Sunday, April 22, 2012

Notarized document; legal effects of notarization - G.R. No. 173857

G.R. No. 173857

"x x x.

The validity of the notarized authority to sell which granted respondent exclusive authority to sell the property of Leoncia Manuel for one month, which was reckoned from the date of notarization of the document on March 8, 1997, is a factual issue, which had been determined by the trial court and the Court of Appeals with the same finding.  This Court also reviewed the subject authority to sell, and agrees that the Court of Appeals correctly held, thus:

The trial court correctly found that the authority to sell executed by Marina in favor of Leonor was validly executed. First, Leonor's authority to sell was notarized. Thus, there is a presumption that it had been validly executed. A notarized document has in its favor the presumption of regularity, and can be contradicted only by clear and convincing evidence. Second, while insisting that the authority to sell form had been blank when she signed it, Marina does not deny the genuineness of her signature thereon. Third, the authority to sell presented by Leonor to Marina was a pre-printed form, with the title "Authority to Sell" clearly spelled out on top of the document.  Even if it were true that the details of the form were not yet inserted therein when Marina signed it, she knew, or should have known, from its title, that she had signed an authority to sell in favor of Leonor. Thus, her having signed it in blank was an implied authorization for Leonor to fill it up according to their agreement. In the absence of clear and convincing evidence thatMarina and Leonor had an agreement different from that appearing in the signed authority to sell, it is presumed that the signed contract embodies their complete and true agreement. The presumption of regularity, the evidentiary weight conferred upon public documents with respect to its execution, as well as the statements and the authenticity of the signatures thereon, therefore, stand.

Since the authority to sell is valid and binding, its terms must be given effect. Under the authority to sell, Marina instituted Leonor, for 1 month from 8 March 1997, to be the exclusive selling agent of the subject property, with the right to earn a commission equivalent to the difference between Marina's asking price of P65.00 per square meter and the actual selling price. Since the sale to Chiao Liong Tan was consummated at P90.00 per square meter, and executed on 25 March 1997, within the period of Leonor's exclusive authority to sell, it follows that she is entitled to a commission of P25.00 per square meter, or a total of P598,975.00.

Moreover, it is beyond cavil that Leonor had worked on the sale of the subject property, as shown by her efforts to have its title reconstituted, to have it surveyed, to pay its real estate taxes, and to secure a tax clearance thereon. Marina cannot deny that Leonor had talked to Chiao Liong Tan and produced the documents that enabled the sale to push through. Without those documents, Chiao Liong Tan would not have purchased the property.

Unfortunately, Leonor was not able to produce all the receipts pertaining to the expenses that she had incurred in relation to the documentation of the subject property. All the same, she is entitled to be reimbursed for those expenses that she was able to prove, in the amount of P669.78.

The presence of the other agents, namely, Rodolfo, Josie, Antonia de Leon, and Lucy Eustaquio does not detract from the exclusive nature of the authority to sell thatMarina had granted to Leonor. As Leonor explained, these other brokers were merely her informants. In fact, from the record, it would appear that these other brokers were not even necessary to the sale, as Chiao Liong Tan had already made up his mind to purchase the property even without their help. As Chiao Liong Tan told Leonor, he only needed to see the documents of the subject property and he was all set to buy it. The fact that Marina also granted the other brokers an authority to sell on 11 March 1997, after she had already constituted Leonor as her exclusive agent on 8 March 1997, and during the validity of Leonor's exclusive authority to sell, underscores Marina's bad faith and intentional breach of her contract with Leonor.[21]

x x x."