[ A.M. No. RTJ-18-2527 (Formerly OCA IPI No. 16-4563-RTJ). June 18, 2018 ]
ATTY. MAKILITO B. MAHINAY, COMPLAINANT, V. HON. RAMON B. DAOMILAS, JR., PRESIDING JUDGE, AND ATTY. ROSADEY E. FAELNAR-BINONGO, CLERK OF COURT V, BOTH OF BRANCH 11, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, CEBU CITY, CEBU, RESPONDENTS.
D E C I S I O N
Before the Court is the Complaint1 dated April 18, 2016 filed before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) by Atty. Makilito B. Mahinay against respondent Hon. Ramon B. Daomilas, Jr., Presiding Judge, and Atty. Rosadey E. Faelnar-Binongo, Clerk of Court V, both of Branch 11, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Cebu City, Cebu.
Atty. Mahinay charged respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. and Atty. Faelnar-Binongo with gross inexcusable negligence and gross ignorance of the law relative to SRC Case No. SRC-223-CEB entitled PJH Lending Corporation, Bernard R. Twitchett, Rosalie Canlom Farley and Canuto T. Barte, Jr. vs. Wilma L. Zamora, Ian Paul Z. Estremos, Mark Lester Z. Estremos, Fritz Sembrino, Roselo M. Alfar and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Regional Office, Cebu City (SRC-223-CEB), wherein Atty. Mahinay is the counsel of the plaintiffs in the case.
The plaintiffs in SRC-223-CEB filed their complaint for Judicial Declaration of Nullity of Shareholdings with Prayer for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order2 on December 19, 2012. The subject case was raffled to RTC Branch 11, presided by respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr.
Atty. Mahinay alleged that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. violated the Interim Rules of Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies when he failed to act on the Prayer for TRO and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction despite the lapse of more than two (2) years from the date the matter was submitted for resolution sometime in March 2013,3 as well as the repeated motions filed for the early resolution thereof.
On November 3, 2015, Atty. Mahinay wrote the OCA for assistance in the early disposition of the pending prayer for TRO in the subject case due to the protracted inaction of respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr.4 On November 6, 2015, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. issued an Order5 granting plaintiffs' prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction conditioned upon plaintiffs' posting of a bond in the amount of Ten Million Eight Hundred Seventy-Four Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Two Pesos (P10,874,992.00), to enjoin the defendants from interfering with the management of the PJH Lending Corporation. In a Motion6 dated November 12, 2015, the defendants sought reconsideration of the November 6, 2015 Order and prayed that they be allowed to post a counter-bond. The motion was set for hearing the next day or on November 13, 2015.
Defendants thereafter filed a Manifestation,7 reporting on the misrepresentations made by plaintiff regarding the status of SRC Case No. SRC-223-CEB. The plaintiffs sent letters to the managers of the depositary banks of the PJH Lending Corporation, informing them that the defendants already lost in SRC-223-CEB and that they should refrain from transacting with the defendants.8
On November 16, 2015, the plaintiffs posted Surety Bond No. 00117 issued by Liberty Insurance Corporation for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. In an Order9 issued on the same day, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. directed the plaintiffs to comment on defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, with an Urgent Prayer to Post a Counter-bond.10 Plaintiffs filed their Manifestation and Compliance11 dated November 17, 2015 in compliance thereof.(awÞhi(
On January 18, 2016, Atty. Mahinay wrote the OCA again, reporting that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. dilly-dallied in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction in favor of his clients despite the latter's November 6, 2015 Order.12 He asked that a new judge be designated to issue the writ of preliminary injunction in SRC Case No. SRC-223-CEB. Before the OCA responded to Atty. Mahinay's January 18, 2016 Letter, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. issued an Order13 dated January 20, 2016, the fallo of which reads:
Wherefore, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED but the Motion to File Counter[-]bond is hereby GRANTED. Defendants are directed to file their counter-bond in [an] amount equal to the injunction bond (P10,874,992.00) previously filed by the plaintiffs. This counter-bond shall answer for whatever damages the plaintiffs may suffer.
SO ORDERED.14 (Emphasis in the original)
Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Recall and/or Expunge from the Records the Order dated January 20, 2016,15 but the same was subsequently withdrawn because the plaintiffs manifested that they intend to file a petition for mandamus and certiorari before the Court of Appeals (Cebu Station) to compel respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. to enforce the November 6, 2015 Order and set aside the January 20, 2016 Order.16
Atty. Mahinay also accused respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo of malfeasance in the performance of her functions. He averred that Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo colluded with respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. in delaying the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction by allowing the filing of the defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, knowing that the same is a prohibited pleading.1âшphi1
In a 1st Indorsement17 dated May 19, 2016, the OCA directed respondents Judge Daomilas, Jr. and Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo to file their respective Comments within ten (10) days from receipt thereof.18
In his Comment19 dated July 7, 2016, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. denied that he delayed the resolution of plaintiffs' prayer for TRO and the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. admitted that with cases heard in the morning and the afternoon, he had only very limited time to study and evaluate motions and cases for decision.20 Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. explained that concurrent to his regular branch, he was previously assigned to the RTC in Toledo City, in Lapu Lapu City and in Mandaue City.21 He took the responsibility inspite of the fact that his branch (RTC, Branch 11, Cebu City) had a very limited support staff to help him since said court lacks a legal researcher, two (2) stenographers and a docket clerk.22 Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. averred that he was doing everything within his means and authority to perform his judicial functions to the best of his abilities despite his heavy caseload, coupled with the fact that he was recently designated as Assisting Judge in Branch 55, RTC, Mandaue City, Cebu.23
Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. asserted that he issued the January 20, 2016 Order allowing the defendants to post a counter-bond because the posting of a counter-bond is allowed under Rule 5824 of the Rules of Court and the same is not barred under the Interim Rules. Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. averred that Order dated January 20, 2016 was not issued to frustrate the legal effect of the November 6, 2015 Order, which granted the motion for the issuance of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction, but to address the confusion brought about by plaintiffs' misrepresentations with respect to the status of the case.25
With respect to the early setting for hearing of the defendants' Motion for Reconsideration, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. alleged that the Rules allow a motion to be set for hearing earlier than the three (3) day notice for good cause. Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. averred that he found the urgent prayer to post a counter-bond filed by the defendants as a "good cause"26 to set the motion for hearing immediately. Furthermore, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. was informed by respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo that the parties were already notified of the schedule of hearing of the said Motion.27
Anent his alleged failure to act on the Motion to Recall and/or Expunge from the Records the Order dated January 20, 2016, respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. argued that he was prevented from taking action thereon because the plaintiffs manifested their intent to withdraw the same to give way to the petition for mandamus and certiorari that they filed before the Court of Appeals.28
In his Comment29 dated July 1, 2016, respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo denied colluding with respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. on the alleged delay in the resolution of the incidents in the subject case. She averred that as clerk of court, it is her ministerial duty to receive pleadings, motions and other court papers for the consideration of the court. She emphasized that she had no discretion to decide whether a pleading filed is prohibited under the rules because such determination is a judicial function that belongs to the judge.
On the alleged haste in the setting of the hearing for the defendants' motion for reconsideration, respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo averred that Section 4,30 Rule 15 of the Rules of Court allow a shorter period of giving notice of hearing to the parties "for a good cause." She alleged that plaintiffs and Atty. Mahinay already received a copy of the defendants' motion for reconsideration when the same was filed before the court on November 12, 2015. Respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo alleged that Atty. Mahinay is known for his propensity to file baseless administrative cases against lawyers and judges who offend him.31
Atty. Mahinay emphasized in his Reply32 dated July 20, 2016 that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. did not refute the allegation that there was a delay of two (2) years and eight (8) months in the issuance of the injunctive writ prayed for by the plaintiffs. In addition, Atty. Mahinay also accused respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. of not acting promptly on their Motion for Summary Judgment in related cases, docketed as SCR Case Nos. 206 and 207, which is a violation of the mandate of the Interim Rules to promote the objective of securing a just, summary, speedy and inexpensive determination of the action or proceeding.33
Finally, Atty. Mahinay reiterated that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. grossly erred when he entertained the defendants' Motion for Reconsideration. According to him, it does not matter whether the said motion was accompanied with an urgent prayer to post a counter-bond as no Writ of Preliminary Injunction was yet issued by the trial court; and that an offer of a counter-bond does not suffice to dissolve the writ of preliminary injunction. Atty. Mahinay further claimed that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. could not vary or modify his November 6, 2015 Order because the same already became ipso facto final and executory, pursuant to Section 4,34 Rule 1 of the Interim Rules.
OCA Report and Recommendation
In a Memorandum35 dated February 12, 2018, the OCA recommended that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. be found guilty of Undue Delay in Rendering an Order.
The OCA ratiocinated as follows:
x x x The records show that he issued the Order dated 6 November 2015 which granted the writ in favor of the plaintiffs more than two years after the matter was deemed submitted for resolution sometime in March 2013 and despite the repeated demands for its early resolution. He did not refute this fact in his comment. And, it appears that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. would not have issued the order if complainant Atty. Mahinay had not written a letter dated 3 November 2015, informing this Office about the undue delay in the resolution of his application for a writ of preliminary injunction.
Indubitably, the Order dated 6 November 2015 was rendered beyond the mandatory ninety (90)-day period within which a judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter, reckoned from the date of the filing of the last pleading, in accordance with Section 15, paragraphs (1) and (2), Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution. The delay could have been addressed if only respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. had filed a written motion for an extension of time to resolve the pending matter, citing his heavy workload and additional responsibility as an assisting judge of Branch 55, RTC, Mandaue City, Cebu, but he failed to do so. It cannot be gainsaid that delay in resolving motions and incidents pending before a judge within the reglementary period fixed by the Constitution and the law is inexcusable and cannot be condoned.36
The OCA however recommended that the penalty to be imposed on respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. be reduced to a reprimand, taking into account his unusually heavy caseload. Apart from his regular functions as Presiding Judge of Branch 11, RTC, Cebu City, Cebu, he was also the Acting Presiding Judge of Branch 55, RTC, Mandaue City from 2012 to 2014, and was saddled with heavy caseload of 3,121 as of December 2014.37
As to the administrative charges of inefficiency and collusion against respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo, the OCA recommended that the same be dismissed for lack of merit. The OCA explained that she had no discretion to refuse to receive the said motion outright even if the same is contrary to law or non-compliant with the rules as the same constitutes a judicial function that belongs to the judge.38
The Court's Ruling
In view of the foregoing, the Court agrees with the findings of the OCA, subject to modification as to the penalty.
Gross ignorance of the law is the disregard of basic rules and settled jurisprudence.39 A judge may also be administratively liable if shown to have been motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption in ignoring, contradicting or failing to apply settled law and jurisprudence.40
The Court however has also ruled that "not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his official duties renders him liable."41
For liability to attach for ignorance of the law, the assailed order, decision or actuation of the judge in the performance of official duties must not only be found erroneous but, most importantly, it must also be established that he was moved by bad faith, dishonesty, hatred, or some other like motive. As a matter of policy, in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous.42
Atty. Mahinay questions the propriety of the following acts taken by respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. in SRC Case No. SRC-233-CEB, to wit: (1) issuing the January 20, 2016 Order, allowing the defendants to post a counter-bond; (2) not issuing a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of the plaintiffs, which allegedly defeated the purpose of the November 6, 2015 Order; and (3) allowing the defendants to file a motion for reconsideration and setting the same for hearing on a shorter notice.43
The Court agrees with the OCA that these matters are judicial in nature, the determination of which are beyond the ambit of an administrative proceeding as it will involve the evaluation of factual matters and the interpretation of applicable laws.
Assuming arguendo that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. erred in his actions in the subject case, the same does not necessarily render him administratively liable. The Court has invariably ruled that the errors attributed to judges pertaining to the exercise of their adjudicative functions should be assailed in judicial proceedings instead of in an administrative case.44 Consistent with the Court's policy, a judge cannot be subjected to any liability – civil, criminal or administrative – for any of his official acts, no matter how erroneous as long as he acts in good faith. Only judicial errors tainted with fraud, dishonesty and corruption, gross ignorance, bad faith or deliberate intent to do an injustice will be administratively sanctioned.45
The Court agrees with the OCA that whether or not the arguments offered by respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. are correct, it is not for the Court to determine because the determination thereof is a judicial function that belongs to the regular court. A judge is allowed reasonable latitude for the operation of his own individual view of the case, his appreciation of facts and his understanding of the applicable law on the matter.46 Thus, not every error or mistake committed by a judge in the performance of his official duties renders him administratively liable.47 In this case, if there is any error committed by respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr., the Court is not inclined to characterize the same as so depraved as to constitute gross ignorance of the law, but may be tantamount to error of judgment only which cannot be corrected through an administrative proceeding.
The Court likewise finds no merit in the charge of gross ignorance of the law against respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. As respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. aptly explained in his January 20, 2016 Order, while a motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading under the Interim Rules, the same rules do not proscribe the filing of an urgent prayer to post a counter-bond.
Be that as it may, the Court finds that respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. demonstrated inefficiency in handling the pending incidents in SRC Case No. SRC-223-CEB, which resulted in undue and inordinate delay in the resolution of the application for a writ of preliminary injunction. The November 6, 2015 Order was rendered beyond the ninety (90)-day period within which a judge should decide a case or resolve a pending matter, reckoned from the date of the filing of the last pleading, in accordance with Section 15, paragraphs (1) and (2),48 Article 8 of the 1987 Constitution.
Time and again, the Court has stressed the importance of reasonable promptness in relation to the administration of justice as justice delayed is justice denied. Undue delay in the disposition of cases and motions erodes the faith and confidence of the people in the judiciary and unnecessarily blemishes its stature.49 This is more so the case with trial judges who serve as the frontline officials of the judiciary expected to act all time with efficiency and probity.50 The Court has held:
As a frontline official of the Judiciary, a trial judge should at all times act with efficiency and probity. He is duty-bound not only to be faithful to the law, but also to maintain professional competence. The pursuit of excellence ought always to be his guiding principle. Such dedication is the least that he can do to sustain the trust and confidence that the public have reposed in him and the institution he represents.
The Court cannot overstress its policy on prompt disposition or resolution of cases. Delay in the disposition of cases is a major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in the judicial system, as judges have the sworn duty to administer justice without undue delay. Thus, judges have been constantly reminded to strictly adhere to the rule on the speedy disposition of cases and observe the periods prescribed by the Constitution for deciding cases, which is three months from the filing of the last pleading, brief or memorandum for lower courts. To further impress upon judges such mandate, the Court has issued guidelines (Administrative Circular No. 3-99 dated January 15, 1999) that would insure the speedy disposition of cases and has therein reminded judges to scrupulously observe the periods prescribed in the Constitution.51 (Underscoring supplied)
The Court has been consistent in holding that the delay of a judge of a lower court in resolving motions and incidents within the reglementary period as prescribed by the Constitution is not excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency.52
Respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr.'s cavalier treatment of the pending matters in his court betrays the kind of management he instituted in his courtroom. A judge must at all times remain in full control of the proceedings in his court and strictly observe the interdictions against unreasonable delay in the disposition of cases and pending incidents in order to avoid a miscarriage of justice.53 Court management is ultimately his responsibility.54 He should be reminded that that the moment he dons the judicial robe, he is bound to strictly adhere to and faithfully comply with his duties delineated under the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary, particularly Section 5, Canon 6 which reads:
SEC. 5. Judges shall perform all judicial duties, including the delivery of reserved decisions, efficiently, fairly and with reasonable promptness.
In view of respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr.'s failure to measure up to the exacting standard set for judges of the court, he is administratively liable for Undue Delay in Rendering an Order, which is classified as a less serious charge under Section 9 (1), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, punishable by suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one (1) month or more than three (3) months, or a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding P20,000.00.
The Court however, in a string of cases,55 has recognized the presence of mitigating circumstances that may temper the penalty for the administrative infraction committed by an erring magistrate, such as physical illness, good faith, first offense, length of service, admission of the offense, or other analogous circumstances.
Here, the Court finds it reasonable to modify the penalty to be imposed on respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. The Court recognizes the struggle encountered by respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr. in managing two (2) court stations at the same time, with a limited number of personnel, which adversely affected his efficiency to keep track of the status of the cases raffled to him. The sheer volume of respondent Judge Daomilas, Jr.'s work serves to mitigate the penalty to be imposed upon him, as in the case of Angelia v. Judge Grageda56 where the fine was reduced to P5,000.00 given therein respondent judge's 800 pending cases before his sala.
In the present case, a fine of P5,000.00 would be sufficient, after considering the fact that respondent Judge is managing two (2) court stations. As well, the Court takes note of the OCA's observation that this is the first time that he is found guilty of an administrative charge.
The Court likewise finds no merit in the administrative charges of inefficiency and collusion against respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo. As clerk of court, she had no discretion to refuse to receive pleadings and motions even if they are contrary to or prohibited by law as this was judicial function that belonged to the judge. Atty. Mahinay also failed to substantiate his charge of collusion in the delay in the resolution of the case.
In administrative proceedings, the quantum of proof necessary for a finding of guilt is substantial evidence or such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion.57 Hence, respondent Clerk of Court Faelnar-Binongo must be exonerated from the administrative charges against her.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Judge Ramon B. Daomilas, Jr., Presiding Judge, Branch 11, Regional Trial Court, Cebu City, Cebu, GUILTY of Undue Delay in Rendering an Order and impose on him a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. The administrative charges of inefficiency and collusion against respondent Atty. Rosadey E. Faelnar-Binongo, Clerk of Court V, Branch 11, Regional Trial Court, Cebu City, Cebu, are DISMISSED for lack of merit.
Carpio (Chairperson), Peralta, Perlas-Bernabe, and A. Reyes, Jr., JJ., concur.
1 Rollo, pp. 1-19.
2 Id. at 20-42.
3 The date when the respective memoranda of the parties were required to be submitted. Id. at 10.
4 Rollo, pp. 99-a to 103-a.
5 Id. at 104-108.
6 Id. at 110-124.
7 Id. at 158-161.
8 Id. at 167-174.
9 Id. at 109.
10 Id. at 110-124.
11 Id. at 125-130.
12 Id. at. 132-133.
13 Id. at 134-136.
14 Id. at 136.
15 Id. at 137-145.
16 Manifestation dated January 30, 2016 filed by plaintiffs. Id. at 146.
17 Rollo, pp. 147-148.
19 Id. at 152-157.
20 Id. at 153.
23 Id. at 152.
24 Rule on Preliminary Injunction.
25 Rollo, pp. 153-154.
26 Id. at 154; italics supplied.
28 Id. at 157.
29 Id. at 183-187.
30 SEC. 4. Hearing of motion.–Except for motions which the court may act upon without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be set for hearing by the applicant.
Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three (3) days before the date of the hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the hearing on shorter notice.
31 Rollo, p. 186.
32 Id. at 201-214.
33 Id. at 202.
34 SEC. 4. Executory nature of decisions and orders.–All decisions and orders issued under these Rules shall immediately be executory. No appeal or petition taken therefrom shall stay the enforcement or implementation of the decision or order, unless restrained by an appellate court. Interlocutory orders shall not be subject to appeal.
35 Rollo, pp. 217-225.
36 Id. at 222-223.
37 Id. at 224.
39 Department of Justice v. Mislang, A.M. No. RTJ-14-2369, July 26, 2016, 798 SCRA 225, 234.
41 Dipatuan v. Judge Mangotara, 633 Phil. 67, 76 (2010); italics supplied.
42 Salvador v. Judge Limsiaco, Jr., 519 Phil. 683, 687 (2006).
43 Rollo, p. 221.
44 Hebron v. Judge Garcia II, 698 Phil. 615, 622-623 (2012), citing Spouses Chan v. Judge Lantion, 505 Phil. 159, 164 (2005).
45 Maylas, Jr. v. Judge Sese, 529 Phil. 594, 597 (2006); Del Mar-Schuchman v. Cacatian, 662 Phil. 623, 631 (2011), citing Edaño v. Judge Asdala, 651 Phil. 183, 189 (2010).
46 Ad Hoc Committee Report-Judge Tayao, RTC, Br. 143 Makati, 299 Phil. 774, 782 (1994).
47 Dipatuan v. Judge Mangotara, supra note 41.
48 Section 15. (1) All cases or matters filed after the effectivity of this Constitution must be decided or resolved within twenty-four months from date of submission for the Supreme Court, and, unless reduced by the Supreme Court, twelve months for all lower collegiate courts, and three months for all [other] lower courts. (2) A case or matter shall be deemed submitted for decision or resolution upon the filing of the last pleading, brief, or memorandum required by the Rules of Court or by the court itself.
49 Magtibay v. Judge Indar, 695 Phil. 617, 625 (2012).
50 Angelia v. Judge Grageda, 656 Phil. 570, 573 (2011).
51 Re: Failure of Judge Carbonell to Decide Cases and to Resolve Pending Motions in the RTC, Br. 27, San Fernando, La Union, 713 Phil. 594, 597-598 (2013).
52 Angelia v. Judge Grageda, supra note 50, citing Prosecutor Visbal v. Judge Buban, 443 Phil. 705, 708 (2003).
53 Bernardo, Jr. v. Judge Montojo, 648 Phil. 222, 229 (2010).
54 Report on the Judicial Audit Conducted in the MCTC-DAPA, Surigao del Norte, 482 Phil. 712, 725 (2004), citing OCA v. Judge Salva, 391 Phil. 13, 22 (2000).
55 OCA v. Chavez, A.M. No. RTJ-10-2219, August 1, 2017, p. 4; Rubin v. Judge Corpus-Cabochan, 715 Phil. 318, 334 (2013); Atty Fernandez v. Judge Vasquez, 669 Phil. 619, 634-635 (2011).
56 Supra note 50.
57 Filoteo v. Calago, 562 Phil. 474, 481) (2001)
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