time he pleases during the ten years.
The decision says: "But if it were held that, regardless of such a provision, the redemption right expires
within four years from the date of the contract unless there is a special provision as to how long this right,
once effective, shall continue, many other perfectly valid contract can be conceived For instance, if the
stipulation in question had provided that the right to redeem should not be exercised within five years from
the date of the contract, it is quite apparent that, according to the argument adduced by the defendants,
the vendor could not have redeemed the property at all, for the right to do so would have expired one year
previously."
This portion of the decision merely assumes that a stipulation suspending the application of the four-year
period for five years is valid. This is unquestionably true; but it misses the whole question at issue when
viewed from the standpoint from which I am now discussing it. The point is, does such a stipulation
destroy the nature of the relation between the parties; that is, does it destroy the contract as a sale with a
right of repurchase, and transform it into another and entirely different contract? No one contends that
such a stipulation is valid; the sole contention is that it is not valid, proper, or permissible stipulation in a
sale with a right to repurchase and that it destroys the essential nature of the contract and transforms it in
to something entirely different. The proposition I am presenting is that such a stipulation converts the sale
with right of repurchase, as the Code knows it, into a mere relation of borrower and lender, thereby
destroying completely the relation of vendor and vendee; and that none of the provisions of the Civil Code
relating to such a sale are applicable. Such a stipulation may be valid and its presence may not render
the agreement void in the general sense; but it does render the contract void as a sale with right of
repurchase. This is the point. The decision assumes that the parties, in a contract of sale with a right of
repurchase, may do whatever they please and the contract still remains a sale with a right of repurchase.
The contention that I am making is that such a contract is of a highly special nature, in many of its aspects
strictly statutory, and that, when certain of its elements are destroyed, it ceases to be such a contract and
becomes something different; that when such a contract provides that the vendor must repurchase, that
stipulation changes the nature of the contract and transforms it into something different, and that where it
stipulates that the vendor shall not repurchase, that stipulation also changes the nature of the contract
and converts it into a different species of relation. To repeat, then: A stipulation in a contract of sale with a
right to repurchase that the vendor shall not repurchase during a period of years is a stipulation in
violation of the essential nature of the contract, which deprives the vendor for the protection which the
statute gives him, which places him in the power of the lender from which it was the intention of the law to
rescue him, and transforms and converts it into one of loan on security which is governed by principles
wholly different from those that govern the sale with pacto de retro.

Republic
SUPREME
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-37420 July 31, 1984

of

the

Philippines
COURT

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

MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.:
This Petition for Review on Certiorari, treated as a special civil action. 1 prays that the judgment rendered
by the then Court of Appeals in the consolidated cases, CA-G.R. NO. 34998-R entitled " Macaria A.
Torres, plaintiff-appellee vs. Vicente Santillan, et al., defendants-appellants",and CA-G.R. No. 34999-R
entitled "Vicente Santillan, et al., plaintiffs-appellants vs. Macaria A. Bautista, et al., defendantsappellees and the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration and Petition for New Trial, be set
aside; and that, instead, The Order of the Court of First Instance of August 7, 1963 be affirmed, or, in the
alternative, that the case be remanded to it for new trial.
Involved in this controversy are the respective claims of petitioner and private respondents over Lot No.
551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate (part of the friar lands) in Tanza, Cavite, with an area of
approximately 1,622 square meters. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 issued in the
name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres.
The facts of the case cover three generations. The propositus, Margarita Torres, during the Spanish
regime, was married to Claro Santillan. Vicente and Antonina were begotten of this union. Claro died
leaving Margarita a widow. Antonina married and had six children, namely: Alfredo, Salud (married to
Baldomero Buenaventura), Demetria (married to Leonardo Quinto), Adelina (married to Cesario
Punzalan), Tomas and Amado all surnamed Narciso, who, together with Vicente Santillan, are the private
respondents. Antonina died before the institution of the cases while Vicente died on June 4, 1957, 2 during
the pendency of the cases in the Trial Courts, without progeny .
After the death of her husband, Margarita Torres cohabited with Leon Arvisu Arbole, without benefit of
marriage. Out of their cohabitation, petitioner Macaria Torres (later married to Francisco Bautista) was
born on June 20, 1898, and baptized on June 26, 1898. In a Certificate of Baptism issued by the Parish
Priest of Tanza, Cavite, Leon Arvisu Arbole and Margarita Torres were named as father and mother of
petitioner whose name was listed as Macaria Arvisu", (Exhibit "C" Another Baptismal Certificate, however,
listed her name as Macaria Torres, while her father's name was left blank (Exhibit "4"). Subsequently, or
on June 7, 1909, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres were married (Exhibit "A"). Petitioner lived with and
was reared by her parents. Margarita, the mother, died on December 20, 1931 (Exhibit "D"), while Leon,
the father, passed away on September 14, 1933 (Exhibit " E ").

Lot No. 551, an urban lot with an area of 1,622 sq. ms., more or less, had been leased temporarily by the
Government (Lease No. 17) to Margarita Torres who was the actual occupant of the lot. The date of the
lease cannot be determined with exactitude from the records. On December 13, 1910, the Government,
through the Director of Lands, issued to Margarita Torres, Sale Certificate No. 222 (Exhibit "B") over the
said lot at the price of P428.80, payable in 20 annual installments of P20.00 each. The rental/s previously
paid of P17.40 was credited to the purchase price. Testimonial evidence is to the effect that Leon Arbole
paid the installments out of his earnings as a water tender at the Bureau of Lands, Tanza, Cavite. The last
installment, however, was paid on December 17, 1936, or three (3) years after his death.
On August 25, 1933, twenty (20) days before his death, Leon Arbole sold and transferred in a notarial
deed all his rights and interest to the one-half (1/2) portion of Lot No. 551 in favor of petitioner, for the sum
of P300.00. 3
On June 6, 1953, Vicente Santillan executed an Affidavit claiming possession of Lot No. 551 and asking
for the issuance of title in his name, which he filed with the Bureau of Lands. Based thereon, the Bureau
of Lands issued the corresponding patent in the name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres. Transfer
Certificate of Title No. T-6804 was eventually issued by the Register of Deeds of Cavite on November 7,
1957, also in the name of said heirs.
On June 3, 1954, private respondents filed a complaint against petitioner for Forcible Entry, with the
Justice of the Peace Court of Tanza, Cavite, alleging that petitioner had entered a portion of Lot No. 551
without their consent, constructed a house. and refused to vacate upon demand. For her part, petitioner
claimed that she is a co-owner of the lot in question, being one of the daughters of Margarita Torres. The
ejectment case was decided against petitioner and the latter appealed to the then Court of First Instance
of Cavite, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 5547 (Ejectment Case).
On June 8, 1954, petitioner instituted an action for partition of Lot No. 551 before the then Court of First
Instance of Cavite, docketed as Civil Case No. 5505 (Partition Case), alleging that said lot was conjugal
property of the spouses Margarita Torres and Leon Arbole, and that she is their legitimated child. Private
respondents filed an Answer alleging that the lot belonged exclusively to Margarita Torres; that they are
her only heirs, and that the complaint for partition should be dismissed.
The Ejectment Case and the Partition Case were jointly tried and decided on November 20, 1958 with a
finding that Lot No. 551 is the paraphernal property of Margarita Torres and adjudicating to private
respondents two-thirds (2/3) of the property in equal shares, and to petitioner a one-third (1/3)
portion. 4 Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which private respondents opposed. Pending its
resolution, the Provincial Capitol of Cavite was burned, resulting in the complete destruction of the
records of the two cases, which, however, were later partially reconstituted.
On August 7, 1963, the then Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch 1, issued an Order granting
reconsideration and amending the Decision of November 20, 1958. The positive portion thereof reads as
follows:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. .5505:
(1) Declaring Macaria A. Torres as the legitimated child of the spouses Leon Arbole and
Margarita Torres;
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres;
(3) Adjudicating four-sixths (4/6th of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to Macaria
Torres, and two-sixths (2/6th) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas, Amado, Salud, Demetria
and Adelina, all surnamed Narciso, legitimate children and heirs of the deceased

Antonina Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is already dead. The parties may make the
partition among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, subject to confirmation
by the Court. In fairness, however, to the parties, each party should be alloted that portion
of the lot where his or her house has been constructed, as far as this is possible. In case
the parties are unable to agree upon the partition, the Court shall appoint three
commissioners to make the partition.
As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed.
Without costs in both cases. 5
In concluding that petitioner is a legitimated child, the Trial Court opined:
It is undisputed that when Macaria A. Torres was born on June 20, 1898, her parents,
Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, had the capacity to marry each other. There was no
legal impediment for them to marry It has also been established that Macaria A. Torres
had been taken care of, brought up and reared by her parents until they died. The
certificate of baptism (Exh. "G") also shows that Macaria Torres was given the family
name of Arvisu, which is also the family name of her father, Leon Arbole, and that her
father is Leon Arvisu and her mother is Margarita Torres. Such being the case, Macaria A.
Torres possessed the status of an acknowledged natural child. And when her parents
were married on June 7, 1909, she became the legitimated daughter of on Arbole and
Margarita Torres. 6
Private respondents appealed. On April 2, 1973, the then Court of Appeals 7 rendered the judgment
sought to be set aside herein, the decretal part of which states:
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. 5505:
(1) Declaring that Macaria A. Torres is not the legitimated child of the spouses Leon
Arbole and Margarita Torres;
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; and
(3) Adjudicating one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to Macaria
Torres, and the other half (1/2) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas, Amado, Salud,
Demetria and Adelina, an surnamed Narciso, legitimate children and heirs of Antonina
Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is already dead. The parties may make the partition
among themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, subject to confirmation by the
Court. In fairness, however, to the parties, each party should be alloted that portion of the
lot where his or her house has been constructed, as far as this is possible. In case the
parties are unable to agree upon the partition, the Court shall appoint three
commissioners to make the partition.
As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed.
Without costs in both cases. 8
The Appellate Court was of the opinion that:
Macaria A. Torres is not a legitimated daughter of Leon Arvisu Arbole and Margarita
Torres, the former not having been legally acknowledged before or after the marriage of

her parents. As correctly pointed out by the appellants in their brief, the fact that she was
taken cared of, brought up and reared by her parents until they died, and that the
certificate of baptism (Exhibit "C") shows that she was given the family name of Arvisu did
not bestow upon her the status of an acknowledged natural child.
Under Article 121 of the old Civil Code, the governing law on the matter, children shall be
considered legitimated by subsequent marriage only when they have been acknowledged
by the parents before or after the celebration thereof, and Article 131 of the same code
provides that the acknowledgement of a natural child must be in the record of birth, in a
will or in some public document. Article 131 then prescribed the form in which the
acknowledgment of a natural child should be made. The certificate of baptism of Macaria
A. Torres (Exhibit "C") is not the record of birth referred to in Article 131. This article of the
old Civil Code 'requires that unless the acknowledgement is made in a will or other public
document, it must be made in the record of birth, or in other words, in the civil register
(Samson vs. Corrales Tan, 48 PhiL 406). 9
A Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, dated April 16, 1973, was filed by petitioner. In support
thereof, petitioner submitted a typewritten Sworn Statement, dated March 5, 1930, of spouses Leon
Arvisu (Arbole) and Margarita Torres, 10 reading in full as follows:
SWORN STATEMENT
We, Leon Arvisu and Margarita Torres husband and wife respectively, of majority age,
and residents of the Municipality of Tanza, Province of Cavite, P.I., after being duly sworn
to according to law depose and say
That Macaria de Torres is our legitimized daughter she being born out of wedlock on the
26 th of June 1898 all Tanza, Cavite, but as stated she was legitimized by our subsequent
marriage.
That at the time of her birth or conception, we, her parents could have married without
dispensation had we desired.
That as natural child our aforesaid daughter was surnamed de Torres after that of her
mother's at the time she was baptized as per record on file in the Church.
That as a legitimized daughter she should now be surnamed Arvisu after her father's
family name.
Wherefore, it is respectfully requested to anybody concerned that proper remedy be
made for the change of the surname of said Macaria de Torres as desired.
In testimony hereof, we hereunto signed out names at Tanza, Cavite, this 5th day of
March 1930.

(Thumbmarked)
LEON ARVISU MARGARITA TORRES
Signed in the prsence of:
(Sgd.) Illegible (Sgd.) Macaria Bautista

(Thumbmarked)

x----------------------------------------------------x
UNITED
STATES
PHILIPPINE
MUNICIPALITY
OF
PROVINCE OF CAVITE )

OF
ISLANDS
TANZA

AMERICA
)

)
)
ss

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of March 1930. The affiant Leon Arvisu
exhibited to me no cedula certificate being exempt on account of going over 60 years of
age and Margarita Torres having exhibited no cedula certificate being exempt on account
of her sex.
Witness my hand and seal of office on the date and place aforesaid.
CONSTANCIO
T.
VELASCO
Notary Public, Cavite
Province
Until Dec. 31, 1930.
Not.
Reg.
P.
Book No. III Series of 1930. 11

No.
No.

56
2

The reason given for the non-production of the notarial document during trial was that the same was only
found by petitioner's daughter, Nemensia A. Bautista, among the personal belongings of private
respondent, Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after his death and who may have attempted to suppress
it. Private respondents, for their part, argued against new trial, and contended that it is not newly
discovered evidence which could not have been produced during the trial by the exercise of due
diligence.
The Decision of the Appellate Court was rendered by a Division of three, composed of Justices Jesus Y.
Perez, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes, ponente. When the Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial
was considered, there was disagreement, possibly as to whether or not new trial should be granted in
respect of the sworn statement of March 5, 1930. A Special Division of five was then formed, composed of
Justices Antonio Lucero Magno S. Gatmaitan, Lourdes P. San Diego, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes
(Justice Perez having retired or having disqualified himself). In a minute resolution of August 24, 1973, the
Division of five, by a vote of three or two, denied both reconsideration and new trial.
To warrant review, petitioner, has summarized her submission based on two assignments of error. The
first was expressed as follows:
Although the Court of Appeals is correct in declaring that Macaria A. Torres is not the
legitimated child of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, it has overlooked to
include in its findings of facts the admission made by Vicente Santillan and the heirs of
Antonina Santillan (herein respondents) that Macaria A. Torres and Vicente Santillan and
Antonina Santillan are brother and sisters with a common mother Margarita Torres and
they are the legal heirs and nearest of relatives of Margarita Torres, and as a
consequence thereof, the Court of Appeals had drawn an incorrect conclusion in
adjudicating the entire share of Margarita Torres in the conjugal property solely to Vicente
Santillan and the heirs of Antonina Santillan. (emphasis supplied)
As we understand it, petitioner has conceded, with which we concur, that, without taking account of the
sworn statement of March 5, 1930, she cannot be considered a legitimated child of her parents.

Continuous possession of the status of a natural child, fact of delivery by the mother, etc. will not amount
to automatic recognition, but an action for compulsory recognition is still necessary, which action may be
commenced only during the lifetime of the putative parents, subject to certain exceptions. 12
The admission adverted to appears in paragraph 3 of private respondents' original complaint in the
Ejectment Case reading:
the plaintiffs and the defendant Macaria A. Bautista are the legal heirs and nearest of kins
of Margarita Torres, who died in Tanza, Cavite on December 20, 1931. (Emphasis
supplied).
The statement, according to petitioner, is an admission of her legitimation and is controlling in the
determination of her participation in the disputed property.
We are not persuaded. In the Amended Complaint filed by private respondents in the same Ejectment
Case, the underlined portion was deleted so that the statement simply read:
That the plaintiffs are the legal heirs and nearest of kin of Margarita Torres, who died at
Tanza, Cavite, on December 20, 1931.
In virtue thereof, the Amended Complaint takes the place of the original. The latter is regarded as
abandoned and ceases to perform any further function as a pleading. The original complaint no longer
forms part of the record. 13
If petitioner had desired to utilize the original complaint she should have offered it in evidence. Having
been amended, the original complaint lost its character as a judicial admission, which would have
required no proof, and became merely an extrajudicial admission, the admissibility of which, as evidence,
required its formal offer. Contrary to petitioner's submission, therefore there can be no estoppel by
extrajudicial admission made in the original complaint, for failure to offer it in evidence. 14
It should be noted that in the Partition Case private respondents, in their Answer (parag. 4), denied the
legitimacy of petitioner.
The second error attributed to the Appellate Court has been pleaded as follows:
Also, the Court of Appeals has gravely abused its discretion when it denied the petition
for new trial, knowing as it does that the judgment is clearly erroneous in view of the
evidence which is offered and no amount of diligence on the part of the petitioner could it
be produced in court at any time before it was offered as it was found from the personal
belongings of Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after his death.
It is our considered opinion that new trial was warranted to prevent a possible miscarriage of justice.
Assuming that the genuineness and due execution of the Sworn Statement of March 5, 1930 is
established in accordance with procedural due process, a new trial would resolve such vital
considerations as (1) whether or not said Sworn Statement qualifies as the public document prescribed in
Article 131 of the old Civil Code; 15 (2) whether or not it conforms to an act of acknowledgment by the
parents after the celebration of their marriage as required by Article 121 of the same code; 16 and (3)
whether or not petitioner's signature as a witness to said document was the equivalent of the consent
necessary for acknowledgment of an adult person under Article 133 of that Code. 17 Affirmative answers
would confer upon petitioner the status of a legitimated child of her parents, and would entitle her to enjoy
hereditary rights to her mother's estate.

Private respondents stress that since petitioner signed as a witness to the document she should be
chargeable with knowledge of its existence, and, therefore, the Sworn Statement was not newly
discovered evidence. In our view, the document can reasonably qualify as newly discovered evidence,
which could not have been produced during the trial even with the exercise of due diligence; specially if it
really had been in the possession of Vicente Santillan, an adverse party who, it was alleged, suppressed
the document.
In the interest of judicial expediency, the new trial can be conducted by respondent Appellate Court, now
empowered to do so under Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.
WHEREFORE, this case is hereby remanded to the now Intermediate Appellate Court for new trial, and
depending on its outcome, said Court shall also resolve the respective participation of the parties in the
disputed property, inclusive of the estate of the deceased Vicente Santillan. No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Plana, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.
Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the judgment of the Court remanding the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court for new
trial, specifically for the admission of newly discovered evidence consisting of the sworn statement of
March 5, 1930, wherein petitioner Macaria A. Torres' parents, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres,
expressly recognized Macaria as their "legitimized daughter" who was born out of wedlock to them
(although neither of them was under any impediment to marry at the time of her conception), and was
afterwards legitimated by their subsequent marriage. The admission of such sworn statement, as stated
in the Court's decision penned by Madame Justice Herrera, would prevent a possible miscarriage of
justice and upon the establishment of vital considerations therein stated, would establish Macaria's status
as a legitimated child, which would entitle her to en joy hereditary rights to her mother's estate (one-half
[1/2] of the property in question, at 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon estate), as awarded by the trial court,
but reversed by the appellate court's split 3 to 2 decision.
I write this brief concurrence just to underscore the following:
1. Both the trial and appellate courts are in agreement that the property in question is conjugal partnership
property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres. Both of them are likewise in agreement that
Macaria is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the said propel ty corresponding to her father Leon Arbole by virtue
of her being the sole child and heir of the said Leon Arbole (not to mention that he had during his lifetime
transferred the same to her in full ownership).
What is remanded to the appellate court for resolution is the claim of Macaria that as a legitimated child,
she is entitled to an additional one-third (1/3) share in the other half of the disputed property
corresponding to her mother Margarita Torres or an additional one-sixth (1/6) of the entire property with
the remaining two-sixths (2/6) share corresponding of the heirs, namely, Vicente and Antonina, both
surnamed Santillan, who were born of Margarita Torres' first marriage with Claro Santillan. Thus, the trial
court adjudicated four-sixths (4/6) of the entire property to Macaria and she asks for the reinstatement of
such verdict of the trial court. On the other hand, the appellate court recognized only Macaria Torres' right
to one-half (1/2) or three-sixths (3/6) of the disputed property and gave her no shop. in the other one-half
1/2 or three-sixths (3/6) pertaining to the conjugal share of her mother Margarita.

2. I do not concur with the statement in the Court's main opinion that The admission by respondents in
their original complaint for ejectment against Macaria that they and Macaria are the legal heirs of their
deceased common mother Margarita Torres can no longer be invoked by Macaria as a judicial admission
against said respondents, simply because said respondents had thereafter filed an amended complaint
deleting the admission. Such admission did not cease to be a judicial admission simply because
respondents subsequently deleted the same in their amended complaint. The original complaint, although
replaced by an amended complaint, does not cease to be a part of the judicial record, not having been
expunged therefrom. The precedents cited for not considering this admission against respondents, since
Macaria did not formally offer in evidence the original complaint, do not appear to be applicable and are
based on pure technicality.
As far as Macaria's mother Margarita Torres is concerned, there can be no denying their maternity and
filiation. Macaria's being a duly acknowledged natural child of Margarita is established in the record of
birth, as well as by the very undisputed fact of Margarita having given birth to her. Macaria would,
therefore, be entitled to the full enjoyment of the status of a legitimated child of Margarita by virtue of
Margarita's subsequent marriage with her father Leon Arbole.
The question of admissibility of the original complaint for ejectment as a judicial admission against
respondents remains open, in my view, for proper determination and resolution by the appellate court with
the remand of this case to it for further proceedings.
Separate Opinions
TEEHANKEE, J., concurring:
I concur with the judgment of the Court remanding the case to the Intermediate Appellate Court for new
trial, specifically for the admission of newly discovered evidence consisting of the sworn statement of
March 5, 1930, wherein petitioner Macaria A. Torres' parents, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres,
expressly recognized Macaria as their "legitimized daughter" who was born out of wedlock to them
(although neither of them was under any impediment to marry at the time of her conception), and was
afterwards legitimated by their subsequent marriage. The admission of such sworn statement, as stated
in the Court's decision penned by Madame Justice Herrera, would prevent a possible miscarriage of
justice and upon the establishment of vital considerations therein stated, would establish Macaria's status
as a legitimated child, which would entitle her to en joy hereditary rights to her mother's estate (one-half
[1/2] of the property in question, at 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon estate), as awarded by the trial court,
but reversed by the appellate court's split 3 to 2 decision.
I write this brief concurrence just to underscore the following:
1. Both the trial and appellate courts are in agreement that the property in question is conjugal partnership
property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres. Both of them are likewise in agreement that
Macaria is entitled to one-half (1/2) of the said propel ty corresponding to her father Leon Arbole by virtue
of her being the sole child and heir of the said Leon Arbole (not to mention that he had during his lifetime
transferred the same to her in full ownership).
What is remanded to the appellate court for resolution is the claim of Macaria that as a legitimated child,
she is entitled to an additional one-third (1/3) share in the other half of the disputed property
corresponding to her mother Margarita Torres or an additional one-sixth (1/6) of the entire property with
the remaining two-sixths (2/6) share corresponding of the heirs, namely, Vicente and Antonina, both
surnamed Santillan, who were born of Margarita Torres' first marriage with Claro Santillan. Thus, the trial
court adjudicated four-sixths (4/6) of the entire property to Macaria and she asks for the reinstatement of
such verdict of the trial court. On the other hand, the appellate court recognized only Macaria Torres' right
to one-half (1/2) or three-sixths (3/6) of the disputed property and gave her no shop. in the other one-half
1/2 or three-sixths (3/6) pertaining to the conjugal share of her mother Margarita.

2. I do not concur with the statement in the Court's main opinion that The admission by respondents in
their original complaint for ejectment against Macaria that they and Macaria are the legal heirs of their
deceased common mother Margarita Torres can no longer be invoked by Macaria as a judicial admission
against said respondents, simply because said respondents had thereafter filed an amended complaint
deleting the admission. Such admission did not cease to be a judicial admission simply because
respondents subsequently deleted the same in their amended complaint. The original complaint, although
replaced by an amended complaint, does not cease to be a part of the judicial record, not having been
expunged therefrom. The precedents cited for not considering this admission against respondents, since
Macaria did not formally offer in evidence the original complaint, do not appear to be applicable and are
based on pure technicality.
As far as Macaria's mother Margarita Torres is concerned, there can be no denying their maternity and
filiation. Macaria's being a duly acknowledged natural child of Margarita is established in the record of
birth, as well as by the very undisputed fact of Margarita having given birth to her. Macaria would,
therefore, be entitled to the full enjoyment of the status of a legitimated child of Margarita by virtue of
Margarita's subsequent marriage with her father Leon Arbole.
The question of admissibility of the original complaint for ejectment as a judicial admission against
respondents remains open, in my view, for proper determination and resolution by the appellate court with
the remand of this case to it for further proceedings.

Republic
Supreme
Manila

of

the Philippines
Court

SECOND DIVISION
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE,
Petitioner,

G. R. No. 185568
Present:

- versus -

PETRON CORPORATION,
Respondent.

CARPIO, J., Chairperson,


BRION,
PEREZ,
SERENO, and
REYES, JJ.
Promulgated:
March 21, 2012

x--------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

SERENO, J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure filed by the
Commissioner of Internal Revenue (CIR) assailing the Decision [1]dated 03 December 2008 of the Court of
Tax Appeals En Banc (CTA En Banc) in CTA EB No. 311. The assailed Decision reversed and set aside
the Decision[2] dated 04 May 2007 of the Court of Tax Appeals Second Division (CTA Second Division) in
CTA Case No. 6423, which ordered respondent Petron Corporation (Petron) to pay deficiency excise
taxes for the taxable years 1995 to 1998, together with surcharges and delinquency interests imposed
thereon.

Respondent Petron is a corporation engaged in the production of petroleum products and is a


Board of Investment (BOI) registered enterprise in accordance with the provisions of the Omnibus
Investments Code of 1987 (E.O. 226) under Certificate of Registration Nos. 89-1037 and D95-136. [3]

The Facts

The CTA En Banc in CTA EB Case No. 311 adopted the findings of fact by the CTA Second Division in
CTA Case No. 6423. Considering that there are no factual issues in this case, we likewise adopt the
findings of fact by the CTA En Banc, as follows:
As culled from the records and as agreed upon by the parties in their Joint Stipulation of
Facts and Issues, these are the facts of the case.
During the period covering the taxable years 1995 to 1998, petitioner (herein
respondent Petron) had been an assignee of several Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) from
various BOI-registered entities for which petitioner utilized in the payment of its excise tax
liabilities for the taxable years 1995 to 1998. The transfers and assignments of the said
TCCs were approved by the Department of Finances One Stop Shop Inter-Agency Tax
Credit and Duty Drawback Center (DOF Center), composed of representatives from the
appropriate government agencies, namely, the Department of Finance (DOF), the Board
of Investments (BOI), the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue
(BIR).
Taking ground on a BOI letter issued on 15 May 1998 which states that hydraulic oil,
penetrating oil, diesel fuels and industrial gases are classified as supplies and considered
the suppliers thereof as qualified transferees of tax credit, petitioner acknowledged and
accepted the transfers of the TCCs from the various BOI-registered entities.

Petitioners acceptance and use of the TCCs as payment of its excise tax liabilities for the
taxable years 1995 to 1998, had been continuously approved by the DOF as well as the
BIRs Collection Program Division through its surrender and subsequent issuance by the
Assistant Commissioner of the Collection Service of the BIR of the Tax Debit Memos
(TDMs).
On January 30, 2002, respondent [herein petitioner CIR] issued the assailed Assessment
against petitioner for deficiency excise taxes for the taxable years 1995 to 1998, in the
total amount of 739,003,036.32, inclusive of surcharges and interests, based on the
ground that the TCCs utilized by petitioner in its payment of excise taxes have been
cancelled by the DOF for having been fraudulently issued and transferred, pursuant to its
EXCOM Resolution No. 03-05-99. Thus, petitioner, through letters dated August 31, 1999
and September 1, 1999, was required by the DOF Center to submit copies of its sales
invoices and delivery receipts showing the consummation of the sale transaction to
certain TCC transferors.
Instead of submitting the documents required by the respondent, on February 27, 2002,
petitioner filed its protest letter to the Assessment on the grounds, among others, that:
a.
The BIR did not comply with the requirements of Revenue
Regulations 12-99 in issuing the assessment letter dated January 30,
2002, hence, the assessment made against it is void;
b.
The assignment/transfer of the TCCs to petitioner by the TCC
holders was submitted to, examined and approved by the concerned
government agencies which processed the assignment in accordance with
law and revenue regulations;
c.
There is no basis for the imposition of the 50% surcharge in
the amount of 159,460,900.00 and interest penalties in the amount of
260,620,335.32 against it;
d.
Some of the items included in the assessment are already
pending litigation and are subject of the case entitled Commissioner of
Internal Revenue vs. Petron Corporation, C.A. GR SP No. 55330 (CTA
Case No. 5657) and hence, should no longer be included in the
assessment; and
e.
The assessment and collection of alleged excise tax
deficiencies sought to be collected by the BIR against petitioner through
the January 30, 2002 letter are already barred by prescription under
Section 203 of the National Internal Revenue Code.
On 27 March 2002, respondent, through Assistant Commissioner Edwin R. Abella
served a Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy on petitioner to enforce payment of the
739,003,036.32 tax deficiencies.
Respondent allegedly served the Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy against petitioner
without first acting on its letter-protest. Thus, construing the Warrant of Distraint and/or
Levy as the final adverse decision of the BIR on its protest of the assessment, petitioner
filed the instant petition before this Honorable Court [referring to the CTA Second
Division] on April 2, 2002.
On April 30, 2002, respondent filed his Answer, raising the following as his Special
Affirmative Defenses:

6. In a post-audit conducted by the One-Stop Inter-Agency Tax Credit


and Duty Drawback Center (Center) of the Department of Finance (DOF),
pursuant to the Centers Excom Resolution No. 03-05-99, it was found that
TCCs issued to Alliance Thread Co., Inc., Allstar Spinning, Inc., Diamond
Knitting Corp., Fiber Technology Corp., Filstar Textile Industrial Corp., FLB
International Fiber Corp., Jantex Philippines, Inc., Jibtex Industrial Corp.,
Master Colour System Corp. and Spintex International, Inc. were
fraudulently obtained and were fraudulently transferred to petitioner. As a
result of said findings, the TCCs and the Tax Debit Memos (TDMs) issued
by the Center to petitioner against said TCCs were cancelled by the DOF;
7. Prior to the cancellation of the aforesaid TCCs and TDMs, petitioner
had utilized the same in the payment of its excise tax liabilities. With such
cancellation, the TCCs and TDMs have no value in money or moneys
worth and, therefore, the excise taxes for which they were used as
payment are now deemed unpaid;
8. The cancellation by the DOF of the aforesaid TCCs and TDMs has
the presumption of regularity upon which respondent may validly rely;
9. Petitioner was informed by the DOF of the post-audit conducted on
the TCCs and was given the opportunity to submit documents showing that
the TCCs were transferred to it in payment of petroleum products allegedly
delivered by it to the TCC transferors upon which the TCC transfers were
approved, with the admonition that failure to submit the required
documents would result in the cancellation of the transfers. Petitioner was
also informed of the cancellation of the TCCs and TDMs and the reason for
their cancellation;
10. Since petitioner is deemed not to have paid its excise tax liabilities,
a pre-assessment notice is not required under Section 228 of the Tax
Code;
11. The letter dated January 20, 2002 (should be January 30, 2002),
demanding payment of petitioners excise tax liabilities explicitly states the
basis for said demand, i.e., the cancellation of the TCCs and TDMs;
12. The government is never estopped from collecting legitimate taxes
due to the error committed by its agents (Visayas Cebu Terminal Inc., vs.
Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 13 SCRA 257; Atlas Consolidated
Mining and Development Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, 102 SCRA 246). The acceptance by the Bureau of Internal
Revenue of the TCCs fraudulently obtained and fraudulently transferred to
petitioner as payment of its excise tax liabilities turned out to be a mistake
after the post-audit was conducted. Hence, said payments were void and
the excise taxes may be validly collected from petitioner.
13. As found in the post-audit, petitioner and the TCC transferors
committed fraud in the transfer of the TCCs when they made appear (sic)
that the transfers were in consideration for the delivery of petroleum
products by petitioner to the TCCs transferors, for which reason said
transfers were approved by the Center, when in fact there were no such
deliveries;

14. Petitioner used the TCCs fraudulently obtained and fraudulently


transferred in the payment of excise taxes declared in its excise tax returns
with intent to evade tax to the extent of the value represented by the TCCs,
thereby rendering the returns fraudulent;
15. Since petitioner wilfully filed fraudulent returns, it is liable for the
50% surcharge and 20% annual interest imposed under Sections 248 and
249 of the Tax Code;
16. Since petitioner wilfully filed fraudulent returns with intent to evade
tax, the prescriptive period to collect the tax is ten (10) years from the
discovery of the fraud pursuant to Section 222 of the Tax Code; and
17. The case pending in the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. Sp. No. 55330
[CTA Case No. 5657]), and the case at bar have distinct causes of action.
The former involves the invalid transfers of the TCCs to petitioner on the
theory that it is not a qualified transferee thereof, while the latter involves
the fraudulent procurement of said TCCs and the fraudulent transfers
thereof to petitioner.
However, on November 12, 2002, respondent filed a Manifestation informing this
Court that on May 29, 2002, it had reduced the amount of deficiency excise taxes to
720,923,224.74 as a result of its verification that some of the TCCs which formed part of
the original Assessment were already included in a case previously filed with this Court.
In effect, the amount of deficiency excise taxes is recomputed as follows:
Transferor
Basic Tax
Surcharge
Interest
Total
Alliance Thread Co. Inc. 12,078,823.0 6,039,411.50
16,147,293.21 34,265,527.21
0
Allstar Spinning, Inc.
37,265,310.00 18,632,655.00
49,781,486.95
105,679,451.95
Diamond Knitting
36,764,587.00 18,382,293.50
49,264,758.35
104,411,638.85
Corporation
Fiber Technology Corp. 25,300,911.00 12,650,455.50
34,295,655.90
72,247,022.40
Filstar Textile Corp.
40,767,783.00 20,383,891.50
54,802,550.16
115,954,224.66
FLB International Fiber 25,934,695.00 12,967,347.50
34,977,257.14
73,879,299.64
Corp.
Jantex Philippines, Inc. 12,036,192.00 6,018,096.00
15,812,547.24
33,866,835.24
Jibtex Industrial Corp.
15,506,302.00 7,753,151.00
20,610,319.52
43,869,772.52
Master Colour system 33,333,536.00 16,666,768.00
44,822,167.06
94,822,471.06
Corp.
Spintex
International 14,912,408.00 7,456,204.00
19,558,368.71
41,926,980.71
Inc.
Total

126,950,273.5 340,072,404.2 720,923,224.7


253,900,547.00 0
4
4
During the pendency of the case, but after respondent had already submitted his Formal
Offer of Evidence for this Courts consideration, he filed an Urgent Motion to Reopen
Case on August 24, 2004 on the ground that additional evidence consisting of documents
presented to the Center in support of the TCC transferors claims for tax credit as well as
document supporting the applications for approval of the transfer of the TCCs to
petitioner, must be presented to prove the fraudulent issuance and transfer of the subject
TCCs. Respondent submits that it is imperative on his part to do so considering that,
without necessarily admitting that the evidence presented in the case of Pilipinas Shell
Petroleum Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, to prove fraud is not clear
and convincing, he may suffer the same fate that had befallen upon therein respondent
when this Court held, among others, that there is no clear and convincing evidence that

the Tax Credit Certificates (TCCs) transferred to Shell (for brevity) and used by it in the
payment of excise taxes, were fraudulently issued to the TCC transferors and were
fraudulently transferred to Shell.
An Opposition to Urgent Motion to Reopen Case was filed by petitioner on September 3,
2004 contending that to sustain respondents motion would smack of procedural disorder
and spawn a reversion of the proceedings. While litigation is not a game of technicalities,
it is a truism that every case must be presented in accordance with the prescribed
procedure to insure an orderly administration of justice.
On October 4, 2004, this Court resolved to grant respondents Motion and allowed
respondent to present additional evidence in support of his arguments, but deferred the
resolution of respondents original Formal Offer of Evidence until after the respondent has
terminated his presentation of evidence. Subsequent to this Courts Resolution,
respondent then filed on October 20, 2004, a Request for the Issuance of Subpoena
Duces Tecum to the Executive Director of the Center or his duly authorized
representative, and on October 21, 2004, a Subpoena Ad Testificandum to Ms. Elizabeth
R. Cruz, also of the Center.
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Re: Resolution dated October 4, 2004) on
October 27, 2004, with respondent filing his Opposition on November 4, 2004, and
petitioner subsequently filing its Reply to Opposition on December 20, 2004. Petitioners
motion was denied by this Court in a Resolution dated February 28, 2005 for lack of
merit.
On March 18, 2005, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion to Revert Case to the First Division
with respondents Manifestation filed on April 6, 2005 stating that the question of which
Division of this Honorable Court shall hear the instant case is an internal matter which is
better left to the sound discretion of this Honorable Court without interference by a party
litigant. On April 28, 2005, this Court denied the Motion of petitioner for lack of merit.
On November 7, 2005, the Court finally resolved respondents Formal Offer of Evidence
filed on May 7, 2004 and Supplemental Formal Offer of Evidence filed on August 25,
2005. On November 22, 2005, respondent filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of
the Courts Resolution to admit Exhibits 31 and 31-A on the ground that he already
submitted and offered certified true copies of said exhibits, which the Court granted in its
Resolution on January 19, 2006.
However, on February 10, 2006, respondent filed a Motion to Amend Formal Offer of
Evidence praying that he be allowed to amend his formal offer since some exhibits
although attached thereto were inadvertently not mentioned in the Formal Offer of
Evidence. Petitioners Opposition was filed on March 14, 2006. This Court granted
respondents motion in the Resolution dated April 24, 2006 and considering that the
parties already filed their respective Memoranda, this case was then considered
submitted for decision.
On May 16, 2006, however, respondent filed an Omnibus Motion praying that this Court
take judicial notice of the fact that the TCCs issued by the Center, including the TCCs in
this instant case, contained the standard Liability Clause and that the case be
consolidated with CTA Case No. 6136, on the ground that both cases involve the same
parties and common questions of law or fact. An Opposition/Comment on Omnibus
Motion was filed by petitioner on June 26, 2006, and Reply to Opposition/Comment was
filed by respondent on July 17, 2006.
In a Resolution promulgated on September 1, 2006, this Court granted respondents
motion only insofar as taking judicial notice of the fact that each of the dorsal side of the

TCCs contains the subject liability clause, but denied respondents motion to consolidate
considering that C.T.A. Case No. 6136 was already submitted for decision on April 24,
2006.[4]

The Ruling of the Court of Tax AppealsSecond Division


(CTA Case No. 6423)

On 04 May 2007, the CTA Second Division promulgated a Decision in CTA Case No. 6423, the dispositive
portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition for Review is
hereby DENIED for lack of merit. Accordingly, petitioner is ORDERED TO PAY the
respondent the reduced amount of SIX HUNDRED MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY
NINE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE AND 95/100 PESOS
(P600,769,353.95), representing petitioners deficiency excise taxes for the taxable years
1995 to 1998, recomputed as follows:
Transferor
Basic Tax
25% Surcharge 20% Interest
Total
Alliance Thread Co. Inc. 12,078,823.00 3,019,705.75 13,456,077.68 28,554,606.43
Allstar Spinning, Inc.
37,265,310.00
9,316,327.50
41,484,572.46
88,066,209.96
Diamond Knitting
36,764,587.00
9,191,146.75
41,053,965.29
87,009,699.04
Corporation
Fiber Technology Corp. 25,300,911.00
6,325,227.75
28,579,713.25
60,205,852.00
Filstar Textile Corp.
40,767,783.00
10,191,945.75
45,668,791.80
96,628,520.55
FLB International Fiber 25,934,695.00
6,483,673.75
29,147,714.28
61,566,083.03
Corp.
Jantex Philippines, Inc. 12,036,192.00
3,009,048.00
13,177,122.70
28,222,362.70
Jibtex Industrial Corp.
15,506,302.00
3,876,575.50
17,175,266.27
36,558,143.77
Master Colour system 33,333,536.00
8,333,384.00
37,351,805.88
79,018,725.88
Corp.
Spintex
International 14,912,408.00
3,728,102.00
16,298,640.59
34,939,150.59
Inc.
Total
253,900,547.0 63,475,136.75 283,393,670.2 600,769,353.9
0
0
5
In addition, petitioner is ORDERED TO PAY the respondent TWENTY FIVE
PERCENT (25%) LATE PAYMENT SURCHARGE AND TWENTY PERCENT (20%)
DELIQUENCY INTEREST per annum on the amount of SIX HUNDRED MILLION
SEVEN HUNDRED SIXTY NINE THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE &
95/100 PESOS (600,769,353.95), computed from June 27, 2002 until the amount is
fully paid.
SO ORDERED.[5]

The CTA Second Division held Petron liable for deficiency excise taxes on the ground that the
cancellation by the DOF of the TCCs previously issued to and utilized by respondent to settle its tax
liabilities had the effect of nonpayment of the latters excise taxes. These taxes corresponded to the value

of the TCCs Petron used for payment. The CTA Second Division ruled that payment can only occur if the
instrument used to discharge an obligation represents its stated value. [6] It further ruled that Petrons
acceptance of the TCCs was considered a contract entered into by respondent with the CIR and subject
to post-audit,[7] which was considered a suspensive condition governed by Article 1181 of the Civil Code. [8]

Further, the CTA Second Division found that the circumstances pertaining to the issuance of the
subject TCCs and their transfer to Petron brim with fraud. [9] Hence, the said court concluded that since the
TCCs used by Petron were found to be spurious, respondent was deemed to have not paid its excise
taxes and ought to be liable to the CIR in the amount of 600,769,353.95 plus 25% interests and 20%
surcharges.[10]

Petron filed a Motion for Reconsideration [11] of the Decision of the CTA Second Division, which
denied the motion in a Resolution dated 14 August 2007. [12] The court reiterated its conclusion that the
TCCs utilized by Petron to pay the latters excise tax liabilities did not result in payment after these TCCs
were found to be fraudulent in the post-audit by the DOF. The CTA Second Division also affirmed its ruling
that Petron was liable for a 25% late payment surcharge and 20% surcharges under Section 248 [13] of the
National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) of 1997.[14]

Aggrieved, Petron appealed the Decision to the CTA En Banc through a Petition for Review,
which was docketed as CTA EB No. 311. In its Petition, Petron alleged that the Second Division erred in
holding respondent liable to pay the amount of 600,769,353.95 in deficiency excise taxes with penalties
and interests covering the taxable years 1995-1998. Petron prayed that the said Decision be reversed
and set aside, and that CIR be enjoined from collecting the contested excise tax deficiency assessment.
[15]

The CTA En Banc summed up into one issue the grounds relied upon by Petron in its Petition for
Review, as follows:
Whether or not the Second Division erred in holding petitioner liable for the
amount of 600,769,353.95 as deficiency excise taxes for the years 1995-1998, including
surcharges and interest, plus 25% surcharge and 20% delinquency interest per annum
from June 27, 2002 until the amount is fully paid. [16]

The Ruling of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc


(CTA EB Case No. 311)

On 03 December 2008, the CTA En Banc promulgated a Decision, which reversed and set aside
the CTA Second Division on 04 May 2007. The former absolved Petron from any deficiency excise tax
liability for taxable years 1995 to 1998. Its ruling in favor of Petron was anchored on this Courts
pronouncements in Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue (Shell),[17] which
found that the factual background and legal issues therein were similar to those in the present case.

In resolving the issues, the CTA En Banc adopted the main points in Shell, which it quoted at
length as basis for deciding the appeal in favor of Petron. The gist of the main points of Shell cited by the
said court is as follows:

a) The issued TCCs are immediately valid and effective and are not subject to a post-audit
as a suspensive condition[18]
b) A TCC is subject only to the following conditions:
i) Post-audit in the event of a computational discrepancy
ii) A reduction for any outstanding account with the BIR and/or BOC
iii) A revalidation of the TCC if not utilized within one year from issuance or
date of utilization[19]
c) A transferee of a TCC should only be a BOI-registered firm under the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of Executive Order (E.O.) No. 226. [20]
d) The liability clause in the TCCs provides only for the solidary liability of the transferee
relative to its transfer in the event it is a party to the fraud. [21]
e) A transferee can rely on the Centers approval of the TCCs transfer and subsequent
acceptance as payment of the transferees excise tax liability.[22]
f) A TCC cannot be cancelled by the Center, as it was already cancelled after the transferee
had applied it as payment for the latters excise tax liabilities. [23]

The CTA En Banc also found that Petron had no participation in or knowledge of the fraudulent
issuance and transfer of the subject TCCs. In fact, the parties made a joint stipulation on this matter in
CTA Case No. 6423 before the CTA Second Division.[24]

In resolving the issue of whether the government is estopped from collecting taxes due to the fault
of its agents, the CTA En Banc quoted Shell as follows:
While we agree with respondent that the State in the performance of government
function is not estopped by the neglect or omission of its agents, and nowhere is this
truer than in the field of taxation, yet this principle cannot be applied to work injustice
against an innocent party.[25] (Emphasis supplied.)

Finally, the CTA En Banc ruled that Petron was considered an innocent transferee of the subject TCCs
and may not be prejudiced by a re-assessment of excise tax liabilities that respondent has already
settled, when due, with the use of the TCCs. [26] Petron is thus considered to have not fraudulently filed its
excise tax returns. Consequently, the assessment issued by the CIR against it had no legal basis. [27] The
dispositive portion of the assailed 03 December 2008 Decision of the CTA En Banc reads:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for Review is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly,
the May 4, 2007 Decision and August 14, 2007 Resolution of the CTA Second Division in
CTA Case No. 6423 entitled, Petron Corporation, petitioner vs. Commissioner of Internal
Revenue, respondent, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. In addition, the demand
and collection of the deficiency excise taxes of PETRON in the amount of
600,769,353.95 excluding penalties and interest covering the taxable years 1995 to
1998 are hereby CANCELLED and SET ASIDE, and respondent-Commissioner of
Internal Revenue is hereby ENJOINED from collecting the said amount from PETRON.
SO ORDERED.[28]

The CIR moved for the reconsideration of the CTA En Banc Decision, but the motion was denied in a
Resolution dated 14 August 2007.[29]
The Issues

The CIR appealed the Decision of the CTA En Banc by filing a Petition for Review on Certiorari under
Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.[30] Petitioner assails the Decision by raising the following issues:

THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN


HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT PETRON IS NOT LIABLE FOR ITS EXCISE
TAX
LIABILITIES
FROM
1995
TO
1998.

ARGUMENTS
I
THE CTA EN BANC ERRED IN FINDING THAT RESPONDENT PETRON WAS
NOT SHOWN TO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE FRAUDULENT ACTS. THE
FINDING OF THE CTA SECOND DIVISION THAT THE TAX CREDIT
CERTIFICATES WERE FRAUDULENTLY TRANSFERRED BY THE
TRANSFEROR-COMPANIES TO RESPONDENT IS SUPPORTED BY
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. RESPONDENT WAS INVOLVED IN THE
PERPETRATION OF FRAUD IN THE TCCS TRANSFER AND UTILIZATION.
II
RESPONDENT CANNOT VALIDLY CLAIM THE RIGHT OF INNOCENT
TRANSFEREE FOR VALUE. AS ASSIGNEE/TRANSFEREE OF THE TCCS,
RESPONDENT MERELY SUCCEEDED TO THE RIGHTS OF THE TCC
ASSIGNORS/TRANSFERORS. ACCORDINGLY, IF THE TCCS ASSIGNED TO
RESPONDENT WERE VOID, IT DID NOT ACQUIRE ANY VALID TITLE OVER
THE TCCS.
III
THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT ESTOPPED FROM COLLECTING TAXES DUE
TO THE MISTAKES OF ITS AGENTS.
IV
RESPONDENT IS LIABLE FOR 25% SURCHARGE AND 20% INTEREST PER
ANNUM PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 248 AND 249 OF
THE NIRC. MOREOVER, SINCE RESPONDENTS RETURNS WERE FALSE,
THE ASSESSMENT PRESCRIBES IN TEN (10) YEARS FROM THE
DISCOVERY OF THE FALSITY THEREOF PURSUANT TO SECTION 22 OF
THE SAME CODE.[31]
The Courts Ruling

We DENY the CIRs Petition for lack of merit.

Article 21 of E.O. 226 defines a tax credit as follows:


ARTICLE 21. Tax credit shall mean any of the credits against taxes and/or duties equal to
those actually paid or would have been paid to evidence which a tax credit certificate
shall be issued by the Secretary of Finance or his representative, or the Board, if so
delegated by the Secretary of Finance. The tax credit certificates including those issued
by the Board pursuant to laws repealed by this Code but without in any way diminishing

the scope of negotiability under their laws of issue are transferable under such conditions
as may be determined by the Board after consultation with the Department of Finance.
The tax credit certificate shall be used to pay taxes, duties, charges and fees due to the
National Government; Provided, That the tax credits issued under this Code shall not
form part of the gross income of the grantee/transferee for income tax purposes under
Section 29 of the National Internal Revenue Code and are therefore not taxable:
Provided, further, That such tax credits shall be valid only for a period of ten (10) years
from date of issuance.

Under Article 39 (j) of the Omnibus Investment Code of 1987, [32] tax credits are granted to entities
registered with the Bureau of Investment (BOI) and are given for taxes and duties paid on raw materials
used for the manufacture of their export products.

A TCC is defined under Section 1 of Revenue Regulation (RR) No. 5-2000, issued by the BIR on 15
August 2000, as follows:
B. Tax Credit Certificate means a certification, duly issued to the taxpayer named
therein, by the Commissioner or his duly authorized representative, reduced in a BIR
Accountable Form in accordance with the prescribed formalities, acknowledging that the
grantee-taxpayer named therein is legally entitled a tax credit, the money value of which
may be used in payment or in satisfaction of any of his internal revenue tax liability
(except those excluded), or may be converted as a cash refund, or may otherwise be
disposed of in the manner and in accordance with the limitations, if any, as may be
prescribed by the provisions of these Regulations.

RR 5-2000 prescribes the regulations governing the manner of issuance of TCCs and the
conditions for their use, revalidation and transfer. Under the said regulation, a TCC may be used by the
grantee or its assignee in the payment of its direct internal revenue tax liability. [33] It may be transferred in
favor of an assignee subject to the following conditions: 1) the TCC transfer must be with prior approval of
the Commissioner or the duly authorized representative; 2) the transfer of a TCC should be limited to one
transfer only; and 3) the transferee shall strictly use the TCC for the payment of the assignees direct
internal revenue tax liability and shall not be convertible to cash. [34] A TCC is valid only for 10 years
subject to the following rules: (1) it must be utilized within five (5) years from the date of issue; and (2) it
must be revalidated thereafter or be otherwise considered invalid. [35]
The processing of a TCC is entrusted to a specialized agency called the One-Stop-Shop InterAgency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (Center), created on 07 February 1992 under
Administrative Order (A.O.) No. 226. Its purpose is to expedite the processing and approval of tax credits
and duty drawbacks.[36] The Center is composed of a representative from the DOF as its chairperson; and
the members thereof are representatives of the Bureau of Investment (BOI), Bureau of Customs (BOC)

and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), who are tasked to process the TCC and approve its application as
payment of an assignees tax liability.[37]
A TCC may be assigned through a Deed of Assignment, which the assignee submits to the
Center for its approval. Upon approval of the deed, the Center will issue a DOF Tax Debit Memo (DOFTDM),[38] which will be utilized by the assignee to pay the latters tax liabilities for a specified period. Upon
surrender of the TCC and the DOF-TDM, the corresponding Authority to Accept Payment of Excise Taxes
(ATAPET) will be issued by the BIR Collection Program Division and will be submitted to the issuing office
of the BIR for acceptance by the Assistant Commissioner of Collection Service. This act of the BIR
signifies its acceptance of the TCC as payment of the assignees excise taxes.
Thus, it is apparent that a TCC undergoes a stringent process of verification by various
specialized government agencies before it is accepted as payment of an assignees tax liability.
In the case at bar, the CIR disputes the ruling of the CTA En Banc, which found Petron to have
had no participation in the fraudulent procurement and transfer of the TCCs. Petitioner believes that there
was substantial evidence to support its allegation of a fraudulent transfer of the TCCs to Petron. [39] The
CIR further contends that respondent was not a qualified transferee of the TCCs, because the latter did
not supply petroleum products to the companies that were the assignors of the subject TCCs. [40]
The CIR bases its contentions on the DOFs post-audit findings stating that, for the periods
covering 1995 to 1998, Petron did not deliver fuel and other petroleum products to the companies (the
transferor companies) that had assigned the subject TCCs to respondent. Petitioner further alleges that
the findings indicate that the transferor companies could not have had such a high volume of export sales
declared to the Center and made the basis for the issuance of the TCCs assigned to Petron. [41] Thus, the
CIR impugns the CTA En Banc ruling that respondent was a transferee in good faith and for value of the
subject TCCs.[42]
Not finding merit in the CIRs contention, we affirm the ruling of the CTA En Banc finding that
Petron is a transferee in good faith and for value of the subject TCCs.
From the records, we observe that the CIR had no allegation that there was a deviation from the
process for the approval of the TCCs, which Petron used as payment to settle its excise tax liabilities for
the years 1995 to 1998.

The CIR quotes the CTA Second Division and urges us to affirm the latters Decision, which found
Petron to have participated in the fraudulent issuance and transfer of the TCCs. However, any merit in the
position of petitioner on this issue is negated by the Joint Stipulation it entered into with Petron in the
proceedings before the said Division. As correctly noted by the CTA En Banc, herein parties jointly
stipulated before the Second Division in CTA Case No. 6423 as follows:
13. That petitioner (Petron) did not participate in the procurement and
issuance of the TCCs, which TCCs were transferred to Petron and later utilized
by Petron in payment of its excise taxes.[43]
This stipulation of fact by the CIR amounts to an admission and, having been made by the parties
in a stipulation of facts at pretrial, is treated as a judicial admission. Under Section 4, Rule 129 of the
Rules of Court, a judicial admission requires no proof. [44] The Court cannot lightly set it aside, especially
when the opposing party relies upon it and accordingly dispenses with further proof of the fact already
admitted. The exception provided in Rule 129, Section 4 is that an admission may be contradicted only by
a showing that it was made through a palpable mistake, or that no such admission was made. In this
case, however, exception to the rule does not exist.
We agree with the pronouncement of the CTA En Banc that Petron has not been shown or proven
to have participated in the alleged fraudulent acts involved in the transfer and utilization of the subject
TCCs. Petron had the right to rely on the joint stipulation that absolved it from any participation in the
alleged fraud pertaining to the issuance and procurement of the subject TCCs. The joint stipulation made
by the parties consequently obviated the opportunity of the CIR to present evidence on this matter, as no
proof is required for an admission made by a party in the course of the proceedings. [45] Thus, the CIR
cannot now be allowed to change its stand and renege on that admission.
Moreover, a close examination of the arguments proffered by the CIR in their Petition calls for a
reevaluation of the sufficiency of evidence in the case. The CIR seeks to persuade this Court to believe
that there is substantial evidence to prove that Petron committed a misrepresentation, because the
petroleum products were delivered not to the transferor but to other companies. [46] Thus, the TCCs
assigned by the transferor companies to Petron were fraudulent. Clearly, a recalibration of the sufficiency
of evidence presented by the CIR is needed for a different conclusion to be reached.
The fundamental rule is that the scope of our judicial review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
is confined only to errors of law and does not extend to questions of fact. [47] It is basic that where it is the
sufficiency of evidence that is being questioned, there is a question of fact. [48] Evidently, the CIR does not
point out any specific provision of law that was wrongly interpreted by the CTA En Banc in the latters

assailed Decision. Petitioner anchors it contention on the alleged existence of the sufficiency of evidence
it had proffered to prove that Petron was involved in the perpetration of fraud in the transfer and utilization
of the subject TCCs, an allegation that the CTA En Banc failed to consider. We have consistently held that
it is not the function of this Court to analyze or weigh the evidence all over again, unless there is a
showing that the findings of the lower court are totally devoid of support or are glaringly erroneous as to
constitute palpable error or grave abuse of discretion. [49] Such an exception does not obtain in the
circumstances of this case.
The CIR claims that Petron was not an innocent transferee for value, because the TCCs assigned
to respondent were void. Petitioner based its allegations on the post-audit report of the DOF, which
declared that the subject TCCs were obtained through fraud and, thus, had no monetary value. [50] The
CIR adds that the TCCs were subject to a post-audit by the Center to complete the payment of the excise
tax liability to which they were applied. Petitioner further contends that the Liability Clause of the TCCs
makes the transferee or assignee solidarily liable with the original grantee for any fraudulent act pertinent
to their procurement and transfer. The CIR assails the contrary ruling of the CTA En Banc, which confined
the solidary liability only to the original grantee of the TCCs. Thus, petitioner believes that the correct
interpretation of the Liability Clause in the TCCs makes Petron and the transferor companies or the
original grantee solidarily liable for any fraudulent act or violation of the pertinent laws relating to the
transfers of the TCCs.[51]
We are not persuaded by the CIRs position on this matter.
The Liability Clause of the TCCs reads:
Both the TRANSFEROR and the TRANSFEREE shall be jointly and severally
liable for any fraudulent act or violation of the pertinent laws, rules and regulations
relating to the transfer of this TAX CREDIT CERTIFICATE.

The scope of this solidary liability, as stated in the TCCs, was clarified by this Court in Shell, as
follows:
The above clause to our mind clearly provides only for the solidary liability
relative to the transfer of the TCCs from the original grantee to a transferee. There is
nothing in the above clause that provides for the liability of the transferee in the event that
the validity of the TCC issued to the original grantee by the Center is impugned or where
the TCC is declared to have been fraudulently procured by the said original
grantee. Thus, the solidary liability, if any, applies only to the sale of the TCC to the
transferee by the original grantee. Any fraud or breach of law or rule relating to the
issuance of the TCC by the Center to the transferor or the original grantee is the latter's
responsibility and liability. The transferee in good faith and for value may not be unjustly
prejudiced by the fraud committed by the claimant or transferor in the procurement or

issuance of the TCC from the Center. It is not only unjust but well-nigh violative of the
constitutional right not to be deprived of one's property without due process of law. Thus,
a re-assessment of tax liabilities previously paid through TCCs by a transferee in good
faith and for value is utterly confiscatory, more so when surcharges and interests are
likewise assessed.
A transferee in good faith and for value of a TCC who has relied on the Center's
representation of the genuineness and validity of the TCC transferred to it may not be
legally required to pay again the tax covered by the TCC which has been belatedly
declared null and void, that is, after the TCCs have been fully utilized through settlement
of internal revenue tax liabilities. Conversely, when the transferee is party to the fraud as
when it did not obtain the TCC for value or was a party to or has knowledge of its
fraudulent issuance, said transferee is liable for the taxes and for the fraud committed as
provided for by law.[52] (Emphasis supplied.)
We also find that the post-audit report, on which the CIR based its allegations, does not have the
effect of a suspensive condition that would determine the validity of the TCCs.
We held in Petron v. CIR (Petron),[53] which is on all fours with the instant case, that TCCs are
valid and effective from their issuance and are not subject to a post-audit as a suspensive condition for
their validity. Our ruling in Petron finds guidance from our earlier ruling in Shell, which categorically states
that a TCC is valid and effective upon its issuance and is not subject to a post-audit. The implication on
the instant case of the said earlier ruling is that Petron has the right to rely on the validity and effectivity of
the TCCs that were assigned to it. In finally determining their effectivity in the settlement of respondents
excise tax liabilities, the validity of those TCCs should not depend on the results of the DOFs post-audit
findings. We held thus in Petron:
As correctly pointed out by Petron, however, the issue about the immediate validity of
TCCs and the use thereof in payment of tax liabilities and duties are not matters of first
impression for this Court. Taking into consideration the definition and nature of tax credits and
TCCs, this Court's Second Division definitively ruled in the aforesaid Pilipinas Shell case that
the post audit is not a suspensive condition for the validity of TCCs, thus:
Art. 1181 tells us that the condition is suspensive when the acquisition of
rights or demandability of the obligation must await the occurrence of the condition.
However, Art. 1181 does not apply to the present case since the parties did NOT
agree to a suspensive condition. Rather, specific laws, rules, and regulations govern
the subject TCCs, not the general provisions of the Civil Code. Among the applicable
laws that cover the TCCs are EO 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code, Letter of
Instructions No. 1355, EO 765, RP-US Military Agreement, Sec. 106 (c) of the Tariff
and Customs Code, Sec. 106 of the NIRC, BIR Revenue Regulations (RRs), and
others. Nowhere in the aforementioned laws does the post-audit become necessary
for the validity or effectivity of the TCCs. Nowhere in the aforementioned laws is it
provided that a TCC is issued subject to a suspensive condition.
xxx xxx xxx
. . . (T)he TCCs are immediately valid and effective after their
issuance. As aptly pointed out in the dissent of Justice Lovell Bautista in CTA
EB No. 64, this is clear from the Guidelines and instructions found at the
back of each TCC, which provide:

1. This Tax Credit Certificate (TCC) shall entitle the grantee to apply
the tax credit against taxes and duties until the amount is fully utilized, in
accordance with the pertinent tax and customs laws, rules and regulations.
xxx xxx xxx
4. To acknowledge application of payment, the One-Stop-Shop Tax
Credit Center shall issue the corresponding Tax Debit Memo (TDM) to the
grantee.
The authorized Revenue Officer/Customs Collector to which
payment/utilization was made shall accomplish the Application of Tax Credit
at the back of the certificate and affix his signature on the column provided."
The foregoing guidelines cannot be clearer on the validity and effectivity of the TCC to pay
or settle tax liabilities of the grantee or transferee, as they do not make the effectivity and
validity of the TCC dependent on the outcome of a post-audit. In fact, if we are to sustain the
appellate tax court, it would be absurd to make the effectivity of the payment of a TCC
dependent on a post-audit since there is no contemplation of the situation wherein there is no
post-audit. Does the payment made become effective if no post-audit is conducted? Or does
the so-called suspensive condition still apply as no law, rule, or regulation specifies a period
when a post-audit should or could be conducted with a prescriptive period? Clearly, a tax
payment through a TCC cannot be both effective when made and dependent on a future
event for its effectivity. Our system of laws and procedures abhors ambiguity.
Moreover, if the TCCs are considered to be subject to post-audit as a suspensive
condition, the very purpose of the TCC would be defeated as there would be no guarantee
that the TCC would be honored by the government as payment for taxes. No investor would
take the risk of utilizing TCCs if these were subject to a post-audit that may invalidate them,
without prescribed grounds or limits as to the exercise of said post-audit.
The inescapable conclusion is that the TCCs are not subject to post-audit as a
suspensive condition, and are thus valid and effective from their issuance. [54]
In addition, Shell and Petron recognized an exception that holds the transferee/assignee liable if proven
to have been a party to the fraud or to have had knowledge of the fraudulent issuance of the subject
TCCs. As earlier mentioned, the parties entered into a joint stipulation of facts stating that Petron did not
participate in the procurement or issuance of those TCCs. Thus, we affirm the CTA En Bancs ruling that
respondent was an innocent transferee for value thereof.
On the issue of estoppel, petitioner contends that the TCCs, which the Center had continually approved
as payment for respondents excise tax liabilities, were subsequently found to be void. Thus, the CIR
insists that the government is not estopped from collecting from Petron the excise tax liabilities that had
accrued to the latter as a result of the voidance of these TCCs. Petitioner argues that the State should not
be prejudiced by the neglect or omission of government employees entrusted with the collection of taxes.
[55]

We are not persuaded by the CIRs argument.


We recognize the well-entrenched principle that estoppel does not apply to the government,
especially on matters of taxation. Taxes are the nations lifeblood through which government agencies

continue to operate and with which the State discharges its functions for the welfare of its constituents.
[56]

As an exception, however, this general rule cannot be applied if it would work injustice against an

innocent party.[57]
Petron, in this case, was not proven to have had any participation in or knowledge of the CIRs
allegation of the fraudulent transfer and utilization of the subject TCCs. Respondents status as a
transferee in good faith and for value of these TCCs has been established and even stipulated upon by
petitioner.[58] Respondent was thereby provided ample protection from the adverse findings subsequently
made by the Center.[59] Given the circumstances, the CIRs invocation of the non-applicability of estoppel
in this case is misplaced.
On the final issue it raised, the CIR contends that a 25% surcharge and a 20% interest per
annum must be imposed upon Petron for respondents excise tax liabilities as mandated under Sections
248 and 249 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC). [60] Petitioner considers the tax returns filed by
respondent for the years 1995 to 1998 as fraudulent on the basis of the post-audit finding that the TCCs
were void. It argues that the prescriptive period within which to lawfully assess Petron for its tax liabilities
has not prescribed under Section 222 (a) [61] of the Tax Code. The CIR explains that respondents
assessment on 30 January 2002 of respondents deficiency excise tax for the years 1995 to 1998 was well
within the ten-year prescription period.[62]
In the light of the main ruling in this case, we affirm the CTA En Banc Decision finding Petron to
be an innocent transferee for value of the subject TCCs. Consequently, the Tax Returns it filed for the
years 1995 to 1998 are not considered fraudulent. Hence, the CIR had no legal basis to assess the
excise taxes or any penalty surcharge or interest thereon, as respondent had already paid the appropriate
excise taxes using the subject TCCs.
WHEREFORE, the CIRs Petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The CTA En Banc Decision dated
03 December 2008 in CTA EB No. 311 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.