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C3g- 3 Character and Conduct

Republic v. Heirs of Alejaga, Sr.

GR No. 146030
Dec 2, 2002

Panganiban, J.:

On December 28, 1978, [Respondent] Felipe Alejaga, Sr. filed with the District Land Office,
Roxas City, a Free Patent Application covering a parcel of land. It appears that on December 27,
1978, when the application was executed under oath, Efren L. Recio, Land Inspector, submitted a
report of his investigation and verification of the land to the District Land Office, Bureau of Lands,
City of Roxas. On March 14, 1979, the District Land Officer of Roxas City approved the application
and the issuance of [a] Free Patent to the applicant. On March 16, 1979, the patent was also ordered
to be issued and the patent was forwarded to defendant Register of Deeds, City of Roxas, for
registration and issuance of the corresponding Certificate of Title. Thereafter, an Original Certificate
of was issued to [respondent] by defendant Register of Deeds.

"On April 4, 1979, the heirs of Ignacio Arrobang, through counsel in a letter-complaint
requested the Director of Lands, Manila, for an investigation of the District Land Officer for
irregularities in the issuance of the title of a foreshore land in favor of [respondent]. The Chief, Legal
Division, Land Management Bureau, Manila, recommended to the Director of Lands the appropriate
civil proceeding for the cancellation of Free Patent Title and the corresponding Original Certificate
of Title in the name of [respondent].

In the meantime, [respondent] obtained a NACIDA loan from the defendant Philippine
National Bank (hereinafter referred to as PNB) executed in Cebu City in the amount of P100,000.00
on August 18, 1981. The loan was secured by a real estate mortgage in favor of defendant PNB.

On April 18, 1990, the government through the Solicitor General instituted an action for
Annulment/Cancellation of Patent and Title and Reversion against [respondent], the PNB of Roxas
City and defendant Register of Deeds of Roxas City covering Free Patent Application.

Whether the statements of Special Investigator Isagani Cartagena with regard to Efren
Recio’s alleged admission may be admitted.

YES. In that report, Recio supposedly admitted that he had not actually conducted an
investigation and ocular inspection of the parcel of land. Cartagenas statement on Recios alleged
admission may be considered as independently relevant. A witness may testify as to the state of
mind of another person -- the latters knowledge, belief, or good or bad faith -- and the formers
statements may then be regarded as independently relevant without violating the hearsay rule.
Thus, because Cartagena took the witness stand and opened himself to cross-examination, the
Investigation Report he had submitted to the director of the Bureau of Lands constitutes part of his
testimony. Those portions of the report that consisted of his personal knowledge, perceptions and
conclusions are not hearsay.[34] On the other hand, the part referring to the statement made by
Recio may be considered as independently relevant.

The doctrine on independently relevant statements holds that conversations

communicated to a witness by a third person may be admitted as proof that, regardless of their
truth or falsity, they were actually made. Evidence as to the making of such statements is not
secondary but primary, for in itself it (a) constitutes a fact in issue or (b) is circumstantially relevant
to the existence of such fact.

Since Cartagenas testimony was based on the report of the investigation he had conducted,
his testimony was not hearsay and was, hence, properly admitted by the trial court.

Based on the foregoing badges of fraud, we sustain petitioners contention that the free
patent granted to Felipe Alejaga Sr. is void.Such fraud is a ground for impugning the validity of the
Certificate of Title. The invalidity of the patent is sufficient basis for nullifying the Certificate of
Title issued in consequence thereof, since the latter is merely evidence of the former. Verily, we
must uphold petitioners claim that the issuance of the Alejagas patent and title was tainted with