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08-09.civillaw

08-09.civillaw

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Published by cmv mendoza
Uncategorized stuff from the 2011 Bar Examinations
Uncategorized stuff from the 2011 Bar Examinations

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Published by: cmv mendoza on Dec 15, 2011
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11/02/2012

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Survey of SC Decisions in
CIVIL LAW 2008-2009
Dean ED VINCENT S. ALBANOBIRTHARTICLES 40, 41, 42, NCCBIRTH AND PERSONALITY; EFFECT OF DEATHAcquisition of personality.
One question has been asked in a case where a fetus died. Are the parents entitled tobereavement benefits under the CBA with the employer? But before the question can be answered, wemust determine whether the fetus can be considered a dependent within the meaning of the term underthe CBA. The answer is, Yes because a child does not need to be born to be considered a dependentbecause even during the period of conception where the fetus is still inside the womb of the mother, it isalready dependent upon her for sustenance to survive. In fact, it is not necessary that the fetus be borninorder that he may die. It cannot be said that only one with juridical personality can die and a dead fetusnever acquired juridical personality. That is not quite correct, for even the fetus already attains life duringconception and can die in the womb of the mother. This unique situation occurred in a case where the parents of an unborn fetus were demandingbereavement leave with pay and other benefits because of the death of the fetus. It was contendedhowever that no such benefits are due as no death of an employee’s dependent had occurred. The deathof a fetus, at whatever stage of pregnancy, was excluded from the coverage of the CBA since what wascontemplated by the CBA was the death of a fetus which did not acquire any juridical personality, it wasfurther contended. But as said earlier, even a fetus has a personality, especially so that the CBA can beconsidered as a contract between the parent and the employer and the bereavement benefits can beconsidered as a stipulation where the fetus is the subject.Article 40 provides that a conceived child acquires personality only when it is born, and Article 41defines when a child is considered born. Article 42 plainly states that civil personality is extinguished bydeath.Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code on natural persons, must be applied in relation to Article37 of the same Code, the very first of the general provisions on civil personality, which reads:Art. 37. Juridical capacity, which is the fitness to be the subject of legal relations, is inherent in every natural person and is lost only throughdeath. Capacity to act, which is the power to do acts with legal effect, isacquired and may be lost.Articles 40, 41 and 42 of the Civil Code do not provide at all a definition of 
death
. Moreover, whilethe Civil Code expressly provides that civil personality may be extinguished by death, it does notexplicitly state that only those who have acquired juridical personality could die.Death has been defined as the cessation of life. (Black’s Law Dictionary). Life is not synonymouswith civil personality. One need not acquire civil personality first before he/she could die. Even a childinside the womb already has life. No less than the Constitution recognizes the
life of the unborn fromconception
, (Art. II, Sec. 12, Constitution) that the State must protect equally with the life of the mother.If the unborn already has life, then the cessation thereof even prior to the child being delivered, qualifiesas
death
.The unborn child can be considered a
dependent 
under the CBA. A
dependent 
is “one who relieson another for support; one not able to exist or sustain oneself without the power or aid of someoneelse.” Under said general definition,
 
even an unborn child is a
dependent 
of its parents. The child couldnot have reached 38-39 weeks of its gestational life without depending upon its mother, for sustenance.Additionally, it is explicit in the CBA provisions in question that the
dependent 
may be the parent,spouse, or
child 
of a married employee; or the parent, brother, or sister of a single employee. The CBAdid not provide a qualification for the
child dependent 
, such that the child must have been born or musthave acquired civil personality, as employer averred. Without such qualification, then
child 
shall beunderstood in its more general sense, which includes the unborn fetus in the mother’s womb. The term
legitimate
merely addresses the dependent child’s status in relation to his/her parents.In
 Angeles v. Maglaya
, G.R. No. 153798, September 2, 2005, 469 SCRA 363, it was said that a legitimatechild is a product of, and, therefore, implies a valid and lawful marriage. Remove the element of lawfulunion and there is strictly no legitimate filiation between parents and child. Article 164 of the FamilyCode cannot be more emphatic on the matter: “Children
conceived
or born during the marriage of theparents are legitimate.”
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Conversely, in
Briones v. Miguel
, 483 Phil. 483 (2004) an illegitimate child was defined to be asfollows: The fine distinctions among the various types of illegitimate children have beeneliminated in the Family Code. Now, there are only two classes of children -- legitimate(and those who, like the legally adopted, have the rights of legitimate children) andillegitimate. All children
conceived
and born outside a valid marriage are illegitimate,unless the law itself gives them legitimate status.It is apparent that according to the Family Code and the afore-cited jurisprudence, the legitimacyor illegitimacy of a child attaches upon his/her conception. In the present case, the parents of the unbornfetus were validly married and that their child was conceived during said marriage, hence, making saidchild
legitimate
upon her conception. (Continental Steel Manufacturing Corp. v. Hon. AccreditedVoluntary Arbitrator, et al., G.R. No. 182836, October 13, 2009).
MARRIAGEFalse affidavit on 5-year period of cohabitation; as if marriagecelebrated without a license; void.
In
Rep. v. Jose Dayot 
, G.R. No. 175581, March 28, 2008, Nazario, J, the SC once again had theoccasion to rule that the requirement of a marriage license for the validity of marriage is mandatory. Oneexception is, if the parties have live together as husband and wife without any legal impediment to marryone another. In lieu of the license, an affidavit of cohabitation would be sufficient.In this case, Jose and Felisa were introduced to each other in March 1986. In June 1986, Jose livedin the house of Felisa as a boarder or they lived together barely 5 months before they got married. In1986, Felisa asked him to accompany her to the Pasay City Hall to claim a package where he was askedto sign documents. He initially refused but he was cajoled by Felisa, hence, he signed the same, only tofind out that he contracted marriage with her. He filed a complaint for annulment and/or declaration of nullity of the marriage alleging that it was a sham marriage, as no marriage ceremony was held; that hedid not execute an affidavit stating that they lived as husband and wife for at least 5 years. Felisacontended otherwise and defended the validity of their marriage. After trial, the RTC dismissed thecomplaint, ruling that a person in his right mind would easily suspect any attempt to make him or hersign a blank sheet of paper. The Court of Appeals however, declared their marriage void. The Court of Appeals relied on the ruling in
Niñal v. Bayadog
, 384 Phil 661 (2000) and reasonedthat:
In Niñal v. Badayog, where the contracting parties to a marriage solemnized without a marriagelicense on the basis of their affidavit that they had attained the age majority, that being unmarried, they had lived together for at least five (5) years and that they desired to marry each other, the SupremeCourt ruled as follows:“x x x In other words, the five – year common --- law cohabitation period, which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage, should be a period of legal union had it not been for theabsence of the marriage. This 5-year period should be the years immediately before the day of themarriage and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity – meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and continuity that is unbroken. Otherwise, if thacontinuous five year cohabitation period is computed without any distinction as to whether the partieswere capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years, then the law would be sanctioningimmorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing them on the samefooting with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. Marriage being a special relationship must berespected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. The presumption that a man and awoman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirement of the law. The parties should be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. There should be no exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. It should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that the two persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or who has any knowledge of any impediment to the union of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar. Article 80(3) of the Civil Code provides that a marriage solemnized without a marriage license,save marriages of exceptional character, shall be void from the beginning. Inasmuch as the marriagebetween Jose and Felisa is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license, it is,therefore void ab initio because of the absence of marriage license.
 The reason for the law, (Niñal v. Bayadog) as espoused by the Code Commission, is that thepublicity attending a marriage license may discourage such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from legalizing their status.
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It is not contested that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was performed without a marriage license.In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit declaring that “they have attained the age maturity; that beingunmarried, they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years; and that because of thisunion, they desire to marry each other. One of the central issues in the Petition at bar is thus: whetherthe falsity of an affidavit of marital cohabitation, where the parties have in truth fallen short of theminimum five-year requirement, effectively renders the marriage void
ab initio
for lack of a marriagelicense. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76, NCC applies only to those who have livetogether as husband and wife for at least five years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code, in noambiguous terms, places a minimum period he had, since the language of Article 76 is precise. Theminimum requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved in the language of the law.For a marriage celebrated under Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with. It isembodied in the law not as a directory requirement, but as one that partakes of a mandatory character.It is indubitably established that Jose and Felisa have not lived together for five years at the timethey executed their sworn affidavit and contracted marriage. The Republic admitted that Jose and Felisastarted lived together only in June 1986, or barely five months before the celebration of their marriage. The insistence of the Republic that the falsity of the statements in the parties’ affidavit will notaffect the validity of marriage, since all the essential and formal requisites were complied with is notquite correct. The argument deserves scan merit. Patently, it cannot be denied that the marriagebetween Jose and Felisa was celebrated without the formal requisite of a marriage license. Neither Joseand Felisa meet the explicit legal requirement in Article 76, that they should have lived together ashusband and wife for at least five years, so as to be expected from the requirement of a marriagelicense.
Falsity of statement, not mere irregularity.
 The ratiocination of the Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the factthat the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be invalidated by a fabricatedstatement that the parties have cohabited for at least five years as required by law, is not correct. Thecontract is flagrant. The former is with reference to an irregularity of the marriage license, and not to theabsence of one. Hence, there is no marriage license at all. Furthermore, the falsity of the allegation in thesworn affidavit relating to the period of the parties’ cohabitation, which would have qualified theirmarriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for itrefers to a quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the partiesunder oath. If the essential matter in the sworn affidavit is a lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper,without force and effect. Hence, it is as if there was no affidavit at all.
Meaning of the 5-year cohabitation.
 Jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period underArticle 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage, and refersto a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of a marriage. (Niñal v. Bayadog). It covers theyears immediately preceding the day of the marriage, characterized by exclusivity – meaning no thirdparty was involved at any time within the five years – and continuity that is unbroken.
Spouse convicted of adultery; right toshare conjugal properties;compromise agreement equivalent tovoluntary separation of properties.
In
Maquilan v. Maquilan
, G.R. No. 155409, June 8, 2007, there was a blissful married life of thespouses, but their once sugar coated romance turned bitter when the man discovered that the wife wascommitting adultery. He sued her and the paramour for adultery where they were convicted. Thereafter,he filed a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity withDissolution and Liquidation of the conjugal partnership of gains and damages. They, however, enteredinto a Compromise Agreement where they separated and divided their properties. Judgment wasrendered approving the compromise agreement but later on he filed a motion to repudiate theCompromise Agreement as he was not properly advised by his lawyer. It was denied. In a petition forCertiorari before the CA, he contended that: (1) it was made within the cooling-off period; (2) theproceedings were conducted without the participation of the OSG. The CA dismissed the Petition rulingthat conviction for adultery did not
ipso facto
disqualify her from sharing in the conjugal property; thatthe cooling-off period under Article 58, Family Code has no bearing and that the presence of the OSG isnot indispensable to the execution and validity of the Compromise Agreement since the propose of hispresence is to curtail any collusion between the parties and to see to it that evidence is not fabricated. The issue in this case involves the right to share despite conviction for adultery.
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