Home of ChanRobles Virtual Law Library

 

Home of Chan Robles Virtual Law Library

www.chanrobles.com

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 63025. November 29, 1991.]

RAMON C. ONG, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS, FRANCISCO BOIX and ARSENIO CAMINO AS DEPUTY SHERIFF OF CAMARINES NORTE, Respondents.

Jose L. Lapak for Petitioner.

Jose M. Abola for Private Respondent.


SYLLABUS


1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT; ESTABLISHED IN CASE AT BAR. — The records show that the witness, Mrs. Alkuino and the accused-appellant knew each other well. The latter was a bookkeeper in the bank where the Alkuinos maintained an account. Mendoza knew the details of their bank account so much so that he would make adjustments like transferring of funds from the Alkuino’s savings account to current account whenever requested by said clients in order to properly fund checks issued by them. As to Mendoza’s relationship with Marquez, it was shown that the possibility of conspiracy is not remote. They were townmates and both belong to the same barangay. Thus, it can be said that they knew each other well. We see no reason why Marquez would implicate a good friend in a serious crime if there was no truth to it. The close relationship between the two and the access of Mendoza to bank records and his relationship with regular bank clients like the Alkuinos logically establish the connection between Mendoza and the crime. The records do not show that Esquillo previously knew Mendoza. It was Marquez whom Esquillo knew. Marquez in turn knew Mendoza. Pieced together, the facts bring out a logical conclusion which is further established by the testimonies of other witnesses.

2. ID.; ACTIONS; ESTOPPEL; A PARTY IS ESTOPPED FROM QUESTIONING ADMISSIBILITY OF PORTIONS OF ACCUSED’S TESTIMONY IN A PREVIOUS CASE WHERE ACCUSED AND HIS COUNSEL CONSENTED TO ITS PRESENTATION AS EVIDENCE IN THE PRESENT CASE. — It is noted that when a motion to adopt the said testimonies of witnesses was made by the prosecution, the appellant and his counsel did not object but instead gave their consent. Moreover, Esquillo was confronted with portions of his testimonies in the previous cases which he merely denied or refused to explain. Said portions, thus, became part of his testimony which were duly subjected to cross-examination by the defense counsel.

3. ID.; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; TESTIMONY OF A WITNESS NOT ACTUATED BY IMPROPER MOTIVE, ENTITLED TO FULL FAITH AND CREDIT. — The testimony of witnesses not actuated by improper motives is entitled to full faith and credit (People v. Patog, 144 SCRA 429 [1986]; People v. Cruz, 191 SCRA 127 [1990]; People v. Rabang, 187 SCRA 682 [1990]).

4. CRIMINAL LAW; CONSPIRACY; ESTABLISHED BY CONCERTED EFFORTS OF ALL THE ACCUSED TOWARD A CERTAIN GOAL. — Conspiracy has been established by the facts on record. The concerted action of each member pieced together and taken as a whole conclusively shows the existence of conspiracy.

5. ID.; ID.; NEED NOT BE SHOWN BY DIRECT EVIDENCE. — It need not be shown by direct evidence. It may be inferred from the acts of all the accused (People v. Abueg, 145 SCRA 622 [1986]) and where each performs specific acts in the commission of the crime with such closeness and coordination that would indicate a common purpose or design, conspiracy is considered established beyond reasonable doubt (People v. Petenia, 143 SCRA 361 [1986]).

6. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY; ALIBI; TO BE GIVEN CREDENCE, IT MUST BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE ACCUSED TO BE AT SCENE OF THE CRIME DURING ITS COMMISSION. — To establish alibi, the accused must show that it was impossible for him to have been at the place where the crime was committed at the time of its commission (People v. Abigan, 144 SCRA 130; People v. Coronado, 145 SCRA 250 [1986]).

7. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID,; ID.; NOT MET IN CASE AT BAR. — The appellant has failed to establish the impossibility of his presence at the scene of the crime considering that the distance between the bank and the place of the crime was only a few kilometers away. Also, the crime happened during lunch break where absence of the employees is not noticeable.

8. CRIMINAL LAW; COMPLEX CRIME; NO COMPLEX CRIME IF ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE AND LESS SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURIES. —." . . there is no special complex crime as robbery with homicide and less serious physical injuries. The offense is denominated as robbery with homicide regardless of the number of homicides or injuries committed. These other circumstances merely serve as generic aggravating circumstances which can be offset by other mitigating circumstances (People v. Pedroso, 115 SCRA 599 [1982])."cralaw virtua1aw library

9. CIVIL LAW; DAMAGES; GRANT OF MORAL DAMAGES FOR DEATH RAISED TO P50,000. — The appellant is found guilty of the special complex crime of robbery with homicide but indemnity is increased from THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00) to FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000) in accordance with recent rulings.


D E C I S I O N


PARAS, J.:


The instant petition for certiorari seeks a reversal of the decision * of herein public respondent Court of Appeals dated October 24, 1977 in CA-G.R. No. 47063-R and its resolution dated January 14, 1983 denying herein petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.

The Court of Appeals narrates the facts thus:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

The record shows that on November 16, 1961, Ramon C. Ong filed a complaint against defendants Arsenio Camino as Deputy Sheriff of Camarines Norte and Francisco Boix, to annul the auction sale of a parcel of land, allegedly owned conjugally by plaintiff and his former wife Teodora B. Ong, awarded in favor of Boix, as highest bidder, in an auction sale conducted on October 10, 1958 by the Deputy Sheriff of Camarines Norte, herein defendant Camino, pursuant to a writ of execution dated August 8, 1958 (Exhibits "C", "2-A") issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch IV, to enforce its decision in Civil Case No. 33396, entitled, "Francisco Boix, Plaintiff v. Teodora B. Ong and Ramon C. Ong, Defendants" wherein judgment was rendered to wit:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiff, ordering the defendant Teodora B. Ong to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P2,827.83, with interest of 8% per annum on the sum of P1,000.00 from September 5, 1955, on the sum of P1,000.00 from October 30, 1955; and on the sum of P827.83 from December 30, 1955 plus 15% on the total amount of P2,827.83 as attorney’s fees; and the further amount of P2,503 with interest at 6% per annum from date of the filing of the complaint, and the costs of the suit." (Exhibit "1")chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

The title to the property, in favor of the execution-creditor Boix was duly registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of Camarines Norte (Exhibit "4").

It is not disputed that plaintiff’s wife, Teodora B. Ong conducted her own logging business in Camarines Sur. In furtherance of her business operation, on August 18, 1955, she secured from Francisco Boix a loan in the amount of P2,827.83. Unfortunately, because of mismanagement, Teodora defaulted in her obligation. This prompted Boix to file a complaint, based on the promissory notes executed by Teodora, to collect the sum legally due plus interest against Teodora and Ramon Ong, the latter being joined as husband of the former. Defendant-spouses were declared in default and judgment was rendered, as aforesaid, in favor of Boix.

After the aforementioned decision became final and executory, Boix moved to execute the judgment. The motion was granted and a corresponding writ of execution, dated August 8, 1958 (Exhibits "C", "2-A"), was issued. Accordingly, the Sheriff of Camarines Norte levied and attached a parcel of land situated at Diego Linan St., Daet, Camarines Norte, declared under Tax No. 05378 in the sole name of Teodora B. Ong, subject-parcel of herein suit. In a notice of levy or Execution dated August 22, 1958 (Exhibit "2-B") and notice of Public Auction sale dated September 10, 1958 (Exhibit "2-C"), auction sales was held on October 10, 1958 and as already mentioned, defendant Boix was adjudged highest bidder. A writ of possession was issued to place the execution-creditor in possession of the property levied upon and sold on execution. A corresponding Certificate of Sale (Exhibit "H") was also issued in favor of Boix.

Subsequently, thereafter, Ramon C. Ong filed an Omnibus motion dated October 2, 1961 (Exhibit "D") with the same Court of First Instance of Manila asking to quash the writ of possession, which was denied in an order dated December 6, 961. A motion for reconsideration dated December 29, 1961 (Exhibit "F") was likewise denied in an order dated February 10, 1962 (Exhibit "G"). (Pp. 1-4, Decision; pp. 11-14, Rollo).

Consequently, petitioner brought the case to the Court of Appeals to annul the auction sale allegedly irregularly executed on the following grounds, namely, that the property was conjugal and thus could not be held liable for personal debts contracted by the wife, and that there was no valid publication thus making the auction sale void.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court, prompting petitioner to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. Said motion was denied on January 15, 1983; hence, the present petition.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary

Petitioner contends that the auction sale of the property in dispute is null and void, having been made on a date different from that reflected in the advertisement thereof, aside from having been published in a newspaper which is not of general circulation in the province where the property is situated. According to the petitioner, respondent court’s failure to touch on such a jurisdictional issue constitutes grave abuse of discretion which justifies a reversal of its decision affirming the finding of the trial court which in itself constitutes a misappreciation of facts.

The other argument advanced by the petitioner is that the subject property is really conjugal which the wife in the case at bar could not legally bind, and considering that the indebtedness was contracted by the wife only, the levy of the subject property not owned exclusively by the wife but owned jointly with the husband is improper.

Against petitioner’s argument that the auction sale is null and void is the trial court’s assessment of the validity thereof, that is, that the notice of public auction sale was published in accordance with law. Such a factual finding of the trial court is entitled to great weight and should not be disturbed on appeal. "Factual questions should be resolved by the lower courts and the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction as a rule to reverse the findings of the lower courts except in a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion" (Korean Air Lines v. Court of Appeals, 154 SCRA 211). In the instant case, petitioner failed to show any grave abuse of discretion committed by the lower court in appreciating private respondent’s allegation that petitioner was previously notified of the supposed transfer of the date of public auction from September 25, 1958 to October 10, 1958.

Petitioner’s other argument is also based on factual considerations. Against the Court of Appeals’ finding that the subject property is paraphernal property, in view of the fact that it was "declared, under Tax No. 05378, in the name of Teodora B. Ong while the house erected thereon was declared under Tax No. 06022 in the name of Ramon C. Ong and Teodora B. Ong (Exhibits "B", "H", "2-B", "2-C", "4") (Decision, p. 4) is petitioner’s claim that the subject property is conjugal. Petitioner stresses heavily on the fact that since the surname "Ong" (which is the surname of the husband Ramon C. Ong) was carried by Teodora in the aforesaid tax declaration, that indicates that the subject property was acquired during the marriage. By reason thereof, the property in dispute is presumed to be owned jointly by both spouses.

We disagree. The mere use of the surname of the husband in the tax declaration of the subject property is not sufficient proof that said property was acquired during the marriage and is therefore conjugal. It is undisputed that the subject parcel was declared solely in the wife’s name, but the house built thereon was declared in the name of the spouses. Under such circumstances, coupled with a careful scrutiny of the records of the present case, We hold that the lot in question is paraphernal, and is therefore, liable for the personal debts of the wife.

Thus, it was held in the case of Maramba v. Lozano, 20 SCRA 474, that.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

"The presumption that property is conjugal (Art. 160, New Civil Code) refers to property acquired during the marriage. When there is no showing as to when the property was acquired by a spouse, the fact that the title is in the spouse’s name is an indication that the property belongs exclusively to said spouse."cralaw virtua1aw library

As correctly pointed out by the respondent Court, the party who invokes the presumption that all property of the marriage belongs to the conjugal partnership (Art. 160, New Civil Code) must first prove that the property was acquired during the marriage. Proof of acquisition during the marriage is a condition sine qua non for the operation of the presumption in favor of the conjugal partnership. (Cobb-Perez, Et. Al. v. Lantin, Et Al., 23 SCRA 637; Jose Ponce de Leon v. Rehabilitation Finance Corp., 36 SCRA 289). In the same manner, the recent case of PNB v. Court of Appeals, 153 SCRA 435 affirms that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

"When the property is registered in the name of a spouse only and there is no showing as to when the property was acquired by said spouse, this is an indication that the property belongs exclusively to said spouse. And this presumption under Art. 160 of the Civil Code cannot prevail when the title is in the name of only one spouse and the rights of innocent third parties are involved."cralaw virtua1aw library

Furthermore, even assuming for the sake of argument that the property in dispute is conjugal, the same may still be held liable for the debts of the wife in this case. Under Art. 117 of the Civil Code, the wife may engage in business although the husband may object (but subject to certain conditions). It is clear from the records that the wife was engaged in the logging business with the husband’s knowledge and apparently without any objection on his part. The acts of the husband show that he gave his implied consent to the wife’s engagement in business. According to Justice Ameurfina-Herrera (then Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals) in her concurring opinion, the rule that should govern in that case is that the wife’s paraphernal properties, as well as those of their conjugal partnership, shall be liable for the obligations incurred by the wife in the course of her business (Arts. 117, 140, 172, 203, and 236, Civil Code; Art. 10, Code of Commerce, cited in Commentaries on Phil. Commercial Laws, Martin, T.C. Vol. 1, 1970 Revised Edition, pp. 14-15). After all, whatever profits are earned by the wife from her business go to the conjugal partnership. It would only be just and equitable that the obligations contracted by the wife in connection with her business may also be chargeable not only against her paraphernal property but also against the conjugal property of the spouses.chanrobles virtualawlibrary chanrobles.com:chanrobles.com.ph

Let it be noted that due to the length of time that this case has remained pending, private respondents Francisco Boix and Arsenio Camino have allegedly already died in the process. No proper substitution of parties have apparently been made. Nevertheless, despite such supervening events, for failure on the part of petitioner to show any grave abuse of discretion or reversible error committed by respondent appellate court, We deem it wise to affirm the said court’s decision. Besides, the decision of the trial court is in accordance with law and the evidence presented.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit without pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED

Padilla and Regalado, JJ., concur.

Melencio-Herrera, J., took no part.

Endnotes:



* Penned by the then Associate Justice (now deceased) Simeon M. Gopengco and concurred in by Associate Justices Ameurfina A. Melencio-Herrera and Vicente G. Ericta.

HomeJurisprudenceSupreme Court Decisions1958 : Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsMay 1958 : Philippine Supreme Court DecisionsTop of Page