Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 116155 December 17, 1998
FRANCISCO, JR., DOMINADOR LEONILA, LEOPOLDO, MERLA, BERNARDINO, CONCHITA, REX and RAMONITO, all surnamed GULANG, petitioners,
COURT OF APPEALS and FLORENCIA Vda. de GULANG, respondents.
Assailed before this Court in a petition for review on certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals affirming the special order of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 15 that ordered execution pending appeal of the decision in Civil Case No. 20569-91, an action for judicial partition of real estate filed by private respondent Florencia vda. de Gulang against the nine (9) petitioners who are her children.
Private respondent and Francisco Gulang, were married in 1941. On August 31, 1949, Gregoria Gulang, Francisco's mother, sold one-half of her twenty-hectare land to her son Francisco for one thousand pesos (P1,000.00). Three months later or on November 29, 1949, Francisco caused the registration of the deed of sale involving the ten-hectare property with the Register of Deeds and accordingly obtained a new title, TCT No. T-2119, in his name.
In 1963, private respondent left the conjugal abode as a result of a violent quarrel with Francisco. Soon after, Francisco also left their home to live in isolation for the next twenty-five (25) years. On May 13, 1990, Francisco died intestate survived by his wife, private respondent, and nine (9) of their eleven (11) children. The surviving children are Francisco, Jr., Dominador, Leonila, Leopoldo, Merla, Bernardino, Conchita, Rex and Ramonito.
The estate of Francisco consisted of two (2) parcels of land with one located at Budbud, Bunawan, Davao City, and measuring 101,318 square meters, and the other located at Licanan, Bunawan, also in Davao City, with an area of 21,553 square meters. The Budbud property was registered in the name of "Francisco Gulang married to Florencia Gulang" under TCT No. T-2119 while the Licanan property was registered in the name of Francisco Gulang under TCT No. T-33640.
On July 30, 1990, the heirs of Francisco executed a deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights. In that document, private respondent waived her rights and interests in the property covered by TCT No. T-2119 in favor of her children. While petitioners waived their rights and interests in the property covered by TCT No. T-33640 in favor of private respondent.2 On November 11, 1991, petitioners caused the registration of the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights with the Register of Deeds of Davao. Subsequently, each of petitioners and private respondent obtained new certificates of title with private respondent having TCT No. 169070 in her name and her nine (9) children, TCT Nos. T-169060 to 169069, with Rex having two titles in his name.
Sometime in 1991, a neighbor advised private respondent about the illegality of the document executed by her and her children. Efforts to settle the family's differences at the barangay level having failed,3 private respondent on February 5, 1991 filed before the Regional Trial Court of Davao City an action for judicial partition praying that the two (2) parcels of land in her husband's name be partitioned among his heirs.4
In answer, petitioners alleged that private respondent left the conjugal home, her husband and children aged three (3) to twenty-three (23) years to live with a lesbian; that private respondent filed a criminal case for light threats against Francisco who was subsequently acquitted of the crime charged; that it was only after the death of Francisco that private respondent tried to make amends with them "with the end purpose of asking a share from the property;" that the properties left by Francisco were his exclusive property as he had acquired these by lucrative title either by succession or inheritance after private respondent had abandoned him, and that, despite her having abandoned them, they showed their love and concern for their "wayward" mother by giving her a share in the property through the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate. Hence, they prayed that the complaint be dismissed and that private respondent be directed to pay them moral damages of P50,000.00, exemplary damages of P10,000.00, reimbursement of initial expenses in the amount of P1,000.00 and attorney's fees of P30,000.00.5
During the pre-trial, the parties agreed to limit the issue to "whether the extrajudicial settlement of estate is valid or not." Thus, trial on the merits ensued.
The lower court6 rendered a decision disposing of Civil Case No. 20569-91 as follows;
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered as follows:
1) The Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate and Waiver of Rights (Exh. 1) is declared void.
1a) Transfer Certificates of Titles a) 169060 b) 169061 c) 169062 d) 169064 e) 169064 f) 169065 g) 169066 h) 169067 i) 169068 j) 169069 and k) 169070 (sic) (Exhs. "11" to "21") are hereby declared void.
2) The defendants are ordered to return to the Davao City Register of Deeds of (sic) eleven titles above mentioned so that they can (be) cancelled.
3) That the Davao City Register of Deeds, (upon) the return of the titles, shall cancel the ten titles which form part of the Budbud lot (exhs. "11" to "20") and issue a Transfer Certificate of Title covering the 10.1318 hectare Budbud lot which. was formerly covered by TCT No. 2119 in the name of Francisco Gulang married to Florencia P. Gulang.
4) That upon the surrender of TCT. No. 169070 (Exh. 21), the Register of Deeds shall cancel the same and issue a Transfer Certificate of Title covering the 2.1553 hectare lot in the name of Francisco Gulang.
5) That the estate of the late Francisco Gulang, Sr. consists of the following:
5-a) one half or five hectares and six hundred fifty nine square meters of the Budbud, lot covered by TCT No. 2119 while the other half or five hectares six hundred fifty nine square meters belong to the plaintiff.
5-b) One half or one hectare and seven hundred seventy six point fifty square meters of the Licanan lot covered by TCT No. 33640 while the other half belongs to the plaintiff.
6) That the estate of Francisco Gulang, Sr. that can be the subject of judicial or an extrajudicial settlement is the 5.659 hectares in TCT No. 2119 and the 1.776.50 hectare in TCT No. 33640.
7) That the other half of the lots covered by TCT No. 2119 and TCT No. 33640 is the share of the plaintiff and there is nothing on record that the plaintiff waived her right to her share in favor of the defendants.
In thus holding, the lower court thereby ruled that the deed of extrajudicial settlement with waiver of rights was erroneously premised because one-half of the property covered by TCT No. 2119 and one-half of that covered by TCT No. 33640 both belonged to private respondent and therefore Francisco's estate was the other half of those properties. It found petitioners' allegation that those properties were the exclusive or capital properties of Francisco as not having been proven.
Petitioners filed a notice of appeal and on February 2, 1993, the lower court accordingly directed that records of the case be elevated to the Court of Appeals.7
On February 6, 1993, private respondent received a copy of the decision and, on February 9, 1993, she filed a motion for execution of judgment pending appeal. She cited as "special good reasons" therefor the following: (a) she was already 71 years of age and with a precarious state of health; (b) there was danger that the judgment would become "ineffectual" as petitioners had been selling lots or portions of the disputed properties, and (c) she was "in dire need of life support" as she had no other sources of income but the properties in dispute.8
In their comment, petitioners argued that the court a quo could no longer entertain the motion by virtue of the perfection of their appeal to the Court of Appeals thus divesting the lower court of its discretionary power to issue or grant execution pending appeal.9 Corollarily, petitioners added that while private respondent's age was a good reason for such execution, the status quo should be maintained. The two (2) hectares allotted to private respondent under the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate was enough for her "sustenance and livelihood." Petitioners asserted further that the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision did not direct partition of the properties; consequently, private respondent's portion thereof could not be given to her. 10
In reply, private respondent protested that the two-hectare property she was cultivating was barely enough to support her sustenance and medicine because it was planted to only forty (40) fruit-bearing coconut trees as the rest of the coconut trees were newly planted. She averred that it was to the best interest of everyone that the decision be executed since the properties had almost been "sold out" by petitioners.
On February 22, 1993, the lower court issued the following order which, quoted in full, states:
The Rules of Court and jurisprudence is clear as to when an appeal is perfected; it is on the last day to appeal. The movant received a copy of the decision on February 6, 1993. The motion for execution of judgment pending appeal was filed on February 9, 1993 hence the court can still rule on the said motion.
The court is satisfied that the movant is seventy years old and after bearing eleven children and working in the farm for more than 60 years in (sic) already worn out physically and might not be (able) to enjoy the fruits of her victory. It is also clear that she needs money for her food, clothing and shelter and that the properties involved in this case are the main source of her support. Again, there is a danger that some of the nine defendants might try to sell, mortgage and/or transfer some of lots covered by the different titles.
In view whereof, this Special Order granting the Motion for Execution pending appeal is hereby granted.
SO ORDERED. 11
Petitioners moved to reconsider the special order alleging failure on the part of the lower court to appreciate their contentions in their opposition to the motion for execution pending appeal inasmuch as their opposition was filed on the date the special order was issued. 12
In denying the motion for reconsideration, the lower court ruled thus:
This refers to the motion for reconsideration of the defendants from February 22, 1993 Special Order.
The movants claim that an immediate execution is not needed because the two hectares given to the plaintiff is sufficient for her sustenance and livelihood and that nothing in the dispositive portion of the said decision can be executed to help the plaintiff considering that it merely ordered the return of the titles to the plaintiff.
These grounds are not meritorious. The plaintiff in her comments/manifestation/objection to the opposition clearly showed that the income of the two hectare lot is not enough for her sustenance. Moreover, to say that nothing in the dispositive portion of said decision can be executed to help the plaintiff is erroneous, considering that the judgment does not merely ordered (sic) the return of the eleven (11) titles but decreed that one half of the estate of the late Francisco Gulang, Sr., belong to the plaintiff.
Furthermore, the Special Order was issued after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances surrounding this case and the court found that good reasons exists (sic) for the immediate execution of the judgment.
In view whereof, the motion for reconsideration is denied there being no cogent reason for the court to reconsider its Special Order dated February 22, 1993. Let Writ of Execution pending appeal issue.
SO ORDERED. 13
On May 13, 1993, petitioners filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, charging the lower court with grave abuse of discretion in "directing partition of the properties in question" and in giving to private respondent one-half of the entire estate.
On June 3, 1993, the Special Third Division of the Court of Appeals 14 dismissed the undocketed petition 15 for nonpayment of docket fees, non-inclusion in the caption of the petition the docket number of the case in the lower court as required by Circular No. 28-91 and failure to attach proof of service of the petition. 16
Petitioners moved to reconsider the dismissal of the petition alleging negligence on the part of counsel's personnel in their failure to transmit docket fee. 17 Private respondent, on the other hand, opposed the motion for reconsideration on the ground that the petition for certiorari had been rendered moot and academic by the partial execution of the decision. 18 The partial return of service dated June 23, 1993 of Sheriff Reynaldo Z. Inid showed that private respondent's counsel had turned over to hut the following titles: (1) TCT No. T-169066 (Bernardino Gulang); (2) TCT No. T-169064 (Leopoldo Gulang); (3) TCT No. T-169068 (Leonila Gulang); (4) TCT No. T-169061, and (5) TCT No. T-169070 (Florencia Pasay vda. de Gulang [private respondent]). The same sheriffs return stated that petitioners Rex, Francisco, Jr. and Conchita Gulang did not comply with the writ of execution pending appeal. 19
On July 28, 1993, the Court of Appeals reconsidered its Resolution of June 3, 1993, accepted payment of docket fee, and noted compliance with the deficiencies mentioned in said Resolution. Thus revived, the petition for certiorari was eventually disposed of in the herein questioned Decision of May 31, 1994.
In dismissing the petition, the Court of Appeals held that Section 2 of Rule 39 20 of the Rules of Court does not state the reasons for granting execution pending appeal and therefore the court shall exercise its discretion thereon. Quoting the reasons cited by the lower court, the Court of Appeals held that "the Order allowing execution pending appeal conforms to the requirements as provided in the aforecited Rule." On whether or not there was "nothing" to execute in the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision, the Court of Appeals held thus:
It must be remembered, at the outset, that this case is one for judicial partition; however at the pre-trial conference held on April 25, 1991, the parties limited the issue to be resolved, i.e., whether or not the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate and Waiver of Rights is valid. Correspondingly, such an issue was delved into in the decision of the court a quo.
The decision, particularly its dispositive portion, declares that the extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights is void. It likewise identified the properties of the deceased Francisco Gulang that can be subject to a partition; ordered the return and cancellation of the titles issued in the names of the petitioners as a result of the execution of the extrajudicial settlement, and segregated portions of the properties pertaining to Florencia P. Gulang. Considering the above particularities, We find the decision sufficient to be the subject of execution. If there is any ambiguity in the decision of the trial court, the same may properly be raised in the appeal interposed by the petitioners. 21
Hence, the instant petition for review on certiorari with petitioners asserting that the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision did not order a partition of the property as it "merely defined the supposed rights of private respondent." 22 Petitioners rely on the ruling in Magno v. Blanco 23 to the effect that "where the decision of the appellate court did not order the appellant to do anything, but merely specified the nature of the contract between the parties and defined their rights under such declaration, there was nothing to be executed under such decision, and it was error for the lower court to direct appellees to ask for execution thereof." 24
This Court states at the outset that this case appears to have been rendered moot and academic by the Decision 25 of the Court of Appeals on May 18, 1995 in petitioners' appeal, CA-G.R. No. 41337, affirming the lower court's decision of January 7, 1993. 26 The court of Appeals held that because the properties were conjugal in nature and that the conjugal partnership had been dissolved by Francisco's death, the properties should have been divided between his estate and private respondent share and share alike in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code. To the Court of Appeals, the extrajudicial settlement of estate with waiver of rights was correctly declared void by the lower court because private respondent, who was simply told to sign said document allegedly for her own good, signed it without its contents having been explained to her.
Since there is no record in this Court that petitioners had elevated the aforesaid decision of the Court of Appeals on the merits of the case, then by this time, under the usual and ordinary course of proceedings, it shall have become final and executory. However, considering the circumstances of this case, that fact should not deter this Court from resolving the issue raised in this case. After all, the lower court's decision which private respondent sought to be executed pending appeal is the same decision that shall be executed by its affirmance on appeal by the Court of Appeals.
This petition must, therefore, be resolved regardless of the rule in this jurisdiction that where a decision on the merits of a case is rendered and the same has become final and executory, the action on procedural matters or issues becomes moot and academic. 27 Said rule admits of exceptions, one of these being when facts and/or events transpire after a decision has become executory, which facts or events present a supervening cause or reason that renders the final and executory decision of the court no longer enforceable. 28 Another is when the legal questions raised in the case that should have been mooted by a supervening event are important ones 29 that need determination by the court. Also, in Salonga v. Paño, 30 the Court did not shirk from its "symbolic function of educating bench and bar on the extent of protection given by constitutional guarantees," notwithstanding that the subversion charges filed against petitioner therein, in filing of which was questioned before this Court, had been dropped.
In this case, the proper execution of the lower court's decision depends upon the resolution of the instant petition. To avoid further complications and to put an end to a family controversy, petitioners' assertion that there cannot be partition of the properties because the court did not direct it in its decision must, therefore, be considered and clarified.
In any decision ordering partition, the execution of that part of the judgment that does not necessitate any further proceedings may be enforced. Accordingly, proceeding such as the appointment of commissioners may be had without prejudice to the execution of the part of the judgment which needs no further proceedings. 31 It may be enforced by means of a writ of execution that is the fruit and end of the suit and is very aptly called the life of the law. 32 It is therefore axiomatic that execution shall issue as a matter of right, on motion upon judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected. 33 However, on motion of the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party, the court may, in its discretion, order execution to issue even before the expiration of the time to appeal, upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. 34 The exercise of the power to grant or deny immediate execution is addressed to the sound discretion of the court and the existence of good reasons is precisely what confers such discretionary power upon the court. 35
Petitioners do not question the exercise of the lower court's discretion in ordering execution pending appeal. Neither do they appear to question the reasons relied upon by the court in directing execution pending appeal. All that they insist upon is that under the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision, there was nothing to execute as the same court merely defined the relationship between them and private respondent. They assert that the court never issued an order partitioning the property.
Admittedly, the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision did not specifically ordain the partition of the property. After declaring the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights, and the titles issued pursuant thereto, as null and void, the dispositive portion of the decision directed the return of the nullified titles to the Register of Deeds for cancellation. The Register of Deeds was also ordered to place the properties under the titles previously cancelled as a result of the extrajudicial settlement of the properties. The court then defined the shares of Francisco's estate and private respondent's property as being one-half each of the entire property.
The lower court's omission to explicitly order the partition of the property does not perforce mean, however, that the properties involved cannot be partitioned in accordance with the lower court's decision among the heirs of Francisco. To grasp and delve into the true intent and meaning of a decision, no specific portion thereof should be resorted to — the decision must be considered in its entirely. 36 Thus, in Reinsurance Company of the Orient, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 37 the Court said:
It is true that even a judgment which has become final and executory may be clarified under certain circumstances. The dispositive portion of the judgment may, for instance, contain an error clearly clerical in nature (perhaps best illustrated by an error in arithmetical computation) or an ambiguity arising from inadvertent omission, which error may be rectified or ambiguity clarified and the omission supplied by reference primarily to the body of the decision itself. Supplementary reference to the pleadings previously filed in the case may also be resorted to by way of corroboration of the existence of the error or of the ambiguity in the dispositive part of the judgment. . . . . 38
In this case, the complaint that spawned this petition was one for judicial partition of property. However, at the pre-trial, the parties agreed on the issue to be resolved by the court, i.e., the validity of the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights. Pursuant thereto, the lower court nullified the said document, as well as the titles issued in accordance therewith. Still, there can be partition of Francisco's estate because, aside from the fact that the dispositive portion of the lower court's decision defines the respective shares of Francisco's estate and that of private respondent as equal one-half shares, the action filed was one for judicial partition. In this regard, the following disquisition of the Court in Roque v. Intermediate Appellate Court 39 is in point:
. . . . An action for partition — which is typically brought by a person claiming to be co-owner of a specified property against a defendant or defendants whom the plaintiff recognizes to be co-owners — may be seen to present simultaneously two principal issues. First, there is the issue of whether the plaintiff is indeed a co-owner of the property sought to be partitioned. Second, assuming that the plaintiff successfully hurdles the first issue, there is the secondary issue of how the property is to be divided between the plaintiff and defendant(s) — i.e., what portion should go to which co-owner.
Should the trial court find that the defendants do not dispute the status of the plaintiff as co-owner, the court can forthwith proceed to the actual partitioning of the property involved. In case the defendants assert in their Answer exclusive title in themselves adversely to the plaintiff, the court should not dismiss the plaintiff's action for partition but, on the contrary and in the exercise of its general jurisdiction, resolve the question of whether the plaintiff is co-owner or not. Should the trial court find that the plaintiff was unable to sustain his claimed status as co-owner, or that the defendants are or have become the sole and exclusive owners of the property involved, the court will necessarily have to dismiss the action for partition. This result would be reached, not because the wrong action was commenced by the plaintiff, but rather because the plaintiff having been unable to show co-ownership rights in himself, no basis exists for requiring the defendants to submit to partition the property at stake. If, upon the other hand, the court after trial should find the existence of co-ownership among the parties litigant, the court may and should order the partition of the property in the same action. Judgment for one or the other party being on the merits, the losing party (respondents in this case) may then appeal the same. In either case, however, it is quite unnecessary to require the plaintiff to file another action, separate and independent from that for partition originally instituted. Functionally, an action for partition may be seen to be at once an action for declaration of co-ownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the property involved. This is the import of our jurisprudence on the matter and is sustained by the public policy which abhors multiplicity of actions.
In this case, the action for judicial partition was filed precisely for the purpose of defining the shares of Francisco's heirs, segregating the same and conveying to each of the heirs his or her particular share therein. That the parties agreed that the court should determine the validity of the deed of extrajudicial settlement of estate and waiver of rights did not subvert the real purpose of the action. Since the court ruled against the validity of that document, necessarily, it had to determine what was proper under the law considering the circumstances in the case the properties being conjugal in nature, these must be divided as properties of a dissolved conjugal partnership.
Hence, petitioners' reliance on the ruling in Magno v. Blanco 40 is misplaced. Not only is that case decided under a different factual milieu, that ruling is also a general one that is not conclusive upon all cases decided by the courts. To reiterate, in this case, the lower court stressed that private respondent is entitled to one-half of the estate as a conjugal partner while the other half belongs to the estate of her husband under Article 185 of the Civil Code which governed the property relations between the Gulang spouses. It must be noted further that in intestate succession under Article 996 of the Civil Code, private respondent as the surviving spouse has in Francisco's estate the same share as that of each of their children. In other words, private respondent shall have one-half plus one-tenth of Francisco's share in the entire conjugal property.
This simple case would not have reached this Court were it not for the discord that marred the relationship between private respondent and some of her children who must have unmitigated rancor against their mother for pursuing the division of the family properties up to the level of this Court twice. Nonetheless, the law must prevail and restore harmony in the estranged relationship whose beleaguered matriarch is now in the twilight of her life.
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED and the properties involved partitioned among Florencia Pasay vda. de Gulang and her nine (9) children in accordance therewith and the pertinent discussion in this Decision. This petition is immediately executory. Costs against petitioners.
Kapunan, Purisima and Pardo, JJ., concur.
1 Penned by Associate Justice Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justices Antonio M. Martinez (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court) and Godardo A. Jacinto.
2 Record of CA-G.R. SP No. 31917, p. 26.
3 Ibid., p. 19.
4 Ibid., p. 12.
5 Ibid., p. 19-A.
4 Presided by Judge Jesus V. Quitain.
7 Ibid., p. 63.
8 Ibid., p. 41.
9 Ibid., p. 43.
10 Ibid., p. 45.
11 Ibid., p. 10.
12 Ibid., p. 50.
13 Ibid., p. 11.
14 Composed of Associate Justices Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr., Vicente V. Mendoza (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court) and Consuelo Ynare-Santiago.
15 The petition for certiorari was given the number CA-G.R. SP No. 835-UDK.
16 Record of CA-G.R. SP No. 31917, p. 58.
17 Ibid., p. 68.
18 Ibid., p. 79.
19 Ibid., p. 83.
20 This Rule states: Execution pending appeal. — On motion of the prevailing party with notice to the adverse party the court may, in its discretion, order execution to issue even before the expiration of the time to appeals, upon good reasons to be stated in a special order. If a record on appeal is filed thereafter, the motion and the special order shall be included therein.
21 Rollo, p. 21.
22 Ibid., p. 11.
23 G.R. No. 78595, April 10, 1989, 171 SCRA 703.
24 Petition, p. 11.
25 Penned by Associate Justice Gloria C. Paras and concurred in by Associate Justices Quirino D. Abad Santos, Jr. and Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis.
26 Rollo, p. 68.
27 Flores v. Court of Appeals, 328 Phil. 992, 1027 (1996); citing Go v. Tabanda, G.R. No. 83536, March 13, 1991, 195 SCRA 163, 166.
28 Ibid., at p. 1028.
29 Filipinas Engineering & Machine Shop v. Hon. Ferrer, 219 Phil. 536, 542 (1985).
30 219 Phil. 402, 429-430 (1985).
31 De Mesa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 109387, April 25, 1994, 231 SCRA 773, 781.
32 San Jose v. Centeno, 315 Phil. 296, 303 citing Eduarte v. Ramos, A.M. No. P-94-1069, November 9, 1994, 238 SCRA 36; Miro v. Tan, A.M. No. P-93-977, August 17, 1994, 235 SCRA 405; Tan v. Herras, A.M. No. P-90-404, March 11, 1991, 195 SCRA 1; Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, L-49188, January 30, 1990, 181 SCRA 557.
33 Sec. 1, Rule 39, Rules of Court.
34 Sec. 2, Ibid.
35 Philippine National Bank v. Puno, G.R. No. 76018, February 10, 1989, 170 SCRA 229, 235; citing Jaca v. Davao Lumber Co., 198 Phil. 493 (1982).
36 Valderrama v. NLRC, 326 Phil. 477, 484 (1996).
37 G.R. No. 61250, June 3, 1991, 198 SCRA 19, 28.
38 Quoted in Castelo v. Court of Appeals, 314 Phil. 1, 15 (1995).
39 G.R. No. 75886, August 30, 1988, 165 SCRA 118, 125-126.
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