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Q: Christian Harper was a Norweigian who came to Manila on a business trip.

stayed at Makati Shangri-la Hotel, but he was murdered in his hotel room. The heirs
of Harper filed a case for damages against the hotel alleging that the hotels gross
negligence in providing the most basic security system of its guests was the
proximate cause of his death. The hotel, on the other hand, contended that Harpers
own negligence in allowing the killers into his hotel room was the proximate cause
of his own death.
Is the hotel liable for damages?
A: Negligence is defined as the omission to do something which a reasonable man,
guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human
affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man
would not do. It is a relative or comparative, not an absolute term, and its
application depends upon the situation of the parties, and the degree of care and
vigilance which the circumstances reasonably impose. Where the danger is great, a
high degree of care is necessary.
The hotel business is imbued with public interest. Catering to the public,
hotelkeepers are bound to provide not only lodging for their guests but also security
to the persons and belongings of their guests. There is much greater reason to
apply Art 2000, 2001 and 2002 (all of which are concerned with the hotelkeepers
degree of care and responsibility as to the personal effects of their guests) when it
comes to lives and personal safety of their guests. Otherwise, the hotelkeepers
would simply stand idly as strangers have unrestricted access to all the hotel rooms
on the pretense of being visitors of the guests, without being held liable should
anything untoward befall the unwary guests. (Shangrila v. Harper, G.R. no 189998,
August 29, 2012)
Q: May a foreign judgment be considered part of national law of a foreigner here
in the Philippines pursuant to Art 15 NCC?
A: Yes, it can be considered a part of national law because a foreign judgment
relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status, condition and legal
capacity of its parties. However, the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic.
Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the
judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of
entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of ROC. Rule 108 creates a remedy to
rectify facts of a persons life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil
Register Law or Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as birth,
death or marriage, which the State has an interest in recording.
In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are incompetent to
substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. They
cannot decide on the "family rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal
capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus,
Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a
foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a
marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide

whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex
nationalii expressed in Art 15 NCC. Sec 48(b), Rule 39 ROC states that the foreign
judgment is already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties." Upon
recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes conclusive and the
judgment serves as the basis for the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil
registry. (Fujiki v. Marinay, G.R. no 196049, June 26, 2013)
Q: Edgardo Odtuhan married Jasmin Modina. Without, getting the first marriage
annulled, he contacted a subsequent marriage with Eleanor Alagon. Subsequently,
the trial court declared Odtuhans first marriage void ab initio for lack of a valid
marriage license. Upon learning of Odtuhans marriage to Alagon, Modina filed a
complaint for bigamy against Odtuhan.
Does the courts judgment declaring respondents first marriage void ab initio
extinguished respondents criminal liability?
A: No. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required
either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. It has been held in a number of
cases that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent
marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage,
reprehensible and immoral.
What makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or
subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid marriage. Parties to the
marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same
must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only when the nullity
of the marriage is so declared can it be held as void, and so long as there is no such
declaration, the presumption is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who
contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of nullity of the first
marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. (People v. Odtuhan, G.R.
no 191566, July 17, 2013)
Q: Is the testimony of the NSO records custodian certifying the authenticity and
due execution of the public documents issued by said office necessary before they
are accorded evidentiary weight?
A: No. Art 410 NCC provides that the books making up the civil register and all
documents relating thereto shall be considered public documents and shall be
prima facie evidence of the facts therein contained.
As public documents, they are admissible in evidence even without further proof of
their due execution and genuineness. Thus, the RTC erred when it disregarded said
documents on the sole ground that the petitioner did not present the records
custodian of the NSO who issued them to testify on their authenticity and due
execution since proof of authenticity and due execution was not anymore necessary.
(Iwasawa v. Gangan, G.R. no 2014169, September 11, 2013)
Q: Cyrus and Yolanda Granada married in 1993. In 1994, Cyrus went to Taiwan to
seek employment. However, from that time Yolanda had not received any
communication from her husband despite efforts to locate him. After 9 years of

waiting, Yolanda filed a petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead. OSG
filed a motion for reconsideration arguing that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest
efforts to locate Cyrus and thus failed to prove that he was already dead. Yolanda
argued that her petition for declaration of presumptive death, based on Art 41
Family Code, was a summary proceeding, in which the judgment is immediately
final and executory, and thus, not appealable.
Was Yolanda able to prove the presumptive death of Cyrus?
A: Yes. Under Art 41, a marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of
a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the
subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years
and the spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was
already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the
circumstances set forth in the provisions of Art 391 NCC, an absence of only two
years shall be sufficient.
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding
paragraph the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in
this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without
prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. (Republic v. Granada,
G.R. no 187512, June 13, 2012)
Q: Rodolfo and Natividad were married in 1969. In 1998, Rodolfo filed a complaint
for the declaration of nullity of marriage alleging that Natividad was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with her essential marital obligations. Rodolfo further
averred that he was forced to marry her barely 3 months into their courtship due to
her accidental pregnancy. In her psychological report, Dr. Zalsos stated that both
Rodolfo and Natividad were psychologically incapacitated to comply with their
essential marital obligations, finding that both suffered from utter emotional
maturity. The trial court declared the marriage between Rodolfo and Natividad void
on the ground of psychological incapacity.
A: the case of Pesca v. Pesca, ruled against a declaration of nullity, as petitioner
therein "utterly failed, both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence,
to make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone
at the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a declaration of nullity
of the marriage," significantly noting that the "[e]motional immaturity and
irresponsibility, invoked by her, cannot be equated with psychological incapacity."
Based on the evidence presented, there exists insufficient factual or legal basis to
conclude that Natividads emotional immaturity, irresponsibility, or even sexual
promiscuity, can be equated with psychological incapacity. The RTC, as affirmed by
the CA, heavily relied on the psychiatric evaluation report of Dr. Zalsos which does
not, however, explain in reasonable detail how Natividads condition could be
characterized as grave, deeply-rooted, and incurable within the parameters of
psychological incapacity jurisprudence. Aside from failing to disclose the types of
psychological tests which she administered on Natividad, Dr. Zalsos failed to identify
in her report the root cause of Natividad's condition and to show that it existed at
the time of the parties' marriage.
Q: Who can file a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage?

A: A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely
by the husband or wife. Exceptions: (1) nullity of marriage cases commenced before
the effectivity AM no 02-11-10-SC (March 15, 2003); and (2) marriages celebrated
during the effectivity of the Civil Code.
Under the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment
of Voidable Marriages, the petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage
may not be filed by any party outside of the marriage. Such petition cannot be filed
by compulsory or intestate heirs of the spouses or by the State. The Committee is of
the belief that they do not have a legal right to file the petition. Compulsory or
intestate heirs have only inchoate rights prior to the death of their predecessor,
and, hence, can only question the validity of the marriage of the spouses upon the
death of a spouse in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased
spouse filed in the regular courts. On the other hand, the concern of the State is to
preserve marriage and not to seek its dissolution.

While A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC declares that a petition for declaration of absolute
nullity of marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife, it does not mean
that the compulsory or intestate heirs are without any recourse under the law. They
can still protect their successional right, for, as stated in the Rationale of the Rules
on Annulment of Voidable Marriages and Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void
Marriages, compulsory or intestate heirs can still question the validity of the
marriage of the spouses, not in a proceeding for declaration of nullity but upon the
death of a spouse in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased
spouse filed in the regular courts (Carlos v. Sandoval, G.R. no 179922, December
16, 2008)

Q: Dr. Vincent Mercado was previously married with Thelma Oliva in 1976 before he
contracted marriage with Consuelo Tan in 1991 which the later claims she did not
know. Tan filed bigamy against Mercado and after a month the latter filed an action
for declaration of nullity of marriage against Oliva. The trial court declared
Mercados marriage with Oliva void ab initio. Mercado then sought the dismissal of
the bigamy case filed against him, contending that since his first marriage was
declared void ab initio, there was no first marriage to speak of, hence, his second
marriage with Tan was actually his first marriage.

Did Mercado commit bigamy in spite of filing of declaration of nullity of the former

A: Yes. A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary before a

subsequent one can be contracted. One who enters into a subsequent marriage
without first obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. This principle
applies even if the earlier union is characterized by statute as void.
In the case at bar, Mercado only filed the declaration of nullity of his marriage with
Oliva right after Tan filed the bigamy case. Hence, by then, the crime had already
been consummated. He contracted a second marriage without the judicial
declaration of the nullity. The fact that the first marriage is void from the beginning
is not a defense in bigamy charge.

Q: Is a declaration of nullity of the first marriage required before a subsequent

marriage can be validly contracted?

A: Art 40 Family Code provides that, The absolute nullity of a previous marriage
may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment
declaring such previous marriage void. This means that before one can enter into
a second marriage he must first acquire a judicial declaration of the nullity of the
previous marriage and such declaration may be invoked on the basis solely of a final
judgment declaring the previous marriage as void. For purposes other than
remarriage, other evidences may be presented and the declaration can be passed
upon by the courts. In the case at bar, the lower court and the CA cannot apply the
provision of the FC. Both marriages entered by Reyes were solemnized prior to the
FC. The old CC did not have any provision that states that there must be such a
declaration before remarriage can be done hence Ofelias marriage with Reyes is
valid. The provisions of the FC (took effect in 87) cannot be applied retroactively
especially because they would impair the vested rights of Ofelia under the CC which
was operational during her marriage with Reyes.

Q: Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates in Bohol. They lost contacts for
a while but after receiving a card from Barrete and various exchanges of letters,
they became sweethearts. They got married in 1990. Barrete went back to Canada
for work and in 1991 she filed petition for divorce in Ontario Canada, which was
granted. In 1992, Morigo married Lumbago. He subsequently filed a complaint for
judicial declaration of nullity on the ground that there was no marriage ceremony.
Morigo was then charged with bigamy and moved for a suspension of arraignment
since the civil case pending posed a prejudicial question in the bigamy case. Morigo
pleaded not guilty claiming that his marriage with Barrete was void ab initio.
Petitioner contented he contracted second marriage in good faith.

Should Morigo file a declaration for the nullity of his marriage before contracting the
marriage with Lumbago?

A: No. Morigos marriage with Barrete is void ab initio considering that there was no
actual marriage ceremony performed between them by a solemnizing officer
instead they just merely signed a marriage contract. The petitioner does not need to
file declaration of the nullity of his marriage when he contracted his second
marriage with Lumbago. Hence, he did not commit bigamy and is acquitted in the
case filed.