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374

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Bordador vs. Luz
*

G.R. No. 130148. December 15, 1997.

JOSE BORDADOR and LYDIA BORDADOR, petitioners,


vs. BRIGIDA D. LUZ, ERNESTO M. LUZ and NARCISO
DEGANOS, respondents.
Actions; Appeals; Judgments; Concurrent factual findings of
the trial court and the Court of Appeals are entitled to great
weight. Petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals erred in
adopting the findings of the court a quo that respondent spouses
are not liable to them, as said conclusion of the trial court is
contradicted by the finding of fact of the appellate court that
(Deganos) acted as agent of his sister (Brigida Luz). In support
of this contention, petitioners
_______________
*

SECOND DIVISION.

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quoted several letters sent to them by Brigida D. Luz wherein the


latter acknowledged her obligation to petitioners and requested
for more time to fulfill the same. They likewise aver that Brigida
testified in the trial court that Deganos took some gold articles
from petitioners and delivered the same to her. Both the Court of
Appeals and the trial court, however, found as a fact that the
aforementioned letters concerned the previous obligations of
Brigida to petitioners, and had nothing to do with the money
sought to be recovered in the instant case. Such concurrent
factual findings are entitled to great weight, hence, petitioners
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cannot plausibly claim in this appellate review that the letters


were in the nature of acknowledgements by Brigida that she was
the principal of Deganos in the subject transactions.
Contracts; Agency; The basis for agency is representation.
The basis for agency is representation. Here, there is no showing
that Brigida consented to the acts of Deganos or authorized him
to act on her behalf, much less with respect to the particular
transactions involved. Petitioners attempt to foist liability on
respondent spouses through the supposed agency relation with
Deganos is groundless and illadvised.
Same; Same; A person dealing with an agent is put upon
inquiry and must discover upon his peril the authority of the
agent. Besides, it was grossly and inexcusably negligent of
petitioners to entrust to Deganos, not once or twice but on at least
six occasions as evidenced by six receipts, several pieces of jewelry
of substantial value without requiring a written authorization
from his alleged principal. A person dealing with an agent is put
upon inquiry and must discover upon his peril the authority of the
agent.
Actions; Independent Civil Actions; Judgments; A final
judgment rendered in a civil case absolving the defendant from
civil liability is no bar to a criminal action.Petitioners have
apparently lost sight of Article 33 of the Civil Code which provides
that in cases involving alleged fraudulent acts, a civil action for
damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action,
may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall
proceed independently of the criminal prosecution and shall
require only a preponderance of evidence. It is worth noting that
this civil case was instituted four years before the criminal case
for estafa was filed, and that although there was a move to
consolidate both cases, the same was denied by
376

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Bordador vs. Luz

the trial court. Consequently, it was the duty of the two branches
of the Regional Trial Court concerned to independently proceed
with the civil and criminal cases. It will also be observed that a
final judgment rendered in a civil action absolving the defendant
from civil liability is no bar to a criminal action.
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Courts; Speedy Disposition of Cases; It is ironic that while


some litigants malign the judiciary for being supposedly slothful
in disposing of cases, petitioners are making a show of calling out
for justice because the Court of Appeals issued a resolution
disposing of a case sooner than expected of it.It is ironic that
while some litigants malign the judiciary for being supposedly
slothful in disposing of cases, petitioners are making a show of
calling out for justice because the Court of Appeals issued a
resolution disposing of a case sooner than expected of it. They
would even deny the exercise of discretion by the appellate court
to prioritize its action on cases in line with the procedure it has
adopted in disposing thereof and in declogging its dockets. It is
definitely not for the parties to determine and dictate when and
how a tribunal should act upon those cases since they are not
even aware of the status of the dockets and the internal rules and
policies for acting thereon.
Same; Same; Presumption of Regularity; It is a legal
presumption, born of wisdom and experience, that official duty has
been regularly performed; that the proceedings of a judicial
tribunal are regular and valid, and that judicial acts and duties
have been and will be duly and properly performed.The fact that
a resolution was issued by said court within a relatively short
period of time after the records of the case were elevated to the
office of the ponente cannot, by itself, be deemed irregular. There
is no showing whatsoever that the resolution was issued without
considering the reply filed by petitioners. In fact, that brief
pleading filed by petitioners does not exhibit any esoteric or
ponderous argument which could not be analyzed within an hour.
It is a legal presumption, born of wisdom and experience, that
official duty has been regularly performed; that the proceedings of
a judicial tribunal are regular and valid, and that judicial acts
and duties have been and will be duly and properly performed.
The burden of proving irregularity in official conduct is on the
part of petitioners and they have utterly failed to do so. It is thus
reprehensible for them to cast aspersions on a court of law on the
bases of conjectures or surmises, especially since one of the
petitioners appears to be a member of the Philippine Bar.
377

VOL. 283, DECEMBER 15, 1997

377

Bordador vs. Luz

PETITION for review on certiorari of a decision of the


Court of Appeals.

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The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.


Florentino V. Floro, Jr. for petitioners.
Paulino N. Lorenzo for private respondents.
REGALADO, J.:
In this appeal by certiorari, petitioners assail the judgment
of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 49175 affirming
the adjudication of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos,
Bulacan which found private respondent Narciso Deganos
liable to petitioners for actual damages, but absolved
respondent spouses Brigida D. Luz and Ernesto M. Luz of
liability. Petitioners likewise belabor the subsequent
resolution of the Court of Appeals which denied their
motion for reconsideration of its challenged decision.
Petitioners were engaged in the business of purchase
and sale of jewelry and respondent Brigida D. Luz, also
known as Aida D. Luz, was their regular customer. On
several occasions during the period from April 27, 1987 to
September 4, 1987, respondent Narciso Deganos, the
brother of Brigida D. Luz, received several pieces of gold1
and jewelry from petitioners amounting to P382,816.00.
These items and their prices were indicated in seventeen
receipts covering the same. Eleven of the receipts stated
that they were received for a certain Evelyn Aquino, a
niece of Deganos, and the remaining
six indicated that they
2
were received for Brigida D. Luz.
Deganos was supposed to sell the items at a profit and
thereafter remit the proceeds and return the unsold items
to petitioners. Deganos remitted only the sum of
P53,207.00. He neither paid the balance of the sales
proceeds, nor did he return any unsold item to petitioners.
By January 1990, the
_______________
1

Rollo, 86.

Ibid., 203.
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Bordador vs. Luz

total of his unpaid account to petitioners,


including
3
interest, reached the sum of P725,463.98. Petitioners
eventually filed a complaint in the barangay court against
Deganos to recover said amount.
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In the barangay proceedings, Brigida D. Luz, who was


not impleaded in the case, appeared as a witness for
Deganos and ultimately, she and her husband, together
with Deganos, signed a compromise agreement with
petitioners. In that compromise agreement, Deganos
obligated himself to pay petitioners, on installment basis,
the balance of his account plus interest thereon. However,
he failed to comply with his aforestated undertakings.
On June 25, 1990, petitioners instituted Civil Case No.
412M90 in the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan
against Deganos and Brigida D. Luz for recovery of a sum
of money and
damages, with an application for preliminary
4
attachment. Ernesto Luz was impleaded therein as the
spouse of Brigida.
Four years later, or on March 29, 1994,
Deganos and
5
Brigida D. Luz were charged with estafa in the Regional
Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, which was docketed as
Criminal Case No. 785M94. That criminal case appears to
be still pending in said trial court.
During the trial of the civil case, petitioners claimed
that Deganos acted as the agent of Brigida D. Luz when he
received the subject items of jewelry and, because he failed
to pay for the same, Brigida, as principal, and her spouse
are solidarily liable with him therefor.
On the other hand, while Deganos admitted that he had
an unpaid obligation to petitioners, he claimed that the
same was only in the sum of P382,816.00 and not
P725,463.98. He further asserted that it was he alone who
was involved in the transaction with the petitioners; that
he neither acted as
_______________
3

Ibid., 85.

Ibid., 7884.

Ibid., 111112.
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agent for nor was he authorized to act as an agent by


Brigida D. Luz, notwithstanding the fact that six of the
receipts indicated that the items were received by him for
the latter. He further claimed that he never delivered any
of the items he received from petitioners to Brigida.
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Brigida, on her part, denied that she had anything to do


with the transactions between petitioners and Deganos.
She claimed that she never authorized Deganos to receive
any item of jewelry in her behalf and, for that matter,
neither did she actually receive any of the articles in
question.
After trial, the court below found that only Deganos was
liable to petitioners for the amount and damages claimed.
It held that while Brigida D. Luz did have transactions
with petitioners in the past, the items involved were
already paid for and all that Brigida owed petitioners was
the sum of P21,483.00 representing interest 6on the
principal account which she had previously paid for.
The trial court also found that it was petitioner Lydia
Bordador who indicated in the receipts that the items were
received
by Deganos for Evelyn Aquino and Brigida D.
7
Luz. Said court was persuaded that Brigida D. Luz was
behind Deganos, but because there was no memorandum
to this effect, the agreement between the 8 parties was
unenforceable under the Statute of Frauds. Absent the
required memoran
_______________
6

Ibid., 8597.

Ibid., 94.

Article 1403 of the Civil Code pertinently provides that the following

contracts are unenforceable unless they are ratified:


1. Those entered into in the name of another person by one who had
been given no authority or legal representation, or who has acted
beyond his power.
2. Those that do not comply with the Statute of Frauds as set forth in
this number. In the following cases, an agreement hereafter made
shall be unenforceable by action, unless the same, or some note or
memorandum thereof, be in writing, and subscribed by the party
charged, or by his agent; evidence, therefore, of the agreement
cannot be received without the writing or a secondary evidence of
its contents:
380

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dum or any written document connecting the respondent


Luz spouses with the subject receipts, or authorizing
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Deganos to act on their behalf, the alleged agreement


between petitioners and Brigida D. Luz was unenforceable.
Deganos was ordered to pay petitioners the amount of
P725,463.98, plus legal interest thereon from June 25,
1990, and attorneys fees. Brigida D. Luz was ordered to
pay P21,483.00 representing the interest on her own
personal loan. She and her codefendant
spouse were
9
absolved from any other or further liability.
As stated at the outset, petitioners appealed the
judgment of the court a quo
to the Court of Appeals which
10
affirmed said judgment. The motion for reconsideration
11
filed by petitioners was subsequently dismissed, hence the
present recourse to this Court.
The primary issue in the instant petition is whether or
not herein respondent spouses are liable to petitioners for
the latters claim for money and damages in the sum of
P725,463.98, plus interests and attorneys fees, despite the
fact that the evidence does not show that they signed any of
the subject receipts or authorized Deganos to receive the
items of jewelry on their behalf.
Petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals erred in
adopting the findings of the court a quo that respondent
spouses are not liable to them, as said conclusion of the
trial court is contradicted by the finding of fact of the
appellate court that (Deganos) acted as agent of his sister
(Brigida
_______________
xxx
(b) A special promise to answer for the debt, default, or miscarriage of another;
x x x.
9

Rollo, 97.

10

Justice Maximiano C. Asuncion as ponente, with the concurrence of

Justice Jesus M. Elbinias and Justice Ramon A. Barcelona of the Eleventh


Division of the Court of Appeals, affirmed the decision of the trial court in
a decision dated July 9, 1997; Rollo, 913.
11

The resolution was dated August 18, 1997; Rollo, 70A.


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12

Luz). In support of this contention, petitioners quoted


several letters sent to them by Brigida D. Luz wherein the
latter acknowledged her obligation to petitioners and
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requested for more time to fulfill the same. They likewise


aver that Brigida testified in the trial court that Deganos
took some gold articles from petitioners and delivered the
same to her.
Both the Court of Appeals and the trial court, however,
found as a fact that the aforementioned letters concerned
the previous obligations of Brigida to petitioners, and had
nothing to do with the money sought to be recovered in the
instant case. Such concurrent factual findings are entitled
to great weight, hence, petitioners cannot plausibly claim
in this appellate review that the letters were in the nature
of acknowledgements by Brigida that she was the principal
of Deganos in the subject transactions.
On the other hand, with regard to the testimony of
Brigida admitting delivery of the gold to her, there is no
showing whatsoever that her statement referred to the
items which are the subject matter of this case. It cannot,
therefore, be validly said that she admitted her liability
regarding the same.
Petitioners insist that Deganos was the agent of Brigida
D. Luz as the latter clothed him with apparent authority as
her agent and held him out to the public as such, hence
Brigida can not be permitted to deny said authority to
innocent
third parties who dealt with Deganos under such
13
belief. Petition ers further represent that the Court of
Appeals recognized
in its decision that Deganos was an
14
agent of Brigida.
The evidence does not support the theory of petitioners
that Deganos was an agent of Brigida D. Luz and that the
latter should consequently be held solidarily liable with
Deganos in his obligation to petitioners. While the quoted
statement in the findings of fact of the assailed appellate
decision men
_______________
12

Rollo, 3340.

13

Ibid., 40.

14

Ibid., 4041.
382

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Bordador vs. Luz

tioned that Deganos ostensibly acted as an agent of


Brigida, the actual conclusion and ruling of the Court of
Appeals categorically stated that, (Brigida Luz) never
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authorized her brother (Deganos) to act for and 15in her


behalf in any transaction with Petitioners x x x. It is
clear, therefore, that even assuming arguendo that
Deganos acted as an agent of Brigida, the latter never
authorized him to act on her behalf with regard to the
transactions subject of this case.
The Civil Code provides:
Art. 1868. By the contract of agency a person binds himself to
render some service or to do something in representation or on
behalf of another, with the consent or authority of the latter.

The basis for agency is representation. Here, there is no


showing that Brigida consented to the acts of Deganos or
authorized him to act on her behalf, much less with respect
to the particular transactions involved. Petitioners attempt
to foist liability on respondent spouses through the
supposed agency relation with Deganos is groundless and
illadvised.
Besides, it was grossly and inexcusably negligent of
petitioners to entrust to Deganos, not once or twice but on
at least six occasions as evidenced by six receipts, several
pieces of jewelry of substantial value without requiring a
written authorization from his alleged principal. A person
dealing with an agent is put upon inquiry and
must
16
discover upon his peril the authority of the agent.
The records show that neither an express nor an implied
agency was proven to have existed between Deganos and
Brigida D. Luz. Evidently, petitioners, who were negligent
in their transactions with Deganos, cannot seek relief from
the effects of their negligence by conjuring a supposed
agency relation between the two respondents where no
evidence supports such claim.
_______________
15

Ibid., 12.

16

Toyota Shaw, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 116650, May

23, 1995, 244 SCRA 320.


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383

Bordador vs. Luz

Petitioners next allege that the Court of Appeals erred in


ignoring the fact that the decision of the court below, which
it affirmed, is null and void as it contradicted its ruling in
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CAG.R. SP No. 39445 holding that there is sufficient


evidence/proof against Brigida D. Luz and Deganos for
estafa in the pending criminal case. They further aver that
said appellate court erred in ruling against them in this
civil action since the same would result in an inevitable
conflict of decisions should the trial court convict the
accused in the criminal case.
By way of backdrop for this argument of petitioners,
herein respondents Brigida D. Luz and Deganos had filed a
demurrer to evidence and a motion for reconsideration in
the aforestated criminal case, both of which were denied by
the trial court. They then filed a petition for certiorari in
the Court of Appeals to set aside the denial of their
demurrer and motion for reconsideration 17but, as just
stated, their petition therefor was dismissed.
Petitioners now claim that the aforesaid dismissal by
the Court of Appeals of the petition in CAG.R. SP No.
39445 with respect to the criminal case is equivalent to a
finding that there is sufficient evidence in the estafa case
against Brigida D. Luz and Deganos. Hence, as already
stated, petitioners theorize that the decision and resolution
of the Court of Appeals now being impugned in the case at
bar would result in a possible conflict with the prospective
decision in the criminal case. Instead of promulgating the
present decision and resolution under review, so they
suggest, the Court of Appeals should have awaited the
decision in the criminal case, so as not to render academic
or preempt
the same or, worse, create two conflicting
18
rulings.
Petitioners have apparently lost sight of Article 33 of the
Civil Code which provides that in cases involving alleged
fraudulent acts, a civil action for damages, entirely
separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be
brought by the
_______________
17

Rollo, 128131.

18

Ibid., 41.
384

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Bordador vs. Luz

injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently


of the criminal prosecution and shall require only a
preponderance of evidence.
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It is worth noting that this civil case was instituted four


years before the criminal case for estafa was filed, and that
although there was a move to consolidate both cases, the
same was denied by the trial court. Consequently, it was
the duty of the two branches of the Regional Trial Court
concerned to independently proceed with the civil and
criminal cases. It will also be observed that a final
judgment rendered in a civil action absolving the
defendant
19
from civil liability is no bar to a criminal action.
It is clear, therefore, that this civil
case may proceed
20
independently of the criminal case especially because
while both cases are based on the same facts, the quantum
of proof required for holding the parties liable therein
differ. Thus, it is improvident of petitioners to claim that
the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals in the
present case would be preemptive of the outcome of the
criminal case. Their fancied fear of possible conflict
between the disposition of this civil case and the outcome of
the pending criminal case is illusory.
Petitioners surprisingly postulate that the Court of
Appeals had lost its jurisdiction to issue the denial
resolution dated August 18, 1997, as the same was tainted
with irregularities
and badges of fraud perpetrated by its
21
court officers. They charge that said appellate court,
through conspiracy and fraud on the part of its officers,
gravely abused its discretion in issuing that resolution
denying their motion for reconsideration. They claim that
said resolution was drafted by the ponente, then signed and
issued by the members of the Eleventh Division of said
court within one and a half days from
_______________
19

Section 4, Rule 111, Rules of Court.

20

Salta vs. De Veyra, etc., et al., L37733 and Philippine National Bank

vs. Purisima, etc., et al., L38035, jointly decided on September 30, 1992,
117 SCRA 212.
21

Rollo, 47.
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the elevation thereof by the division clerk of court to the


office of the ponente.
It is the thesis of petitioners that there was undue haste
in issuing the resolution as the same was made without
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waiting for the lapse of the tenday period for respondents


to file their comment and for petitioners to file their reply.
It was allegedly impossible for the Court of Appeals to
resolve the issue in just one and a half days, especially
because its ponente, the late Justice Maximiano C.
Asuncion, was then recuperating from surgery and, that,
additionally,
hundreds of more important cases were
22
pending.
These lamentable allegation of irregularities in the
Court of Appeals and in the conduct of its officers strikes us
as a desperate attempt of petitioners to induce this Court
to give credence to their arguments which, as already found
by both the trial and intermediate appellate courts, are
devoid of factual and legal substance. The regrettably
irresponsible attempt to tarnish the image of the
intermediate appellate tribunal and its judicial officers
through ad hominem imputations could well be
contumacious, but we are inclined to let that pass with a
strict admonition that petitioners refrain from indulging in
such conduct in litigations.
On July 9, 1997, the Court of Appeals rendered
23
judgment in this case affirming the trial courts decision.
Petitioners moved for reconsideration and the Court of
Appeals ordered respondents to file a comment.
24
Respondents filed the same on August 5, 1997 and
petitioners
filed their reply to said comment on August 15,
25
1997. The Eleventh Division of said court issued the
questioned resolution denying petitioners
motion for
26
reconsideration on August 18, 1997.
It is ironic that while some litigants malign the judiciary
for being supposedly slothful in disposing of cases,
petitioners
_______________
22

Ibid., 48.

23

Ibid., 913.

24

Ibid., 160167.

25

Ibid., 178182.

26

Ibid., 70A.
386

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Bordador vs. Luz

are making a show of calling out for justice because the


Court of Appeals issued a resolution disposing of a case
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sooner than expected of it. They would even deny the


exercise of discretion by the appellate court to prioritize its
action on cases in line with the procedure it has adopted in
disposing thereof and in declogging its dockets. It is
definitely not for the parties to determine and dictate when
and how a tribunal should act upon those cases since they
are not even aware of the status of the dockets and the
internal rules and policies for acting thereon.
The fact that a resolution was issued by said court
within a relatively short period of time after the records of
the case were elevated to the office of the ponente cannot,
by itself, be deemed irregular. There is no showing
whatsoever that the resolution was issued without
considering the reply filed by petitioners. In fact, that brief
pleading filed by petitioners does not exhibit any esoteric or
ponderous argument which could not be analyzed within an
hour. It is a legal presumption, born of wisdom and
experience,27 that official duty has been regularly
performed; that the proceedings of a judicial tribunal are
regular and valid, and that judicial acts and28 duties have
been and will be duly and properly performed. The burden
of proving irregularity in official conduct lies on the part of
petitioners and they have utterly failed to do so. It is thus
reprehensible for them to cast aspersions on a court of law
on the bases of conjectures or surmises, especially since one
of the petitioners appears to be a member of the Philippine
Bar.
Lastly, petitioners fault the trial courts holding that
whatever contract of agency was established between
Brigida D. Luz and Narciso Deganos is unenforceable
under the Statute of Frauds as that aspect of this case
allegedly is not covered
_______________
27

Section 3(m), Rule 131, Rules of Court.

28

Section 3(n), Rule 131, Rules of Court provides that it is presumed

that a court, or judge acting as such, whether in the Philippines or


elsewhere, was acting in the lawful exercise of jurisdiction.
387

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387

Bordador vs. Luz


29

thereby. They proceed on the premise that the Statute of


Frauds applies only to executory contracts and not to
executed or to partially executed ones. From there, they
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move on to claim that the contract involved in this case was


an executed contract as the items had already been
delivered by petitioners to Brigida D. Luz, hence, such
delivery resulted in the execution of the contract and
removed the same from the coverage of the Statute of
Frauds.
Petitioners claim is speciously unmeritorious. It should
be emphasized that neither the trial court nor the appellate
court categorically stated that there was such a contractual
relation between these two respondents. The trial court
merely said that if there was such an agency existing
between them, the same is unenforceable as the contract
would fall under the Statute of Frauds which requires the
presentation of a note or memorandum thereof in order to
be enforceable in court. That was merely a preparatory
statement of a principle of law. What was finally proven as
a matter of fact is that there was no such contract between
Brigida D. Luz and Narciso Deganos, executed or partially
executed, and no delivery of any of the items subject of this
case was ever made to the former.
WHEREFORE, no error having been committed by the
Court of Appeals in affirming the judgment of the court a
quo, its challenged decision and resolution are hereby
AFFIRMED and the instant petition is DENIED, with
double costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, Mendoza and Martinez, JJ., concur.
Petition denied; Challenged decision and resolution
affirmed.
Notes.Presumption of regularity in the performance
of official functions does not apply where it is patent that
the
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29

Rollo, 52.
388

388

SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED


Office of the Court Administrator vs. Ferrer

sheriffs return is defective. (Laus vs. Court of Appeals, 219


SCRA 688 [1993])
Suspicions and conjectures cannot overcome, in the
absence of contrary proof, the disputable presumption that
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SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 283

official duties have been regularly performed. (The New


Testament Church of God vs. Court of Appeals, 246 SCRA
266 [1995])
It is axiomatic that a decision of a lower court cannot be
reversed for its failure to consider evidence which was not
even presented by the parties; Reliance on the presumption
of regularity in the performance of official duties falls in
the face of a serious imputation on noncompliance. (Pulido
vs. Court of Appeals, 251 SCRA 673 [1995])
o0o

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