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Secondary Evidence 6. The heirs alleges that Maximo Alvarez, Sr.

6. The heirs alleges that Maximo Alvarez, Sr. could not have executed the deed of sale
G.R. No. 170604 Prodon v. Alvarez (Sept. 2, 2013) with right to repurchase because of illness and poor eyesight from cataract.
Bersamin 7. Prodon testified that she purchased the land covered by TCT No. 84747 from Sps.
Alvarez; that the deed of sale with right to repurchase was drawn and prepared by
The late Sps. Alvarez owned a parcel of land in Manila. Their heirs claim that the owners Notary Public Eliseo Razon; and that she registered the document in the Register of
duplicate of the TCT covering the parcel of land was lost, and that the original copy with the Deeds of Manila.
Registry of Deeds contained an entry stating that the property had been sold was maliciously 8. The testimony of Prodon has been confirmed by the following:
done by Margarita Prodon. They filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages against a. Notarial Register of Notary Public Eliseo Razon dated September 10, 1975
Prodon. RTC ruled in favor of Prodon admitting secondary evidence because the deed of disclosing the entry:
sale with the right of repurchase could not be found. CA reversed: before secondary "No. 321; Nature of Instrument: Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase;
evidence can be admitted, the existence, the execution, and the subsequent loss must first Name of Persons: Maximo S. Alvarez and Valentina Alvarez (ack.); Date and
be proven; and such was not proven by Prodon. SC held that both RTC and CA misapplied Month: 9 Sept."
the Best Evidence rule, and that it was not applicable in this case. But the loss of the alleged b. Primary Entry Book of the Register of Deeds of Manila containing the
deed of sale still had to be proven, and it was not sufficiently done. Records also show that entry:
it was the execution of the deed was improbable, thus the CA decision was affirmed. Number of Entry: 3816; Month, Day and Year: Sept. 10, 1975; Hour and
Minute: 3:42 p.m.; Nature of Contract: Sale with Right to Repurchase;
Executed by: Maximo S. Alvarez; In favor: Margarita Prodon; Date of
DOCTRINE Document: 9-9-75; Contract value: 120,000.
The Best Evidence Rule applies only when the terms of a written document are the subject c. Atty. Emiliano Ibasco, Jr., notary public who notarized the document
of the inquiry. In an action for quieting of title based on the inexistence of a deed of sale with testified that the alleged deed of sale has about four or five original copies.
right to repurchase that purportedly cast a cloud on the title of a property, therefore, the Best d. Jose Camilon also testified that he had handed the original copy of the deed
Evidence Rule does not apply, and the defendant is not precluded from presenting evidence of sale to Atty. Anacleto Lacanilao, Prodons lawyer, but that he could not
other than the original document. anymore retrieve such original because the latter had suffered from a heart
ailment and had been recuperating.
9. RTC JUDGMENT - RTC rendered judgment in favor of Prodon
FACTS a. Although the deed itself could not be presented as evidence in court, its
1. The late spouses Maximo S. Alvarez, Sr. and Valentina Clave, were the registered contents could nevertheless be proved by secondary evidence in
owners of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 84797 of the Register of Deeds of accordance with Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, upon proof of its
Manila. execution or existence and of the cause of its unavailability being without bad
2. Their heirs continued the possession of the property upon their parents deaths. They faith.
claim that they could not locate the owners duplicate copy of the TCT pertaining to the b. As to the heirs allegations, there was no proof that the illness of Maximo
said land they inherited from their parents but the original copy was with the Registry of Alvarez Sr. had rendered him bedridden and immobile; and that his poor
Deeds of Manila. eyesight could be corrected by wearing lenses.
3. However, the original copy contained an entry stating that the property had been sold 10. The heirs brought the case on appeal to the CA.
to Margarita Prodon subject to the right of repurchase. 11. CA JUDGMENT Reversed RTC
a. The heirs claim that the entry of the deed of sale with right to repurchase on a. Cited the case of Department of Education Culture and Sports vs. Del Rosario
the original TCT did not exist, and that the entry had been maliciously done where the Court ruled that a party must first present to the court proof of loss
by Prodon. or other satisfactory explanation for non-production of the original instrument
b. They filed a complaint for quieting of title and damages against Prodon before he can resort to secondary evidence.
praying that the entry be cancelled and she be liable for damages. b. Before secondary evidence as to the contents of a document may be admitted
4. In Prodons answer, she claimed: in evidence, the existence of [the] document must first be proved, likewise,
a. That Maximo Alvarez, Sr. had executed on September 9, 1975 the deed of its execution and its subsequent loss.
sale for P120,000 with a right to repurchase; c. It held that Margarita Prodon failed to prove the loss or destruction of the deed,
b. that the deed had been registered with the Register of Deeds and duly thus secondary evidence was erroneously admitted by the RTC:
annotated on the title; i. The notary public testified that the alleged deed of sale has about 4
c. that the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr. had been granted six months from or 5 original copies; and all originals must be accounted for before
September 9, 1975 within which to repurchase the property; and secondary evidence can be given of any one.
d. that she had then become the absolute owner of the property due to its non- ii. Camilion did not exert sufficient effort to obtain the copy which he
repurchase within the given 6-month period. said was with Atty. Lacanilao. Even assuming that Atty. Lacanilao
5. During trial, the custodian of the records of the property attested that the copy of the was too sick, Camilion did not testify that Atty. Lacanilao had no one
deed of sale with right to repurchase could not be found in the files of the Register in his office to help him find said copy.
of Deeds of Manila. d. CA also found circumstances that put doubt on the existence of the alleged
deed of sale.
i. Evidence on record showed that Maximo Alvarez was hospitalized "execution" of the deed as the facts in issue had been proved by
between August 23, 1975 to September 3, 1975 and suffered from preponderance of evidence.
paralysis of half of his body and blindness due to cataract. f. The presentation of evidence other than the original document, like the
ii. Maximo Alvarez was again later hospitalized and died on October testimonies of Prodon and Jose Camilon, the Notarial Register of Notary
of 1975 without having left the hospital. Eliseo Razon, and the Primary Entry Book of the Register of Deeds, would
e. It also noted that from the alleged sale in 1975 to 1996 when the case was have sufficed even without first proving the loss or unavailability of the original
finally filed, Prodon never tried to recover possession of the property nor had of the deed.
she shown that she ever paid Real Property Tax thereon. The TCT had also g. However, good trial tactics still required Prodon to establish and explain the
not been transferred in the name of Prodon. loss of the original of the deed of sale with right to repurchase to establish the
12. Hence, this petition. genuineness and due execution of the deed.
i. Although a collateral document, the deed was the foundation of her
ISSUE with HOLDING defense in this action for quieting of title.
1. W/N the Best Evidence Rule applies in an action for quieting of title based on the ii. Her inability to produce the original logically gave rise to the need
inexistence of a deed of sale with right to repurchase NO for her to prove its existence and due execution by other means that
a. The CA and the RTC both misapplied the Best Evidence Rule to this case. could only be secondary under the rules on evidence.
b. This action does not involve the terms or contents of the deed of sale with iii. Towards that end, however, it was not required to subject the proof
right to repurchase. The principal issue was whether or not the deed of sale of the loss of the original to the same strict standard to which it would
with right to repurchase, duly executed by the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr., be subjected had the loss or unavailability been a precondition for
had really existed. presenting secondary evidence to prove the terms of a writing.
c. The Best Evidence Rule stipulates that in proving the terms of a written h. A review of the records reveals that Prodon did not adduce proof sufficient
document the original of the document must be produced in court. The rule to show the loss or explain the unavailability of the original as to justify
excludes any evidence other than the original writing to prove the contents the presentation of secondary evidence.
thereof, unless the offeror proves: i. Camilon testified that he had given the original to her lawyer, Atty.
i. the existence or due execution of the original; Lacanilao, but that he could not anymore retrieve the original
ii. the loss and destruction of the original, or the reason for its non- because Atty. Lacanilao had been recuperating from his heart
production incourt; and ailment. Such evidence without showing the inability to locate the
iii. the absence of bad faith on the part of the offeror to which the original from among Atty. Lacanilaos belongings by himself or by
unavailability ofthe original can be attributed. any of his assistants or representatives was inadequate.
d. The primary purpose of the Best Evidence Rule is to ensure that the exact ii. A duplicate original could have been secured from Notary Public
contents of a writing are brought before the court, considering that Razon, but no effort was shown to have been exerted in that
i. the precision in presenting to the court the exact words of the writing direction.
is of more than average importance, particularly as respects i. The records showed the improbability of the existence of the deed.
operative or dispositive instruments, such as deeds, wills and i. The medical history1 showing the number of very serious ailments
contracts, because a slight variation in wordsmay mean a great the late Maximo Alvarez, Sr. had been suffering from rendered it
difference in rights; highly improbable for him to travel from Manila all the way to
ii. there is a substantial hazard of inaccuracy in the human process of Meycauayan, Bulacan, where Prodon and Camilon were then
making a copy by handwriting or typewriting; and residing in order only to negotiate and consummate the sale of the
iii. as respects oral testimony purporting to give from memory the terms property.
of a writing, there is a special risk of error, greater than in the case
of attempts at describing other situations generally. The rule further DISPOSITIVE PORTION
acts as an insurance against fraud. Xx CA decision AFFIRMED
iv. Lastly, the rule protects against misleading inferences resulting from
the intentional or unintentional introduction of selected portions of a
larger set of writings. DIGESTER: Liana
e. The Best Evidence Rule was not applicable because the terms of the deed
of sale with right to repurchase were not the issue. The lower court should
have simply addressed and determined whether or not the "existence" and

1
March 31-May 19, 1975: Prostatitis, chronic, Arteriosclerotic heart disease, Atrial fibrillation, September 15-October 2, 1975: Arteriosclerotic heart disease, Atrial fibrillation, Congestive heart
Congestive heart failure,CFC III29 failure, Pneumonia, Urinary tract infection, Cerebrovascular accident, old, Upper GI bleeding
June 2- June 6, 1975: Chest pains (Atrial Flutter), Painful urination (Chronic prostatitis) probably secondary to stress ulcers
August 23-September 3, 1975: Arteriosclerotic heart disease, Congestive heart failure, mild,
Atrial fibrillation, Cardiac functional capacity III-B