THE Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld a ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City (Metro Manila) in connection with a legal row over a Forbes Park mansion previously owned by socialite Edna Camcam, girlfriend of Gen. Fabian Ver, a Marcos-era Armed Forces chief of staff.
In a 17-page decision penned by Associate Justice Edwin Sorongon, the CA’s 16th Division denied an appeal of Camcam and Benjamin Bitanga as it affirmed resolutions dated December 16, 2013 and April 7, 2014 of the Makati RTC.
The ruling was promulgated last January 26, 2016, but was released just recently.
Aside from Sorongon, the decision was also concurred in by Associate Justices Ricardo Rosario and Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob.
Sometime in March 1981, Camcam mortgaged a residential property located at North Forbes Park in Makati City to secure her loan worth P3.6 million with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB).
Because of the hostile political situation at the time after Edsa uprising, she was forced to leave the country, prompting UCPB to foreclose the same.
Upon her return to the county, Camcam was allowed by UCPB to buy back the property for P26 million.
She then again secured another loan with UCPB through Daniel Vazquez.
In 1996, Camcam discovered that the title of the property had already been transferred from UCPB to Bitanga and from Bitanga to Vazquez.
In April 2012, she and Bitanga filed a complaint for reconveyance with verified Application for Injunction and or Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Vazquez.
The RTC ruled, however, in favor of Vazquez and also junked their appeal, prompting Camcam and Bitanga to seek redress with the Court of Appeals.
The CA held that “Camcam’s entire submissions can be characterized as a parol evidence which tend to alter the terms of sale transactions in this case.”
The court said “to support this, Camcam only has her own testimony and no other.”
“Evidence of a prior or contemporaneous verbal agreement is generally not admissible to vary, contradict or defeat the operation of a valid contract,” it pointed out.
“Accordingly, since the transactions involved in this case were sufficiently supported by evidence, no error was committed by the trial court in upholding the validity of the documents evidencing the sale transactions.”
In addition, the court said “there being no genuine issue raised, the trial court cannot be considered to be in error in granting Vazquez’s Motion for Summary Judgment.”