Conde vs CA (G.R. No. L-40242 December 15, 1982)

Conde vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. L-40242 December 15, 1982

Facts: On 7 April 1938. Margarita Conde, Bernardo Conde and the petitioner Dominga Conde, as heirs of Santiago Conde, sold with right of repurchase, within ten (10) years from said date, a parcel of agricultural land located in Maghubas Burauen Leyte, (Lot 840), with an approximate area of one (1) hectare, to Casimira Pasagui, married to Pio Altera (hereinafter referred to as the Alteras), for P165.00. The “Pacto de Retro Sale.” On 17 April 1941, the Cadastral Court of Leyte adjudicated Lot No. 840 to the Alteras “subject to the right of redemption by Dominga Conde, within ten (10) years counting from April 7, 1983, after returning the amount of P165.00 and the amounts paid by the spouses in concept of land tax … ” (Exhibit “1”). Original Certificate of Title No. N-534 in the name of the spouses Pio Altera and Casimira Pasagui, subject to said right of repurchase, was transcribed in the “Registration Book” of the Registry of Deeds of Leyte on 14 November 1956 (Exhibit “2”).  On 28 November 1945, private respondent Paciente Cordero, son-in-law of the Alteras, signed a document in the Visayan dialect, the English translation of which reads:  MEMORANDUM OF REPURCHASE OVER A PARCEL OF LAND SOLD WITH REPURCHASE WHICH DOCUMENT GOT LOST.

Issue: Whether or not the memorandum of repurchase is binding between the parties.

Held: Yes. Private respondent must be held bound by the clear terms of the Memorandum of Repurchase that he had signed wherein he acknowledged the receipt of P165.00 and assumed the obligation to maintain the repurchasers in peaceful possession should they be “disturbed by other persons”. It was executed in the Visayan dialect which he understood. He cannot now be allowed to dispute the same. “… If the contract is plain and unequivocal in its terms he is ordinarily bound thereby. It is the duty of every contracting party to learn and know its contents before he signs and delivers it.”

There is nothing in the document of repurchase to show that Paciente Cordero had signed the same merely to indicate that he had no objection to petitioner’s right of repurchase. Besides, he would have had no personality to object. To uphold his oral testimony on that point, would be a departure from the parol evidence rule and would defeat the purpose for which the doctrine is intended.

The purpose of the rule is to give stability to written agreements, and to remove the temptation and possibility of perjury, which would be afforded if parol evidence was admissible.

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