Doctrine: The testimonies of their witnesses and the tax declaration without tax receipts are not sufficient to overcome the presumption of regularity of the performance of official duties of the government offices responsible for the issuance.
G.R. No. 188658 | January 11, 2017
HEIRS OF TEODORA LOYOLA, represented herein by ZOSIMO L. MENDOZA, SR., petitioners,
COURT OF APPEALS and ALICIA R. LOYOLA, respondent.
Ponente: Leonen, J.
This case involves a 4,419-square meter parcel of land located in Lingatin, Morong, Bataan. The land is formerly a public agricultural land planted with nipa and coconut.
The Heirs of Teodora Loyola represented by Zosimo Mendoza, Sr. filed an annulment of free patent and original certificate of title, reconveyance of ownership and possession, and damages against Alicia Loyola. They claimed that the property belonged to the parents of their mother who had been in possession of the property since time immemorial. They insisted that they since maintained open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious possession until the present. They further contended that Alicia obtained the property through fraud and misrepresentation. However, Alicia denied all the allegations.
The Heirs relied on testimonial evidence to prove their claim over the property. The could only present a tax declaration as documentary evidence to prove their claim over the property. Although they maintained that they had paid the real estate taxes, they could not present any receipts because these were allegedly lost. On the other hand, Alicia denied all allegations against her and maintained that she and Gabriel legally and regularly obtained the free patent and original certificate of title.
The RTC and the CA denied and dismissed herein petitioner’s contentions. Hence, seeking before the SC, the petitioners questioned on whether they sufficiently establish their title or ownership over the property.
The SC sustained the CA’s finding that the Heirs failed to adequately prove their claim over the property against Alicia. The testimonies of their witnesses and the tax declaration without tax receipts are not sufficient to overcome the presumption of regularity of the performance of official duties of the government offices responsible for the issuance.
There is no evidence of any anomaly or irregularity in the proceedings that led to the registration of the land. Tax declarations and tax receipts “are not conclusive evidence of ownership or of the right to possess land, in the absence of any other strong evidence to support them. The tax receipts and tax declarations are merely indicia of a claim of ownership.”
Failing to prove their title over the property, petitioners cannot rightfully claim that they have been fraudulently deprived of the property.
Digested by Jonaisha Papaladun, 2 – JD, S.Y. 2020-2021, Mindanao State University – College of Law Iligan Extension