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G.R. No.

L-57062 January 24, 1992


MARIA DEL ROSARIO MARIATEGI, ET AL., !"#$#$on"r%,
&%.
'ON. (ORT O) A**EALS, JA(INTO MARIATEGI, JLIAN MARIATEGI an+ *ALINA MARIATEGI, r"%!on+"n#%.
Montesa, Albon & Associates for petitioners.
Parmenio B. Patacsil, Patacsil Twins Law Office for the heirs of the late Maria del Rosario Mariategui.
Tinga, uentes & Tagle irm for pri!ate respondents.

,IDIN, ".#
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision - of the Court of Appeals dated December 24, 1980 in CA!"#"
$o" %1841, entitled &'acinto (ariate)ui, et al" v" (aria del #osario (ariate)ui, et al",& reversin) the *ud)ment of the then
Court of +irst ,nstance of #i-al, .ranch /,,, -- at 0asi), (etro (anila"
The undisputed facts are as follows1
2upo (ariate)ui died without a will on 'une 2%, 1934 5.rief for respondents, Rollo, pp" 11%6 87" Durin) his lifetime, 2upo
(ariate)ui contracted three 547 marria)es" 8ith his first wife, 9usebia (ontellano, who died on $ovember 8, 1904, he
be)ot four 547 children, namel:1 .aldomera, (aria del #osario, ;rbana and ,reneo" .aldomera died and was survived b:
her children named Antero, #ufina, Catalino, (aria, !erardo, /ir)inia and +ederico, all surnamed 9spina" ,reneo also died
and left a son named #uperto" 8ith his second wife, +laviana (ontellano, he be)ot a dau)hter named Cresenciana who
was born on (a: 8, 1910 5Rollo, Anne< &A&, p" 4%7"
2upo (ariate)ui and +elipa /elasco 52upo=s third wife7 )ot married sometime in 1940" The: had three children, namel:1
'acinto, born on 'ul: 4, 1929, 'ulian, born on +ebruar: 1%, 1941 and 0aulina, born on April 19, 1948" +elipa /elasco
(ariate)ui died in 1941 5Rollo, Ibid7"
At the time of his death, 2upo (ariate)ui left certain properties which he ac>uired when he was still unmarried 5.rief for
respondents, Rollo, pp" 11%6 47" These properties are described in the complaint as 2ots $os" 1%4, %%, 144% and 13% of
the (untin)lupa 9state 5Rollo, Anne< &A&, p" 497"
?n December 2, 19%@, 2upo=s descendants b: his first and second marria)es, namel:, (aria del #osario, ;rbana,
#uperto, Cresencia, all surnamed (ariate)ui and Antero, #ufina, Catalino, (aria, !erardo, /ir)inia and +ederico, all
surnamed 9spina, e<ecuted a deed of e<tra*udicial partition whereb: the: ad*udicated unto themselves 2ot $o" 1%4 of the
(untin)lupa 9state" Thereafter, 2ot $o" 1%4 was the sub*ect of a voluntar: re)istration proceedin)s filed b: the
ad*udicatees under Act $o" 49%, and the land re)istration court issued a decree orderin) the re)istration of the lot" Thus,
on April 1, 19@1, ?CT $o" 8828 was issued in the name of the abovementioned heirs" Aubse>uentl:, the re)istered
owners caused the subdivision of the said lot into 2ots $os" 1%4A to 1%4B, for which separate transfer certificates of title
were issued to the respective parties 5Rollo, ibid7"
?n April 24, 19@4, 2upo=s children b: his third marria)e with +elipa /elasco 5'acinto, 'ulian and 0aulina7 filed with the
lower court an amended complaint claimin) that 2ot $o" 1%4 to)ether with 2ots $os" %%9, 144% and 134 were owned b:
their common father, 2upo (ariate)ui, and that, with the ad*udication of 2ot $o" 1%4 to their coheirs, the: 5children of the
third marria)e7 were deprived of their respective shares in the lots" 0laintiffs pra: for partition of the estate of their
deceased father and annulment of the deed of e<tra*udicial partition dated December 2, 19%@ 50etition, Rollo, p" 107"
Cresencia (ariate)ui Abas, +laviana (ariate)ui Cabrera and ,sabel Aantos were impleaded in the complaint as unwillin)
defendants as the: would not liCe to *oin the suit as plaintiffs althou)h the: acCnowled)ed the status and ri)hts of the
plaintiffs and a)reed to the partition of the parcels of land as well as the accountin) of their fruits 5Ibid", Rollo, p" 86 #ecord
on Appeal, p" 47"
The defendants 5now petitioners7 filed an answer with counterclaim 5Amended #ecord on Appeal, p" 147" Thereafter, the:
filed a motion to dismiss on the )rounds of lacC of cause of action and prescription" The: specificall: contended that the
complaint was one for reco)nition of natural children" ?n Au)ust 14, 19@4, the motion to dismiss was denied b: the trial
court, in an order the dispositive portion of which reads1
,t is therefore the opinion of the Court that Articles 2@8 and 283 of the Civil Code cited b: counsel for the
defendants are of erroneous application to this case" The motion to dismiss is therefore denied for lacC of
merit"
A? ?#D9#9D" 5Ibid, p" 4@7"
Bowever, on +ebruar: 1%, 19@@, the complaint as well as petitioners= counterclaim were dismissed b: the trial court, in its
decision statin) thus1
The plaintiffs= ri)ht to inherit depends upon the acCnowled)ment or reco)nition of their continuous
en*o:ment and possession of status of children of their supposed father" The evidence fails to sustain
either premise, and it is clear that this action cannot be sustained" 5Ibid, Rollo, pp" %@%87
The plaintiffs elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on the )round that the trial court committed an error &" " " in not
findin) that the parents of the appellants, 2upo (ariate)ui and +elipa /elasco 5were7 lawfull: married, and in holdin) 5that7
the: 5appellants7 are not le)itimate children of their said parents, thereb: divestin) them of their inheritance " " " & 5Rollo,
pp" 14137"
?n December 24, 1980, the Court of Appeals rendered a decision declarin) all the children and descendants of 2upo
(ariate)ui, includin) appellants 'acinto, 'ulian and 0aulina 5children of the third marria)e7 as entitled to e>ual shares in
the estate of 2upo (ariate)ui6 directin) the ad*udicatees in the e<tra*udicial partition of real properties who eventuall:
ac>uired transfer certificates of title thereto, to e<ecute deeds of reconve:ance in favor, and for the shares, of 'acinto,
'ulian and 0aulina provided ri)hts of innocent third persons are not pre*udiced otherwise the said ad*udicatees shall
reimburse the said heirs the fair marCet value of their shares6 and directin) all the parties to submit to the lower court a
pro*ect of partition in the net estate of 2upo (ariate)ui after pa:ment of ta<es, other )overnment char)es and outstandin)
le)al obli)ations"
The defendantsappellees filed a motion for reconsideration of said decision but it was denied for lacC of merit" Bence, this
petition which was )iven due course b: the court on December @, 1981"
The petitioners submit to the Court the followin) issues1 5a7 whether or not prescription barred private respondents= ri)ht to
demand the partition of the estate of 2upo (ariate)ui, and 5b7 whether or not the private respondents, who belatedl: filed
the action for reco)nition, were able to prove their successional ri)hts over said estate" The resolution of these issues
hin)es, however, on the resolution of the preliminar: matter, i.e., the nature of the complaint filed b: the private
respondents"
The complaint alle)ed, amon) other thin)s, that &plaintiffs are the children of the deceased spouses 2upo (ariate)ui " " "
and +elipa /elasco&6 that &durin) his lifetime, 2upo (ariate)ui had repeatedl: acCnowled)ed and confirmed plaintiffs as
his children and the latter, in turn, have continuousl: en*o:ed such status since their birth&6 and &on the basis of their
relationship to the deceased 2upo (ariate)ui and in accordance with the law on intestate succession, plaintiffs are entitled
to inherit shares in the fore)oin) estate 5#ecord on Appeal, pp" 3 D %7" ,t pra:ed, amon) others, that plaintiffs be declared
as children and heirs of 2upo (ariate)ui and ad*udication in favor of plaintiffs their lawful shares in the estate of the
decedent 5Ibid, p" 107"
A perusal of the entire alle)ations of the complaint, however, shows that the action is principall: one of partition" The
alle)ation with respect to the status of the private respondents was raised onl: collaterall: to assert their ri)hts in the
estate of the deceased" Bence, the Court of Appeals correctl: adopted the settled rule that the nature of an action filed in
court is determined b: the facts alle)ed in the complaint constitutin) the cause of action 5#epublic vs" 9sten-o, 138 AC#A
282 E1988F7"
,t has been held that, if the relief demanded is not the proper one which ma: be )ranted under the law, it does not
characteri-e or determine the nature of plaintiffs= action, and the relief to which plaintiff is entitled based on the facts
alle)ed b: him in his complaint, althou)h it is not the relief demanded, is what determines the nature of the action 51
(oran, p" 12@, 19@9 ed", citin) .a)uioro vs" .arrios, et al", @@ 0hil" 1207"
8ith respect to the le)al basis of private respondents= demand for partition of the estate of 2upo (ariate)ui, the Court of
Appeals aptl: held that the private respondents are le)itimate children of the deceased"
2upo (ariate)ui and +elipa /elasco were alle)ed to have been lawfull: married in or about 1940" This fact is based on the
declaration communicated b: 2upo (ariate)ui to 'acinto who testified that &when 5his7 father was still livin), he was able
to mention to 5him7 that he and 5his7 mother were able to )et married before a 'ustice of the 0eace of Ta)ui), #i-al"& The
spouses deported themselves as husband and wife, and were Cnown in the communit: to be such" Althou)h no marria)e
certificate was introduced to this effect, no evidence was liCewise offered to controvert these facts" (oreover, the mere
fact that no record of the marria)e e<ists does not invalidate the marria)e, provided all re>uisites for its validit: are
present 50eople vs" .orromeo, 144 AC#A 10% E1984F7"
;nder these circumstances, a marria)e ma: be presumed to have taCen place between 2upo and +elipa" The laws
presume that a man and a woman, deportin) themselves as husband and wife, have entered into a lawful contract of
marria)e6 that a child born in lawful wedlocC, there bein) no divorce, absolute or from bed and board is le)itimate6 and
that thin)s have happened accordin) to the ordinar: course of nature and the ordinar: habits of life 5Aection 3 5-7, 5bb7,
5cc7, #ule 141, #ules of Court6 Corpus v" Corpus, 83 AC#A 3%@ E19@8F6 Aaurnaba v" 8orCmen=s Compensation, 83 AC#A
302 E19@8F6 Alavado v" Cit: !ov=t" of Tacloban, 149 AC#A 240 E1983F6 #e:es v" Court of Appeals, 143 AC#A 449 E1983F7"
Courts looC upon the presumption of marria)e with )reat favor as it is founded on the followin) rationale1
The basis of human societ: throu)hout the civili-ed world is that of marria)e" (arria)e in this *urisdiction
is not onl: a civil contract, but it is a new relation, an institution in the maintenance of which the public is
deepl: interested" Conse>uentl:, ever: intendment of the law leans toward le)ali-in) matrimon:" 0ersons
dwellin) to)ether in apparent matrimon: are presumed, in the absence of an: counterpresumption or
evidence special to that case, to be in fact married" The reason is that such is the common order of
societ: and if the parties were not what the: thus hold themselves out as bein), the: would be livin) in
the constant violation of decenc: and of
law " " " 5Adon) vs" Cheon) Aen) !ee, 44 0hil" 44, 3% E1922F >uoted in Alavado vs" Cit: !overnment of
Tacloban, 149 AC#A 240 E1983F7"
Ao much so that once a man and a woman have lived as husband and wife and such relationship is not denied nor
contradicted, the presumption of their bein) married must be admitted as a fact 5Alavado v" Cit: !ov=t" of Tacloban, supra7"
The Civil Code provides for the manner under which le)itimate filiation ma: be proven" Bowever, considerin) the
effectivit: of the +amil: Code of the 0hilippines, the case at bar must be decided under a new if not entirel: dissimilar set
of rules because the parties have been overtaCen b: events, to use the popular phrase 5;:)uan)co vs" Court of Appeals,
!"#" $o" @%8@4, ?ctober 2%, 19897" Thus, under Title /, of the +amil: Code, there are onl: two classes of children G
le)itimate and ille)itimate" The fine distinctions amon) various t:pes of ille)itimate children have been eliminated 5Castro
vs" Court of Appeals, 1@4 AC#A %3% E1989F7"
Article 1@2 of the said Code provides that the filiation of le)itimate children ma: be established b: the record of birth
appearin) in the civil re)ister or a final *ud)ment or b: the open and continuous possession of the status of a le)itimate
child"
9vidence on record proves the le)itimate filiation of the private respondents" 'acinto=s birth certificate is a record of birth
referred to in the said article" A)ain, no evidence which tends to disprove facts contained therein was adduced before the
lower court" ,n the case of the two other private respondents, 'ulian and 0aulina, the: ma: not have presented in
evidence an: of the documents re>uired b: Article 1@2 but the: continuousl: en*o:ed the status of children of 2upo
(ariate)ui in the same manner as their brother 'acinto"
8hile the trial court found 'acinto=s testimonies to be inconse>uential and lacCin) in substance as to certain dates and
names of relatives with whom their famil: resided, these are but minor details" The na))in) fact is that for a considerable
len)th of time and despite the death of +elipa in 1941, the private respondents and 2upo lived to)ether until 2upo=s death
in 1934" ,t should be noted that even the trial court mentioned in its decision the admission made in the affidavit of
Cresenciana (ariate)ui Abas, one of the petitioners herein, that & " " " 'acinto, 'ulian and 0aulina (ariate)ui a: pawan)
m)a Capatid Co sa
ama " " "& 59<h" (, #ecord on Appeal, pp" %3%%7"
,n view of the fore)oin), there can be no other conclusion than that private respondents are le)itimate children and heirs
of 2upo (ariate)ui and therefore, the time limitation prescribed in Article 283 for filin) an action for reco)nition is
inapplicable to this case" Corollaril:, prescription does not run a)ainst private respondents with respect to the filin) of the
action for partition so lon) as the heirs for whose benefit prescription is invoCed, have not e<pressl: or impliedl:
repudiated the coownership" ,n other words, prescription of an action for partition does not lie e<cept when the co
ownership is properl: repudiated b: the coowner 5Del .anco vs" ,ntermediate Appellate Court, 13% AC#A 33 E198@F citin)
'ardin vs" Bollasco, 11@ AC#A 342 E1982F7"
?therwise stated, a coowner cannot ac>uire b: prescription the share of the other coowners absent a clear repudiation
of coownership dul: communicated to the other coowners 5(ariano vs" De /e)a, 148 AC#A 442 E198@F7" +urthermore,
an action to demand partition is imprescriptible and cannot be barred b: laches 5Del .anco vs" ,AC, 13% AC#A 33 E198@F7"
?n the other hand, an action for partition ma: be seen to be at once an action for declaration of coownership and for
se)re)ation and conve:ance of a determinate portion of the propert: involved 5#o>ue vs" ,AC, 1%3 AC#A 118 E1988F7"
0etitioners contend that the: have repudiated the coownership when the: e<ecuted the e<tra*udicial partition e<cludin)
the private respondents and re)istered the properties in their own names 50etition, p" 1%6 Rollo, p" 207" Bowever, no valid
repudiation was made b: petitioners to the pre*udice of private respondents" Assumin) petitioners= re)istration of the
sub*ect lot in 19@1 was an act of repudiation of the coownership, prescription had not :et set in when private respondents
filed in 19@4 the present action for partition 5Ceni-a vs" C"A", 181 AC#A 332 E1990F7"
,n their complaint, private respondents averred that in spite of their demands, petitioners, e<cept the unwillin) defendants
in the lower court, failed and refused to acCnowled)e and conve: their lawful shares in the estate of their father 5#ecord
on Appeal, p" %7" This alle)ation, thou)h denied b: the petitioners in their answer 5Ibid, p" 147, was never successfull:
refuted b: them" 0ut differentl:, in spite of petitioners= undisputed Cnowled)e of their relationship to private respondents
who are therefore their coheirs, petitioners fraudulentl: withheld private respondent=s share in the estate of 2upo
(ariate)ui" Accordin) to respondent 'acinto, since 19%2, he had been in>uirin) from petitioner (aria del #osario about
their 5respondents7 share in the propert: left b: their deceased father and had been assured b: the latter 5(aria del
#osario7 not to worr: because the: will )et some shares" As a matter of fact, sometime in 19%9, 'acinto constructed a
house where he now resides on 2ot $o" 1%4 without an: complaint from petitioners"
0etitioners= re)istration of the properties in their names in 19@1 did not operate as a valid repudiation of the coownership"
,n Adille vs" Court of Appeals 513@ AC#A 433, 4%14%2 E1988F7, the Court held1
0rescription, as a mode of terminatin) a relation of coownership, must have been preceded b:
repudiation 5of the coownership7" The act of repudiation, in turn, is sub*ect to certain conditions1 517 a co
owner repudiates the coownership6 527 such an act of repudiation is clearl: made Cnown to the other co
owners6 547 the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive6 and 547 he has been in possession throu)h
open, continuous, e<clusive, and notorious possession of the propert: for the period re>uired b: law"
<<< <<< <<<
,t is true that re)istration under the Torrens s:stem is constructive notice of title, but it has liCewise been
our holdin) that the Torrens title does not furnish shield for fraud" ,t is therefore no ar)ument to sa: that
the act of re)istration is e>uivalent to notice of repudiation, assumin) there was one, notwithstandin) the
lon)standin) rule that re)istration operates as a universal notice of title"
,nasmuch as petitioners re)istered the properties in their names in fraud of their coheirs prescription can onl: be deemed
to have commenced from the time private respondents discovered the petitioners= act of defraudation 5Adille vs" Court of
Appeals, supra7" Bence, prescription definitel: ma: not be invoCed b: petitioners because private respondents
commenced the instant action barel: two months after learnin) that petitioners had re)istered in their names the lots
involved"
8B9#9+?#9, the petition is D9$,9D and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 24, 1980 is
Affirmed"
A? ?#D9#9D"
Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur"
*an.an$/an S"!#"0/"r 9, 1911
JOSE R. *A2GANI,AN, 3o0!4a$nan#,
&%.
ELIAS ,ORROMEO, r"%!on+"n#.
T5" R"%!on+"n# $n 5$% o6n /"5a47.
O77$3" o7 #5" So4$3$#or-G"n"ra4 '$4a+o 7or #5" Go&"rn0"n#.
MAL(OLM, J.8
These proceedin)s looCin) to the disbarment of the respondent attorne: are before us on the representations of the
Aolicitor!eneral that the respondent appear and show cause, if an: he has, wh: he should not be proceeded a)ainst for
professional malpractice" The respondent admits that, in his capacit: as notar: public he le)ali-ed the document which is
the basis of the complaint a)ainst him, and that the document contains provisions contrar: to law, morals and )ood
customs, but b: wa: of defense disclaims an: previous Cnowled)e of the ille)al character of the document"
?n $ovember 23, 1941, Ale*andro 0abro and 'uana (appala husband and wife, subscribed a contract before the notar:
public 9lias .orromeo, who was at that time a re)ularl: admitted member of the 0hilippine .ar" The contract in >uestion
had been prepared b: the municipal secretar: of $a)uilian, ,sabela" Attorne: .orromeo cooperated in the e<ecution of the
document and had, at lease, some Cnowled)e of its contents, althou)h he ma: not have been full: informed because of a
difference in dialect" The contract in substance purported to formulate an a)reement between the husband and the wife
which permitted the husband to taCe unto himself a concubine and the wife to live in adulterous relationship with another
man, without opposition from either one of them"
Two >uestions are su))ested b: the record" The first concerns the points of whether or not the contract sanctioned an
illicit and immoral purpose" The second concerns the point, on the supposition that the contract did sanction an illicit and
immoral purpose, of whether a law:er ma: be disciplined for misconduct as a notar: public"
The contract of the spouses, it will be recalled, was e<ecuted at a time when the Apanish 0enal Code, as modified b: Act
$o" 1@@4 was in force" Concedin), however, that the more liberal provisions of the #evised 0enal Code should be )iven
application, it is herein provided that the consent or pardon )iven b: the offended part: constitutes a bar to prosecution for
adulter: or concubina)e" ,n this instance, if the spouses should retain their present frame of mind, no prosecution of either
one b: the other could be e<pected" $evertheless, we thinC it far from the purpose of the 2e)islature to le)ali-e adulter:
and concubina)e" The: still remain crimes, with the >ualification that prosecution cannot be instituted if the offended part:
consent to the act or pardon the offender" This is a matter of future contin)enc: and is not matter for le)ali-ation in wanton
disre)ard of )ood morals" 8e hold the contract to contain provisions contrar: to law, morals and public order, and as a
conse>uence not *udiciall: reco)ni-able"
0assin) to the second >uestion, we thinC there can be no >uestion as to the ri)ht of the court to discipline an attorne:
who, in his capacit: as notar: public, has been )uilt: of misconduct" To the office of notar: public there is not attached
such importance under present conditions as under the Apanish administration" 9ven so, the notar: public e<ercise duties
callin) for carefulness and faithfulness" ,t is for the notar: to inform himself of the facts to which he intends to certif:, and
to taCe part in no ille)al enterprise" The notar: public is usuall: a person who has been admitted to the practice of law, and
such, in the commin)lin) of his duties as notar: and law:er, must be held responsible for both" 8e are led to hold that a
member of the bar who performs an act as a notar: public of a dis)raceful or immoral character ma: be held to account
b: the court even to the e<tent of disbarment" 5Aee 2 Thornton on Attorne:s At 2aw, pp" 1238, 12396 ,n re Chappell E1909F,
113 $"H"A", 8%86 ,n re .ernard E1912F, 14% $"H"A", 1836 ,n re Arctander E18@9F, 1 $"8", 446 ,n re Terrell E1904F, 2 0hil", 2%%6
,n re Adriatico E190%F, @ 0hil", 1@46 ;"A" vs" Iila:Co E191%F, 44 0hil", @9%6 De la Cru- vs" Capinpin and Albea E1918F, 48
0hil", 492"7
,t now becomes necessar: to pronounce sentence" As miti)atin) circumstances, there ma: be taCen into consideration 517
that the attorne: ma: not have reali-ed the full purport of the document to which he tooC acCnowled)ment, 527 that no
falsification of facts was attempted, and 547 that the commission of the respondent as a notar: public has been revoCed"
Accordin)l:, we are disposed in this case to e<ercise clemenc: and to confine our discipline of the respondent to severe
censure" Ao ordered"
AvanceJa, C"'", Atreet, /illa#eal, Abad Aantos, Bull, /icCers, and ,mperial, ''", concur"
A.M. No. 904-(J May 19, 1975
SATRNINO SELANO:A, 3o0!4a$nan#,
&%.
ALEJANDRO E. MENDO;A, ($#y Ju+." o7 Man+au" ($#y, r"%!on+"n#.
R E S O L T I O N

AK;,$?, '"1JLM"NOwphP1
Aaturnino Aelanova char)ed 'ud)e Ale*andro 9" (endo-a of (andaue Cit: with )ross i)norance of the law for havin)
prepared and ratified a document dated $ovember 21, 19@2, e<tra*udiciall: li>uidatin) the con*u)al partnership of the
complainant and his wife, Avelina Ceni-a" ?ne condition of the li>uidation was that either spouse 5as the case ma: be7
would withdraw the complaint for adulter: or concubina)e which each had filed a)ainst the other and that the: waived
their &ri)ht to prosecute each other for whatever acts of infidelit:& either one would commit a)ainst the other"
'ud)e (endo-a in his comment on the char)e purposed to conve: the impression that he was aware of the invalidit: of
the a)reement but he nevertheless ratified it and )ave it his nihil obstat on the assurance of the spouses that the: would
asC the Court of +irst ,nstance of $e)ros ?riental 5where the: were residin)7 to approve the a)reement" That pretension is
disbelieved b: the 'udicial Consultant"
#espondent 'ud)e alle)ed that he relied on the provision that &the husband and the wife ma: a)ree upon the dissolution
of the con*u)al partnership durin) the marria)e, sub*ect to *udicial approval& 50ar" 4, Art" 191, Civil Code7"
Be ar)ues that to )ive the prohibition a)ainst an e<tra*udicial li>uidation of the con*u)al partnership durin) the marria)e
&an un>ualified and literal le)al construction& would lender nu)ator: the afore>uoted provisions of article 191" Be cites
2acson vs" Aan 'ose2acson, 224482, 224@%@ and 224239, Au)ust 40, 19%8, 24 AC#A 84@ as authorit: for the
propriet: of an e<tra*udicial a)reement for the dissolution durin) the marria)e of the con*u)al partnership as lon) as the
a)reement is subse>uentl: approved b: the court"
Bowever, the respondent overlooCs the unmistaCable rulin) of this Court in the 2acson case that *udicial sanction for the
dissolution of the con*u)al partnership durin) the marria)e should be &secured beforehand"&
#espondent 'ud)e surmised that Aelanova=s complaint was insti)ated b: a law:er whose case was adversel: decided b:
the 'ud)e" That speculation was denied b: Aelanova who also belied 'ud)e (endo-a=s version that the complainant and
his wife, Avelina Ceni-a, &to)ether with their parents&, came to the office of 'ud)e (endo-a and solicited his help in the
amicable settlement of their marital imbro)lio"
Accordin) to Aelanova, in 19@2 his father was alread: dead and his mother was ninet:one :ears old" The: could not
possibl: have come to 'ud)e (endo-a=s office" Aelanova said that onl: he and his brotherinlaw, Arcadio Ceni-a, an
alle)ed classmate of 'ud)e (endo-a, were the persons who went to the 'ud)e=s office" .ut that version ma: be
inaccurate and oversimplified, considerin) that the a)reement was si)ned before 'ud)e (endo-a not onl: b: Aelanova
but also b: his wife and two witnesses, 2amberts (" Ceni-a and +lorencio C" 0ono"
'ud)e (endo-a retired on +ebruar: 2@, 19@3 when he reached the a)e of sevent:" ,n his letter of April 8, 19@3 he asCed
for a compassionate view of his case considerin) his fort:three :ears= service in the )overnment 5he started his public
career in 1942 as a policeman and became a *ustice of the peace in 19347" Be also cited the financial predicament of his
bi) famil: occasioned b: the dela: in the pa:ment of his retirement and terminal leave pa:"
The case was not referred to a 'ud)e of the Court of +irst ,nstance for investi)ation because actuall: no factual issues
necessitate a hearin) and presentation of evidence" #espondent 'ud)e admitted that he was responsible for the
e<ecution of the >uestioned document, an e<tra*udicial &2i>uidation of Con*u)al 0roperties&, which he caused complainant
Aaturnino Aelanova and his wife, Avelina Ceni-a, to si)n"
,n that instrument 'ud)e (endo-a divided the two pieces of con*u)al assets of the spouses b: allocatin) to the husband a
thirteenhectare riceland and to the wife the residential house and lot" The last para)raph of the instrument, which
licensed either spouse to commit an: act of infidelit:, was in effect a ratification of their personal separation" The
a)reement in >uestion is void because it contravenes the followin) provisions of the Civil Code1tQJ"NRh>wSN
A#T" 221" The followin) shall be void and of no effect1
517 An: contract for personal separation between husband and wife6
527 9ver: e<tra*udicial a)reement, durin) marria)e, for the dissolution of the con*u)al partnership of )ains or of the
absolute communit: of propert: between husband and wife6
<<< <<< <<<
9ven before the enactment of the new Civil Code, this Court held that the e<tra*udicial dissolution of the con*u)al
partnership without *udicial approval was void 5Kuintana vs" 2erma, 24 0hil" 2836 De 2una vs" 2inatoc, @4 0hil" 13, De 2a
#osa vs" .arru)a, 224%8, 'une 40, 1930, 4 #?0 Di)est 1@1, sec" 297"
?n the other hand, disciplinar: action had been taCen a)ainst notaries who authenticated a)reements for the personal
separation of spouses wherein either spouse was permitted to commit acts of infidelit:"
Thus, in 0an)aniban vs" .orromeo, 38 0hil" 4%@, a law:er was severel: censured for havin) notari-ed a document
containin) &an a)reement between the husband and the wife which permitted the husband to taCe unto himself a
concubine and the wife to live in adulterous relationship with another man, without opposition from either one of them&"
The document was prepared b: another person"
,n that case this Court noted that while adulter: and concubina)e are private crimes, &the: still remain crimes& and a
contract le)ali-in) their commission is &contrar: to law, morals and public order, and as a conse>uence not *udiciall:
reco)ni-able&" Aince the notar:=s commission was alread: revoCed, this Court did not disbar him" The fact that he &ma:
not have reali-ed the full purport of the document to which he tooC acCnowled)ment= was considered miti)atin)"
Aevere censure was also administered to a notar: of Cebu Cit: who ratified a document entitled &2e)al Aeparation&,
e<ecuted b: husband and wife, wherein the: a)reed that the: separated mutuall: and voluntaril:, that the: renounced
their ri)hts and obli)ations, and that the: authori-ed each other to remarr:, renouncin) an: action to which the: mi)ht be
entitled and each promisin) not to be a witness a)ainst the other" Those covenants are contrar: to law, morals and )ood
customs and tend to subvert the vital foundation of the le)itimate famil: 5.iton vs" (omon)on, %2 0hil" @7"
,n the Aantia)o case respondent law:er prepared for a married couple 5who had been separated for nine :ears7 a
document wherein it was stipulated, inter alia, that the: authori-ed each other to marr: a)ain, at the same time
renouncin) whatever ri)ht of action one mi)ht have a)ainst the other" 8hen the husband in>uired if there would be no
trouble, respondent law:er pointed to his diploma which was han)in) on the wall and said1 &, would tear that off if this
document turns out not to be valid"& The husband remarried" The respondent was suspended from the practice of law for
one :ear for havin) been i)norant of the law or bein) careless in )ivin) le)al advice 5,n re Aantia)o, @0 0hil" %%7"
,n .alinon vs" De 2eon, 94 0hil" 2@@, Attorne: Celestino (" de 2eon prepared an affidavit wherein he declared that he was
married to /ertudes (ar>ue-, from whom he had been separated, their con*u)al partnership havin) been dissolved, and
that he was consortin) with #e)ina A" .alinon his &new found lifepartner,& to whom he would &remain lo:al and faithful&
&as a lawful and devoted lovin) husband for the rest of& his life &at all costs&" Attorne: 'usto T" /ela:o notari-ed that
affidavit" This Court reprimanded /ela:o and suspended De 2eon from the practice of law for three :ears"
,n the instant case, respondent 'ud)e, due to his unawareness of the le)al prohibition a)ainst contracts for the personal
separation of husband and wife and for the e<tra*udicial dissolution of their con*u)al partnership, prepared the said void
a)reement which was acCnowled)ed before him as &Cit: 'ud)e and $otar: 0ublic 9<?fficio&" 5.ecause he was admitted
to the bar in 1948 and, conse>uentl:, he did not stud: the new Civil Code in the law school, he mi)ht not have been
co)ni-ant of its aforecited article 2217"
TaCin) into account that circumstance and his apparent )ood faith and honest desire to terminate the marital conflict
between the complainant and his wife, we are of the opinion that a drastic penalt: should not be imposed on him" .ut he
deserves a severe censure for his mistaCe in preparin) and notari-in) the aforementioned immoral and ille)al a)reement"
Auch severe reprimand should not be an obstacle to his en*o:ment of retirement privile)es, assumin) that there are no
causes for deprivin) him of such benefits"
8B9#9+?#9, the respondent is severel: censured"
A? ?#D9#9D"
+ernando 5Chairman7, .arredo, Antonio and Concepcion, 'r", ''", concur"1TwphU1"JVt
G.R. No. 90965 Jun" 6, 1990
S<L:IA LI('A(O DE LEON, !"#$#$on"r,
&%.
T'E 'ON. (ORT O) A**EALS, MA(ARIA DE LEON AND JOSE :I(ENTE DE LEON, r"%!on+"n#%.
An.ara, A/"44o, (on3"!3$on, R".a4a = (ru> 7or !"#$#$on"r.
D" J"%u% = A%%o3$a#"% 7or Ma3ar$a +" L"on.
?u$%u0/$n., Torr"% = E&an."4$%#a 7or Jo%" :$3"n#" +" L"on.
(9D,A2D9A, '"1
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA!"#" C/ $o" 0%%49 dated 'une 40, 198@ the
decision of the #e)ional Trial Court of 0asi) in A0 0roc" $o" 8492 dated December 29, 19846 and its resolution dated $ovember 24,
198@ den:in) the motion for reconsideration"
The antecedent facts are as follows1
?n ?ctober 18, 19%9, private respondent 'ose /icente De 2eon and petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon were united in wedlocC before
the (unicipal (a:or of .inan)onan, #i-al" ?n Au)ust 28, 19@1, a child named Ausana 2" De 2eon was born from this union"
Aometime in ?ctober, 19@2, a de facto separation between the spouses occured due to irreconcilable marital differences, with A:lvia
leavin) the con*u)al home" Aometime in (arch, 19@4, A:lvia went to the ;nited Atates where she obtained American citi-enship"
?n $ovember 24, 19@4, A:lvia filed with the Auperior Court of California, Count: of Aan +rancisco, a petition for dissolution of marria)e
a)ainst 'ose /icente" ,n the said divorce proceedin)s, A:lvia also filed claims for support and distribution of properties" ,t appears,
however, that since 'ose /icente was then a 0hilippine resident and did not have an: assets in the ;nited Atates, A:lvia chose to hold
in abe:ance the divorce proceedin)s, and in the meantime, concentrated her efforts to obtain some sort of propert: settlements with
'ose /icente in the 0hilippines"
Thus, on (arch 1%, 19@@, A:lvia succeeded in enterin) into a 2etterA)reement with her motherinlaw, private respondent (acaria De
2eon, which 8e >uote in full, as follows 5pp" 4042, #ollo71
(arch 1%, 19@@
(rs" (acaria (adri)al de 2eon
12 'acaranda, $orth +orbes 0arC
(aCati, (etro (anila
Dear Dora (acaria1
This letter represents a contractual undertaCin) amon) 5A7 the undersi)ned 5.7 :our son, (r" 'ose /icente de 2eon, represented b:
:ou, and 5C7 :ourself in :our personal capacit:"
Hou hereb: bind :ourself *ointl: and severall: to answer for the undertaCin)s of 'oe /incent under this contract"
,n consideration for a peaceful and amicable termination of relations between the undersi)ned and her lawfull: wedded husband, 'ose
/icente de 2eon, :our son, the followin) are a)reed upon1
?bli)ations of 'ose /icente de 2eon andW or :ourself in a *oint and several capacit:1
1" To deliver with clear title free from all liens and encumbrances and sub*ect to no claims in an: form whatsoever the followin)
properties to A:lvia 2ichaucode 2eon hereinafter referred to as the wife1
A" Auite 11C, Avalon Condominium, ?rti)as Ave", corner Xavier At", (andalu:on), #i-al, 0hilippines"
." Apartment @02, 8acC 8acC Condominium, (andalu:on), #i-al, 0hilippines"
C" The ri)hts to assi)nment of 2 A:ala lots in Alaban), #i-al 5Corner lots, 801 s >" meters each7" 5+ull: paid7"
D" 24@0 8e<ford Ave", Aouth Aan +rancisco, California, ;"A"A" 52ot 18 .locC 22 8estborou)h ;nit $o" 27" 5+ull: paid7"
9" 17 The sum of ?ne Bundred Thousand 0esos 50100,0007
27 Y40,000
47 Y3,000
2" To )ive monthl: support pa:able si< 5%7 months in advance ever: :ear to an: desi)nated assi)nee of the wife for the care and
upbrin)in) of Ausana 2ichauco de 2eon which is hereb: pe))ed at the e<chan)e rate of @"30 to the dollar sub*ect to ad*ustments in the
event of monetar: e<chan)e fluctuations" Aubse>uent increase on actual need upon ne)otiation"
4" To respect the custod: of said minor dau)hter as pertainin) e<clusivel: to the wife e<cept as herein provided"
?bli)ations of the wife1
1" To a)ree to a *udicial separation of propert: in accordance with 0hilippine law and in this connection to do all that ma: be necessar:
to secure said separation of propert: includin) her approval in writin) of a *oint petition or consent decree"
2" To amend her complaint in the ;nited Atates before the +ederal Court of California, ;"A"A" entitled &A:lvia 2ichauco de 2eon vs" 'ose
/" de 2eon& in a manner compatible with the ob*ectives of this herein a)reement" ,t is the stated ob*ective of this a)reement that said
divorce proceedin)s will continue"
4" All the properties herein described for assi)nment to the wife must be assi)ned to A:lvia 2ichauco de 2eon upon the decree of the
Court of +irst ,nstance in the 'oint 0etition for Aeparation of 0ropert:6 e<cept for the 0100,000, Y40,000 and Y3,000 which will be paid
immediatel:"
4" This contract is intended to be applicable both in the #epublic of the 0hilippines and in the ;nited Atates of America" ,t is a)reed that
this will constitute an actionable document in both *urisdictions and the parties herein waive their ri)ht to ob*ect to the use of this
document in the event a le)al issue should arise relatin) to the validit: of this document" ,n the event of a dispute, this letter is sub*ect
to interpretation under the laws of California, ;"A"A"
3" To allow her dau)hter to spend two to three months each :ear with the father upon mutual convenience"
/er: trul: :ours,
5A)d"7 A:lvia de 2eon tW AH2/,A 2" D9 29?$
C?$+?#(91
sWtW(ACA#,A (" D9 29?$
with m: marital consent1
sWtW';A$ 2" D9 29?$
?n the same date, (acaria made cash pa:ments to A:lvia in the amount of 0100,000 and ;AY43,000"00 or 0280,000"00, in
compliance with her obli)ations as stipulated in the aforestated 2etterA)reement"
?n (arch 40, 19@@, A:lvia and 'ose /icente filed before the then Court of +irst ,nstance of #i-al a *oint petition for *udicial approval of
dissolution of their con*u)al partnership, the main part of which reads as follows 5pp" 4@48, #ollo71
3" +or the best interest of each of them and of their minor child, petitioners have a)reed to dissolve their con*u)al partnership and to
partition the assets thereof, under the followin) terms and conditionsthis document, a pleadin) bein) intended b: them to embod: and
evidence their a)reement1
<<< <<< <<<
5c7 The followin) properties shall be ad*udicated to petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon" These properties will be free of an: and all liens
and encumbrances, with clear title and sub*ect to no claims b: third parties" 0etitioner 'ose /icente De 2eon full: assumes all
responsibilit: and liabilit: in the event these properties shall not be as described in the previous sentence1
Aedan 519@2 model7
Auite 11C, Avalon Condominium,
?rti)as Ave", comer Xavier At",
(andalu:on), #i-al, 0hilippines
Apt" @02, 8acC8acC Condominium,
(andalu:on), #i-al, 0hilippines
The ri)hts to assi)nment of 2 A:ala lots in Alaban) #i-al 5corner lots, 801 s>" meters each7 5+ull: paid7
24@0 8e<ford Ave", Aouth Aan +rancisco, California, ;"A"A" 52ot 18, .locC 22 8estborou)h ;nit 27 5+ull: paid7
The sum of ?ne Bundred Thousand 0esos 50100,000"007
Y40,000"00 at current e<chan)e rate
Y3,000"00 at current e<chan)e rate
After e<parte hearin)s, the trial court issued an ?rder dated +ebruar: 19, 1980 approvin) the petition, the dispositive portion of which
reads 5p" 144, #ollo71
8B9#9+?#9, it is hereb: declared that the con*u)al partnership of the Apouses is D,AA?2/9D henceforth, without pre*udice to the
terms of their a)reement that each spouse shall own, dispose of, possess, administer and en*o: his or her separate estate, without the
consent of the other, and all earnin)s from an: profession, business or industries shall liCewise belon) to each spouse"
?n (arch 1@, 1980, A:lvia moved for the e<ecution of the abovementioned order" Bowever, 'ose /icente moved for a reconsideration
of the order alle)in) that A:lvia made a verbal reformation of the petition as there was no such a)reement for the pa:ment of 04,300"00
monthl: support to commence from the alle)ed date of separation in April, 19@4 and that there was no notice )iven to him that A:lvia
would attempt verbal reformation of the a)reement contained in the *oint petition
8hile the said motion for reconsideration was pendin) resolution, on April 20, 1980, (acaria filed with the trial court a motion for leave
to intervene alle)in) that she is the owner of the properties involved in the case" The motion was )ranted" ?n ?ctober 29, 1980,
(acaria, assisted b: her husband 'uan De 2eon, filed her complaint in intervention" Ahe assailed the validit: and le)alit: of the 2etter
A)reement which had for its purpose, accordin) to her, the termination of marital relationship between A:lvia and 'ose /icente"
Bowever, before an: hearin) could be had, the *udicial reor)ani-ation tooC place and the case was transferred to the#e)ional Trial
Court of 0asi)" ?n December 29, 1984, the trial court rendered *ud)ment, the dispositive portion of which reads 5pp" 434%, #ollo71
8B9#9+?#9, *ud)ment is hereb: rendered on the complaint in intervention in favor of the intervenor, declarin) null and void the letter
a)reement dated (arch 1%, 19@@ 59<hibits =9= to =92=7, and orderin) petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon to restore to intervenor the
amount of 0480,000"00 plus le)al interest from date of complaint, and to pa: intervenor the amount of 0100,000"00 as and for
attorne:=s fees, and to pa: the costs of suit"
'ud)ment is liCewise rendered affirmin) the order of the Court dated +ebruar: 19, 1980 declarin) the con*u)al partnership of the
spouses 'ose /icente De 2eon and A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon D,AA?2/9D6 and ad*udicatin) to each of them his or her share of the
properties and assets of said con*u)al partnership in accordance with the a)reement embodied in para)raph 3 of the petition, e<cept
insofar as the ad*udication to petitioner A:lvia 2" De 2eon of the properties belon)in) to and owned b: ,ntervenor (acaria De 2eon is
concerned"
Benceforth, 5a7 each spouse shall own, dispose of, possess, administer and en*o: his or her separate estate, present and future without
the consent of the other6 5b7 an earnin)s from an: profession, business or industr: shall liCewise belon) to each of them separatel:6 5c7
the minor child Ausana De 2eon shall sta: with petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon for two to three months ever: :earthe
transportation both wa:s of the child for the trip to the 0hilippines to be at the e<pense of the petitioner 'ose /icente De 2eon6 and 5d7
petitioner 'ose /icente De 2eon shall )ive petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon the sum of 04,300"00 as monthl: support for the minor
child Ausana to commence from +ebruar: 19, 1980"
A:lvia appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals raisin) the followin) errors1
17 The trial court erred in findin) that the cause or consideration of the 2etter A)reement is the termination of marital relations6
27 The trial court failed to appreciate testimonial and documentar: evidence provin) that (acaria de 2eon=s claims of threat, intimidation
and mistaCe are baseless6 and
47 The trial court erred in findin) that A:lvia 2ichauco de 2eon committed breach of the 2etterA)reement6 and further, failed to
appreciate evidence provin) (acaria de 2eon=s material breach thereof"
The respondent court affirmed the decision in toto" The motion for reconsideration was denied" Bence, the present petition"
The onl: basis b: which A:lvia ma: la: claim to the properties which are the sub*ect matter of the 2etterA)reement, is the 2etter
A)reement itself" The main issue, therefore, is whether or not the 2etterA)reement is valid" The third para)raph of the 2etter
A)reement, supra, reads1
,n consideration for a peaceful and amicable termination of relations between the undersi)ned and her lawfull: wedded husband, 'ose
/icente De 2eon, :our son, the followin) are a)reed upon1 5emphasis supplied7
,t is readil: apparent that the use of the word &relations& is ambi)uous, perforce, it is sub*ect to interpretation" There bein) a doubt as to
the meanin) of this word taCen b: itself, a consideration of the )eneral scope and purpose of the instrument in which it occurs 5see
!ermann and Co" v" Donaldson, Aim and Co", 1 0hil" %47 and Article 14@4 of the Civil Code which provides that the various stipulations
of a contract shall be interpreted to)ether, attributin) to the doubtful ones that sense which ma: result from all of them taCen *ointl:, is
necessar:"
A:lvia insists that the consideration for her e<ecution of the 2etterA)reement was the termination of propert: relations with her
husband" ,ndeed, A:lvia and 'ose /icente subse>uentl: filed a *oint petition for *udicial approval of the dissolution of their con*u)al
partnership, sanctioned b: Article 191 of the Civil Code" ?n the other hand, (acaria and 'ose /icente assert that the consideration was
the termination of marital relationship"
8e sustain the observations and conclusion made b: the trial court, to wit 5pp" 44 4%, #ollo71
?n pa)e two of the letter a)reement 59<hibit= 9=7, the parties contemplated not onl: to a)ree to a *udicial separation of propert: of the
spouses but liCewise to continue with divorce proceedin)s 5para)raphs 1 and 2, ?bli)ations of the 8ife, 9<hibit =91=7" ,f taCen with the
apparentl: ambi)uous provisions in 9<hibit 9= re)ardin) termination of =relations=, the parties clearl: contemplated not onl: the
termination of propert: relationship but liCewise of marital relationship in its entiret:" +urthermore, it would be safe to assume that the
parties in 9<hibit =9= not havin) specified the particular relationship which the: wanted to peacefull: and amicabl: terminate had
intended to terminate all Cinds of relations, both marital and propert:" 8hile there could be inherent benefits to a termination of con*u)al
propert: relationship between the spouses, the court could not clearl: perceive the underl:in) benefit for the intervenor insofar as
termination of propert: relationship between petitioners is concerned, unless the underl:in) consideration for intervenor is the
termination of marital relationship b: divorce proceedin)s between her son 'ose /icente and his wife petitioner A:lvia" The last
sentence of para)raph 2 under &?bli)ations of the 8ife& une>uivocall: states1 &,t is the stated ob*ective of this a)reement that said
divorce proceedin)s 5in the ;nited Atates7 will continue" &There is merit in concludin) that the consideration b: which ,ntervenor
e<ecuted 9<hibit =9= to =92= was to secure freedom for her son petitioner 'ose /icente De 2eon, especiall: if 9<hibit =#=,ntervenor,
which is 5sic7 a)reement si)ned b: petitioner A:lvia to consent to and pardon 'ose /icente De 2eon for adulter: and concubina)e
5amon) others7 would be considered" ,n the li)ht, therefore, of the fore)oin) circumstances, this Court finds credible the testimon: of
intervenor as follows1
K 8ill :ou please )o over the 9<hibit =9= to =92= intervenor consistin) of three pa)es and inform us whether or not this is the letter of
(arch 1%, 19@@ which :ou *ust referred toZ
A Hes, this is the letter"
8h: did :ou affi< :our si)nature to this 9<h" =9=intervenor 5sic7Z
A .ecause at that time when , si)ned it , want to bu: peace for m:self and for the whole famil:"
K +rom whom did :ou want to bu: peace andWor what Cind of peaceZ
A , wanted to bu: peace from A:lvia 2ichauco whom , Cnew was Cind of =matapan)6= so , want peace for me and primaril: for the
peaceful and amicable termination of marital relationship between m: son, 'oe /incent and A:lvia" 5Deposition dated Aeptember %,
1984(acaria de 2eon, p" %@7
This Court, therefore, finds and holds that the cause or consideration for the intervenor (acaria De 2eon in havin) e<ecuted 9<hibits =9=
to =92= was the termination of the marital relationship between her son 'ose /icente De 2eon and A:lvia 2ichauco de 2eon"
Article 140% of the $ew Civil Code provides1
Art" 140%" The contractin) parties ma: establish such stipulations, clauses, terms, and conditions as the: ma: deem convenient,
provided the: are not contrar: to law, morals, )ood customs, public order or public polic:"
,f the stipulation is contrar: to law, morals or public polic:, the contract is void and ine<istent from the be)innin)"
Art" 1409" The followin) contracts are ine<istent and void from the be)innin)1
Those whose cause, ob*ect or purpose is contrar: to law, morals, )ood customs, public order or public polic:6
<<< <<< <<<
5@7 Those e<pressl: prohibited or declared void b: law"
These contracts cannot be ratified" $either can the ri)ht to set up the defense of ille)alit: be waived"
.ut marria)e is not a mere contract but a sacred social institution" Thus, Art" 32 of the Civil Code provides1
Art" 32" (arria)e is not a mere contract but an inviolable social institution" ,ts nature, conse>uences and incidents are )overned b: law
and not sub*ect to stipulations"""
+rom the fore)oin) provisions of the $ew Civil Code, this court is of the considered opinion and so holds that intervenor=s undertaCin)
under 9<hibit =9= premised on the termination of marital relationship is not onl: contrar: to law but contrar: to +ilipino morals and public
0olic:" As such, an: a)reement or obli)ations based on such unlawful consideration and which is contrar: to public polic: should be
deemed null and void" 5emphasis supplied7
Additionall:, Article 191 of the Civil Case contemplates properties belon)in) to the spouses and not those belon)in) to a third part:,
who, in the case at bar", is (acaria" ,n the petition for the dissolution of the con*u)al partnership, it was made to appear that the said
properties are con*u)al in nature" Bowever, (acaria was able to prove that the >uestioned properties are owned b: her" $either A:lvia
nor 'ose /icente adduced an: contrar: evidence"
!rantin), in )ratia ar)umenti, that the consideration of the 2etterA)reement was the termination of propert: relations, 8e a)ree with
the respondent court that 5pp" 4%4@, #ollo71
""" the a)reement nevertheless is void because it contravenes the followin) provisions of the Civil Code1
Art" 221" The followin) shall be void and of no effect1
517 An: contract for personal separation between husband and wife6
527 9ver: e<tra*udicial a)reement, durin) marria)e, for the dissolution of the con*u)al partnership of )ains or of the absolute communit:
of propert: between husband and wife6
.esides, the 2etterA)reement shows on its face that it was prepared b: A:lvia, and in this re)ard, the ambi)uit: in a contract is to be
taCen contra proferentem, i"e", construed a)ainst the part: who caused the ambi)uit: and could have also avoided it b: the e<ercise of
a little more care" Thus, Article 14@@ of the Civil Code provides1 &The interpretation of obscure words of stipulations in a contract shall
not favor the part: who caused the obscurit:& 5see 9>uitable .anCin) Corp" vs" ,AC, !"#" $o" @4431, (a: 23, 1988, 1%1 AC#A 3187"
A:lvia alle)es further that since the nullit: of the 2etterA)reement proceeds from the unlawful consideration solel: of (acaria, appl:in)
the pari delicto rule, it is clear that she cannot recover what she has )iven b: reason of the 2etterA)reement nor asC for the fulfillment
of what has been promised her" ?n her part, (acaria raises the defenses of intimidation and mistaCe which led her to e<ecute the
2etterA)reement" ,n resolvin) this issue, the trial court said 5pp" 148131, #ollo71
,n her second cause of action, intervenor claims that her si)nin) of 9<hibits =9= to =9 2= was due to a fear of an unpeaceful and
troublesome separation other son with petitioner A:lvia 2ichauco de 2eon" ,n support of her claim, intervenor testified as follows1
K 8ill :ou please inform us how did A:lvia 2ichauco disturb or threaten :our son or :ourselfZ
A Despite the fact that A:lvia 2ichauco voluntaril: left m: son 'oe /incent and abandoned him, she unashamedl: na))ed 'oe and me
to )et mone: and when her demands were not met she resorted to threats liCe, she threatened to brin) 'oe to court for support" A:lvia
threatened to scandali-e our famil: b: these baseless suits6 in fact she caused the service of summons to 'oe when he went to the
;nited Atates" 5,ntervenor=s deposition dated Aept" %, 1984, p" 87"
?n the other hand, petitioner A:lvia claims that it was intervenor and petitioner 'ose /icente who initiated the move to convince her to
a)ree to a dissolution of their con*u)al partnership due to the alle)ed e<tramarital activities of petitioner 'ose /icente de 2eon" Ahe
testified as follows1
K $ow in her testimon:, (acaria (adri)al de 2eon also said that :ou threatened her b: demandin) mone: and na))ed her until she
a)reed to the letter a)reement of (arch 19@@, what can :ou sa: about thatZ
A , thinC with all the people sittin) around with Att:" Kuisumbin), Att:" Chuidian, m: fatherinlaw, m: sisterinlaw and ,, :ou Cnow, it can
be shown that this was a friendl: amicable settlement that the: were much reall: interested in settlin) down as , was" , thinC there were
certain reasons that the: wanted to )et done or planned, bein) at that time 'ose was alread: remarried and had a child" That since she
then found out that since she was worried about what mi)ht be, :ou Cnow, involved in an: future matters" Ahe *ust wanted to do what
she could" Ahe *ust want me out of the picture" Ao in no wa:, it cannot be said that , na))ed and threatened her" 5TA$ dated December
8, 1984, p" 14@1487
,n resolvin) this issue, this Court leans heavil: on 9<hibit =#=intervenor, which was not controverted b: petitioner A:lvia" A readin) of
9<hibit =#= would show that petitioner A:lvia would consent to and pardon petitioner 'ose /icente, son of intervenor, for possible crimes
of adulter: andWor concubina)e, with a si-in) attached6 that is, the transfer of the properties sub*ect herein to her" There appears some
truth to the apprehensions of intervenor for in petitioner A:lvia=s testimon: she confirms the worr: of intervenor as follows1=""" bein) at
that time 'ose 5De 2eon7 was alread: remarried and had a child" That since she 5intervenor7 found out that, she was worried about what
mi)ht be, :ou Cnow, involved in an: future matters" Ahe *ust want me out of the picture"& The aforesaid fear of intervenor was further
corroborated b: her witness Concepcion Ta)udin who testified as follows1
K $ow, :ou mentioned that :ou were present when (rs" (acaria De 2eon si)ned this 9<hibit =92, = will :ou inform us whether there
was an:thin) unusual which :ou noticed when (rs" (acaria (" De 2eon si)ned this 9<hibit =92=Z
A (rs" (acaria (" De 2eon was in a state of tension and an)er" Ahe was so mad that she remarCed1 =0unetan) A:lvia ito baCit ba ni:a
aCo )inu)ulo" ,paCuCulon) daw ni:a si 'oe /incent Cun) hindi Co pipirmahan ito" Aana matapos na iton) probleman) ito pa)Capirman)
ito,= sabi ni:a"= 5DepositionConcepcion Ta)udin, ?ct" 21, 1984, pp" 10117
,n her third cause of action, intervenor claims mistaCe or error in havin) si)ned 9<hibits =1= to =92= alle)in) in her testimon: as follows1
K .efore :ou were told such b: :our law:ers what if an: were :our basis to believe that A:lvia would no lon)er have inheritance ri)hts
from :our son, 'oe /incentZ
A 8ell, that was what A:lvia told me" That she will eliminate an: inheritance ri)hts from me or m: son 'oe /incent=s properties if , si)n
the document amicabl:" """ 5,ntervenor=s depositionAept" %, 1984, pp" 9107"
?n the other hand, petitioner A:lvia claims that intervenor could not have been mistaCen in her havin) si)ned the document as she was
under advice of counsel durin) the time that 9<hibits =9= to =92= was ne)otiated" To support such claims b: A:lvia 2ichauco De 2eon,
the deposition testimon: of Att:" /icente Chuidian was presented before this Court1
Att:" Berbosa1 $ow :ou mentioned Att:" $orberto Kuisumbin), would :ou be able to tell us in what capacit: he was present in that
ne)otiationZ
Att:" Chuidian1 Be was counsel for Dona (acaria and for 'oe /incent, the spouse of A:lvia" 5Deposition of /" Chuidian, December 1%,
1984, p" 87
The $ew Civil Code provides1
Art" 1440" A contract where consent is )iven throu)h mistaCe, violence, intimidation, undue influence or fraud is voidable"
Art" 1441" ,n order that mistaCe ma: invalidate consent, it should refer to the substance of the thin) which is the ob*ect of the contract,
or to those conditions which have principall: moved one or both parties to enter into a contract" """
The preponderance of evidence leans in favor of intervenor who even utili-ed the statement of the divorce law:er of petitioner A:lvia
5(r" 0enrod7 in support of the fact that intervenor was mistaCen in havin) si)ned 9<hibits =9= to =92= because when she si)ned said
9<hibits she believed that fact that petitioner A:lvia would eliminate her inheritance ri)hts and there is no showin) that said intervenor
was properl: advised b: an: American law:er on the fact whether petitioner A:lvia, bein) an American citi-en, could ri)htfull: do the
same" Transcendin), however, the issue of whether there was mistaCe of fact on the part of intervenor or not, this Court could not" see
a valid cause or consideration in favor of intervenor (acaria De 2eon havin) si)ned 9<hibits =9= to =92"= +or even if petitioner A:lvia had
confirmed (r" 0enrod=s statement durin) the divorce proceedin)s in the ;nited Atates that she would undertaCe to eliminate her
hereditar: ri)hts in the event of the propert: settlement, under 0hilippine laws, such contract would liCewise be voidable, for under Art"
144@ of the $ew Civil Code =no contract ma: be entered into upon future inheritance"
8e do not subscribe to the aforestated view of the trial court" Article 1443 of the Civil Code provides1
<<< <<< <<<
There is intimidation when one of the contractin) parties is compelled b: a reasonable and well)rounded fear of an imminent and
)rave evil upon his person or propert:, or upon the person or propert: of his spouse, descendants or ascendants, to )ive his consent"
To determine the de)ree of the intimidation, the a)e, se< and condition of the person shall be borne in mind"
A threat to enforce one=s claim throu)h competent authorit:, if the claim is *ust or le)al, does not vitiate consent"
,n order that intimidation ma: vitiate consent and render the contract invalid, the followin) re>uisites must concur1 517 that the
intimidation must be the determinin) cause of the contract, or must have caused the consent to be )iven6 527 that the threatened act be
un*ust or unlawful6 547 that the threat be real and serious, there bein) an evident disproportion between the evil and the resistance
which all men can offer, leadin) to the choice of the contract as the lesser evil6 and 547 that it produces a reasonable and well)rounded
fear from the fact that the person from whom it comes has the necessar: means or abilit: to inflict the threatened in*ur:" Appl:in) the
fore)oin) to the present case, the claim of (acaria that A:lvia threatened her to brin) 'ose /icente to court for support, to scandali-e
their famil: b: baseless suits and that A:lvia would pardon 'ose /icente for possible crimes of adulter: andWor concubina)e sub*ect to
the transfer of certain properties to her, is obviousl: not the intimidation referred to b: law" 8ith respect to mistaCe as a vice of consent,
neither is (acaria=s alle)ed mistaCe in havin) si)ned the 2etterA)reement because of her belief that A:lvia will thereb: eliminate
inheritance ri)hts from her and 'ose /icente, the mistaCe referred to in Article 1441 of the Civil Code, supra" ,t does not appear that the
condition that A:lvia &will eliminate her inheritance ri)hts& principall: moved (acaria to enter into the contract" #ather, such condition
was but an incident of the consideration thereof which, as discussed earlier, is the termination of marital relations"
,n the ultimate anal:sis, therefore, both parties acted in violation of the laws" Bowever, the pari delicto rule, e<pressed in the ma<ims
&9< dolo malo non oritur actio& and &,n pari delicto potior est conditio defendentis,& which refuses remed: to either part: to an ille)al
a)reement and leaves them where the: are, does not appl: in this case" Contrar: to the rulin) of the respondent Court that 5pp" 4@48,
#ollo71
""" ECFonse>uentl:, intervenor appellees= obli)ation under the said a)reement havin) been annulled, the contractin) parties shall restore
to each other that thin)s which have been sub*ect matter of the contract, their fruits and the price or its interest, e<cept as provided b:
law 5Art" 1498, Civil Code7"
Article 1414 of the Civil Code, which is an e<ception to the pari delicto rule, is the proper law to be applied" ,t provides1
8hen mone: is paid or propert: delivered for an ille)al purpose, the contract ma: be repudiated b: one of the parties before the
purpose has been accomplished, or before an: dama)e has been caused to a third person" ,n such case, the courts ma:, if the public
interest wi) thus be subserved, allow the part: repudiatin) the contract to recover the mone: or propert:"
Aince the 2etterA)reement was repudiated before the purpose has been accomplished and to adhere to the pari delicto rule in this
case is to put a premium to the circumvention of the laws, positive relief should be )ranted to (acaria" 'ustice would be served b:
allowin) her to be placed in the position in which she was before the transaction was entered into"
8ith the conclusions thus reached, 8e find it unnecessar: to discuss the other issues raised"
ACC?#D,$!2H, the petition is hereb: D9$,9D" The decision of the respondent Court of Appeals dated 'une 40, 198@ and its
resolution dated $ovember 24, 198@ are A++,#(9D"
A? ?#D9#9D"
G.R. No. 4904, Mar#$n"> &. Tan, 12 *5$4. 711
R"!u/4$3 o7 #5" *5$4$!!$n"%
S*REME (ORT
Man$4a
EN ,AN(
)"/ruary 5, 1909
G.R. No. 4904
ROSALIA MARTINE;, !4a$n#$77-a!!"44an#,
&%.
ANGEL TAN, +"7"n+an#-a!!"44"".
Do0$n.o )ran3o, 7or a!!"44an#.
Doro#"o @ara.+a., 7or a!!"44"".
8,22A#D, '"1
The onl: >uestion in this case is whether or not the plaintiff and the defendant were married on the 23th da: of
Aeptember, 190@, before the *ustice of the peace, 'ose .allori, in the town of 0alompon in the 0rovince of 2e:te"
There was received in evidence at the trial what is called an e<pediente de matrimonio civil" ,t is written in Apanish and
consists, first, of a petition directed to the *ustice of the peace, dated on the 23th of Aeptember, 190@, si)ned b: the
plaintiff and the defendant, in which the: state that the: have mutuall: a)reed to enter into a contract of marria)e before
the *ustice of the peace, and asC that the *ustice solemni-e the marria)e" +ollowin) this is a document dated on the same
da:, si)ned b: the *ustice of the peace, b: the plaintiff, b: the defendant, and b: [acarias 9smero and 0acita .allori" ,t
states the presentation of the petition above mentioned6 that the persons who si)ned it where actuall: present in the office
of the *ustice on the same da: named6 that the: ratified under oath the contents of the petition, and that the: insisted in
what the: had there asCed for" ,t also stated that bein) re>uired to produce witnesses of the marria)e, the presented
[acarias 9smero as a witness for the husband and 0acita .allori as a witness for the wife" +ollowin) this is a certificate of
marria)e si)ned b: the *ustice of the peace and the witnesses [acarias 9smero and 0acita .allori, dated the 23th da: of
Aeptember, 190@, in which it is stated that the plaintiff and the defendant were le)all: married b: the *ustice of the peace
in the presence of the witnesses on that da:"
The court below decided the case in favor of the defendant, holdin) that the parties were le)all: married on the da:
named" The evidence in support of that decision is1 +irst" The document itself, which the plaintiff admits that she si)ned"
Aecond" The evidence of the defendant, who testifies that he and said plaintiff appeared before the *ustice of the peace at
the time named, to)ether with the witness [acarias 9smero and 0acita .allori, and that the: all si)ned the document
above mentioned" Third" The evidence of [acarias 9smero, one of the abovenamed witnesses, who testifies that the
plaintiff, the defendant, and 0acita .allori appeared before the *ustice at the time named and did si)n the document
referred to" +ourth" The evidence of 0acita .allori, who testified to the same effect" +ifth" The evidence of 'ose Aantia)o,
the bailiff of the court of the *ustice of the peace, who testified that the plaintiff, the defendant, the two witnesses above
named, and the *ustice of the peace were all present in the office of the *ustice of the peace at the time mentioned"
The onl: direct evidence in favor of the plaintiff is her own testimon: that she never appeared before the *ustice of the
peace and never was married to the defendant" Ahe admits that she si)ned the document in >uestion, but sa:s that she
si)ned it in her own home, without readin) it, and at the re>uest of the defendant, who told her that it was a paper
authori-in) him to asC the consent of her parents to the marria)e"
There is some indirect evidence which the plaintiff claims supports her case, but which we thinC, when properl:
considered, is not entitled to much wei)ht" The plaintiff at the time was visitin), in the town of 0alompon, her married
brother and was there for about two weeCs" The wife of her brother, #osario .a:ot, testified that the plaintiff never left the
house e<cept in her compan:" .ut she admitted on crosse<amination that she herself went to school ever: mornin) and
that on one occasion the plaintiff had )one to church unaccompanied" The testimon: of this witness loses its force when
the testimon: of 0acita .allori is considered" Ahe sa:s that at the re>uest of the defendant on the da: named, about 3
o=clocC in the afternoon, she went to the store of a Chinese named /eles6 that there she met the plaintiff and her mother6
that she asCed the mother of the plaintiff to allow the plaintiff to accompan: her, the witness, to her own house for the
purpose of e<aminin) some dress patterns6 that the mother )ave her consent and the two ri)hts left the store, but instead
of )oin) to the house of the witness the: went directl: to the office of the *ustice of the peace where the ceremon: tooC
place6 that after the ceremon: had taCen place, one came advisin) them that the mother was approachin), and that the:
thereupon hurriedl: left the office of the *ustice and went to the house of 0acita .allori, where the mother later found them"
The other testimon: of the plaintiff relatin) to certain statements made b: the *ustice of the peace, who died after the
ceremon: was performed and before the trial, and certain statements made b: 0acita .allori, is not sufficient to overcome
the positive testimon: of the witnesses for the defendant"
The other testimon: of 0acita .allori is severel: critici-ed b: counsel for the appellant in his brief" ,t appears that durin)
her first e<amination she was sei-ed with an h:sterical attacC and practicall: collapsed at the trial" Ber e<amination was
ad*ourned to a future da: and was completed in her house where she was sicC in bed" ,t is claimed b: counsel that her
collapse was due to the fact that she reco)ni-ed that she testified falsel: in statin) the office of the *ustice of the peace
was at the time in the municipal buildin), when, in fact, it was in a private house" 8e do not thinC that the record *ustifies
the claim of the appellant" The statement as to the location of the office of the *ustice of the peace was afterwards
corrected b: the witness and we are satisfied that she told the facts substantiall: as the: occurred"
There is, moreover, in the case written evidence which satisfies us that the plaintiff was not tellin) the truth when she said
she did not appear before the *ustice of the peace" This evidence consists of ei)ht letters, which the defendant claims
were all written b: the plaintiff" The plaintiff admits that she wrote letters numbered 2 and 9" The authenticit: of the others
was proven" $o" 9 is as follows1
A$!921 ;p to this time , did not see m: father6 but , Cnow that he is ver: an)r: and if he be informed that we have been
married civill:, , am sure that he will turn me out of the house"
Do what :ou ma: deem convenient, as , don=t Cnow what to do"
Ahould , be able to )o tomorrow to (erida, , shall do so, because , can not remain here"
Hours, #?AA2"
2etter $o" %, which bears no date, but which undoubtedl: was written on the mornin) of the 23th of Aeptember, is as
follows1
Ar" D" A$!92, TA$"
A$!921 ,t is impossible for me to )o to the house of /eles this mornin) because m: sister in law will not let me )o there6 if
it suits :ou, , believe that this afternoon, about 3 or % o=clocC, is the best hour"
Arran)e ever:thin), as , shall )o there onl: for the purpose of si)nin), and have 0acita wait for me at the Chinese store,
because , don=t liCe to )o without 0acita"
The house must be one belon)in) to prudent people, and no one should Cnow an:thin) about it"
Hours, #?AA2"
,t will be noticed that this corroborates completel: the testimon: of 0acita .allori as to her meetin) the plaintiff in the
afternoon at the store of the Chinese, /eles" 2etter $o" @ is also undated, but was evidentl: written after the marria)e
before the *ustice of the peace" ,t is as follows1
Ar" D" A$!92, TA$"
A$!921 ,f :ou want to speaC to m: mother, who is also :ours, come here b: and b:, at about 9 or 10, when :ou see that
the tide is hi)h because m: brother will have to )o to the boat for the purpose of loadin) lumber"
Don=t tell her that we have been civill: married, but tell her at first that :ou are willin) to celebrate the marria)e at this time,
because , don=t liCe her to Cnow toda: that we have been at the courthouse, inasmuch as she told me this mornin) that
she heard that we would )o to the court, and that we must not cause her to be ashamed, and that if , insist on bein)
married , must do it ri)ht"
Tell her also that :ou have asCed me to carr: :ou"
, send :ou herewith the letter of :our brother, in order that :ou ma: do what he wishes"
Hours, #?AA2"
2etter $o" 8 was also evidentl: written after the marria)e and is in part as follows1
Ar" D" A$!92 TA$"
A$!921 , believe it is better for :ou to )o to ?rmoc on Aunda: of the steamer #osa, for the purpose of asCin) m: father=s
permission for our marria)e, and in case he fails to )ive it, then we shall do what we deem proper, and, if he does not
wish us to marr: without his permission, :ou must re>uest his consent"
Tell me who said that m: sister in law Cnows that we are civill: married6 m: brother ill treatment is a matter of no
importance, as ever: thin) ma: be carried out, with patience"
,t was proven at the trial that the defendant did )o to ?rmoc on the steamer #osa as indicated in this letter, and that the
plaintiff was on the same boat" The plaintiff testified, however, that she had no communication with the defendant durin)
the vo:a)e" The plaintiff and the defendant never lived to)ether as husband and wife, and upon her arrival in ?rmoc, after
consultin) with her famil:, she went to Cebu and commenced this action, which was brou)ht for the purpose of procurin)
the cancellation of the certificate of marria)e and for dama)es" The evidence stron)l: preponderates in favor of the
decision of the court below to the effect that the plaintiff appeared before the *ustice of the peace at the time named"
,t is claimed b: the plaintiff that what tooC place before the *ustice of the peace, even admittin) all that the witnesses for
the defendant testified to, did not constitute a le)al marria)e" !eneral orders, $o" %8, section %, is as follows1
$o particular form from the ceremon: of marria)e is re>uired, but the parties must declare in the presence of the person
solemni-in) the marria)e, that the: taCe each other as husband and wife"
[acarias 9smero, one of the witnesses, testified that upon the occasion in >uestion the *ustice of the peace said nothin)
until after the document was si)ned and then addressin) himself to the plaintiff and the defendant said, &Hou are married"&
The petition si)ned the plaintiff and defendant contained a positive statement that the: had mutuall: a)reed to be married
and the: asCed the *ustice of the peace to solemni-e the marria)e" The document si)ned b: the plaintiff, the defendant,
and the *ustice of the peace, stated that the: ratified under oath, before the *ustice, the contents of the petition and that
witnesses of the marria)e were produced" A mort)a)e tooC place as shown b: the certificate of the *ustice of the peace,
si)ned b: both contractin) parties, which certificates )ives rise to the presumption that the officer authori-ed the marria)e
in due form, the parties before the *ustice of the peace declarin) that the: tooC each other as husband and wife, unless
the contrar: is proved, such presumption bein) corroborated in this case b: the admission of the woman to the effect that
she had contracted the marria)e certified to in the document si)ned b: her, which admission can onl: mean the parties
mutuall: a)reed to unite in marria)e when the: appeared and si)ned the said document which so states before the *ustice
of the peace who authori-ed the same" ,t was proven that both the plaintiff and the defendant were able to read and write
the Apanish lan)ua)e, and that the: Cnew the contents of the document which the: si)ned6 and under the circumstances
in this particular case were satisfied, and so hold, that what tooC place before the *ustice of the peace on this occasion
amounted to a le)al marria)e"
The defendant=s ori)inal answer was a )eneral denial of the alle)ations contained in the complaint" Amon) these
alle)ations was a statement that the parties had obtain previousl: the consent of the plaintiff=s parents" The defendant was
afterwards allowed to amend his answer so that it was a denial of the alle)ations of the complaint e<cept that relatin) to
the condition in re)ard to the consent of the parents" The plaintiff ob*ected to the allowance of this amendment" After the
trial had commenced the defendant was a)ain allowed to amend his answer so that it should be an admission of
para)raphs 2 and 4 of the complaint, e<cept that part which related to the consent of the parents" ,t will be seen that this
second amendment destro:ed completel: the first amendment and the defendants law:er stated that what he intended to
alle)e in his first amendment, but b: reason of the haste with which the first amendment was drawn he had unintentionall:
made it e<actl: the opposite of what he had intended to state" After ar)ument the court allowed the second amendment"
8e are satisfied that in this allowance there was no abuse of discretion and we do not see how the plaintiff was in an:
wa: pre*udiced" Ahe proceeded with the trial of the case without asCin) for a continuance"
The *ud)ment of the court below ac>uittin) the defendant of the complaint is affirmed, with the costs of this instance
a)ainst the appellant"
A"(" $o" (T'92@21 Aeptember 40, 1994
';/H $" C?ACA, 9D(;$D? ." 09#A2TA, #A(?$ C" AA(.?, and A0?22? A" /,22A(?#A, complainants,
vs"
B?$" 2;C,? 0" 0A2AH0AH?$, '#", 0residin) 'ud)e, and $92,A ." 9A(9#A2DA.A#?H, ClerC of Court ,,, both of the
(unicipal Trial Court of Tinambac, Camarines Aur, respondents"
9steban #" Abonal for complainants"
Baide ." /ista!umba for respondents"

09# C;#,A(, '"1
Complainants 'uv: $" Cosca, 9dmundo ." 0eralta, #amon C" Aambo, and Apollo /illamora, are Ateno)rapher ,,
,nterpreter ,, ClerC ,,, and 0rocess Aerver, respectivel:, of the (unicipal Trial Court of Tinambac, Camarines Aur"
#espondents 'ud)e 2ucio 0" 0ala:pa:on, 'r" and $elia ." 9smeralda.aro: are respectivel: the 0residin) 'ud)e and
ClerC of Court ,, of the same court"
,n an administrative complaint filed with the ?ffice of the Court Administrator on ?ctober 3, 1992, herein respondents were
char)ed with the followin) offenses, to wit1 517 ille)al solemni-ation of marria)e6 527 falsification of the monthl: reports of
cases6 547 briber: in consideration of an appointment in the court6 547 nonissuance of receipt for cash bond received6 537
infidelit: in the custod: of detained prisoners6 and 5%7 re>uirin) pa:ment of filin) fees from e<empted entities" 1
0ursuant to a resolution issued b: this Court respondents filed their respective Comments" 2 A #epl: to Answers of
#espondents was filed b: complainants" 4 The case was thereafter referred to 9<ecutive 'ud)e David C" $aval of the
#e)ional Trial Court, $a)a Cit:, for investi)ation report and recommendation" The case was however transferred to +irst
Assistant 9<ecutive 'ud)e Antonio $" !erona when 'ud)e $aval inhibited himself for the reason that his wife is a cousin
of respondent 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on, 'r" 4
The contendin) versions of the parties re)ardin) the factual antecedents of this administrative matter, as culled from the
records thereof, are set out under each particular char)e a)ainst respondents"
1" ,lle)al solemni-ation of marria)e
Complainants alle)e that respondent *ud)e solemni-ed marria)es even without the re>uisite marria)e license" Thus, the
followin) couples were able to )et married b: the simple e<pedient of pa:in) the marria)e fees to respondent .aro:,
despite the absence of a marria)e license, vi-"1 Alano 0" Abellano and $ell: 9dralin, +rancisco Aelpo and 'ulieta Carrido,
9ddie Terrobias and (aria !acer, #enato !ama: and (aricris .el)a, Arsenio Aabater and (ar)arita $acario, and
Aamm: .oca:a and !ina .ismonte" As a conse>uence, their marria)e contracts 59<hibits ., C, D, +, !, and A,
respectivel:7 did not reflect an: marria)e license number" ,n addition, respondent *ud)e did not si)n their marria)e
contracts and did not indicate the date of solemni-ation, the reason bein) that he alle)edl: had to wait for the marria)e
license to be submitted b: the parties which was usuall: several da:s after the ceremon:" ,ndubitabl:, the marria)e
contracts were not filed with the local civil re)istrar" Complainant #amon Aambo, who prepares the marria)e contracts,
called the attention of respondents to the lacC of marria)e licenses and its effect on the marria)es involved, but the latter
opted to proceed with the celebration of said marria)es"
#espondent $elia .aro: claims that when she was appointed ClerC of Court ,,, the emplo:ees of the court were alread:
hostile to her, especiall: complainant #amon Aambo who told her that he was filin) a protest a)ainst her appointment"
Ahe avers that it was onl: latel: when she discovered that the court had a marria)e #e)ister which is in the custod: of
Aambo6 that it was Aambo who failed to furnish the parties copies of the marria)e contract and to re)ister these with the
local civil re)istrar6 and that apparentl: Aambo Cept these marria)e contracts in preparation for this administrative case"
Complainant Aambo, however, claims that all file copies of the marria)e contracts were Cept b: respondent .aro:, but the
latter insists that she had instructed Aambo to follow up the submission b: the contractin) parties of their marria)e
licenses as part of his duties but he failed to do so"
#espondent 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on, 'r" contends that the marria)e between Alano 0" Abellano and $ell: 9dralin falls under
Article 44 of the Civil Code, hence it is e<empt from the marria)e license re>uirement6 that he )ave strict instructions to
complainant Aambo to furnish the couple a cop: of the marria)e contract and to file the same with the civil re)istrar, but
the latter failed to do so6 that in order to solve the problem, the spouses subse>uentl: formali-ed their marria)e b:
securin) a marria)e license and e<ecutin) their marria)e contract, a cop: of which was filed with the civil re)istrar6 that
the other five marria)es alluded to in the administrative complaint were not ille)all: solemni-ed because the marria)e
contracts were not si)ned b: him and the: did not contain the date and place of marria)e6 that copies of these marria)e
contracts are in the custod: of complainant Aambo6 that the alle)ed marria)e of +rancisco Aelpo and 'ulieta Carrido,
9ddie Terrobias and (aria 9mma !aor, #enato !ama: and (aricris .el)a, and of Arsenio Aabater and (ar)arita $acario
were not celebrated b: him since he refused to solemni-e them in the absence of a marria)e license6 that the marria)e of
Aam: .oca:a and !ina .ismonte was celebrated even without the re>uisite license due to the insistence of the parties in
order to avoid embarrassment to their )uests but that, at an: rate, he did not si)n their marria)e contract which remains
unsi)ned up to the present"
2" +alsification of monthl: report for 'ul:, 1991 re)ardin) the number of marria)es solemni-ed and the number of
documents notari-ed"
,t is alle)ed that respondent *ud)e made it appear that he solemni-ed seven 5@7 marria)es in the month of 'ul:, 1992,
when in truth he did not do so or at most those marria)es were null and void6 that respondents liCewise made it appear
that the: have notari-ed onl: si< 5%7 documents for 'ul:, 1992, but the $otarial #e)ister will show that there were one
hundred thirteen 51147 documents which were notari-ed durin) that month6 and that respondents reported a notarial fee of
onl: 018"30 for each document, althou)h in fact the: collected 020"00 therefor and failed to account for the difference"
#espondent .aro: contends, however, that the marria)e re)istr: where all marria)es celebrated b: respondent *ud)e are
entered is under the e<clusive control and custod: of complainant #amon Aambo, hence he is the onl: one who should
be held responsible for the entries made therein6 that the reported marria)es are merel: based on the pa:ments made as
solemni-ation fees which are in the custod: of respondent .aro:" Ahe further avers that it is Aambo who is liCewise the
custodian of the $otarial #e)ister6 that she cannot be held accountable for whatever alle)ed difference there is in the
notarial fees because she is liable onl: for those pa:ments tendered to her b: Aambo himself6 that the notarial fees she
collects are dul: covered b: receipts6 that of the 020"00 char)ed, 018"30 is remitted directl: to the Aupreme Court as part
of the 'udiciar: Development +und and 0130 )oes to the )eneral fund of the Aupreme Court which is paid to the
(unicipal Treasurer of Tinambac, Camarines Aur" #espondent theori-es that the discrepancies in the monthl: report were
manipulated b: complainant Aambo considerin) that he is the one in char)e of the preparation of the monthl: report"
#espondent 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on avers that the erroneous number of marria)es celebrated was intentionall: placed b:
complainant Aambo6 that the number of marria)es solemni-ed should not be based on solemni-ation fees paid for that
month since not all the marria)es paid for are solemni-ed in the same month" Be claims that there were actuall: onl: si<
5%7 documents notari-ed in the month of 'ul:, 1992 which tallied with the official receipts issued b: the clerC of court6 that it
is Aambo who should be held accountable for an: unreceipted pa:ment for notarial fees because he is the one in char)e
of the $otarial #e)ister6 and that this case filed b: complainant Aambo is merel: in retaliation for his failure to be
appointed as the clerC of court" +urthermore, respondent *ud)e contends that he is not the one supervisin) or preparin)
the monthl: report, and that he merel: has the ministerial dut: to si)n the same"
4" .riber: in consideration of an appointment in the court
Complainants alle)e that because of the retirement of the clerC of court, respondent *ud)e forwarded to the Aupreme
Court the applications of #odel Abo)ado, #amon Aambo, and 'essell Abio)" Bowever, the: were surprised when
respondent .aro: reported for dut: as clerC of court on ?ctober 21, 1991" The: later found out that respondent .aro: was
the one appointed because she )ave a brandnew airconditionin) unit to respondent *ud)e"
#espondent .aro: claims that when she was still in $a)a Cit: she purchased an airconditionin) unit but when she was
appointed clerC of court she had to transfer to Tinambac and, since she no lon)er needed the air conditioner, she decided
to sell the same to respondent *ud)e" The installation and use thereof b: the latter in his office was with the consent of the
(a:or of Tinambac"
#espondent *ud)e contends that he endorsed all the applications for the position of clerC of court to the Aupreme Court
which has the sole authorit: over such appointments and that he had no hand in the appointment of respondent .aro:" Be
contends that the airconditionin) unit was bou)ht from his
corespondent on installment basis on (a: 29, 1992, ei)ht 587 months after .aro: had been appointed clerC of court" Be
claims that he would not be that naive to e<hibit to the public as item which could not be defended as a matter of honor
and presti)e"
4" Cash bond issued without a receipt
,t is alle)ed that in Criminal Case $o" 3448, entitled &0eople vs" (ende-a, et al", &bondswoman 'anuaria Dacara was
allowed b: respondent *ud)e to chan)e her propert: bond to cash bond6 that she paid the amount of 01,000"00 but was
never issued a receipt therefor nor was it made to appear in the records that the bond has been paid6 that despite the
lapse of two :ears, the mone: was never returned to the bondswoman6 and that it has not been shown that the mone:
was turned over to the (unicipal Treasurer of Tinambac"
#espondent .aro: counters that the cash bond was deposited with the former clerC of court, then turned over to the
actin) clerC of court and, later, )iven to her under a correspondin) receipt6 that the cash bond is deposited with the banC6
and that should the bondswoman desire to withdraw the same, she should follow the proper procedure therefor"
#espondent *ud)e contends that Criminal Case $o" 3448 was archieved for failure of the bondsman to deliver the bod: of
the accused in court despite notice6 and that he has nothin) to do with the pa:ment of the cash bond as this is the dut: of
the clerC of court"
3" ,nfidelit: in the custod: of prisoners
Complainants contend that respondent *ud)e usuall: )ot detention prisoners to worC in his house, one of whom was Ale<
Alano, who is accused in Criminal Case $o" 3%4@ for violation of the Dan)erous Dru)s Act6 that while Alano was in the
custod: of respondent *ud)e, the former escaped and was never recaptured6 that in order to conceal this fact, the case
was archived pursuant to an order issued b: respondent *ud)e dated April %, 1992"
#espondent *ud)e denied the accusation and claims that he never emplo:ed detention prisoners and that he has
ade>uate household help6 and that he had to order the case archived because it had been pendin) for more than si< 5%7
months and the accused therein remained at lar)e"
%" ;nlawful collection of docCet fees
+inall:, respondents are char)ed with collectin) docCet fees from the #ural .anC of Tinambac, Camarines Aur, ,nc"
althou)h such entit: is e<empt b: law from the pa:ment of said fees, and that while the correspondin) receipt was issued,
respondent .aro: failed to remit the amount to the Aupreme Court and, instead, she deposited the same in her personal
account"
#espondents .aro: contends that it was 'ud)eDesi)nate +elimon (ontene)ro 5because respondent *ud)e was on sicC
leave7 who instructed her to demand pa:ment of docCet fees from said rural banC6 that the banC issued a checC for
0800"006 that she was not allowed b: the 0hilippine $ational .anC to encash the checC and, instead, was instructed to
deposit the same in an: banC account for clearin)6 that respondent deposited the same in her account6 and that after the
checC was cleared, she remitted 0400"00 to the Aupreme Court and the other 0400"00 was paid to the (unicipal
Treasurer of Tinambac"
?n the basis of the fore)oin) contentions, +irst /ice9<ecutive 'ud)e Antonio $" !erona prepared and submitted to us his
#eport and #ecommendations dated (a: 20, 1994, to)ether with the administrative matter" 8e have perspicaciousl:
reviewed the same and we are favorabl: impressed b: the thorou)h and e<haustive presentation and anal:sis of the facts
and evidence in said report" 8e commend the investi)atin) *ud)e for his industr: and perspicacit: reflected b: his findin)s
in said report which, bein) ampl: substantiated b: the evidence and supported b: lo)ical illations, we hereb: approve and
hereunder reproduce at len)th the material portions thereof"
<<< <<< <<<
The first char)e a)ainst the respondents is ille)al solemni-ation of marria)e" 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is char)ed with havin)
solemni-ed without a marria)e license the marria)e of Aamm: .oca:a and !ina .esmonte 59<h" A7" Alano Abellano and
$ell: 9dralin 59<h" .7, +rancisco Aelpo and 'ulieta Carrido 59<h" C7, 9ddie Terrobias and (aria 9mma !aor 59<h" D7,
#enato !ama: and (aricris .el)a 59<h" +7 and Arsenio Aabater and (ar)arita $acario 59<h" !7"
,n all these aforementioned marria)es, the blanC space in the marria)e contracts to show the number of the marria)e was
solemni-ed as re>uired b: Article 22 of the +amil: Code were not filled up" 8hile the contractin) parties and their
witnesses si)ned their marria)e contracts, 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on did not affi< his si)nature in the marria)e contracts, e<cept
that of Abellano and 9dralin when 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on si)ned their marria)e certificate as he claims that he solemni-ed this
marria)e under Article 44 of the +amil: Code of the 0hilippines" ,n said marria)es the contractin) parties were not
furnished a cop: of their marria)e contract and the 2ocal Civil #e)istrar was not sent either a cop: of the marria)e
certificate as re>uired b: Article 24 of the +amil: Code"
The marria)e of .oca:a and .esmonte is shown to have been solemni-ed b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on without a marria)e
license" The testimonies of .oca: himself and 0ompeo Ariola, one of the witnesses of the marria)e of .oca:a and
.esmonte, and the photo)raphs taCen when 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on solemni-ed their marria)e 59<hs" I4 to I97 sufficientl:
show that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on reall: solemni-ed their marria)e" .oca:a declared that the: were advised b: 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on to return after ten 5107 da:s after their marria)e was solemni-ed and brin) with them their marria)e license" ,n
the meantime, the: alread: started livin) to)ether as husband and wife believin) that the formal re>uisites of marria)e
were complied with"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on denied that he solemni-ed the marria)e of .oca:a and .esmonte because the parties alle)edl: did
not have a marria)e license" Be declared that in fact he did not si)n the marria)e certificate, there was no date stated on
it and both the parties and the 2ocal Civil #e)istrar did not have a cop: of the marria)e certificate"
8ith respect to the photo)raphs which show that he solemni-ed the marria)e of .oca:a and .esmonte, 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on e<plains that the: merel: show as if he was solemni-in) the marria)e" ,t was actuall: a simulated
solemni-ation of marria)e and not a real one" This happened because of the pleadin) of the mother of one of the
contractin) parties that he consent to be photo)raphed to show that as if he was solemni-in) the marria)e as he was told
that the food for the weddin) reception was alread: prepared, visitors were alread: invited and the place of the parties
where the reception would be held was more than twent: 5207 Cilometers awa: from the poblacion of Tinambac"
The denial made b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is difficult to believe" The fact alone that he did not si)n the marria)e certificate or
contract, the same did not bear a date and the parties and the 2ocal Civil #e)istrar were not furnished a cop: of the
marria)e certificate, do not b: themselves show that he did not solemni-e the marria)e" Bis uncorroborated testimon:
cannot prevail over the testimon: of .oca:a and Ariola who also declared, amon) others, that .oca:a and his bride were
advised b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on to return after ten 5107 da:s with their marria)e license and whose credibilit: had not been
impeached"
The pictures taCen also from the start of the weddin) ceremon: up to the si)nin) of the marria)e certificate in front of
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on and on his table 59<hs" I4, I4a, I4b, I4c, I4, I4a, I4b, I4c,
I4d, I3, I3a, I3b, I%, I@, I8, I8a and I97, cannot possibl: be *ust to show a simulated solemni-ation of
marria)e" ?ne or two pictures ma: convince a person of the e<planation of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on, but not all those pictures"
.esides, as a *ud)e it is ver: difficult to believe that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on would allows himself to be photo)raphed as if he
was solemni-in) a marria)e on a mere pleadin) of a person whom he did not even Cnow for the alle)ed reasons )iven" ,t
would be hi)hl: improper and unbecomin) of him to allow himself to be used as an instrument of deceit b: maCin) it
appear that .oca:a and .esmonte were married b: him when in truth and in fact he did not solemni-e their marria)e"
8ith respect to the marria)e of Abellano and 9dralin 59<h" .7, 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on admitted that he solemni-ed their
marria)e, but he claims that it was under Article 44 of the +amil: Code, so a marria)e license was not re>uired" The
contractin) parties here e<ecuted a *oint affidavit that the: have been livin) to)ether as husband and wife for almost si<
5%7 :ears alread: 59<h" 126 9<h" AA7"
,n their marria)e contract which did not bear an: date either when it was solemni-ed, it was stated that Abellano was onl:
ei)hteen 5187 :ears, two 527 months and seven 5@7 da:s old" ,f he and 9dralin had been livin) to)ether as husband and
wife for almost si< 5%7 :ears alread: before the: )ot married as the: stated in their *oint affidavit, Abellano must ha5ve7
been less than thirteen 5147 :ears old when he started livin) with 9dralin as his wife and this is hard to believe" 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on should ha5ve7 been aware of this when he solemni-ed their marria)e as it was his dut: to ascertain the
>ualification of the contractin) parties who mi)ht ha5ve7 e<ecuted a false *oint affidavit in order to have an instant marria)e
b: avoidin) the marria)e license re>uirement"
?n (a: 24, 1992, however, after this case was alread: filed, 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on married a)ain Abellano and 9dralin, this
time with a marria)e license 59<h" ..7" The e<planation )iven b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on wh: he solemni-ed the marria)e of
the same couple for the second time is that he did not consider the first marria)e he solemni-ed under Article 44 of the
+amil: Code as 5a7 marria)e at all because complainant #amon Aambo did not follow his instruction that the date should
be placed in the marria)e certificate to show when he solemni-ed the marria)e and that the contractin) parties were not
furnished a cop: of their marria)e certificate"
This act of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on of solemni-in) the marria)e of Abellano and 9dralin for the second time with a marria)e
license alread: onl: )ave rise to the suspicion that the first time he solemni-ed the marria)e it was onl: made to appear
that it was solemni-ed under e<ceptional character as there was not marria)e license and 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on had alread:
si)ned the marria)e certificate" ,f it was true that he solemni-ed the first marria)e under e<ceptional character where a
marria)e license was not re>uired, wh: did he alread: re>uire the parties to have a marria)e license when he solemni-ed
their marria)e for the second timeZ
The e<planation of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on that the first marria)e of Abellano and 9dralin was not a marria)e at all as the
marria)e certificate did not state the date when the marria)e was solemni-ed and that the contractin) parties were not
furnished a cop: of their marria)e certificate, is not well taCen as the: are not an: of those )rounds under Article5s7 43, 4%,
4@ and 48 of the +amil: Code which declare a marria)e void from the be)innin)" 9ven if no one, however, received a
cop: of the marria)e certificate, the marria)e is still valid 5'ones vs" B5o7rti)uela, %4 0hil" 1@97" 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on cannot
*ust absolve himself from responsibilit: b: blamin) his personnel" The: are not the )uardian5s7 of his official function and
under Article 24 of the +amil: Code it is his dut: to furnish the contractin) parties 5a7 cop: of their marria)e contract"
8ith respect to the marria)e of +rancisco Aelpo and 'ulieta Carrido 59<h" C7, and Arsenio Aabater and (ar)arita $acario
59<h" !7, Aelpo and Carrido and Aabater and $acarcio e<ecuted *oint affidavits that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on did not solemni-e
their marria)e 59<h" 14A and 9<h" 17" .oth Carrido and $acario testified for the respondents that actuall: 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on did not solemni-e their marria)e as the: did not have a marria)e license" ?n crosse<amination, however,
both admitted that the: did not Cnow who prepared their affidavits" The: were *ust told, Carrido b: a certain Charito
0ala:pa:on, and $acario b: a certain Ia)awad 9ncinas, to *ust )o to the (unicipal buildin) and si)n their *oint affidavits
there which were alread: prepared before the (unicipal (a:or of Tinambac, Camarines Aur"
8ith respect to the marria)e of #enato !ama: and (aricris .el)a 59<h" f7, their marria)e contract was si)ned b: them
and b: their two 527 witnesses, Att:" 9lmer .rioso and respondent .aro: 59<hs" +1 and +27" 2iCe the other
aforementioned marria)es, the solemni-ation fee was also paid as shown b: a receipt dated 'une @, 1992 and si)ned b:
respondent .aro: 59<h" +47"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on also denied havin) solemni-ed the marria)e of !ama: and .el)a alle)edl: because there was no
marria)e license" ?n her part, respondent .aro: at first denied that the marria)e was solemni-ed" 8hen she was asCed,
however, wh: did she si)n the marria)e contract as a witness she answered that she thou)ht the marria)e was alread:
solemni-ed 5TA$, p" 146 1028947"
#espondent .aro: was, and is, the clerC of court of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on" Ahe si)ned the marria)e contract of !ama: and
.el)a as one of the two principal sponsors" Het, she wanted to )ive the impression that she did not even Cnow that the
marria)e was solemni-ed b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on" This is found ver: difficult to believe"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on made the same denial of havin) solemni-ed also the marria)e of Terrobias and !aor 59<h" D7" The
contractin) parties and their witnesses also si)ned the marria)e contract and paid the solemni-ation fee, but 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on alle)edl: did not solemni-e their marria)e due to lacC of marria)e license" 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on submitted the
affidavit of 8illiam (edina, /ice(a:or of Tinambac, to corroborate his testimon: 59<h" 147" (edina, however, did not
testif: in this case and so his affidavit has no probative value"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on testified that his procedure and practice have been that before the contractin) parties and their
witnesses enter his chamber in order to )et married, he alread: re>uired complainant #amon Aambo to whom he
assi)ned the tasC of preparin) the marria)e contract, to alread: let the parties and their witnesses si)n their marria)e
contracts, as what happened to !ama: and .el)a, and Terrobias and !aor, amon) others" Bis purpose was to save his
precious time as he has been solemni-in) marria)es at the rate of three 547 to four 547 times ever:da: 5TA$, p" 126
21947"
This alle)ed practice and procedure, if true, is hi)hl: improper and irre)ular, if not ille)al, because the contractin) parties
are supposed to be first asCed b: the solemni-in) officer and declare that the: taCe each other as husband and wife
before the solemni-in) officer in the presence of at least two 527 witnesses before the: are supposed to si)n their
marria)e contracts 5Art" %, +amil: Code7"
The uncorroborated testimon:, however, of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on as to his alle)ed practice and procedure before
solemni-in) a marria)e, is not true as shown b: the picture taCen durin) the weddin) of .oca:a and .esmonte 59<hs" I4
to I97 and b: the testimon: of respondent .aro: herself who declared that the practice of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on ha5s7 been
to let the contractin) parties and their witnesses si)n the marria)e contract onl: after 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on has solemni-ed
their marria)e 5TA$, p" 346
1028947"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on did not present an: evidence to show also that he was reall: solemni-in) three 547 to four 547
marria)es ever:da:" ?n the contrar: his monthl: report of cases for 'ul:, 1992 shows that his court had onl: twent:seven
52@7 pendin) cases and he solemni-ed onl: seven 5@7 marria)es for the whole month 59<h" 97" Bis monthl: report of
cases for Aeptember, 1992 shows also that he solemni-ed onl: four 547 marria)es durin) the whole month 59<h" @7"
,n this first char)e of havin) ille)all: solemni-ed marria)es, respondent 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on has presented and marCed in
evidence several marria)e contracts of other persons, affidavits of persons and certification issued b: the 2ocal Civil
#e)istrar 59<hs" 12. to 12B7" These persons who e<ecuted affidavits, however, did not testif: in this case" .esides, the
marria)e contracts and certification mentioned are immaterial as 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is not char)ed of havin) solemni-ed
these marria)es ille)all: also" Be is not char)ed that the marria)es he solemni-ed were all ille)al"
The second char)e a)ainst herein respondents, that of havin) falsified the monthl: report of cases submitted to the
Aupreme Court and not statin) in the monthl: report the actual number of documents notari-ed and issuin) the
correspondin) receipts of the notarial fees, have been sufficientl: proven b: the complainants insofar as the monthl:
report of cases for 'ul: and Aeptember, 1992 are concerned"
The monthl: report of cases of the (TC of Tinambac, Camarines Aur for 'ul:, 1992 both si)ned b: the respondents, show
that for said month there were si< 5%7 documents notari-ed b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on in his capacit: as 9<?fficio $otar:
0ublic 59<hs" B to B1b7" The notarial re)ister of the (TC of Tinambac, Camarines Aur, however, shows that there were
actuall: one hundred thirteen 51147 documents notari-ed b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on for the said month 59<hs" K to K437"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on claims that there was no falsification of the monthl: report of cases for 'ul:, 1992 because there were
onl: si< 5%7 notari-ed documents that were paid 5for7 as shown b: official receipts" Be did not, however, present evidence
of the alle)ed official receipts showin) that the notarial fee for the si< 5%7 documetns were paid" .esides, the monthl:
report of cases with respect to the number of documents notari-ed should not be based on how man: notari-ed
documents were paid of the notarial fees, but the number of documents placed or recorded in the notarial re)ister"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on admitted that he was not personall: verif:in) and checCin) an:more the correctness of the monthl:
reports because he relies on his corespondent who is the ClerC of Court and whom he has assumed to have checCed
and verified the records" Be merel: si)ns the monthl: report when it is alread: si)ned b: respondent .aro:"
The e<planation of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is not well taCen because he is re>uired to have close supervision in the
preparation of the monthl: report of cases of which he certifies as to their correctness" As a *ud)e he is personall:
responsible for the proper dischar)e of his functions 5The 0hil" Trial 2aw:er=s Asso" ,nc" vs" A)ana, Ar", 102 AC#A 31@7" ,n
$idera vs" 2a-aro, 1@4 AC#A 381, it was held that &A *ud)e cannot taCe refu)e behind the inefficienc: or mismana)ement
of his court personnel"&
?n the part of respondent .aro:, she puts the blame of the falsification of the monthl: report of cases on complainant
Aambo whom she alle)edl: assi)ned to prepare not onl: the monthl: report of cases, but the preparation and custod: of
marria)e contracts, notari-ed documents and the notarial re)ister" .: her own admission she has assi)ned to
complainant Aambo duties she was supposed to perform, :et accordin) to her she never bother5ed7 to checC the notarial
re)ister of the court to find out the number of documents notari-ed in a month 5TA$, p" 406 1124947"
Assumin) that respondent .aro: assi)ned the preparation of the monthl: report of cases to Aambo, which was denied b:
the latter as he claims that he onl: t:ped the monthl: report based on the data )iven to him b: her, still it is her dut: to
verif: and checC whether the report is correct"
The e<planation of respondent .aro: that Aambo was the one in custod: of marria)e contracts, notari-ed documents and
notarial re)ister, amon) other thin)s, is not acceptable not onl: because as clerC of court she was supposed to be in
custod:, control and supervision of all court records includin) documents and other properties of the court 5p" 42, (anual
for ClerCs of Court7, but she herself admitted that from 'anuar:, 1992 she was alread: in full control of all the records of
the court includin) receipts 5TA$, p" 116 1124947"
The evidence adduced in this cases in connection with the char)e of falsification, however, also shows that respondent
.aro: did not account for what happened to the notarial fees received for those documents notari-ed durin) the month of
'ul: and Aeptember, 1992" The evidence adduced in this case also sufficientl: show that she received cash bond deposits
and she did not deposit them to a banC or to the (unicipal Treasurer6 and that she onl: issued temporar: receipts for said
cash bond deposits"
+or 'ul:, 1992 there were onl: si< 5%7 documents reported to have been notari-ed b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on althou)h the
documents notari-ed for said month were actuall: one hundred thirteen 51147 as recorded in the notarial re)ister" +or
Aeptember, 1992, there were onl: five 537 documents reported as notari-ed for that month, thou)h the notarial re)ister
show5s7 that there were fift:si< 53%7 documents actuall: notari-ed" The fee for each document notari-ed as appearin) in
the notarial re)ister was 018"30" #espondent .aro: and Aambo declared that what was actuall: bein) char)ed was
020"00" #espondent .aro: declared that 018"30 went to the Aupreme Court and 01"30 was bein) turned over to the
(unicipal Treasurer"
.aro:, however, did not present an: evidence to show that she reall: sent to the Aupreme Court the notarial fees of
018"30 for each document notari-ed and to the (unicipal Treasurer the additional notarial fee of 01"30" This should be
full: accounted for considerin) that .aro: herself declared that some notarial fees were allowed b: her at her own
discretion to be paid later" Aimilarl:, the solemni-ation fees have not been accounted for b: .aro: considerin) that she
admitted that even 5i7n those instances where the marria)es were not solemni-ed due to lacC of marria)e license the
solemni-ation fees were not returned an:more, unless the contractin) parties made a demand for their return" 'ud)e
0ala:pa:on declared that he did not Cnow of an: instance when solemni-ation fee was returned when the marria)e was
not solemni-ed due to lacC of marria)e license"
#espondent .aro: also claims that #amon Aambo did not turn over to her some of the notarial fees" This is difficult to
believe" ,t was not onl: because Aambo vehementl: denied it, but the minutes of the conference of the personnel of the
(TC of Tinambac dated 'anuar: 20, 1992 shows that on that date .aro: informed the personnel of the court that she was
taCin) over the functions she assi)ned to Aambo, particularl: the collection of le)al fees 59<h" @7" The notarial fees she
claims that Aambo did not turn over to her were for those documents notari-ed 5i7n 'ul: and Aeptember, 1992 alread:"
.esides there never was an: demand she made for Aambo to turn over some notarial fees supposedl: in his possession"
$either was there an: memorandum she issued on this matter, in spite of the fact that she has been holdin) meetin)s and
issuin) memoranda to the personnel of the court 59<hs" /, 8, ++, ++1, ++2, ++46 9<hs" 4A 5supplement5s7, 38, %A, @
A and 8A7"
,t is admitted b: respondent .aro: that on ?ctober 29, 1991 a cash bond deposit of a certain Dacara in the amount of
?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos was turned over to her after she assumed office and for this cash bond she issued onl:
a temporar: receipt 59<h" H7" Ahe did not deposit this cash bond in an: banC or to the (unicipal Treasurer" Ahe *ust Cept it
in her own cash bo< on the alle)ed )round that the parties in that case where the cash bond was deposited informed her
that the: would settle the case amicabl:"
#espondent .aro: declared that she finall: deposited the aforementioned cash bond of ?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos
with the 2and .anC of the 0hilippines 52.07 in +ebruar:, 1994, after this administrative case was alread: filed 5TA$, pp"
2@286 1222947" The 0ass .ooC, however, shows that actuall: .aro: opened an account with the 2.0, $a)a .ranch,
onl: on (arch 2%, 1994 when she deposited an amount of Two Thousand 502,000"007 0esos 59<hs" 8 to 81a7" Ahe
claims that ?ne Thousand 501,000"0007 0esos of the initial deposit was the cash bond of Dacara" ,f it were true, it was
onl: after Ceepin) to herself the cash bond of ?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos for around one :ear and five months
when she finall: deposited it because of the filin) of this case"
?n April 29, 1994, or onl: one month and two da:s after she finall: deposited the ?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos cash
bond of Dacara, she withdrew it from the banC without an: authorit: or order from the court" ,t was onl: on 'ul: 24, 1994,
or after almost three 547 months after she withdrew it, when she redeposited said cash bond 5TA$, p" %6 14947"
The evidence presented in this case also show that on +ebruar: 28, 1994 respondent .aro: received also a cash bond of
Three Thousand 504,000"007 0esos from a certain Alfredo Aeprones in Crim" Case $o" 3180" +or this cash bond deposit,
respondent .aro: issued onl: an annumbered temporar: receipt 59<h" X and X17" A)ain .aro: *ust Cept this Three
Thousand 504,000"007 0esos cash bond to herself" Ahe did not deposit it either 5in7 a banC or 5with7 the (unicipal
Treasurer" Ber e<planation was that the parties in Crim" Case $o" 3180 informed her that the: would settle the case
amicabl:" ,t was on April 2%, 1994, or almost two months later when 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on issued an order for the release of
said cash bond 59<h" @7"
#espondent .aro: also admitted that since she assumed office on ?ctober 21, 1991 she used to issue temporar: receipt
onl: for cash bond deposits and other pa:ments and collections she received" Ahe further admitted that some of these
temporar: receipts she issued she failed to place the number of the receipts such as that receipt marCed 9<hibit X 5TA$,
p" 436 1124947" .aro: claims that she did not Cnow that she had to use the official receipts of the Aupreme Court" ,t was
onl: from +ebruar:, 1994, after this case was alread: filed, when she onl: started issuin) official receipts"
The ne<t char)e a)ainst the respondents is that in order to be appointed ClerC of Court, .aro: )ave 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on an
air conditioner as a )ift" The evidence adduced with respect to this char)e, show that on Au)ust 24, 1991 .aro: bou)ht an
air conditioner for the sum of Aeventeen Thousand Ai< Bundred 501@,%00"007 0esos 59<hs" , and ,17" The same was paid
partl: in cash and in checC 59<hs" ,2 and ,47" 8hen the air conditioner was brou)ht to court in order to be installed in the
chamber of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on, it was still placed in the same bo< when it was bou)ht and was not used :et"
The respondents claim that .aro: sold it to 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on for Twent: Thousand 5020,00"007 0esos on installment
basis with a down pa:ment of +ive Thousand 503,000"007 0esos and as proof thereof the respondents presented a
t:pewritten receipt dated (a: 29, 1994 59<h" 227" The receipt was si)ned b: both respondents and b: the (unicipal
(a:or of Tinambac, Camarines Aur and another person as witness"
The alle)ed sale between respondents is not be:ond suspicion" ,t was bou)ht b: .aro: at a time when she was appl:in)
for the vacant position of ClerC of Court 5to7 which she was eventuall: appointed in ?ctober, 1991" +rom the time she
bou)ht the air conditioner on Au)ust 24, 1991 until it was installed in the office of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on it was not used :et"
The sale to 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on was onl: evidenced b: a mere t:pewritten receipt dated (a: 29, 1992 when this case was
alread: filed" The receipt could have been easil: prepared" The (unicipal (a:or of Tinambac who si)ned in the receipt as
a witness did not testif: in this case" The sale is between the ClerC of Court and the 'ud)e of the same court" All these
circumstances )ive rise to suspicion of at least impropriet:" 'ud)es should avoid such action as would sub*ect 5them7 to
suspicion and 5their7 conduct should be free from the appearance of impropriet: 5'aa)ueta vs" .oncasos, %0 AC#A 2@7"
8ith respect to the char)e that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on received a cash bond deposit of ?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos
from 'anuaria Dacara without issuin) a receipt, Dacara e<ecuted an affidavit re)ardin) this char)e that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on
did not )ive her a receipt for the 01,000"00 cash bond she deposited 59<h" $7" Ber affidavit, however, has no probative
value as she did not show that this cash bond of 01,000"00 found its wa: into the hands of respondent .aro: who issued
onl: a temporar: receipt for it and this has been discussed earlier"
Another char)e a)ainst 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is the )ettin) of detention prisoners to worC in his house and one of them
escaped while in his custod: and was never found a)ain" To hide this fact, the case a)ainst said accused was ordered
archived b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on" The evidence adduced with respect to this particular char)e, show that in Crim" Case $o"
3%4@ entitled 0eople vs" Atephen Ialaw, Ale< Alano and Allan Adupe, accused Ale< Alano and Allan Adupe were arrested
on April 12, 1991 and placed in the municipal *ail of Tinambac, Camarines Aur 59<hs" 0, 01, 02 and 046 9<h" 237" The
evidence presented that Ale< Alano was taCen b: 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on from the municipal *ail where said accused was
confined and that he escaped while in custod: of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is solel: testimonial, particularl: that of David ?rti-, a
former utilit: worCer of the (TC of Tinambac"
Berein investi)ator finds said evidence not sufficient" The complainants should have presented records from the police of
Tinambac to show that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on tooC out from the municipal *ail Ale< Alano where he was under detention and
said accused escaped while in the custod: of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on"
The order, however, of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on dated April %, 1992 in Crim" Case $o" 304@ archivin) said case appears to be
without basis" The order states1 &this case was filed on April 12, 1991 and the records show that the warrant of arrest
5was7 issued a)ainst the accused, but up to this moment there is no return of service for the warrant of arrest issued
a)ainst said accused& 59<h" 047" The records of said case, however, show that in fact there was a return of the service of
the warrant of arrest dated April 12, 1991 showin) that Alano and Adupe were arrested 59<h" 047"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on e<plained that his order dated April %, 1992 archivin) Crim" Case $o" 304@ referred onl: to one of the
accused who remained at lar)e" The e<planation cannot be accepted because the two other accused, Alano and Adupe,
were arrested" 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on should have issued an order for the arrest of Adupe who alle)edl: *umped bail, but
Alano was supposed to be confined in the municipal *ail if his claim is true that he did not taCe custod: of Alano"
The e<planation also of 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on wh: he ordered the case archived was because he heard from the police that
Alano escaped" This e<planation is not acceptable either" Be should ha5ve7 set the case and if the police failed to brin) to
court Alano, the former should have been re>uired to e<plain in writin) wh: Alano was not brou)ht to court" ,f the
e<planation was that Alano escaped from *ail, he should have issued an order for his arrest" ,t is onl: later on when he
could not be arrested when the case should have been ordered archived" The order archivin) this case for the reason that
he onl: heard that Alano escaped is another circumstance which )ave rise to a suspicion that Alano mi)ht have reall:
escaped while in his custod: onl: that the complainants could not present records or other documentar: evidence to
prove the same"
The last char)e a)ainst the respondents is that the: collected filin) fees on collection cases filed b: the #ural .anC of
Tinambac, Camarines Aur which was supposed to be e<empted in pa:in) filin) fees under e<istin) laws and that the filin)
fees received was deposited b: respondent .aro: in her personal account in the banC" The evidence presented show that
on +ebruar: 4, 1992 the #ural .anC of Tinambac filed ten 5107 civil cases for collection a)ainst farmers and it paid the
total amount of +our Bundred 50400"007 0esos representin) filin) fees" The complainants cited Aection 14 of #epublic Act
@20, as amended, which e<empts #ural .anCs 5from7 the pa:ment of filin) fees on collection of sums of mone: cases filed
a)ainst farmers on loans the: obtained"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on, however, had nothin) to do with the pa:ment of the filin) fees of the #ural .anC of Tinambac as it was
respondent .aro: who received them and besides, on +ebruar: 4, 1992, he was on sicC leave" ?n her part .aro: claims
that the banC paid voluntaril: the filin) fees" The records, however, shows that respondent .aro: sent a letter to the
mana)er of the banC dated 'anuar: 28, 1992 to the effect that if the banC would not pa: she would submit all #ural .anC
cases for dismissal 5Anne< %, comment b: respondent .aro:7"
#espondent .aro: should have checCed whether the #ural .anC of Tinambac was reall: e<empt from the pa:ment of
filin) fees pursuant to #epublic Act @20, as amended, instead of threatenin) the banC to have its cases be submitted to
the court in order to have them dismissed" Bere the pa:ment of the filin) fees was made on +ebruar: 4, 1992, but the
+our Bundred 50400"007 0esos was onl: turned over to the (unicipal Treasurer on (arch 12, 1992" Bere, there is an
undue dela: a)ain in compl:in) with her obli)ation as accountable officer"
,n view of the fore)oin) findin)s that the evidence presented b: the complainants sufficientl: show that respondent 'ud)e
2ucio 0" 0ala:pa:on, 'r" had solemni-ed marria)es, particularl: that of Aamm: .oca:a and !ina .esmonte, without a
marria)e license, and that it havin) been shown that he did not compl: with his dut: in closel: supervisin) his clerC of
court in the preparation of the monthl: report of cases bein) submitted to the Aupreme Court, particularl: for the months
of 'ul: and Aeptember, 1992 where it has been proven that the reports for said two 527 months were falsified with respect
to the number of documents notari-ed, it is respectfull: recommended that he be imposed a fine of T9$ TB?;AA$D
5010,000"007 09A?A with a warnin) that the same or similar offenses will be more severel: dealt with"
The fact that 'ud)e 0ala:pa:on did not si)n the marria)e contracts or certificates of those marria)es he solemni-ed
without a marria)e license, there were no dates placed in the marria)e contracts to show when the: were solemni-ed, the
contractin) parties were not furnished their marria)e contracts and the 2ocal Civil #e)istrar was not bein) sent an: cop:
of the marria)e contract, will not absolve him from liabilit:" .: solemni-in) alone a marria)e without a marria)e license he
as the solemni-in) officer is the one responsible for the irre)ularit: in not compl:in) 5with7 the formal re>u5i7sites of
marria)e and under Article 4547 of the +amil: Code of the 0hilippines, he shall be civill:, criminall: and administrativel:
liable"
'ud)e 0ala:pa:on is liCewise liable for his ne)li)ence or failure to compl: with his dut: of closel: supervisin) his clerC of
court in the performance of the latter=s duties and functions, particularl: the preparation of the monthl: report of cases
5.endesula vs" 2a:a, 38 AC#A 1%7" Bis e<planation that he onl: si)ned the monthl: report of cases onl: when his clerC of
court alread: si)ned the same, cannot be accepted" ,t is his dut: to closel: supervise her, to checC and verif: the records
if the monthl: reports prepared b: his clerC of court do not contain false statements" ,t was held that &A *ud)e cannot taCe
refu)e behind the inefficienc: or incompetence of court personnel 5$idua vs" 2a-aro, 1@4 AC#A 1387"
,n view also of the fore)oin) findin) that respondent $elia 9smeralda.aro:, the clerC of court of the (unicipal Trial Court
of Tinambac, Camarines Aur, has been found to have falsified the monthl: report of cases for the months of 'ul: and
Aeptember, 1992 with respect to the number of documents notari-ed, for havin) failed to account 5for7 the notarial fees
she received for said two 527 months period6 for havin) failed to account 5for7 the solemni-ation fees of those marria)es
alle)edl: not solemni-ed, but the solemni-ation fees were not returned6 for unauthori-ed issuance of temporar: receipts,
some of which were issued unnumbered6 for receivin) the cash bond of Dacara on ?ctober 29, 1991 in the amount of
?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos for which she issued onl: a temporar: receipt 59<h" H7 and for depositin) it with the
2and .anC of the 0hilippines onl: on (arch 2%, 1994, or after one :ear and five months in her possession and after this
case was alread: filed6 for withdrawin) said cash bond of ?ne Thousand 501,000"007 0esos on April 29, 1994 without an:
court order or authorit: and redepositin) it onl: on 'ul: 24, 19946 for receivin) a cash bond of Three Thousand
504,000"007 0esos from Alfredo Aeprones in Crim" Case $o" 3180, (TC, Tinambac, Camarines Aur, for which she issued
onl: an unnumbered temporar: receipt 59<hs" X and X17 and for not depositin) it with a banC or with the (unicipal
Treasurer until it was ordered released6 and for re>uirin) the #ural .anC of Tinambac, Camarines Aur to pa: filin) fees on
+ebruar: 4, 1992 for collection cases filed a)ainst farmers in the amount of +our Bundred 50400"007 0esos, but turnin)
over said amount to the (unicipal Treasurer onl: on (arch 12, 1992, it is respectfull: recommended that said respondent
clerC of court $elia 9smeralda.aro: be dismissed from the service"
,t is provided that &8ithdrawal of court deposits shall be b: the clerC of court who shall issue official receipt to the
provincial, cit: or municipal treasurer for the amount withdrawn" Court deposits cannot be withdrawn e<cept b: order of
the court, " " " "& 5#evised (anual of ,nstructions for Treasurers, Aec" 184, 184 and %2%6 p" 12@, (anual for ClerCs of
Court7" A circular also provides that the ClerCs of Court shall immediatel: issue an official receipt upon receipt of deposits
from part: liti)ants and thereafter deposit intact the collection with the municipal, cit: or provincial treasurer and their
deposits, can onl: be withdrawn upon proper receipt and order of the Court 5D?' Circular $o" 32, 2% April 19%86 p" 14%,
(anual for ClerCs of Court7" Aupreme Court (emorandum Circular $o" 3, 23 $ovember 1982, also provides that &all
collections of funds of fiduciar: character includin) rental deposits, shall be deposited immediatel: b: the clerC of court
concerned upon receipt thereof with Cit:, (unicipal or 0rovincial Treasurer where his court is located& and that &no
withdrawal of an: of such deposits shall be made e<cept upon lawful order of the court e<ercisin) *urisdiction over the
sub*ect matter"
#espondent .aro: had either failed to compl: with the fore)oin) circulars, or deliberatel: disre)arded, or even
intentionall: violated them" .: her conduct, she demonstrated her callous unconcern for the obli)ations and responsibilit:
of her duties and functions as a clerC of court and accountable officer" The )ross ne)lect of her duties shown b: her
constitute5s7 a serious misconduct which warrant5s7 her removal from office" ,n the case of .elen 0" +erriola vs" $orma
Biam, ClerC of Court, (TCC, .ranch ,, .atan)as Cit:6 A"(" $o" 0904146 Au)ust 9, 1994, it was held that &The clerC of
court is not authori-ed to Ceep funds in hisWher custod:6 monies received b: himWher shall be deposited immediatel: upon
receipt thereof with the Cit:, (unicipal or 0rovincial Treasurer" Aupreme Court Circular $os" 3 dated $ovember 23, 1982
and 3A dated December 4, 1982" #espondent Biam=s failure to remit the cash bail bonds and fine she collected
constitutes serious misconduct and her misappropriation of said funds constitutes dishonest:" &#espondent $orma Biam
was found )uilt: of dishonest: and serious misconduct pre*udicial to the best interest of the service and 5the Court7
ordered her immediate dismissal 5from7 the service"
<<< <<< <<<
8e here emphasi-e once a)ain our ad*uration that the conduct and behavior of ever:one connected with an office
char)ed with the dispensation of *ustice, from the presidin) *ud)e to the lowliest clerC, should be circumscribed with the
heav: burden of responsibilit:" Bis conduct, at all times, must not onl: be characteri-ed b: propriet: and decorum but,
above all else, must be be:ond suspicion" 9ver: emplo:ee should be an e<ample of inte)rit:, upri)htness and honest:" 3
,nte)rit: in a *udicial office is more than a virtue, it is a necessit:" % ,t applies, without >ualification as to ranC or position,
from the *ud)e to the least of its personnel, the: bein) standardbearers of the e<actin) norms of ethics and moralit:
imposed upon a Court of *ustice"
?n the char)e re)ardin) ille)al marria)es the +amil: Code pertinentl: provides that the formal re>uisites of marria)e are,
inter alia, a valid marria)e license e<cept in the cases provided for therein" @ Complementaril:, it declares that the
absence of an: of the essential or formal re>uisites shall )enerall: render the marria)e void ab initio and that, while an
irre)ularit: in the formal re>uisites shall not affect the validit: of the marria)e, the part: or parties responsible for the
irre)ularit: shall be civill:, criminall: and administrativel: liable" 8
The civil aspect is addressed to the contractin) parties and those affected b: the ille)al marria)es, and what we are
providin) for herein pertains to the administrative liabilit: of respondents, all without pre*udice to their criminal
responsibilit:" The #evised 0enal Code provides that &5p7riests or ministers of an: reli)ious denomination or sect, or civil
authorities who shall perform or authori-e an: ille)al marria)e ceremon: shall be punished in accordance with the
provisions of the (arria)e 2aw"& 9 This is of course, within the province of the prosecutorial a)encies of the !overnment"
The recommendation with respect to the administrative sanction to be imposed on respondent *ud)e should, therefore, be
modified" +or one, with respect to the char)e of ille)al solemni-ation of marria)es, it does appear that he had not taCen to
heart, but actuall: trifled with, the law=s concern for the institution of marria)e and the le)al effects flowin) from civil status"
This, and his undeniable participation in the other offenses char)ed as hereinbefore narrated in detail, appro<imate such
serious de)ree of misconduct and of )ross ne)li)ence in the performance of *udicial duties as to ineludibl: re>uire a
hi)her penalt:"
8B9#9+?#9, the Court hereb: imposes a +,$9 of 020,000"00 on respondent 'ud)e 2ucio 0" 0ala:pa:on" 'r", with a
stern warnin) that an: repetition of the same or similar offenses in the future will definitel: be severel: dealt with"
#espondent $elia 9smeralda.aro: is hereb: D,A(,AA9D from the service, with forfeiture of all retirement benefits and
with pre*udice to emplo:ment in an: branch, a)enc: or instrumentalit: of the !overnment, includin) )overnmentowned or
controlled corporations"
2et copies of this decision be spread on their records and furnished to the ?ffice of the ?mbudsman for appropriate
action"
A? ?#D9#9D"
AA.M. No. MTJ-96-1099. Ju4y 19, 1996B
RODOL)O G. NA:ARRO, 3o0!4a$nan#, &%. JDGE 'ERNANDO (. DOMAGTO<, r"%!on+"n#.
D E ( I S I O N
ROMERO, J.8
The complainant in this administrative case is the (unicipal (a:or of Dapa, Auri)ao del $orte, #odolfo !" $avarro" Be
has submitted evidence in relation to two specific acts committed b: respondent (unicipal Circuit Trial Court 'ud)e
Bernando Doma)to:, which, he contends, e<hibits )ross misconduct as well as inefficienc: in office and i)norance of the
law"
+irst, on Aeptember 2@, 1994, respondent *ud)e solemni-ed the weddin) between !aspar A" Ta)adan and Arl:n +" .or)a,
despite the Cnowled)e that the )room is merel: separated from his first wife"
Aecond, it is alle)ed that he performed a marria)e ceremon: between +loriano Dador Auma:lo and !emma !" del
#osario outside his court=s *urisdiction on ?ctober 2@, 1994" #espondent *ud)e holds office and has *urisdiction in the
(unicipal Circuit Trial Court of Ata" (onica.ur)os, Auri)ao del $orte" The weddin) was solemni-ed at the respondent
*ud)e=s residence in the municipalit: of Dapa, which does not fall within his *urisdictional area of the municipalities of Ata"
(onica and .ur)os, located some 40 to 43 Cilometers awa: from the municipalit: of Dapa, Auri)ao del $orte"
,n his lettercomment to the ?ffice of the Court Administrator, respondent *ud)e avers that the office and name of the
(unicipal (a:or of Dapa have been used b: someone else, who, as the ma:or=s &lacCe:,& is overl: concerned with his
actuations both as *ud)e and as a private person" The same person had earlier filed Administrative (atter $o" 94980
(TC, which was dismissed for lacC of merit on Aeptember 13, 1994, and Administrative (atter $o" ?CA,0,931%,
&Antonio Adapon v" 'ud)e Bernando C" Doma)to:,& which is still pendin)"
,n relation to the char)es a)ainst him, respondent *ud)e seeCs e<culpation from his act of havin) solemni-ed the marria)e
between !aspar Ta)adan, a married man separated from his wife, and Arl:n +" .or)a b: statin) that he merel: relied on
the Affidavit issued b: the (unicipal Trial 'ud)e of .ase:, Aamar, confirmin) the fact that (r" Ta)adan and his first wife
have not seen each other for almost seven :ears"E1F 8ith respect to the second char)e, he maintains that in solemni-in)
the marria)e between Auma:lo and del #osario, he did not violate Article @, para)raph 1 of the +amil: Code which states
that1 &(arria)e ma: be solemni-ed b:1 517 An: incumbent member of the *udiciar: within the court=s *urisdiction\6 and that
Article 8 thereof applies to the case in >uestion"
The complaint was not referred, as is usual, for investi)ation, since the pleadin)s submitted were considered sufficient for
a resolution of the case"E2F
Aince the counterchar)es of sinister motives and fraud on the part of complainant have not been sufficientl: proven, the:
will not be dwelt upon" The acts complained of and respondent *ud)e=s answer thereto will suffice and can be ob*ectivel:
assessed b: themselves to prove the latter=s malfeasance"
The certified true cop: of the marria)e contract between !aspar Ta)adan and Arl:n .or)a states that Ta)adan=s civil
status is &separated"& Despite this declaration, the weddin) ceremon: was solemni-ed b: respondent *ud)e" Be
presented in evidence a *oint affidavit b: (aurecio A" 2abado, Ar" and 9u)enio .ullecer, subscribed and sworn to before
'ud)e Demosthenes C" Du>uilla, (unicipal Trial 'ud)e of .ase:, Aamar"E4F The affidavit was not issued b: the latter
*ud)e, as claimed b: respondent *ud)e, but merel: acCnowled)ed before him" ,n their affidavit, the affiants stated that
the: Cnew !aspar Ta)adan to have been civill: married to ,da D" 0eJaranda in Aeptember 19846 that after thirteen :ears
of cohabitation and havin) borne five children, ,da 0eJaranda left the con*u)al dwellin) in /alencia, .uCidnon and that she
has not returned nor been heard of for almost seven :ears, thereb: )ivin) rise to the presumption that she is alread:
dead"
,n effect, 'ud)e Doma)to: maintains that the aforementioned *oint affidavit is sufficient proof of ,da 0eJaranda=s
presumptive death, and ample reason for him to proceed with the marria)e ceremon:" 8e do not a)ree"
Article 41 of the +amil: Code e<pressl: provides1
&A marria)e contracted b: an: person durin) the subsistence of a previous marria)e shall be null and void, unless before
the celebration of the subse>uent marria)e, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive :ears and the spouse
present had a wellfounded belief that the absent spouse was alread: dead" ,n case of disappearance where there is
dan)er of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Articles 491 of the Civil Code, an absence of onl:
two :ears shall be sufficient"
+or the purpose of contractin) the subse>uent marria)e under the precedin) para)raph, the spouse present must institute
a summar: proceedin) as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without
pre*udice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse"& 59mphasis added"7
There is nothin) ambi)uous or difficult to comprehend in this provision" ,n fact, the law is clear and simple" 9ven if the
spouse present has a wellfounded belief that the absent spouse was alread: dead, a summar: proceedin) for the
declaration of presumptive death is necessar: in order to contract a subse>uent marria)e, a mandator: re>uirement
which has been precisel: incorporated into the +amil: Code to discoura)e subse>uent marria)es where it is not proven
that the previous marria)e has been dissolved or a missin) spouse is factuall: or presumptivel: dead, in accordance with
pertinent provisions of law"
,n the case at bar, !aspar Ta)adan did not institute a summar: proceedin) for the declaration of his first wife=s
presumptive death" Absent this *udicial declaration, he remains married to ,da 0eJaranda" 8hether wittin)l:, or
unwittin)l:, it was manifest error on the part of respondent *ud)e to have accepted the *oint affidavit submitted b: the
)room" Auch ne)lect or i)norance of the law has resulted in a bi)amous, and therefore void, marria)e" ;nder Article 43
of the +amil: Code, &The followin) marria)e shall be void from the be)innin)1 547 Those bi)amous < < < marria)es not
fallin) under Article 41"&
The second issue involves the solemni-ation of a marria)e ceremon: outside the court=s *urisdiction, covered b: Articles @
and 8 of the +amil: Code, thus1
&Art" @" (arria)e ma: be solemni-ed b:1
517 An: incumbent member of the *udiciar: within the court=s *urisdiction6
< < < < < < <<< 59mphasis supplied"7
Art" 8" The marria)e shall be solemni-ed publicl: in the chambers of the *ud)e or in open court, in the church, chapel or
temple, or in the office of the consul)eneral, consul or viceconsul, as the case ma: be, and not elsewhere, e<cept in
cases of marria)es contracted on the point of death or in remote places in accordance with Article 29 of this Code, or
where both parties re>uest the solemni-in) officer in writin) in which case the marria)e ma: be solemni-ed at a house or
place desi)nated b: them in a sworn statement to that effect"&
#espondent *ud)e points to Article 8 and its e<ceptions as the *ustifications for his havin) solemni-ed the marria)e
between +loriano Auma:lo and !emma del #osario outside of his court=s *urisdiction" As the afore>uoted provision
states, a marria)e can be held outside of the *ud)e=s chambers or courtroom onl: in the followin) instances1 517 at the
point of death, 527 in remote places in accordance with Article 29 or 547 upon re>uest of both parties in writin) in a sworn
statement to this effect" There is no pretense that either Auma:lo or del #osario was at the point of death or in a remote
place" (oreover, the written re>uest presented addressed to the respondent *ud)e was made b: onl: one part:, !emma
del #osario"E4F
(ore importantl:, the elementar: principle underl:in) this provision is the authorit: of the solemni-in) *ud)e" ;nder Article
4, one of the formal re>uisites of marria)e is the &authorit: of the solemni-in) officer"& ;nder Article @, marria)e ma: be
solemni-ed b:, amon) others, &an: incumbent member of the *udiciar: within the court=s *urisdiction"& Article 8, which is a
director: provision, refers onl: to the venue of the marria)e ceremon: and does not alter or >ualif: the authorit: of the
solemni-in) officer as provided in the precedin) provision" $oncompliance herewith will not invalidate the marria)e"
A priest who is commissioned and allowed b: his local ordinar: to marr: the faithful, is authori-ed to do so onl: within the
area of the diocese or place allowed b: his .ishop" An appellate court 'ustice or a 'ustice of this Court has *urisdiction
over the entire 0hilippines to solemni-e marria)es, re)ardless of the venue, as lon) as the re>uisites of the law are
complied with" Bowever, *ud)es who are appointed to specific *urisdictions, ma: officiate in weddin)s onl: within said
areas and not be:ond" 8here a *ud)e solemni-es a marria)e outside his court=s *urisdiction, there is a resultant
irre)ularit: in the formal re>uisite laid down in Article 4, which while it ma: not affect the validit: of the marria)e, ma:
sub*ect the officiatin) official to administrative liabilit:"E3F
,nasmuch as respondent *ud)e=s *urisdiction covers the municipalities of Ata" (onica and .ur)os, he was not clothed with
authorit: to solemni-e a marria)e in the municipalit: of Dapa, Auri)ao del $orte" .: citin) Article 8 and the e<ceptions
therein as )rounds for the e<ercise of his misplaced authorit:, respondent *ud)e a)ain demonstrated a lacC of
understandin) of the basic principles of civil law"
Accordin)l:, the Court finds respondent to have acted in )ross i)norance of the law" The le)al principles applicable in the
cases brou)ht to our attention are elementar: and uncomplicated, promptin) us to conclude that respondent=s failure to
appl: them is due to a lacC of comprehension of the law"
The *udiciar: should be composed of persons who, if not e<perts, are at least, proficient in the law the: are sworn to appl:,
more than the ordinar: la:men" The: should be sCilled and competent in understandin) and appl:in) the law" ,t is
imperative that the: be conversant with basic le)al principles liCe the ones involved in instant case"E%F ,t is not too much to
e<pect them to Cnow and appl: the law intelli)entl:"E@F ?therwise, the s:stem of *ustice rests on a shaC: foundation
indeed, compounded b: the errors committed b: those not learned in the law" 8hile ma)istrates ma: at times maCe
mistaCes in *ud)ment, for which the: are not penali-ed, the respondent *ud)e e<hibited i)norance of elementar:
provisions of law, in an area which has )reatl: pre*udiced the status of married persons"
The marria)e between !aspar Ta)adan and Arl:n .or)a is considered bi)amous and void, there bein) a subsistin)
marria)e between !aspar Ta)adan and ,da 0eJaranda"
The ?ffice of the Court Administrator recommends, in its (emorandum to the Court, a si<month suspension and a stern
warnin) that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severel:" Considerin) that one of the
marria)es in >uestion resulted in a bi)amous union and therefore void, and the other lacCed the necessar: authorit: of
respondent *ud)e, the Court adopts said recommendation" #espondent is advised to be more circumspect in appl:in) the
law and to cultivate a deeper understandin) of the law"
,$ /,98 ?+ TB9 +?#9!?,$!, respondent 'ud)e Bernando C" Doma)to: is hereb: A;A09$D9D for a period of si< 5%7
months and )iven a AT9#$ 8A#$,$! that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severel:"
A? ?#D9#9D"
#e)alado 5Chairman7, 0uno, (endo-a, and Torres, 'r", ''", concur"
RE*,LI( :S. (A 216 S(RA 257
+ACTA1
#espondent An)elina (" Castro and 9dwin +" Cardenas were married in a civil ceremon: performed b: a Cit: Court
'ud)e of 0asi) Cit: and was celebrated without the Cnowled)e of Castro=s parents"Defendant Cardenas personall:
attended the procurin) of the documents re>uired for the celebration of the marria)e, includin) the procurement of the
marria)e license"
The couple did not immediatel: live to)ether as husband and wife since the marria)e was unCnown to Castro=s parents"
The: decided to live to)ether when Castro discovered she was pre)nant" The cohabitation lasted onl: for four months"
Thereafter, the couple parted wa:s" Desirin) to follow her dau)hter in the ;"A, Castro wanted to put in order he marital
status before leavin) for the ;"A" Ahe then discovered that there was no marria)e license issued to Cardenas prior to the
celebration of their marria)e as certified b: the Civil #e)istrar of 0asi), (etro (anila"
#espondent then filed a petition with the #TC of Kue-on Cit: seeCin) for the *udicial declaration of nullit: of her marria)e
claimin) that no marria)e license was ever issued to them prior to the solemni-ation of their marria)e"
The trial court denied the petition holdin) that the certification was inade>uate to establish the alle)ed nonissuance of a
marria)e license prior to the celebration of the marria)e between the parties" ,t ruled that the &inabilit: of the certif:in)
official to locate the marria)e license is not conclusive to show that there was no marria)e license issued" ?n appeal, the
decision of the trial court was reversed"
,AA;91
,s the marria)e validZ ,s there such a thin) as a &secret marria)e&Z
B92D1
At the time of the sub*ect marria)e was solemni-ed on 'une 24, 19@0, the law )overnin) marital relations was the $ew
Civil Code" The law provides that no marria)e license shall be solemni-ed without a marria)e license first issued b: the
local civil re)istrar" .ein) one of the essential re>uisites of a valid marria)e, absence of a license would render the
marria)e void ab initio"
,t will be remembered that the sub*ect marria)e was a civil ceremon: performed b: a *ud)e of a cit: court" The sub*ect
marria)e is one of those commonl: Cnown as a &secret marria)e& a le)all: none<istent phrase but ordinaril: used to
refer to a civil marria)e celebrated without the Cnowled)e of the relatives andWor friends of either or both of the contractin)
parties" The records show that the marria)e between Castro and Cardenas as initiall: unCnown to the parents of the
former"