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340

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang
*

G.R.No.116668.July28,1997.

ERLINDA A. AGAPAY, petitioner, vs. CARLINA


(CORNELIA) V. PALANG and HERMINIA P. DELA
CRUZ,respondents.
Family Code; Husband and Wife; Cohabitation; CoOwnership;
Under Article 148 of the Family Code, only the properties acquired
by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of
money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in
proportion to their respective contributions.The sale of the
riceland on May 17, 1973, was made in favor of Miguel and
Erlinda. The provision of law applicable here is Article 148 of the
FamilyCodeprovidingforcasesofcohabitationwhenamananda
womanwhoarenotcapacitatedtomarryeachotherliveexclusively
with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of
marriage or under a void marriage. While Miguel and Erlinda
contractedmarriageonJuly15,1973,saidunionwaspatentlyvoid
because the earlier marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still
subsistingandunaffectedbythelattersde factoseparation.Under
Article 148, only the properties acquired by both of the parties
through their actual joint contribution of money, property or
industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their
respectivecontributions.Itmustbestressedthatactualcontribution
isrequiredbythisprovision,incontrasttoArticle147whichstates
that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and
household, are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of
common property by one who has no salary or income or work or
industry.Iftheactualcontributionofthepartyisnotproved,there
willbenocoownershipandnopresumptionofequalshares.
_______________
* SECONDDIVISION.

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341

Agapay vs. Palang


Same; Same; Same; Same; Considering the youthfulness of the
woman, she being only twenty years of age then, while the man she
cohabited with was already sixtyfour and a pensioner of the U.S.
Government, it is unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she
contributed P3,750.00 as her share in the purchase price of a parcel
of land, there being no proof of the same.In the case at bar,

Erlinda tried to establish by her testimony that she is engaged in


thebusinessofbuyandsellandhadasarisari store but failed to
persuadeusthatsheactuallycontributedmoneytobuythesubject
riceland. Worth noting is the fact that on the date of conveyance,
May17,1973,petitionerwasonlyaroundtwentyyearsofageand
Miguel Palang was already sixtyfour and a pensioner of the U.S.
Government. Considering her youthfulness, it is unrealistic to
concludethatin1973shecontributedP3,750.00ashershareinthe
purchasepriceofsubjectproperty,therebeingnoproofofthesame.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Where a woman who cohabited with
a married man fails to prove that she contributed money to the
purchase price of a riceland, there is no basis to justify her co
ownership over the samethe riceland should revert to the conjugal
partnership property of the man and his lawful wife.Since
petitioner failed to prove that she contributed money to the
purchasepriceofthericelandinBinalonan,Pangasinan,wefindno
basis to justify her coownership with Miguel over the same.
Consequently,thericelandshould,ascorrectlyheldbytheCourtof
Appeals,reverttotheconjugalpartnershippropertyofthedeceased
MiguelandprivaterespondentCarlinaPalang.
Same; Same; Same; Separation of Property; Compromise
Agreements; Separation of property between spouses during the
marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or, without
judicial conferment, when there is an express stipulation in the
marriage settlement; Where the judgment which resulted from the
parties compromise was not specifically and expressly for separation
of property, the same should not be so inferred as judicial
confirmation of separation of property.Furthermore, it is
immaterial that Miguel and Carlina previously agreed to donate
theirconjugalpropertyinfavoroftheirdaughterHerminiain1975.
The trial court erred in holding that the decision adopting their
compromise agreement in effect partakes the nature of judicial
confirmationoftheseparationofpropertybetweenspousesandthe
termination of the conjugal partnership. Separation of property
betweenspouses
342

342

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang

duringthemarriageshallnottakeplaceexceptbyjudicialorderor
withoutjudicialconfermentwhenthereisanexpressstipulationin
the marriage settlements. The judgment which resulted from the
partiescompromisewasnotspecificallyandexpresslyforseparation
ofpropertyandshouldnotbesoinferred.
Same; Same; Same; Donations; The prohibition against
donations between spouses applies to donations between persons
living together as husband and wife without a valid
marriage.With respect to the house and lot, Erlinda allegedly
bought the same for P20,000.00 on September 23, 1975 when she
was only 22 years old. The testimony of the notary public who
prepared the deed of conveyance for the property reveals the

falsehood of this claim. Atty. Constantino Sagun testified that


Miguel Palang provided the money for the purchase price and
directed that Erlindas name alone be placed as the vendee. The
transactionwasproperlyadonationmadebyMigueltoErlinda,but
one which was clearly void and inexistent by express provision of
law because it was made between persons guilty of adultery or
concubinage at the time of the donation, under Article 739 of the
Civil Code. Moreover, Article 87 of the Family Code expressly
provides that the prohibition against donations between spouses
now applies to donations between persons living together as
husband and wife without a valid marriage, for otherwise, the
condition of those who incurred guilt would turn out to be better
thanthoseinlegalunion.
Same; Same; Same; Parent and Child; Illegitimate Children;
Filiation; Succession; Probate Proceedings; Questions as to who are
the heirs of the decedent, proof of filiation of illegitimate children
and the determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto
should be ventilated in the proper probate court or in a special
proceeding instituted for the purpose and cannot be adjudicated in
an ordinary civil action for recovery of ownership and
possession.ThesecondissueconcerningKristopherPalangsstatus
and claim as an illegitimate son and heir to Miguels estate is here
resolved in favor of respondent courts correct assessment that the
trialcourterredinmakingpronouncementsregardingKristophers
heirshipandfiliationinasmuchasquestionsastowhoaretheheirs
of the decedent, proof of filiation of illegitimate children and the
determination of the estate of the latter and claims thereto should
beventilatedintheproperprobatecourtorinaspecialproceeding
institutedforthepurposeandcannotbeadjudicatedintheinstant
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343

Agapay vs. Palang


ordinary civil action which is for recovery of ownership and
possession.
Same; Same; Same; Same; Actions; Pleadings and Practice;
Parties; Guardians; A minor who has not been impleaded is not a
party to the case and neither can his mother be called guardian ad
litem.As regards the third issue, petitioner contends that
Kristopher Palang should be considered as partydefendant in the
caseatbarfollowingthetrialcourtsdecisionwhichexpresslyfound
that Kristopher had not been impleaded as party defendant but
theorized that he had submitted to the courts jurisdiction through
his mother/guardian ad litem. The trial court erred gravely.
Kristopher,nothavingbeenimpleaded,was,therefore,notaparty
to the case at bar. His mother, Erlinda, cannot be called his
guardian ad litem for he was not involved in the case at bar.
Petitioner adds that there is no need for Kristopher to file another
actiontoprovethatheistheillegitimatesonofMiguel,inorderto
avoid multiplicity of suits. Petitioners grave error has been
discussed in the preceding paragraph where the need for probate
proceedings to resolve the settlement of Miguels estate and

Kristopherssuccessionalrightshasbeenpointedout.

PETITIONforreviewoncertiorariofadecisionoftheCourt
ofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
Simplicio M. Sevillejaforpetitioner.
Ray L. BasbasandFe FernandezBautistaforprivate
respondents.
ROMERO,J.:
BeforeusisapetitionforreviewofthedecisionoftheCourt
of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 24199 entitled Erlinda
Agapayv.Carlina(Cornelia)PalangandHerminiaP.Dela
CruzdatedJune22,1994involvingtheownershipoftwo
parcels of land acquired during the cohabitation of
petitionerandprivaterespondentslegitimatespouse.
MiguelPalangcontractedhisfirstmarriageonJuly16,
1949whenhetookprivaterespondentCarlina(orCornelia)
344

344

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang

Vallesterol as a wife at the Pozorrubio Roman Catholic


ChurchinPangasinan.Afewmonthsafterthewedding,in
October 1949, he left to work in Hawaii. Miguel and
Carlinasonlychild,HerminiaPalang,wasbornonMay12,
1950.
Miguelreturnedin1954forayear.Hisnextvisittothe
Philippines was in 1964 and during the entire duration of
his yearlong sojourn he stayed in Zambales with his
brother,notinPangasinanwithhiswifeandchild.Thetrial
court found evidence that as early as1 1957, Miguel had
attemptedtodivorceCarlinainHawaii. Whenhereturned
forgoodin1972,herefusedtolivewithprivaterespondents,
butstayedaloneinahouseinPozorrubio,Pangasinan.
On July 15, 1973, the then sixtythreeyearold Miguel
contracted his second marriage2 with nineteenyearold
ErlindaAgapay,hereinpetitioner. Twomonthsearlier,on
May 17, 1973, Miguel and Erlinda, as evidenced by the
DeedofSale,jointlypurchasedaparcelofagriculturalland
locatedatSanFelipe,Binalonan,Pangasinanwithanarea
of10,080squaremeters.Consequently,TransferCertificate
of Title No. 101736 covering said rice land was issued in
theirnames.
AhouseandlotinBinalonan,Pangasinanwaslikewise
purchased on September 23, 1975, allegedly by Erlinda as
thesolevendee.TCTNo.143120coveringsaidpropertywas
laterissuedinhername.
On October 30, 1975, Miguel and Cornelia Palang
executed a Deed of Donation as a form of compromise
3
agreementtosettleandendacasefiledbythelatter. The
parties therein agreed to donate their conjugal property
consistingofsixparcelsoflandtotheironlychild,Herminia
4
Palang.

_____________
1FromtheDecisionofthetrialcourtinCivilCaseNo.U4265,page

2,citingExhibitEoftheRecords;Rollo,p.29.
2AttheMethodistChurchofBinalonan.
3CivilCaseNo.U2501,CFIBranch9,Urdaneta,Pangasinan.
4Thejudiciallyconfirmedsettlementreadsinpart:COMENOWthe

parties in the aboveentitled case, assisted by their respective counsel,


and to this Honorable Court respectfully submit this COMPROMISE
AGREEMENT.
345

VOL.276,JULY28,1997

345

Agapay vs. Palang


Miguel and Erlindas cohabitation produced a son,
Kristopher A. Palang, born on December 6, 1977. In 1979,
Miguel and Erlinda
were convicted of Concubinage upon
5
Carlinascomplaint. Twoyearslater,onFebruary15,1981,
Migueldied.
On July 11, 1981, Carlina Palang and her daughter
Herminia Palang de la Cruz, herein private respondents,
instituted the case at bar, an action for recovery of
ownership and possession with damages against petitioner
before the Regional Trial Court in Urdaneta, Pangasinan
(CivilCaseNo.U4265).Privaterespondentssoughttoget
back the riceland and the house and lot both located at
Binalonan, Pangasinan allegedly purchased by Miguel
duringhiscohabitationwithpetitioner.
Petitioner,asdefendantbelow,contendedthatwhilethe
riceland covered by TCT No. 101736 is registered in their
names(MiguelandErlinda),shehadalreadygivenherhalf
of the property to their son Kristopher Palang. She added
that the house and lot covered by TCT No. 143120 is her
soleproperty,havingboughtthesamewithherownmoney.
Erlinda added that Carlina is precluded from claiming
aforesaid properties since the latter had already donated
theirconjugalestatetoHerminia.
_______________
1. That defendant hereby admits all the material allegations in the
complaint;
2. That the parties have mutually agreed that, for their mutual
interest and that of their only child, Herminia B. Palang, all their
present conjugal properties, real and personal, be conveyed or
transfered (sic) to their said daughter, except some personal properties
such as the car mentioned in the complaint which shall remain in the
possessionofthedefendant;xxx
5 Criminal Case No. U0509. Miguel Palang, then seventy years of

age, was sentenced to a minimum indeterminate penalty of three


monthsandelevendaysofArrestoMayorandamaximumofoneyear,
eight months and twentyone days of Prision Correccional. Erlinda
Agapaywassentencedtofouryearsandtwomonthsofdestierro.
346

346

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang

After trial on the merits, the lower court rendered its


decision on June 30, 1989 dismissing the complaint after
declaring that there was little evidence to prove that the
subject properties pertained to the conjugal property of
Carlina and Miguel Palang. The lower court went on to
providefortheintestatesharesoftheparties,particularlyof
Kristopher Palang, Miguels illegitimate son. The
dispositiveportionofthedecisionreads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered

1) Dismissingthecomplaint,withcostsagainstplaintiffs;
2) Confirming the ownership of defendant Erlinda Agapay of
the residential lot located at Poblacion, Binalonan,
Pangasinan, as evidenced by TCT No. 143120, Lot 290B
includingtheoldhousestandingtherein;
3) Confirming the ownership of onehalf (1/2) portion of that
piece of agricultural land situated at Balisa, San Felipe,
Binalonan,Pangasinan,consistingof10,080squaremeters
andasevidencedbyTCTNo.101736,Lot1123AtoErlinda
Agapay;
4) Adjudicating to Kristopher Palang as his inheritance from
hisdeceasedfather,MiguelPalang,theonehalf(1/2)ofthe
agriculturallandsituatedatBalisa,SanFelipe,Binalonan,
Pangasinan,underTCTNo.101736inthenameofMiguel
Palang, provided that the former (Kristopher) executes,
within 15 days after this decision becomes final and
executory, a quitclaim forever renouncing any claims to
annul/reducethedonationtoHerminiaPalangdelaCruzof
all conjugal properties of her parents, Miguel Palang and
Carlina Vallesterol Palang, dated October 30, 1975,
otherwise,theestateofdeceasedMiguelPalangwillhaveto
besettledinanotherseparateaction;
5) Nopronouncementastodamagesandattorneysfees.
6

SOORDERED.

On appeal, respondent court reversed the trial courts


decision.TheCourtofAppealsrendereditsdecisiononJuly
22,1994withthefollowingdispositiveportion:
______________
6PennedbyJudgeManuelD.Villanueva,Rollo,pp.2836.

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Agapay vs. Palang


WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the appealed decision
isherebyREVERSEDandanotheroneentered:
1. Declaring plaintiffsappellants the owners of the properties

inquestion;
2. Ordering defendantappellee to vacate and deliver the
propertiesinquestiontohereinplaintiffsappellants;
3. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan to cancel
TransferCertificateofTitleNos.143120and101736andto
issue in lieu thereof another certificate of title in the name
ofplaintiffsappellants.
7

Nopronouncementastocosts.

Hence,thispetition.
PetitionerclaimsthattheCourtofAppealserredinnot
sustainingthevalidityoftwodeedsofabsolutesalecovering
the riceland and the house and lot, the first in favor of
MiguelPalangandErlindaAgapayandthesecond,infavor
of Erlinda Agapay alone. Second, petitioner contends that
respondentappellatecourterredinnotdeclaringKristopher
A. Palang as Miguel Palangs illegitimate son and thus
entitled to inherit from Miguels estate. Third, respondent
court erred, according to petitioner, in not finding that
there is sufficient pleading and evidence that Kristoffer A.
Palang or Christopher A. Palang should be considered as
partydefendant in Civil Case No.
U4625 before the trial
8
courtandinCAG.R.No.24199.
Afterstudyingthemeritsoftheinstantcase,aswellas
thepertinentprovisionsoflawandjurisprudence,theCourt
denies the petition and affirms the questioned decision of
theCourtofAppeals.
Thefirstandprincipalissueistheownershipofthetwo
pieces of property subject of this action. Petitioner assails
the
______________
7 Per Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, with the concurrence of Justices

Emeterio C. Cui and Fermin A. Martin, Jr. in CAG.R. CV No. 24199,


Carlina (Cornelia) V. Palang and Herminia P. Dela Cruz v. Erlinda A.
Agapay,Rollo,pp.7890.
8Petition,p.8;Rollo,p.15.

348

348

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang

validityofthedeedsofconveyanceoverthesameparcelsof
land. There is no dispute that the transfers of ownership
fromtheoriginalownersofthericelandandthehouseand
lot,CorazonIlominandthespousesCespedes,respectively,
werevalid.
The sale of the riceland on May 17, 1973, was made in
favorofMiguelandErlinda.Theprovisionoflawapplicable
hereisArticle148oftheFamilyCodeprovidingforcasesof
cohabitation when a man and a woman who are not
capacitated to marry each other live exclusively with each
otherashusbandandwifewithoutthebenefitofmarriage
or under a void marriage. While Miguel and Erlinda
contracted marriage on July 15, 1973, said union was

patently void because the earlier marriage of Miguel and


Carlinawasstillsubsistingandunaffectedbythelattersde
factoseparation.
UnderArticle148,onlythepropertiesacquiredbyboth
of the parties through their actual joint contribution of
money, property or industry shall be owned by them in
common in proportion to their respective contributions. It
mustbestressedthatactualcontributionisrequiredbythis
provision,incontrasttoArticle147whichstatesthatefforts
in the care and maintenance of the family and household,
areregardedascontributionstotheacquisitionofcommon
property by one who has no salary or income or work or
industry. If the actual contribution of the party is not
proved,therewillbenocoownershipandnopresumptionof
9
equalshares.
In the case at bar, Erlinda tried to establish by her
testimony that she is engaged
in the business of buy and
10
sellandhadasarisaristore butfailedtopersuadeusthat
sheactuallycontributedmoneytobuythesubjectriceland.
Worthnotingisthefactthatonthedateofconveyance,May
17, 1973, petitioner was only around twenty years of age
andMiguelPalangwasalreadysixtyfourandapensioner
ofthe
_______________
9

TOLENTINO, I CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES

COMMENTARIESANDJURISPRUDENCE500(1990edition).
10TSN,February3,1988,p.78;perDecisionoftheCourtofAppeals,

Rollo,p.86.
349

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349

Agapay vs. Palang


U.S. Government. Considering her youthfulness, it is
unrealistic to conclude that in 1973 she contributed
P3,750.00
as her share in the purchase price of subject
11
property, therebeingnoproofofthesame.
Petitioner now claims that the riceland was bought two
months before Miguel and Erlinda actually cohabited. In
the nature of an afterthought, said added assertion was
intendedtoexcludetheircasefromtheoperationofArticle
148oftheFamilyCode.Proofoftheprecisedatewhenthey
commenced their adulterous cohabitation not having been
adduced,wecannotstatedefinitivelythatthericelandwas
purchasedevenbeforetheystartedlivingtogether.Inany
case, even assuming that the subject property was bought
before cohabitation, the rules of coownership would still
apply and proof of actual contribution would still be
essential.
Since petitioner failed to prove that she contributed
money to the purchase price of the riceland in Binalonan,
Pangasinan, we find no basis to justify her coownership
with Miguel over the same. Consequently, the riceland
should,ascorrectlyheldbytheCourtofAppeals,revertto
the conjugal partnership property of the deceased Miguel

andprivaterespondentCarlinaPalang.
Furthermore, it is immaterial that Miguel and Carlina
previouslyagreedtodonatetheirconjugalpropertyinfavor
oftheirdaughterHerminiain1975.Thetrialcourterredin
holding that the decision adopting their compromise
agreement in effect partakes the nature of judicial
confirmationoftheseparationofpropertybetweenspouses
12
and the termination of the conjugal partnership.
Separation of property between spouses during the
marriage shall not take place except by judicial order or
without judicial conferment when there
is an express
13
stipulation in the marriage settlements. The judgment
whichresultedfromthepartiescompromise
______________
11TheentirepropertywasboughtforP7,500.00.ExhibitC;Decision

ofthetrialcourt,Rollo,p.29.
12Decisionofthetrialcourt,p.5;Rollo,p.32.
13Article134oftheFamilyCode.

350

350

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED
Agapay vs. Palang

wasnotspecificallyandexpresslyforseparationofproperty
andshouldnotbesoinferred.
With respect to the house and lot, Erlinda allegedly
bought the same for P20,000.00 on September 23, 1975
whenshewasonly22yearsold.Thetestimonyofthenotary
publicwhopreparedthedeedofconveyancefortheproperty
revealsthefalsehoodofthisclaim.Atty.ConstantinoSagun
testified that Miguel Palang provided the money for the
purchase price and directed
that Erlindas name alone be
14
placedasthevendee.
ThetransactionwasproperlyadonationmadebyMiguel
toErlinda,butonewhichwasclearlyvoidandinexistentby
express provision of law because it was made between
personsguiltyofadulteryorconcubinageatthetimeofthe
donation, under Article 739 of the Civil Code. Moreover,
Article 87 of the Family Code expressly provides that the
prohibitionagainstdonationsbetweenspousesnowapplies
to donations between persons living 15
together as husband
and wife without a valid marriage, for otherwise, the
condition of those who incurred16guilt would turn out to be
betterthanthoseinlegalunion.
The second issue concerning Kristopher Palangs status
andclaimasanillegitimatesonandheirtoMiguelsestate
is here resolved in favor of respondent courts correct
assessment that the trial court erred in making
pronouncements regarding Kristophers heirship and
filiation inasmuch as questions as to who are the heirs of
the decedent, proof of filiation of illegitimate children and
the determination of the estate of the latter and claims
theretoshouldbeventilatedin
______________

14TSN,October1,1986,pp.1316.
15 The law states: Every donation or grant of gratuitous advantage

direct or indirect, between the spouses during the marriage shall be


void, except moderate gifts which the spouses may give each other on
the occasion of any family rejoicing. The prohibition shall also apply to
personslivingtogetherashusbandandwifewithoutavalidmarriage.
16TOLENTINO,supra,page376citingBuenaventura

v. Bautista, 50

O.G. 3679 and Matabuenav.Cervantes,38SCRA284.


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Agapay vs. Palang


the proper probate court or in a special proceeding
institutedforthepurposeandcannotbeadjudicatedinthe
instant ordinary civil action
which is for recovery of
17
ownershipandpossession.
As regards the third issue, petitioner contends that
KristopherPalangshouldbeconsideredaspartydefendant
inthecaseatbarfollowingthetrialcourtsdecisionwhich
expresslyfoundthatKristopherhadnotbeenimpleadedas
partydefendantbuttheorizedthathehadsubmittedtothe
18
courtsjurisdictionthroughhismother/guardianad litem.
The trial court erred gravely. Kristopher, not having been
impleaded,was,therefore,notapartytothecaseatbar.His
mother,Erlinda,cannotbecalledhisguardianad litemfor
hewasnotinvolvedinthecaseatbar.Petitioneraddsthat
thereisnoneedforKristophertofileanotheractiontoprove
that he is the illegitimate
son of Miguel, in order to avoid
19
multiplicity of suits. Petitioners grave error has been
discussed in the preceding paragraph where the need for
probate proceedings to resolve the settlement of Miguels
estateandKristopherssuccessionalrightshasbeenpointed
out.
WHEREFORE,theinstantpetitionisherebyDENIED.
The questioned decision of the Court of Appeals is
AFFIRMED.Costsagainstpetitioner.
SOORDERED.
Regalado (Chairman), Puno and Mendoza, JJ.,
concur.
Torres, Jr., J.,Onleave.
Petition denied. Judgment affirmed.
Notes.An unrecognized spurious child has no rights
from his parents or to their estate. (Ilano vs. Court of
Appeals,230SCRA242[1994])
______________
17DecisionoftheCourtofAppeals,Rollo,p.89.
18Decision,p.8;Rollo,p.35.
19Petition,p.11;Rollo,p.18.

352

352

SUPREMECOURTREPORTSANNOTATED

People vs. De la Cruz


Failure to present relatives who could have negated
petitioners testimony that she had been acknowledged by
themastheeldestdaughterofthedeceasedgivesrisetothe
presumptionthattheirtestimonieswouldbedetrimentalto
the respondents had they been presented as witnesses.
(Alberto vs. Court of Appeals,232SCRA745[1994])
o0o

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