515 Phil. 398
Jurisprudentially settled in (sic) the rule that a Torrens Title is generally a conclusive evidence of the ownership of the land referred to therein. A strong presumption exists that Torrens Titles were regularly issued and that they are valid. The real purpose of the Torrens system is to quiet title to land. Once a title is registered, the owner may rest secure, without the necessity of waiting in the portals of the court, or sitting in the mirador de su casa, to avoid the possibility of losing his land (Salao vs. Salao, 70 SCRA 65). Apropos, the validity and efficacy of the certificate of title in the name of Silverio Pamintel cannot be doubted. Concomitantly, the quantum and quality of evidence submitted by plaintiffs failed to convince this Court that Silverio Pamintel really sold the disputed property to his son Pedro. The financial capability of Pedro Pamintel to buy said property is doubtful considering that said property has to be mortgaged with a bank in order that Pedro Pamintel may be able to go abroad. Needless to say, it will not be amiss to state that the burden of proving the action is upon the plaintiff. Neither is there a preponderance of evidence that the Deed of Reconveyance is an invalid document. Except the mere say-so (sic) of plaintiff Pedro Pamintel which is self-serving, there is no competent evidence to show that said Deed of Reconveyance was not really signed by plaintiffs. Anyhow, it is presumed although disputable that said private transaction has been fair and regular (Rule 131, Sec. 5 (p)[)]. Arrayed against the sole testimony of plaintiff Pedro Pamintel are the testimonies of Felicisima Pamintel, Camila Cubol and Demetria Pamintel which show the due execution and genuiness of said Deed of Reconveyance. While as a general rule, the number of witnesses should not in and by itself determine the weight of evidence, but in case of conflicting testimonies of witnesses, the numerical factor maybe given certain weight (Caluna vs. Vicente, CA G.R. No. 3911-R, February 17, 1951).Petitioners, who had substituted Pedro and Ciriaca, appealed to the Court of Appeals.
And lastly, but not the least, it appears that Silverio Pamintel was old and illiterate when his thumbmark was affixed in the deed of sale of the disputed property to Pedro Pamintel. Plaintiffs failed to prove that the deed of sale in favor of Pedro Pamintel was explained to said Silverio Pamintel. Sans any evidence to said effect, the case of plaintiffs must necessarily crumble like a house of cards[.]
It is not disputed that the subject parcel of land was originally titled in the name of Silverio Pamintel (Exh. "I"). Appellants' evidence shows that Silverio Pamintel executed a deed of sale (Bilihan ng Lupa) involving the land in dispute in favor of appellants (Exh. "B"). At the time of the execution thereof on July 3, 1968, Silverio Pamintel was 95 years old and illiterate. Such being the case, appellants are required to show that the terms thereof have been fully explained to Silverio Pamintel (Art. 1332, Civil Code). Except for appellants' self-serving testimonies, no convincing evidence was adduced to prove that Silverio Pamintel fully understood the tenor of the document.In this petition, petitioners reiterate their claim that Pedro and Ciriaca did not execute the Deed of Reconveyance. Petitioners also point to respondent Felicisima's letter-complaint and Salaysay, which did not mention the Deed of Reconveyance even though she executed those documents after Pedro and Ciriaca had signed the Deed of Reconveyance. Petitioners argue that this omission negates the execution of the Deed of Reconveyance. Petitioners also contend that respondents are time-barred from questioning the validity of the Deed of Sale under Article 1144 of the Civil Code.
Contrary to appellants' contention, the testimony of Silverio Pamintel is not required to impugn the validity of the deed of sale. Considering the seller's mental weakness and physical condition, the Court doubts the due execution thereof. xxx
Anent appellants' claim that the Deed of Reconveyance (Exh. "5") is a forgery, it is well settled that the signatures on a questioned document can be sighted by a judge who can and should exercise independent judgment on the issue of authenticity of such signatures (Alcos vs. IAC, 162 SCRA 823). xxx
In a nutshell, the Court finds no cogent reason to modify or reverse the court a quo's decision dismissing the complaint.
(1) Whether the Deed of Reconveyance is valid; and
(2) Whether respondents are time-barred from questioning the validity of the Deed of Sale.
Far from being clear and convincing, all private respondent had to offer by way of evidence was her mere denial that she had signed the same. Such mere denial will not suffice to overcome the positive value of the subject Deed, a notarized document. Indeed, even in cases where the alleged forged signature was compared to samples of genuine signatures to show its variance therefrom, this Court still found such evidence insufficient, to wit —The other evidence petitioners invoke to support their claim of forgery — respondent Felicisima's failure to mention the Deed of Reconveyance in her letter-complaint and Salaysay — also does not suffice to rebut the Deed of Reconveyance's presumptive genuineness. Such omission and respondent Felicisima's statement in her letter-complaint that Pedro "refus[ed] to transfer in Silverio's name Lot No. 1993-A" do not negate the Deed of Reconveyance's execution. That statement could well mean that Pedro (and Ciriaca) failed to have the title to that property transferred in Silverio's name. This is not incompatible with the Deed of Reconveyance's prior execution.
[']Documents acknowledged before a notary public have the evidentiary weight with respect to their due execution. The questioned power of attorney and deed of sale, were notarized and therefore, presumed to be valid and duly executed. Atty. Tubig denied having notarized the said documents and alleged that his signature has also been falsified. He presented samples of his signature to prove his contention. Forgery should be proved by clear and convincing evidence and whoever alleges it has the burden of proving the same. Just like the petitioner, witness Atty. Tubig merely pointed out that his signature was different from that in the power of attorney and deed of sale. There had never been an accurate examination of the signature, even that of the petitioner. To determine forgery, it was held in Cesar vs. Sandiganbayan (G.R. Nos. 54719-50, 17 January 1985, quoting Osborn, The Problem of Proof) that:[']The process of identification, therefore, must include the determination of the extent, kind, and significance of this resemblance as well as of the variation. It then becomes necessary to determine whether the variation is due to the operation of a different personality, or is only the expected and inevitable variation found in the genuine writing of the same writer. It is also necessary to decide whether the resemblance is the result of a more or less skillful imitation, or is the habitual and characteristic resemblance which naturally appears in a genuine writing. When these two questions are correctly answered the whole problem of identification is solved.['"]xxx
[W]e cannot accept the claim of forgery where no comparison of private respondent's signatures was made, no witness (save for private respondent herself) was presented to testify on the same, much less an expert witness called, and all that was presented was private respondent's testimony that her signature on the questioned Deed was forged. Indeed, even when the evidence is conflicting, the public document must still be upheld. (Emphasis supplied)
Ibig ko pong maghain ng isang sumbong laban sa aking kapatid na si Pedro Paminter at ang kanyang asawa na si Ciriaca Olaso parehong nakatira sa Bo. Punta, Tanza, Cavite sa kasalanang Estafa na naganap noong ika-6 ng Oktubre, 1976 sa lunsod ng Cavite, ganito po ang pangyayari: Records, p. 129.
Na noong Setyembre, 1976 ang mag-asawang Pedro Paminter at Ciriaca Olaso nagpunta sa aming bahay at sinabi sa akin na bayaran ko raw ang kanilang pagkakautang sa Cavite Development Bank, at matapos kong mabayaran ang pagkakautang nila ay kanilang ililipat sa pangalan ng aming ama na si Silverio Paminter ang lupang nakasanla sa nasabing bangko, kanila pang sinabi na kung hindi mababayaran ang kanilang pagkakautang sa nasabing bangko ang lupa ay mareremata at ang makikinabang lamang ay bangko. Samantalang kung akin daw babayaran ang kanilang pagkakautang hindi lamang P10,000.00 ang magiging tubo dahil mataas na ang halaga ng lupa sa ngayon. Sa ganda ng kanilang pakiusap at gayon din ang paulit-ulit nilang pagpunta sa bahay ako ay kanilang nahimok at noong ika-6 ng Oktubre, 1976 binayaran ko ang halagang DALAWANG LIBO ISANG DAAN AT DALAWAMPUT WALONG PISO AT KUWARENTA SENTIMOS (P2,128.40 cent) na siyang halaga ng kanilang pagkakautang sa Cavite Development Bank sa Cavite City; noon pong matapos mabayaran ang kanilang pagkakautang sa nasabing bangko ayaw na po nilang ilipat sa pangalan ng aking ama ang lupang nakasanla sa nasabing bangko. Bagama't ilang ulit ko ng hiniling sa kanila na ilipat sa pangalan ni Silverio Paminter ang lupang kanilang pina[n]gako ay hanggang sa ngayon ayaw na nilang tuparin; dahil sa panloloko at panlilinlang ng ginawa nila (Pedro Paminter at Ciriaca Ol[as]o) ako'y napinsala ng halagang P2,128.40 cent.
Na hinihiling ko kagalanggalang na Fiscal, na ito po sana ay mausig at malitis sa madaling panahon. (Capitalization in the original; underlining supplied)