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Persons Case Digest: Potenciano v. Reynoso G.R. No. 140707 April 22, 2003

G.R. No. 140707 April 22, 2003.

Ø  Felipe Pareja executed a Deed of Absolute Sale covering a parcel of land and all improvements in favor of his illegitimate son defendant-appellant Manuel Jayme who later claimed that the said sale was made to cover the payments he had made for the hospitalization expenses of his father, he having been constrained to borrow money from several people for the purpose.
Ø  Before Felipe Pareja died, he executed a Last Will and Testament wherein he bequeathed to herein appellees and appellant Manuel Jayme the lot in question while at the same time recognizing them as his illegitimate children.
Ø  10 days after the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in their favor, spouses Manuel and Natividad Jayme executed a Deed of Absolute Sale covering the property in favor of defendant-appellant Norgene Potenciano who eventually filed an ejectment case against plaintiff-appellee Dwight Reynoso.
Ø  CA affirmed the Decision of the RTC, that the signatures of Felipe B. Pareja on the subject Deeds of Sale had been forged

ISSUE:  W/N  Felipe B. Pareja’s unprobated Last Will and Testament as established filiation therefore Manuel Jayme has the capacity to sue

HELD:  Petition is DENIED.

·         The due recognition of an illegitimate child in a record of birth, a will, a statement before a court of record, or in any authentic writing is, in itself, a consummated act of acknowledgment of the child, and no further court action is required

Generally, a notarized document carries the evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to its due execution. Thus, a document acknowledged before a notary public has in its favor the presumption of regularity. However, this presumption is not absolute and may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. To show that the signatures of Pareja were forged on the questioned Deeds of Sale, petitioners presented Dwight Reynoso, who was familiar with his handwriting; and Romeo Varona, a handwriting expert of the National Bureau of Investigation. However, we are not unmindful of the rule that a finding of forgery does not depend entirely on the testimonies of handwriting experts; the judge is still required to conduct an independent examination of the questioned signature.  The CA conducted its own independent examination of the signatures and concluded that the striking differences between the questioned signatures.  Atty. Duterte’s testimony as to the latter Deed of Sale was completely belied by the other witnesses, who testified that Pareja had signed as a witness in the latter’s own residence and not in the presence of the notary public. Petitioner Potenciano himself admitted that Pareja, being already sickly at the time, had signed in the latter’s own house and not in the presence of Notary Public Duterte.  Since the signature of the alleged vendor was a forgery, no rights were transferred from him to the alleged vendees. In turn, the Jayme spouses could not have conveyed ownership of the property to Petitioner Potenciano. It is a well-settled principle that no one can give what one does not have.