Two (2) different persons with exactly the same name, i.e., Vicente T. Garaygay, each claimed exclusive ownership of Lot 23 by virtue of an owners duplicate certificate each had possession of during the period material covering said lot.
On April 17, 1979, Garaygay of Cebu executed a deed of salein favor of his nephew, Joselito P. Garaygay. In another transaction, Garaygay of Rizal sold to Liberto G. Yambao and Jesus B. Rodriguez the same property. Buyers Yambao and Rodriquez would later sell a portion of their undivided interests on the land to Jesus D. Morales.
Then came the June 11, 1988 fire that gutted a portion of the Quezon City hall and destroyed the document of Garayfay of Cebu but it was later reconstituted. It was later subdivided into 3 lots. One of which was sold to Lilian TOundjis and the other 2 lots were assigned to Century Realty which mortgaged the same to Premiere Development Bank, Inc. (Premiere Bank) to secure a P2.5 Million loan.
Yambao, Rodriquez and Morales They then filed with the Regional Trial Court at Quezon City suit against Joselito, Century Realty and Premiere Bank for quieting of title and annulment of said defendants fake titles with prayer for damages.
The RTC rendered a decision in favour of Yambao, Rodriguez and Morales as rightful owners which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
W/N the Court of Appeals erred in holding Garaygay of Rizal, instead of Garaygay of Cebu, as the real owner of Lot 23.
The categorical conclusion of the Court of Appeals – confirmatory of that of the trial court – is that Exhibit “B” is genuine and that Garaygay of Rizal is a real person. On the other hand, Exhibit “1” was adjudged spurious. These factual determinations as a matter of long and sound appellate practice must be accorded great weight, and, as rule, should not be disturbed on appeal, save for the most compelling and cogent reasons.
Other than paying taxes from 1949 to 1990, however, Garaygay of Cebu – and this holds true for his nephew Joselito – did not appear before the current stand-off to have exercised dominion over Lot 23. For one, it has not been shown that Garaygay of Cebu was at any time in possession of the property in question, unlike his namesake from Rizal who managed to place the property under the care of certain individuals who built semi-permanent structure-dwelling houses thereon without so much of a protest from Garaygay of Cebu or his nephew Joselito after the latter purportedly bought the property. For another, neither Garaygay of Cebu nor his nephew Joselito ever instituted any action to eject or recover possession from the occupants of Lot 23. This passivity bespeaks strongly against their claim of ownership. Not lost on this Court are circumstances noted by the trial court which negatively reflect on Garaygay of Cebu’s and his nephew’s claim of ownership.
Digest Credit: Abby Parwani