IBP Davao Corner: Age appears to be best in four things

Age appears to be best in four things;
old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust,
and in this case, old papers to support the claim.

Dear IBP,

Mayroon pong naiwan na “ last will and testament and lola ko” noong 1950 na ipinagkaluob sa Nanay ko ang bahay at lupa sa bukid. Paano po ba mapatunayan na luma na ang papel kasi sabi po ng ibang anak ng lola ko ay fake ang papel, at hindi ito ginawa noong 1950. Ano po dapat gawin para malaman kung luma or bago ang isang dockyumento upang ma-ibalik sa amin ang titulo ng lupa?

Naghahanap ng katotohanan,

Maggie.

Dear Maggie,

Since you are questioning the age of a document in relation to ownership of a property, here are some points to consider.

The age of a document can be examined using forensic document examination. As to the date a document could have been prepared, it may be determined by examining various physical characteristics such as watermarks printing, indented writing, printing, typewriting, and ink writings using the original evidence. There are analytical tools ranging from standard optical magnification to a more advanced machine as molecular spectroscopy to characterize the properties of paper or what materials are in the paper, like the fiber or ink. Organic analysis also detects carbon-based traces of plants and organisms; while inorganic analysis identifies mineral evidence in pigment and ink. It must be noted that the exact age of dating of a paper is not possible. The process is often able to exclude only indicators of time as to when a paper was possibly manufactured. The reason for the inability to zone in to the exact date is the presence of some pitfalls that may impede findings. Nevertheless, age of a document continues to be employed by investigators, often to verify the veracity of statements and authenticity of documents. For now, although the exact date of age of a document can not be placed, but forensic experts can point the estimate period it was made and also, whether the paper is recently tampered or not. It must be remembered that the opinions of experts in document testing can be received as evidence under the Rules of Court.

The provision applicable is the A.M. No. 19-08-15-SC, 2019 PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE REVISED RULES ON EVIDENCE, particularly section 5 of RULE 133, WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE.

Sec. 5. Weight to be given, opinion of the expert witness, how determined. In any case, where the opinion of an expert witness is received in evidence, the court has a wide latitude of discretion in determining the weight to be given to such opinion, and for that purpose may consider the following: (a) Whether the opinion is based upon sufficient facts or data: (b) Whether it is the product of reliable principles and methods; (c) Whether the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case; and (d) Such other factors as the court may deem helpful to make such determination.

In the case of SEVERINO M. MANOTOK IV, et .al PETITIONERS, VS. HEIRS OF HOMER L. BARQUE et al RESPONDENTS.[ G.R. Nos. 162335 & 162605, August 24, 2010 ], The CA was specifically directed to receive evidence with primary focus on whether the Manotoks can trace their claim of title to a valid alienation by the Government of Lot No. 823 of the Piedad Estate, which was a Friar Land. Here, the forensic examiner .. found the three (3) documents authentic being old and because of their discoloration and tattered condition, but she admitted that she cannot tell the age of said documents, nor the age of the paper used. She merely determined the age through the browning and discoloration, tears or tattered condition of the paper. In this case, she concluded that the documents were old because they are attested/notarized and because of their physical appearance, such as the ink used in the signatures was already fading and had evaporated/oxidized. Because of age, the ink of the signatures appearing on the documents had evaporated and the color is brownish; the particular ink which evaporates refers to a fountain pen ink. The entries that were in ballpoint pen ink were the written entries on the stamp pad bearing the words “Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Land Management Bureau-RMD Manila.” When the documents were subjected under ultraviolet light examination, they gave a dull fluorescence reaction as opposed to a very bright fluorescence reaction of a new coupon bond.” She added that,” she did not conduct a chemical examination of the questioned documents because the PNP Crime Laboratory has no scientific equipment for chemical analysis, and that she did not refer the said documents to the Chemistry Division of the PNP because the carbon dating equipment is with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); she also did not refer the documents to the DOST. She agreed that the best and more accurate way of determining the age of a paper or a document is through carbon dating, and explained that through microscopic and physical examination she will be able to tell whether the document is old but not its exact age.” However on a petition for review with the Supreme Court (G.R. No. 184748) where the case is pending for decision, the documents on which the Manotoks base their claim is “false and untrue” because after conducting a “chemistry test” on those documents submitted by the LMB, the NBI concluded that they were not old as they purport to be.”

As can be gleamed from the case, old documents were used to forward a claim. But the Supreme Court stated that “CA correctly observed that the claim had become stale after the lapse of eighty six (86) years from the date of its alleged issuance. As this Court held in Liao v. Court of Appeals, “the certificates of sale x x x became stale after ten (10) years from its issuance” and hence “can not be the source documents for issuance of title more than seventy (70) years later”.

Unfortunately, the Will of your grandmother was also allegedly executed last 1950 and your claim might also be stale.

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