Gubat v. Montante (G.R. No. 230164. July 09, 2018)


CASE DIGEST: [G.R. No. 230164, July 09, 2018]. SALVADOR GUBAT VS. RUFINO G. MONTANTE, SILANGAN MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, EFREN M. PINEDA, SHERIFF IV, AND THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF DAVAO CITY.

The present petition stems from a Complaint filed by the petitioner for Declaration of Nullity of Special Power of Attorney (SPA), Real Estate Mortgage (REM), Promissory Note, and Sheriff Certificate of Sale, and for Recovery of the Original Certificate of Title No. P-6883 with Damages and Attorney's Fees against the respondents.

The petitioner claimed that as an illiterate who can neither read nor write, he was deceived into signing the subject SPA, without the contents thereof being explained to him. He also avers that the SPA was not submitted to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), as required for members of the Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous People such as he, who belongs to the Bagobo Tribe. On the strength of such SPA, Rufino Montante mortgaged the petitioner's property with Silangan Multi-Purpose Cooperative as security for a loan.

Settled is the rule is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Whether the petitioner is an illiterate is a factual matter which the Court cannot review or pass upon in a petition for review on certiorari. Further, factual findings of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), when affirmed by the CA as in this case, are entitled to great weight and; respect.
As the CA noted, the petitioner, other than his bare allegations, presented no proof of his alleged illiteracy. Also, the RTC and the CA found the testimony of the notary public who notarized the SPA credible. The notary public testified that the contents of the subject SPA were fully explained to the petitioner. Posed against this testimony, the petitioner's unsubstantiated denial proved to be unavailing. Anent the certification issued by the NCIP to prove the petitioner's alleged membership in the indigenous community, records show that the same was not duly authenticated in court.

All told the Court found no justification to deviate from the factual findings of the RTC and the CA. The petitioner failed to present any cogent reason that would warrant a reversal of the assailed decision and resolution.

ACCORDINGLY, the Supreme Court resolved to DENY the Petition for Review on Certiorari. The petitioner failed to show that the Court of Appeals (CA) committed reversible error.

[ALSO READ:] Co v. Yeung, 742 Phil. 803, 808 (2014).

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