Ninal vs.

Bayadog (under valid marriage license topic) Facts:  September 26, 1974 – Pepito Ninal was married to Teodulfa Bellones. Borne out of their marriage are the petitioners. April 24, 1985 – Teodulfa was shot by Pepito resulting in her death.

December 11, 1986 – 1 year and 8 months after Teodulfa died, Pepito married respondent Norma Badayog without any marriage license, claiming in an affidavit that they have been living together as husband and wife for at least 5 years, thus exempting them from securing a marriage license. February 19, 1997 – Pepito dies.

Petitioners filed a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage of Pepito to Norma on grounds that it was void due to the lack of marriage license. Case was filed in assumption that invalidity or validity of second marriage would affect petitioner’s successional rights.

Respondent file a motion to dismiss on grounds that petitioners have no cause of action since they were not among the persons who can file an action for “annulment of marriage” under Art. 47 of FC.

Issues:  W/N the cohabitation of Pepito and Norma is pursuant to the nature of cohabitation that is contemplated under Art. 76 of the Civil Code to warrant the counting of five years period in order to exempt future spouses from securing a marriage license. W/N petitioners have the personality to declare their father’s marriage void after his death.

 Held: 

With regards to the nature of cohabitation contemplated under Art 76, the five year period, which counted back from date of celebration of marriage, must be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of marriage. It should be in the nature of a perfect union that is valid under the law rendered imperfect only by absence of marriage contract, and characterized by

exclusivity – meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and continuity – that is unbroken.  Both parties must be capacitated to marry each other during the five years of cohabitation, not just on the date of marriage, otherwise the law would be sanctioning immorality, encouraging common law marriage and placing them on same footing as those who lived faithfully with their spouse. Pepito and Norma’s cohabitation thus is not covered by the exemption on requirement of marriage license due to the fact that his marriage with Teodulfa was still subsisting when he was cohabitating with Norma. Second marriage is thus rendered as void ab initio because of the lack of marriage license. A void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void, yet for the sake of good order of society, it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage be declared or ascertained by the decree of a court of competent jurisdiction. In the case at bar, court granted the declaration of nullity of the marriage for the purpose of determination of heirship, or for the successional rights of petitioner.

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