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Suppression of Testimony

Metrobank v. CA
GR No. 122899
June 8, 2000

BUENA, J.:

FACTS:
Saddled with debts and business reverses, Mr. Thomas (Chia) offered his real property
located in Diliman, Quezon City, for sale to private respondent, GTP Development Corporation
(GTP) with assumption of the mortgage indebtedness in favor of Chia secured by the subject
property.

Pending negotiations for the proposed sale, Atty. Bernardo Atienza (Atty. Atienza), acting
in behalf of respondent, went to the METROBANK branch in Quiapo, Manila sometime in the last
week of August 1980 to inquire on Mr. Chia's remaining balance on the real estate mortgage.
METROBANK obliged with a statement of account of Mr. Chia amounting to about P115,000.00 as
of August, 1980.

The deed of sale and the memorandum of agreement between Mr. Chia and respondent
were eventually executed and signed on 04 September 1980 in the office of Atty. Atienza and on 16
September 1980, Atty. Atienza went to METROBANK Quiapo Branch and paid P116,416.71, for
which METROBANK issued an official receipt acknowledging payment. This notwithstanding,
petitioner refused to release the real estate mortgage on the subject property despite repeated
requests from Atty. Atienza. Metrobank alleged that it was upon the advice of Chia that he never
executed any sales agreement with GTP, and that the fact that there are other loans incurred by
Chia which are also secured by the subject property. Hence, Atty. Atienza filed an action for specific
performance against petitioner.

The trial court decided in favor of respondent but was reversed on appeal to the CA.
However, the CA, upon motion for reconsideration by respondent, set the case for oral argument in
order for petitioner to present the current mortgage debt of Mr. Chia. Unfortunately, petitioner
failed to appear. Thus, the CA reversed its previous decision and decided in favor of GTP.

ISSUE:
Whether the CA was correct in allowing the motion for reconsideration considering that
Metrobank failed to present that there were other obligations attached to the mortgaged property

HELD:
Yes. Aside from being estopped, just as decisive is petitioner’s failure to bring before
respondent Court of Appeals the current statement evidencing what it claims as "other unliquidated
past due loans" at the scheduled hearing of 8 March 1995.

It was a golden opportunity, so to speak, lost for petitioner METROBANK to defend its non-
release of the real estate mortgage. It is a well-settled rule that when the evidence tends to prove
a material fact which imposes a liability on a party, and he has it in his power to produce evidence
which from its very nature must overthrow the case made against him if it is not founded on fact,
and he refuses to produce such evidence, the presumption arises that the evidence, if produced
would operate to his prejudice, and support the case of his adversary.

No rule of law is better settled than that a party having it in his power to prove a fact, if it
exists, which, if proved, would benefit him, his failure to prove it must be taken as conclusive that
the fact does not exist.

The ordinary rule is that one who has knowledge peculiarly within his own control, and
refuses to divulge it, cannot complain if the court puts the most unfavorable construction upon his
silence, and infers that a disclosure would have shown the fact to be as claimed by the opposing
party. Verily, petitioner's omission to present its evidence only created an adverse inference against
its cause. Therefore, it cannot now be heard to complain since respondent Court extended a
reasonable opportunity to petitioner that it did not avail.

Verily, petitioner METROBANK's omission to present its evidence only created an adverse
inference against its cause. Therefore, it cannot now be heard to complain since respondent Court
extended a reasonable opportunity to petitioner METROBANK that it did not avail.