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G.R. No. 178431 : V.C. Ponce Company, Inc. v. Municipality of Parañaque, et al.

G.R. No. 178431 : V.C. Ponce Company, Inc. v. Municipality of Paraque, et al.

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 178431 : November 12, 2012

V.C. PONCE COMPANY, INC., Petitioner, v. MUNICIPALITY OF PARAQUE and SAMPAGUITA HILLS HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC., Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

DEL CASTILLO, J.:

"It is a settled rule that relief will not be granted to a party x x x when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence, or to a mistaken mode of procedure."1ςrνll

Before the Court is a Petition for Review2ςrνll on Certiorari of the March 23, 2007 Decision3ςrνll of the Court of Appeals (CA), as well as its June 4, 2007 Resolution,4ςrνll in CA-G.R. SP No. 91791, which dismissed V.C. Ponce Company, Inc.s (VCP) Petiton for Certiorari. The CA held that VCPs resort to a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court was inappropriate and that the trial courts rejection of the commissioners appraisal report did not amount to a grave abuse of its discretion. The fallo of the assailed Decision reads:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Public respondent judges Decision dated 10 March 2005 and Order dated 15 August 2005 in Civil Case No. 94-0009 for Expropriation are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.5ςrνll

The assailed June 4, 2007 Resolution denied VCPs Motions for Extension of Time to file motion for reconsideration, and consequently, dismissed its Motion for Reconsideration for belated filing.6ςrνll

Factual Antecedents

On October 5, 1987, respondent Municipality (now City) of Paraque (municipality) filed a complaint7ςrνll against petitioner VCP for the expropriation of its property, which is located in the municipalitys Barrio San Dionisio and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 116554.8ςrνll The municipality intended to develop the property for its landless residents, in line with the Presidential Commission on Urban Poors classification of the site as an area of priority development.9ςrνllRespondent Sampaguita Hills Homeowners Association, Inc. (SHHAI), consisting of the propertys actual occupants, who are also the intended beneficiaries of the action, intervened in the case.10ςrνll

On August 23, 2002, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Paraque, Branch 274, sustained the municipalitys right to expropriate the said property11ςrνll and to a writ of possession.12ςrνll The trial court also informed the parties in the same Order of the reckoning period for the determination of just compensation, thus:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

The defenses having thus been ruled upon, the Court hereby declares that the plaintiff has the lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated for the public use or purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint, whichever came first.13ςrνll

The parties did not file any objection to the above Order and proceeded to submit the names of their respective nominees for commissioner. On February 26, 2003, the trial court appointed three commissioners14ςrνll to assist in ascertaining the just compensation.15ςrνll The trial court defined the scope of the commissioners work as follows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(1) To undertake the evaluation for purposes of determining just compensation on the property as described and delineated in paragraph 3 of the amended complaint, taking into consideration several factors for assessment with reckoning time of the filing of the complaint and the taking of the property and incidental periods reasonable and fair in determining just compensation;16ςrνll

On March 15, 2004, commissioners Bienvenido Reyes and Jose Marleo Del Rosario informed the trial court that VCP did not participate in the meetings despite notification17ςrνll and that, due to time constraints,18ςrνll the commissioners denied19ςrνll VCPs request for an additional four months to submit its independent valuation of the property.20ςrνll The commissioners also informed the court that Cenon Astudillo, VCPs choice for commissioner, did not contribute to the commissions work due to his frequent absences.21ςrνll

On even date, the commissioners submitted their appraisal report,22ςrνll stating that they considered sales data of properties within the vicinity from the years 1994 to 2003, and tax declarations from the years 1996 to 2003.23ςrνll Based on these, they determined the just compensation at P1,150.00 per square meter.24ςrνll

The trial court admitted the report into the records, after both parties manifested that they were not objecting thereto,25ςrνll and declared the case submitted for decision.26ςrνll

Ruling of the Trial Court

On March 10, 2005, Judge Fortunito L. Madrona (Judge Madrona) rendered his Decision rejecting the report. The trial court explained that just compensation, as Section 4 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court provides,27ςrνll must reflect the value and character of the property sought to be expropriated, at the time it was taken or at the time the complaint for expropriation was filed, whichever came first. Applying this rule to the facts of the case, the reckoning period should have been the time of filing of the complaint in 1987 because it took place before the taking of the property in 2002. The report violated this rule by using data from 1996 onwards.

The trial court then made an independent finding based on the evidence already on hand. It determined that there exists, on record, a certification from the Office of the City Assessor, that the propertys market value for the years 1985 to 1993 (which includes the year the complaint was filed) was P1,366,400.00.28ςrνll This value roughly translates to P75 per square meter, for a total of P1,372,350.00. The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, based then from [sic] the foregoing considerations, considering that the land was then a rawland in 1987 at the time of the filing of the Amended Complaint for expropriation, it is the determination of the Court that the just compensation for the expropriation of the parcel of land described as Lot No. 4598 of the Cad. Survey of Paraque, located in San Dionisio, Paraque City, containing an area of 18,298 square meters, registered under Transfer Certificate of Title No. 116554 of the Registry of Deeds of Paraque City in the name of the defendant V.C. Ponce Co., Inc., is hereby fixed at P75.00 per square meter, or for an aggregate valuation of P1,372,350.00.

x x x

SO ORDERED.29ςrνll

VCP moved for a reconsideration, which the trial court denied in its Order dated August 15, 2005.30ςrνll

VCP received its copy of the said Order on August 24, 2005.31ςrνll

On October 21, 2005 or 58 days since VCP received the Order denying its Motion for Reconsideration, it filed with the CA a Motion for Extension of Time (MOTEX) to File Petition for Certiorari,32ςrνll which the CA granted.33ςrνll

VCP filed its Petition for Certiorari on November 7, 2005.34ςrνll It justified its resort to the extraordinary remedy on the ground that "there is no appeal or plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the course of law that is available to the petitioner."35ςrνll It assailed the trial courts rejection of the appraisal report as a grave abuse of discretion. VCP maintained that the appraisal, which is based on the propertys value at the time of its taking in 2002, is correct. Assuming arguendo that the commissioners committed an error, the trial court should have recommitted the valuation to a new set of commissioners, instead of substituting its own judgment.36ςrνll VCP insisted that the trial courts own valuation of P75.00 per square meter is unrealistic and is unsupported by the evidence.37ςrνll Lastly, VCP argued that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it failed to impose legal interests on the just compensation from the time of taking until VCP is fully paid.38ςrνll It prayed for the annulment of the trial courts Decision.39ςrνll

After the parties had filed their respective memoranda, the CA received, on September 4, 2006, a Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance from VCPs counsel, Atty. Candice Marie T. Bandong, which notice contained VCPs conformity.40ςrνll

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

At the outset, the CA observed that an ordinary appeal under Rule 41 was available to petitioner and would have constituted a plain, speedy and adequate remedy to correct any perceived error in the RTC Decision. VCP, for unknown reasons, failed to avail itself of the said remedy within the reglementary period. Having lost its right to appeal, VCP resorted to a Petition for Certiorari in the hope that it could nevertheless, obtain a reversal of the RTC Decision. The CA held that certiorari is unavailing as a substitute for a lost appeal. The CA brushed aside as unfounded VCPs excuse that an appeal would be slow and inadequate. Such excuse, it noted, would allow any litigant to avail itself of extraordinary remedies after they lose their right to appeal.41ςrνll

The CA then held that, even if it were to rule that certiorari is proper, it would still dismiss the petition for certiorari. It held that grave abuse of discretion was not attendant in the trial courts rejection of the commissioners report. The CA explained that the trial court has such authority as long as it finds just cause. The reports contravention of the principle regarding the proper reckoning period for the determination of just compensation is such a cause.42ςrνll

Petitioner received the CA Decision on April 10, 2007.43ςrνll On the 15th day from its receipt of the Decision, or on April 25, 2007, it filed, through registered mail, a MOTEX of time to file a Motion for Reconsideration on the ground that it has yet to engage the services of a new counsel.44ςrνll On May 10, 2007, VCP again requested for another 15 days to file its Motion for Reconsideration.45ςrνll

On May 25, 2007, which is 45 days since it received the CA Decision, VCP filed its Motion for Reconsideration through its new counsel.46ςrνll

The CA denied petitioners MOTEX in its Resolution dated June 4, 2007. It ratiocinated that the 15-day period for filing a Motion for Reconsideration cannot be extended. Thus, it dismissed VCPs Motion for Reconsideration for belated filing.47ςrνll

Petitioners arguments

Petitioner contends that the CA was unreasonably rigid in denying its MOTEX and Motion for Reconsideration. It urges the Court to appreciate its lack of counsel as a justification for its late filing.48ςrνll

VCP maintains that the CA erred in holding that VCP should have appealed from the RTC Decision, instead of resorting to certiorari. VCP contends that certiorari is proper because an appeal would have been inadequate, and would have further prolonged the resolution of this case, which has already dragged for more than two decades.49ςrνll

Lastly, VCP insists that the CA erred in not finding the trial court guilty of grave abuse of discretion.50ςrνll

Respondents arguments

Respondents insist that the CA was correct in denying petitioners MOTEX to file Motion for Reconsideration. Jurisprudence has consistently ruled that the period for filing a Motion for Reconsideration is not extendible.

Besides, petitioner does not have a valid excuse for its belated filing. It consented to the withdrawal of its lawyer as early as August 29, 2006 (the date of the Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance). VCP then slept on its rights for eight months until the reglementary period for filing its Motion for Reconsideration lapsed on April 25, 2007. The Court should not reward VCPs negligence with a relaxation of the rules.51ςrνll

Further, respondents insist that the CA is correct in dismissing VCPs petition for certiorari. The Rules provide for an appeal of the RTC Decision but VCP neglected to avail of the said remedy within the reglementary period. There is no merit to VCPs contention that an appeal would not have been a speedy and adequate remedy considering that VCPs dilatory pleadings caused the protracted proceedings.52ςrνll

Respondents aver that the CA was correct in ruling that the trial court did not commit a grave abuse of discretion. The trial court cannot accept an appraisal which disregards a basic legal principle.53ςrνll Its action was consistent with jurisprudence and the rules.54ςrνll Further, petitioner cannot claim that it was denied due process. Both parties were sufficiently informed by the trial court, in its August 23, 2002 Order, that the just compensation will be determined as of the date of filing of the complaint.55ςrνll None of the parties objected to the said Order.56ςrνll

Issues

1. Is petitioners lack of counsel a justifiable excuse for the late filing of a Motion for Reconsideration?

2. Is a Petition for Certiorari the proper remedy to correct alleged errors in the trial courts Decision?

Our Ruling

The petition has no merit.
Period for filing a Motion for
Reconsideration not extendible; failure
to file Motion for Reconsideration on
time renders the Decision final.

VCP received the CA Decision on April 10, 2007. Based on Rule 52 of the Rules of Court57ςrνll and Rule 7 of the 2002 Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals (IRCA),58ςrνll VCP had 15 days from its receipt of the Decision, or until April 25, 2007, to file a motion for reconsideration, an appeal, or a motion for new trial. Failure to file the necessary pleading within the reglementary period would render the CA Decision final and executory.59ςrνll

Instead of filing a Motion for Reconsideration on April 25, 2007, VCP filed a MOTEX on the ground that its lawyer had withdrawn from the case and it was still in the process of retaining a new counsel. The CA was correct in denying petitioners MOTEX because the period to file a Motion for Reconsideration is not extendible.60ςrνll The Court has pronounced strict adherence to the rule laid down in Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Judge Japson61ςrνll that "no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court (now Court of Appeals)."62ςrνll Since the period to file a Motion for Reconsideration is not extendible, VCPs MOTEX did not toll the reglementary period.63ςrνll Thus, there being no Motion for Reconsideration as of April 25, 2007, the Decision of the CA dated March 23, 2007 became final and executory by operation of law.64ςrνll The CA was correct in denying the Motion for Reconsideration that VCP had belatedly filed on May 25, 2007 as its lateness had rendered it moot.

There is no justification for the
application of equity and for the
relaxation of the rules.

VCP urges the Court to relax the rules on the reglementary period on the ground that it was impossible for it to meet the deadline without the aid of counsel.

The Court, in the interest of equity and justice, sometimes allows a liberal reading of the rules, so long as the petitioner is able to prove the existence of cogent reasons to excuse its non-observance.65ςrνll The Court, however, does not find a justification to warrant such relaxation in this instance.

It is incumbent upon the client to exert all efforts to retain the services of new counsel.66ςrνll VCP knew since August 29, 2006, seven months before the CA rendered its Decision, that it had no counsel. Despite its knowledge, it did not immediately hire a lawyer to attend to its affairs. Instead, it waited until the last minute, when it had already received the adverse CA Decision on April 10, 2007, to search for a counsel; and even then, VCP did not rush to meet the deadline. It asked for an extension of 30 days to file a Motion for Reconsideration.67ςrνll It finally retained the services of a new counsel on May 24, 2007,68ςrνll nine months from the time that its former counsel withdrew her appearance. VCP did not even attempt to explain its inaction. The Court cannot grant equity where it is clearly undeserved by a grossly negligent party.69ςrνll As the Court pronounced in another case:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

x x x Both parties have a right to a speedy resolution of their case. Not only petitioners, but also the respondents, have a right to have the case finally settled without delay.

Furthermore, the failure to file x x x on time was due primarily to petitioners unwise choices x x x. They hired their subsequent lawyers too late.

It must be pointed out that petitioners had a choice of whether to continue the services of their original lawyer or consent to let him go. x x x They delayed in engaging their replacement lawyer. Their poor choices and lack of sufficient diligence x x x are the main culprits for the situation they now find themselves in. It would not be fair to pass on the bad consequences of their choices to respondents. Petitioners low regard for the rules or nonchalance toward procedural requirements x x x has in fact contributed much to the delay, and hence frustration of justice, in the present case.70ςrνll

This Court cannot ascribe good faith to
VCP as it had neglected reglementary
periods in the past.

Another reason that this Court is unable to accept VCPs plea for indulgence is its observation that VCP has a penchant for disregarding procedural rules and the periods allotted to it for its action.

It did not attend the meetings before the commissioners for the initial and the final valuation of its property despite notice. When the commissioners were finalizing their report to meet its deadline, VCP asked for an additional four months to submit its independent valuation of the property. While the commissioners denied VCPs request, VCPs action betrays its lack of consideration for deadlines.

Further, VCP did not file a timely appeal from the RTC Order denying its Motion for Reconsideration. VCP received the said Order on August 24, 2005. Instead of appealing under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, VCP filed, on the 58th day from its receipt of the RTC Order, a MOTEX to file a Petition for Certiorari. While the CA granted VCPs MOTEX,71ςrνll it was correct in ultimately denying VCPs Petition for Certiorari on the ground that VCP cannot exploit the remedy of certiorari after it had lost its right to appeal.

Appeal is a sufficient and adequate
remedy unless the party proves
otherwise.

VCP attempts to extricate itself from the effects of its negligence by alleging that an appeal would not have been speedy and adequate for its purpose. The Court, however, finds no merit in its contention.

A court with appellate jurisdiction can review both the facts and the law, including questions of jurisdiction.72ςrνll It can set aside an erroneous decision and even nullify the same, if warranted. Appeal is a speedy remedy, as an adverse party can file its appeal from a final decision or order immediately after receiving it. A party, who is alleging that an appeal will not promptly relieve it of the injurious effects of the judgment, should establish facts to show how the appeal is not speedy or adequate.73ςrνll VCPs empty protestations, therefore, fail to impress. There is no reason, and VCP cannot explain, why an appeal would not be speedy and adequate to address its assigned errors.74ςrνll VCP cannot complain of delay because it was guilty of delay itself, and it even waited until the 58th day of its receipt of the CA Decision before taking action. Clearly, petitioner resorted to certiorari as a substitute for its lost appeal.75ςrνll The CA did not err in dismissing the same.

In sum, VCPs continued negligence, and its resort to the wrong remedy, placed all perceived errors in the decisions below beyond the CAs and this Courts grasp.ςηαοblενιrυαllαωlιbrαr

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The March 23, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91791, as well as its June 4, 2007 Resolution, are AFFIRMED.ςrαlαωlιbrαr

SO ORDERED.

Endnotes:


1ςrνll (unread text) v. People, 445 Phil. 481, 491 (2003).

2ςrνll Rollo, pp. 9-37.

3ςrνll CA rollo, pp. 345-360; penned by Associate Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa and concurred in by Associate Justices Marina L. Buzon and Edgardo F. Sundiam.

4ςrνll Id. at 398-401.

5ςrνll Id. at 359. Emphases in the original.

6ςrνll Id. at 401.

7ςrνll Records, Vol. 1, pp. 11-13.

8ςrνll Id. at 226-227.

9ςrνll Rollo, p. 388.

10ςrνll Records, Vol. 2, p. 664.

11ςrνll Id., Vol. 3, pp. 1077-1081; penned by Presiding Judge Fortunito L. Madrona.

12ςrνll The RTC held, in its August 23, 2002 Order, that, under Section 2 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, the plaintiff has the right to take possession of the real property once it deposits an amount equivalent to the propertys assessed value for purposes of taxation. Based on the propertys Tax Declaration No. B-016-05896 (Id. at 1064), its assessed value in 1985 was P409,920.00; additionally, according to the certification from the Office of the City Assessor, the above assessed value remained effective from 1985 until 1993 (Id. at 1076). Since the Municipality had already deposited the amount of P500,000.00 with its City Treasurer, the trial court concluded that the municipalitys deposit is adequate and it is entitled to a writ of possession. (Id. at 1080)

13ςrνll Id. Emphases supplied.

14ςrνll The three commissioners were Engineers Bienvenido Reyes, Cenon Astudillo (Id. at 1122-1123), and Jose Marleo P. Del Rosario (Id. at 1138, 1141, 1144, 1153).

15ςrνll Id. at 1122-1123.

16ςrνll Id. at 1122.

17ςrνll Id. at 1235.

18ςrνll The commissioners missed their deadline and had to extend their work for an additional two months. (Id. at 1183)

19ςrνll Id. at 1237

20ςrνll Id. at 1236

21ςrνll Id. at 1235.

22ςrνll Id. at 1239-1250.

23ςrνll Id. at 1240.

24ςrνll Id. at 1241.

25ςrνll Id. at 1270-1279.

26ςrνll Id. at 1282.

27ςrνll SEC. 4. Order of Expropriation. x x x The court may issue an order of expropriation declaring that the plaintiff has a lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated x x x upon payment of just compensation to be determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint, whichever came first.

28ςrνll Records, Vol. 3, p. 1076.

29ςrνll Id. at 1315-1316; penned by Presiding Judge Fortunito L. Madrona.

30ςrνll Id. at 1367.

31ςrνll CA rollo, p. 3.

32ςrνll Id. at 2-6.

33ςrνll Id. at 16.

34ςrνll Id. at 17-53.

35ςrνll Id. at 37.

36ςrνll Id. at 41-45.

37ςrνll Id. at 38-41.

38ςrνll Id. at 45-46.

39ςrνll Id. at 48.

40ςrνll Id. at 334-335.

41ςrνll Id. at 356-357.

42ςrνll Id. at 357-359.

43ςrνll Id. at 365.

44ςrνll Id. at 365-369.

45ςrνll Id. at 371-376.

46ςrνll Id. at 377-389.

47ςrνll Id. at 401.

48ςrνll Rollo, pp. 25-26.

49ςrνll Id. at 26-27.

50ςrνll Id. at 29-33.

51ςrνll Id. at 380-382, 392-394, 396.

52ςrνll Id. at 382-383, 394-395.

53ςrνll Id. at 382-384, 399.

54ςrνll Id. at 398-399.

55ςrνll The relevant portion of the said Order reads as follows:

The defenses having thus been ruled, the Court hereby declares that the plaintiff has the lawful right to take the property sought to be expropriated for the public use or purpose described in the complaint, upon the payment of just compensation to be determined as of the date of the taking of the property or the filing of the complaint, whichever came first. (Records, Vol. 3, p. 1080. Emphasis in the original)

56ςrνll Rollo, p. 398.

57ςrνll SECTION 1. Period for filing. A party may file a motion for reconsideration of a judgment or final resolution within fifteen (15) days from notice thereof, with proof of service on the adverse party.

58ςrνll SEC. 1. Entry of Judgment. Unless a motion for reconsideration or new trial is filed or an appeal taken to the Supreme Court, judgments and final resolutions of the Court shall be entered upon expiration of fifteen (15) days from notice to the parties. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

59ςrνll SEC. 1. Entry of Judgment. Unless a motion for reconsideration or new trial is filed or an appeal taken to the Supreme Court, judgments and final resolutions of the Court shall be entered upon expiration of fifteen (15) days from notice to the parties. x x x (Emphasis supplied)

SEC. 5. Entry of Judgment and Final Resolution. If no appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, the judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of judgments. The date when the judgment or final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of its entry. x x x (Rule VII, 2002 INTERNAL RULES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS, AS AMENDED) (Emphasis supplied)

60ςrνll Amatorio v. People of the Philippines, supra note 1 at 488-490; Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Judge Japson, 226 Phil 144, 148 (1986).

61ςrνll 226 Phil. 144 (1986).

62ςrνll Id. at 148.

63ςrνll Villamor v. People, G.R. Nos. 172110 & 181804, August 1, 2011, 655 SCRA 30, 38; Bolos v. Bolos, G.R. No. 186400, October 20, 2010, 634 SCRA 429, 438; Marcelo v. Philippine Commercial International Bank (PCIB), G.R. No. 182735, December 4, 2009, 607 SCRA 778, 792; Apex Mining Co., Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 510 Phil. 268, 273-274 (2005); Habaluyas Enterprises, Inc. v. Judge Japson, supra.

64ςrνll Ibasco v. Private Development Corporation of the Philippines, G.R. No. 162473, October 12, 2009, 603 SCRA 317, 320; International Corporate Bank, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 129910, September 5, 2006, 501 SCRA 20, 32.

65ςrνll Delos Santos v. Elizalde, G.R. Nos. 141810 & 141812, February 2, 2007, 514 SCRA 14, 29-30.

66ςrνll Soriano v. Mendoza-Arcega, G.R. No. 175473, January 31, 2011, 641 SCRA 51, 57-58.

67ςrνll VCPs MOTEX of April 25, 2007 asked for a 15-day extension or until May 10, 2007. On May 10, 2007, VCP moved for another 15 days or until May 25, 2007 to file its Motion for Reconsideration. (CA rollo, pp. 365-369 & 371-376)

68ςrνll Id. at 378.

69ςrνll Delos Santos v. Elizalde, supra; Razon v. People, G.R. No. 158053, June 21, 2007, 525 SCRA 284, 296.

70ςrνll Alfonso v. Andres, G.R. No. 166236, July 29, 2010, 626 SCRA 149, 155-156.

71ςrνll CA rollo, p. 16.

72ςrνll Manacop v. Equitable PCI Bank, 505 Phil. 361, 377 (2005).

73ςrνll Lee v. People, 483 Phil. 684, 699 (2004).

74ςrνll Leca Realty Corporation v. Republic of the Philippines, 534 Phil. 693, 701 (2006).

75ςrνll Id; Swire Agricultural Products, Inc. v. Hyundai Corporation, 499 Phil. 73, 79 (2005).

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