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612 Phil. 633

THIRD DIVISION

[ G. R. No. 184005, August 04, 2009 ]

TOP ART SHIRT MANUFACTURING, INCORPORATED, MAXIMO AREJOLA AND TAN SIU KHENG, PETITIONERS, VS. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY AND THE COURT OF APPEALS, RESPONDENTS.

D E C I S I O N

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

This Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court seeks the review of the Decision[2] dated 29 April 2008 and Resolution[3] dated 31 July 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98617, entitled "Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company v. Hon. Rogelio M. Pizarro in his capacity as the Presiding Judge, Branch 22, RTC-Quezon City, Spouses Maximo Arejola and Tan Shiu Kheng, and Top Art Manufacturing, Inc.," which issued the writ of certiorari annulling and setting aside the Orders dated 9 November 2006 and 2 February 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 222, Quezon City, in LRC Case No. Q17996 (04) entitled "In re: Issuance of Writ of Possession, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company."

As culled from the record of the present petition, the facts of the case are as follows:

On 21 April 2004, respondent Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) filed before the RTC a Petition for Issuance of a Writ of Possession of a 480-square-meter real property (subject property) located at Mayon Street, Quezon City, which was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. RT-105885 (243642) registered in the names of petitioner-spouses Maximo Arejola and Tan Siu Kheng (Spouses Arejola). The Petition was docketed as LRC Case No. Q17996 (04). Said Petition was anchored on the allegations that on 26 March 2000, petitioner Top Art Shirt Manufacturing, Inc. (Top Art) obtained two (2) U.S. dollar-denominated loans from Metrobank in the amounts of US$1,411,000.00 and US$536,000.00; that both amounts of indebtedness were collectively secured by several real estate mortgages executed by Maximo Arejola, as President of Top Art, and his wife, Tan Siu Kheng, over their real properties; that one of the real properties mortgaged to secure the indebtedness of Top Art was the subject property; that despite repeated demands from Metrobank, Top Art failed to settle its loan obligations with the bank; that, as a consequence, Metrobank instituted extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings over the subject property; that the subject property was sold at a public auction on 15 May 2001, to Metrobank, the highest bidder; that a Certificate of Sale was issued to Metrobank on 15 May 2001, the date of the auction, and it was duly registered on 11 September 2001; that the fact of sale was annotated at the back of TCT No. RT-105885 (243642), covering the subject property; that the Spouses Arejola failed to redeem the foreclosed property within the statutory period for the mortgagor to exercise his/her right of redemption; and that title over the same was eventually consolidated and a new certificate of title, TCT No. N-266564, was issued in the name of Metrobank.

In a Decision dated 25 May 2005, the RTC granted the Petition of Metrobank and ordered the issuance of a writ of possession in the latter's favor, to wit:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, let a Writ of Possession issue in favor of [herein respondent] bank and the Sheriff IV of this Branch or his duly authorized deputy is directed to cause the eviction of Spouses Maximo Arejola and Tan Siu Kheng and all persons claiming rights under them from the subject property TCT No. N-266564 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City and forthwith place [respondent] bank in possession of the said subject premises.[4]

Accordingly, a writ of possession was issued on 3 April 2006, commanding the RTC Sheriff to place Metrobank "in possession of the subject property covered by TCT No. N-266564 x x x and to eject therefrom all adverse occupants."[5]

On 19 May 2006, Top Art filed with the RTC a Motion to Quash Writ of Possession[6] praying for the recall of the writ of possession earlier issued. Top Art alleged that Metrobank violated Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court by failing to inform the RTC that there was a civil case pending before another court, i.e., Civil Case No. Q-04-52965, filed by one Walter Santillan (Santillan) against Maximo Arejola and Metrobank, also over the subject property. Civil Case No. Q-04-52965 involves a complaint for Specific Performance with Application for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction to compel Metrobank to recognize the 10-year lease of the subject property executed between the Spouses Arejola, as lessors, and Santillan, as lessee. In its Supplemental Arguments to Motion to Quash Writ of Possession, Top Art further argued that the failure of Metrobank to post a bond as required in Act No. 3135 tainted the validity of the writ of possession issued by the RTC in LRC Case No. Q17996 (04).

In an Order dated 9 November 2006, the RTC cancelled and set aside the writ of possession it earlier issued and directed the Sheriff "to immediately restore within a reasonable period of ten (10) days herefrom the movant Top Art x x x and/or Walter Santillan in possession of the subject property."[7]

Metrobank moved for the reconsideration of the aforequoted Order arguing that (1) "the manner by which the Writ of Possession was cancelled or set aside was not in accordance with Section 8 of Act No. 3135, as amended, which provides that a petition or complaint, not a mere motion, should be filed in order to have the Writ of Possession cancelled"; and (2) "Walter Santillan, the purported lessee [of the subject property], not Top Art x x x is the proper party who should have questioned the issuance of [the] Writ of Possession as he is the one supposedly adversely affected by the Writ of Possession." Moreover, it clarified that Top Art was not the lessor of the subject property, as the lease contract was executed between Maximo Arejola and Walter Santillan; hence, Top Art had "no interest whatsoever in the subject property." And Metrobank insisted that "[t]here is simply no factual and legal basis to even restore possession [thereof] to Top Art x x x when it had never acquired possession of the subject property at any time by lease or in whatever manner."[8]

The Motion for Reconsideration of Metrobank was subsequently denied by the RTC in an Order[9] dated 2 February 2007.

Aggrieved, Metrobank filed a Petition for Certiorari with the Court of Appeals imputing grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, to Hon. Rogelio M. Pizarro, the Presiding Judge of the RTC, Branch 222, Quezon City, for recalling and setting aside, in his Orders dated 9 November 2006 and 2 February 2007 in LRC Case No. Q17996 (04), the writ of possession he earlier directed to be issued in the said case. The Petition was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 98617.

In a Decision promulgated on 29 April 2008, the Court of Appeals granted the Petition by issuing the writ of certiorari Metrobank prayed for. Consequently, the assailed Orders were annulled and set aside for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and the RTC Decision dated 25 May 2005 was reinstated. The appellate court reasoned thus:

The trial court exceeded its jurisdiction in entertaining Top Art's motion to quash, considering that the same was neither formally a verified petition not a stranger's complaint-in-intervention. The trial court simply closed its eyes and neglected to address the fact that Top Art, while being a loan beneficiary of Metrobank, was not a redemptioner nor the debtor-mortgagor contemplated by Section 8 who, having a direct interest (possessory and otherwise) in the realty, may cause the annulment of the writ of possession, under any of only two specified circumstances - (1) because the mortgage (contract) was not violated, or (2) the sale was not made in accordance with the provisions of Art. 3135. It is well to note that in here, the trial court anomalously authorized Top Art's ground for cancellation of an already-implemented, a fait accompli no less, grant of possession: failure to disclose the pendency of a subsequently-filed action for specific performance.

x x x x

Coming now to the question of Metrobank's alleged awareness of an existing lease between the spouses-mortgagors and Walter Santillan, it was erroneous for the trial court to attribute knowledge to Metrobank allegedly due to the latter's failure to deny the statements contained in the Complaint in Civil Case No. Q-04-52965 x x x [because] Top Art is not a party to the said case, x x x [and] the trial court may not take judicial notice of the records or the proceedings in another case, unless the parties themselves agree thereto (citation omitted).[10]

The Court of Appeals did not fault Metrobank for not declaring in the Certification against Forum Shopping, appended to its Petition in LRC Case No. Q17996 (04), the existence of Civil Case No. Q-04-52965, finding that:

Metrobank could not have stated in its Certification against Forum shopping (sic) the fact of another pending case related to its petition for a writ of possession, because the said petition was filed ahead of Civil Case No. Q-04-52965.[11]

All in all, the Court of Appeals concluded that:

In sum, the trial court gravely abused its discretion and exceeded its jurisdiction in issuing the twin orders assailed through this petition.[12]

The fallo of the Decision of the Court of Appeals reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Orders of the trial court dated 9 November 2006 and 2 February 2007, are ANNULLED and SET ASIDE and in lieu thereof, the previous Decision dated 25 May 2005 which granted the writ of possession in favor of Metrobank is hereby reinstated.[13]

Top Art and the Spouses Arejola's Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated 31 July 2008.

Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court based on the following assignment of errors:

I.


THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ERROR IN NOT HOLDING THAT PETITIONER TOP ART MANUFACTURING, INC. HAS THE LEGAL STANDING TO QUASH THE WRIT OF POSSESSION;

II.


THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT SUSTAINING AND AFFIRMING THE ASSAILED ORDERS OF THE TRIAL COURT (RTC-QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 222) WHICH QUASHED AND SET ASIDE THE PREVIOUSLY ISSUED WRIT OF POSSESSION CONSIDERING THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT METROBANK HAD PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE SUBSISTING LEASE OVER THE MORTGAGED PROPERTY; and

III


THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT THE TRIAL COURT (RTC-QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 222) MISAPPLIED THE DOCTRINE ENUNCIATED BY THE SUPREME COURT IN THE CASES OF IBASCO VS. CAGUIOA (143 SCRA 538) [AND] CASTRO, JR. VS. COURT OF APPEAS (250 SCRA 661).


Top Art and the Spouses Arejola insist that Top Art has "legal standing to question and/or to quash the writ of possession earlier issued by the trial court in favor of Metrobank"[14] for the simple reason that its Motion to Quash "also included its co-petitioners, the Spouses Maximo Arejola and Tan Siu Kheng, the registered owners of the 480-sq.m. real property. Petitioner Maximo Arejola was the one who entered in the subject lease contract with Walter Santillan over the subject property."[15]

On the other hand, Metrobank maintains that Sec. 8 of Act No. 3135, as amended, is clear in that a writ of possession may be set aside only through the filing of a complaint or petition for that purpose and not by mere unverified motion. Likewise, it persistently disputes the contention that Top Art was joined in its Motion to Quash Writ of Possession by the Spouses Arejola. Metrobank submits that "[a] simple reading of all the pleadings filed by Top Art x x x shows that they were filed solely on behalf of Top Art x x x." The bank contends as well that "[t]he issue of whether or not Metrobank had prior knowledge of the lease contract, which was purportedly raised by Walter Santillan in the separate civil action x x x is one properly left to the Regional Trial Court before which the said civil case [Civil Case No. Q-04-52965] was filed to resolve, not the Trial Court Judge in LRC Case No. Q17996 (04) before whom Walter Santillan has not even appeared as an oppositor."

Considering all the foregoing, We determine that the basic issue to be resolved in the present Petition is whether the Presiding Judge of the RTC, Branch 222, Quezon City, erred in recalling the writ of possession earlier issued in favor of Metrobank on the basis of the Motion to Quash filed by Top Art.

We rule in the affirmative.

The procedure for extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage is governed by Act No. 3135, as amended, entitled "An Act to Regulate the Sale of Property Under Special Powers Inserted in or Annexed to Real Estate Mortgages." Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, provides that the purchaser at the public auction sale of an extrajudicially foreclosed real property may seek possession thereof, thus:

SEC. 7. In any sale made under the provisions of this Act, the purchaser may petition the Court of First Instance of the province or place where the property or any part thereof is situated, to give him possession thereof during the redemption period, furnishing bond in an amount equivalent to the use of the property for a period of twelve months, to indemnify the debtor in case it be shown that the sale was made without violating the mortgage or without complying with the requirements of this Act. Such petition shall be made under oath and filed in form or an ex parte motion in the registration or cadastral proceedings if the property is registered, or in special proceedings in the case of property registered under the Mortgage Law or under section one hundred and ninety-four of the Administrative Code, or of any other real property encumbered with a mortgage duly registered in the office of any register of deeds in accordance with any existing law, and in each case the clerk of court shall, upon the filing of such petition, collect the fees specified in paragraph eleven of section one hundred and fourteen of Act Numbered Four hundred and ninety six as amended by Act Numbered Twenty-eight hundred and sixty-six, and the court shall, upon approval of the bond, order that a writ of possession issue addressed to the sheriff of the province in which the property is situated, who shall execute said order immediately. (Emphases supplied.)

In De Gracia v. San Jose,[16] We expounded on the application of the preceding provision, as follows:

As may be seen, the law expressly authorizes the purchaser to petition for a writ of possession during the redemption period by filing an ex parte motion under oath for that purpose in the corresponding registration or cadastral proceeding in the case of property with Torrens title; and upon the filing of such motion and the approval of the corresponding bond, the law also in express terms directs the court to issue the order for a writ of possession. Under the legal provisions above copied, the order for a writ of possession issues as a matter of course upon the filing of the proper motion and the approval of the corresponding bond. No discretion is left to the court. And any question regarding the regularity and validity of the sale (and the consequent cancellation of the writ) is left to be determined in a subsequent proceeding as outlined in section 8. Such question is not to be raised as a justification for opposing the issuance of the writ of possession, since, under the Act, the proceeding for this is ex parte. (Emphasis supplied.)


Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, refers to a situation wherein the purchaser seeks possession of the foreclosed property during the 12-month period for redemption. Upon the purchaser's filing of the ex parte petition and posting of the appropriate bond, the RTC shall, as a matter of course, order the issuance of the writ of possession in the purchaser's favor.

But equally well settled is the rule that a writ of possession will issue as a matter of course, even without the filing and approval of a bond, after consolidation of ownership and the issuance of a new TCT in the name of the purchaser.[17] In IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corporation v. Nera,[18] We reasoned that if under Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, the RTC has the power during the period of redemption to issue a writ of possession on the ex parte application of the purchaser, there is no reason why it should not also have the same power after the expiration of the redemption period, especially where a new title had already been issued in the name of the purchaser. Put simply, a purchaser seeking possession of the foreclosed property he bought at the public auction sale, after the redemption period expired without redemption having been made, may still avail itself of the procedure under Sec. 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended; this time, without any more need for the purchaser to furnish a bond.

Possession of the foreclosed real property, purchased at a public auction sale, becomes the absolute right of the purchaser upon the consolidation of his title when no timely redemption of the said property had been made because:

It is settled that upon receipt of the definitive deed in an execution sale, legal title over the property sold is perfected (33 C. J. S. 554). And this court has also [said] and that the land bought by him and described in the deed deemed (sic) within the period allowed for that purpose, its ownership becomes consolidated in the purchaser, and the latter, "as absolute owner . . . is entitled to its possession and to receive the rents and fruits thereof." (Powell v. Philippine National Bank, 54 Phil., 54, 63.) x x x.[19]


Hence, the general rule is that upon proper application and proof of title, the issuance of the writ of possession to the purchaser of the foreclosed property at a public auction sale becomes a ministerial duty of the court.[20]

However, as in all general rules, there is an exception. In Roxas v. Buan,[21] we explained thus:

In the extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgages, possession of the property may be awarded to the purchaser at the foreclosure sale during the pendency of the period of redemption under the terms provided in Sec. 6 of Act 3135, as amended (An Act to Regulate the Sale of Property Under Special Powers Inserted In or Annexed to Real Estate Mortgages), or after the lapse of the redemption period, without need of a separate and independent action [IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corp. v. Nera, G.R. No. L-21720, January 30, 1967, 19 SCRA 181). This is founded on his right of ownership over the property which he purchased at the auction sale and his consequent right to be placed in possession thereof.

This rule is, however, not without exception. Under Sec. 35, Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court, which was made applicable to the extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgages by Sec. 6 Act No. 3135, the possession of the mortgaged property may be awarded to a purchaser in extrajudicial foreclosures "unless a third party is actually holding the property adversely to the judgment debtor." [Emphasis supplied.] (Clapano v. Gapultos, G.R. Nos. 51574-77, September 30, 1984, 132 SCRA 429, 434; Philippine National Bank v. Adil, G.R. No. 52823, November 2, 1982, 118 SCRA 110; IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corp. v. Nera, supra.) As explained by the Court in IFC Service Leasing and Acceptance Corp. v. Nera, supra:

x x x The applicable provision of Act No. 3135 is Section 6 which provides that, in cases in which an extrajudicial sale is made, "redemption shall be governed by the provisions of sections four hundred and sixty-four to four hundred and sixty-six, inclusive, of the Code of Civil Procedure in so far as these are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act." Sections 464-466 of the Code of Civil Procedure were superseded by Sections 25-27 and Section 31 of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which in turn were replaced by Sections 29-31 and Section 35 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court. Section 35 of the Revised Rules of Court expressly states that "If no redemption be made within twelve (12) months after the sale, the purchaser, or his assignee, is entitled to a conveyance and possession of the property x x x." The possession of the property shall be given to the purchaser or last redemptioner by the officer unless a party is actually holding the property adversely to the judgment debtor. (Id. at 184-185; Emphasis in the original.)

Sec. 35 of Rule 39 of the Revised Rules of Court referred to above had been further revised, and is now Sec. 33 of the same Rule, which reads:

SEC. 33. Deed and possession to be given at expiration of redemption period; by whom executed or given. - If no redemption be made within one (1) year from the date of the registration of the certificate of sale, the purchaser is entitled to a conveyance and possession of the property; x x x.

Upon the expiration of the right of redemption, the purchaser or redemptioner shall be substituted to and acquire all the rights, title, interest and claim of the judgment obligor to the property as of the time of the levy. The possession of the property shall be given to the purchaser or last redemptioner by the same officer unless a third party is actually holding the property adversely to the judgment obligor. (Emphasis supplied.)

In an extrajudicial foreclosure of real property, when the foreclosed property is in the possession of a third party holding the same adversely to the defaulting debtor/mortgagor, the issuance by the RTC of a writ of possession in favor of the purchaser of the said real property ceases to be ministerial and may no longer be done ex parte. But, for the exception to apply, the property must be possessed by a third party; and such possession must be adverse to the debtor/mortgagor.

In the case at bar, is Top Art a third party, in possession of the subject property, claiming a right adverse to the mortgagors Spouses Arejola; which would give rise to the exception rather than the general rule, and bar Metrobank from acquiring possession of the subject property despite its consolidated title?

The facts of the case are simple and We can only answer no.

Top Art is not alleging that it is the one in possession of the subject property. It is invoking the possession of Santillan, who is purportedly leasing the subject property from Maximo Arejola. Additionally, although Top Art was not the owner of the subject property, it was actually the debtor of Metrobank. The Spouses Arejola executed mortgages over their real properties, including the subject property, only to secure the dollar-denominated loans of Top Art with Metrobank. The subject property was foreclosed due to the failure of Top Art to pay its loans. Therefore, Top Art cannot claim to be a third party to the loan transactions that led to the foreclosure of the subject property, it being, in fact, a principal party thereto. Moreover, Top Art does not assert any right to the subject property adverse to the Spouses Arejola. It can even be said that Top Art and the Spouses Arejola, being the debtor and mortgagors, respectively, share exactly the same rights as against Metrobank insofar as the subject property is concerned. And, inasmuch as Top Art is not a third party actually holding the subject property adversely to the obligor, it cannot seek the quashal or prevent the implementation of the writ of possession issued ex parte to Metrobank.

Surprisingly, Top Art and the Spouses Arejola allege in their Reply to the Comment of Metrobank in this case that Top Art is leasing the subject property from the Spouses Arejola.[22] Not only is this allegation belatedly made, it is contradictory to the averments of Top Art in its Motion to Quash before the RTC that the lessee of the subject property is Santillan. Even granting that Top Art is indeed the lessee of the subject property, it will not affect the ruling of this Court, since Top Art still cannot be deemed a third party. It will not change the fact that Top Art is a party to the loan transactions that ended in the foreclosure of the subject property.

The Court cannot give much credence to the allegation by Top Art in its Motion to Quash that the subject property is presently in the possession of Santillan as lessee. The basic rule is that mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof.[23] To be sure, Santillan, the alleged lessee whose physical possession was being threatened by the writ of possession issued in favor of Metrobank, did not even intervene in LRC Case No. Q-17996 (04). Between Top Art and Santillan, the latter was the proper party to question the ex parte issuance and enforcement of the writ of possession for the subject property.

Even assuming arguendo that the subject real property is actually being held adversely by Santillan, a third party, he is not without remedy. The third party can file (1) a terceria to determine whether the Sheriff had rightly or wrongly taken hold of the property not belonging to the judgment debtor or obligor; and (2) an independent "separate action" to vindicate his claim of ownership and/or possession over the foreclosed property.

Given the foregoing, We find no justifiable reason to disturb the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals. Verily, Top Art cannot be considered a third party holding the subject real property adversely to itself, as debtor; or the Spouses Arejola, the mortgagors. Neither can Santillan be deemed such a third party, since his alleged possession as lessee of the subject real property has not been adequately proved. Resultantly, the general rule, and not the exception, applies to the instant Petition. It is the mandatory and ministerial duty of the Quezon City RTC, Branch 222, to grant the ex parte petition of Metrobank for the issuance of a writ of possession, following the consolidation of title to the subject property and issuance of a new certificate of title in the name of the said bank. As We held in St. Dominic Corp. v. The Intermediate Appellate Court[24]:

The right of the respondent to the possession of the property is clearly unassailable. It is founded on the right of ownership. As the purchaser of the properties in the foreclosure sale, and to which the respective titles thereto have already been issued, the petitioner's rights over the property has become absolute, vesting upon it the right of possession of the property which the court must aid in affecting its delivery. After such delivery, the purchaser becomes the absolute owner of the property. As we said in Tan Soo Huat v. Ongwico (63 Phil., 746), the deed of conveyance entitled the purchaser to have and to hold the purchased property. This means, that the purchaser is entitled to go immediately upon the real property, and that it is the sheriff's inescapable duty to place him in such possession. (Philippine National Bank v. Adil, 118 SCRA 110).

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated 29 April 2008 and Resolution dated 31 July 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 98617 are AFFIRMED. Cost against petitioners Top Art Shirt Manufacturing, Inc. and Spouses Maximo Arejola and Tan Shiu Kheng.

SO ORDERED.

Ynares-Santiago, (Chairperson), Velasco, Jr., Nachura, and Peralta, JJ., concur.



[1] Rollo, pp. 41-84.

[2] Penned by Court of Appeals Associate Justice Apolinario D. Bruselas, Jr. with Associate Justices Rebecca de Guia-Salvador and Vicente S.E. Veloso concurring; rollo, pp. 86-97.

[3] Id. at 99.

[4] Id. at 118.

[5] Id. at 119-120.

[6] Id. at 121-126.

[7] Id. at 137-138.

[8] Id. at 140.

[9] Id. at 160.

[10] Id. at 91-96.

[11] Id. at 96.

[12] Id. at 97.

[13] Id.

[14] Petition, p. 26; rollo, p. 66.

[15] Id.

[16] 94 Phil. 623, 625-626 (1954).

[17] Sps. Ong v. Court of Appeals, 388 Phil. 857, 865-866 (2000).

[18] 125 Phil. 595 (1967).

[19] Belleza v. Zandaga, 98 Phil. 702, 703 (1956).

[20] F. David Enterprises v. Insular Bank of Asia and America, G.R. No. 78714, 21 November 1990, 191 SCRA 516, 523.

[21] G.R. No. L-53798, 8 November 1988, 167 SCRA 43, 48-49.

[22] Reply, pp. 5-6; rollo, pp. 358-359.

[23] Philippine National Bank v. Court of Appeals, 334 Phil. 120, 122 (1997).

[24] G.R. No. L-70623, 30 June 1987, 151 SCRA 577, 590.

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