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666 Phil. 546

SECOND DIVISION

[ G.R. No. 182148, June 08, 2011 ]

SIME DARBY PILIPINAS, INC., PETITIONER, VS. GOODYEAR PHILIPPINES, INC. AND MACGRAPHICS CARRANZ INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, RESPONDENTS.

[G.R. NO. 183210]

GOODYEAR PHILIPPINES, INC., PETITIONER, VS. SIME DARBY PILIPINAS, INC. AND MACGRAPHICS CARRANZ INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION, RESPONDENTS.

D E C I S I O N

MENDOZA, J.:

This disposition covers two petitions for review filed separately  by Sime Darby Pilipinas, Inc. (Sime Darby) and Goodyear Philippines, Inc. (Goodyear) assailing the February 13, 2008 Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) and its March 13, 2008 [2] and May 28, 2008 [3] Resolutions in CA-G.R. CV No. 86032. The assailed issuances affirmed the November 8, 2004 Decision [4] and the July 20, 2005 Order [5] of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 61, Makati City (RTC), in Civil Case No. 97-561 entitled Goodyear Philippines, Inc. v. Sime Darby Pilipinas, Inc., and/or Macgraphics Carranz International Corporation, for Partial Rescission of a Deed of Assignment plus Damages and which essentially: [1] granted Goodyear's complaint for partial rescission against Sime Darby; and [2] ordered Goodyear to pay respondent Macgraphics Carranz International Corporation (Macgraphics) attorney's fees with legal interest thereon.

The Facts:

Macgraphics owned several billboards across Metro Manila and other surrounding municipalities, one of which was a 35' x 70' neon billboard located at the Magallanes Interchange in Makati City. The Magallanes billboard was leased by Macgraphics to Sime Darby in April 1994 at a monthly rental of P120,000.00. [6]  The lease had a term of four years and was set to expire on March 30, 1998. Upon signing of the contract, Sime Darby paid Macgraphics a total of P1.2 million representing the ten-month deposit which the latter would apply to the last ten months of the lease. Thereafter, Macgraphics configured the Magallanes billboard to feature Sime Darby's name and logo.

On April 22, 1996, Sime Darby executed a Memorandum of Agreement [7] (MOA) with Goodyear, whereby it agreed to sell its tire manufacturing plants and other assets to the latter for a total of P1.5 billion.

Just a day after, on April 23, 1996, Goodyear improved its offer to buy the assets of Sime Darby from P1.5 billion to P1.65 billion. The increase of the purchase price was made in consideration, among others, of the assignment by Sime Darby of the receivables in connection with its billboard advertising in Makati City and Pulilan, Bulacan.

On May 9, 1996, Sime Darby and Goodyear executed a deed entitled "Deed of Assignment in connection with Microwave Communication Facility and in connection with Billboard Advertising in Makati City and Pulilan, Bulacan" (Deed of Assignment), [8] through which Sime Darby assigned, among others, its leasehold rights and deposits made to Macgraphics pursuant to its lease contract over the Magallanes billboard.

Sime Darby then notified Macgraphics of the assignment of the Magallanes billboard in favor of Goodyear through a letter-notice [9] dated May 3, 1996.

After submitting a new design for the Magallanes billboard to feature its name and logo, Goodyear requested that Macgraphics submit its proposed quotation for the production costs of the new design. In a letter [10] dated June 21, 1996 Macgraphics informed Goodyear that the monthly rental of the Magallanes billboard is P250,000.00 and explained that the increase in rental was in consideration of the provisions and technical aspects of the submitted design.

Goodyear replied on July 8, 1996 stating that due to budget constraints, it could not accept Macgraphics' offer to integrate the cost of changing the design to the monthly rental. Goodyear stated that it intended to honor the P120,000.00 monthly rental rate given by Macgraphics to Sime Darby. It then requested that Macgraphics send its quotation for the simple background repainting and re-lettering of the neon tubing for the Magallanes billboard. [11]

Macgraphics then sent a letter [12] to Sime Darby, dated July 11, 1996, informing the latter that it could not give its consent to the assignment of lease to Goodyear. Macgraphics explained that the transfer of Sime Darby's leasehold rights to Goodyear would necessitate drastic changes to the design and the structure of the neon display of the Magallanes billboard and would entail the commitment of manpower and resources that it did not foresee at the inception of the lease.

Attaching a copy of this letter to a correspondence [13] dated July 15, 1996, Macgraphics advised Goodyear that any advertising service it intended to get from them would have to wait until after the expiration or valid pre-termination of the lease  then existing with Sime Darby.

On September 23, 1996, due to Macgraphics' refusal to honor the Deed of Assignment, Goodyear sent Sime Darby a letter, [14] via facsimile, demanding partial rescission of the Deed of Assignment and the refund of P1,239,000.00, the pro-rata value of Sime Darby's leasehold rights over the Magallanes billboard.

As Sime Darby refused to accede to Goodyear's demand for partial rescission, the latter commenced Civil Case No. 97-561 with the RTC. In its complaint, [15] Goodyear alleged that Sime Darby [1] was unable to deliver the object of the Deed of Assignment and [2] was in breach of its warranty under Title VII, Section B, paragraph 2 of the MOA, stating that "no consent of any third party with whom Sime Darby has a contractual relationship is required in connection with the execution and delivery of the MOA, or the consummation of the transactions contemplated therein." [16]

Including Macgraphics as an alternative defendant, Goodyear argued that should the court find the partial rescission of the Deed of Assignment not proper, it must be declared to have succeeded in the rights and interest of Sime Darby in the contract of lease and Macgraphics be ordered to pay it the amount of P1,239,000.00.

After trial and the submission of the parties of their respective memoranda, the RTC rendered its decision and disposed the case in the following manner:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Deed of Assignment of Receivables (Exh. "C") is hereby partially rescinded and defendant Sime Darby Pilipinas, Inc. is directed to pay plaintiff Goodyear Philippines, Inc. the amount of P1,239,000.00 with legal interest thereon from June 1996 until fully paid. Plaintiff Goodyear Philippines, Inc. is directed to pay defendant Macgraphics the amount of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees with legal interest thereon from the filing of the complaint until fully paid.

SO ORDERED.

The trial court was of the considered view that Sime Darby should have secured the consent of Macgraphics to the assignment of the lease before it could be effective against the latter. The trial court noted that the contract of lease between Sime Darby and Macgraphics made no mention of any clause that would grant Sime Darby the right to unilaterally assign the lease. Thus, following Article 1649 of the New Civil Code, [17] the trial court ruled that absent any stipulation to the contrary, the assignment of the lease without the consent of Macgraphics was not valid.  The RTC also stated that as far as Macgraphics was concerned, its relationship with Goodyear was that of a new client.

With Sime Darby's failure to secure the consent of Macgraphics, the trial court considered that it failed to deliver the object of the Deed of Assignment.  The RTC, thus, ruled that following Article 1191 of the New Civil Code, [18] Goodyear was entitled to demand rescission of the assignment of the lease over the billboard.

Granting the counterclaim of Macgraphics, the trial court found that Goodyear had no legal basis to file the complaint against it. According to the trial court, the consent of Macgraphics was required before any assignment of the lease over the billboard could be effective against it, there being no stipulation allowing Sime Darby to do otherwise.

Not satisfied, both Goodyear and Sime Darby sought partial reconsideration of the decision. Their respective pleas, however, were denied by the RTC in its July 20, 2005 Order. [19]

Sime Darby and Goodyear thereafter sought relief from the CA. In its February 13, 2008 Decision, however, the CA echoed the findings and conclusions of the trial court and affirmed its decision in toto. The decretal portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the reliefs prayed for in the instant appeal are hereby DENIED. Accordingly, the assailed Decision of the Court a quo dated 08 November 2004 and Order dated 20 July 2005, respectively, STAND.

SO ORDERED.

Both Sime Darby and Goodyear sought partial reconsideration of the CA decision, but their motions were denied.

Unable to seek relief from the CA, Sime Darby and Goodyear filed their respective petitions before the Court. Sime Darby's petition was docketed as G.R. No. 182148, while Goodyear's petition was docketed as G.R. No. 183210. On July 8, 2008, G.R. No. 182148 and G.R. No. 183210 were consolidated.

In its Memorandum, [20] Sime Darby insists that Goodyear has no right to rescind the Deed of Assignment as Macgraphics impliedly consented to the assignment of the lease. It argues that Macgraphics, after being notified of the assignment, entertained Goodyear's request for a quotation on the cost of a new design for the Magallanes billboard. The fact that there was a negotiation, Sime Darby posits, means that Macgraphics did not really care who the lessee was for as long as it got paid for the lease of the Magallanes billboard.

Sime Darby also asserts that Macgraphics, despite refusing to give its consent to the assignment, still entertained Goodyear's request to have its logo featured in the Magallanes billboard. In fact, on July 23, 1996, it sent Goodyear another quotation [21] of the cost to make changes on the billboard design.

Further, Sime Darby argues that Macgraphics' delay of 69 days before its July 11, 1996 letter declining to give its consent to the assignment is unreasonably long. Considering also the lack of explanation on the part of Macgraphics for the reason of the delay, Sime Darby claims that laches has set in.

On the other hand, both Goodyear and Macgraphics pray for the affirmance of the decisions of the courts below that rescission is proper.  In addition, Goodyear assails the petition of Sime Darby claiming that it raises only questions of fact since the petition essentially revolves around the truth or falsity of the findings of the courts below that Macgraphics never consented to the assignment of Sime Darby's leasehold rights. Goodyear also insists that it is entitled to attorneys' fees due to the unjustified refusal of Sime Darby to rescind the Deed of Assignment.

Goodyear, however, asserts that it should not be held liable for the attorney's fees in favor of Macgraphics because it merely impleaded the latter when Sime Darby argued that fault and liability lie with it (Macgraphics).

Synthesized, the issues proffered by the two petitions are:

[1] Whether partial rescission of the Deed of Assignment is proper; and

[2] Whether Macgraphics is entitled to an award of attorney's fees.

The Court finds no merit in the petitions.

Well-settled is the rule that a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court should only include questions of law since     questions of fact are not reviewable. A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while a question of fact exists when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. For a question to be one of law, it must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by any of the litigants. The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides under a given set of circumstances. Once it is clear that the issue invites a review of the evidence presented, then the question posed is one of fact. Thus, the test of whether a question is one of law or of fact is not the appellation given to such question by the party raising the same; rather, it is whether the appellate court resolve the question raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case, it is a question of law; otherwise it is a question of fact. [22]

Likewise well-settled is the principle that absent grave abuse of discretion, the Court will not disturb the factual findings of the CA.  The Court will only exercise its power of review in known exceptions such as gross misappreciation of evidence or a total void of evidence. [23]

Whether Macgraphics gave its consent to the assignment of leasehold rights of Sime Darby is a question of fact. It is not reviewable. On this score alone, the petition of Sime Darby fails.

Even if the Court should sidestep this otherwise fatal miscue, the petition of Sime Darby remains bereft of any merit. Article 1649 of the New Civil Code provides:

Art. 1649. The lessee cannot assign the lease without the consent of the lessor, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary. (n)

In an assignment of a lease, there is a novation by the substitution of the person of one of the parties - the lessee. [24] The personality of the lessee, who dissociates from the lease, disappears. Thereafter, a new juridical relation arises between the two persons who remain - the lessor and the assignee who is converted into the new lessee. The objective of the law in prohibiting the assignment of the lease without the lessor's consent is to protect the owner or lessor of the leased property. [25]

Broadly, a novation may either be extinctive or modificatory. It is extinctive when an old obligation is terminated by the creation of a new obligation that takes the place of the former; it is merely modificatory when the old obligation subsists to the extent it remains compatible with the amendatory agreement. An extinctive novation results either by changing the object or principal conditions (objective or real), or by substituting the person of the debtor or subrogating a third person in the rights of the creditor (subjective or personal). Under this mode, novation would have dual functions--one to extinguish an existing obligation, the other to substitute a new one in its place. This requires a conflux of four essential requisites: (1) a previous valid obligation; (2) an agreement of all parties concerned to a new contract; (3) the extinguishment of the old obligation; and (4) the birth of a valid new obligation. [26]

While there is no dispute that the first requisite is present, the Court, after careful consideration of the facts and the evidence on record, finds that the other requirements of a valid novation are lacking.  A review of the lease contract between Sime Darby and Macgraphics discloses no stipulation that Sime Darby could assign the lease without the consent of Macgraphics.

Moreover, contrary to the assertions of Sime Darby, the records are bereft of any evidence that clearly shows that Macgraphics consented to the assignment of the lease. As aptly found by the RTC and the CA, Macgraphics was never part of the negotiations between Sime Darby and Goodyear. Neither did it give its conformity to the assignment after the execution of the Deed of Assignment.

The consent of the lessor to an assignment of lease may indeed be given expressly or impliedly. It need not be given simultaneously with that of the lessee and of the assignee. Neither is it required to be in any specific or particular form. [27] It must, however, be clearly given. In this case, it cannot be said that Macgraphics gave its implied consent to the assignment of lease. As aptly explained by the CA in its decision:

xxx

Neither are We convinced with Appellant SIME DARBY's argument that Appellee MACGRAPHICS impliedly consented to the questioned assignment when it negotiated with Appellant GOODYEAR for the redesigning of Magallanes billboard. In fact, thru its letter dated 11 July 1996 to Appellant SIME DARBY, the Appellee made formal its refusal to give consent to the transfer/assignment to Appellant GOODYEAR of its right in the lease over the billboard located in Magallanes, Makati. The letter reads:

xxx
RE: Your BILLBOARD LEASE

We refer to your letter dated May 23, 1996 notifying us of the assignment and transfer to Goodyear Philippines, Inc. of all your rights in the lease over the billboard located at Wells Photo Building, Magallanes, Makati City.

As anticipated, the transfer of your rights over the lease will necessitate drastic changes to the design and structure of the neon spectacular display advertised in the billboard, which would thus entail commitment of manpower and resources which we did not foresee at the inception of the lease. Much as we would like to accommodate you, these reasons constrained us to decline giving consent to the transfer. We hope that you will understand our position. (Emphasis included)

On 15 July 1996, the Appellee likewise sent a letter to Appellant GOODYEAR informing the latter of its refusal to the assignment of the subject lease. The letter essentially states:

xxx

ATTENTION: MR. CARLOS Q. CARBALLO
Manager

Distribution, Development & Advertising
Gentlemen:

In response to your letter dated July 08, 1996, we are furnishing you with a copy of the letter we sent to Sime Darby Pilipinas, Inc., the content of which is self-explanatory.

We look forward to servicing your advertising needs at the billboards presently leased to Sime Darby but only after the latter's existing lease thereon has expired or been validly pre-terminated. Until then, we are bound to abide by the terms of the existing lease contract.

Should you desire, we have other choice locations which might suit your needs. Please let us know.

xxx

In the assertion of implied consent allegedly made by the Appellee to the assignment, the Court a quo ratiocinated in this wise:

xxx

On the issue of whether or not the negotiations between Macgraphics and Goodyear is a separate negotiation or still included in the lease, the Court rules that from the very start of the negotiations between Goodyear and Macgraphics, the relationship between them, as far as Macgraphics is concerned, was that of Goodyear as a new client. Nonetheless, whether the negotiations is separate or included in the lease between Sime Darby and Macgraphics, the fact remains that Macgraphics did not give its consent to the assignment of the lease.

xxx

Clearly, there is no implied consent based on the factual backdrop of this case. Evidently, what transpired between Appellant GOODYEAR and the Appellee was a negotiation between a willing service provider and a probable new client. On this regard, the president of the Appellee, ALVIN M. CARRANZA (hereinafter CARRANZA), confirmed on direct examination the contents of his judicial affidavit submitted before the Court a quo in lieu of direct examination. The said judicial affidavit pertinently states viz:

xxx

Q:       Do you know plaintiff?

A:        Yes.

Q:        How do you know the plaintiff?

A:        I know the plaintiff Goodyear because after Sime Darby sent us the letter dated 03 May 1996, Goodyear requested for a price quote on the cost of changing the billboard design on the Magallanes Interchange. They asked how much the cost would be if Sime Darby's billboard were changed and Goodyear's advertisement displayed instead.

Q: What was your reaction to this request?

A: Goodyear is a big company, so we tried to be as accommodating as possible in order to attract it as a client. (Underlining supplied)

xxx

As aptly pointed out by Appellant GOODYEAR in its Brief filed in response to the appeal filed by the Appellant SIME DARBY, the fact that the Appellee dealt with Appellant GOODYEAR as a new client is corroborated by the testimony of APOLLO DE GALA (hereinafter DE GALA), Acting Manager for Advertising of Appellant GOODYEAR, to wit:

Re-direct examination

Q:       You mentioned during cross-examination that you started negotiating with Macgraphics Carranz for the make-over of the billboard in Magallanes, is it not?

A:       Yes, sir.

Q:       And this negotiation was without the participation of Sime Darby?

A:       Yes, sir.

Q:       Now, why did you not include Sime Darby in the negotiation?

A:       I do not really have any reason to include them that time, because considering that it was just a change over, we were willing to pay for the change over. The thing that included Sime Darby was that Carranz refused to honor. Well, Carranz proposed another scheme for the billboard. In fact, they proposed to us that we do the whole thing over, sir. A new set not considering the Sime Darby logo and Sime Darby agreement, Carranz and Sime Darby. To Carranz, it was already new set of client. xxx

(Underlining supplied)

Indeed, Macgraphics and Goodyear never came to terms as to the conditions that would govern their relationship. While it is true, that Macgraphics and Goodyear exchanged proposals, there was never a meeting of minds between them. Contrary to the assertions of Sime Darby, the negotiations between Macgraphics and Goodyear did not translate to its (Macgraphics') consent to the assignment. Negotiations is just a part or a preliminary phase to the birth of an obligation.

"In general, contracts undergo three distinct stages, to wit: negotiation; perfection or birth; and consummation. Negotiation begins from the time the prospective contracting parties manifest their interest in the contract and ends at the moment of agreement of the parties. Perfection or birth of the contract takes place when the parties agree upon the essential elements of the contract. Consummation occurs when the parties fulfill or perform the terms agreed upon in the contract, culminating in the extinguishment thereof." [28]

Regarding laches, it is an issue raised by Sime Darby for the first time only in this Court.  Basic is the rule that issues not raised below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court need not be, and ordinarily will not be, considered by the reviewing court, as they cannot be raised for the first time at that late stage. Basic considerations of due process impel the adoption of this rule. [29]

Notwithstanding, the Court finds that the doctrine of laches cannot be applied in this case.

Laches is the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting the presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. [30] There is no absolute rule as to what constitutes laches or staleness of demand; each case is to be determined according to its particular circumstances, with the question of laches addressed to the sound discretion of the court. Because laches is an equitable doctrine, its application is controlled by equitable considerations and should not be used to defeat justice or to perpetuate fraud or injustice. [31]

From the records, it appears that Macgraphics first learned of the assignment when Sime Darby sent its letter-notice dated May 3, 1996.  From the letters sent by Macgraphics to Goodyear, it is apparent that Macgraphics had to study and determine both the legal and practical implications of entertaining Goodyear as a client. After review, Macgraphics found that consenting to the assignment would entail the commitment of manpower and resources that it did not foresee at the inception of the lease. It thereafter communicated its non-conformity to the assignment. To the mind of the Court, there was never a delay.

In sum, it is clear that by its failure to secure the consent of Macgraphics to the assignment of lease, Sime Darby failed to perform what was incumbent upon it under the Deed of Assignment. The rescission of the Deed of Assignment pursuant to Article 1191 of the New Civil Code is, thus, justified.

With regard to the two issues raised by Goodyear on attorney's fees, the Court agrees with the CA which correctly proferred the following ratiocination:

The award of attorney's fees is the exception rather than the rule, and it must have some factual, legal and equitable bases. Nevertheless, Art. 2208 of the Civil Code authorizes an award of attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, when as in this case the plaintiff's act or omission has compelled the defendant to litigate and to incur expenses of litigation to protect her interest (par. 2), and where the Court deems it just and equitable that attorney's fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered (par. 11).

In the case at bar, even before the filing of the instant case before the Court a quo, it was clear that Appellee MACGRAPHICS was not part of the Deed of Assignment being assailed by the Appellant GOODYEAR. It was also established during the trial that the consent of Appellee MACGRAPHICS was not secured prior to the execution of the subject deed between the Appellants. Thus, it is only equitable that Appellant GOODYEAR be made liable for the unnecessary attorney's fees spent by Appellee MACGRAPHICS to protect its rights and interest due to the filing of a baseless complaint by Appellant GOODYEAR. To stress, attorney's fees may be awarded when a party is compelled to litigate or to incur expenses to protect its interest by reason of an unjustified act by the other.

As to the claim of Appellant GOODYEAR that Appellant SIME DARBY be made liable to pay the former attorney's fees, We rule to deny the same.

The grant of attorney's fees depends on the circumstances of each case and lies within the discretion of the court. We are of the view that although the Court a quo was correct in ordering the partial rescission of the deed of assignment, it does not necessarily follow that the award of attorney's fees is a natural consequence. They are not awarded every time a party wins a suit. In the absence of a stipulation, attorney's fees are ordinarily not recoverable; otherwise a premium shall be placed on the right to litigate. Since the Appellant GOODYEAR's claim from Appellant SIME DARBY, to deliver its leasehold rights with Appellee MACGRAPHICS cannot altogether be considered as demandable claim due to latter's lack of consent, Appellant SIME DARBY cannot be made liable to answer for attorney's fees. [Emphases supplied]

In view of all the foregoing, the Court finds no legal, factual, or equitable justification to disturb the findings and conclusions of the courts below.

WHEREFORE, the petitions are hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Carpio, (Chairperson), Nachura, Peralta, and Abad, JJ., concur.



[1] Penned by Associate Justice Myrna Dimaranan Vidal with Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio and Jose C. Reyes, Jr., concurring; CA rollo, pp. 194-210.

[2] Id. at 227-228 or Rollo (G.R. No. 182148), pp. 199-200.

[3] Rollo (G.R. No. 183210), pp. 63-64.

[4] Records (Vol. II), pp. 449-454.

[5] Id. (Vol. II), p. 526.

[6]  Id. (Vol. I), p. 11.

[7]  Id. (Vol. II), p. 526.

[8]  Id. (Vol. I), pp. 13-15.

[9] Rollo (G.R. No. 182148), p. 45.

[10] Records (Vol. I), p. 29.

[11] Id.  (Vol. I), p. 30.

[12] Id. (Vol. I), p. 31.

[13] Id. (Vol. I), p. 32.

[14] Id. (Vol. I), p. 33.

[15] Id. (Vol. I), pp. 1-40.

[16] Id. (Vol. I), p. 7.

[17] Art. 1649. The lessee cannot assign the lease without the consent of the lessor, unless there is a stipulation to the contrary. (n)

[18] Art. 1191. The power to rescind obligations is implied in reciprocal ones, in case one of the obligors should not comply with what is incumbent upon him.

The injured party may choose between the fulfillment and the rescission of the obligation, with the payment of damages in either case. He may also seek rescission, even after he has chosen fulfillment, if the latter should become impossible.

The court shall decree the rescission claimed, unless there be just cause authorizing the fixing of a period.

This is understood to be without prejudice to the rights of third persons who have acquired the thing, in accordance with Articles 1385 and 1388 and the Mortgage Law. (1124)

[19] Records (Volume II), p. 526.

[20] Rollo (G.R. No. 183210), pp. 417-438.

[21] Records (Vol. I), p. 459.

[22] Leoncio v. De Vera, G.R. No. 176842, February 18, 2008, 546 SCRA 180, 184, citing Binay v. OdeƱa, G.R. No. 163683, June 8, 2007, 524 SCRA 248, 256, further citing Velayo-Fong v. Velayo, G.R. No. 155488, December 6, 2006, 510 SCRA 320, 329-330.

[23] Encarnacion v. Court of Appeals, G..R. No. 101292, June 8, 1993, 223 SCRA 279, 284.

[24] Sadhwani v. Court of Appeals, 346 Phil. 54, 64 (1997).

[25] Tamio v. Ticson, 485 Phil. 434, 441 (2004); Dakudao v. Consolacion, 207 Phil. 750 (1983).

[26] Fabrigas v. san Francisco del monte, 512 Phil. 627, 638-639 (2005).

[27] Babst v. Court of Appeals, 403 Phi. 244 (2001), citing Asia Banking Corporation v. Elser, 54 Phil. 994 (1929).

[28] Swedish Match, AB v. Court of Appeals, 483 Phil. 735, 750-751 (2004), citing Bugatti v. Court of Appeals, 397 Phil. 376 (2000).

[29] Pag-Asa Steel Works v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 166647, March 31, 2006, 486 SCRA 475, 490.

[30] Fangonil-Herrera v. Fangonil, G.R. No. 169356, August 28, 2007, 531 SCRA 486, 511.

[31] Id.

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