Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Whether or not the signature on the document of consent had been forged.
MANUEL O. FUENTES and LETICIA L. FUENTES, Petitioners, vs. CONRADO G. ROCA, ANNABELLE R. JOSON, ROSE MARIE R. CRISTOBAL and PILAR MALCAMPO, Respondents. G.R. No. 178902, April 21, 2010.
“x x x.
First. The key issue in this case is whether or not Rosario’s signature on the document of consent had been forged. For, if the signature were genuine, the fact that she gave her consent to her husband’s sale of the conjugal land would render the other issues merely academic.
The CA found that Rosario’s signature had been forged. The CA observed a marked difference between her signature on the affidavit of consent15 and her specimen signatures.16 The CA gave no weight to Atty. Plagata’s testimony that he saw Rosario sign the document in Manila on September 15, 1988 since this clashed with his declaration in the jurat that Rosario signed the affidavit in Zamboanga City on January 11, 1989.
The Court agrees with the CA’s observation that Rosario’s signature strokes on the affidavit appears heavy, deliberate, and forced. Her specimen signatures, on the other hand, are consistently of a lighter stroke and more fluid. The way the letters "R" and "s" were written is also remarkably different. The variance is obvious even to the untrained eye.
Significantly, Rosario’s specimen signatures were made at about the time that she signed the supposed affidavit of consent. They were, therefore, reliable standards for comparison. The Fuentes spouses presented no evidence that Rosario suffered from any illness or disease that accounted for the variance in her signature when she signed the affidavit of consent. Notably, Rosario had been living separately from Tarciano for 30 years since 1958. And she resided so far away in Manila. It would have been quite tempting for Tarciano to just forge her signature and avoid the risk that she would not give her consent to the sale or demand a stiff price for it.
What is more, Atty. Plagata admittedly falsified the jurat of the affidavit of consent. That jurat declared that Rosario swore to the document and signed it in Zamboanga City on January 11, 1989 when, as Atty. Plagata testified, she supposedly signed it about four months earlier at her residence in Paco, Manila on September 15, 1988. While a defective notarization will merely strip the document of its public character and reduce it to a private instrument, that falsified jurat, taken together with the marks of forgery in the signature, dooms such document as proof of Rosario’s consent to the sale of the land. That the Fuentes spouses honestly relied on the notarized affidavit as proof of Rosario’s consent does not matter. The sale is still void without an authentic consent.
X x x.”