"x x x.
On the other hand, the Heirs of Bangis presented an Extra-Judicial Settlement with Absolute Deed of Sale dated December 30, 1971 to justify their claimed ownership and possession of the subject land. However, notwithstanding that the subject of inquiry is the very contents of the said document, only its photocopy was presented at the trial without providing sufficient justification for the production of secondary evidence, in violation of the best evidence rule embodied under Section 3 in relation to Section 5 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, to wit:
SEC. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. - When the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:
(1) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;
(2) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after reasonable notice;
(3) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought to be established from them is only the general result of the whole; and
(4) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office.
SEC. 5. When original document is unavailable. - When the original document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror, upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of its content in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the order stated.
The bare testimony of one of the Heirs of Bangis, Rodolfo Bangis, that the subject document was only handed to him by his father, Aniceto, with the information that the original thereof "could not be found" was insufficient to justify its admissibility. Moreover, the identification made by Notary Public Atty. Valentin Murillo that he notarized such document cannot be given credence as his conclusion was not verified against his own notarial records. Besides, the Heirs of Bangis could have secured a certified copy of the deed of sale from the Assessor's Office that purportedly had its custody in compliance with Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
In sum, the Heirs of Bangis failed to establish the existence and due execution of the subject deed on which their claim of ownership was founded. Consequently, the RTC and CA were correct in affording no probative value to the said document.
x x x."