On October 2, 1992, plaintiffs appealed to the Court of Appeals. 8
On August 21, 1995, the Court of Appeals rendered decision finding that on January 20, 1981, plaintiff Cesar Veracruz and defendant Basilio Dumat-ol executed a document stating that defendant Basilio Dumat-ol "is the real, true and legal owner of Lot No. 1672 of Bacong Cadastral Survey as evidenced by the Original Certificate of Title No. FV-540 under Free Patent No. 65814," and defendant agreed that plaintiff "shall continue to possess the above-mentioned parcel of land situated at Tubod Bacong, Negros Oriental and shall make use of the same until April 20, 1981", and ruling that plaintiff was bound by such agreement. Consequently, the Court of Appeals affirmed the appealed decision. 9chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
On October 5, 1995, plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration, contending that the Court of Appeals erred in concluding that the agreement entered into by plaintiff Cesar Veracruz and defendant Basilio Dumat-ol is a conclusive proof of ownership of the defendant despite the fact that same has not been offered and admitted by the trial court. 10
On September 23, 1996, the Court of Appeals resolved to deny the motion for reconsideration for lack of merit. The Court of Appeals ruled that since plaintiffs failed to contest the genuineness and due execution of the agreement, the same is deemed admitted. 11
Hence, this appeal.
In this appeal, petitioners raised the following basic questions:chanrobles law library : red
1) Can the Court take cognizance of the agreement dated January 20, 1986, attached to the answer of respondents though not offered as exhibit; and
2) If so, can it be taken against petitioner Nemesia Veracruz who is not a signatory thereto? 12
The issues raised are a rehash of those submitted to the Court of Appeals. As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, the agreement was pleaded in defendants’ answer, copy attached thereto, and its authenticity and due execution had not been denied under oath. Hence, the court may consider such document in evidence without necessity of formal offer. 13
Nevertheless, ex meru motu, we rule that plaintiffs’ action has prescribed or is otherwise barred by laches. Defendants raised the issue of prescription of action and bar by laches in their answer to the complaint. 14 Defendants obtained Torrens title on the land in question on February 23, 1957, under Original Certificate of Title No. FV 540. Such title became indefeasible one (1) year after its issuance. 15 Even assuming that the title was procured by fraud, plaintiffs’ action for re-conveyance had prescribed because the case was filed twenty-four (24) years after the discovery of the fraud. An action for re-conveyance of real property resulting from fraud may be barred by the statute of limitations, which requires that the action must be commenced within four (4) years from the discovery of the fraud, 16 and in case of registered land, such discovery is deemed to have taken place from the date of the registration of the title. 17 The registration constitutes notice to all the world. 18 Clearly, the action has prescribed, or is otherwise barred by laches. 19chanrobles law library : red
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the appealed decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. R. CV No. 40292, as well as the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Seventh Judicial Region, Branch 41, Dumaguete City, in Civil Case No. 7753.
Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo and Kapunan, JJ., concur.
Ynares-Santiago, J., took no part; ponente in CA.
1. Promulgated on August 21, 1996, Ynares-Santiago, J., ponente (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court), Martinez, A. M., and Reyes, R. T., JJ., concurring.
2. In CA-G. R. CV No. 40292.
3. Judge Puro M. Velez, presiding.
4. In Civil Case No. 7753, decision, dated September 25, 1992.
5. CFI-RTC Original Record, pp. 2-9.
6. Answer, CFI-RTC Original Record, pp. 13-35.
7. Decision, CFI-RTC Original Record, pp. 254-264.
8. Docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 40292.
9. Petition, Annex "A", Rollo, pp. 14-19.
10. Petition, Annex "B", Rollo, pp. 20-22.
11. Petition, Annex "C", Rollo, pp. 23-24.
12. See Petitioner’s Memorandum, Rollo, pp. 67-70, on p. 68.
13. Asia Banking Corporation v. Walter E. Olsen & Co., 48 Phil. 529.
14. See Answer, CFI-RTC Original Record, pp. 13-35.
15. Tiburcio v. PHHC, 106 Phil. 477.
16. Guerrero v. Court of Appeals, 211 Phil. 295; Balbin v. Medalla, 108 SCRA 666. Alarcon v. Bidin, 120 SCRA 390.
17. Sec. 51, Act No. 496; Sec. 52, P.D. No. 1529.
18. Guinoo v. Court of Appeals, 97 Phil. 235; Balbin v. Medalla, supra; Ramos v. Court of Appeals, 112 SCRA 542; Guerrero v. Court of Appeals, supra; Bernardino Ramos v. Court of Appeals; G. R. No. 111027, February 3, 1999.
19. de los Reyes v. Court of Appeals, 285 SCRA 81; Tiburcio v. PHHC, supra; Alarcon v. Bidin, supra.