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YASIN V.

SHARIA DISTRICT COURT (1995)


EN BANC
(G.R. No. 94986 February 23, 1995)
FACTS:
On May 5, 1990, Hatima C. Yasin filed in the Shari'a District Court in Zamboanga City a "Petition to
resume the use of maiden name. The respondent court ordered amendments to the petition as it was not
sufficient in form and substance in accordance Rule 103, Rules of Court, regarding the residence of
petitioner and the name sought to be adopted is not properly indicated in the title thereof which should
include all the names by which the petitioner has been known. Hatima filed a motion for reconsideration of
the aforesaid order alleging that the petition filed is not covered by Rule 103 of the Rules of Court but is
merely a petition to resume the use of her maiden name and surname after the dissolution of her marriage
by divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, and after marriage of her former
husband to another woman. The respondent court denied the motion since compliance to rule 103 is
necessary if the petition is to be granted, as it would result in the resumption of the use of petitioners
maiden name and surname.
ISSUE:
Whether or not in the case of annulment of marriage, or divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal
Laws of the Philippines, and the husband is married again to another woman and the former desires to
resume her maiden name or surname, is she required to file a petition for change of name and comply with
the formal requirements of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.
RULING:
NO. When a woman marries a man, she need not apply and/or seek judicial authority to use her
husband's name by prefixing the word "Mrs." before her husband's full name or by adding her husband's
surname to her maiden first name. The law grants her such right (Art. 370, Civil Code). Similarly, when the
marriage ties or vinculum no longer exists as in the case of death of the husband or divorce as authorized
by the Muslim Code, the widow or divorcee need not seek judicial confirmation of the change in her civil
status in order to revert to her maiden name as the use of her former husband's name is optional and not
obligatory for her. When petitioner married her husband, she did not change her name but only her civil
status. Neither was she required to secure judicial authority to use the surname of her husband after the
marriage, as no law requires it. The use of the husband's surname during the marriage, after annulment of
the marriage and after the death of the husband is permissive and not obligatory except in case of legal
separation.
The court finds the petition to resume the use of maiden name filed by petitioner before the
respondent court a superfluity and unnecessary proceeding since the law requires her to do so as her
former husband is already married to another woman after obtaining a decree of divorce from her in
accordance with Muslim laws.

FULL CASE
On May 5, 1990, Hatima C. Yasin filed in the Shari'a District Court in Zamboanga City a "Petition to resume
the use of maiden name" (Sp. Proc. No. 06-3). The petition reads:
1. That she is of legal age, a divorcee, a Muslin Filipino and a resident of Suterville,
Zamboanga City, Philippines, and is duly represented in this act by her elder brother and
attorney-in-fact, HADJI HASAN S. CENTI by virtue of an instrument of a Special Power of
Attorney, original copy of which is hereto attached and marked as Annex "A" hereof;
2. That she was formerly married to a certain Hadji Idris Yasin, also a Muslim Filipino in
accordance with Muslim rites and customs, and who is now residing at Barangay Recodo,
Zamboanga City, but sometime on March 13, 1984, they were granted a decree of divorce
by the Mindanao Islamic Center Foundation, Inc., in accordance with Islamic Law, the divorce
rites was officiated by Ustadz Sharif Jain Jali as evidenced by his Certification, dated march
13, 1984, copy of which is hereto attached as Annex "B" to form an integral part hereof;
3. That, thereafter the former husband Hadji Idris Yasin contracted another marriage to
another woman;
WHEREFORE, invoking the provisions of Article 143, par. 1(c) of Presidential Decree No. 1083
in relation to Article 371 (2) of the New Civil Code, and after due notice and hearing, it is
most respectfully prayed of this Honorable Court that petitioner be allowed to resume the
use of her maiden name Hatima Centi y Saul.

On July 4, 1990, the respondent court issued an order which reads as follows:
It patently appearing that the petition filed is not sufficient in form and substance in
accordance with Section 2(a) and 3, Rule 103, Rules of Court, regarding the residence of
petitioner and the name sought to be adopted is not properly indicated in the title thereof
which should include all the names by which the petitioner has been known (Ng Yao Siong v.
Republic of the Philippines, L-20306, March 31, 1966, 16 SCRA [483]; Go v. Republic of the
Philippines, L-31760, May 25, 1977; Pabellar v. Republic, L-27298, march 4, 1976), the
pleading must be rectified accordingly.
WHEREFORE, petitioner is hereby ordered to effect the necessary amendment of the petition
within one (1) week from receipt hereof so as to reflect the formal requirements adverted to.
(Rollo, p. 9)
Hatima filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforesaid order alleging that the petition filed is not
covered by Rule 103 of the Rules of Court but is merely a petition to resume the use of her maiden name
and surname after the dissolution of her marriage by divorce under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of
the Philippines (P.D. No. 1083), and after marriage of her former husband to another woman.
The motion was denied by the respondent court in an order dated August 10, 1990, on the ground that the
petition is substantially for change of name and that compliance with the provisions of Rule 103, Rules of
Court on change of name is necessary if the petition is to be granted as it would result in the resumption of
the use of petitioner's maiden name and surname.
Hence, this petition alleging that respondent court erred in applying Rule 103 of the Rules of Court to the
instant case.
In his Comment dated June 14, 1991, the respondent court, among others, contends:
5. . . . (R)espondent court is of the honest opinion that the said petition is substantially one
for change of name, particularly of surname Hatima C. Yasin to Hatima Centi y Saul, the
latter being her maiden name and surname. Her reasons: The (1) dissolution of her
marriage, and (2) her legal right to resume the use of her maiden name and surname. In
effect, if petition is granted, it will result in the resumption of the use of her surname.
Moreover, the use of surnames is governed by law (Arts. 364-380, Title XIII, New Civil Code).
This is the substantive requirements. And as to procedural requirements, no person can
change his name or surname without judicial authority (Art. 376, Civil Code of the
Philippines) (Emphasis supplied). Change of name under judicial authorization is governed
by Rule 103 of the Revised Rules of Court. Under Sec. 1 of said rule: "a person desiring to
change his name shall present the petition to the Court of First Instance of the province (now
RTC) in which he resides, or in the City of Manila, to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations
Court." The State has an interest in the names borne by individual and entities for purposes
of identification. A change of name is a privilege and not a matter of right. Therefore, before
a person can be authorized to change his name (given him either in his birth certificate or
civil registry), he must show proper or compelling reason, which may justify such change.
Otherwise, the request should be denied (Ong Peng Oan v. Republic, 102 Phil. 468) ( See:
Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated, Vol. I, 8th Ed., 1978, pp. 739-740). (Rollo, pp.
46-47)
The basic issue to be resolved is: whether or not in the case of annulment of marriage, or divorce under
the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, and the husband is married again to another woman
and the former desires to resume her maiden name or surname, is she required to file a petition for change
of name and comply with the formal requirements of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court.
Stated otherwise, the issue is: whether or not a petition for resumption of maiden name and surname is
also a petition for change of name.
The Court rules in the negative.
The true and real name of a person is that given to him and entered in the civil register (Chomi v. Local
Civil Register of Manila, 99 Phil. 1004 [1956]; Ng Yao Siong v. Republic, 16 SCRA 483 [1966]; Rendora v.
Republic, 35 SCRA 262 [1970]; Pabellar v. Republic, 70 SCRA 16 [1976]).
While it is true that under Article 376 of the Civil Code, no person can change his name or surname without
judicial authority, nonetheless, the only name that may be changed is the true and official name recorded
in the Civil Register. Thus, this Court in Ng Yao Siong v. Republic (16 SCRA 483 [1966]), held:
In a proceeding for a change of name the following question may crop up: What is the name
to be changed? By Article 408 of the Civil Code a person's birth must be entered in the civil
register. So it is, that the civil register records his name. That name in the civil register, for

legal purposes, is his real name. And correctly so, because the civil register is an official
record of the civil status of persons. A name given to a person in the church record or
elsewhere or by which he is known in the community when at variance with that entered
in the civil register is unofficial and cannot be recognized as his real name.
We therefore rule that for the purposes of an application for change of name under Article
376 of the Civil Code, the only name that may be changed is the true or official name
recorded in the civil register.
Petitioner's registered name is Hatima Centi Y. Saul. In the instant petition, petitioner does not seek to
change her registered maiden name but, instead, prays that she be allowed to resume the use of her
maiden name in view of the dissolution of her marriage to Hadji Idris Yasin, by virtue of a decree of divorce
granted in accordance with Muslim law.
Divorce (talaq) is defined in PD 1086, the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines, as follows:
Art. 45. Definition and forms. Divorce is the formal dissolution of the marriage bond in
accordance with this Code to be granted only after exhaustion of all possible means of
reconciliation between the spouses. It may be effected by:
(a) Repudiation of the wife by the husband (talaq);
xxx xxx xxx
(c) Judicial decree ( faskh).
Divorce (talaq or faskh) severs the marriage bond. Thus, Article 54 of PD 1086 provides:
Art. 54. Effects of irrevocable talaq or faskh. A talaq or faskh, as soon as it become
irrevocable, shall have the following effects:
(a) The marriage bond shall be severed and the spouses may contract another
marriage in accordance with this Code;
The divorce becomes irrevocable after observance of a period of waiting called idda (Art. 56, PD 1086) the
duration of which is 3 monthly courses after termination of the marriage by divorce (Art. 57[b], PD 1083).
Under Article 187, PD 1083, the Civil Code of the Philippines, the Rules of Court and other existing laws,
insofar as they are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Code (the Code of Muslim Personal Laws),
shall be applied suppletorily.
Even under the Civil Code, the use of the husband's surname during the marriage (Art. 370, Civil Code),
after annulment of the marriage (Art. 371, Civil Code) and after the death of the husband (Art. 373, Civil
Code) is permissive and not obligatory except in case of legal separation (Art. 372, Civil Code). Thus,
Articles 370 and 371 of the Civil Code provides:
Art. 370. A married woman may use:
(1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname, or
(2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname, or
(3) Her husband's full name, but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife, such as
"Mrs."
Art. 371. In case of annulment of marriage, and the wife is the guilty party, she shall resume
her maiden name and surname. If she is the innocent spouse, she may resume her maiden
name and surname. However, she may choose to continue employing her former husband's
surname, unless:
(1) The court decrees otherwise, or
(2) She or the former husband is married again to another person.
According to Tolentino:
. . . Under the present article of our Code, however, the word "may" is used, indicating that
the use of the husband's surname by the wife is permissive rather than obligatory. We have
no law which provides that the wife shall change her name to that of the husband upon
marriage. This is in consonance with the principle that surnames indicate descent. It seems,

therefore, that a married woman may use only her maiden name and surname. She has an
option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by
this Article. (Tolentino, Civil Code of the Philippines, Vol. I, p. 724, 1983 ed.)
When a woman marries a man, she need not apply and/or seek judicial authority to use her husband's
name by prefixing the word "Mrs." before her husband's full name or by adding her husband's surname to
her maiden first name. The law grants her such right (Art. 370, Civil Code). Similarly, when the marriage
ties or vinculum no longer exists as in the case of death of the husband or divorce as authorized by the
Muslim Code, the widow or divorcee need not seek judicial confirmation of the change in her civil status in
order to revert to her maiden name as the use of her former husband's name is optional and not obligatory
for her (Tolentino, Civil Code, p. 725, 1983 ed.; Art. 373, Civil Code). When petitioner married her husband,
she did not change her name but only her civil status. Neither was she required to secure judicial authority
to use the surname of her husband after the marriage as no law requires it.
In view of the foregoing considerations, We find the petition to resume the use of maiden name filed by
petitioner before the respondent court a superfluity and unnecessary proceeding since the law requires her
to do so as her former husband is already married to another woman after obtaining a decree of divorce
from her in accordance with Muslim laws.
Although there is no legal prohibition against obtaining a judicial confirmation of a legal right,
nevertheless, no law or rule provides for the procedure by which such confirmation may be obtained. In
view of such circumstances, the onerous requirements of Rule 103 of the Rules of Court on change of name
should not be applied to judicial confirmation of the right of a divorced woman to resume her maiden name
and surname. In the absence of a specific rule or provision governing such a proceeding, where sufficient
facts have been alleged supported by competent proof as annexes, which appear to be satisfactory to the
court, such petition for confirmation of change of civil status and/or to resume the use of maiden name
must be given due course and summarily granted as in fact it is a right conferred by law.
While the petition filed in the instant case leaves much to be desired in matters of form and averment of
concise statements of ultimate facts constituting the petitioner's cause of action, nevertheless, giving it a
most liberal construction, the petition suffices to convey the petitioner's desire and prayer to resume her
maiden surname on grounds of her divorce from her former husband and subsequent marriage of the
latter to another woman.
The remand of this case to the trial court would only delay the final disposition of this case and would not
serve the public interest. We have consistently ruled that the remand of the case to a lower court for
further reception of evidence is not necessary if this Court can already resolve the dispute on the basis of
the records before it (Dimayuga v. PCIB, 200 SCRA 143 [1991]; Board of Liquidators v. Zulueta, 115 SCRA
548 [1982]: Quisumbing v. CA, 120 SCRA 703 [1983]).
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the orders of respondent court dated July 4, 1990 and August
10, 1990 are hereby SET ASIDE. Petitioner is authorized to resume her maiden name and surname.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Kapunan, Mendoza,
and Francisco, JJ., concur.

BUCCAT vs. BUCCA


72 PHIL 19
4

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 47101 April 25, 1941
GODOFREDO BUCCAT, plaintiff-appellant, vs. LUIDA MANGONON DE BUCCAT, defendantrespondent.
HORRILLENO, J.:
This issue has been raised to this superiority by the Court of First Instance of Baguio, as
only raises a question purely of law. On March 20, 1939 the plaintiff in the present case,
in which the defendant failed to appear, despite having been duly summoned. Therefore,
allowed the plaintiff to present evidence, the lower court decision, the matter in favor of
the defendant. Hence this appeal. The applicant requests the annulment of their
marriage had with the defendant Luisa Buccat Mangonon of the November 26, 1938, in Baguio
City, the grounds that, in consenting to the marriage, he did so because the defendant had
assured him that she was virgin. In the lower court's decision reveals the following facts:
The plaintiff met the defendant in March 1938. After several interviews, both were
committed on19 September of that year. On 26 November the same year, the plaintiff
married the defendant in the Catholic cathedral Baguio City. The spouses of living
maritally for the space of eighty-nine days, the defendant gave birth to a child of nine
months, the February 23, 1939. Following this event, the plaintiff abandoned the defendant
and did not return to do with her marital life. We do not see any reason to vacate the judgment
appealed. Indeed, it is improbable the plaintiff's allegation that the appellant and had not
even suspected the gravid state of the defendant, being this, as has been proven, highly
advanced in pregnant condition. Therefore not necessary to estimate the fraud that speaks the
appellant. He argued for this in the sense that countries not uncommon to find people of
the abdomen developed, it seems childish to merit our consideration, especially as the
applicant was a freshman in law. Marriage is a most sacred institution: it is the foundation on which
society rests. You can stop this are necessary to clear and reliable. In this case no such
evidence. Finding the judgment appealed in accordance with law, must be confirmed, as confirmed
by the present, in all its parts, with costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Facts:
Godofredo Buccat and Luida Mangonon de Buccat met in March 1938, became engaged in September, and
got married in Nov 26.
On Feb 23, 1939 (89 days after getting married) Luida, who was 9 months pregnant, gave birth to a son.
After knowing this, Godofredo left Luida and never returned to married life with her.
On March 23, 1939, he filed for an annulment of their marriage on the grounds that when he agreed to
married Luida, she assured him that she was a virgin.
The Lower court decided in favor of Luida.
Issue:
Should the annulment for Godofredo Buccats marriage be granted on the grounds that Luida concealed
her pregnancy before the marriage?
Held:
No. Clear and authentic proof is needed in order to nullify a marriage, a sacred institution in which the
State is interested and where society rests.
In this case, the court did not find any proof that there was concealment of pregnancy constituting fraud as
a ground for annulment. It was unlikely that Godofredo, a first-year law student, did not suspect anything
about Luidas condition considering that she was in an advanced stage of pregnancy (highly developed
physical manifestation, ie. enlarged stomach ) when they got married.
Decision:
SC affirmed the lower courts decision. Costs to plaintiff-appellant.

REPUBLIC vs. ORBEDECIDO

DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:

Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one party is later naturalized
as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating him or her to remarry, can
the Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law?
Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to make a definite ruling on
this apparently novel question, presented as a pure question of law.
In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails the Decision[1] dated May 15,
2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and its
Resolution[2] dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. The court a quo had
declared that herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry. The fallo of the
impugned Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 26 of
the Family Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his
American wife, the petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine
Law.
IT IS SO ORDERED.[3]
The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows.
On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the United
Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was blessed with a son
and a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly V. Orbecido.
In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along their son Kristoffer. A few
years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.
Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce
decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him currently
live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California.
Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed. Finding merit in the
petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied.
In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE FAMILY
CODE[4]
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not applicable to
the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; that is, a marriage celebrated
between a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper remedy, according to the OSG, is to file a
petition for annulment or for legal separation. [5] Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law
that governs respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a matter of legislation and not of
judicial determination.[6]
For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to his case but
insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce decree which capacitated her to
remarry, he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section 12, Article II of the
Constitution.[7]
At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the trial court
actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief. In this connection, Section 1, Rule 63 of the
Rules of Court provides:
RULE 63
DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES
6

Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a deed, will,
contract or other written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute,
executive order or regulation, ordinance, or other governmental regulation may,
before breach or violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial
Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising, and for a
declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder.
...
The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a justiciable
controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are adverse; (3) that
the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; and (4) that the issue is ripe
for judicial determination.[8]
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage between two
Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien citizenship, obtained a divorce decree, and
remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also adverse, as petitioner
representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of marriage while respondent, a
private citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity to remarry. Respondent, praying for relief,
has legal interest in the controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination
inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation ensues and puts into question the validity of
his second marriage.
Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code
apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell on how this provision had come
about in the first place, and what was the intent of the legislators in its enactment?

Brief Historical Background


On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. 209,
otherwise known as the Family Code, which took effect on August 3, 1988. Article 26 thereof
states:
All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws
in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as such, shall
also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38.
On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family Code, Executive Order No.
227 was likewise signed into law, amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the Family Code. A second
paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it now provides:
ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with
the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, and valid there as
such, shall also be valid in this country, except those prohibited under Articles
35(1), (4), (5) and (6), 36, 37 and 38.
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly
celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse
capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to
remarry under Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied)
On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation presented by
the case at hand. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is one where at the
time the marriage was solemnized, the parties were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife
was naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her
capacity to remarry, and indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the U.S.A.

Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings [9] on the Family Code, the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following objections to Paragraph 2
of Article 26:
1.

The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against those whose spouses


are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. These spouses who are divorced will
not be able to re-marry, while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce
them abroad can.

2.

This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even for
Filipino citizens. For those whose foreign spouses validly divorce them abroad
will also be considered to be validly divorced here and can re-marry. We
propose that this be deleted and made into law only after more widespread
consultation. (Emphasis supplied.)
Legislative Intent

Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of
Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of the Civil Code
Revision Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married
to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse.
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v.
Romillo, Jr.[10] The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a
foreigner. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is
valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under
Philippine law.
Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them obtains a foreign citizenship
by naturalization?
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. Court of Appeals.[11]
In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, Filipino citizens when they got married. The wife
became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in the same year. The
Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum, that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign
spouse is no longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry.
Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason, we
hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who,
at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later on, one of them
becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse
should likewise be allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the time of the
solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice.
Where the interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import would lead to
mischievous results or contravene the clear purpose of the legislature, it should be construed
according to its spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. A statute
may therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they
come within its spirit or intent.[12]
If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the absurd situation where the
Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce is no longer
married to the Filipino spouse, then the instant case must be deemed as coming within the
contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.
In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of
Article 26 as follows:
1.

There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino


citizen and a foreigner; and

2.

A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or


her to remarry.

The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse
capacitating the latter to remarry.
In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there was still a
valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the
naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. Clearly,
the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case.
Thus Cipriano, the divorced Filipino spouse, should be allowed to remarry.
We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper remedy of the Filipino
spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal separation. Annulment
would be a long and tedious process, and in this particular case, not even feasible, considering
that the marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of validity. On the other hand,
legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie; hence,
the legally separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.
However, we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly submitted by
respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of respondents wife. It is
settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not
evidence.[13]
Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must prove his allegation that his
wife was naturalized as an American citizen. Likewise, before a foreign divorce decree can be
recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and
demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. [14] Such foreign law must also be
proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any other fact, such laws
must be alleged and proved.[15] Furthermore, respondent must also show that the divorce
decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Otherwise, there
would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage.
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino
citizen, who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried,
also to remarry. However, considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence
submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on respondents bare allegations that
his wife, who was naturalized as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had
remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. Such declaration could
only be made properly upon respondents submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor.
ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. The assailed
Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of
Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, are hereby SET ASIDE.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.

Facts:
On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III and Lady Myros Villanueva were married in Lam-an, Ozamis
City and were blessed with a son and a daughter. In 1986, Lady Myros left for the U. S. bringing along their son
and after a few years she was naturalized as an American citizen.
Sometime in 2000, respondent Orbecido learned from his son who was living with his wife in the
States that his wife had remarried after obtaining her divorce decree. Thereafter, he filed a petition for
authority to remarry with the trial court invoking par. 2 of Art. 26 of the Family Code.
Having no opposition, on May 15, 2002, the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Sur granted the
petition of the respondent and allowed him to remarry.
The Solicitor Generals motion for reconsideration was denied. In view of that, petitioner filed this petition
for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Regional Trial Court. Herein petitioner raised the issue of the
applicability of Art. 26 par. 2 to the instant case.
Issue:
Whether or not Orbecido can remarry under Article 26(2).

Ruling:
Article 26 par. 2 of the Family Code only applies to case where at the time of the celebration of the
marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is one where at the time the
marriage was solemnized, the parties were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized as an
American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry, and indeed she
remarried an American citizen while residing in the U. S. A. Therefore, the 2nd par. of Art. 26 does not apply to
the instant case.
The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage,
but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to
remarry.
In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an American citizen, there was still a valid
marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the naturalized alien wife
subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the
application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. Thus Cipriano, the divorced Filipino
spouse, should be allowed to remarry.
However, since Cipriano was not able to prove as fact his wifes naturalization he is still barred from
remarrying.
Respondent Orbecido who has the burden of proof, failed to submit competent evidence showing his
allegations that his naturalized American wife had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried.
ST. MARYS ACADEMY, petitioner, vs. WILLIAM CARPITANOS and LUCIA S. CARPITANOS,
GUADA DANIEL, JAMES DANIEL II, JAMES DANIEL, SR., and VIVENCIO VILLANUEVA,
respondents.
DECISION
PARDO, J.:
The Case
The case is an appeal via certiorari from the decisioni[1] of the Court of Appeals as well as the
resolution denying reconsideration, holding petitioner liable for damages arising from an accident
that resulted in the death of a student who had joined a campaign to visit the public schools in
Dipolog City to solicit enrollment.
The Facts
The facts, as found by the Court of Appeals, are as follows:
Claiming damages for the death of their only son, Sherwin Carpitanos, spouses William
Carpitanos and Lucia Carpitanos filed on June 9, 1995 a case against James Daniel II and his
parents, James Daniel Sr. and Guada Daniel, the vehicle owner, Vivencio Villanueva and St.
Marys Academy before the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City.
On 20 February 1997, Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City rendered its decision
the dispositive portion of which reads as follows:
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered in the following manner:
1.
Defendant St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City, is hereby ordered to pay plaintiffs William
Carpitanos and Luisa Carpitanos, the following sums of money:
a. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) indemnity for the loss of life of Sherwin
S. Carpitanos;
b. FORTY THOUSAND PESOS (P40,000.00) actual damages incurred by plaintiffs
for burial and related expenses;
c.

TEN THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000.00) for attorneys fees;

d. FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P500,000.00) for moral damages; and to


pay costs.

10

2.
Their liability being only subsidiary, defendants James Daniel, Sr. and Guada Daniel are
hereby ordered to pay herein plaintiffs the amount of damages above-stated in the event of
insolvency of principal obligor St. Marys Academy of Dipolog City;
3.
Defendant James Daniel II, being a minor at the time of the commission of the tort and
who was under special parental authority of defendant St. Marys Academy, is ABSOLVED from
paying the above-stated damages, same being adjudged against defendants St. Marys
Academy, and subsidiarily, against his parents;
4.
Defendant Vivencio Villanueva is hereby ABSOLVED of any liability. His counterclaim not
being in order as earlier discussed in this decision, is hereby DISMISSED.
IT IS SO ORDERED. (Decision, pp. 32-33; Records, pp. 205-206).
From the records it appears that from 13 to 20 February 1995, defendant-appellant St. Marys
Academy of Dipolog City conducted an enrollment drive for the school year 1995-1996. A facet
of the enrollment campaign was the visitation of schools from where prospective enrollees were
studying. As a student of St. Marys Academy, Sherwin Carpitanos was part of the campaigning
group. Accordingly, on the fateful day, Sherwin, along with other high school students were
riding in a Mitsubishi jeep owned by defendant Vivencio Villanueva on their way to Larayan
Elementary School, Larayan, Dapitan City. The jeep was driven by James Daniel II then 15 years
old and a student of the same school. Allegedly, the latter drove the jeep in a reckless manner
and as a result the jeep turned turtle.
Sherwin Carpitanos died as a result of the injuries he sustained from the accident. ii[2]
In due time, petitioner St. Marys academy appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. iii[3]
On February 29, 2000, the Court of Appeals promulgated a decision reducing the actual damages
to P25,000.00 but otherwise affirming the decision a quo, in toto.iv[4]
On February 29, 2000, petitioner St. Marys Academy filed a motion for reconsideration of the
decision. However, on May 22, 2000, the Court of Appeals denied the motion. v[5]
Hence, this appeal.vi[6]
The Issues
1)
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding the petitioner liable for damages for the
death of Sherwin Carpitanos.
2)
Whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the award of moral damages against the
petitioner.
The Courts Ruling
We reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals held petitioner St. Marys Academy liable for the death of Sherwin
Carpitanos under Articles 218vii[7] and 219viii[8] of the Family Code, pointing out that petitioner
was negligent in allowing a minor to drive and in not having a teacher accompany the minor
students in the jeep.
Under Article 218 of the Family Code, the following shall have special parental authority over a
minor child while under their supervision, instruction or custody: (1) the school, its administrators
and teachers; or (2) the individual, entity or institution engaged in child care. This special
parental authority and responsibility applies to all authorized activities, whether inside or outside
the premises of the school, entity or institution. Thus, such authority and responsibility applies
to field trips, excursions and other affairs of the pupils and students outside the school premises
whenever authorized by the school or its teachers. ix[9]
Under Article 219 of the Family Code, if the person under custody is a minor, those exercising
special parental authority are principally and solidarily liable for damages caused by the acts or
omissions of the unemancipated minor while under their supervision, instruction, or custody. x[10]

11

However, for petitioner to be liable, there must be a finding that the act or omission considered
as negligent was the proximate cause of the injury caused because the negligence must have a
causal connection to the accident.xi[11]
In order that there may be a recovery for an injury, however, it must be shown that the injury
for which recovery is sought must be the legitimate consequence of the wrong done; the
connection between the negligence and the injury must be a direct and natural sequence of
events, unbroken by intervening efficient causes. In other words, the negligence must be the
proximate cause of the injury. For, negligence, no matter in what it consists, cannot create a
right of action unless it is the proximate cause of the injury complained of. And the proximate
cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
occurred.xii[12]
In this case, the respondents failed to show that the negligence of petitioner was the proximate
cause of the death of the victim.
Respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of the accident
was not the negligence of petitioner or the reckless driving of James Daniel II, but the
detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.
In their comment to the petition, respondents Daniel spouses and Villanueva admitted the
documentary exhibits establishing that the cause of the accident was the detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep. Hence, the cause of the accident was not the recklessness of
James Daniel II but the mechanical defect in the jeep of Vivencio Villanueva. Respondents,
including the spouses Carpitanos, parents of the deceased Sherwin Carpitanos, did not dispute
the report and testimony of the traffic investigator who stated that the cause of the accident was
the detachment of the steering wheel guide that caused the jeep to turn turtle.
Significantly, respondents did not present any evidence to show that the proximate cause of the
accident was the negligence of the school authorities, or the reckless driving of James Daniel II.
Hence, the respondents reliance on Article 219 of the Family Code that those given the
authority and responsibility under the preceding Article shall be principally and solidarily liable
for damages caused by acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor was unfounded.
Further, there was no evidence that petitioner school allowed the minor James Daniel II to drive
the jeep of respondent Vivencio Villanueva. It was Ched Villanueva, grandson of respondent
Vivencio Villanueva, who had possession and control of the jeep. He was driving the vehicle and
he allowed James Daniel II, a minor, to drive the jeep at the time of the accident.
Hence, liability for the accident, whether caused by the negligence of the minor driver or
mechanical detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep, must be pinned on the minors
parents primarily. The negligence of petitioner St. Marys Academy was only a remote cause of
the accident. Between the remote cause and the injury, there intervened the negligence of the
minors parents or the detachment of the steering wheel guide of the jeep.
The proximate cause of an injury is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence,
unbroken by any efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result
would not have occurred. xiii[13]
Considering that the negligence of the minor driver or the detachment of the steering wheel
guide of the jeep owned by respondent Villanueva was an event over which petitioner St. Marys
Academy had no control, and which was the proximate cause of the accident, petitioner may not
be held liable for the death resulting from such accident.
Consequently, we find that petitioner likewise cannot be held liable for moral damages in the
amount of P500,000.00 awarded by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals.
Though incapable of pecuniary computation, moral damages may be recovered if they are the
proximate result of the defendants wrongful act or omission. xiv[14] In this case, the proximate
cause of the accident was not attributable to petitioner.
For the reason that petitioner was not directly liable for the accident, the decision of the Court of
Appeals ordering petitioner to pay death indemnity to respondent Carpitanos must be deleted.
Moreover, the grant of attorneys fees as part of damages is the exception rather than the rule. xv
[15] The power of the court to award attorneys fees under Article 2208 of the Civil Code
12

demands factual, legal and equitable justification. xvi[16] Thus, the grant of attorneys fees
against the petitioner is likewise deleted.
Incidentally, there was no question that the registered owner of the vehicle was respondent
Villanueva. He never denied and in fact admitted this fact. We have held that the registered
owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily be responsible to the
public or to third persons for injuries caused the latter while the vehicle was being driven on the
highways or streets.xvii[17] Hence, with the overwhelming evidence presented by petitioner and
the respondent Daniel spouses that the accident occurred because of the detachment of the
steering wheel guide of the jeep, it is not the school, but the registered owner of the vehicle who
shall be held responsible for damages for the death of Sherwin Carpitanos.
The Fallo
WHEREFORE, the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Court of Appeals xviii[18]
and that of the trial court.xix[19] The Court remands the case to the trial court for determination
of the liability of defendants, excluding petitioner St. Marys Academy, Dipolog City.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
Puno, J., in the result.

13

i
iiSt. Marys Academy vs. Carpetanos
GR No. 143363, February 6, 2002
FACTS:
Herein petitioner, conducted an enrollment drive for the school year 1995-1996 They
visited schools from where prospective enrollees were studying. Sherwin Carpitanos
joined the campaign. Along with the other high school students, they rode a Mitsubishi
jeep owned by Vivencio Villanueva on their way to Larayan Elementary School. Such jeep
was driven by James Daniel II, a 15 year old student of the same school. It was alleged
that he drove the jeep in a reckless manner which resulted for it to turned turtle. Sherwin
died due to this accident.
ISSUE: WON petitioner should be held liable for the damages.
HELD:
CA held petitioner liable for the death of Sherwin under Article 218 and 219 of the Family
Code where it was pointed that they were negligent in allowing a minor to drive and not
having a teacher accompany the minor students in the jeep. However, for them to be
held liable, the act or omission to be considered negligent must be the proximate cause
of the injury caused thus, negligence needs to have a causal connection to the accident.
It must be direct and natural sequence of events, unbroken by any efficient intervening
causes. The parents of the victim failed to show such negligence on the part of the
petitioner. The spouses Villanueva admitted that the immediate cause of the accident
was not the reckless driving of James but the detachment of the steering wheel guide of
the jeep. Futhermore, there was no evidence that petitioner allowed the minor to drive
the jeep of Villanueva. The mechanical defect was an event over which the school has no
control hence they may not be held liable for the death resulting from such accident.
The registered owner of any vehicle, even if not used for public service, would primarily
be responsible to the public or to 3 rd persons for injuries caused while it is being driven on
the road. It is not the school, but the registered owner of the vehicle who shall be held
responsible for damages for the death of Sherwin. Case was remanded to the trial court
for determination of the liability of the defendants excluding herein petitioner.
iii
iv
v
vi
vii
viii

ix Landingin vs. Republic, GR No. 164948, June 27,


2006, digested
Posted by Pius Morados on March 17, 2012

(Special Proceedings Adoption: Consent and Abandonment)


Facts: Diwata Ramos Landingin, a US citizen of Filipino parentage filed a petition
for the adoption of 3 minors, natural children of Manuel Ramos, the formers
brother, and Amelia Ramos. She alleged in her petition that when her brother
died, the children were left to their paternal grandmother for their biological

mother went to Italy, re-married there and now has 2 children by her second
marriage and no longer communicates from the time she left up to the institution
of the adoption. After the paternal grandmother passed away, the minors were
being supported by the petitioner and her children abroad and gave their written
consent for their adoption.
A Social Worker of the DSWD submitted a Report recommending for the adoption
and narrated that Amelia, the biological mother was consulted with the adoption
plan and after weighing the benefits of adoption to her children, she voluntarily
consented.
However, petitioner failed to present the said social worker as witness and offer in
evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption. Petitioner also
failed to present any documentary evidence to prove that Amelia assent to the
adoption.
Issue: WON a petition for adoption be granted without the written consent of the
adoptees biological mother.
Held: No. Section 9, par (b) of RA 8552, provides that the consent of the
biological parent(s) of the child, if known is necessary to the adoption. The written
consent of the legal guardian will suffice if the written consent of the biological
parents cannot be obtained.
The general requirement of consent and notice to the natural parents is intended
to protect the natural parental relationship from unwarranted interference by
interlopers, and to insure the opportunity to safeguard the best interests of the
child in the manner of the proposed adoption.
The written consent of the biological parents is indispensable for the validity of
the decree of adoption. Indeed, the natural right of a parent to his child requires
that his consent must be obtained before his parental rights and duties may be
terminated and re-establish in adoptive parents. In this case, petitioner failed to
submit the written consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption.
Moreover, abandonment means neglect and refusal to perform the filial and legal
obligations of love and support. Merely permitting the child to remain for a time
undisturbed in the care of others is not such abandonment. To dispense with the
requirements of consent, the abandonment must be shown to have existed at the
time of adoption.

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:


Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
is the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 77826 which reversed the
Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tarlac City, Branch 63 in Civil Case No.
2733 granting the Petition for Adoption of the petitioner herein.
The Antecedents
On February 4, 2002, Diwata Ramos Landingin, a citizen of the United States of
America (USA), of Filipino parentage and a resident of Guam, USA, filed a petition[3] for
the adoption of minors Elaine Dizon Ramos who was born on August 31, 1986;[4] Elma
Dizon Ramos, who was born on September 7, 1987;[5] and Eugene Dizon Ramos who
was born on August 5, 1989.[6] The minors are the natural children of Manuel Ramos,
petitioners brother, and Amelia Ramos.
Landingin, as petitioner, alleged in her petition that when Manuel died on May 19,
1990,[7] the children were left to their paternal grandmother, Maria Taruc Ramos; their
biological mother, Amelia, went to Italy, re-married there and now has two children by her
second marriage and no longer communicated with her children by Manuel Ramos nor
with her in-laws from the time she left up to the institution of the adoption; the minors are
being financially supported by the petitioner and her children, and relatives abroad; as
Maria passed away on November 23, 2000, petitioner desires to adopt the children; the
minors have given their written consent[8] to the adoption; she is qualified to adopt as
shown by the fact that she is a 57-year-old widow, has children of her own who are
already married, gainfully employed and have their respective families; she lives alone in
her own home in Guam, USA, where she acquired citizenship, and works as a restaurant
server. She came back to the Philippines to spend time with the minors; her children
gave their written consent[9] to the adoption of the minors. Petitioners brother, Mariano
Ramos, who earns substantial income, signified his willingness and commitment to
support the minors while in petitioners custody.
Petitioner prayed that, after due hearing, judgment be rendered in her favor, as
follows:
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed to this Honorable Court
that after publication and hearing, judgment be rendered allowing the
adoption of the minor children Elaine Dizon Ramos, Elma Dizon Ramos, and
Eugene Dizon Ramos by the petitioner, and ordering that the minor
childrens name follow the family name of petitioner.
Petitioner prays for such other reliefs, just and equitable under the
premises.[10]
On March 5, 2002, the court ordered the Department of Social Welfare and
Development (DSWD) to conduct a case study as mandated by Article 34 of Presidential
Decree No. 603, as amended, and to submit a report thereon not later than April 4, 2002,
the date set for the initial hearing of the petition.[11] The Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) entered its appearance[12] but deputized the City Prosecutor of Tarlac to appear in
its behalf.[13] Since her petition was unopposed, petitioner was allowed to present her
evidence ex parte.[14]
The petitioner testified in her behalf. She also presented Elaine Ramos, the eldest
of the adoptees, to testify on the written consent executed by her and her siblings.[15]
The petitioner marked in evidence the Affidavit of Consent purportedly executed by her
children Ann, Errol, Dennis and Ricfel Branitley, all surnamed Landingin, and notarized by
a notary public in Guam, USA, as proof of said consent.[16]
On May 24, 2002, Elizabeth Pagbilao, Social Welfare Officer II of the DSWD, Field
Office III, Tarlac, submitted a Child Study Report, with the following recommendation:

In view of the foregoing, undersigned finds minors Elaine, Elma &


Eugene all surnamed Ramos, eligible for adoption because of the following
reasons:

1.

Minors surviving parent, the mother has voluntarily consented


to their adoption by the paternal aunt, Diwata Landingin this is in
view of her inability to provide the parental care, guidance and
support they need. An Affidavit of Consent was executed by the
mother which is hereto attached.

2.

The three minors subject for adoption have also expressed their
willingness to be adopted and joins the petitioners in Guam, USA in
the future. A joint Affidavit of consent is hereto attached. The
minors developed close attachment to the petitioners and they
regarded her as second parent.

3.

The minors are present under the care of a temporary guardian


who has also family to look after. As young adolescents they really
need parental love, care, guidance and support to ensure their
protection and well being.

In view of the foregoing, it is hereby respectfully recommended that


minors Elaine D. Ramos, Elma D. Ramos and Eugene D. Ramos be
adopted by their maternal aunt Diwata Landingin. Trial custody is
hereby further recommended to be dispensed with considering that
they are close relatives and that close attachments was already
developed between the petitioner and the 3 minors.[17]

Pagbilao narrated what transpired during her interview, as follows:


The mother of minors came home together with her son John Mario,
this May 2002 for 3 weeks vacation. This is to enable her appear for the
personal interview concerning the adoption of her children.
The plan for the adoption of minors by their paternal aunt Diwata
Landingin was conceived after the death of their paternal grandmother and
guardian. The paternal relatives including the petitioner who attended the
wake of their mother were very much concerned about the well-being of the
three minors. While preparing for their adoption, they have asked a cousin
who has a family to stay with minors and act as their temporary guardian
The mother of minors was consulted about the adoption plan and
after weighing the benefits of adoption to her children, she voluntarily
consented. She realized that her children need parental love, guidance and
support which she could not provide as she already has a second family &
residing in Italy. Knowing also that the petitioners & her children have been
supporting her children up to the present and truly care for them, she
believes her children will be in good hands. She also finds petitioners in a
better position to provide a secured and bright future to her children.[18]
However, petitioner failed to present Pagbilao as witness and offer in evidence the
voluntary consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption; petitioner, likewise, failed to present
any documentary evidence to prove that Amelia assents to the adoption.

On November 23, 2002, the court, finding merit in the petition for adoption,
rendered a decision granting said petition. The dispositive portion reads:
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ordered that henceforth, minors Elaine
Dizon Ramos, Elma Dizon Ramos, Eugene Dizon Ramos be freed from all
legal obligations obedience and maintenance from their natural parents and
that they be declared for all legal intents and purposes the children of
Diwata Ramos Landingin. Trial custody is dispensed with considering that
parent-children relationship has long been established between the children
and the adoptive parents. Let the surnames of the children be changed from
Dizon-Ramos to Ramos-Landingin.

Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of


Tarlac, Tarlac for him to effect the corresponding changes/amendment in the
birth certificates of the above-mentioned minors.

SO ORDERED.[19]

The OSG appealed[20] the decision to the Court of Appeals on December 2, 2002.
In its brief[21] for the oppositor-appellant, the OSG raised the following arguments:

I
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION
DESPITE THE LACK OF CONSENT OF THE PROPOSED ADOPTEES BIOLOGICAL
MOTHER.

II
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION
DESPITE THE LACK OF THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PETITIONERS
CHILDREN AS REQUIRED BY LAW.

III
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GRANTING THE PETITION FOR ADOPTION
DESPITE PETITIONERS FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THAT SHE IS IN A POSITION TO
SUPPORT THE PROPOSED ADOPTEES.

On April 29, 2004, the CA rendered a decision[22] reversing the ruling of the RTC.
It held that petitioner failed to adduce in evidence the voluntary consent of Amelia
Ramos, the childrens natural mother.
Moreover, the affidavit of consent of the
petitioners children could not also be admitted in evidence as the same was executed in
Guam, USA and was not authenticated or acknowledged before a Philippine consular
office, and although petitioner has a job, she was not stable enough to support the
children. The dispositive portion of the CA decision reads:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appealed decision dated


November 25, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 63, Tarlac City in
Spec. Proc. No. 2733 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

SO ORDERED.[23]

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration[24] on May 21, 2004, which the CA
denied in its Resolution dated August 12, 2004.[25]
Petitioner, thus, filed the instant petition for review on certiorari[26] on September
7, 2004, assigning the following errors:

1.
THAT THE HONORABLE LOWER COURT HAS OVERLOOKED AND
MISAPPLIED SOME FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE OF WEIGHT AND
IMPORTANCE AND WHICH IF CONSIDERED WOULD HAVE AFFECTED THE
RESULT OF THE CASE.

2.
THAT THE HONORABLE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONCLUDING
THAT THE PETITIONER-APPELLEE IS NOT FINANCIALLY CAPABLE TO SUPPORT
THE THREE CHILDREN.[27]

The issues raised by the parties in their pleadings are the following: (a) whether
the petitioner is entitled to adopt the minors without the written consent of their
biological mother, Amelia Ramos; (b) whether or not the affidavit of consent purportedly
executed by the petitioner-adopters children sufficiently complies with the law; and (c)
whether or not petitioner is financially capable of supporting the adoptees.

The Courts Ruling


The petition is denied for lack of merit.
It has been the policy of the Court to adhere to the liberal concept, as stated in
Malkinson v. Agrava,[28] that adoption statutes, being humane and salutary, hold the
interest and welfare of the child to be of paramount consideration and are designed to
provide homes, parental care and education for unfortunate, needy or orphaned children
and give them the protection of society and family in the person of the adopter as well as
to allow childless couples or persons to experience the joys of parenthood and give them
legally a child in the person of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental
instincts. Every reasonable intendment should thus be sustained to promote and fulfill
these noble and compassionate objectives of the law.[29]
However, in Cang v. Court of Appeals,[30] the Court also ruled that the liberality
with which this Court treats matters leading to adoption insofar as it carries out the
beneficent purposes of the law to ensure the rights and privileges of the adopted child
arising therefrom, ever mindful that the paramount consideration is the overall benefit
and interest of the adopted child, should be understood in its proper context and
perspective. The Courts position should not be misconstrued or misinterpreted as to
extend to inferences beyond the contemplation of law and jurisprudence. Thus, the
discretion to approve adoption proceedings is not to be anchored solely on best interests

of the child but likewise, with due regard to the natural rights of the parents over the
child.[31]
Section 9 of Republic Act No. 8552, otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act
of 1998, provides:
Sec. 9. Whose Consent is Necessary to the Adoption. - After being
properly counseled and informed of his/her right to give or withhold his/her
approval of the adoption, the written consent of the following to the
adoption is hereby required:

(a)

The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;

(b)

The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or the legal


guardian, or the proper government instrumentality which has
legal custody of the child;

(c)

The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10) years of


age or over, of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any;

(d)

The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of


the adopter, if living with said adopter and the latters souse, if
any;

(e)

The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to be adopted.

The general requirement of consent and notice to the natural parents is intended
to protect the natural parental relationship from unwarranted interference by interlopers,
and to insure the opportunity to safeguard the best interests of the child in the manner of
the proposed adoption.[32]
Clearly, the written consent of the biological parents is indispensable for the
validity of a decree of adoption. Indeed, the natural right of a parent to his child requires
that his consent must be obtained before his parental rights and duties may be
terminated and re-established in adoptive parents. In this case, petitioner failed to submit
the written consent of Amelia Ramos to the adoption.
We note that in her Report, Pagbilao declared that she was able to interview Amelia
Ramos who arrived in the Philippines with her son, John Mario in May 2002. If said Amelia
Ramos was in the Philippines and Pagbilao was able to interview her, it is incredible that
the latter would not require Amelia Ramos to execute a Written Consent to the adoption
of her minor children. Neither did the petitioner bother to present Amelia Ramos as
witness in support of the petition.
Petitioner, nonetheless, argues that the written consent of the biological mother is
no longer necessary because when Amelias husband died in 1990, she left for Italy and
never came back. The children were then left to the guidance and care of their paternal
grandmother. It is the paternal relatives, including petitioner, who provided for the
childrens financial needs.
Hence, Amelia, the biological mother, had effectively

abandoned the children. Petitioner further contends that it was by twist of fate that after
12 years, when the petition for adoption was pending with the RTC that Amelia and her
child by her second marriage were on vacation in the Philippines. Pagbilao, the DSWD
social worker, was able to meet her, and during the meeting, Amelia intimated to the
social worker that she conformed to the adoption of her three children by the petitioner.
Petitioners contention must be rejected. When she filed her petition with the trial
court, Rep. Act No. 8552 was already in effect. Section 9 thereof provides that if the
written consent of the biological parents cannot be obtained, the written consent of the
legal guardian of the minors will suffice. If, as claimed by petitioner, that the biological
mother of the minors had indeed abandoned them, she should, thus have adduced the
written consent of their legal guardian.
Ordinarily, abandonment by a parent to justify the adoption of his child without his
consent, is a conduct which evinces a settled purpose to forego all parental duties. [33]
The term means neglect and refusal to perform the filial and legal obligations of love and
support. If a parent withholds presence, love, care, the opportunity to display filial
affection, and neglects to lend support and maintenance, the parent, in effect, abandons
the child.[34]
Merely permitting the child to remain for a time undisturbed in the care of others is
not such an abandonment.[35] To dispense with the requirement of consent, the
abandonment must be shown to have existed at the time of adoption.[36]
In this case, petitioner relied solely on her testimony and that of Elaine Ramos to
prove her claim that Amelia Ramos had abandoned her children. Petitioners testimony
on that matter follows:

Where is the mother of these three children now?

She left for Italy on November 20, 1990, sir.

At the time when Amelia Ramos left for Italy, was there an instance
where she communicated with the family?

None, sir.

How about with her children?

None, sir.

Do you know what place in Italy did she reside?

I do not know, sir.

Did you receive any news about Amelia Ramos?

What I know, sir, was that she was already married with another man.

From whom did you learn that?

From others who came from Italy, sir.

Did you come to know whether she has children by her second
marriage?

Yes, sir, she got two kids.[37]

Elaine, the eldest of the minors, testified, thus:

Where is your mother now?

In Italy, sir.

When did your mother left for Italy?

After my father died, sir.

How old were you when your mother left for Italy in 1990?

Two years old, sir.

At the time when your mother left for Italy, did your mother
communicate with you?

No, sir.[38]

However, the Home Study Report of the DSWD Social Worker also stated the
following:

IV.

Background of the Case:

xxxx

Since the mother left for Italy, minors siblings had been under the
care and custody of their maternal grandmother. However, she died in Nov.
2001 and an uncle, cousin of their deceased father now serves as their
guardian.
The petitioner, together with her children and other
relatives abroad have been supporting the minor children
financially, even during the time that they were still living with their
natural parents. Their mother also sends financial support but very
minimal.[39]

xxxx

V.

Background Information about the Minors Being Sought for


Adoption:

xxxx

As the eldest she tries her best to be a role model to her younger
siblings. She helps them in their lessons, works and has fun with them. She
also encourages openness on their problems and concerns and provides
petty counseling. In serious problems she already consult (sic) her
mother and petitioner-aunt.[40]

xxxx

In their 5 years of married life, they begot 3 children, herein minors,


Amelia recalled that they had a happy and comfortable life. After the death
of her husband, her in-laws which include the petitioner had continued
providing support for them. However being ashamed of just depending on
the support of her husbands relatives, she decided to work abroad. Her
parents are also in need of financial help as they are undergoing
maintenance medication. Her parents mortgaged their farm land which she
used in going to Italy and worked as domestic helper.

When she left for Italy in November 1990, she entrusted her 3
children to the care & custody of her mother-in-law who returned home for
good, however she died on November 2000.

While working in Italy, she met Jun Tayag, a married man from Tarlac.
They became live-in partners since 1995 and have a son John Mario who is
now 2 years old. The three of them are considered Italian residents. Amelia
claimed that Mr. Tayag is planning to file an annulment of his marriage and
his wife is amenable to it. He is providing his legitimate family regular
support.

Amelia also sends financial support ranging from P10,000P15,000 a month through her parents who share minimal amount of
P3,000-P5,000 a month to his (sic) children. The petitioner and other
paternal relatives are continuously providing support for most of the needs &
education of minors up to present.[41]

Thus, when Amelia left for Italy, she had not intended to abandon her children, or
to permanently sever their mother-child relationship. She was merely impelled to leave
the country by financial constraints. Yet, even while abroad, she did not surrender or
relinquish entirely her motherly obligations of rearing the children to her now deceased
mother-in-law, for, as claimed by Elaine herself, she consulted her mother, Amelia, for
serious personal problems. Likewise, Amelia continues to send financial support to the
children, though in minimal amounts as compared to what her affluent in-laws provide.

Let it be emphasized, nevertheless, that the adoption of the minors herein will
have the effect of severing all legal ties between the biological mother, Amelia, and the
adoptees, and that the same shall then be vested on the adopter.[42] It would thus be

against the spirit of the law if financial consideration were to be the paramount
consideration in deciding whether to deprive a person of parental authority over his/her
children. More proof has to be adduced that Amelia has emotionally abandoned the
children, and that the latter will not miss her guidance and counsel if they are given to an
adopting parent.[43] Again, it is the best interest of the child that takes precedence in
adoption.

Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides that the Court shall consider no
evidence which has not been formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is
offered must be specified. The offer of evidence is necessary because it is the duty of the
Court to rest its findings of fact and its judgment only and strictly upon the evidence
offered by the parties. Unless and until admitted by the court in evidence for the purpose
or purposes for which such document is offered, the same is merely a scrap of paper
barren of probative weight. Mere identification of documents and the markings thereof as
exhibits do not confer any evidentiary weight on documents unless formally offered.[44]

Petitioner failed to offer in evidence Pagbilaos Report and of the Joint Affidavit of
Consent purportedly executed by her children; the authenticity of which she, likewise,
failed to prove. The joint written consent of petitioners children[45] was notarized on
January 16, 2002 in Guam, USA; for it to be treated by the Rules of Court in the same
way as a document notarized in this country it needs to comply with Section 2 of Act No.
2103,[46] which states:

Section 2. An instrument or document acknowledged and


authenticated in a foreign country shall be considered authentic if the
acknowledgment and authentication are made in accordance with the
following requirements:

(a)
The acknowledgment shall be made before (1) an
ambassador, minister, secretary of legation, charg d affaires,
consul, vice-consul, or consular agent of the Republic of the
Philippines, acting within the country or place to which he is
accredited, or (2) a notary public or officer duly authorized by
law of the country to take acknowledgments of instruments or
documents in the place where the act is done.

(b) The person taking the acknowledgment shall certify that


the person acknowledging the instrument or document is
known to him, and that he is the same person who executed it,
and acknowledged that the same is his free act and deed. The
certificate shall be under his official seal, if he is by law
required to keep a seal, and if not, his certificate shall so state.
In case the acknowledgment is made before a notary public or
an officer mentioned in subdivision (2) of the preceding
paragraph, the certificate of the notary public or the officer
taking the acknowledgment shall be authenticated by an
ambassador, minister, secretary of legation, charg de affaires,
consul, vice-consul, or consular agent of the Republic of the
Philippines, acting within the country or place to which he is
accredited. The officer making the authentication shall certify
under his official seal that the person who took the
acknowledgment was at the time duly authorized to act as
notary public or that he was duly exercising the functions of the

office by virtue of which he assumed to act, and that as such he


had authority under the law to take acknowledgment of
instruments or documents in the place where the
acknowledgment was taken, and that his signature and seal, if
any, are genuine.

As the alleged written consent of petitioners legitimate children did not comply
with the afore-cited law, the same can at best be treated by the Rules as a private
document whose authenticity must be proved either by anyone who saw the document
executed or written; or by evidence of the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of
the makers.[47]

Since, in the instant case, no further proof was introduced by petitioner to


authenticate the written consent of her legitimate children, the same is inadmissible in
evidence.

In reversing the ruling of the RTC, the CA ruled that petitioner was not stable
enough to support the children and is only relying on the financial backing, support and
commitment of her children and her siblings.[48] Petitioner contradicts this by claiming
that she is financially capable as she has worked in Guam for 14 years, has savings, a
house, and currently earns $5.15 an hour with tips of not less than $1,000.00 a month.
Her children and siblings have likewise committed themselves to provide financial
backing should the need arise. The OSG, again in its comment, banks on the statement
in the Home Study Report that petitioner has limited income. Accordingly, it appears
that she will rely on the financial backing of her children and siblings in order to support
the minor adoptees. The law, however, states that it is the adopter who should be in a
position to provide support in keeping with the means of the family.

Since the primary consideration in adoption is the best interest of the child, it
follows that the financial capacity of prospective parents should also
be carefully evaluated and considered. Certainly, the adopter should be in a position to
support the would-be adopted child or children, in keeping with the means of the family.

According to the Adoption Home Study Report[49] forwarded by the Department of


Public Health & Social Services of the Government of Guam to the DSWD, petitioner is no
longer supporting her legitimate children, as the latter are already adults, have individual
lives and families. At the time of the filing of the petition, petitioner was 57 years old,
employed on a part-time basis as a waitress, earning $5.15 an hour and tips of around
$1,000 a month. Petitioners main intention in adopting the children is to bring the latter
to Guam, USA. She has a house at Quitugua Subdivision in Yigo, Guam, but the same is
still being amortized. Petitioner likewise knows that the limited income might be a
hindrance to the adoption proceedings.

Given these limited facts, it is indeed doubtful whether petitioner will be able to
sufficiently handle the financial aspect of rearing the three children in the US. She only
has a part-time job, and she is rather of age. While petitioner claims that she has the
financial support and backing of her children and siblings, the OSG is correct in stating
that the ability to support the adoptees is personal to the adopter, as adoption only

creates a legal relation between the former and the latter. Moreover, the records do not
prove nor support petitioners allegation that her siblings and her children are financially
able and that they are willing to support the minors herein. The Court, therefore, again
sustains the ruling of the CA on this issue.

While the Court recognizes that petitioner has only the best of intentions for her
nieces and nephew, there are legal infirmities that militate against reversing the ruling of
the CA. In any case, petitioner is not prevented from filing a new petition for adoption of
the herein minors.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

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