[2017V178] Jonathan Y. Dee Vs. Harvest All Investment Limited, et al./Harvest All Investment Limited, et al. Vs. Alliance Select Foods International, Inc., et al.

2017 Mar 15
G.R. No. 224834/G.R. No. 224871
1st Division

[2017V178] JONATHAN Y. DEE, PETITIONER, VS. HARVEST ALL INVESTMENT LIMITED, VICTORY FUND LIMITED, BONDEAST PRIVATE LIMITED, AND ALBERT HONG HIN KAY, AS MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS OF ALLIANCE SELECT FOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC., AND HEDY S.C. YAP-CHUA, AS DIRECTOR AND SHAREHOLDER OF ALLIANCE SELECT FOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC., RESPONDENTS. / HARVEST ALL INVESTMENT LIMITED, VICTORY FUND LIMITED, BONDEAST PRIVATE LIMITED, ALBERT HONG HIN KAY, AS MINORITY SHAREHOLDERS OF ALLIANCE SELECT FOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC., AND HEDY S.C. YAP-CHUA, AS A DIRECTOR AND SHAREHOLDER OF ALLIANCE SELECT FOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC., PETITIONERS, VS. ALLIANCE SELECT FOODS INTERNATIONAL, INC., GEORGE E. SYCIP, JONATHAN Y. DEE, RAYMUND K.H. SEE, MARY GRACE T. VERA-CRUZ, ANTONIO C. PACIS, ERWIN M. ELECHICON, AND BARBARA ANNE C. MIGALLOS, RESPONDENTS.

D E C I S I O N

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Assailed in these consolidated petitions[1]  for review on certiorari are the Decision[2]  dated February 15, 2016 and the Resolution[3]  dated May 25, 2016 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 142213, which reversed the Resolution[4] dated August 24, 2015 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 159 (RTC) in COMM’L. CASE NO. 15-234 and, accordingly, reinstated the case and remanded the same to the court a quo for further proceedings after payment of the proper legal fees.

The Facts

Harvest All Investment Limited, Victory Fund Limited, Bondeast Private Limited, Albert Hong Hin Kay, and Hedy S.C. Yap Chua (Harvest All, et al.) are, in their own capacities, minority stockholders of Alliance Select Foods International, Inc. (Alliance), with Hedy S.C. Yap Chua acting as a member of Alliance’s Board of Directors.[5]  As per Alliance’s by-laws, its Annual Stockholders’ Meeting (ASM) is held every June 15.[6]  However, in a Special Board of Directors Meeting held at three (3) o’clock in the afternoon of May 29, 2015, the Board of Directors, over Hedy S.C. Yap Chua’s objections, passed a Board Resolution indefinitely postponing Alliance’s  2015 ASM pending complete subscription to its Stock Rights Offering (SRO) consisting of shares with total value of Pl Billion which was earlier approved in a Board Resolution passed on February 17, 2015. As per Alliance’s Disclosure dated May 29, 2015 filed before the Philippine Stock Exchange, such postponement was made “”to give the stockholders of [Alliance] better representation in the annual meeting, after taking into consideration their subscription to the [SRO] of [Alliance].””[7]  This prompted Harvest All, et al. to file the instant Complaint (with Application for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Temporary Restraining  Order/Writ  of Preliminary  Injunction)[8]  involving  an  intra­-corporate  controversy  against  Alliance, and  its other  Board  members, namely, George E. Sycip, Jonathan Y. Dee, Raymund K.H. See, Mary Grace T. Vera- Cruz, Antonio C. Pacis, Erwin M. Elechicon, and Barbara Anne C. Migallos (Alliance Board). In said complaint, Harvest All, et al. principally claimed that the subscription to the new shares through the SRO cannot be made a condition precedent to the exercise by the current stockholders of their right to vote in the 2015 ASM; otherwise, they will be deprived of their full  voting  rights  proportionate  to  their  existing  shareholdings.[9] Thus, Harvest All, et al., prayed for, inter alia, the declaration of nullity of the Board Resolution dated May  29, 2015  indefinitely  postponing  the  2015 ASM, as well as the Board Resolution dated February 17, 2015 approving the SR0.[10]  The Clerk of Court of the RTC assessed Harvest All, et al. with filing fees amounting to P8,860.00 which they paid accordingly.[11]  Later on, Harvest All, et al. filed an Amended Complaint:[12]  (a) deleting its prayer to declare  null  and  void  the  Board  Resolution  dated  February  17,  2015 approving the SRO; and (b) instead, prayed that the Alliance Board be enjoined from implementing and carrying out the SRO prior to and as a condition for the holding of the 2015 ASM.[13]

For its part, the Alliance Board raised the issue of lack of jurisdiction on the ground of Harvest All, et al.’ s failure to pay the correct filing fees. It argued that the latter should have paid P20 Million, more or less, in filing fees based on the SRO which was valued at P1 Billion. However, Harvest All, et al. did not mention such capital infusion in their prayers and, as such, were only made to pay the measly sum of P8,860.00. On the other hand, Harvest  All,  et  al.  maintained  that  they  paid the  correct  filing  fees, considering that the subject of their complaint is the holding of the 2015 ASM and not a claim on the aforesaid value of the SRO. Harvest All, et al. likewise pointed out that they simply relied on the assessment of the Clerk of Court and had no intention to defraud the government.[14]

The RTC Ruling

In a Resolution[15]  dated  August  24,  2015,  the  RTC  dismissed  the instant complaint for lack of jurisdiction due to Harvest All, et al.’s failure to pay  the  correct  filing  fees.[16]  Citing  Rule 141 of  the  Rules of  Court,  as amended  by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC,[17]  and the Court’s  pronouncement in Lu v. Lu Ym,  Sr. (Lu),[18] the RTC found  that the basis for the computation  of filing fees should have been the PI Billion value of the SRO, it being the property in litigation.  As such,  Harvest All, et al. should  have paid filing fees in the amount of more or less P20 Million and not just P8,860.00.  In this  regard,  the  RTC  also  found  that  Harvest  All,  et  al.’s payment  of incorrect filing fees was done in bad faith and with clear intent to defraud the government, considering  that: (a)  when the issue on correct filing fees was first raised during the hearing on the application for TRO, Harvest All, et al. never manifested their willingness to abide by the Rules by paying additional filing fees when so required; (b) despite Harvest All, et al.’s admission  in their complaint  that the SRO was valued at P1 Billion, they chose to keep mum on the meager assessment made by the Clerk of Court; and (c) while Harvest All, et al. made mention of the SRO in the body of their complaint,  they  failed  to  indicate  the  same  in  their  prayer,  thus, preventing the Clerk of Court from making the correct assessment of filing fees.[19]

Aggrieved, Harvest All, et al. appealed[20] to the CA.

The CA Ruling

In a Decision[21] dated February  I5, 20I6,  the CA reversed the RTC’s order  of dismissal  and, accordingly,  reinstated  the case and remanded  the same to the court a quo for further proceedings after payment of the proper legal fees.[22] Also citing Rule 141 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC, and Lu, the CA held that the prevailing rule is that all intra-corporate controversies  always  involve  a  property  in  litigation. Consequently, it  agreed  with  the RTC’s finding  that  the  basis  for  the computation of filing fees should have been the PI  Billion value of the SRO and, thus, Harvest All, et al. should have paid filing fees in the amount of more or less P20 Million and not just P8,860.00.[23]  However, in the absence of contrary  evidence,  the CA held that Harvest All, et al. were not in bad faith  and  had  no intention  of  defrauding  the  government,  as they  merely relied  in  the assessment  of  the  Clerk  of  Court.  Thus,  in  the  interest  of substantial justice, the CA ordered the reinstatement  of Harvest All, et al.’s complaint and the remand of the same to the RTC for further proceedings, provided that they pay the correct filing fees.[24]

The parties moved for reconsideration,[25] which were, however, denied in a Resolution[26] dated May 25, 2016. Hence, these consolidated petitions.

The Issues Before the Court

The  primordial issues  raised for the  Court’s resolution are: (a) whether  or  not  Harvest All,  et  al.  paid  insufficient filing fees  for  their complaint, as the same should have been based on the P1 Billion value of the SRO; and  (b)  if  Harvest  All,  et  al.  indeed  paid insufficient  filing  fees, whether or not such act was made in good faith and without any intent to defraud the government.

The Court’s Ruling

The petition in G.R. No. 224834 is denied, while the petition in G.R. No. 224871 is partly granted.

I.

At the outset, the Court notes that in ruling that the correct filing fees for Harvest All, et al.’s complaint should be based on the P1 Billion value of the SRO – and, thus, essentially holding that such complaint was capable of pecuniary  estimation  – both  the  RTC  and  the  CA  heavily  relied  on  the Court’s  pronouncement  in Lu. In Lu, the Court  mentioned  that in view of A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC dated July 20, 2004 which introduced Section 21 (k)[27]  to  Rule  141  of  the  Rules  of  Court,  it  seemed that  “”an  intra-corporate controversy always involves a property in litigation”” and that “”there  can be no case of intra-corporate  controversy where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated.””[28]

However, after a careful reading of Lu, it appears that Harvest All, et al. correctly pointed out[29]  that the foregoing statements were in the nature of an obiter dictum.

To recount, in Lu, the Court ruled, inter alia, that the case involving an intra-corporate controversy instituted therein, i.e., declaration of nullity of share  issuance,  is incapable  of pecuniary estimation  and, thus, the correct docket  fees were paid.[30] Despite  such pronouncement,  the Court still went on to say that had the complaint therein been filed during the effectivity of A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC, then it would have ruled otherwise because the amendments  brought about by the same “”seem to imply that there can be no case  of  intra-corporate  controversy  where  the  value  of the  subject matter cannot be estimated,””[31] viz.:

The  new  Section  21  (k)  of  Rule  141  of the  Rules  of  Court,  as amended by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC (July 20, 2004), expressly provides that “”[f]or petitions  for  insolvency  or  other cases  involving intra-corporate controversies,  the fees prescribed  under Section 7 (a) shall apply.”” Notatu dignum is that paragraph (b) 1 & 3 of Section 7 thereof was omitted from the  reference.  Said  paragraph refers to  docket  fees  for  filing  “”[a]ctions where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated”” and “”all other actions not involving property.””

By referring the  computation of such docket fees to paragraph (a) only, it denotes that an intra-corporate  controversy  always  involves a property in litigation, the value of which is always the basis for computing the applicable filing fees. The latest amendments seem to imply that there can be  no  case  of  intra-corporate controversy where the  value of the subject matter cannot be estimated. Even one for a mere inspection of corporate books.

If the complaint were  filed  today,  one could safely find  refuge in the express phraseology of Section 21 (k) of Rule 141  that paragraph (a) alone applies.

In  the  present case, however, the original Complaint was filed on August 14, 2000 during which  time Section  7, without qualification, was the applicable provision. Even the Amended Complaint was filed on March 31, 2003 during which time the applicable rule expressed that paragraphs (a) and (b) 1 & 3 shall be the basis for computing the filing fees  in  intra-corporate  cases,  recognizing that  there  could  be  an  intra­-corporate controversy where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated, such  as  an  action  for  inspection  of  corporate books.  The immediate illustration shows  that  no mistake can even be attributed to the RTC clerk of court in the assessment of the docket fees. [32] (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Accordingly, the passages in Lu that “”an intra-corporate controversy always involves a property  in litigation”” and that “”there  can be no case of intra-corporate controversy where the value of the subject matter cannot be estimated”” are clearly non-determinative  of the antecedents  involved in that case and, hence, cannot be controlling jurisprudence to bind our courts when it  adjudicates  similar cases  upon  the  principle  of  stare  decisis.  As  it  is evident,  these  passages  in Lu only constitute  an opinion  delivered  by the Court as a “”by the way”” in relation to a hypothetical scenario (i.e., if the complaint was filed during the effectivity of A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC, which it was not) different from the actual case before it.

In  Land  Bank  of  the  Philippines v.  Santos, [33]  the  Court  had  the opportunity  to  define  an obiter  dictum  and  discuss  its  legal  effects  as follows:

[An obiter dictum] “”x x x is a remark made,  or opinion  expressed, by a judge, in his decision  upon  a cause by the way, that is, incidentally or collaterally, and not directly upon  the question before  him,  or  upon  a point not necessarily involved in the determination of the cause,  or introduced by way  of illustration, or analogy  or  argument.  It does not embody  the  resolution or determination of the  court, and  is  made  without argument, or full consideration of the  point. It lacks  the force of an adjudication, being a mere expression of an  opinion  with  no  binding force  for  purposes of res judicata.””[34]  (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

For these  reasons, therefore,  the courts a quo  erred  in applying  the case of Lu.

II.

In any event, the Court finds that the obiter dictum stated in Lu was actually incorrect. This is because depending  on the nature of the principal action  or  remedy  sought,  an  intra-corporate controversy  may  involve  a subject matter which is either capable or incapable of pecuniary estimation.

In Cabrera v. Francisco,[35]  the Court laid down the parameters  in determining whether an action is considered capable of pecuniary estimation or not:

In  determining whether an  action  is one the subject matter of which  is not  capable of pecuniary estimation this  Court has  adopted the criterion of first  ascertaining the  nature of the principal action  or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is  in  the municipal courts  or  in  the [C]ourts of  [F]irst [I]nstance would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic  issue  is  something other than the  right to  recover a  sum  of money, where  the  money  claim is purely  incidental  to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such  actions  as  cases  where  the  subject of the litigation may  not  be estimated in terms  of money, and are cognizable exclusively by [C]ourts of  [F]irst [I]nstance (now Regional Trial Courts). [36] (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

This  case  is  a  precise illustration as  to  how  an  intra-corporate controversy may be classified as an action whose subject matter is incapable of pecuniary  estimation.  A  cursory perusal  of  Harvest All,  et  al.’s Complaint  and  Amended  Complaint  reveals  that  its  main purpose is  to have Alliance  hold its 2015 ASM on the date  set in the corporation’s  by­ laws, or at the time when Alliance’s SRO has yet to fully materialize, so that their  voting  interest  with  the corporation  would  somehow  be  preserved. Thus,  Harvest  All,  et  al.  sought  for  the  nullity  of the  Alliance  Board Resolution passed on May 29, 2015 which indefinitely postponed the corporation’s 2015 ASM pending completion  of subscription  to the SR0.[37]  Certainly, Harvest All, et al.’s prayer for nullity, as well as the concomitant relief of holding the 2015 ASM as scheduled in the by-laws, do not involve the recovery of sum of money. The mere mention of Alliance’s  impending SRO valued at P1 Billion cannot transform the nature of Harvest All, et al.’s action to one capable of pecuniary estimation, considering  that: (a) Harvest All, et al. do not claim ownership of, or much less entitlement to, the shares subject of  the SRO; and (b) such mention was  merely narrative or descriptive in order to emphasize the severe dilution that their voting interest as minority shareholders would suffer if the 2015 ASM were to be held after the SRO was completed. If, in the end, a sum of money or anything capable of pecuniary estimation would be recovered by virtue of Harvest All, et al.’s complaint, then it would simply be the consequence of their principal action. Clearly therefore, Harvest All, et al.’s action was one incapable of pecuniary estimation.

At this juncture,  it should be mentioned that the Court passed A.M. No. 04-02-04-SC[38]  dated October 5, 2016, which introduced amendments to the  schedule  of  legal  fees  to  be  collected  in  various commercial  cases, including those involving intra-corporate controversies. Pertinent portions of A.M. No. 04-02-04-SC read:

RESOLUTION

xxxx

Whereas, Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court, as amended by A.M.  No. 04-2-04-SC  effective 16 August 2004,  incorporated  the equitable schedule of legal fees prescribed for petitions for rehabilitation under Section 21 (i)  thereof and, furthermore, provided under Section 21(k) thereof that the fees prescribed under Section 7(a) of the said rule shall  apply  to  petitions  for  insolvency or  other  cases  involving  intra-­corporate controversies;

xxxx

NOW, THEREFORE, the Court resolves to ADOPT a new schedule of filing fees as follows:

xxxx

4. Section 21 (k) of Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court  is hereby  DELETED as  the  fees covering  petitions  for  insolvency  are already provided for in this Resolution. As for cases involving intra­ corporate controversies, the  applicable  fees shall  be those  provided under  Section 7 (a), 7 (b) (1), or 7 (b) (3) of Rule 141 of the Revised Rules of Court  depending  on the nature of the action.

x x x x

This Resolution shall take effect fifteen (15) days following its publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of national circulation. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) is directed to circularize the same upon its effectivity. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Verily, the deletion  of Section  21 (k) of Rule 141 and in lieu thereof, the application of Section 7 (a) [fees for  actions where  the value  of the subject matter can  be determined/estimated], 7 (b) (1) [fees for  actions where  the value  of the subject matter cannot be estimated], or 7 (b) (3) [fees for all  other  actions not  involving  property] of the  same  Rule  to cases  involving  intra-corporate controversies for  the  determination  of the correct filing fees, as the case may be, serves a dual purpose: on the one hand, the amendments concretize the Court’s recognition that the subject matter of an intra-corporate controversy may or may not be capable of pecuniary estimation; and on the other hand, they were also made to correct the anomaly created by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC dated July 20, 2004 (as advanced by the Lu obiter dictum) implying that all intra-corporate cases involved a subject matter which is deemed capable of pecuniary estimation.

While the Court is not unaware  that the amendments brought  by A.M. No.  04-02-04-SC dated  October  5, 2016  only  came  after  the  filing  of  the complaint  subject  of this case, such amendments may nevertheless be given retroactive effect  so  as  to  make  them  applicable to  the  resolution of the instant  consolidated petitions  as they  merely  pertained  to a procedural  rule, i.e.,  Rule  141,  and  not  substantive  law.  In  Tan, Jr. v. CA,[39]  the  Court thoroughly explained the retroactive  effectivity  of procedural  rules, viz.:

The general  rule that statutes  are prospective  and  not retroactive does  not  ordinarily  apply  to procedural  laws.  It  has  been  held  that  “”a retroactive law, in a legal sense, is one which takes away or impairs vested rights acquired under laws, or creates a new obligation and imposes a new duty, or attaches  a new  disability,  in respect  of transactions  or considerations  already past. Hence,  remedial  statutes  or statutes relating to remedies or  modes of procedure, which  do not create new or  take  away  vested rights, but  only  operate in  furtherance of  the remedy  or confirmation of rights  already existing,  do not come within the  legal  conception of a  retroactive law, or  the  general rule  against the  retroactive operation of statutes.”” The general  rule against giving statutes retroactive operation whose effect is to impair the obligations of contract  or  to disturb  vested  rights  does  not  prevent  the application  of statutes to proceedings  pending at the time of their enactment  where they neither  create  new  nor  take  away  vested  rights.  A  new statute  which deals  with  procedure only is presumptively applicable to all actions  – those which have accrued or are  pending.

Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to  actions  pending and  undetermined at  the  time  of  their passage.  Procedural  laws are retroactive  in that sense and to that extent. The fact that procedural  statutes may somehow affect the litigants’  rights may not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative  of any  right of  a  person who  may  feel  that he  is adversely affected. Nor  is  the retroactive application of procedural statutes constitutionally objectionable. The  reason is that  as a general rule no vested  right  may attach to,  nor  arise from, procedural laws.  It has  been  held  that “”a person has no vested right in any particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial of his case, whether civil or criminal, of  any  other  than  the  existing  rules  of  procedure.”” [40]  (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

In view  of the  foregoing,  and  having  classified  Harvest  All,  et al.’s action as one incapable of pecuniary  estimation, the Court finds that Harvest All, et al. should  be made  to pay the appropriate docket  fees in accordance with  the applicable fees provided  under  Section  7 (b) (3) of Rule  141 [fees for all other actions not involving  property]  of the Revised Rules of Court, in conformity with  A.M. No. 04-02-04-SC dated  October  5, 2016.  The matter is therefore  remanded  to the RTC in order:

(a)  to  first determine  if Harvest,  et  al.’s payment  of filing fees in the amount of P8,860.00, as initially assessed  by the Clerk of Court, constitutes sufficient compliance with  A.M. No. 04-02-04- SC;

(b) if Harvest All, et al.’s  payment of P8,860.00 is insufficient, to require Harvest,  et al.’s payment  of any discrepancy  within  a period  of fifteen  (15)  days  from  notice, and after such payment, proceed with the regular proceedings of the case with dispatch; or

(c)  if Harvest  All,  et  al.’s payment  of  P8,860.00  is already sufficient, proceed with the regular proceedings of the case with dispatch.

WHEREFORE,  the petition in G.R. No. 224834  is DENIED, while the petition  in G.R.  No. 224871  is PARTLY  GRANTED.  The  Decision dated February 15, 2016 and the Resolution dated May 25, 2016 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 142213 are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION in that COMM’L.  CASE NO. 15-234 is hereby REMANDED  to the Regional  Trial Court  of Pasig  City, Branch  159 for further proceedings as stated in the final paragraph of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Velasco, JR.,*  Leonardo-De Castro,  and Caguioa, JJ., concur.

* Designated Additional Member per Raffle dated February 22, 2017.

[1] Rollo (G.R. No. 224834),  Vol. I, pp. 45-108; rollo (G.R. No. 224871),  Vol. I, pp. 14-44.

[2] Rollo  (G.R.  No.  224834), Vol. I, pp. 12-22.  Penned  by  Associate  Justice  Mario  V. Lopez with Associate Justices Rosmari D. Carandang and Myra V. Garcia-Fernandez concurring.

[3] Id. at 24-28.

[4] Id. at 311-318. Penned by Presiding Judge Elma M. Rafallo-Lingan.

[5] See rollo (G.R. No. 224871), Vol. I, pp. 14 and 19.

[6] See id. at 121.

[7] See id. at 19-20. See also rollo (G.R. No. 224834),  Vol. I, p. 13.

[8] Dated July 31, 2015. Rollo (G.R. No. 224871), Vol. I, pp. 544-577.

[9] See id. at 558-568.

[10] See id. at  575.

[11] See rollo (G.R. No. 224834),  Vol. I, p. 14.

[12] See Amended Complaint; rollo (G.R. No. 224871), Vol. I, pp. 107-144.

[13] See id. at 137-138.

[14] See rollo (G.R. No. 224834), Vol. I, pp. 13-14.

[15] Id. at 311-318.

[16] See id. at 311-317.

[17] Entitled “”RE: PROPOSED REVISION OF RULE 141, REVISED RULES OF COURT, LEGAL FEES”” (August  16, 2004).

[18] 658 Phil.156 (2011).

[19] See rollo (G.R.  No. 224834),  Vol. I, pp. 312-316.

[20] See Petition for Review (with  Prayer for the Issuance  of a Temporary Restraining Order  and/or Preliminary Injunction) dated September 8, 2015; id. at 331-377.

[21] Id. at 12-22.

[22] See id. at 21.

[23] See id. at 15-18.

[24] See id. at 19-21.

[25] See id. at 24.

[26] Id. at 24-28.

[27] Section 21 (k), Rule 141 of the Rules of Court reads:

Section 21. Other fees. -The following fees shall also be collected  by the clerks of the Regional Trial Courts or courts of the first level, as the case may be:

xxxx

(k) For petitions for insolvency or other cases involving intra-corporate controversies, the fees prescribed under Section 7 (a) shall apply.

[28] Lu v. Lu Ym, Sr., supra note 18, at 190.

[29] See rollo (G.R. No. 224871),  Vol. I, pp. 39-40

[30] See Lu v. Lu Ym, Sr., supra note 18, at 179-184.

[31] Id. at 190.

[32] Id. at 190-191.

[33] See G.R. Nos. 213863 and 214021, January 27, 2016.

[34] See id.; citations omitted.

[35] 716 Phil. 574 (2013).

[36] Id. at 586-587, citing De Ungria v. CA, 669  Phil. 585, 597 (2011).

[37] See rollo (G.R. No. 224871), Vol.  I, pp. 138 and 575.

[38]  Entitled  “”THE LEGAL  FEES TO BE COLLECTED IN  CASES OF LIQUIDATION  OF SOLVENT JURIDICAL DEBTORS, LIQUIDATION  OF INSOLVENT JURIDICAL  AND INDIVIDUAL DEBTORS, CONVERSION FROM REHABILITATION TO LIQUIDATION  PROCEEDINGS, SUSPENSION OF PAYMENTS OF INSOLVENT INDIVIDUAL DEBTORS AND PETITIONS IN AN OUT OF COURT RESTRUCTURING AGREEMENT PROVIDED UNDER A.M. Nos. 12-12-11-SC AND 15-04-06-SC.””

[39] 424 Phil. 556 (2002).

[40] Id. at 569; citation omitted.