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Digest: Tan Jr. vs. Hosana, G.R. No. 190846. February 03, 2016


G.R. No. 190846, February 03, 2016



The respondent Jose G. Hosana (Jose) married Milagros C. Hosana (Milagros) on January 14, 1979. During their marriage, Jose and Milagros bought a house and lot located at Tinago, Naga City, which lot was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 21229

On January 13, 1998, Milagros sold to the petitioner Tomas P. Tan, Jr. (Tomas) the subject property, as evidenced by a deed of sale executed by Milagros herself and as attorney-in-fact of Jose, by virtue of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) executed by Jose in her favor. The Deed of Sale stated that the purchase price for the lot was P200,000.00. After the sale, TCT No. 21229 was cancelled and TCT No. 32568 was issued in the name of Tomas

On October 19, 2001, Jose filed a Complaint for Annulment of Sale/Cancellation of Title/Reconveyance and Damages against Milagros, Tomas, and the Register of Deeds of Naga City. 

In the complaint, Jose averred that while he was working in Japan, Milagros, without his consent and knowledge, conspired with Tomas to execute the SPA by forging Jose's signature making it appear that Jose had authorized Milagros to sell the subject property to Tomas.

In his Answer, Tomas maintained that he was a buyer in good faith and for value. 

Jose presented his brother, Bonifacio Hosana (Bonifacio), as sole witness. Bonifacio further testified that Jose's signature in the SPA was forged. Bonifacio presented documents containing the signature of Jose for comparison: Philippine passport, complaint-affidavit, duplicate original of SPA dated 16 February 2002, notice of lis pendens, community tax certificate, voter's affidavit, specimen signatures, and a handwritten letter.

The RTC Ruling

In its decision dated December 27, 2006, the RTC decided in favor of Jose and nullified the sale of the subject property to Tomas.

The CA Ruling

Tomas appealed the RTC's ruling to the CA.

In a decision dated August 28, 2009, the CA affirmed the RTC ruling that the deed of sale and the SPA were void.

Despite Tomas' allegation that he paid P700,000.00 for the subject lot, the CA found that there was no convincing evidence that established this claim.

Tomas filed a motion for the reconsideration of the CA decision on the ground that the amount of P200,000.00 as reimbursement for the purchase price of the house and lot was insufficient and not supported by the evidence formally offered before and admitted by the RTC. Tomas contended that the actual amount he paid as consideration for the sale was P700,000.00, as supported by his testimony before the RTC.

The C A denied the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. 

The Issues

Whether the deed of sale can be used as the basis for the amount of consideration paid. 


While the terms and provisions of a void contract cannot be enforced since it is deemed inexistent, it does not preclude the admissibility of the contract as evidence to prove matters that occurred in the course of executing the contracti.e., what each party has given in the execution of the contract.

Evidence is the means of ascertaining in a judicial proceeding the truth respecting a matter of fact, sanctioned by the Rules of Court.53 The purpose of introducing documentary evidence is to ascertain the truthfulness of a matter at issue, which can be the entire content or a specific provision/term in the document.

The deed of sale as documentary evidence may be used as a means to ascertain the truthfulness of the consideration stated and its actual payment. The purpose of introducing the deed of sale as evidence is not to enforce the terms written in the contract, which is an obligatory force and effect of a valid contract. The deed of sale, rather, is used as a means to determine matters that occurred in the execution of such contracti.e., the determination of what each party has given under the void contract to allow restitution and prevent unjust enrichment.

Evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law of these rules.54 There is no provision in the Rules of Evidence which excludes the admissibility of a void document. The Rules only require that the evidence is relevant and not excluded by the Rules for its admissibility.55  

Hence, a void document is admissible as evidence because the purpose of introducing it as evidence is to ascertain the truth respecting a matter of fact, not to enforce the terms of the document itself.

It is also settled in jurisprudence that with respect to evidence which appears to be of doubtful relevancy, incompetency, or admissibility, the safer policy is to be liberal and not reject them on doubtful or technical grounds, but admit them unless plainly irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent; for the reason that their rejection places them beyond the consideration of the court, if they are thereafter found relevant or competent. On the other hand, their admission, if they turn out later to be irrelevant or incompetent, can easily be remedied by completely discarding them or ignoring them.56  

In the present case, the deed of sale was declared null and void by positive provision of the law prohibiting the sale of conjugal property without the spouse's consent. It does not, however, preclude the possibility that Tomas paid the consideration stated therein. The admission of the deed of sale as evidence is consistent with the liberal policy of the court to admit the evidence: which appears to be relevant in resolving an issue before the courts.

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