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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

THIRDDIVISION

G.R.No.207682December10,2014

CONRADOB.NICART,JR.,asProvincialGovernorofLGUEasternSamar,Petitioner,
vs.
MA.JOSEFINAC.TITONGandJOSELITOM.ABRUGAR,SR.,Respondents.

DECISION

VELASCO,JR.,J.:

TheCase

BeforeUsisaPetitionforReviewunderRule45oftheRulesofCourt,seekingthe:(a)issuanceofatemporary
restraining order on the implementation of the writ of mandamus dated April 16, 2013, issued by the Regional
Trial Court, (RTC) Branch 2 of Borongan City, Eastern Samar in Civil Case No. 4236, entitled Ma. Josefina M
Titong,etal.v.Hon.ConradoB.Nicart,Jr.,etal.and(b)theannulmentandsettingasideoftheRTC'sDecision
datedApril11,2013aswellasitsJune20,2013Order,insaidcase.

TheFacts

A few days prior to the end of his term, then Governor of Eastern Samar Ben P. Evardone (Evardone) issued
ninetythree(93)appointmentsbetweenMay11,2010andJune29,2010,includingthatofhereinrespondents
Ma.JosefinaTitong(Titong)andJoselitoAbrugar,Sr.(Abrugar),whichappointmentswerelaterconfirmedbythe
SangguniangPanlalawigan.Consequently,theappointeesimmediatelyassumedtheirrespectivepositions.

Uponsubmission,however,oftheappointmentstotheCivilServiceCommission(CSC)RegionalOffice(CSCRO)
No. VIII, all 93 appointments were disapproved for having been made in violation of Section 2.1 of CSC
MemorandumCircularNo.16,seriesof2007.1

Evardone appealed the disapproval but it was dismissed for nonpayment of the requisite filing fee and the
appointmentshavingbeenissuedinviolationofsaidcircular.Respondents,fortheirpart,individuallymovedfor
reconsideration of the disapproval of their respective appointments but later withdrew their motions via an
OmnibusJointMotionandseparatelyconvertedthesametoanAppealbymeansofapetitionforreviewwiththe
CSCproper.

Meanwhile, on August 10, 2010, Titong and Abrugar requested the assistance of the CSC with their claim for
payment of their first salary which was denied by the Commission on Audit (COA) Provincial Office and by
petitioner,whoatthattimewasalreadytheincumbentGovernor.

Actingontheappeal,theCSCrenderedDecisionNo.1002422datedDecember13,2010,grantingthepetition,
modifyingtheCSCROsruling,anddeclaringtheappointmentofTitongandAbrugarvalidonthegroundthatthe
twoarequalifiedforthepositionstowhichtheywereappointed.ThefallooftheDecisionreads:

WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review of Ma. Josefina C. Titong and Joselito M. Abrugar, Sr., both Provincial
Government Department Heads (Human Resource [M]anagement Office and [P]rovincial Planning and
DevelopmentOffice,respectively),ProvincialGovernmentofEasternSamar,isGRANTED.Accordingly,theOrder
No.100360datedJuly26,2010oftheCivilServiceCommissionRegionalOffice(CSCRO)No.VIII,Palo,Leyte,
disapprovingtheappointmentof[93]employees,includingtheappointmentsofpetitioners,forfailuretopaythe
appealfee,andviolationofCSCMemorandumCircularNos.3,s.2011and16,s.2007isMODIFIEDinsofaras
theappointmentofMa.JosefinaC.TitongandJoselitoM.Abrugar,Sr.whichareAPPROVED.Petitionermoved
forreconsiderationofsaidDecision,butitwasdeniedbytheCSC,throughResolutionNo.11006533datedMay
27, 2011, the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration of Governor
ConradoB.Nicart,Jr.,ProvincialGovernmentofEasternSamar,isDENIED.Accordingly,CSCDecisionNo.10
0242 dated December 13, 2010 which approved the appointments of Ma. Josefina C. Titong and Joselito M.
Abrugar, Sr. as Provincial Government Department Heads (Human Resource Management Office and Planning
andDevelopmentOffice,respectively),STANDS.TheProvincialGovernmentofEasternSamarisdirectedtopay
thesalariesandbenefitsofTitongandAbrugarfromthetimethattheyhaveassumedtheirrespectivepositions.

Undaunted,petitionerfiledbeforetheCourtofAppeals(CA)apetitionforreviewoftheaboveCSCDecisionand
Resolution, docketed as CAG.R. SP No. 119975, entitled Conrado B. Nicart, Jr. v. Ma. Josefina C. Titong and
JoselitoM.Abrugar,Sr.,presentingthesoleissueofwhetherornottheappointmentsofhereinrespondentsare
valid.

There, petitioner, in the main, argues that the appointments were in violation of said Section 21 of CSC
MemorandumCircularNo.16,s.2007andthattheexemptionslaiddowninNazarenovCityofDumaguete4were
not met for the following reasons: (a) there was no need to fill up the vacancies immediately and (b) the
appointmentsweremadeenmasse.

Respondents,fortheirpart,maintainthattheirappointmentswereavalidexercisebyEvardoneofhispowerof
appointment.

PendingresolutionthereofbytheCA,theCSC,uponrespondentsmotion,issuedawritofexecutionunderCSC
Resolution No. 1101319 dated October 6, 2011, ordering petitioner and the Provincial Government to pay the
salariesandotheremolumentsduetorespondentsfromthetimeoftheirassumptionofofficeonJune21,2010
uptothepresent.

In view of petitioners continued refusal to pay their salaries, among others, despite the service of the writ of
executionuponhimandwithCAG.R.SPNo.119975stillpendingresolution,respondentsfiledbeforetheRTCa
PetitionforMandamuswithUnspecifiedDamagesagainsthereinpetitioner,theViceGovernor,andthemembers
oftheSangguniangPanlalawigan,docketedasinCivilCaseNo.4236.5Init,theyprayedthatthereinrespondents
bedirectedto:(a)payTitongandAbrugartheirsalariesandotheremolumentsorbenefitsduethemfromtheir
assumptionofofficeonJune21,2010uptothepresent(b)incorporatetheirsalariesintheannualbudgetofthe
Province(c)payhereinrespondentsdamagesandattorneysfeesand(d)recognizetheirappointmentsasvalid,
amongothers.6

Respondents,intheirComment,maintainthatthepetitionshouldbedismissedonanyofthefollowinggrounds,
viz:(a)mandamusisnottheproperremedy(b)litispendentia,sincethereisanotheractionpendingbetweenthe
same parties and for the same cause ofaction (c) wilful and deliberate act of forum shopping is punishable by
summarydismissaloftheactionsfiledand(d)theactionisalreadymootandacademicasregardspetitioners
corespondentsthereatsincetheyarebeingcompelledtodoanactthathasalreadybeendone.7

CARulinginCAG.R.SPNo.119975

OnJuly3,2012,withCivilCaseNo.4236stillpending,theCArenderedaDecision8inCAG.R.SPNo.119975
grantingthepetitionandrulingthatrespondentsappointmentsarenotvalidforhavingbeenissuedinviolationof
CSC Rules and for failure tocomply with the requisites set forth by jurisprudence.9 Consequently, the CA held,
respondentscannolongerclaimentitlementtothepaymentoftheirsalariesfromthegovernmentandthatitis
theappointingauthoritywhoshallbepersonallyliablefortheirsalaries,asdirectedbySection4,RuleVIofthe
RevisedOmnibusRulesonAppointmentsandOtherPersonnelActionswhichstates:

Sec. 4. The appointing authority shall be personally liable for the salary of the appointees whose appointments
havebeendisapprovedforviolationofpertinentlawssuchasthepublicationrequirementpursuanttoRA7041.

ThefallooftheDecisionreads:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Resolution No.
1100653datedMay27,2011issetaside.

SOORDERED.

Aggrieved,respondentssoughtrecoursefromthisCourtviaaRule45PetitiondocketedasG.R.No.203835.10

TheCourtsResolutioninG.R.No.203835

PriortotheRTCsresolutionofthepetitionformandamus,WedeniedthepetitionforreviewoftheCADecision
via Our Resolution of February 27, 2013, ruling that there is no reversible error in the challenged decision to
warrant the exercise of the Courts discretionary appellate jurisdiction, thereby affirming the CAs finding that
respondentsappointmentsareinvalid.Aggrieved,respondentssoughtreconsiderationthereof.

RTCDecisioninCivilCaseNo.4236
PendingthisCourtsactiononrespondentsmotionforreconsiderationinG.R.No.203835,theRTC,onApril11,
2013, rendered the assailed Decision11 in Civil Case No. 4236 in favor of Titong and Abrugar, disposing of the
caseinthiswise:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing premises considered, the herein Petition for Mandamus is hereby GRANTED.
TheprayerofrespondentsintheirCommentaskingforthedismissalofthispetitionisherebyDENIEDforlackof
merit.

Accordingly, judgment is hereby rendered COMMANDING herein RESPONDENTS and the persons, officials or
subordinatesundertheirrespectiveauthorities,TO:

1. PAY IMMEDIATELY the salaries and other emoluments or benefits due to herein Petitioners MA.
JOSEFINA C. TITONG and JOSELITO M. ABRUGAR, JR., asHuman Resource Management Officer
(HRMO), and Provincial Planning and Development Coordinator (PDDC), respectively, both Provincial
Government Department Head (PGDH) of the Provincial Government of Eastern Samar, from their
assumptiontoofficeonJune21,2010uptothepresentastheyarebothentitledto,nowandinthefuture

2. APPROPRIATE IMMEDIATELY the necessary funds therefore (sic), in case the appropriated funds
therefore(sic)haveeitherbeenreverted,realignedorotherwiseexhaustedorspent

3.INCORPORATEIMMEDIATELYsuchfundsifnone,intheAnnualBudgetoftheProvincefornow,and/or
inthefutureastheymaybeentitledto

4. GIVE IMMEDIATELY due or rightful recognition to [Titong and Abrugar] as the duly appointed [HRMO]
and [PPDC], respectively, both [PPDH] and accord them and repose in them their corresponding duties,
responsibilities, rights and privileges as such Department Heads or Officers per Civil Service Commission
properdecision

5.IMMEDIATELY,fornominalrespondents,toallot,allocate,passinauditorinternalcontrolanddisburse
thefundsabovementioned

6. PAY IMMEDIATELY, for respondent [Nicart], in his personal capacity, the amount of ONE HUNDRED
FIFTY (Php 150,000.00) PESOS each petitioner as nominal damages the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND
(Php50,000.00)asattorneysfeesandtheCOSTSofsuit.

xxxx

SOORDERED.12

According to the RTC, the nonissuance by the CA of a restraining order or injunction restraining it from
proceedingwithCivilCaseNo.4236,coupledwithrespondentsfilingofaRule45petitionbeforethisCourt(G.R.
No. 203835) thereby staying the Decision of the CA which reversed the ruling of the CSC and declared
respondents appointment as invalid, results in the continued effectivity of the CSC Decision in respondents
favor.13Furthermore,theRTCheldthatthisisconsistentwithSection82oftheUniformRulesonAdministrative
CasesinCivilService(CSCMemorandumCircularNo.19,s.1999CSCResolutionNo.991936datedAugust
31,1999),whichstatesthat"[t]hefilingandpendencyofapetitionforreviewwiththe[CA]orcertiorariwiththe
[SC] shall not stop the execution of the final decision of the Commission, unless the Court issues a restraining
orderoraninjunction."14

Theirmotionforreconsideration15havingbeendenied,16petitionernowseeksrecoursefromthisCourtbywayof
theinstantpetitionpresentingthefollowingissues:

I. The Court of Appeals Sixth Division ruled that herein respondents appointment are (sic) not valid and
they are not entitled to claim salaries from the government. The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of
AppealsDecision.Didthecourtaquogravelyerringrantinghereinrespondentspetitionformandamus?

II. Having been made aware of the Court of Appeals Decision reversing the Civil Service Commission
Resolution,didthecourtaquogravelyerrinenforcingtheDecisionoftheCivilServiceCommission?

III.WiththerecentResolutionoftheSupremeCourtwhichaffirmedtheDecisionoftheCourtofAppeals,
can the petition validly refuse to comply with the court a quos writ of mandamus? Will such refusal
constitutecontempt?17

TheCourtsResolutioninG.R.No.203835
denyingReconsiderationoftheFebruary27,2013Resolution

Meanwhile,onFebruary10,2014,WeissuedaResolutionaffirmingourFebruary27,2013ResolutionwhereWe
upheldthefindingoftheCAthattheappointmentsofhereinrespondentsareinvalid,therebyresolvingwithfinality
G.R.No.203835andwritingfinistothequestiononthestatusoftheirappointment.

TheIssue

ThecoreissuefortheCourtsresolutioniswhetherornottheenforcementoftheDecisionoftheCSCupholding
thelegalityofrespondentsappointmentremainstobeproperconsideringOuraffirmationoftheinvaliditythereof
inOurResolutionsofFebruary27,2013andFebruary10,2014.

OurRuling

Thepetitionismeritorious.

ThecentralfoundationfortheRTCscontinuationoftheproceedingsinCivilCaseNo.4236andtherenderingof
the assailed Decision, among others, is Section 82 of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999.18 Said
provisionstatesthatthefilingandpendencyofapetitionforreviewwiththe[CA]orcertiorariwiththeSupreme
Court shall not stop the execution of the final decision of the Commission unless the Court issues a restraining
orderoraninjunction.This,coupledwiththenonissuancebytheCAofaninjunctionorrestrainingorderupon
CSCResolutionNo.1100653,anditsopinionthattheCAsdecisioninCAG.R.SPNo.119975willnotconstitute
resjudicataorinanywayaffectthepetitionformandamusconsideringthatthereliefssoughtwereallegedlynot
foundedonthesamefacts,convincedthetrialcourtthatthereissufficientbasistograntthepetitionandissuea
writofmandamuscompellingpetitioner,amongothers,toacknowledgerespondentsappointmentandtopaythe
salariesandemolumentsduethem.

Ordinarily, the nonissuance by the CA of an injunction or restraining order would make the CSC Resolution
executory pending appeal per Section 82 of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, s. 1999, making it a proper
subjectofapetitionformandamus.However,whattheRTCfailedtotakeintoaccountisthefactthatthepropriety
oftheverydirectivesunderthewritofmandamussoughtiswhollyreliantontheCAsresolutionofCAG.R.SP
No.119975andthatjudicialcourtesydictatesthatitsuspenditsproceedingsandawaittheCAsresolutionofthe
petitionforreview.

WhentheRTCrenderedtheassailedDecision,itwaswellawareofthependencyofCAG.R.SPNo.119975the
subject of which is the reversal and setting aside of the CSCs affirmation of respondents appointments,
embodied in the very Resolution which respondents seek to be enforced in the petition for mandamus.
Nevertheless,thetrialcourt,implyingthatthepetitionforreviewpendingbeforetheCAwillnot,inanyway,affect
orbeaffectedbythepetitionformandamus,heldthat"suchreviewofthe[CA]dealsprimarilywiththevalidityor
invalidityoftheallegedmidnightappointmentsxxx,"19asopposedtothepetitionbeforeitwhichonlyseeksthe
enforcementoftheCSCsResolution.Itthenwentontostatethat"thegroundrelieduponby[petitioner]isthe
mere fact that [respondents] appointments were allegedly a midnight appointments (sic) which the [CSC],
however,ruledouttobedevoidwith(sic)merit.TheprohibitionunderArticleVII,Section15oftheConstitution,it
mustbenoted,appliesonlytopresidentialappointments,butnottolocalappointments,likeinthiscase.Thisis
true even if the groundsrelied [upon] by [petitioner] are with respect to CSC Circulars and/or Memorandum,
Resolutions,Laws,Rules,andRegulationsrelativetothecivilservice."20

Furthermore, the trial court held that it is an accepted principle that "quasijudicial bodies like the Civil Service
Commissionarebetterequippedinhandlingcasesinvolvingtheemploymentstatusofemployeesasthoseinthe
Civil Service since it is within the field of their expertise"21 and that "the appointments of [respondents] having
beenacceptedbythemandinfactassumedoffice[,]shallremaininforceandineffectuntildisapprovedbythe
[CSC],theonlyofficewhohastheauthoritytorecallsuchappointmentsby[respondents]."22

Tocapitalloff,thetrialcourtissuedthewritofmandamusanddirectedpetitioner,amongothers,toimmediately
payrespondentssalaries,emoluments,andotherbenefitsduethembyvirtueofthepositionstowhichtheywere
appointedto,andtorecognizethevalidityoftheirappointments,amongothers.

In this regard, the Court has, in several cases, held that there are instances where, even ifthere is no writ of
preliminaryinjunctionortemporaryrestrainingorderissuedbyahighercourt,itwouldbeproperforalowercourt
orcourtoforigintosuspenditsproceedingsonthepreceptofjudicialcourtesy.23Unfortunately,theRTCdidnot
find the said principle applicable in Civil Case No. 4236 as it disregarded the fact that there is an intimate
correlationbetweenthetwoproceedingsthoughtechnicallynoprejudicialquestionexistsasitproperlypertains
tocivilandcriminalcases.24

ToOurmind,consideringthatthemandamuspetitionheavilyreliesonthevalidityorinvalidityoftheappointments
whichissueistoberesolvedbytheCA,thecourtaquoincorrectlyconcludedthatitmaytakecognizanceofthe
petitionwithouterroneouslydisregardingtheprincipleofjudicialcourtesy.Whatismore,theRTCwentbeyondthe
issues of the case when it affirmed the validity of respondents appointments, considering that the only issue
presentedbeforeitistheproprietyofexecutingCSCResolutionNo.1100653throughawritofmandamusdespite
the pendency of CAG.R. SP No. 119975.25 By making said findings, conclusions, and directives, the RTC, in
effect,affirmedtheCSCsfindingthatthedisputedappointmentswerevalid,preemptedtheCAsResolutionofthe
appeal,andmadeitsowndeterminationthereon,despitethenonpresentationofsaidquestionbeforeitandthe
pendency thereof before the CA. And all of this was made under the pretext of enforcing CSC Resolution No.
1100653viaawritofmandamus.

Nevertheless, enforcement of the disputed CSC Resolution is no longer proper and necessary in light of Our
Resolutions dated February 27, 2013 and February 10, 2014, affirming the CAs ruling that respondents
appointmentswerenotvalid,makingtheissueontheproprietyofenforcingtheCSCResolutionpendingappeal,
mootandacademic.

A moot and academic case is one that ceases to present a justiciable controversy by virtue of supervening
events, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical value. As a rule, courts decline jurisdiction over
suchcase,ordismissitongroundofmootness.26Whateverjudgmentisreached,thesamecannolongerhave
anypracticallegaleffector,inthenatureofthings,cannolongerbeenforced.27

Here,thesuperveningeventcontemplatedisOurissuanceoftwominuteresolutionsonedenyingthepetition,
and the second denying reconsideration thereofthereby affirming CAs finding against the validity of
respondentsappointmentsandeffectivelyreversingtheRTCsaffirmationoftheCSCsfindings.Itiswelltonote
thatalthoughcontainedinaminuteresolution,OurdismissalofthepetitioninG.R.No.203835wasdefinitelya
disposition of the merits of the case and constituted a bar to a relitigation of the issues raised there under the
doctrine of res judicata. When we dismissed the petition and denied reconsideration thereof, we effectively
1 w p h i1

affirmedtheCArulingbeingquestioned.28

Havingwrittenfinistotheissueofwhetherrespondentswerevalidlyappointedornot,themandamusnowhasno
basis upon which its issuance can be anchored under the principle of res judicata by conclusiveness of
judgment.29

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,theinstantpetitionisherebyGRANTED.TheDecisiondatedApril11,2013,
theOrderdatedJune20,2013,andthewritofmandamusdatedApril16,2013,allissuedbytheRegionalTrial
Court,(RTC)Branch2ofBoronganCity,EasternSamarinCivilCaseNo.4236,entitledMa.JosefinaM.Titong,
etal.v.Hon.ConradoB.Nicart,Jr.,etal.areherebyANNULLEDandSETASIDE.

Nopronouncementastocosts.

SOORDERED.

PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

DIOSDADOM.PERALTA
AssociateJustice

MARTINS.VILLARAMA,JR. JOSECATRALMENDOZA*
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

BIENVENIDOL.REYES
AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

PRESBITEROJ.VELASCO,JR.
AssociateJustice
Chairperson

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitutionandtheDivisionChairperson'sAttestation,Icertifythatthe
conclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothewriterof
theopinionoftheCourt'sDivision.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice
Footnotes
*
ActingmemberperSpecialOrderNo.1896datedNovember28,2014.
1
"Allappointment(sic)issuedafterelectionsuptoJune30byoutgoingelectiveappointingofficialsshallbe
disapproved."
2
Rollo,pp.97102
3
Id.at9195.
4
G.R.No.181559,October2,2009,
5
EntitledMa.JosefinaM.Titong,EtAl.,v.Hon.ConradoB.Nicart,Jr.,ProvincialGovernor,Hon.SheenP.
Gonzales,ViceGovernorandSangguniangPanlalawiganMembers:Hon.JojieN.Montallana,Hon.Aldwin
U. Aklao, Hon. Celestino A. Cabato, Hon. Floro Balato, Sr., Hon. Byron M. Suyot, Hon. Gorgonio B.
Cabacaba,Hon.JonasB.Abuda,Hon.EnerioM.Sabulao,Hon.JennyBaldono,Hon.BeatrizLopezReyes,
Exofficio Members: Hon. Sol Angelie E. Libanan, Hon. MarkPol P. Gonzales, Hon. Welgielyn A. Acol,
ProvincialBudgetOfficerorOIC/ICO,ProvincialAccountant,ProvincialTreasurerorICO,AlloftheProvince
ofEasternSamar.
6
Rollo,p.44.
7
Id.at4445.
8
Penned by Associate Justice Danton Q. Bueser, with the concurrence of Associate Justices Rosmari D.
CarandangandRicardoR.Rosario.
9
Rollo,p.87
10
EntitledMa.JosefinaC.Titong,etal.v.ConradoB.Nicart,Jr.
11
ByActingPresidingJudgeElvieP.Lim.
12
Rollo,pp.6162.
13
Id.at50.
14
Id.at5051.
15
DatedApril26,2013.
16
PerOmnibusOrderdatedJune20,2013.
17
Rollo,p.11.
18
UniformRulesonAdministrativeCasesinCivilService.
19
Rollo,p.51.
20
Id.at5152.
21
Id.at53.
22
Id.at54.
23
DeLeonv.PublicEstatesAuthority,G.R.No.181970,August3,2010,626SCRA547,562.
24
SeeQuiambaov.Osorio,No.L48157,March16,1988,158SCRA674,678.[Theactionsinvolvedinthe
caseatbarbeingrespectivelycivilandadministrativeincharacter,itisobviousthattechnically,thereisno
prejudicialquestiontospeakof.Equallyapparent,however,istheintimatecorrelationbetweensaidtwo[2]
proceedings, stemming from the fact that the right of private respondents to eject petitioner from the
disputed portion depends primarily on the resolution of the pending administrative case. x x x Whether
ornot private respondents can continue to exercise their right of possession is but a necessary, logical
consequenceoftheissueinvolvedinthependingadministrativecasexxx.]
25
Rollo,p.47.
26
Gunsi,Sr.v.Commissioners,TheCommissiononElections,G.R.No.168792,February23,2009,citedin
Mendozav.Villas,G.R.No.187256,February23,2011,644SCRA347,356357.
27
Mendoza v. Villas, G.R. No. 187256, February 23, 2011, 644 SCRA 347, 357, citing Fernandez v.
Comelec,G.R.No.176296,June30,2008.
28
SeeDelRosario,Jr.v.People,G.R.No.143419,June22,2006,492SCRA170,177.
29
Sps.Rasdasv.Estenor,G.R.No.157605,December13,2005,477SCRA538.

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