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008 Rodolfo Morales (Father) and Priscila Morales

(Daughter) v. CA, Sps. Arnulfo and Erlinda Ortiz

GR No. 117228, August 12, 2003


1. The private respondents here Arnulfo and Erlinda Ortiz filed a case against Priscila Morales.
2. The action was for the recovery of land and for damages
2.1 private respondents alleged that they are the owners of a parcel of land and the structure thereon.
3. RTC: ruled in favor of the Sps. Ortiz.
3.1 RTC summarized the evidence of the Sps. Ortiz as follows: (Hes the plaintiff/ Respondent)
3.1.1 They purchased the land from Celso Avelino, and Celso in turn purchased it from Alejandra Mendiola
and Celita Bartolome. (both transactions are evidenced by a deed of absolute sale and tax declaration
3.1.2 Before selling the land to the Sps. Ortiz, Celso Avelino had the land surveryed and subsequently
constructed a 2-storey house. (the survey was also duly backed up by evidence from the Bureau of
3.1.3 After the construction, he even let his parent reside in the said house.
3.1.4 While he was away for his occupation (CFI Judge), his sister Aurea was taking care of the property.
3.1.5 Under the sisters watch, Rodolfo Morales constructed a beauty shop in the premises of the property.
3.1.6 Now, since the Spouses Ortiz already bought some properties of Celso Avelino, the latter offered to
them to buy the property in question. The spouses, upon making a survey in the property, they talked
to Rodolfo Morales.
3.1.7 Rodolfo Morales urged them to buy the land and upon buying it, Morales said that he will vacate it as
soon as he is notified.
3.1.8 The Spouses Ortiz agreed and bought the land.
3.1.9 Lo and behold, when the time came Morales is demanded to vacate, he refused to do so.
3.1.10 Needless to say, this led to the present case.
3.2 RTC summarized the evidence of Morales as follows: (Hes the defendant/ Petitioner)
3.2.1 Morales alleged that it was the parents of Celso Avelino that really owned the land. And, it was
through Celso Avelino that they bought it from Alejandra Mendiola. (unlike the Sps. Ortiz, Morales
only had his oral testimony to back this up)
3.2.2 And on the death of the parents of Celso Avelino, Celsos sibling lived in the said property. (including
her sister Concepcion Peralta, whose Confirmation was attacked later in the SC for being
hearsay) It was also alleged that Celso didnt reside in the property because he was in Cebu.
3.2.3 It was also alleged that Celso acquired the land because his parents sold it to him.
3.2.4 Morales admitted that he constructed a beauty shop beside the 2 storey house constructed thereon.
3.2.5 In another note, Morales also posited that he and Aurea (sis of Celso) delivered tax payment receipts
to Celso in Cebu. (not sure whats the purpose of this allegation, but maybe to prove that consent was
given by Celso to Morales to construct his beauty shop)
3.2.6 Morales in sum alleged that the sale by Celso Avelino to the Spouses Ortiz was fraudulent because the
sale included his shit beauty shop.
3.2.7 In effect, they are contending that Celso Avelino doesnt own the land, they are alleging that he
is merely holding it in trust.
4. To expounded on the ruling of the RTC after mentioning the respective summarized evidence of the plaintiff and
the defendant:
4.1 the spouses Ortizs claims of ownership was based on documentary evidence (i.e. Deed of conveyance, tax
declarations, etc.); while Morales claims were based merely on his testimonial evidence.
4.2 The evidence presented by the Spouses Ortiz were positive, categorical, credible, and other nice things; while
those presented by Morales were unconvincing.
4.3 Priscila Morales testimony is already barred by laches.
4.4 Since the structure on the premises was already in ruin, this belies the claim of ownership by Morales. (the
presumption is that if you own it, you take steps to take care of it)
4.5 If there really is a valid claim of ownership, then why did the other siblings of Priscila not join the case?
4.6 The demeanor of Priscila was evasive and shifty during her testimony and she cant answer questions directly.
5. The case was appealed by Morales to the CA.

6. CA: affirmed the RTC

7. MR to CA denied.
8. Hence this petition to the SC.
8.1 Petitioners alleged among other that the CA erred in:
in relying on Conception Peralta's alleged Confirmation (Exhibit O) in ruling that
Celso Avelino (and later the respondents) had exclusive and absolute ownership of the
disputed property. Exhibit O was not identified by the purported affiant at the trial, and was
therefore plainly hearsay. Respondent CA erred in admitting Exhibit O in evidence over the
objection of the petitioner's counsel.
8.2 The case didnt provide what the Confirmation of Concepcion Peralta contained.
9. At first, the SC denied the petition, but an MR was filed.
Whether or not the Confirmation of Concepcion Peralta should be considered as hearsay evidence?
Hell NO!
1. Concepcion Peraltas sworn Confirmation dated 14 May 1987 cannot be considered hearsay evidence due to
Concepcions failure to testify.

1.1On the contrary, it is an exception to the hearsay rule under Section 38 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, it
having been offered as evidence of an act or declaration against interest.

1.2 As declarant Concepcion was a daughter of Rosendo Avelino and Juana Ricaforte, and a sister of Celso
Avelino and intervenor Priscila Morales, Concepcion was thus a co-heir of her siblings, and would have had a
share, equal to that of each of her co-heirs, in the estate of Rosendo and Juana.

1.3 If indeed the property was merely held in trust by Celso for his parents, Concepcion would have been entitled
to a proportionate part thereof as co-heir.

1.4 However, by her Confirmation, Concepcion made a solemn declaration against interest.