Failure to sign a marriage certificate or absence of the marriage certificate itself does not render the marriage void

nor annullable. WITNESSES IN A MARRIAGE CEREMONY. The significant amendments in the Family Code making a double reference to the requirement of two witnesses of legal age in the marriage ceremony in two significant articles seem to indicate an intention to make the presence of two witnesses of legal age determinative of the presence of a marriage ceremony. The requirement of the presence of the two witnesses of legal age has been given further emphasis in Article 6 which provides that, while there is no prescribed form as to the solemnization of a marriage, it shall be necessary, however, for the contracting parties to appear before the solemnizing officer and declare in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age that they take each other as husband and wife. Besides, in marriage, it is the agreement itself of the principal contracting parties in the presence of the representative of the state, namely the solemnizing officer, which constitutes the contract. An exchange of vows can already “be presumed to have been made from the testimonies of the witnesses who state that a wedding took place, since the very purpose for having a wedding is to exchange vows of marital commitment. The absence of witnesses, therefore, was not such a serious flaw and would therefore only constitute an irregularity. COMMON-LAW MARRIAGES NOT RECOGNIZED IN THE PHILIPPINES. A common-law marriage may be defined as a non ceremonial or informal marriage by agreement, entered into by a man and a woman having capacity to marry, ordinarily without compliance with such statutory formalities as those pertaining to marriage licenses. Philippine law does not recognize common-law marriages. A man and woman not legally married cohabit for many years as husband and wife, who represent themselves to the public as husband and wife, and who are reputed to be husband and wife in the community where they live may be considered legally “married” in common-law jurisdictions but not in the Philippines. ABSENCE, DEFECT, IRREGULARITIES IN ESSENTIAL AND FORMAL REQUIREMENTS. Generally, absence of any of the essential or formal requirements of a marriage renders such marriage null and void. Hence, a marriage license which has already automatically expired is not a valid marriage license, thereby making any marriage undertaken on the basis of such alleged license void. He in the same spirit accepted the challenge, and the justice, at their request, performed the ceremony with then making the proper responses. The ceremony was in the usual and proper form, the justice doubting whether it was in earnest or in jest. Exceptions, however, are provided by law. Thus, absence of a marriage license does not affect the validity of a marriage if the situation falls under Chapter 2, Title I of the Family Code.

These situations are marriages in articulo mortis,marriages of two contracting parties living in places where there are no means of transportation to enable them to appear personally before the local civil registrar, marriages among Muslims and among other ethnic cultural minorities performed in accordance with their practices, and marriages of couples without any impediment to get married living together as husband and wife for at least five years. Another exception is a marriage solemnized by a person without authority to solemnize a marriage provided that either one of the parties believed in good faith that such solemnizer had the proper authority (Article 35[2]). However, if the parties really do not have a marriage license and the judge requires them to apply and procure a marriage license after the marriage ceremony, the marriage is void. A judge who did not sign and date the marriage contract, did not furnish the parties, and did not forward the marriage contract to the local civil registrar,may be held administratively liable. The contracting parties are supposed to be first asked by the solemnizing officer and declare that they take each other as husband and wife before the solemnizing officer in the presence of two witnesses before they are supposed to sign the marriage contract. The following are some of the irregularities which do not affect the validity of a marriage: 1) absence of two witnesses of legal age during the marriage ceremony 2) absence of a marriage certificate 3) marriage solemnized in a place other than publicly in the chambers of the judge or in open court, in church, chapel, or temple, or in the office of the consul-general, consul, or viceconsul; 4)issuance of marriage license in city or municipality not the residence of either of the contracting parties 5) unsworn application for a marriage license; 6) failure of the contracting parties to present original birth certificate or baptismal certificate to the local civil registrar who likewise failed to ask for the same; 7) failure of the contracting parties between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one to exhibit consent of parents or persons having legal charge of them to the local civil registrar; 8) failure of the contracting parties between the ages of twentyone to twenty-five to exhibit advice of parents to local civil registrar; 9) failure to undergo marriage counselling; 10) failure of the local civil registrar to post the required notices; 11)issuance of marriage license despite absence of publication or prior to the completion of the 10-day period for publication 12)failure of the contracting parties to pay the prescribed fees for the marriage license; 13) failure of the person solemnizing the marriage

PRIEST. OR MINISTER OF ANY CHURCH OR RELIGIOUS SECT. 2) the marriage must be between passengers or crew members. it is highly irregular for a judge to collect fees for the ceremony. travel abroad. must be within the zone of military operation. is quite different. . When the mayor is temporarily incapacitated to perform his duties for physical or legal reasons such as. 4) the said chaplain must be absent at the time of the marriage. 6) the contracting parties. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the above-described preparation and publicity. dismiss employees which can only be exercised if the period of temporary incapacity exceeds thirty days. Inasmuch as the State officiates in the celebration of marriage through the person solemnizing the same. JUDGES. except the power to appoint. namely: 1) consul general. good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for damages. 2) consul. the following four essential requisites must concur: he or she 1) must be duly authorized by his or her church or religious sect. in accordance with Article 4. only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be solemnized. 5) the marriage must be one in articulo mortis. such a marriage is generally void on the ground of absence of a formal requirement which is authority of the solemnizing officer. Under Article 35(2). 2)he or she must be a commissioned officer.to send copies of the marriage certificate to the local civil registrar 14) failure of the local civil registrar to enter the applications for marriage licenses fi led with him in the registry book in the order in which they were received. rabbi. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which the defendant must be made answerable for damages in accordance with Article 21 aforesaid. whether members of the armed forces or civilians. they must be incumbent and not retired judges. then such marriage shall be considered valid in the Philippines. the following requisites must concur: 1) he or she must be a military commander of a unit. if the marriage was solemnized by a person not legally authorized to solemnize a marriage and either of the contracting parties believed in good faith that such solemnizing offi cer had such authority. As stated. OR VICE CONSUL. an assistant pilot has no authority to solemnize a marriage. For a ship captain or airplane chief to be able to validly solemnize a marriage. And 4) at least one of the contracting parties whose marriage he or she is to solemnize belongs to his or her church or religious sect. if they fail to comply with any of the requisites mandated by law for them to validly solemnize a marriage. leave of absence. If it is recognized as valid in the host country.7 AUTHORIZED SOLEMNIZERS OF MARRIAGE. mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. Hence. SHIP CAPTAIN AND AIRPLANE CHIEF. Article 21 of the said Code (Civil Code) provides that “any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals. such absence makes the marriage void ab initio. suspend. MAYOR. Heads of consular posts are divided into four classes. this is not a case of mere breach of a promise to marry. 4) consul agents Only the first three are expressly authorized by the Family Code to solemnize marriage. CONSUL-GENERAL. Surely. the following requisites must concur: 1) the marriage must be in articulo mortis (at least one of the parties is at the point of death). Judges who are appointed to specific jurisdictions may officiate in weddings only within said areas and not beyond. IMAM. it is logical that such person must have the authority from the Government at that time.” according to the deliberations of the Civil Code Revision Committee. The word “unit. imam. Moreover. RABBI. Mere breach of a promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. the vice mayor or the highest ranking sangguniang bayan member shall automatically exercise the powers and perform the duties of the local chief executive concerned. He added that it means therefore that they are including instances when there are transit passengers which the others affirmed the voyage is not yet terminated MILITARY COMMANDER. 3) vice-consul. Such authority is the foundation of marriage Hence. then the marriage shall be considered as valid. After solemnizing a marriage. 2) must act within the limits of the written authority granted to him or her by the church or religious sect. or minister of any church or religious sect to be able to validly solemnize a marriage. For a military commander to be able to solemnize a marriage. refers to a battalion under the present table of organization and not to a mere company. and 3) generally. CONSUL. but not limited to. BREACH OF PROMISE TO MARRY. GOOD FAITH OF PARTIES. the ship must be at sea or the plane must be in flight. 3) must be registered with the civil registrar general. Hence.” Art. Judges can solemnize marriage only within their courts’ jurisdiction. For a priest. 3) a chaplain must be assigned to such unit. and suspension from office.

it is merely an irregularity which will not render null and void the marriage celebrated on the basis of such license. Art 9 PLACE OF ISSUE. It must be remembered. MARRIAGE APPLICATION. however.brothers. 89 Cal. Absence of parental advice does not affect the marriage. if the contracting parties between the ages of twenty-one and twenty-five do not obtain the advice of the parents or if such advice is unfavorable. but that the consent of their parents must be added thereto. INVESTIGATIVE POWER OF LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR AND COURT INTERVENTION. does not affect the validity of a marriage. It does not even make the marriage annullable. however. Art. however. or religion or before any civil authority. The court action may be brought by the local civil registrar himself or by any interested party. or administrative liability. The notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advise the local civil registrar thereof.17 This notice shall be posted for ten consecutive days on a bulletin board outside the offi ce of the local civil registrar located in a conspicuous place within the building and accessible to the general public. However. He must only note down the legal impediments in the application and thereafter issue the marriage license unless otherwise stopped by the court (Article 18). sect. the failure of the parties to attach to the marriage application a certification that they have undergone marriage counselling provided for in Article 16 of the Family Code shall suspend the issuance of the marriage license for a period of three months from the completion of the publication of the application. Also. 10 CONSULAR OFFICIALS. Art. existing spouse. are executed before the diplomatic or consular offi cials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign country. SEC. shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall. Art. Kilburn. Non-compliance with this requirement. The required parental consent provision simply means that the said contracting parties “may not be licensed to marry upon their own consent alone. among others. the said marriage is completely valid. If the contracting parties obtain a marriage license in a place other than the place where either of them reside. the marriage is void regardless of the existence or non-existence of the consent of the parents. the marriage license is issued within the said three months and the contracting parties were able to get married on the basis of such marriage license. he or she cannot discontinue processing the application. Included in the phrase “interested party” are the contracting parties’ parents. CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR. Its non-observance will not invalidate a marriage but can subject the person or persons who cause the violation to civil. lack of such consent. 15-16 Non-advise is not a ground for annulment provided for in Article 45 of the Family Code. or those which may be prejudiced by the marriage.Attempts to infl uence any contracting party to marry or refrain from marrying in any church. Art. If. If the local civil registrar has knowledge of some legal impediment. In this regard. proper documents must be maintained to serve as proofs for their existence. Only court intervention directing the non-issuance of the marriage license can empower the local civil registrar to validly refuse to issue said license. that if any of the contracting parties is below 18 years of age. criminal. 46). Nevertheless. and relieve from doubt the status of parties who live together as man and wife by providing competent evidence of the marriage. the contracting parties between 18 years old and above but below 21 years of age must still obtain the consent of the parents as this is required under the second paragraph of Article 236 of the Family Code. the marriage will still be valid because the validity of the marriage license is not affected by the violation of the injunction. Emancipation is attained if the child reaches the age of 18 years. 18-19 NO EMANCIPATION BY MARRIAGE. Influencing parties in religious respects.Art 8. It is the concern of the state to make marriages the secure and stable institution they should be (Kilburn v. The marriage ceremony shall be in accordance with the laws of the Philippines because Article 17 of the Civil Code pertinently provides that when contracts. despite an injunction order from the court. the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be observed in their execution. 37. 15-16 PARENTAL ADVICE. the local civil registrar shall not issue the marriage license till after three months following the completion of the publication of the application therefor. VENUE. It is also the purpose of these statutes to discourage deception and seduction. Prescribing parental advice for those 21-25 years of age is in keeping with Philippine tradition and it does not bar marriage totally. does not make the marriage invalid or void but merely annullable which means that the marriage is valid until annulled. If. however. upon . the local civil registrar nevertheless issues a marriage license and a marriage is solemnized on the basis of such marriage license. but only subjects those who have neglected to acquire it to the penalties of the law. prevent illicit intercourse under the guise of matrimony. sisters. PURPOSE OF DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS. Arts. if any. in case where parental consent (contracting parties between the ages of eighteen and above but below twenty-one) or parental advice is needed. It is not even annullable. 12-14 Art. PARENTAL CONSENT.

and the fact. the said Photostat copies are deemed sufficient proof of the facts contained therein and therefore can be proof of marriage. PROOF OF MARRIAGE When the question as to whether or not a marriage has been contracted arises in litigation. But the primary or best evidence of a marriage is the marriage contract or the marriage certificate. Consequently. Art. If such Photostat copy emanated from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar and duly certified by the local civil registrar as an authentic copy of the records in his office. to be in fact married. the local civil registrar will not issue the marriage license. according to law. at his own instance or that of an interested party. and that such wife or husband of the first marriage is still living. If it is not claimed and therefore not used within 120 days. A certificate of legal capacity is necessary because the Philippines. If both contracting parties are foreigners and they intend to have their marriage solemnized by a judge. If the Photostat copies. The law clearly provides that. adheres to the national law of the contracting parties with respect to their legal capacity to contract marriage. though not certified by the office of the local civil registrar. it is presumed that no legal impediments existed to the parties entering into such marriage. in so far as marriage is concerned. and the burden of proving that it has not rests upon the party seeking to impeach the last marriage. does not destroy the prima facie legality of the last marriage. rabbi. the marriage celebrated on the basis of such marriage license will still be considered valid as this is merely an irregularity in complying with a formal requirement of the law in procuring a marriage license which. or any minister of any church or religious sect as provided for in Article 7 of the Family Code. or by a fi ne of not less than two hundred pesos nor more than two thousand pesos. this is a necessary requisite before a marriage license can be obtained by him or her. This is an exception to the rule that the local civil registrar. Residence Certificates. Stateless refugees. be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month and a fine of not more than two hundred pesos. he is judicially restrained from issuing the marriage license. in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to the case. but may be contradicted and overcome by evidence. are presented in court without objection from the opposing parties and consequently admitted by the court. credible testimony stating that a wedding took place gives rise to the presumption that an exchange of vows was made between the parties declaring that they take each other. marriage and not concubinage. and if the parties were not what they hold themselves out as being. then they have to secure a marriage license in the Philippines. judicial decisions. The evidence need not necessarily or directly establish the marriage but must at least be enough to strengthen the presumption of marriage. or the mayor pursuant to the Local Government Code.conviction thereof. shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one month nor more than two years. it was proper to issue the same. as to the foreigner. priest. Also. Without this certification of legal capacity. The date of the signing of the local civil registrar of the marriage license is the date of the issue. birth certificates. Art 22-23 PRESUMPTION OF MARRIAGE. for the law presumes morality and not immorality. said marriage may be proved by evidence of any kind. Transfer Certificates of Title. every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony as it is the basis of human society throughout the civilized world strongest known to the law: especially where the legitimacy of the children is involved. It is settled law that when a marriage has been consummated in accordance with the forms of the law. will not affect the validity of the marriage.they shall be required to file an affidavit stating the circumstances showing such capacity to contract marriage in lieu of the certificate of legal capacity. legitimacy and not bastardy Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed. If without the certificate of legal capacity the marriage license was nevertheless issued. it shall automatically become ineffective Art. it should be claimed by the parties. It is good for 120 days from the date of issue. baptismal certificates. They can get married before such consul-general without procuring a marriage license here in the Philippines if their country’s laws allow the same. Illegal issuance or refusal of license.fails to issue the same within twenty-four hours after the time when. 38. must nevertheless issue the marriage license unless. That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage is a presumption which is considered satisfactory if uncontradicted. such certified Photostat copy is admissible as evidence. they would be living in the constant violation of decency and law. that either or both of the parties have been previously married. The presumption in such case is that the former marriage has been legally dissolved.. even if he finds an impediment in the impending marriage. if shown. Before such license is issued. 21 CERTIFICATE OR AFFIDAVIT OF LEGAL CAPACITY. and family bible in which the names of the spouses have been entered as married are good evidences of marriage. they have to submit a certificate of legal capacity. according to Article 4. Thus. From the date of issue. SEC. The marriage license is valid only within the Philippines and not abroad. The reason is that such is the common order of society. .20 MARRIAGE LICENSE AND DATE OF ISSUE. imam.

other evidence may be presented in support thereof. any officer. may be overcome only by cogent proof on the part of those who allege the illegitimacy. However. Always presume marriage. But with an admission that. DECLARATORY RELIEF. they lived separately and several thousands of miles away from each other. public and open cohabitation as husband and wife after the alleged marriage. This is the usual order of things in society and. shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than one month or by a fi ne of not more than three hundred pesos. For example. It is weak and insufficient to rebut the presumption that persons living together as husband and wife are married to each other. is a convincing evidence to destroy the validity of marriage on the ground of absence of a valid marriage license. birth and baptismal certificates of children borne by the alleged spouses. EFFECT OF DUTY OF LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR. or both. While obtaining a marriage license in a place which is not the place of residence of any of the contracting parties is merely an irregularity that does not invalidate a marriage. to seek from the court a judgment on their capacity to marry. Art. It has been held. they can file a petition for declaratory relief. that any presumption of marriage from the fact that there was cohabitation between a man and a woman many years ago may be considered offset by the fact that. An official certification issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of a municipality. or is issued to another couple. however. the testimony of an eyewitness to be sufficient should disclose not only the performance of the ceremony by someone. preponderated in favour of the assertion that there was no marriage. Relevantly. due to the work load of the said office. distinct and satisfactory. the party making the request is seeking for an official declaration of the status of a matter in controversy. as the parties can still rely on the presumption of marriage. or is spurious and fabricated. failure to present a marriage certificate is not fatal in a case where a marriage is in dispute. or an insured may seek a determination of insurance coverage under a policy. The evidence need not necessarily or directly establish the marriage but must at least be enough to strengthen the presumption of marriage. or minister failing to deliver to either of the contracting parties one of the copies of the marriage contract or to forward the other copy to the authorities within the period fixed by law for said purpose. By seeking a declaratory judgment. the said office has no record of the marriage license. Because the local civil registrar is the specific government official charged with the preparation and keeping of all official documents in connection with marriage. which must be proved by the proper documents or by oral testimony in case these have been lost. for the last 35 years of their lives. Also. the resolution of the rights of the parties involved will prevent further litigation. where a particular marriage license has been issued as indicated in the marriage contract. is admissible and competent to prove marriage. Testimony by one of the parties or witnesses to the marriage. With respect to a marriage ceremony. However. but that all the circumstances attending it were such as to constitute it a legal marriage. The statement of the civil status of a person in a certificate of title issued to him is not conclusive to show that he is not actually married to another. PROOF TO ATTACK VALIDITY OF MARRIAGE. The evidence to repel that presumption must be strong. especially where the legitimacy of the issue is involved. Declaratory relief refers to a judgment of a court which determines the rights of parties without ordering anything be done or awarding damages. and a statement of such marriage in subsequent documents are competent evidence to prove the fact of marriage.passports and other similar documents cannot prove marriage especially so when the petitioner has submitted a certification from the Local Civil Registrar concerned that the alleged marriage was not registered and a letter from the judge alleged to have solemnized the marriage that he has not solemnized said alleged marriage. if weighed against each other. Optimally. priest. or by the person who solemnized the same. stating that. This presumption. after earnest effort to locate and verify the existence of the particular marriage license. they would be living in constant violation of the common rules of law and propriety. In the event that the parties are not certain whether. in the discretion of the court. Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. if the parties are not what they hold themselves out to be. such that the evidence. under the law. a party to a contract may seek the legal interpretation of a contract to determine the parties' rights. any certification issued by him or her in connection with any matter involving the marriage of any particular . Once the presumption of marriage arises. Widower vs child’s certicate indicating the status ofthe child of the parties as legitimate and therefore implying a valid marriage of the child’s parents: The pieces of evidences disproving the existence of the marriage also have probative value. it cannot give full force in locating the marriage license compounded by the fact that the custodian already retired. the Supreme Court did not allow the nullity of the marriage on the ground of absence of a marriage license considering that the circumstances and the certification do not categorically and with absolutely certainty show and state that the marriage license cannot be found and that there were earnest efforts to look for the same. it has been held that mere cohabitation is not direct proof of marriage. 24-25 Persons dwelling together apparently in marriage are presumed to be in fact married. they can proceed with a marriage.

It should be remembered that under Article 21. though below 18 years of age. Each sovereign state has the right to declare what marriages it will or will not recognize. the names and addresses of the witnesses. the place and date of the solemnization of the marriage. As a general rule. Art 26. the better rule is that the exception under Article 26 referring to Article 35(1) should be construed as referring to a situation where the marriage abroad is between a Filipino and a Filipina and not between a Filipino or Filipina and an alien married in the alien’s state where he or she (the alien). Polygamy is the act or state of a person who.individual within his or her jurisdiction is given high probative value. every assumption will be in favor of the marriage. Therefore. this connotes a ceremonial marriage where solemnization is inherently involved. VALIDATION PROVISION. Solemnization refers to or implies a ceremonial marriage and not one which was “contracted” or merely performed by way of a mere agreement of the parties. a foreigner can get married in the Philippines even if he is below 18 years of age if he obtains a certificate of legal capacity from his diplomatic mission in the Philippines stating that. it is a general principle of international and interstate law that the validity of a marriage. A bigamous marriage is committed by a person who contracts a second marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved. shall likewise not be recognized in the Philippines. or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceeding. Under Article 41 of the Family Code. and the manner or mode of its celebration. Marriages declared void under Philippine laws for being against public policy will not be recognized here even if such marriages are not against public policy or not illegal in the country where said marriages were solemnized. and where there is bona fi de attempt on the part of the parties to effect a legal marriage. In the marriage register. namely. their marriage solemnized abroad will not be recognized in the Philippines as valid even if the marriage is valid in the place where it has been solemnized. is capacitated to marry. Article 26 of the Family Code and Article 15 of the Civil Code express the “extra-territorial effect of the exception”. however. Indeed.” . MARRIAGE REGISTER. there shall be entered the full name and address of each of the contracting parties. the formality. A MATTER OF INTERNATIONAL COMITY. Thus.” Again. Bigamous and polygamous marriages. the full name. a “bigamous” marriage may be recognized. their ages. The law is addressed “to any party. With respect to legal capacity. and address of the person who solemnized the marriage. in his country . one of the spouses had been absent for four (4) consecutive years. it has been held that a certification of the local civil registrar that there was no record in his office of any marriage license of the alleged spouses is enough to prove that the marriage. marries another. and the full name. our country follows the nationality rule and. regardless of whether the participants are domiciled within or without its borders and notwithstanding such marriages’ validity under the laws of a foreign state where such marriages were contracted. before the celebration of the subsequent marriage. knowing that he has two or more wives. hence. address and relationship with the contracting party or parties of the person or persons who gave their consent to the marriage. This occurs when. The second paragraph of Article 26 also uses the term “celebrated. and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. the Philippines follows the lex loci celebrationis rule. title. ARE COMMON-LAW MARRIAGES OBTAINED ABROAD BY FILIPINOS VALID IN THE PHILIPPINES? Common-law marriages obtained by Filipinos abroad should not be recognized here. This is because every sovereign state is the conservator of its own morals and the good order of society. EXCEPTIONS.persons even under 18 years of age can marry. inherent in a ceremonial marriage is what primarily distinguishes it from a common law marriage. such as in cases of a common law marriage. though valid abroad. if either or both contracting parties are Filipinos and they are below 18 years of age. But under the operation of the rule that all presumptions favor marriage. Hence. Under the Family Code. a marriage valid where celebrated will generally be regarded as valid everywhere. therefore. Accordingly. so far at least as it depends upon the preliminaries. the solemnization. The converse rule stated above is subject to many exceptions and will not be enforced where the circumstances afford a reasonable ground for the course taken and show a bona fide attempt to effect a marriage. should accord respect to the laws of the country in so far as the legal capacity to marry of the foreigner is concerned. or two consecutive years in cases where there is danger of death. is to be determined in reference to the law of the place where it is celebrated. or that she has two or more husbands.

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