[A M. No. P-94-1054.

March 11, 2003]
EDWIN A. ACEBEDO, petitioner, vs. EDDIE P. ARQUERO, respondent.
By letter-complaint dated June 1, 1994, Edwin A. Acebedo charged Eddie P. Arquero, Process Server of the Municipal Trial Court
(MTC) of Brookes Point, Palawan for immorality.
Complainant alleged that his wife, Dedje Irader Acebedo, a former stenographer of the MTC Brookes Point, and respondent
unlawfully and scandalously cohabited as husband and wife at Bancudo Pulot, Brookes Point, Palawan as a result of which a girl,
Desiree May Irader Arquero, was born to the two on May 21, 1989. Attached to the letter-complaint was the girls Baptismal
Certificate[2] reflecting the names of respondent and Dedje Irader as her parents. Also attached to the letter-complainant was a copy of
a marriage contract[3] showing that complainant and Dedje Irader contracted marriage on July 10, 1979.
By his Answer[5] of October 6, 1994, respondent vehemently denied the charge of immorality, claiming that it is just a (sic) mere
harassment and a product of complainants hatred and extreme jealousy to (sic) his wife. [6] Attached to the answer were the September
27, 1987 affidavit of desistance[7] executed by complainant in favor of his wife with respect to an administrative complaint he had much
earlier filed against her, and complainants sworn statement[8] dated September 13, 1994 acknowledging paternity of a child born out of
wedlock, which documents, respondent claims, support his contention that the complaint filed against him is but a malicious scheme
concocted by complainant to harass him.
Additionally, respondent claimed that sometime in 1991, complainant likewise instituted a criminal complaint against him for
adultery which was, however, dismissed after preliminary investigation.
Finally, respondent claimed that complainant himself had been cohabiting with another woman.
In Investigation Report of February 12, 2001, Judge Fernandez recommends that the complaint be dismissed for failure to adduce
adequate evidence to show that respondent is guilty of the charge. The report focuses on the non-appearance of complainant and
Dedje Irader Acebedo.
By Resolution of April 25, 2001, this Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation, report
and recommendation.
By Memorandum of December 12, 2001, the OCA, disagreeing with the recommendation of the Investigating Judge that the case
should be dismissed, recommends that respondent be held guilty of immorality and that he be suspended from office for a period of one
(1) year without pay. Thus the OCA ratiocinates:
. . . [R]espondent admitted the fact that for eight (8) to nine (9) months, he a single man maintained relations with Dedje Irader
Acebedo, wife of herein complainant, attended with sexual union (TSN dated 23 November 2000, pp. 14-15). Based on his
testimony, we observed that respondent justified his having a relationship with Dedje I. Acebedo solely on the written document
purportedly a Kasunduan or agreement entered into by complainant and his wife, consenting to and giving freedom to either
of them to seek any partner and to live with him or her. Being a court employee respondent should have known that said
agreement was void despite it having been notarized. Even granting that Dedjie I. Acebedo was separated from her husband during
their short lived relation, to hold on to said scandalous agreement and enter an immoral relationship with a very much married woman
and a co-court-employee at that is highly improper. It is contrary to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and
Employees which provides that public employees of which respondent is one, xxx shall at times (sic) respect the rights of others,
and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public
interest. Moreover, respondent cannot seek refuge and sling mud at complainant for having executed an Affidavit dated September 13,
1994, acknowledging that he bore a woman other than his wife, a child. It would seem that respondent would want to apply the principle
of in pari delicto in the instant case. Respondent would have it appear that a married man with an extra-marital relation and an
illegitimate child is precluded from complaining if his wife enters into a relationship with another man.
Second, the records show that an Affidavit of Desistance was executed by herein complainant. However, a cursory reading of said
document reveals that it favors only Dedje Irader Acebedo and not herein respondent. Interestingly, the date of said affidavit is 2
September 1987. Respondent had the temerity to claim it as evidence in his favor when the instant complaint was only filed sometime
in 1994.
Third, when respondent was asked by the investigating judge if he attended the baptism of the daughter of Dedje Irader Acebedo, his
former co-employee and ex-intimate friend, he answered, I did not. Im not sure the child is mine. From his answer, we could infer that
respondent did not categorically rule out the possibility that said child might be her (sic) daughter, only that he is doubtful of her
paternity.
On the merits of the case, the entry of respondents name as father in the baptismal certificate of Desiree May I. Arquero cannot
be used to prove her filiation and, therefore, cannot be availed of to imply that respondent maintained illicit relations with Dedje Irader
Acebedo. A canonical certificate is conclusive proof only of the baptism administered, in conformity with the rites of the Catholic Church
by the priest who baptized the child, but it does not prove the veracity of the declarations and statements contained therein which
concern the relationship of the person baptized. It merely attests to the fact which gave rise to its issue, and the date thereof, to wit, the
fact of the administration of the sacrament on the date stated, but not the truth of the statements therein as to the parentage of the child
baptized.
Respondent justified his pursuing a relationship with complainant’s wife with the spouses having priorly entered into a settlement
with respect to their marriage which was embodied in a Kasunduan.

1

Respondents justification fails. Being an employee of the judiciary, respondent ought to have known that the Kasunduan had
absolutely no force and effect on the validity of the marriage between complainant and his wife. Article 1 of the Family Code provides
that marriage is an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed by law and not
subject to stipulation. It is an institution of public order or policy, governed by rules established by law which cannot be made
inoperative by the stipulation of the parties.[21]
Republic Act 6713, otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,
enunciates the States policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service.
Although every office in the government service is a public trust, no position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and
uprightness from an individual than in the judiciary. That is why this Court has firmly laid down exacting standards of morality and
decency expected of those in the service of the judiciary. Their conduct, not to mention behavior, is circumscribed with the heavy
burden of responsibility, characterized by, among other things, propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the publics respect and
confidence in the judicial service. It must be free from any whiff of impropriety, not only with respect to their duties in the judicial branch
but also to their behavior outside the court as private individuals. There is no dichotomy of morality; court employees are also judged by
their private morals.[28]
Respondents act of having illicit relations with complainants wife is, within the purview of Section 46 (5) of Subtitle A, Title I, Book
V of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, a disgraceful and immoral conduct.
Under Rule IV, Section 52A (15) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, an immoral conduct is
classified as a grave offense which calls for a penalty of suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first
offense, and dismissal is imposed for the second offense.
Since the present charge of immorality against respondent constitutes his first offense, his suspension for six (6) months and one
(1) day is in order.
ESPINOSA & GLINDO vs. ATTY. OMA
Before the Court is a complaint for disbarment filed by Rodolfo A. Espinosa (Espinosa) and Maximo A. Glindo (Glindo) against
Atty. Julieta A. Omaa (Omaa).
Complainants Espinosa and Glindo charged Omaa with violation of her oath as a lawyer, malpractice, and gross misconduct in office.
Complainants alleged that on 17 November 1997, Espinosa and his wife Elena Marantal (Marantal) sought Omaas legal advice on
whether they could legally live separately and dissolve their marriage solemnized on 23 July 1983. Omaa then prepared a document
entitled Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay (contract).
Complainants alleged that Marantal and Espinosa, fully convinced of the validity of the contract dissolving their marriage, started
implementing its terms and conditions. However, Marantal eventually took custody of all their children and took possession of most of
the property they acquired during their union.
Espinosa sought the advice of his fellow employee, complainant Glindo, a law graduate, who informed him that the contract executed
by Omaa was not valid. Espinosa and Glindo then hired the services of a lawyer to file a complaint against Omaa before the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD).
Omaa denied that she prepared the contract. She admitted that Espinosa went to see her and requested for the notarization of the
contract but she told him that it was illegal. Omaa alleged that Espinosa returned the next day while she was out of the office and
managed to persuade her part-time office staff to notarize the document. Her office staff forged her signature and notarized the
contract. Omaa presented Marantal’s Sinumpaang Salaysay (affidavit) to support her allegations and to show that the complaint was
instigated by Glindo. Omaa further presented a letter of apology from her staff, Arlene Dela Pea, acknowledging that she notarized the
document without Omaas knowledge, consent, and authority.
Espinosa later submitted a Karagdagang Salaysay stating that Omaa arrived at his residence together with a girl whom he later
recognized as the person who notarized the contract. He further stated that Omaa was not in her office when the contract was
notarized.
The IBP-CBD found that Omaa violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. The IBP-CBD stated that Omaa had failed to exercise due
diligence in the performance of her function as a notary public and to comply with the requirements of the law. The IBP-CBD noted the
inconsistencies in the defense ofOmaa who first claimed that it was her part-time staff who notarized the contract but then later claimed
that it was her former maid who notarized it. The IBP-CBD recommended that Omaa be suspended for one year from the practice of
law and for two years as a notary public.
Omaa filed a motion for reconsideration.
In a Resolution dated 26 June 2011, the IBP Board of Governors denied Omaas motion for reconsideration.

2

The Issue
The sole issue in this case is whether Omaa violated the Canon of Professional Responsibility in the notarization of Marantal and
Espinosas Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay.
The Ruling of this Court
We adopt the findings and recommendation of the IBP-CBD.
This case is not novel. This Court has ruled that the extrajudicial dissolution of the conjugal partnership without judicial approval is
void. The Court has also ruled that a notary public should not facilitate the disintegration of a marriage and the family by encouraging
the separation of the spouses and extrajudicially dissolving the conjugal partnership, which is exactly what Omaa did in this case.
In Selanova v. Judge Mendoza, the Court cited a number of cases where the lawyer was sanctioned for notarizing similar documents as
the contract in this case, such as: notarizing a document between the spouses which permitted the husband to take a concubine and
allowed the wife to live with another man, without opposition from each other; ratifying a document entitled Legal Separation where the
couple agreed to be separated from each other mutually and voluntarily, renouncing their rights and obligations, authorizing each other
to remarry, and renouncing any action that they might have against each other; preparing a document authorizing a married couple who
had been separated for nine years to marry again, renouncing the right of action which each may have against the other; 7 and
preparing a document declaring the conjugal partnership dissolved.
We cannot accept Omaas allegation that it was her part-time office staff who notarized the contract. We agree with the IBP-CBD
that Omaa herself notarized the contract. Even if it were true that it was her part-time staff who notarized the contract, it only
showed Omaas negligence in doing her notarial duties. We reiterate that a notary public is personally responsible for the entries in
hisnotarial register and he could not relieve himself of this responsibility by passing the blame on his secretaries 9 or any member of his
staff.
We likewise agree with the IBP-CBD that in preparing and notarizing a void document, Omaa violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility which provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct. Omaa knew fully well that the Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay has no legal effect and is against public policy.
Therefore, Omaa may be suspended from office as an attorney for breach of the ethics of the legal profession as embodied in the Code
of Professional Responsibility.10
WHEREFORE,
we SUSPEND Atty. Julieta A. Omaa from
the
practice
of
law
for
ONE
We REVOKE Atty. Omaas notarial commission, if still existing, and SUSPEND her as a notary public for TWO YEARS.

YEAR.

G.R. No. 173540
January 22, 2014
PEREGRINA MACUA VDA. DE AVENIDO, Petitioner, vs. TECLA HOYBIA AVENIDO, Respondent.
This case involves a contest between two women both claiming to have been validly married to the same man, now deceased.
Respondent Tecla Hoybia Avenido (Tecla) instituted on 11 November 1998, a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage against
Peregrina Macua Vda. de Avenido (Peregrina) on the ground that she (Tecla), is the lawful wife of the deceased Eustaquio Avenido
(Eustaquio). In her complaint, Tecla alleged that her marriage to Eustaquio was solemnized on 30 September 1942 in Talibon, Bohol in
rites officiated by the Parish Priest of the said town. According to her, the fact of their marriage is evidenced by a Marriage Certificate
recorded with the Office of the Local Civil Registrar (LCR) of Talibon, Bohol. However, due to World War II, records were destroyed.
Thus, only a Certification3 was issued by the LCR.
During the existence of Tecla and Eustaquio’s union, they begot four (4) children. Sometime in 1954, Eustaquio left his family and his
whereabouts was not known. In 1958, Tecla and her children were informed that Eustaquio was in Davao City living with another
woman by the name of Buenaventura Sayson who later died in 1977 without any issue.
In 1979, Tecla learned that her husband Eustaquio got married to another woman by the name of Peregrina, which marriage she claims
must be declared null and void for being bigamous – an action she sought to protect the rights of her children over the properties
acquired by Eustaquio.
On 12 April 1999, Peregrina filed her answer to the complaint with counterclaim, essentially averring that she is the legal surviving
spouse of Eustaquio who died on 22 September 1989 in Davao City, their marriage having been celebrated on 30 March 1979 at St.
Jude Parish in Davao City. She also contended that the case was instituted to deprive her of the properties she owns in her own right
and as an heir of Eustaquio.
Trial ensued.
On the other hand, Peregrina testified on, among others, her marriage to Eustaquio that took place in Davao City on 3 March 1979; her
life as a wife and how she took care of Eustaquio when he already had poor health, as well as her knowledge that Tecla is not the legal
wife, but was once a common law wife of Eustaquio.

3

In addition, as basis for the counterclaim, Peregrina averred that the case was initiated in bad faith so as to deprive her of the
properties she owns in her own right and as an heir of Eustaquio; hence, her entitlement to damages and attorney’s fees.
On 25 March 2003, the RTC rendered a Decision denying Tecla’s petition, as well as Peregrina’s counter-claim.
Not convinced, Tecla appealed to the CA raising as error the trial court’s alleged disregard of the evidence on the existence of her
marriage to Eustaquio.
In its 31 August 2005 Decision, the CA ruled in favor of Tecla by declaring the validity of her marriage to Eustaquio, while pronouncing
on the other hand, the marriage between Peregrina and Eustaquio to be bigamous, and thus, null and void.
Peregrina now questions the said ruling assigning as error, among others, the failure of the CA to appreciate the validity of her marriage
to Eustaquio.
1. Whether or not the court can validly rely on the "presumption of marriage" to overturn the validity of a subsequent marriage;
2. Whether or not secondary evidence may be considered and/or taken cognizance of, without proof of the execution or
existence and the cause of the unavailability of the best evidence, the original document;
3. Whether or not a Certificate of Marriage issued by the church has a probative value to prove the existence of a valid
marriage without the priest who issued the same being presented to the witness stand.26
Our Ruling
Essentially, the question before us is whether or not the evidence presented during the trial proves the existence of the marriage of
Tecla to Eustaquio.
The trial court, in ruling against Tecla’s claim of her prior valid marriage to Eustaquio relied on Tecla’s failure to present her certificate of
marriage to Eustaquio. Without such certificate, the trial court considered as useless the certification of the Office of the Civil Registrar
of Talibon, Bohol, that it has no more records of marriages during the period 1900 to 1944. The same thing was said as regards the
Certification issued by the National Statistics Office of Manila. The trial court observed:
In the absence of the marriage contract, the trial court did not give credence to the testimony of Tecla and her witnesses as it
considered the same as mere self-serving assertions. Superior significance was given to the fact that Tecla could not even produce her
own copy of the said proof of marriage. Relying on Section 3 (a) and Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, the trial court declared
that Tecla failed to prove the existence of the first marriage.
The CA, on the other hand, concluded that there was a presumption of lawful marriage between Tecla and Eustaquio as they deported
themselves as husband and wife and begot four (4) children. Such presumption, supported by documentary evidence consisting of the
same Certifications disregarded by the trial court, as well as the testimonial evidence especially that of Adelina Avenido-Ceno, created,
according to the CA, sufficient proof of the fact of marriage. Contrary to the trial court’s ruling, the CA found that its appreciation of the
evidence presented by Tecla is well in accord with Section 5, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
We uphold the reversal by the CA of the decision of the trial court. Quite recently, in Añonuevo v. Intestate Estate of Rodolfo G.
Jalandoni, we said, citing precedents, that:
While a marriage certificate is considered the primary evidence of a marital union, it is not regarded as the sole and exclusive evidence
of marriage. Jurisprudence teaches that the fact of marriage may be proven by relevant evidence other than the marriage certificate.
Hence, even a person’s birth certificate may be recognized as competent evidence of the marriage between his parents.
The error of the trial court in ruling that without the marriage certificate, no other proof of the fact can be accepted, has been aptly
delineated in Vda de Jacob v. Court of Appeals. Evidence of the execution of a document is, in the last analysis, necessarily collateral or
primary. It generally consists of parol testimony or extrinsic papers. Even when the document is actually produced, its authencity is not
necessarily, if at all, determined from its face or recital of its contents but by parol evidence. At the most, failure to produce the
document, when available, to establish its execution may effect the weight of the evidence presented but not the admissibility of such
evidence.
The Court of Appeals, as well as the trial court, tried to justify its stand on this issue by relying on Lim Tanhu v. Ramolete. But even
there, we said that "marriage may be prove[n] by other competent evidence.
Truly, the execution of a document may be proven by the parties themselves, by the swearing officer, by witnesses who saw and
recognized the signatures of the parties; or even by those to whom the parties have previously narrated the execution thereof. The
Court has also held that "[t]he loss may be shown by any person who [knows] the fact of its loss, or by any one who ha[s] made, in the
judgment of the court, a sufficient examination in the place or places where the document or papers of similar character are usually kept
by the person in whose custody the document lost was, and has been unable to find it; or who has made any other investigation which
is sufficient to satisfy the court that the instrument [has] indeed [been] lost."
In the present case, due execution was established by the testimonies of Adela Pilapil, who was present during the marriage ceremony,
and of petitioner herself as a party to the event. The subsequent loss was shown by the testimony and the affidavit of the officiating
priest, Monsignor Yllana, as relevant, competent and admissible evidence. Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage
contract were clearly shown by the evidence presented, secondary evidence–testimonial and documentary–may be admitted to prove
the fact of marriage.30
As correctly stated by the appellate court:
In the case at bench, the celebration of marriage between [Tecla] and EUSTAQUIO was established by the testimonial evidence
furnished by [Adelina] who appears to be present during the marriage ceremony, and by [Tecla] herself as a living witness to the event.

4

The loss was shown by the certifications issued by the NSO and LCR of Talibon, Bohol. These are relevant, competent and admissible
evidence. Since the due execution and the loss of the marriage contract were clearly shown by the evidence presented, secondary
evidence – testimonial and documentary – may be admitted to prove the fact of marriage. In PUGEDA v. TRIAS, the
Supreme Court held that "marriage may be proven by any competent and relevant evidence. The testimony by one of the parties to the
marriage or by one of the witnesses to the marriage has been held to be admissible to prove the fact of marriage. The person who
officiated at the solemnization is also competent to testify as an eyewitness to the fact of marriage."
The starting point then, is the presumption of marriage.
In the case at bar, the establishment of the fact of marriage was completed by the testimonies of Adelina, Climaco and Tecla; the
unrebutted the certifications of marriage issued by the parish priest of the Most Holy Trinity Cathedral of Talibon, Bohol.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 79444 is AFFIRMED. The
marriage between petitioner Peregrina Macua Avenido and the deceased Eustaquio Avenido is hereby declared NULL and VOID. No
pronouncement as to costs.

G.R. No. 198780
October 16, 2013
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, vs. LIBERTY D. ALBIOS, Respondent.
On October 22, 2004, Fringer, an American citizen, and Albios were married before Judge Ofelia I. Calo of the Metropolitan Trial Court,
Branch59, Mandaluyong City (MeTC), as evidenced by a Certificate of Marriage with Register No. 2004-1588.3
On December 6, 2006, Albios filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage with Fringer. She alleged that
immediately after their marriage, they separated and never lived as husband and wife because they never really had any intention of
entering into a married state or complying with any of their essential marital obligations. She described their marriage as one made in
jest and, therefore, null and void ab initio .
Summons was served on Fringer but he did not file his answer. On September 13, 2007, Albios filed a motion to set case for pre-trial
and to admit her pre-trial brief. The RTC ordered the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor to conduct an investigation and determine the
existence of a collusion. On October 2, 2007, the Assistant Prosecutor complied and reported that she could not make a determination
for failure of both parties to appear at the scheduled investigation.
At the pre-trial, only Albios, her counsel and the prosecutor appeared. Fringer did not attend the hearing despite being duly notified of
the schedule. After the pre-trial, hearing on the merits ensued.
In its April 25, 2008 Decision,5 the RTC declared the marriage void ab initio.
The RTC was of the view that the parties married each other for convenience only. Giving credence to the testimony of Albios, it stated
that she contracted Fringer to enter into a marriage to enable her to acquire American citizenship; that in consideration thereof, she
agreed to pay him the sum of $2,000.00; that after the ceremony, the parties went their separate ways; that Fringer returned to the
United States and never again communicated with her; and that, in turn, she did not pay him the $2,000.00 because he never
processed her petition for citizenship. The RTC, thus, ruled that when marriage was entered into for a purpose other than the
establishment of a conjugal and family life, such was a farce and should not be recognized from its inception.
Petitioner Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a motion for reconsideration. The
RTC issued the Order, 7 dated February 5, 2009, denying the motion for want of merit. It explained that the marriage was declared void
because the parties failed to freely give their consent to the marriage as they had no intention to be legally bound by it and used it only
as a means to acquire American citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00.
Not in conformity, the OSG filed an appeal before the CA.
Ruling of the CA
In its assailed decision, dated September 29, 2011, the CA affirmed the RTC ruling which found that the essential requisite of consent
was lacking. The CA stated that the parties clearly did not understand the nature and consequence of getting married and that their
case was similar to a marriage in jest. It further explained that the parties never intended to enter into the marriage contract and never
intended to live as husband and wife or build a family. It concluded that their purpose was primarily for personal gain, that is, for Albios
to obtain foreign citizenship, and for Fringer, the consideration of $2,000.00.
Hence, this petition.
Assignment of Error
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAWWHEN IT HELD THAT A MARRIAGE CONTRACTED FOR
THEPURPOSE OF OBTAINING FOREIGN CITIZENSHIP WAS DONEIN JEST, HENCE, LACKING IN THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENT
OFCONSENT.8
The OSG argues that albeit the intention was for Albios to acquire American citizenship and for Fringer to be paid $2,000.00, both
parties freely gave their consent to the marriage, as they knowingly and willingly entered into that marriage and knew the benefits and
consequences of being bound by it. According to the OSG, consent should be distinguished from motive, the latter being
inconsequential to the validity of marriage.

5

The OSG also argues that the present case does not fall within the concept of a marriage in jest. The parties here intentionally
consented to enter into a real and valid marriage, for if it were otherwise, the purpose of Albios to acquire American citizenship would be
rendered futile.
On October 29, 2012, Albios filed her Comment 9 to the petition, reiterating her stand that her marriage was similar to a marriage by way
of jest and, therefore, void from the beginning.
On March 22, 2013, the OSG filed its Reply10 reiterating its arguments in its petition for review on certiorari.
Ruling of the Court
The resolution of this case hinges on this sole question of law: Is a marriage, contracted for the sole purpose of acquiring American
citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00, void ab initio on the ground of lack of consent?
The Court resolves in the negative.
Before the Court delves into its ruling, It shall first examine the phenomenon of marriage fraud for the purposes of immigration.
Marriage Fraud in Immigration
The institution of marriage carries with it concomitant benefits. This has led to the development of marriage fraud for the sole purpose of
availing of particular benefits. In the United States, marriages where a couple marries only to achieve a particular purpose or acquire
specific benefits, have been referred to as "limited purpose" marriages.11 A common limited purpose marriage is one entered into solely
for the legitimization of a child. 12Another, which is the subject of the present case, is for immigration purposes. Immigration law is
usually concerned with the intention of the couple at the time of their marriage, 13 and it attempts to filter out those who use marriage
solely to achieve immigration status.14
In 1975, the seminal case of Bark v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, 15 established the principal test for determining the
presence of marriage fraud in immigration cases. It ruled that a "marriage is a sham if the bride and groom did not intend to establish a
life together at the time they were married. "This standard was modified with the passage of the Immigration Marriage Fraud
Amendment of 1986 (IMFA), which now requires the couple to instead demonstrate that the marriage was not "entered into for the
purpose of evading the immigration laws of the United States." The focus, thus, shifted from determining the intention to establish a life
together, to determining the intention of evading immigration laws. 16 It must be noted, however, that this standard is used purely for
immigration purposes and, therefore, does not purport to rule on the legal validity or existence of a marriage.
The question that then arises is whether a marriage declared as a sham or fraudulent for the limited purpose of immigration is also
legally void and in existent. The early cases on limited purpose marriages in the United States made no definitive ruling.
x x But, that aside, Spitz and Sandler were never married at all. Mutual consent is necessary to every contract; and no matter what
forms or ceremonies the parties may go through indicating the contrary, they do not contract if they do not in fact assent, which may
always be proved. x x x Marriage is no exception to this rule: a marriage in jest is not a marriage at all. x x x It is quite true that a
marriage without subsequent consummation will be valid; but if the spouses agree to a marriage only for the sake of representing it as
such to the outside world and with the understanding that they will put an end to it as soon as it has served its purpose to deceive, they
have never really agreed to be married at all. They must assent to enter into the relation as it is ordinarily understood, and it is not
ordinarily understood as merely a pretence, or cover, to deceive others.18
(Italics supplied)
On the other end of the spectrum is the 1969 case of Mpiliris v. Hellenic Lines,19 which declared as valid a marriage entered into solely
for the husband to gain entry to the United States, stating that a valid marriage could not be avoided "merely because the marriage was
entered into for a limited purpose."20 The 1980 immigration case of Matter of McKee, 21 further recognized that a fraudulent or sham
marriage was intrinsically different from a non subsisting one.
Nullifying these limited purpose marriages for lack of consent has, therefore, been recognized as problematic. The problem being that
in order to obtain an immigration benefit, a legal marriage is first necessary.22 At present, United States courts have generally denied
annulments involving" limited purpose" marriages where a couple married only to achieve a particular purpose, and haveb upheld such
marriages as valid.23
The Court now turns to the case at hand.
Respondent’s marriage not void
In declaring the respondent’s marriage void, the RTC ruled that when a marriage was entered into for a purpose other than the
establishment of a conjugal and family life, such was a farce and should not be recognized from its inception. In its resolution denying
the OSG’s motion for reconsideration, the RTC went on to explain that the marriage was declared void because the parties failed to
freely give their consent to the marriage as they had no intention to be legally bound by it and used it only as a means for the
respondent to acquire American citizenship. Agreeing with the RTC, the CA ruled that the essential requisite of consent was lacking. It
held that the parties clearly did not understand the nature and consequence of getting married. As in the Rubenstein case, the CA
found the marriage to be similar to a marriage in jest considering that the parties only entered into the marriage for the acquisition of
American citizenship in exchange of $2,000.00. They never intended to enter into a marriage contract and never intended to live as
husband and wife or build a family.
The CA’s assailed decision was, therefore, grounded on the parties’ supposed lack of consent. Under Article 2 of the Family Code,
consent is an essential requisite of marriage. Article 4 of the same Code provides that the absence of any essential requisite shall
render a marriage void ab initio.

6

(2) concealment by the wife of a pregnancy by another man. it is not void ab initio and continues to be valid and subsisting. There is no law that declares a marriage void if it is entered into for purposes other than what the Constitution or law declares. and just as easily nullified when no longer needed. for consent to be valid. No less than our Constitution declares that marriage. force. Consent must be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective by any of the vices of consent under Articles45 and 46 of the Family Code. Only the circumstances listed under Article 46 of the same Code may constitute fraud.26 Based on the above. Furthermore. vs. This Court cannot leave the impression that marriage may easily be entered into when it suits the needs of the parties. In 1979. The ceremony is not followed by any conduct indicating a purpose to enter into such a relation.R. No other misrepresentation or deceit shall constitute fraud as a ground for an action to annul a marriage. he married Azucena Alegre (Azucena) in Caloocan City. such as fraud. legal in form but entered into as a joke. consequences.32 It must. That their consent was freely given is best evidenced by their conscious purpose of acquiring American citizenship through marriage. the ground of fraud may only be brought by the injured or innocent party. Branch 43 (trial court). under Article 47 (3). be safeguarded from the whims and caprices of the contracting parties. there was real consent because it was not vitiated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent. intoxication. as nothing impaired their ability to do so. In December 1981. or simply have no further use for it. the absence of any genuine consent.. thus. In the present case. Only a genuine consent to be married would allow them to further their objective. she should not be allowed to again abuse it to get herself out of an inconvenient situation. There is no genuine consent because the parties have absolutely no intention of being bound in any way or for any purpose.28 Although the Court views with disdain the respondent’s attempt to utilize marriage for dishonest purposes. Therefore. Such plainly demonstrates that they willingly and deliberately contracted the marriage. the CA characterized such as akin to a marriage by way of jest. BENJAMIN BANGAYAN. and both the beneficial or unfavorable consequences of their act. an apparent intention to enter into the actual marriage status and to create a legal tie. Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally GoBangayan (Sally) who was a customer in the auto parts and supplies business owned by Benjamin’s family. Their consent was also conscious and intelligent as they understood the nature and the beneficial and inconvenient consequences of their marriage. The Court cannot declare such a marriage void in the event the parties fail to qualify for immigration benefits. Benjamin 7 . or homosexuality. therefore. hence. Genuine consent was. There was. or hypnotism. and it is not void or voidable under the grounds provided by law. 25 Their understanding should not be affected by insanity. Jr. A marriage may. and with a clear understanding that the parties would not be bound. In February 1982. Allowing her marriage with Fringer to be declared void would only further trivialize this inviolable institution. JR. however. The possibility that the parties in a marriage might have no real intention to establish a life together is. There was a full and complete understanding of the legal tie that would be created between them. and Benjamin III. after they have availed of its benefits. intimidation. Albios has indeed made a mockery of the sacred institution of marriage. clearly present. but for a complete absence of consent. Albios already misused a judicial institution to enter into a marriage of convenience. and incidents of marriage are governed by law and not subject to stipulation.Under said Article 2. Emmamylin. Albios and Fringer had an undeniable intention to be bound in order to create the very bond necessary to allow the respondent to acquire American citizenship. 27 It is a pretended marriage not intended to be real and with no intention to create any legal ties whatsoever. These unscrupulous individuals cannot be allowed to use the courts as instruments in their fraudulent schemes. since it was that precise legal tie which was necessary to accomplish their goal. and undue influence. insufficient to nullify a marriage freely entered into in accordance with law. alcoholism. Neither can their marriage be considered voidable on the ground of fraud under Article 45 (3) of the Family Code. it shall be declared valid. as an in violable social institution. and (4) concealment of drug addiction. namely. G. Benjamin alleged that on 10 September 1973. only be declared void or voidable under the grounds provided by law. or unintelligent consent. drugs. In fact. is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State. such as the acquisition of foreign citizenship. considering that only a valid marriage can properly support an application for citizenship. there is no injured party because Albios and Fringer both conspired to enter into the sham marriage. (3) concealment of a sexually transmitted disease. so long as all the essential and formal requisites prescribed by law are present. Entering into a marriage for the sole purpose of evading immigration laws does not qualify under any of the listed circumstances. The respondent’s marriage is not at all analogous to a marriage in jest. There was a clear intention to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with the requirements of an application for citizenship. The same Article 1 provides that the nature. it must be (1) freely given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. namely.24 Consent must also be conscious or intelligent. Petitioner. with no real intention of entering into the actual marriage status. The avowed purpose of marriage under Article 1 of the Family Code is for the couple to establish a conjugal and family life. A marriage in jest is a pretended marriage. defective. (Benjamin) filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. No. therefore. albeit for a limited purpose. Respo On 15 March 2004. 201061 July 3. Hence. Marriages in jest are void ab initio. Azucena left for the United States of America. thus. They had three children. 2013 SALLY GO-BANGAYAN. In ruling that Albios’ marriage was void for lack of consent. Rizalyn. in that the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the nature of. though the respondent’s marriage may be considered a sham or fraudulent for the purposes of immigration. Benjamin Bangayan. consent was not lacking between Albios and Fringer. (1) non. It cannot declare the marriage void. A "freely given" consent requires that the contracting parties willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage. not for vitiated.disclosure of a previous conv1ctwn involving moral turpitude.

61720. the trial court forfeited Sally’s share in the properties covered under TCT Nos. they acquired real properties. The trial court ruled that Sally was not legally married to Benjamin. It is further declared NONEXISTENT. Pasig. and for the declaration of Bernice and Bentley as illegitimate children. bigamy was not committed in this case. the 37 properties that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamin’s parents who gave the properties to their children. 61722 and the two condominium units were purchased from the earnings of Benjamin alone. the trial court ruled that the lot under TCT No. On 7 March 1982. the trial court found that they were bought by Benjamin using his own money and that Sally failed to prove any actual contribution of money. The trial court ruled that the second marriage was void not because of the existence of the first marriage but because of other causes. without prejudice to Benjamin’s right to dispute his conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. evidenced by a certified true copy of their marriage contract. GO on March 7. the Court of Appeals partly granted the appeal. 8 . Applying Article 148 of the Family Code. and 190860 and CCT Nos. Sally named 37 properties in her answer. the petition before this Court. the trial court ruled in favor of Benjamin. In its Order dated 27 August 2009. The dispositive portion of the trial court’s decision reads: ACCORDINGLY. Metro Manila is hereby declared NULL and VOID AB INITIO. On the issue of partition. Bernice and Bentley. for his appointment as administrator of the properties during the pendency of the case. assured him that the marriage contract would not be registered. JR. She then filed criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of public documents against Benjamin. 61722. particularly. property or industry in their purchase. 7 the trial court denied the motion. knowing Benjamin’s marital status. During the period of their cohabitation. Benjamin and Sally’s cohabitation produced two children. 8782 and 8783. Aside from the seven properties enumerated by Benjamin in his petition. and Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in affirming with modification the trial court’s decision regarding the property relations of Benjamin and Sally. as advance inheritance. Decision of the Trial Court In a Decision4 dated 26 March 2009. and 253681 as well as the two condominium units under CCT Nos. Sally brought Benjamin to an office in Santolan. using their simulated marriage contract as evidence. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin and his brothers and the phrase "married to Sally Go" was merely descriptive of Benjamin’s civil status in the title. 8782 and 8783 were part of the conjugal partnership of Benjamin and Azucena. The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not bigamous. Pasig City where they signed a purported marriage contract. the lack of a marriage license. Sally appealed the trial court’s decision before the Court of Appeals. Further. However. The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did not err in submitting the case for decision. The Issues Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in affirming the trial court’s decision declaring the marriage between Benjamin and Sally null and void ab initio and non-existent. The Ruling of this Court The petition has no merit Validity of the Marriage between Benjamin and Sally First. in turn. and SALLY S. Hence. 61722. The trial court further ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because she knew that Benjamin was married to Azucena. the Court of Appeals denied her motion. The trial court denied Sally’s claim for spousal support because she was not married to Benjamin. N-193656. the marriage of BENJAMIN BANGAYAN. A total of 44 registered properties became the subject of the partition before the trial court. The trial court did not rule on the issue of the legitimacy status of Bernice and Bentley because they were not parties to the case. bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. Sally filed a Verified and Vigorous Motion for Inhibition with Motion for Reconsideration. N-193656 and 253681 in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamin’s share reverted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena. Benjamin also asked the trial court for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code. Sally’s father was against the relationship. 1982 at Santolan. the trial court ruled that Sally could not claim the 37 properties she named in her answer as part of her conjugal properties with Benjamin. In its 17 August 2011 Decision. Sally moved for the reconsideration of the Court of Appeals’ decision. The trial court ruled that the marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office because it could not be registered due to Benjamin’s subsisting marriage with Azucena. As regards the two lots under TCT Nos. filed a petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of nullity of marriage before the trial court on the ground that his marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal requisites to a valid marriage.and Sally lived together as husband and wife. At the time Benjamin and Sally entered into a purported marriage on 7 March 1982. in order to appease her father. Benjamin. The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally left for Canada. Hence. including Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied support for Bernice and Bentley who were both of legal age and did not ask for support. Sally. 61720 and 190860. In its 14 March 2012 Resolution. Benjamin’s marriage to Azucena on 10 September 1973 was duly established before the trial court. the marriage between Benjamin and Azucena was valid and subsisting. The trial court ruled that the properties under TCT Nos. The trial court found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by TCT Nos.

"shall be void from the beginning. N-193656 and 253681 were registered in the name of Sally as a single individual. Without proof of actual contribution from either or both spouses. Thus. the second or subsequent marriage must have all the essential requisites for validity except for the existence of a prior marriage. If the party who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another."25 As regards the seven remaining properties. For bigamy to exist.12 It was also established before the trial court that the purported marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. Only the property covered by TCT No. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported marriage contract without a marriage license. They lived together and represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. Thus. it was a fictitious marriage.30 [G. or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions.24 In this case. a marriage solemnized without a license. Sally’s Answer to the petition before the trial court even admitted that "Benjamin’s late father himself conveyed a number of properties to his children and their respective spouses which included Sally x x x. 148. the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining the trial court’s ruling that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent. We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between Benjamin and Sally null and void ab initio and.On the purported marriage of Benjamin and Sally. The supposed marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions." 21 Thus. intended to cover her up from expected social humiliation coming from relatives. Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage. his or her share in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community of conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage. The case clearly falls under Section 3 of Article 3520 which made their marriage void ab initio. property." The property covered by CCT Nos. at the instance of Sally. friends and the society especially from her parents seen as Chinese conservatives. 61722 was registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses. 11 Clearly. Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under Article 1409 of the Civil Code. 2000] 9 . The marriage between Benjamin and Sally was also non-existent. the marriage between Benjamin and Sally did not exist. we rule that the decision of the Court of Appeals is more in accord with the evidence on record. Oliveros confirmed that only Marriage Licence Nos. We have ruled that the words "married to" preceding the name of a spouse are merely descriptive of the civil status of the registered owner. As pointed out by the trial court. Marriage License No. property. Oliveros further testified that the local civil registrar of Pasig City did not issue Marriage License No. The documentary and testimonial evidence proved that there was no marriage between Benjamin and Sally. In short. 26 The properties under TCT Nos. No. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint deposits of money and evidences of credit. only the properties acquired by them through their actual joint contribution of money. The certification from the local civil registrar is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage license and absent any suspicious circumstance. It was duly established that no marriage license was issued to them and that Marriage License No. Teresita Oliveros (Oliveros). The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both parties are in bad faith. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982. Registration Officer II of the Local Civil Registrar of Pasig City. 61720 and 190860 were in the name of Benjamin 27 with the descriptive title "married to Sally. In the absence of proof to the contrary. if indeed Benjamin and Sally entered into a marriage contract. 29 Such words do not prove co-ownership." In this case. testified that there was no valid marriage license issued to Benjamin and Sally. N-07568 did not match the marriage license numbers issued by the local civil registrar of Pasig City for the month of February 1982. at the same time. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding Article. his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the preceding Article."17 In short. their contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be equal. non-existent. the marriage between Benjamin and Sally "was made only in jest" 16 and "a simulated marriage. This Court notes that Benjamin was the informant in Bernice’s birth certificate which stated that Benjamin and Sally were married on 8 March 1982 18 while Sally was the informant in Bentley’s birth certificate which also stated that Benjamin and Sally were married on 8 March 1982. N-07568 did not match the series issued for the month. contracts which are absolutely simulated or fictitious are "inexistent and void from the beginning. the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was solemnized without a license. If one of the parties is validly married to another. only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money. 19 Benjamin and Sally were supposedly married on 7 March 1982 which did not match the dates reflected on the birth certificates. 133778. N07568 to Benjamin and Sally. there was really no subsequent marriage. except those covered by Article 34 where no license is necessary. The fact that Benjamin was the informant in the birth certificates of Bernice and Bentley was not a proof of the marriage between Benjamin and Sally. Under Article 35 of the Family Code. March 14. being issued by the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. there can be no co-ownership under Article 148 of the Family Code. Property Relations Between Benjamin and Sally The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the property relations of Benjamin and Sally is governed by Article 148 of the Family Code which states: Art. the certification enjoys probative value. both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly excluded the 37 properties being claimed by Sally which were given by Benjamin’s father to his children as advance inheritance. the marriage was void from the beginning for lack of a marriage license.R. 8782 and 8783 were registered in the name of Sally 28 with the descriptive title "married to Benjamin" while the properties under TCT Nos.

this Court reconsidered the dismissal and reinstated the petition for review. Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. upon motion of petitioners. and that we now desire to marry each other. which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage."[13] However. JR. [5] A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage under Article 53 of the Civil Code. if that continuous 5-year cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether the parties were capacitated to marry each other 10 . Teodulfa was shot by Pepito resulting in her death on April 24.[4] The two marriages involved herein having been solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code (FC). obscure. Otherwise. Pepito G. Nial. [9] This interest proceeds from the constitutional mandate that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and of affording protection to the family as a basic "autonomous social institution. the five-year common-law cohabitation period. NORMA BAYADOG. which impediment may have either disappeared or intervened sometime during the cohabitation period? Working on the assumption that Pepito and Norma have lived together as husband and wife for five years without the benefit of marriage. they executed an affidavit stating that "they have attained the age of majority. avoid the peeping and suspicious eye of public exposure and contain the source of gossip arising from the publication of their names. Cebu. 1986 stating that they had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and were thus exempt from securing a marriage license. INGRID NIAL. [11]This is why the Family Code considers marriage as "a special contract of permanent union"[12] and case law considers it "not just an adventure but a lifetime commitment. the lower court ruled that petitioners should have filed the action to declare null and void their fathers marriage to respondent before his death. have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. The case was filed under the assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second marriage would affect petitioners successional rights. Out of their marriage were born herein petitioners. the Constitution considers marriage as an "inviolable social institution. [15] To preserve peace in the family. Pepito and respondent Norma Badayog got married without any marriage license.[14] referring to the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before the marriage. Norma filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that petitioners have no cause of action since they are not among the persons who could file an action for "annulment of marriage" under Article 47 of the Family Code. [6] the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3)[7] in relation to Article 58. Marcos of the Regional Trial Court of Toledo City.ENGRACE NIAL for Herself and as Guardian ad Litem of the minors BABYLINE NIAL.[2] Hence. insufficient" to resolve the following issues: (1) Whether or not plaintiffs have a cause of action against defendant in asking for the declaration of the nullity of marriage of their deceased father."[10] Specifically." and is the foundation of family life which shall be protected by the State. [3] However. In other words. Nial is already dead. applying by analogy Article 47 of the Family Code which enumerates the time and the persons who could initiate an action for annulment of marriage." [16] The only issue that needs to be resolved pertains to what nature of cohabitation is contemplated under Article 76 of the Civil Code to warrant the counting of the five year period in order to exempt the future spouses from securing a marriage license. Pepito and Norma executed an affidavit dated December 11. in the maintenance of which the general public is interested." It was thus treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no legal effect under Section 3. In lieu thereof. and because "the verification failed to state the basis of petitioners averment that the allegations in the petition are true and correct. Should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties are capacitated to marry each other during the entire five-year continuous period or should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife during the entire five-year continuous period regardless of whether there is a legal impediment to their being lawfully married. dismissed the petition after finding that the Family Code is "rather silent. Scnc m This petition was originally dismissed for non-compliance with Section 11. One year and 8 months thereafter or on December 11. with her specially so when at the time of the filing of this instant suit. 1974. On February 19. vs. Judge Ferdinand J. This 5year period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and continuity that is unbroken. their father Pepito G. and. there are several instances recognized by the Civil Code wherein a marriage license is dispensed with. petitioners filed a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage of Pepito to Norma alleging that the said marriage was void for lack of a marriage license.. shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicants name for a marriage license. that five-year period should be computed on the basis of a cohabitation as "husband and wife" where the only missing factor is the special contract of marriage to validate the union. 1985. petitioners. Sdaa miso There is no dispute that the marriage of petitioners father to respondent Norma was celebrated without any marriage license. should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of the marriage. (3) Whether or not plaintiffs are estopped from assailing the validity of the second marriage after it was dissolved due to their fathers death. respondent.[1] Thus. Branch 59. one of which is that provided in Article 76. In lieu thereof. Rule 7. ARCHIE NIAL & PEPITO NIAL. [8] The requirement and issuance of marriage license is the States demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage. The publicity attending the marriage license may discourage such persons from legitimizing their status. Ncmmis May the heirs of a deceased person file a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage after his death? Pepito Nial was married to Teodulfa Bellones on September 26. this petition for review with this Court grounded on a pure question of law. The rationale why no license is required in such case is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation. 1997. (2) Whether or not the second marriage of plaintiffs deceased father with defendant is null and void ab initio. the applicable law to determine their validity is the Civil Code which was the law in effect at the time of their celebration. the law deemed it wise to preserve their privacy and exempt them from that requirement. of the 1997 Rules. After their fathers death. being unmarried. 1986. Pepito died in a car accident.

The next issue to be resolved is: do petitioners have the personality to file a petition to declare their fathers marriage void after his death? Contrary to respondent judges ruling. unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. i. examining persons under oath. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage. which allows "the sane spouse" to file an annulment suit "at any time before the death of either party" is inapplicable. On the contrary. only about twenty months had elapsed. It should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that two persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar. Pepito had a subsisting marriage at the time when he started cohabiting with respondent.[23] and its effect on the children born to such void marriages as provided in Article 50 in relation to Article 43 and 44 as well as Article 51. Void marriages have no legal effects except those declared by law concerning the properties of the alleged spouses. he shall note down the particulars thereof and his findings thereon in the application for a marriage license. yet as well for the sake of good order of society as for the peace of mind of all concerned. The subsistence of the marriage even where there was actual severance of the filial companionship between the spouses cannot make any cohabitation by either spouse with any third party as being one as "husband and wife". x x x. periods and persons who can file an annulment suit. Marriage being a special relationship must be respected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. Pepito had already been separated in fact from his lawful spouse. x x x. Article 47 of the Family Code [20] cannot be applied even by analogy to petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. Scs daad Having determined that the second marriage involved in this case is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license. void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either. it is void ab initio because of the absence of such element." This is the same reason why our civil laws. The Revised Penal Code complements the civil law in that the contracting of two or more marriages and the having of extramarital affairs are considered felonies. the death of petitioners father extinguished the alleged marital bond between him and respondent. In case of any impediment known to the local civil registrar or brought to his attention. past or present. Article 47 pertains to the grounds. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advice the local civil registrar thereof. then the law would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. the fact remains that their five-year period cohabitation was not the cohabitation contemplated by law.[17] The Civil Code provides: Article 63: "x x x. the local civil registrar shall forthwith make an investigation. The second ground for annulment of marriage relied upon by the trial court. it cannot be said that they have lived with each other as husband and wife for at least five years prior to their wedding day. any marriage subsequently contracted during the lifetime of the first spouse shall be illegal and void. The presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirements of the law. [24] "A void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void but though no sentence of avoidance be absolutely necessary. Jurisprudence under the Civil Code states that no judicial decree is necessary in order to establish the nullity of a marriage. not a suit for declaration of nullity of marriage. A marriage that is annulable is valid until otherwise declared by the court. The parties should not be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. bigamy and concubinage and adultery.[22] That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible. and thereafter both Pepito and respondent had started living with each other that has already lasted for five years. From the time Pepitos first marriage was dissolved to the time of his marriage with respondent.[19] The law sanctions monogamy. It should be in the nature of a perfect union that is valid under the law but rendered imperfect only by the absence of the marriage contract. It is immaterial that when they lived with each other. The conclusion is erroneous and proceeds from a wrong premise that there was a marriage bond that was dissolved between the two. Sup rema Contrary to the trial courts ruling. regarding co-ownership or ownership through actual joint contribution. x x x. absolutely prohibited the concurrence of multiple marriages by the same person during the same period.. Voidable and void marriages are not identical. Thus. the property regime governing voidable marriages is generally conjugal partnership and the children conceived before its annulment are legitimate. In this case.during the entire five years. The Code is silent as to who can file a petition to declare the nullity of a marriage. Even assuming that Pepito and his first wife had separated in fact." Article 18 reads in part: "x x x.e. A voidable marriage cannot be assailed collaterally except in a direct proceeding while a void marriage can be attacked collaterally.[18] subject only to the exception in cases of absence or where the prior marriage was dissolved or annulled." Article 64: "Upon being advised of any alleged impediment to the marriage. There should be no exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage should be ascertained and declared by the decree of a court of competent 11 . at the time of Pepito and respondents marriage. x x x" Sdaad This is reiterated in the Family Code thus: Article 17 provides in part: "x x x. Consequently. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advise the local civil registrar thereof. in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid. It should be noted that their marriage was void hence it is deemed as if it never existed at all and the death of either extinguished nothing. The first can be generally ratified or confirmed by free cohabitation or prescription while the other can never be ratified. 53 and 54 of the Family Code. whereas a marriage that is void ab initio is considered as having never to have taken place[21] and cannot be the source of rights.

and gave them to the man who immediately left. He alleged that he saw a piece of paper lying on top of the table at the sala of Felisas house. T-639. in CA-G. dissolution of property regime. and that his consent to the marriage was secured through fraud. the latter feigned ignorance. Branch 59.[2] In lieu of a marriage license. SO ORDERED. the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. being good for no legal purpose. According to Jose. settlement of estate. and is made good ab initio. On 7 July 1993. WHEREFORE. Juris However. CV No. Jose gave his version of the events which led to his filing of the same. the latter being his landlady. In opposing the Complaint. It disposed: 12 . J. but that she had deferred contracting marriage with him on account of their age difference. its invalidity can be maintained in any proceeding in which the fact of marriage may be material. Jose and Felisa executed a sworn affidavit. Bian. 175581 and G. DAYOT CHICO-NAZARIO. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Jose and Felisa were married at the Pasay City Hall. upon a pre-arranged signal from Felisa. No. Felisa requested him to accompany her to the Pasay City Hall. then the same cannot be considered imprescriptible. Cebu. and told him that his refusal could get both of them killed by her brother who had learned about their relationship. Felisa cajoled him. ostensibly so she could claim a package sent to her by her brother from Saudi Arabia. other than for purposes of remarriage. she filed an administrative complaint against Jose with the Office of the Ombudsman. it will be disregarded or treated as non-existent by the courts. He contended that his marriage with Felisa was a sham. the law makes either the action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage imprescriptible. if the death of either party would extinguish the cause of action or the ground for defense. It was in February 1987 when he discovered that he had contracted marriage with Felisa. the effect of a void marriage. REPUBLIC vs. attesting that both of them had attained the age of maturity. which declared the marriage between Jose Dayot (Jose) and Felisa void ab initio. Branch 25. 179474 are Petitions for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court filed by the Republic of the Philippines and Felisa Tecson-Dayot (Felisa). Felisa denied Joses allegations and defended the validity of their marriage. he was introduced to Felisa in 1986. he signed the pieces of paper.: Before us are two consolidated petitions. No. Reluctantly. a man bearing three folded pieces of paper approached them. a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. 68759.R.R. whether before or after the death of either or both the husband and the wife. though void. [3] also dated 24 November 1986. Felisa expounded that while her marriage to Jose was subsisting. dismissing Civil Case No. either direct or collateral. since Jose and Rufina were both employees of the National Statistics and Coordinating Board. no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. and that being unmarried. [6] The Ombudsman found Jose administratively liable for disgraceful and immoral conduct. so far as concerns the conferring of legal rights upon the parties. Some three weeks later. Jose filed a Complaint[4] for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The marriage was solemnized by Rev." It is not like a voidable marriage which cannot be collaterally attacked except in direct proceeding instituted during the lifetime of the parties so that on the death of either. She declared that they had maintained their relationship as man and wife absent the legality of marriage in the early part of 1980. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. in any civil court between any parties at any time. and upon mere proof of the facts rendering such marriage void. Laguna. Felisa filed an action for bigamy against Jose.[26]But Article 40 of the Family Code expressly provides that there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage. legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child. Immediately thereafter. and meted out to him the penalty of suspension from service for one year without emolument. The clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage. is as though no marriage had ever taken place. He initially refused to do so. he came to live as a boarder in Felisas house. The said case is ordered REINSTATED. Tomas V. The assailed Order of the Regional Trial Court. [29] Corollarily. that he did not execute the sworn affidavit stating that he and Felisa had lived as husband and wife for at least five years. For other purposes. respectively. or a criminal case for that matter. both challenging the Amended Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals.[28] For the same reason. When he perused the same. the RTC rendered a Decision[8] dismissing the Complaint. G. the latter contracted marriage with a certain Rufina Pascual (Rufina) on 31 August 1990. such as but not limited to determination of heirship. before a party can enter into a second marriage [27]and such absolute nullity can be based only on a final judgment to that effect. he discovered that it was a copy of his marriage contract with Felisa. Atienza.[7] On 26 July 2000. [5] In her pre-trial brief. as no marriage ceremony was celebrated between the parties."[25] "Under ordinary circumstances. They were told that Jose needed to sign the papers so that the package could be released to Felisa. the petition is GRANTED. dated 7 November 2006. they had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. On 3 June 1993.jurisdiction. However. the marriage cannot be impeached. The records disclose that on 24 November 1986. And therefore. Subsequently. When such need arises.R. Toledo City. In his Complaint. When he confronted Felisa. At the Pasay City Hall.

this Court finds and so holds that the [C]omplaint does not deserve a favorable consideration.N. The Court of Appeals struck down Joses appeal in the following manner: Nonetheless. This is just but a lame excuse because if he really considers her not his lawfully wedded wife.WHEREFORE. one year after he discovered the marriage contract he is now claiming to be sham and false. on the matter of fraud.Accordingly. And yet it took him. and rationalized that: Any person in his right frame of mind would easily suspect any attempt to make him or her sign a blank sheet of paper.S. the marriage celebrated between Jose and Felisa on 24 November 1986 was valid. [Jose] did not take any action to void the marriage at the earliest instance. The appellate court observed that the circumstances constituting fraud as a ground for annulment of marriage under Article 86[14] of the Civil Code did not exist in the marriage between the parties. wrote the name of [Felisa] as the person to be contacted in case of emergency. again.. Article 87 (4) and (5) of the Civil Code provides that the action for annulment of marriage on the ground that the consent of a party was obtained by fraud. It dismissed Joses version of the story as implausible. to be taken in for a ride by [Felisa. Jose filed an appeal from the foregoing RTC Decision to the Court of Appeals. When [Joses] sister was put into the witness stand. the time when he discovered the alleged sham and false marriage contract. 1996) and she further testified that the signature appearing over the name of Jose Dayot was the signature of his [sic] brother that he voluntarily affixed in the marriage contract (page 26 of T.S. as they were at Pasay City Hall to get a package for [Felisa] but it [was] he who was made to sign the pieces of paper for the release of the said package.D. trickery and machinations. as perceived by this Court. However. the above-entitled case is hereby ordered DISMISSED with costs against [Jose]. was because he was residing there then. three months to discover that the pieces of paper that he signed was [sic] purportedly the marriage contract. he would have written instead the name of his sister. force or intimidation must be commenced by said party within four (4) years after the discovery of the fraud and within four (4) years from the time the force or intimidation ceased. [Jose] could have already detected that something was amiss. 1991 within which to file an action for annulment of marriage. and when she was asked by the Honorable Court if indeed she believed that Felisa Tecson was really chosen by her brother she answered yes. under oath. the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED.[12] Undeterred. 1987 then he had only until February. after a careful evaluation and analysis of the evidence presented by both parties.] [Joses] claim that he did not consent to the marriage was belied by the fact that he acknowledged Felisa Tecson as his wife when he wrote [Felisas] name in the duly notarized statement of assets and liabilities he filled up on May 12. Thus: That granting even for the sake of argument that his consent was obtained by [Felisa] through fraud. [Felisa] told him that her brother would kill them if he will not sign the papers. more or less. 1993 that Jose filed the complaint for annulment of his marriage to Felisa. the Court of Appeals did not accept Joses assertion that his marriage to Felisa was void ab initio for lack of a marriage license. page 25.D.[15] Likewise. November 29.[13] The Court of Appeals applied the Civil Code to the marriage between Jose and Felisa as it was solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. It cited Article 87[11] of the New Civil Code which requires that the action for annulment of marriage must be commenced by the injured party within four years after the discovery of the fraud. she testified that she signed her name voluntarily as a witness to the marriage in the marriage certificate (T. [Jose]. taken on November 29. Inasmuch as the fraud was allegedly discovered by Jose in February. in his company I. This Court does not believe that the only reason why her name was written in his company I. the action for the annulment thereof had already prescribed. the Court of Appeals found the appeal to be without merit. the RTC ruled that Joses action had prescribed. it ruled that the action for annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud was filed beyond the prescriptive period provided by law. he could have filed an annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage at the earliest possible opportunity. The dispositive portion of the appellate courts Decision reads: WHEREFORE.N. it was only on July 7. 1988. The testimony of his sister all the more belied his claim that his consent was procured through fraud. [10] Moreover. unusual. with the parties executing an affidavit of marriage between man and woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five 13 . by his own admission. Another indirect suggestion that could have put him on guard was the fact that. x x x. It ruled that the marriage was solemnized under Article 76 [16] of the Civil Code as one of exceptional character. In a Decision dated 11 August 2005.. even if we consider that fraud or intimidation was employed on Jose in giving his consent to the marriage. 1996).[9] The RTC ruled that from the testimonies and evidence presented. Further. [Jose] does not seem to be that ignorant.

R. dated 7 November 2006. the five-year common-law cohabitation period. therefore. docketed as G. Marriage being a special relationship must be respected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. they had lived together for at least five (5) years and that they desired to marry each other. This 5-year period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity meaning no third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and continuity that is unbroken. 175581. stated that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to their marriage. similarly assailing the appellate courts Amended Decision. Essentially. Tomas V. The presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirements of the law. Finally.[20] and reasoned that: In Nial v. Atienza belonged. Meanwhile. Article 56 [17] of the Civil Code did not require that either one of the contracting parties to the marriage must belong to the solemnizing officers church or religious sect. denying Felisas motion. it rendered an Amended Decision. Furnish a copy of this Amended Decision to the Local Civil Registrar of Pasay City. It should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that two persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar. Differing with the ruling of the Court of Appeals. shall be void from the beginning. There should be no exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. the Decision dated August 11. it is. Bayadog. No. praying that the Court of Appeals Amended Decision dated 7 November 2006 be reversed and set aside for lack of merit. His central opposition was that the requisites for the proper application of the exemption from a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil Code were not fully attendant in the case at bar. The appellate court rendered a Resolution[22] dated 10 May 2007.R. The prescription was established only in Article 7[18] of the Family Code which does not govern the parties marriage. Article 80(3) of the Civil Code provides that a marriage solemnized without a marriage license. the solemnizing officer.[21] Felisa sought reconsideration of the Amended Decision. the Republic of the Philippines. The appellate court further noted that on the dorsal side of said affidavit of marriage. On 1 August 2007. that being unmarried.years. Inasmuch as the marriage between Jose and Felisa is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license. void ab initio because of the absence of a marriage license. Dayot and Felisa C. [23] The Republic of the Philippines propounds the following arguments for the allowance of its Petition. Jose cited the legal condition that the man and the woman must have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage. The Court of Appeals concluded that the falsity in the affidavit to the effect that Jose and Felisa had lived together as husband and wife for the period required by Article 76 did not affect the validity of the marriage. the Court of Appeals gave credence to the good-faith reliance of the solemnizing officer over the falsity of the affidavit. the Court of Appeals dismissed Joses argument that neither he nor Felisa was a member of the sect to which Rev. Accordingly.Felisa filed a separate Petition for Review. save marriages of exceptional character. if that continuous 5-year cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years. this Court resolved to consolidate the two Petitions in the interest of uniformity of the Court rulings in similar cases brought before it for resolution. 179474. the Court of Appeals relied on the ruling of this Court in Nial v.[19] In its Amended Decision. In this manner. should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of the marriage. Bayadog. and that the marriage between Jose and Felisa be declared valid and subsisting. In particular. to wit: I 14 . filed a Petition for Review before this Court in G. where the contracting parties to a marriage solemnized without a marriage license on the basis of their affidavit that they had attained the age of majority. the Supreme Court ruled as follows: x x x In other words. Atienza. The Court of Appeals granted Joses Motion for Reconsideration and reversed itself. but to no avail. the fallo of which reads: WHEREFORE. Rev. No. 2005 is RECALLED and SET ASIDE and another one entered declaring the marriage between Jose A. which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage. he maintained that the affidavit of marital cohabitation executed by him and Felisa was false. The parties should not be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. then the law would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. Jose filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereof. Otherwise. seeing that the solemnizing officer was misled by the statements contained therein. Tomas V. Tecson void ab initio. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). According to the Court of Appeals.

Felisa surmises that the declaration of nullity of their marriage would exonerate Jose from any liability. The first assignment of error compels this Court to rule on the issue of the effect of a false affidavit under Article 76 of the Civil Code. attesting that Jose and Felisa had lived together as husband and wife in said barangay. the Civil Code governs their union. For our resolution is the validity of the marriage between Jose and Felisa. It is the Republics position that the falsity of the statements in the affidavit does not affect the validity of the marriage. the Republic adduces the following documents: (1) Joses notarized Statement of Assets and Liabilities. dated 24 November 1986.[30] This is in stark contrast to the old Marriage Law. prior to the effectivity of the Family Code.) Article 58[27] makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either contracting party habitually resides. freely given. dated 2 May 1988. The Republic of the Philippines asserts that several circumstances give rise to the presumption that a valid marriage exists between Jose and Felisa. save marriages of an exceptional character authorized by the Civil Code. dated 12 May 1988 wherein he wrote Felisas name as his wife. The Republic opines that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained.[26] To buttress its assertion. Felisa adduces that Jose only sought the annulment of their marriage after a criminal case for bigamy and an administrative case had been filed against him in order to avoid liability. (2) Their consent.RESPONDENT FAILED TO OVERTHROW THE PRESUMPTION OF THE VALIDITY OF HIS MARRIAGE TO FELISA. II RESPONDENT DID NOT COME TO THE COURT WITH CLEAN HANDS AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PROFIT FROM HIS OWN FRAUDULENT CONDUCT. District 24 of Pasay City.[25] She differentiates the case at bar from Nial by reasoning that one of the parties therein had an existing prior marriage. The rationale for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil Code is that it is the authority granted by the State to the contracting parties. In addition. after the proper government official has inquired into their capacity to contract marriage. and (4) A marriage license.[32] 15 . III RESPONDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE LEGALITY OF HIS MARRIAGE FOR LACK OF MARRIAGE LICEN[S]E. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with: (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties. [31] whereby the absence of a marriage license did not make the marriage void. as the essential and formal requisites were complied with. For her part. indicating Felisas name as his wife. (Emphasis ours. Accordingly. To reach a considered ruling on the issue. and (3) Joses company ID card. so must a marriage not be invalidated by the fact that the parties incorporated a fabricated statement in their affidavit that they cohabited as husband and wife for at least five years. this being nothing more than the legitimate consequence flowing from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract. but not those under Article 75. Article 53 of the Civil Code spells out the essential requisites of marriage as a contract: ART. Court of Appeals. It also bears the signature of the parties and their witnesses. A survey of the prevailing rules is in order. It is beyond dispute that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was celebrated on 24 November 1986. (2) Certification dated 25 July 1993 issued by the Barangay Chairman 192. Felisa submits that the Court of Appeals misapplied Nial. except in a marriage of exceptional character. [28] Article 80(3)[29] of the Civil Code makes it clear that a marriage performed without the corresponding marriage license is void. which they used in lieu of a marriage license. Finally. and the solemnizing officer was not required to investigate as to whether the said affidavit was legally obtained. (3) Authority of the person performing the marriage. 53. attesting that they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years.[24] Correlative to the above. Felisa echoes the claim that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage by citing this Courts ruling in Hernandez v. a circumstance which does not obtain in her cohabitation with Jose. To further fortify its Petition. the Republic posits that the parties marriage contract states that their marriage was solemnized under Article 76 of the Civil Code. we shall jointly tackle the related arguments vented bypetitioners Republic of the Philippines and Felisa. Zone ZZ. and must be considered a primary evidence of marriage. the Republic points to the affidavit executed by Jose and Felisa.

The reason for the law. where the parties have in truth fallen short of the minimum five-year requirement. effectively renders the marriage void ab initio for lack of a marriage license. [44] The appellate court also cited Felisas own testimony that it was only in June 1986 when Jose commenced to live in her house. No marriage license shall be necessary when a man and a woman who have attained the age of majority and who. since all the essential and formal requisites were complied with. it 16 . is that the publicity attending a marriage license may discourage such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from legalizing their status. it is a sine qua non thereto that the man and the woman must have attained the age of majority. the exception does not apply in every instance that the Court of Appeals and the trial court or administrative body disagree. it is noteworthy that the question as to whether they satisfied the minimum five-year requisite is factual in nature. the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal requisite of a marriage license. they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. should be strictly[38] but reasonably construed. priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage.[45] Moreover. Teresita Perwel. It is embodied in the law not as a directory requirement. The argument deserves scant merit. but as one that partakes of a mandatory character. in no ambiguous terms. and that because of this union. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only to those who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and desire to marry each other.[47] It is already well-settled that: The general rule is that the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding on this Court. desire to marry each other.[43] The Court of Appeals also noted Felisas testimony that Jose was introduced to her by her neighbor. To wit. places a minimum period requirement of five years of cohabitation. Marriages of exceptional character are. and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. A question of fact arises when there is a need to decide on the truth or falsehood of the alleged facts. the court will not curtail the former or add to the latter by implication. (2) marriages in remote places. these marriages are: (1) marriages in articulo mortis or at the point of death during peace or war. exceptions.[40] Where a general rule is established by statute with exceptions. The factual findings of the Court of Appeals remain conclusive on this Court if such findings are supported by the record or based on substantial evidence. A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 leaves us with no other expediency but to read the law as it is plainly written. they executed an affidavit declaring that they have attained the age of maturity. 76. marriages of exceptional character are covered by Chapter 2. and that the official. (2) consular marriages. this material fact cannot be dispensed with. priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage. factual findings are ordinarily not subject to this Courts review. [46] Under Rule 45. Title III. or barely five months before the celebration of their marriage. The Republic admitted that Jose and Felisa started living together only in June 1986.[41] For the exception in Article 76 to apply. and that. that being unmarried.Under the Civil Code. comprising Articles 72 to 79. Under the rules of statutory construction.[48] Therefore. (5) Mohammedan or pagan marriages. since the language of Article 76 is precise. The Civil Code. or in this case the administrative body. have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. [39] They extend only so far as their language fairly warrants. make contradictory findings. which provides: ART. doubtless.[34] The instant case pertains to a ratification of marital cohabitation under Article 76 of the Civil Code. No other reading of the law can be had. For a marriage celebrated under Article 76 to be valid.[33] (3) ratification of marital cohabitation. sometime in February or March 1986 after the EDSA Revolution. being unmarried. It is indubitably established that Jose and Felisa have not lived together for five years at the time they executed their sworn affidavit and contracted marriage. In lieu thereof. as a general rule. the falsity of the affidavit dated 24 November 1986. is beyond question. It is worthy to mention that Article 76 also prescribes that the contracting parties shall state the requisite facts [42] in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The official.[35] as espoused by the Code Commission.[36] It is not contested herein that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was performed without a marriage license. The minimum requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved in the language of the law. [37] One of the central issues in the Petition at bar is thus: whether the falsity of an affidavit of marital cohabitation. (4) religious ratification of a civil marriage. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. they desire to marry each other. Patently. We cannot accept the insistence of the Republic that the falsity of the statements in the parties affidavit will not affect the validity of marriage. However. executed by Jose and Felisa to exempt them from the requirement of a marriage license. they have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. and (6) mixed marriages. being unmarried. We answer in the affirmative. A recognized exception to this rule is when the Court of Appeals and the trial court.

then it is but a mere scrap of paper. CV No. to be in fact married. so as to be excepted from the requirement of a marriage license. If the essential matter in the sworn affidavit is a lie. and extricate them from the effect of a violation of the law. hence. [57] It covers the years immediately preceding the day of the marriage. Tamano) as void ab initio. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. the authorities are consistent that the declaration of nullity of the parties marriage is without prejudice to their criminal liability. this Court holds that the same finds no applicability to the case at bar. Tamano (Sen. without prejudice to their criminal liability. TAMANO. TAMANO and ADIB AHMAD A. 17 . it is with reference to the prima facie presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. It is claimed that Jose and Felisa had lived together from 1986 to 1990. vs. This is erroneous. It must be stated that equity finds no room for application where there is a law.[56] Jose and Felisas marriage was celebrated sans a marriage license. No. is AFFIRMED. This is a misplaced invocation. 68759. G. The Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals. Neither did Jose and Felisa meet the explicit legal requirement in Article 76. In its second assignment of error. Jose should be denied relief because he perpetrated the fabrication. This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision1 dated August 17.[55] The Republic further avers in its third assignment of error that Jose is deemed estopped from assailing the legality of his marriage for lack of a marriage license. Hence. Here. In the same vein. The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead or could be used. 2011 ESTRELLITA JULIANO-LLAVE. and that it took Jose seven years before he sought the declaration of nullity. and cannot thereby profit from his wrongdoing. to settle all doubts.R. Hence. 2004 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. we are not impressed by the ratiocination of the Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained.J. jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under Article 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage. which was one of the evils that the law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite for a valid marriage.R. An action for nullity of marriage is imprescriptible. so must a marriage not be invalidated by a fabricated statement that the parties have cohabited for at least five years as required by law. which affirmed the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City. which spawned the instant consolidated Petitions. estoppel had set in. and not to the absence of one. at least. the declaration of the Civil Code [51] that every intendment of law or fact leans towards the validity of marriage will not salvage the parties marriage. cannot be a mere irregularity. [53] To permit a false affidavit to take the place of a marriage license is to allow an abject circumvention of the law. [52] The protection of marriage as a sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as well.and continuity that is unbroken. The former is with reference to an irregularity of the marriage license. if any. There is no question that Jose and Felisa actually entered into a contract of marriage on 24 November 1986. declaring the marriage of Jose Dayot to Felisa Tecson-Dayot void ab initio. The marriage of Jose and Felisa was entered into without the requisite marriage license or compliance with the stringent requirements of a marriage under exceptional circumstance.[54] There is a law on the ratification of marital cohabitation. [49]Restated more explicitly. notwithstanding Joses subsequent marriage to Rufina Pascual on 31 August 1990. hence.R. Nonetheless. If this Court is to protect the fabric of the institution of marriage. No other conclusion can be reached except that it is void ab initio. and refers to a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of a marriage.Respondents.[58] WHEREFORE. without force and effect. dated 7 November 2006 in CAG. A new law ought to affect the future. and may be raised any time. compelling Jose to institute a Complaint for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. the right to impugn a void marriage does not prescribe. The contrast is flagrant. persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed. not what is past. there is no marriage license at all. HAJA PUTRI ZORAYDA A. the falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period of Jose and Felisas cohabitation. 169766 March 30. in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to the case. Essentially. for it refers to a quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the parties under oath. CV No. Lastly. characterized by exclusivity meaning no third party was involved at any time within the five years . Anent petitioners reliance on the presumption of marriage. Branch 89 declaring petitioner Estrellita Juliano-Llave’s (Estrellita) marriage to Sen. Furthermore. Similarly. No costs. that they should have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. the Petitions are DENIED. 61762 and its subsequent Resolution2 dated September 13. we must be wary of deceptive schemes that violate the legal measures set forth in our laws. it is as if there was no affidavit at all. the Republic puts forth the argument that based on equity. which would have qualified their marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license. Petitioner. in the case of subsequent marriage laws. which is set in precise terms under Article 76 of the Civil Code.cannot be denied that the marriage between Jose and Felisa was celebrated without the formal requisite of a marriage license. In this case. for the perpetration of fraud against innocent and unwary parties. Mamintal A.[50] The present case does not involve an apparent marriage to which the presumption still needs to be applied. 2005. no vested rights shall be impaired that pertain to the protection of the legitimate union of a married couple. when we speak of a presumption of marriage.

7 Summons was then served on Estrellita on December 19. Sen. Estrellita opposed. we upheld the jurisdiction of the RTC of Quezon City. the hearings set for such purpose 15 were postponed mostly at her instance until the trial court. 1994.10 Instead of submitting her answer. When it was Estrellita’s turn to adduce evidence. The fact that the late Senator declared his civil status as "divorced" will not in any way affect the void character of the 18 .17 Eventually. suspended the proceedings 16 in view of the CA’s temporary restraining order issued on February 29. inter alia. No. On November 23. the RTC rendered the aforementioned judgment declaring Estrellita’s marriage with Sen. 126603. the RTC continued to try the case since there can be no default in cases of declaration of nullity of marriage even if the respondent failed to file an answer. the subsequent marriage entered into by deceased Mamintal with Defendant Llave is void ab initio because he contracted the same while his prior marriage to Complainant Zorayda was still subsisting. however.22 Unhappy with the delays in the resolution of their case. Tamano’s subsequent marriage to Estrellita as void ab initio for being bigamous under Article 35 of the Family Code of the Philippines and under Article 83 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. the RTC. in their own behalf and in behalf of the rest of Sen. 1995. Tamano married Estrellita twice – initially under the Islamic laws and tradition on May 27. Tamano for being bigamous. During the pendency of CA-G.Factual Antecedents Around 11 months before his death. Estrellita filed in November 1995 a certiorari petition with this Court questioning the denial of her Motion to Dismiss. subsequently. 186 (2) of P. 1083.D. No. 1083. we referred the petition to the CA14 which was docketed thereat as CA-G. questions and issues involving Muslim marriages and divorce fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of shari’a courts. 126603. 1958 under civil rites. 1997. SP No. 1996. 1995. Tamano (Adib). as had been averred in the latter’s disbarment complaint against Sen. the deceased did not and could not have divorced Complainant Zorayda by invoking the provision of P. Tamano’s legitimate children with Zorayda.R. Tamano (Zorayda) and her son Adib Ahmad A.4 In their marriage contracts. and upon his death. or the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Muslim Code). 11. 1998. Tamano and Zorayda are both Muslims who were married under the Muslim rites. On December 15. 21 The day before this scheduled hearing. 1993 in Cotabato City3 and. 1993. 39656. SP No.R. 1995 where she declared that Sen. both of which the court granted. 1997. 20 As Estrellita was indisposed on that day. The complaint 6 alleged. Based on Article 35 (4) of the Family Code. This renders the subsequent marriage void from the very beginning. Estrellita was allowed to participate in the trial while her opposing parties presented their evidence. otherwise known as the Code of Muslim Personal Laws. In our Resolution dated August 24. 26 we denied Estrellita’s motion for reconsideration27 with finality. Estrellita has been representing herself to the whole world as Sen. Tamano’s wife. Zorayda and Adib moved to submit the case for decision. 1083. the RTC ordered Estrellita to present her evidence on June 26.19 Subsequent to the promulgation of the CA Decision. 25 stating as one of the reasons that as shari’a courts are not vested with original and exclusive jurisdiction in cases of marriages celebrated under both the Civil Code and PD 1083. Lanao del Sur on June 2. 1998. is therefore governed by this law. and he could not have validly done so because divorce is not allowed under the New Civil Code. declared Sen.R. private respondents Haja Putri Zorayda A. as a court of general jurisdiction. to have been one contracted under Muslim law as provided under Art. and that this marriage remained subsisting when he married Estrellita in 1993. however. 1996. for the simple reason that the marriage of the deceased with Complainant Zorayda was never deemed. having been celebrated under the New Civil Code. the CA resolved the petition adverse to Estrellita in its Decision dated September 30. his widow. is not precluded from assuming jurisdiction over such cases.8 and again. 39656. that Sen. The trial court denied Estrellita’s motion and asserted its jurisdiction over the case for declaration of nullity.’ Since then.12 Estrellita argued that the RTC has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case because under Presidential Decree (PD) No. Tamano’s civil status was indicated as ‘divorced. and his status being declared as "divorced" has no factual or legal basis. legally and factually. since they (deceased and Complainant Zorayda) did not register their mutual desire to be thus covered by this law. 1996. 13Thus. Tamano married Zorayda on May 31.D. 1994.29 The court said: A comparison between Exhibits A and B (supra) immediately shows that the second marriage of the late Senator with [Estrellita] was entered into during the subsistence of his first marriage with [Zorayda]. Tamano and Zorayda were never severed. Tamano. finding that the marital ties of Sen. enjoining it from hearing the case. Estrellita filed a Motion to Dismiss 11 on February 20. or on August 18. A few days before this resolution.1 Moreover. Estrellita again asked for a postponement.R. on March 22. 5filed a complaint with the RTC of Quezon City for the declaration of nullity of marriage between Estrellita and Sen. 1998. Sen.28 Ruling of the Regional Trial Court The RTC. The marriage of the deceased and Complainant Zorayda. another 15 days9 or until February 18. because the deceased never divorced Complainant Zorayda in his lifetime. 1995. under a civil ceremony officiated by an RTC Judge at Malabang.24 On June 29. 23 reasoning that Estrellita had long been delaying the case. The complaint likewise averred that: 11. the hearing was reset to July 9. on the ground that she has not yet filed her answer as she still awaits the outcome of G. Tamano as void ab initio. 18 Estrellita then elevated the appellate court’s judgment to this Court by way of a petition for review on certiorari docketed as G. She then asked from the court for an extension of 30 days to file her answer to be counted from January 4.

1998. No. Lastly. which does not provide for an absolute divorce. Zorayda and Adib. She claims that Judge Macias v. In its September 13. that filing an original action for certiorari does not stay the proceedings of the main action before the RTC. 02-11-10-SC. negating the existence of collusion. 126603. divorce obtained by the Filipino spouse is not an acceptable method of terminating the effects of a previous marriage. No. Macias 36 laid down the rule that the filing of a motion to dismiss instead of an answer suspends the period to file an answer and.38 Lastly. where the subsequent marriage was solemnized under the Civil Code or Family Code. she highlighted Zorayda’s lack of legal standing to question the validity of her marriage to the deceased. She maintained that Sen. this being a prerequisite before further proceeding could be held when a party has failed to file an answer in a suit for declaration of nullity of marriage. Issues The issues that must be resolved are the following: 1. b) she has not yet filed her answer and thus was denied due process. G. She claimed that the RTC should have required her to file her answer after the denial of her motion to dismiss. 33 the CA denied Estrellita’s Motion for Reconsideration/Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration where it debunked the additional errors she raised. a period longer than what was prescribed by the rules. especially. Zorayda then.R. 32 the CA held that Estrellita can no longer be allowed to file her answer as she was given ample opportunity to be heard but simply ignored it by asking for numerous postponements. As regards the alleged lack of report of the public prosecutor if there is collusion. No. Tamano is void ab initio for being bigamous.second marriage because. The Sol Gen also supports private respondents’ legal standing to challenge the validity of Estrellita’s purported marriage with Sen.R. i. it does not interrupt the proceedings in the trial court. 19 . The Parties’ Respective Arguments Reiterating her arguments before the court a quo. the CA disregarded Estrellita’s allegation that the trial court erroneously rendered its judgment way prior to our remand to the RTC of the records of the case ratiocinating that G. consequently. Lastly. reasoning that any proper interested party may attack directly or collaterally a void marriage. the injured party in the senator’s subsequent bigamous marriage with Estrellita. and not to the issue of the validity of Estrellita’s marriage to Sen.R. the Sol Gen says that this is no longer essential considering the vigorous opposition of Estrellita in the suit that obviously shows the lack of collusion. As to the substantive merit of the case. the same is attributable to Estrellita’s refusal to file an answer.R. Tamano married all his wives under Muslim rites. and c) the public prosecutor did not even conduct an investigation whether there was collusion. the trial court is obliged to suspend proceedings while her motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction has not yet been resolved with finality. as attested to by the affidavits of the siblings of the deceased. It also ruled that Estrellita cannot rely on her pending petition for certiorari with the higher courts since.30 Ruling of the Court of Appeals In her appeal. Estrellita now argues that the CA erred in upholding the RTC judgment as the latter was prematurely issued. 2004. 126603 pertains to the issue on the denial of the Motion to Dismiss. She pointed out that Sen. as an independent and original action. Estrellita argues that Zorayda and Adib have no legal standing to file suit because only the husband or the wife can file a complaint for the declaration of nullity of marriage under Supreme Court Resolution A.31 Estrellita argued that she was denied her right to be heard as the RTC rendered its judgment even without waiting for the finality of the Decision of the Supreme Court in G. She never filed her answer despite the lapse of around 60 days. the RTC violated this commitment as it rendered an adverse judgment on August 18. Tamano. on the other hand. depriving her of the opportunity to file an answer and to present her evidence to dispute the allegations against the validity of her marriage.. 1998. Whether the CA erred in affirming the trial court’s judgment. In dismissing the appeal in its Decision dated August 17.39 Refuting the arguments. Assuming that the issues have not been joined before the RTC. She maintains that she merely participated in the RTC hearings because of the trial court’s assurance that the proceedings will be without prejudice to whatever action the High Court will take on her petition questioning the RTC’s jurisdiction and yet. Estrellita is also steadfast in her belief that her marriage with the late senator is valid as the latter was already divorced under the Muslim Code at the time he married her. 126603. 126603 were remanded to the CA on November 11. Tamano is capacitated to marry her as his marriage and subsequent divorce with Zorayda is governed by the Muslim Code. in this jurisdiction. while the subsequent Muslim celebration was only ceremonial. the Solicitor General (Sol Gen) defends the CA’s reasoning and stresses that Estrellita was never deprived of her right to be heard. She asserts that such law automatically applies to the marriage of Zorayda and the deceased without need of registering their consent to be covered by it.M. The CA noted that the allegation of lack of the public prosecutor’s report on the existence of collusion in violation of both Rule 9. Tamano is governed by the Civil Code. did not file any comment. hence. 37 She also questions the lack of a report of the public prosecutor anent a finding of whether there was collusion. Tamano’s wife and. No. Tamano. Section 3(e) of the Rules of Court 34 and Article 48 of the Family Code35 will not invalidate the trial court’s judgment as the proceedings between the parties had been adversarial. It noted that their first nuptial celebration was under civil rites.e. No. as both parties are Muslims whose marriage was solemnized under Muslim law. and. even though the latter was rendered prematurely because: a) the judgment was rendered without waiting for the Supreme Court’s final resolution of her certiorari petition. had the legal standing to file the action as she is Sen. according to the CA. reasoning that the marriage of Zorayda and Sen. the CA adjudged that Estrellita’s marriage to Sen. 2005 Resolution. months before the records of G. and Zorayda and Adib have such right to file the action as they are the ones prejudiced by the marital union.

when the CA judgment was elevated to us by way of Rule 45.R. No. the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A. 46 wherein he 20 . Macias40 to justify the suspension of the period to file an answer and of the proceedings in the trial court until her petition for certiorari questioning the validity of the denial of her Motion to Dismiss has been decided by this Court. 1995. the Petitioner had the balance of the period provided for in Rule 11 of the said Rules but in no case less than five (5) days computed from service on her of the aforesaid Order of the Respondent Court within which to file her Answer to the complaint: x x x 41 (Emphasis supplied. All we pronounced therein is that the trial court is mandated to suspend trial until it finally resolves the motion to dismiss that is filed before it. Our Ruling Estrellita’s refusal to file an answer eventually led to the loss of her right to answer. it immediately proceeded to allow the husband to present evidence ex parte and resolved the case with undue haste even when. It shall be the duty of the public prosecutor to appear for the State at the pre-trial. (3) If the public prosecutor reports that no collusion exists. the trial court respected the CA’s temporary restraining order and only after the CA rendered judgment did the RTC again require Estrellita to present her evidence. under the rules of procedure.’ instead of filing an Answer to the complaint. Estrellita remained obstinate in refusing to file an answer or to present her evidence when it was her turn to do so. the public prosecutor shall submit a report to the court stating whether the parties are in collusion and serve copies thereof on the parties and their respective counsels. In the instant case. 45 which we find to have been sufficiently complied with by Assistant City Prosecutor Edgardo T. The Public Prosecutor issued a report as to the non-existence of collusion. subsequently. the court shall set the case for pre-trial. Nothing in the above excerpt states that the trial court should suspend its proceedings should the issue of the propriety or impropriety of the motion to dismiss be raised before the appellate courts. Estrellita argues that the trial court prematurely issued its judgment. and 3. Aside from Article 48 of the Family Code and Rule 9.R.2. The filing of said motion suspended the period for her to file her Answer to the complaint. she opted to file.) Estrellita obviously misappreciated Macias. it can never be argued that Estrellita was deprived of her right to due process. No. Tamano was bigamous. we never issued any order precluding the trial court from proceeding with the principal action. However. 2001."43 In fact. it shall dismiss the petition. the wife still had time to file an answer. No. issued its Order denying the ‘Motion to Dismiss’ of the Petitioner. Paragua in his Manifestation dated March 30. In Macias. Neither should the lower court wait for the decision in G. Estrellita invokes Judge Macias v. Until said motion is resolved by the Respondent Court with finality. in upholding the RTC. Whether Zorayda and Adib have the legal standing to have Estrellita’s marriage declared void ab initio. it behooved the Respondent Court to suspend the hearings of the case on the merits. With her numerous requests for postponements. the CA correctly ruled that the pendency of a petition for certiorari does not suspend the proceedings before the trial court. The court shall set the report for hearing and if convinced that the parties are in collusion.R. is Estrellita’s basis for her argument. Under Section 6. 2001. if any. 9. before this Court. Notably. Estrellita had no time left for filing an answer. Firstly. on April 10. Investigation report of public prosecutor. It specifically mandates the prosecutor to submit his investigation report to determine whether there is collusion between the parties: Sec. to wit: However. Sans her answer. 126603 involves strictly the propriety of the Motion to Dismiss and not the issue of validity of marriage.M. (2) If the public prosecutor finds that collusion exists. apparently. 126603. nor should it wait for its records to be remanded back to it because G. as she filed the motion to dismiss beyond the extended period earlier granted by the trial court after she filed motions for extension of time to file an answer. 126603 to become final and executory. he shall state the basis thereof in his report. Her failure to file an answer and her refusal to present her evidence were attributable only to herself and she should not be allowed to benefit from her own dilatory tactics to the prejudice of the other party. 02-11-10-SC)44 also requries the participation of the public prosecutor in cases involving void marriages. Whether the marriage between Estrellita and the late Sen. and she even actively participated in the trial to defend her interest. on April 19. the trial court correctly proceeded with the trial and rendered its Decision after it deemed Estrellita to have waived her right to present her side of the story. The Respondent Court. "An application for certiorari is an independent action which is not part or a continuation of the trial which resulted in the rendition of the judgment complained of.–(1) Within one month after receipt of the court order mentioned in paragraph (3) of Section 8 above. The parties shall file their respective comments on the finding of collusion within ten days from receipt of a copy of the report. She was never declared in default. insisting that the trial court should wait first for our decision in G. we affirmed the following reasoning of the CA which. Records show that the trial court immediately directed the public prosecutor to submit the required report. and her pending petition for certiorari/review on certiorari questioning the denial of the motion to dismiss before the higher courts does not at all suspend the trial proceedings of the principal suit before the RTC of Quezon City. In said case." 42 Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is explicit in stating that "[t]he petition shall not interrupt the course of the principal case unless a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued against the public respondent from further proceeding in the case. Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure [now Section 4]. No. a ‘Motion to Dismiss. the trial court failed to observe due process in the course of the proceeding of the case because after it denied the wife’s motion to dismiss. Section 3(e) of the Rules of Court. as it should have waited first for the resolution of her Motion to Dismiss before the CA and.

only the husband or the wife. Article 13(1) thereof provides that the law applies to "marriage and divorce wherein both parties are Muslims. In view of Sen. 02-11-10-SC only the spouses may file the petition to the exclusion of compulsory or intestate heirs. 2003 claiming that under Section 2(a)56 thereof. It has been held that: The foregoing provisions are consistent with the principle that all laws operate prospectively. No. shall affect their validity or legality or operate to extinguish any right acquired or liability incurred thereby. Tamano and Zorayda. and implicitly upholds the force and effect of a pre-existing body of law. Effect of code on past acts.55 Estrellita relies on A. 50 Under the marriage provisions of the Civil Code. 52 the law that codified Muslim personal laws. viz: (1) Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file petitions for annulment of voidable marriages and declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. However. as both are Muslims whose marriage was celebrated under both civil and Muslim laws. No. Article 186 aforecited enunciates the general rule of the Muslim Code to have its provisions applied prospectively. However. Tamano. have the legal personalities to file the declaration of nullity of marriage. just as we held in Tuason v. Tamano will still be ineffective. 1977. —Acts executed prior to the effectivity of this Code shall be governed by the laws in force at the time of their execution.R. Zorayda and Adib. Sen. Section 3. we said: The Rationale of the Rules on Annulment of Voidable Marriages and Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages. solemnized under civil and Muslim rites.M. The former explicitly provided for the prospective application of its provisions unless otherwise provided: Art. the lack of collusion is evident in the case at bar. Firstly. every case of doubt will be resolved against the retroactive operation of laws. Tamano may directly attack the validity of their own marriage. to the exclusion of others. we are convinced that the non-intervention of a prosecuting attorney to assure lack of collusion between the contending parties is not fatal to the validity of the proceedings in the trial court. Tamano’s prior marriage to Zorayda has been severed by way of divorce under PD 1083. Tamano’s subsequent marriage to Estrellita is void ab initio. No. Estrellita claims that only the husband or the wife in a void marriage can file a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Tamano and Zorayda was celebrated in 1958. paragraph a] 21 . 186 (1). As far as Estrellita is concerned. Legal Separation and Provisional Orders explicates on Section 2(a) in the following manner. accordingly. this interpretation does not apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy. as the injured parties. divorce is not recognized except during the effectivity of Republic Act No. Under these circumstances. 49 The only law in force governing marriage relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims alike was the Civil Code of 1950. Sen.attested that there could be no collusion between the parties and no fabrication of evidence because Estrellita is not the spouse of any of the private respondents. plainly and unequivocably expressed or necessarily implied. Even assuming that there is a lack of report of collusion or a lack of participation by the public prosecutor. Tamano’s prior marriage which subsisted at the time Estrellita married him. Petitioner's vehement opposition to the annulment proceedings negates the conclusion that collusion existed between the parties.M. 02-11-10-SC which took effect on March 15. In explaining why under A. Even granting that there was registration of mutual consent for the marriage to be considered as one contracted under the Muslim law. as we have already settled. under the provisions of which only one marriage can exist at any given time. No. unless the contrary appears or is clearly. may file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity. 39451 which was not availed of during its effectivity. [Section 2. the Civil Code governs their personal status since this was in effect at the time of the celebration of their marriage. The marriage between the late Sen.48 The Civil Code governs the marriage of Zorayda and the late Sen.M. their subsequent marriage is correctly adjudged by the CA as void ab initio. There is no allegation by the petitioner that evidence was suppressed or fabricated by any of the parties. 126603 that "Article 13 of PD 1083 does not provide for a situation where the parties were married both in civil and Muslim rites." But we already ruled in G. and this law cannot retroactively override the Civil Code which already bestowed certain rights on the marriage of Sen. Furthermore. the registration of mutual consent between Zorayda and Sen. the Civil Code – in respect of civil acts that took place before the Muslim Code’s enactment. specifically. the Muslim Code took effect only on February 4.54 An instance of retroactive application of the Muslim Code is Article 186(2) which states: A marriage contracted by a Muslim male prior to the effectivity of this Code in accordance with non-Muslim law shall be considered as one contracted under Muslim law provided the spouses register their mutual desire to this effect. their marriage was never invalidated by PD 1083. which limits to only the husband or the wife the filing of a petition for nullity is prospective in application and does not shut out the prior spouse from filing suit if the ground is a bigamous subsequent marriage. 02-11-10-SC. Her marriage covered by the Family Code of the Philippines. Such petitions cannot be filed by the compulsory or intestate heirs of the spouses or by the State."53 Moreover. and nothing herein except as otherwise specifically provided. Besides. A. therefore only she and Sen. Court of Appeals. 47 the lack of participation of a fiscal does not invalidate the proceedings in the trial court: The role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal in annulment of marriage and legal separation proceedings is to determine whether collusion exists between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not suppressed or fabricated. PD 1083 cannot benefit Estrellita. or wherein only the male party is a Muslim and the marriage is solemnized in accordance with Muslim law or this Code in any part of the Philippines.

Lucia reported back to her work in Canada leaving appellant Lucio behind. such is prospective in application and does not apply to cases already commenced before March 15. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.60 Since our Philippine laws protect the marital union of a couple. The former replied and after an exchange of letters. are hereby AFFIRMED. No. 1992 and to take effect on February 17. Lucia came back to the Philippines and proposed to petition appellant to join her in Canada. The subsequent marriage will always be a reminder of the infidelity of the spouse and the disregard of the prior marriage which sanctity is protected by the Constitution.58 Zorayda and Adib filed the case for declaration of nullity of Estrellita’s marriage in November 1994. CV No. 1991. In 1990. 20700. Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete lost contact with each other. in such circumstance. in which no marriage has taken place and cannot be the source of rights.R. The facts of this case. are as follows: Appellant Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates at the house of Catalina Tortor at Tagbilaran City. Should parties in a subsequent marriage benefit from the bigamous marriage. and especially if the conjugal bliss had already vanished. both Zorayda and Adib have legal personalities to file an action for nullity. 2000.R. Lucia returned to the Philippines but left again for Canada to work there. as found by the court a quo. 1992. No. 1990 at the Iglesia de Filipina Nacional at Catagdaan. 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Also assailed in this petition is the resolution[3]of the appellate court. it has been held that in a void marriage. After school year 1977-78. denying Morigos motion for reconsideration. thus they were married on August 30. any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally without prescription. On September 8. Section 2(a) of A. 22 . While the Family Code is silent with respect to the proper party who can file a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage prior to A.Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file a petition for annulment of voidable marriages or declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages. 1996 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol. 2005. petitioner. Bohol. the "injured spouse" who should be given a legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous marriage. No. respondent. which affirmed the judgment [2] dated August 5.M. for a period of four (4) years (from 1974-1978). 02-11-10-SC precludes the son from impugning the subsequent marriage. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Lucio Morigo was surprised to receive a card from Lucia Barrete from Singapore. While in Canada. the prior spouse is unjustly precluded from filing an action. Tagbilaran City. 1990. appellant Lucio Morigo married Maria Jececha Lumbago[4] at the Virgen sa Barangay Parish. 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. Pilar. The assailed August 17.M. in Criminal Case No. The trial court found herein petitioner Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy and sentenced him to a prison term of seven (7) months of prision correccional as minimum to six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as maximum.57 Note that the Rationale makes it clear that Section 2(a) of A. On the other hand. 02-11-10-SC does not apply. WHEREFORE. 02-11-10-SC. which may be filed even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. as one of the children of the deceased who has property rights as an heir. 59 Since A. Bohol. it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse. Indeed. the concern of the State is to preserve marriage and not to seek its dissolution.R. [G. Adib. 145226. as well as its subsequent Resolution issued on September 13. CR No.M. Province of Bohol. Compulsory or intestate heirs have only inchoate rights prior to the death of their predecessor. Lucia filed with the Ontario Court (General Division) a petition for divorce against appellant which was granted by the court on January 17. Branch 4. 8688.M.1âwphi1 But in the case at bar. No. 61762. In 1984. they maintained constant communication. Such petition cannot be filed by compulsory or intestate heirs of the spouses or by the State. No. the petition is DENIED. Both agreed to get married. In 1986. 02-11-10-SC refers to the "aggrieved or injured spouse. Albeit the Supreme Court Resolution governs marriages celebrated under the Family Code. Surely. dated September 25. 2004] LUCIO MORIGO y CACHO. they became sweethearts. The Committee is of the belief that they do not have a legal right to file the petition. this is not what the Rule contemplated. The subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if he or she had only discovered during the connubial period that the marriage was bigamous. 2003. 1992. On August 19. February 06. The latter is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of all. On October 4. We thus find the CA Decision correctly rendered. is likewise considered to be the real party in interest in the suit he and his mother had filed since both of them stand to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit. vs. they should be interpreted in a way that would preserve their respective rights which include striking down bigamous marriages. This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse the decision[1] dated October 21. it would not be expected that they would file an action to declare the marriage void and thus." If Estrellita’s interpretation is employed.

6020 could not acquit Lucio. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE [THE] PETITIONERS LACK OF CRIMINAL INTENT WHEN HE CONTRACTED THE SECOND MARRIAGE. contending that the doctrine in Mendiola v. COROLLARILY. 8688. finding no error in the appealed decision. Meanwhile. CR No. the denial was by a split vote. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the appellate courts decision.R. 6020 declaring the marriage between Lucio and Lucia void ab initio since no marriage ceremony actually took place.[10] everyone is presumed to know the law. Gmur. On October 21. appellant was charged with Bigamy in an Information [5] filed by the City Prosecutor of Tagbilaran [City]. 20700. Bitdu.R. 1999. 6020. which then became final and executory. pursuant to Article 15 [13] of the Civil Code and given the fact that it is contrary to public policy in this jurisdiction.R. 1997. 8688. 20700. petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. the Court finds accused Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy and sentences him to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from Seven (7) Months of Prision Correccional as minimum to Six (6) Years and One (1) Day of Prision Mayor as maximum.On September 21. accused filed a complaint for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage in the Regional Trial Court of Bohol. When arraigned in the bigamy case. No appeal was taken from this decision. docketed as CA-G. Labitoria. and the fact that one does not know that his act constitutes a violation of the law does not exempt him from the consequences thereof. 1996. Since the date of the nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage and since herein petitioner was. foregoing premises considered. His motion was granted. the same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. CR No. People. 1993. Seasonably. as follows: WHEREFORE. then there was no first marriage to speak of. a divorce granted by said court is not entitled to recognition anywhere. On August 5. he cannot be convicted beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy. the RTC of Bohol handed down its judgment in Criminal Case No. CRIMINAL INTENT IS AN INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE. 20700 as follows: WHEREFORE. the CA held. Trial thereafter ensued. As such. The reason is that what is sought to be punished by Article 349 [12] of the Revised Penal Code is the act of contracting a second marriage before the first marriage had been dissolved. Hence. SO ORDERED. On October 19. 2000. 1993. Court of Appeals. docketed as Civil Case No. the appellate court denied the motion for lack of merit. The complaint seek (sic) among others. the trial court cited Ramirez v. which was docketed as Criminal Case No. never married. Under Article 17[14] of the Civil Code. a declaration of public policy cannot be rendered ineffectual by a judgment promulgated in a foreign jurisdiction.[15] allows mistake upon a difficult question of law (such as the effect of a foreign divorce decree) to be a basis for good faith. 23 . on October 23. herein petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. B.[9] which held that the court of a country in which neither of the spouses is domiciled and in which one or both spouses may resort merely for the purpose of obtaining a divorce. has no jurisdiction to determine the matrimonial status of the parties. the declaration of nullity of accuseds marriage with Lucia. The present petition raises the following issues for our resolution: A.R. CR No. On September 25. on the ground that no marriage ceremony actually took place. the appellate court decided CA-G. the appellate court stressed that the subsequent declaration of nullity of Lucios marriage to Lucia in Civil Case No. in the eyes of the law. Abesamis. the trial court discounted petitioners claim that his first marriage to Lucia was null and void ab initio. Justice Eugenio S. Debunking Lucios defense of good faith in contracting the second marriage. joined in the opinion prepared by Justice Bernardo P. the trial court stressed that following People v. the fact that the first marriage was void from the beginning is not a valid defense in a bigamy case. or while CA-G. but subsequently denied upon motion for reconsideration by the prosecution. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT IN CRIMES PENALIZED UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE.[11] In affirming the assailed judgment of conviction. The Court of Appeals also pointed out that the divorce decree obtained by Lucia from the Canadian court could not be accorded validity in the Philippines. Anent the Canadian divorce obtained by Lucia. The dissent observed that as the first marriage was validly declared void ab initio. the trial court rendered a decision in Civil Case No. 20700 was pending before the appellate court. The parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again. [16] However. SO ORDERED. with the Regional Trial Court of Bohol. The ponente of the appellate courts original decision in CA-G.[8] the trial court ruled that want of a valid marriage ceremony is not a defense in a charge of bigamy. CR No. Following Domingo v.[7] In convicting herein petitioner.[6] The petitioner moved for suspension of the arraignment on the ground that the civil case for judicial nullification of his marriage with Lucia posed a prejudicial question in the bigamy case.

The first element of bigamy as a crime requires that the accused must have been legally married. what transpired was a mere signing of the marriage contract by the two. Applying the foregoing test to the instant case. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submits that good faith in the instant case is a convenient but flimsy excuse. One who enters into a subsequent marriage without first obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. petitioner was not married to Lucia at the time he contracted the marriage with Maria Jececha.[25] In the latter case. never married. Hence.R. and hence. the petitioner was never married to Lucia Barrete. Under the principle of retroactivity of a marriage being declared void ab initio. The Solicitor General relies upon our ruling inMarbella-Bobis v.[21] The trial court found that there was no actual marriage ceremony performed between Lucio and Lucia by a solemnizing officer.R. it is but logical that a conviction for said offense cannot be sustained where there is no first marriage to speak of. The present case is analogous to. whether his defense of good faith is valid. We held therein that: A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary before a subsequent one can be legally contracted. the RTC of Bohol Branch 1. C. to wit: WHEREFORE. must. for legal purposes.WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS.[26] 24 . In Marbella-Bobis v. 6020. the primordial issue should be whether or not petitioner committed bigamy and if so. (2) the first marriage has not been legally dissolved.[24] The records show that no appeal was taken from the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. (3) he contracts a subsequent marriage. the absent spouse has not been judicially declared presumptively dead. 20700. but must be distinguished from Mercado v. For the respondent. correctly puts it. a judicial declaration of nullity is a must before a party may re-marry. 817) IS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. we must first determine whether all the elements of bigamy are present in this case. good faith and lack of criminal intent are allowed as a complete defense. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion. The contract of marriage is null. premises considered.[18] which held that bigamy can be successfully prosecuted provided all the elements concur. The OSG counters that petitioners contention that he was in good faith because he relied on the divorce decree of the Ontario court is negated by his act of filing Civil Case No. we note that during the pendency of CA-G. and that such declaration of nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage. He stresses that there is a difference between the intent to commit the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. judgment is hereby rendered decreeing the annulment of the marriage entered into by petitioner Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete on August 23. CR No. 6020. The petitioner further argues that his lack of criminal intent is material to a conviction or acquittal in the instant case. hence. As the dissenting opinion in CA-G. Bohol and further directing the Local Civil Registrar of Pilar. This principle applies even if the earlier union is characterized by statutes as void. Bobis. stressing that under Article 40 [19] of the Family Code. SO ORDERED. Whether or not the petitioner was aware of said Article 40 is of no account as everyone is presumed to know the law. for all intents and purposes. in accordance with Articles 3 [22] and 4[23] of the Family Code. The petitioner. just like other felonies punished under the Revised Penal Code. But in this case. The trial court thus held that the marriage is void ab initio. without the presence of a solemnizing officer. Bohol to effect the cancellation of the marriage contract. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT EACH AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE FAVORING THE INNOCENCE OF THE ACCUSED MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. The petitioner submits that he should not be faulted for relying in good faith upon the divorce decree of the Ontario court. is mala in se. This simply means that there was no marriage to begin with. under the eyes of the law. the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage was likewise obtained after the second marriage was already celebrated. Thus. 6020. Tan. Bobis. The crime of bigamy. 1990 in Pilar.[17] To our mind. CR No. 20700. reckoned from the date of the declaration of the first marriage as void ab initio to the date of the celebration of the first marriage. seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lucia. or in case his or her spouse is absent. BITDU (58 PHIL. it does not necessarily follow that his intention to contract a second marriage is tantamount to an intent to commit bigamy. which a person intent upon bigamy would not be doing. handed down the following decision in Civil Case No. the accused was. In other words. the two were never married from the beginning. The existence and the validity of the first marriage being an essential element of the crime of bigamy. perforce be acquitted of the instant charge. He highlights the fact that he contracted the second marriage openly and publicly. there is no first marriage to speak of. legally speaking. Before we delve into petitioners defense of good faith and lack of criminal intent. and (4) the subsequent marriage would have been valid had it not been for the existence of the first. it bears no legal effect. Instead. the decision had long become final and executory.[20] we laid down the elements of bigamy thus: (1) the offender has been legally married.

It bears stressing though that in Mercado. they entered into a written agreement entitled "AGREEMENT FOR SEPARATION AND PROPERTY SETTLEMENT" dated November 12. Luna. represented by GREGORIO Z. ATTY. namely: Regina Maria L. Thereafter. 1983. 1978. 2000. and in the law books of the husband acquired during the second marriage. 1992 in the following names: 25 . Hernandez & Feliciano Law Offices at that time when he was living with his first wife.1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed with modification the decision rendered on August 27. The petitioner Lucio Morigo y Cacho is ACQUITTED from the charge of BIGAMY on the ground that his guilt has not been proven with moral certainty. Sometime in 1977. Puruganan in the condominium unit was sold to Atty. dated October 21. PURUGANAN. LUNA. cannot be deemed to constitute an ostensibly valid marriage for which petitioner might be held liable for bigamy unless he first secures a judicial declaration of nullity before he contracts a subsequent marriage. 1975. LUNA and SOLEDAD returned to the Philippines and lived together as husband and wife until 1987. married to Soledad L. we also find that we need not tarry on the issue of the validity of his defense of good faith or lack of criminal intent. Makati City. the Deed of Absolute Sale over the condominium unit was executed on July 15. ATTY. Further. In the instant case. 1978. and TERESITA CRUZ SISON. the instant petition is GRANTED. no marriage ceremony at all was performed by a duly authorized solemnizing officer. Mario E. ATTY. Rizal on September 10. this time with SOLEDAD.00. 21761 was issued on February 7.52 square meters. married to Antonio J.G. Luna (46/100). 2014 SOLEDAD L. any settlement of property between the parties of the first marriage involving Filipinos submitted as an incident of a divorce obtained in a foreign country lacks competent judicial approval. which was registered bearing the following names: "JUAN LUCES LUNA. Ongkiko. Dominican Republic. 4779 was issued on August 10. we held that petitioner has not committed bigamy. GREGORIO R. for which a new CCT No. On January 12. was at first a name partner in the prestigious law firm Sycip. 8/100 share of ATTY. Petitioner and Lucia Barrete merely signed a marriage contract on their own. 2001 by the Regional Trial Court (RTC). but twice: first before a judge where a marriage certificate was duly issued and then again six months later before a priest in religious rites. 1947 and later solemnized in a church ceremony at the Pro-Cathedral in San Miguel. LUNA and 17/100 share of Atty. Puruganan. Antecedents The antecedent facts were summarized by the CA as follows: ATTY. LUNA and EUGENIA eventually agreed to live apart from each other in February 1966 and agreed to separation of property. WHEREFORE. 1948. and Cesar Antonio Luna. The assailed decision. SO ORDERED. The law abhors an injustice and the Court is mandated to liberally construe a penal statute in favor of an accused and weigh every circumstance in favor of the presumption of innocence to ensure that justice is done. LAVADIA. Juan Luces Luna. the second wife of the late Atty.R. the first marriage appeared to have transpired. whom he initially married ina civil ceremony conducted by the Justice of the Peace of Parañaque. married to Sonia P. at least. Arellano. Ana Maria L. ATTY.2 The CA thereby denied her right in the 25/100 pro indiviso share of the husband in a condominium unit. appeals the adverse decision promulgated on November 11.Respondents. Puruganan (17/100). Ongkiko (25/100). for P1. LUNA obtained a divorce decree of his marriage with EUGENIA from the Civil and Commercial Chamber of the First Circumscription of the Court of First Instance of Sto. LUNA contracted another marriage. denying herein petitioners motion for reconsideration. Bulacan on September 12. to be paid on installment basis for 36months starting on April 15.. After full payment. Also in Sto. Gregorio Macario Luna. consisting of 517. Tabunda. LUNA and EUGENIA ZABALLERO-LUNA. vs. 1976. Ostensibly.M. without more. LUNA was the managing partner.Domingo. MARIO E. needs no judicial declaration of nullity. Hence. married to Paz A. Nadal. Manalo. Divorce between Filipinos is void and ineffectual under the nationality rule adopted by Philippine law. ATTY. LUPSICON through ATTY. Salazar. The mere private act of signing a marriage contract bears no semblance to a valid marriage and thus. LUNA organized a new law firm named: Luna. a practicing lawyer. LUNA’s marriage to EUGENIA. whereby they agreed to live separately and to dissolve and liquidate their conjugal partnership of property. Sison (12/100) x x x" Subsequently. herein intervenor-appellant Eugenia Zaballero-Luna (EUGENIA). Dominican Republic. Juan Luis Luna. they begot seven (7) children. After almost two (2) decades of marriage. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. in Makati City.R. 171914 July 23. Under the circumstances of the present case. on the same date. The Case The petitioner. Gregorio R. HEIRS OF JUAN LUCES LUNA.449.056. 2005. No. On February 14. 20700. which is now moot and academic. Said condominium unit was to be usedas law office of LUPSICON. G. In ATTY. the first marriage was actually solemnized not just once. Sison and Ongkiko (LUPSICON) where ATTY. Domingo. LUNA purchased from Tandang Sora Development Corporation the 6th Floor of Kalaw-Ledesma Condominium Project(condominium unit) at Gamboa St. Araceli Victoria L. CR No. Tapia. Such act alone. and CCT No. although later declared void ab initio. and cannot be enforceable against the assets of the husband who contracts a subsequent marriage. as well as the resolution of the appellate court dated September 25. 1983. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CAG. however. Petitioner. Branch 138. Carolina Linda L. ONGKIKO. to which end.

Luna" to "JUAN LUCES LUNA married to Eugenia Zaballero Luna". JUAN LUCES LUNA. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING THAT THE CAUSE OF ACTION OF THE INTERVENOR-APPELLANT HAS BEEN BARRED BY PESCRIPTION AND LACHES. VI. Gregorio Z. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT THE CONDOMINIUM UNIT WAS ACQUIRED THRU THE SOLE INDUSTRY OF ATTY.that the same be partitioned. on September 10. ONGKIKO. The complaint prayed that SOLEDAD be declared the owner of the ¾ portion of the subject properties. married to Sonia P. VII. 21716. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING UNDUE SIGNIFICANCE TO THE FACTTHAT THE NAME OF PLAINTIFFAPPELLANT DID NOT APPEAR IN THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE EXECUTED BY TANDANG SORA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OVER THE CONDOMINIUM UNIT. Renato G. 3 Ruling of the RTC On August 27. office furniture and equipment became the subject of the complaint filed by SOLEDAD against the heirs of ATTY. De la Cruz who established his own law firm named Renato G. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT PLAINTIFFAPPELLANT DID NOT CONTRIBUTE MONEY FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE CONDOMINIUM UNIT. III. judgment is rendered as follows: (a) The 24/100 pro-indiviso share in the condominium unit located at the SIXTH FLOOR of the KALAW LEDESMA CONDOMINIUM PROJECT covered by Condominium Certificate of Title No. Luna in the condominium unit as well as the law books. Luna. Ongkiko (50/100). THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING SIGNIFICANCE TO THE FACT THAT THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN LUNA AND INTERVENOR-APPELLANT WAS ALREADY DISSOLVED AND LIQUIDATED PRIOR TO THE UNION OF PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT AND LUNA.M. The complaint alleged that the subject properties were acquired during the existence of the marriage between ATTY. LUNA and SOLEDAD through their joint efforts that since they had no children. that a receiver be appointed to preserve ad administer the subject properties. WHO HAS NO ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE ACQUISITION OF THE UNIT. Luna (38/100). V. LUPSICON was dissolved and the condominium unit was partitioned by the partners but the same was still registered in common under CCT No. LUNA which was bequeathed to her in the latter’s last will and testament. LUNA thereafter established and headed another law firm with Atty. Dela Cruzand used a portion of the office condominium unit as their office. and 26 . LUNA’s son of the first marriage. The 25/100 pro-indiviso share of ATTY. the petitioner assigned the following errors to the RTC. ATTY. After the death of ATTY. (b) Plaintiff has no right as owner or under any other concept over the condominium unit. Fletcher on Corporation. American Jurisprudence and Federal Supreme Court Reports found in the condominium unit and defendants are ordered to deliver them to the plaintiff as soon as appropriate arrangements have been madefor transport and storage. LUNA over the condominium unit would be 25/100 share. 1997. 21761 of the Registry of Deeds of Makati with respect to the civil status of Juan Luces Luna should be changed from "JUAN LUCES LUNA married to Soledad L."JUAN LUCES LUNA. office furniture and equipment found therein were taken over by Gregorio Z. and thatthe heirs of ATTY. ATTY. docketed as Civil Case No. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN RULING THAT NEITHER ARTICLE 148 OF THE FAMILYCODE NOR ARTICLE 144 OF THE CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES ARE APPLICABLE. the RTC rendered its decision after trial upon the aforementioned facts. JUAN with the RTC of Makati City. (c) Plaintiff is declared to be the owner of the books Corpus Juris. his share in the condominium unit including the lawbooks. that an accounting of the rentals on the condominium unit pertaining to the share of SOLEDAD be conducted. married to Soledad L. married to Antonio J. The said law firm lasted until the death of ATTY. namely: I. IV. LUNA to the extent of ¾ pro-indiviso share consisting of her ½ share in the said properties plus her ½ share in the net estate of ATTY. BUT IGNORED OTHER PORTIONS OF HIS TESTIMONY FAVORABLE TO THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT. VIII. De la Cruz & Associates. Sison (12/100) x x x" Sometime in 1992. TERESITA CRUZ SISON. 99-1644. No pronouncement as to costs. LUNA through Gregorio Z. JUAN. The parties stipulated that the interest of ATTY. Renato G. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING CREDENCE TO PORTIONS OF THE TESTIMONY OF GREGORIO LUNA.4 disposing thusly: WHEREFORE.5 Decision of the CA Both parties appealed to the CA.and that the heirs of ATTY. Luna excluded SOLEDAD from her share in the subject properties. JUAN on July 12.6 On her part.G. SO ORDERED. 1999. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN GIVING UNDUE SIGNIFICANCE TO THE ABSENCE OF THE DISPOSITION OF THE CONDOMINIUM UNIT IN THE HOLOGRAPHIC WILL OF THE PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT. 2001. MARIO E. Branch 138. hence the entry in Condominium Certificate of Title No. LUNA be ordered to pay attorney’s feesand costs of the suit to SOLEDAD. Luna thenleased out the 25/100 portion of the condominium unit belonging to his father to Atty. II. SOLEDAD became coowner of the said properties upon the death of ATTY. 21761 consisting of FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN (517/100) SQUARE METERS is adjudged to have been acquired by Juan Lucas Luna through his sole industry.

No pronouncement as to costs. American Jurisprudence and Federal Supreme Court Reports found in the condominium unit. Fletcher on Corporation. The Civil Codecontinued to follow the nationality rule. Ruling of the Court We affirm the modified decision of the CA. SO ORDERED. the heirs of Juan Luces Luna and Eugenia Zaballero-Luna(first marriage) are hereby declared to be the owner of the books Corpus Juris. premises considered. (b) Plaintiff-appellant Soledad Lavadia has no right as owner or under any other concept over the condominium unit. LUNA until the latter’s death on July 12. LUNA’S LAW OFFICE. to the effect that Philippine laws relating to family rights and duties. firstly. the respondents attributedthe following errors to the trial court. although living abroad. Luna" to "JUAN LUCES LUNA married to Eugenia Zaballero Luna". is hereby MODIFIEDas follows: (a) The 25/100 pro-indiviso share in the condominium unit at the SIXTH FLOOR of the KALAW LEDESMA CONDOMINIUM PROJECT covered by Condominium Certificate of Title No. 2006.e. LUNA inthe Dominican Republic did not terminate his prior marriage with EUGENIA because foreign divorce between Filipino citizens is not recognized in our jurisdiction. Luna and Eugenia Zaballero-Luna (Eugenia) had validly dissolved the first marriage. Luna and Eugenio having remained Filipinos until the death of Atty. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Petitioner was not entitled to the subject law books. The resolution of the decisive question requires the Court to ascertain the law that should determine. The absolute divorce decree obtained by ATTY. B. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PLAINTIFF PROVED BY PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE (HER CLAIM OVER) THE SPECIFIED FOREIGN LAW BOOKS FOUND IN ATTY.12 the CA denied the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. The law in force at the time of the solemnization was the Spanish Civil Code.13 Issues In this appeal. which adopted the nationality rule. the CA promulgated its assailed modified decision. 21761 consisting of FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN (517/100) (sic) SQUARE METERS is hereby adjudged to defendants-appellants. THE RIGHT TO RECOVER THEM HAD PRESCRIBED AND BARRED BY LACHES AND ESTOPPEL. 1. ASSUMING PLAINTIFF PAID FOR THE SAID FOREIGN LAW BOOKS. Luna and Eugenia. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in not recognizing the Dominican Republic court’s approval of the Agreement. 21761 of the Registry of Deeds ofMakati with respect to the civil status of Juan Luces Luna should be changed from "JUAN LUCES LUNA married to Soledad L.7 In contrast. subsisted up to the time of his death Luna’s first marriage with Eugenia The first marriage between Atty. and. Branch 138. whether the divorce between Atty. and to the law books (i. condition and legal capacity of persons were binding upon citizens of the Philippines. was the legitimate wife of ATTY. 2005. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT EXPUNGING/DISMISSING THE INTERVENTION FOR FAILURE OF INTERVENOR-APPELLANT TO PAY FILING FEE.9 holding and ruling: EUGENIA. x x x10 xxxx WHEREFORE. 1997. Luna on July 12. Corpus Juris. was solemnized in the Philippines on September 10. 1997 terminated their marriage.IX. the heirs of Juan Luces Luna and Eugenia Zaballero-Luna (first marriage). or to the status. both Filipinos. the petitioner avers in her petition for review on certiorarithat: A. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CERTAIN FOREIGN LAW BOOKS IN THE LAW OFFICE OF ATTY. C. 1947. (c) Defendants-appellants.. their conjugal partnership was not dissolved and liquidated.14 The decisive question to be resolved is who among the contending parties should be entitled to the 25/100 pro indivisoshare in the condominium unit.11 On March 13. to wit: I. American Jurisprudence and Federal Supreme Court Reports). hence the entry in Condominium Certificate of Title No. LUNA WERE BOUGHT WITH THE USE OF PLAINTIFF’S MONEY. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT. and III. whether the second marriage entered into by the late Atty. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that Petitioner failed to adduce sufficient proof of actual contribution to the acquisition of purchase of the subjectcondominium unit. having been acquired from the sole funds and sole industry of Juan Luces Luna while marriage of Juan Luces Luna and Eugenia Zaballero-Luna (first marriage) was still subsisting and valid. secondly. 15 Pursuant to the nationality rule. Philippine laws governed thiscase by virtue of bothAtty. II. the first wife. Atty. and D. Luna and the petitioner entitled the latter to any rights in property. hence. 27 . 2001 Decision of the RTC of MakatiCity. the assailed August 27. Fletcher on Corporation. 8 On November 11. The Honorable Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the Agreement for Separation and Property Settlement executed by Luna and Respondent Eugenia was unenforceable.

All the creditors of the husband and of the wife. the law then in force at the time of their marriage. or when the same are void. absolute divorce between Filipino spouses has not been recognized in the Philippines. Domingo in the Dominican Republic to dissolve and liquidate their conjugal partnership was enforceable against Eugenia. Luna and Eugenia. subject to judicial approval.From the time of the celebration ofthe first marriage on September 10. the court shall take such measures as may protect the creditors and other third persons. 19 and regards it as a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman for the establishment of a conjugal and family life. This is because the Spanish Civil Code. which characterizes marriage as an inviolable social institution. did not dissolve the marriage between Atty. After dissolution of the conjugal partnership. and divide equally. The approval of the Agreement by a competent court was still required under Article 190 and Article 191 of the Civil Code. even if voluntarily obtained abroad. did not specify the property regime of the spouses in the event that they had not entered into any marriage settlement before or at the time of the marriage. The non-recognition of absolute divorce between Filipinos has remained even under the Family Code. the divorce. The insistence of the petitioner was unwarranted. Article 119 of the Civil Codeclearly so provides. or upon a ground expressly provided bylaw. however. For as long as this public policy on marriage between Filipinos exists. Luna and Eugenia did not per sedissolve and liquidate their conjugal partnership of gains. or upon complete separation of property.20 The non-recognition of absolute divorce in the Philippines is a manifestation of the respect for the sanctity of the marital union especially among Filipino citizens. It is true that on January 12. (2) When there is a decree of legal separation. (3) When the marriage is annulled. (1432a) Article 191. The Agreement was void for lack of court approval for Separation and Property Settlement The petitioner insists that the Agreement for Separation and Property Settlement (Agreement) that the late Atty. 1976. or has been declared absent. (1433a) 28 . or upon any other regime. 2. 1947 until the present. 18 Conformably with the nationality rule. Considering that Atty. the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains as established in this Code. (4) In case of judicial separation of property under Article 191. 1947. This finding conforms to the Constitution. to wit: Article 119. Domingo in the Dominican Republic issued the Divorce Decree dissolving the first marriage of Atty. Article 142 of the Civil Codehas defined a conjugal partnership of gains thusly: Article 142. The future spouses may in the marriage settlements agree upon absolute or relative community of property. the separation of property between spouses during the marriage shall not take place save in virtue of a judicial order. The husband or the wife may ask for the separation of property. As such. In the absence of marriage settlements. as well as of the conjugal partnership shall be notified of any petition for judicialapproval or the voluntary dissolution of the conjugal partnership. xxxx The husband and the wife may agree upon the dissolution of the conjugal partnership during the marriage. Luna and Eugenia had not entered into any marriage settlement prior to their marriage on September 10. the Court of First Instance (CFI) of Sto. Luna and Eugenia had entered into and executed in connection with the divorce proceedings before the CFI of Sto. Luna and Eugenia. the net gains or benefits obtained indiscriminately by either spouse during the marriage. 17 Indeed. no divorce decree dissolving the marriage between them can ever be given legal or judicial recognition and enforcement in this jurisdiction. Upon approval of the petition for dissolution of the conjugal partnership. viz: Article 175. The conjugal partnership of gains subsists until terminated for any of various causes of termination enumerated in Article 175 of the Civil Code. the only two types of defective marital unions under our laws have beenthe void and the voidable marriages. as follows: Article 190. or when legal separation has been granted. By means of the conjugal partnership of gains the husband and wife place in a common fund the fruits of their separate property and the income from their work or industry. Hence. the remedies against such defective marriages have been limited to the declaration of nullity ofthe marriage and the annulment of the marriage. The mere execution of the Agreement by Atty. The conjugal partnership of gains terminates: (1) Upon the death of either spouse. shall govern the property relations between husband and wife. the CA committed reversible error in decreeing otherwise. It affirms that the extinguishment of a valid marriage must be grounded only upon the death of either spouse. The provisions of this Code concerning the effect of partition stated in articles 498 to 501 shall be applicable. the system of relative community or conjugal partnership of gains governed their property relations. upon the dissolution of the marriage or of the partnership. 1997. and it shall be decreed when the spouse of the petitioner has been sentenced to a penalty which carries with it civil interdiction. the provisions of articles 214 and 215 shall apply. In the absence of an express declaration in the marriage settlements. which subsisted up to the time of his death on July 12.16 even if either or both of the spouses are residing abroad. so that any such creditors may appear atthe hearing to safeguard his interests.

conformably with Article 144 of the Civil Code.572. the CA entirely debunked the petitioner’s assertions on her actual contributions through the following findings and conclusions.But was not the approval of the Agreement by the CFI of Sto. 29 that she had the financial capacity to make the contributions and purchases.27 and that such aggregate contributions of P306. Luna in the purchase of the condominium unit amounting to P362. There is no question that the approval took place only as an incident ofthe action for divorce instituted by Atty. This applies with more vigor where. indeed. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were performed. Atty. Luna and Eugenia subsisted in the lifetime of their marriage. Luna had even sent her a "thank you" note. the conjugal partnership of gains of Atty. properties were governed by the rules on co-ownership with acquired Soledad. The Court concurs with the CA.825. or incestuous are void.26 The petitioner asserts herein that she sufficiently proved her actual contributions in the purchase of the condominium unit in the aggregate amount of at least P306. In the Philippines. the properties acquired during the bigamous marriage were governed by the rules on co-ownership. Luna on July 12. the burden of proof rests upon the party who. Luna and Eugenia? The query is answered in the negative. and that Atty. Luna and Eugenia had not been dissolved by the Divorce Decree rendered by the CFI of Sto. Also in Adriano v. or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. Domingo in the Dominican Republic but had subsisted until the death of Atty.264. Favorable relief can be granted only after the court isconvinced that the facts proven by the plaintiff warrant such relief. the property acquired by eitheror both of them through their work or industry or their wages and salaries shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.00. proof of which Atty.449. ortheir marriage is void from the beginning. Indeed. except bigamous. Luna could not acquire the properties on his own due to the meagerness of the income derived from his law practice. it became imperative for the petitioner to offer proof of her actual contributions in the acquisition of property. Fernandez. 1997.28 The petitioner further asserts that the lawbooks were paid for solely out of her personal funds. Luna and the petitioner being void ab initioby virtue of its being bigamous. shall also be valid in this country. during being their bigamous. and in repaying the loans Atty. or incestuous marriages as determined by Philippine law.30. marriages that are bigamous.1âwphi1 The plaintiff is not automatically entitled to the relief prayed for. viz: Article 144. would warrant no relief in her favor. When a man and a woman live together as husband and wife. and Tumlos v. Consequently.056.21 With the divorce not being itself valid and enforceable under Philippine law for being contrary to Philippine public policy and public law. as determined by the pleadings or the nature of the case. therefore.23 A bigamous marriage is considered void ab initio.572.00 of the unit’s purchase price of P1. Contentions must be proved by competent evidence and reliance must be had on the strength of the party’s own evidence and not upon the weakness of the opponent’s defense. The law gives the defendantsome measure of protection as the plaintiff must still prove the allegations in the complaint. the plaintiff was allowed to present evidence ex parte.(n) In such a situation. Her mere allegation of co-ownership. Luna and Soledad? The CA expressly declared that Atty. polygamous. namely: SOLEDAD was not able to prove by preponderance of evidence that her own independent funds were used to buy the law office condominium and the law books subject matter in contentionin this case – proof that was required for Article 144 of the New Civil Code 29 . Did the petitioner discharge her burden of proof on the co-ownership? In resolving the question. 1976 was void for being bigamous.24 Due to the second marriage between Atty. we ruled that proof of actual contribution in the acquisition of the property is essential.072. without sufficient and competent evidence. Luna had obtained from Premex Financing and Banco Filipino totaling P146. Luna and Eugenia. 3. we ruled that the fact that the controverted property was titled in the name of the parties to an adulterous relationship is not sufficient proof of coownership absent evidence of actual contribution in the acquisition of the property. Article 71 of the Civil Codeclearly states: Article 71. Luna’s subsequent marriage to Soledad on January 12. Domingo in the Dominican Republic sufficient in dissolving and liquidating the conjugal partnership of gains between the late Atty.00. marriage What law governed the property relations of the second marriage between Atty. for. Palang. but they are not married. Luna’s marriage was void. the justifications for their execution of the Agreement were identical to the grounds raised in the action for divorce.00. consisting in direct contributions ofP159.1âwphi1 To establish co-ownership. and valid there as such. whoever alleges co-ownership carried the burden of proof to confirm such fact. the approval of the Agreement was not also legally valid and enforceable under Philippine law. 22 on the ground that the marriage between Atty. As in other civil cases. Court of Appeals. As the Court explained in Saguid v. respectively. Court of Appeals:25 In the cases of Agapay v. as in the instant case. The claim of co-ownership of the petitioners therein who were parties to the bigamous and adulterousunion is without basis because they failed to substantiate their allegation that they contributed money in the purchase of the disputed properties. the party alleging a fact has the burden of proving it and a mereallegation is not evidence. Bigamy is an illegal marriage committed by contracting a second or subsequent marriage before the first marriage has been legally dissolved.00 corresponded to almost the entire share of Atty. asserts an affirmative issue. polygamous. which involved the issue of co-ownership ofproperties acquired by the parties to a bigamous marriage and an adulterous relationship.

Luna. Luna. his or her share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last paragraph of the Article 147. The name of the plaintiff does not appear as vendee or as the spouse of Atty. WHEREFORE. This void was filled upon adoption of the Family Code. So it is but logical that SOLEDAD had no participation in the law firm or in the purchase of books for the law firm.000. LUNA who bought the law office space and the law books from his earnings from his practice of law rather than embarrassingly beg or ask from SOLEDAD money for use of the law firm that he headed. for this presumption to arise. Luna" was no proof that SOLEDAD was a co-owner of the condominium unit. The loans from Allied Banking Corporation and Far East Bank and Trust Company were loans of Atty. forP4. thus: "The Deed of Absolute Sale. Luna acquired the properties out of his own personal funds and effort remained. Consequently. It is more logical to presume that it was ATTY. the petitioner. 4779 and subsequently. None of the foregoing prove that the amounts delivered by plaintiff to the payees were for the acquisition of the subject condominium unit. not being evidence. SOLEDAD failed to prove that she made an actual contribution to purchase the said property. the presumption that Atty. Acquisition of title and registration thereof are two different acts. LUNA in the condominium unit.00 payable to PREMEX was dated May 19. married to Soledad L.000. Teresita Cruz Sison was issued on January 27.00 was dated December 17. x x x" The fact that CCT No. as the party claiming the co-ownership. However. Luna in the condominium unit.: "x x x The first check. Luna. LUNA in the condominium unit. 1977. L-19671. as was held by the Supreme Court in the case of Tenchavez vs. The same rule and presumption was to apply to joint deposits of money and evidence of credit. The third check which was for P49. The same was acquired for the use of the Law firm of Atty. was not even a lawyer. x x x" SOLEDAD’s claim that she made a cash contribution of P100. Exhibit "M" for P55. November 29. This was aptly explained in the Decision of the trial court. Her mere allegations on her contributions. together with his partners in the law firm. Exhibit "P" was payable to Banco Filipino. According to the plaintiff. Article 148 provided that: only the property acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money. property or industry shall be owned in common and in proportion to their respective contributions.31 did not serve the purpose. The fourth check. Escaño. proof of actual contribution was required. The rules on forfeiture applied even if both parties were in bad faith. 1965. 2005. 1978 in the amount of P97. Co-ownership was the exception while conjugal partnership of gains was the strict rule whereby marriage was an inviolable social institution and divorce decrees are not recognized in the Philippines. SOLEDAD failed to prove that she had anything to contribute and that she actually purchased or paid for the law office amortization and for the law books. CCT No. In contrast. the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on November 11. 1979. given the subsistence of the first marriage between Atty. where one party is later naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating him or her to remarry. 21761 were in the name of "JUAN LUCES LUNA. the second wife.236. or under a marriage which was void ab initio. which was thirteen (13) months before the Memorandum of Agreement. Another check issued on April 29. If the party who acted in bad faith was not validly married to another. OBRECIDO III Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens. LUNA. Luna" is merely descriptive of the civil status of ATTY.072. She failed to establish that the four (4) checks that she presented were indeed used for the acquisition of the share of ATTY. did not discharge her burden of proof. 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.00 is unsubstantiated. It is well settled that registration does not confer title but merely confirms one already existing. REPUBLIC vs. his or her share in the co-ownership accrued to the absolute community or conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage.588. No. and of the lawbooks pertained to the respondents as the lawful heirs of Atty. It should then be justly concluded that the properties in litislegally pertained to their conjugal partnership of gains as of the time of his death. SOLEDAD. Clearly. The phrase "married to" preceding "Soledad L. Luna and his partners and plaintiff does not have evidence to show that she paid for them fully or partially. also for payment of the loan of Atty.and Article 148 of the Family Code to apply – as to cases where properties were acquired by a man and a woman living together as husband and wife but not married. 1980. But this was not readily applicable to many situations and thus it created a void at first because it applied only if the parties were not in any way incapacitated or were without impediment to marry each other (for it would be absurd to create a co-ownership where there still exists a prior conjugal partnership or absolute community between the man and his lawful wife). Indeed. presented as a pure question of law. viz. Exhibit "M". Such contributions and corresponding shares were prima faciepresumed to be equal.89. Under Article 144 of the New Civil Code. the rules on co-ownership would govern. there is no basis for SOLEDAD’s claim of co-ownership over the 25/100 portion of the condominium unit and the trial court correctly found that the same was acquired through the sole industry of ATTY. thiswas in payment of the loan of Atty. 15 SCRA 355.30 The Court upholds the foregoing findings and conclusions by the CA both because they were substantiated by the records and because we have not been shown any reason to revisit and undo them. Luna. the sole ownership of the 25/100 pro indivisoshare of Atty. 30 . Exhibit "9". Luna and Eugenia. The connection was simply not established. thus: xxxx As to the 25/100pro-indivisoshare of ATTY. If one of the parties was validly married to another. Exhibit "7" was signed.R. LUNA.00 payable to Atty. G. covering the condominium unit was in the name of Atty. Luna. Luna. and ORDERS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.

Orbecido and Lady Kimberly V. ordinance. Stanley and her child by him currently live at 5566 A. The falloof the impugned Decision reads: WHEREFORE. The court a quo had declared that herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry. the petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine Law. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a deed. the OSG argues there is no law that governs respondents situation.[6] For his part. Ozamis City. 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. Their marriage was blessed with a son and a daughter. thereunder. [5] Furthermore. the Solicitor General assails the Decision[1] dated May 15. and remarried while in the U. a marriage celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien. contract or other written instrument. Zamboanga del Sur. On May 24. A few years later. we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the trial court actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief.S. 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. and (4) that the issue is ripe for judicial determination. Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen. that is. (3) that the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy.[3] The factual antecedents. as narrated by the trial court. Rule 63 of the Rules of Court provides: RULE 63 DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES Section 1. and for a declaration of his rights or duties. Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along their son Kristoffer. California. 26 of the Family Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his American wife. In 1986. .In this petition for review. 1981. Walnut Grove Avenue. before breach or violation thereof. he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section 12. obtained a divorce decree. In this connection. executive order or regulation. bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising. She. 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. The Republic. or other governmental regulation may. by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 2002. The proper remedy. 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. Sometime in 2000. is to file a petition for annulment or for legal separation. herein petitioner. The OSG posits that this is a matter of legislation and not of judicial determination. as petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of marriage while respondent. Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. Finding merit in the petition. Branch 23 and itsResolution[2] dated July 4. IT IS SO ORDERED. a private citizen. Section 1. or whose rights are affected by a statute. insists on a 31 .[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.[7] At the outset. the court granted the same. will. of the Regional Trial Court of Molave. sought reconsideration but it was denied. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). according to the OSG. Article II of the Constitution. Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code.A. Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. San Gabriel. are as follows. Orbecido. The interests of the parties are also adverse. Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an... No opposition was filed. In this petition.

the parties were. Interestingly. These spouses who are divorced will not be able to re-marry. 209. according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy. is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in the same year. and valid there as such.A. has legal interest in the controversy. shortly after the signing of the original Family Code. (5) and (6). 227 was likewise signed into law. then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order No. except those prohibited under Articles 35.[11] In Quita. the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry. praying for relief. and 39 of the Family Code. otherwise known as the Family Code. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. and valid there as such. litigation ensues and puts into question the validity of his second marriage.[10] The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. 1987. This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even for Filipino citizens. by way of obiter dictum. and indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the U. the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following objections to Paragraph 2 of Article 26: 1. the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation presented by the case at hand. (Emphasis supplied. and what was the intent of the legislators in its enactment? Brief Historical Background On July 6. shall also be valid in this country. Coming now to the substantive issue. after obtaining a divorce. that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry. 2.declaration of his capacity to remarry. 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. 37 and 38. 36. Jr. 32 . a member of the Civil Code Revision Committee. On July 17. Noteworthy. and consequently. the Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. Filipino citizens when they got married. but later on. 36. Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of the marriage. one of them obtains a foreign citizenship by naturalization? The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. as in this case. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). we must dwell on how this provision had come about in the first place. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. and 38.) Legislative Intent Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. (Emphasis supplied) On its face. which took effect on August 3. Romillo. The rule is discriminatory. the parties were Filipino citizens.S. 1988. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. The Court therein hinted. 26. but later on. Executive Order No. 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. amending Articles 26. in the Report of the Public Hearings [9] on the Family Code. As so amended. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial determination inasmuch as when respondent remarries. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Article 26 thereof states: All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. shall also be valid in this country. does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily. while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad can. Court of Appeals. 37. (4). the parties were two Filipino citizens. it now provides: ART. It discriminates against those whose spouses are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. Respondent. The instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized. the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. 1987.

O. Before the Court is a direct appeal from the decision 1 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City. respondent herein must prove his allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. also to remarry. No. we are unable to declare. as amended by E. TOMAS and The SOLICITOR GENERAL. for his plea to prosper. 186571 August 11. the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. It is settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not evidence. No. 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. who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried. Petitioner. legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie. the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who. the legally separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse. then the instant case must be deemed as coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. Otherwise. Zamboanga del Sur. Like any other fact. The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage. No. ACCORDINGLY. CORPUZ. In view of the foregoing. and in this particular case. we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of respondents wife. As fate would have it. but later on. it should be construed according to its spirit and reason.[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.O. that respondent is now capacitated to remarry. 227). However. 2002. so long as they come within its spirit or intent. not even feasible. Nevertheless. we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code (E. Respondents. the divorced Filipino spouse. Annulment would be a long and tedious process. should be allowed to remarry. DAISYLYN TIROL STO. In this case. considering that the marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of validity. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. Branch 11. Such declaration could only be made properly upon respondents submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor. elevated via a petition for review on certiorari2 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (present petition). there was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. are hereby SET ASIDE. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason. 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. such laws must be alleged and proved. On the other hand. who was naturalized as an American citizen. [14] Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens. of the Regional Trial Court of Molave. 2010 GERBERT R. one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an American citizen. before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts.R. based on respondents bare allegations that his wife. hence. The assailed Decision dated May 15. Clearly. However. respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Branch 23. 209. Thus Cipriano. 33 . should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen. there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage. vs. the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. G. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. 2002. considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted and on record. Likewise. and 2. had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms. 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. [15] Furthermore. after obtaining a divorce is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry. and Resolution dated July 4. we state the twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows: 1.[13] Accordingly.Thus.

in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. the RTC stated. 4. shall also be valid in this country. Divorce. In both cases. 2005. The RTC concluded that Gerbert was not the proper party to institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. Gerbert returned to Canada and filed a petition for divorce. alleged her desire to file a similar case herself but was prevented by financial and personal circumstances. Despite the registration of the divorce decree. in Pasig City. amending Article 26 of the Family Code to its present wording. Gerbert left for Canada soon after the wedding. 2005. shall also be valid in this country. 10 the provision was enacted to "avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who.18 Recognizing the reality that divorce is a possibility in marriages between a Filipino and an alien. 2000.Petitioner Gerbert R.5 Two years after the divorce. 26. he contends that the provision applies as well to the benefit of the alien spouse. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization on November 29. This conclusion. the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. series of 1982. 2008 decision."11 THE PETITION From the RTC’s ruling. Tomas. the foreign divorce decree must first be judicially recognized by a competent Philippine court. thus. 17 Our family laws do not recognize absolute divorce between Filipino citizens. President Corazon C. as follows: Art. pursuant to NSO Circular No. (4). to institute the case. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. 37 and 38. Orbecido III.6 Accordingly. The Superior Court of Justice. Windsor. after obtaining a divorce.3 On January 18. 36. (EO) 227. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). He claims that the RTC ruling unduly stretched the doctrine in Orbecido by limiting the standing to file the petition only to the Filipino spouse – an interpretation he claims to be contrary to the essence of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Hurt and disappointed. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines. Aquino. She offered no opposition to Gerbert’s petition and. involving him. in their respective Comments. In its October 30. as there is a possibility that he might be prosecuted for bigamy if he marries his Filipina fiancée in the Philippines since two marriage certificates. Daisylyn did not file any responsive pleading but submitted instead a notarized letter/manifestation to the trial court. Gerbert went to the Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree on his and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate. the basis for the judicial declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of the marriage exists before or at the time of the marriage. 37 and 38. Essentially. a Filipina. would be on file with the Civil Registry Office. It ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy. in the exercise of her legislative powers under the Freedom Constitution. THE COURT’S RULING The alien spouse can claim no right under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code as the substantive right it establishes is in favor of the Filipino spouse The resolution of the issue requires a review of the legislative history and intent behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. (5) and (6). 34 . 2006.19 enacted Executive Order No. Gerbert has moved on and has found another Filipina to love. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved (petition) with the RTC. Ontario. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines. 14 both support Gerbert’s position. on January 8. Canada granted Gerbert’s petition for divorce on December 8. 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. requested that she be considered as a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to Gerbert’s. The divorce decree took effect a month later.4 Due to work and other professional commitments. and valid there as such. the petition raises the issue of whether the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code extends to aliens the right to petition a court of this jurisdiction for the recognition of a foreign divorce decree.9 Article 26 of the Family Code reads: Art. as determined by the Court in Republic v. Although summoned. (5) and (6). similar to that filed in Orbecido. in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. 36. is consistent with the legislative intent behind the enactment of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn. on the other hand. Gerbert married respondent Daisylyn T. to be enforceable.13 Gerbert asserts that his petition before the RTC is essentially for declaratory relief. 8 in order for him or her to be able to remarry under Philippine law. similarly asks for a determination of his rights under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. vested with sufficient legal interest. in fact. contemplates the dissolution of the lawful union for cause arising after the marriage. He considers himself as a proper party. an official of the National Statistics Office (NSO) informed Gerbert that the marriage between him and Daisylyn still subsists under Philippine law. but was shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with another man. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). She.12 Gerbert filed the present petition. under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. thus. Desirous of marrying his new Filipina fiancée in the Philippines. The Office of the Solicitor General and Daisylyn. he. 7 the RTC denied Gerbert’s petition. and valid there as such. (4). Taking into account the rationale behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Sto. The Family Code recognizes only two types of defective marriages – void 15 and voidable16 marriages.

either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the officer having legal custody of the documents.. recognized that the foreign divorce had already severed the marital bond between the spouses. She should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served. the unavailability of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code to aliens does not necessarily strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the RTC for the recognition of his foreign divorce decree. No court in this jurisdiction. serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert.25 Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that the policy against absolute divorces cannot be subverted by judgments promulgated in a foreign country. after obtaining a divorce. the alien spouse can claim no right under this provision. In other words. observe respect and fidelity. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders. the RTC was correct in limiting the applicability of the provision for the benefit of the Filipino spouse. no less.26 Given the rationale and intent behind the enactment. Additionally. that the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in the Philippines. settling the doubts created by the divorce decree. The foreign divorce decree is presumptive evidence of a right that clothes the party with legal interest to petition for its recognition in this jurisdiction We qualify our above conclusion – i. provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law. Ibay-Somera. fraud. or clear mistake of law or fact. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. and (b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person. capacitating him or her to remarry. The foreign divorce decree itself. To our mind. the provision was included in the law "to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. In other words.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. however. collusion. together with the alien’s applicable national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. after its authenticity and conformity with the alien’s national law have been duly proven according to our rules of evidence. 48. Jr. In a divorce situation. an action based on the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is not limited to the recognition of the foreign divorce decree. the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract another marriage.21 In both cases. Romillo that: To maintain x x x that. and render support to [the alien spouse]." 28 This means that the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence. purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority. thus. since both the foreign divorce decree and the national law of the alien. want of notice to the party. having jurisdiction to render the judgment or final order is as follows: (a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific thing. In either case. we have declared. only the Filipino spouse can invoke the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code.22 As the RTC correctly stated. would be of no significance to the Filipino spouse since our laws do not recognize divorce as a mode of severing the marital bond. pursuant to Section 48. The Court. the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. the Court refused to acknowledge the alien spouse’s assertion of marital rights after a foreign court’s divorce decree between the alien and the Filipino. [the Filipino spouse] has to be considered still married to [the alien spouse] and still subject to a wife's obligations x x x cannot be just. 24 Without the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. This Section states: SEC.—The effect of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country. Essentially.20 and Pilapil v. If the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien spouse to remarry. recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a divorce. whose status and legal capacity are generally governed by his national law. The inclusion of the second paragraph in Article 26 of the Family Code provides the direct exception to this rule and serves as basis for recognizing the dissolution of the marriage between the Filipino spouse and his or her alien spouse. The Court reasoned in Van Dorn v. [The Filipino spouse] should not be obliged to live together with. If the copies 35 . In Gerbert’s case. EO 227 effectively incorporated into the law this Court’s holding in Van Dorn v. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign judgments. the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino spouse a substantive right to have his or her marriage to the alien spouse considered as dissolved.29 The recognition may be made in an action instituted specifically for the purpose or in another action where a party invokes the foreign decree as an integral aspect of his claim or defense. direct involvement or being the subject of the foreign judgment is sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite interest to institute an action before our courts for the recognition of the foreign judgment. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. Romillo. by clarifying his or her marital status. whether in a proceeding instituted precisely for that purpose or as a related issue in another proceeding. Justice Herrera explained that. as a rule. can make a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than that already established by the decree).e. that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code bestows no rights in favor of aliens – with the complementary statement that this conclusion is not sufficient basis to dismiss Gerbert’s petition before the RTC. the judgment or final order is presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title. "no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country. the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction. the judicial recognition of the foreign decree of divorce. and the purpose of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Through the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Section 24. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court comes into play." 23 The legislative intent is for the benefit of the Filipino spouse. under our laws. the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title of the thing. This Section requires proof.27 The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is the acknowledgment that our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws.

once recognized. Needless to state. we can. Article 407 of the Civil Code states that "[a]cts. (h) acknowledgment of natural children. unless we deem it more appropriate to remand the case to the RTC to determine whether the divorce decree is consistent with the Canadian divorce law. nonetheless. – A civil register is established for recording the civil status of persons." The law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences touching upon a person’s legal capacity and status. in which shall be entered: (a) births. the law and the submission of the decree by themselves do not ipso facto authorize the decree’s registration. these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office. (2) Marriage register. A remand. more than the principle of comity that is served by the practice of reciprocal recognition of foreign judgments between nations. change of name and naturalization register.30 but failed to include a copy of the Canadian law on divorce. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. can be registered in the civil registry. acknowledgment. dissolving a marriage. This same effect. hence. 3753 or the Law on Registry of Civil Status specifically requires the registration of divorce decrees in the civil registry: Sec. we note that the Pasig City Civil Registry Office has already recorded the divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate based on the mere presentation of the decree. 4. or clear mistake of law or fact. Considerations beyond the recognition of the foreign divorce decree As a matter of "housekeeping" concern. (d) annulments of marriages. although a foreign one. on the strength alone of the foreign decree presented by Gerbert. as provided in Section 48. Act No. such as his being legitimate or illegitimate.31 Under this situation. will not obtain for the Filipino spouse were it not for the substantive rule that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides. simply dismiss the petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence. i."35 A judgment of divorce is a judicial decree. (i) naturalization. at this point.36 and Department of Justice Opinion No. not ordinarily terminable at his own will. as the foreign judgment. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. and (j) changes of name. 34 We consider the recording to be legally improper. will allow other interested parties to oppose the foreign judgment and overcome a petitioner’s presumptive evidence of a right by proving want of jurisdiction. (g) adoptions. respectively make the proper entries concerning the civil status of persons: (1) Birth and death register. more or less permanent in nature. every precaution must be taken to ensure conformity with our laws before a recognition is made. as it cited NSO Circular No. but it. fraud. In fact. (e) divorces. in which shall be entered not only the marriages solemnized but also divorces and dissolved marriages. But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the civil registry.of official records are not kept in the Philippines. (c) marriages. collusion. at the same time.. in which they shall. the need to draw attention of the bench and the bar to what had been done. Civil Register Books. given the Article 26 interests that will be served and the Filipina wife’s (Daisylyn’s) obvious conformity with the petition. (3) Legitimation. xxxx Sec. no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the foreign divorce decree. 1. The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of the divorce decree. We deem it more appropriate to take this latter course of action. Thus. 4.33 In fact. Civil Register. affecting a person’s legal capacity and status that must be recorded. the Pasig City Civil Registry Office acted totally out of turn and without authority of law when it annotated the Canadian divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyn’s marriage certificate. allowed the 36 . (b) deaths. In the context of the present case. Evidently. series of 1982. as well as the required certificates proving its authenticity.e. want of notice to a party. The law should be read in relation with the requirement of a judicial recognition of the foreign judgment before it can be given res judicata effect. series of 1982 37 – both of which required a final order from a competent Philippine court before a foreign judgment. (f) legitimations. adoption. the res judicata effect of the foreign judgments of divorce serves as the deeper basis for extending judicial recognition and for considering the alien spouse bound by its terms. or his being married or not. — The local registrars shall keep and preserve in their offices the following books. shall have the effect of res judicata 32 between the parties. those affecting "all his personal qualities and relations. 181. the Pasig City Civil Registry Office was aware of the requirement of a court recognition. as discussed above.

5 and (3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Statistics Office (NSO). The petition assails the Order 1 dated 31 January 2011 of the RTC in Civil Case No. Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that "no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected. 40As these basic jurisdictional requirements have not been met in the present case. No. they lost contact with each other. – (a) Who may file. A petition for recognition of a foreign judgment is not the proper proceeding. authorize the cancellation of the entry in the civil registry. For being contrary to law. we cannot consider the petition Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. the RTC immediately issued an Order dismissing the petition and withdrawing the case from its active civil docket. we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari. 2009 order. In 2010. among others. Marinay met another Japanese. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Civil Registrar General. 2008 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City. PETITIONER. the registration of the foreign divorce decree without the requisite judicial recognition is patently void and cannot produce any legal effect. vs." Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized. Minoru Fujiki. 02-11-10-SC): Sec. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages." The Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or corrected.R. The Case This is a direct recourse to this Court from the Regional Trial Court (RTC).7 The RTC cited the following provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A. However. to file the petition. Branch 107. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan.3 Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to reestablish their relationship. The marriage did not sit well with petitioner’s parents. want of notice to the party. MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY. No costs. (2) that the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab initio under Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines. Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. authorizing the cancellation or correction. WHEREFORE. 2013 MINORU FUJIKI. Fujiki could not bring his wife to Japan where he resides. Thus.1avvphi1 Another point we wish to draw attention to is that the recognition that the RTC may extend to the Canadian divorce decree does not. however. 4 On 14 January 2011. Marinay and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City. collusion.registration of the decree. by itself.6 The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court A few days after the filing of the petition.M. Q-11-68582 and its Resolution dated 2 March 2011 denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration. AND THE ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL REGISTRAR GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE. SHINICHI MAEKARA. and REVERSE the October 30. Branch 11. No. LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY. contemplated under the Rules of Court. The recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself. Eventually. through a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on a pure question of law. 2. Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage). xxxx 37 . Shinichi Maekara (Maekara). G. may be annotated in the civil registry. or clear mistake of law or fact. Philippines. The Facts Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who married respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied with before a judgment. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife. 196049 June 26.39 and that the time and place for hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation. Moreover.38 that the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest must be made parties to the proceedings. without judicial order. In 2008. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court can serve as the appropriate adversarial proceeding 41 by which the applicability of the foreign judgment can be measured and tested in terms of jurisdictional infirmities. The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of personality of petitioner.RESPONDENTS. Without the first marriage being dissolved. It also requires. that the verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. Quezon City. We hasten to point out. We order the REMAND of the case to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with our ruling above. Fujiki helped Marinay obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground of bigamy. as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact. that this ruling should not be construed as requiring two separate proceedings for the registration of a foreign divorce decree in the civil registry – one for recognition of the foreign decree and another specifically for cancellation of the entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. She left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki. as well as its February 17. for the cancellation of entries in the civil registry. fraud.

25 The Court in Braza ruled that "[i]n a special proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry). 02-11-10-SC contemplated ordinary civil actions for declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage. the RTC stated that A. the Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion." in this case either Maekara or Marinay. because it is lack of jurisdiction which allows a court to dismiss a case on its own. The Solicitor General cited Juliano-Llave v. – The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing. 4. The petitioner contended that the Japanese judgment was consistent with Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the Philippines 11on bigamy and was therefore entitled to recognition by Philippine courts. Fujiki’s motion for reconsideration in the RTC also asserted that the trial court "gravely erred" when. and not Fujiki. 02-11-10-SC because he substantially complied with the provision. that the petition was in "gross violation" of the above provisions. No." 14 Fujiki had material interest and therefore the personality to nullify a bigamous marriage. Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. which "seeks to establish a status. lack of personality to sue and improper venue under Sections 2(a) and 4 of A. this Court explained: 38 . pre-existing marriage. 3753)15 in relation to Article 413 of the Civil Code.M. and not through a collateral attack such as [a] petition [for correction of entry] x x x.M. The Manifestation and Motion of the Office of the Solicitor General and the Letters of Marinay and Maekara On 30 May 2011."27 The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the validity of marriage between Marinay and Maekara. 4 (Venue) x x x as a ground for dismissal of this case[. on its own." 8 Apparently. 0211-10-SC applies because the petitioner. Rule 108 is the "procedural implementation" of the Civil Register Law (Act No."17 Section 2 of Rule 108 provides that entries in the civil registry relating to "marriages. Republic33 which held that Section 2(a) of A. prays for a decree of absolute nullity of marriage. Instead of a comment.M. No.18 The petition in the RTC sought (among others) to annotate the judgment of the Japanese Family Court on the certificate of marriage between Marinay and Maekara. x x x. No.M.13 Thus." 9 and not a civil action which is "for the enforcement or protection of a right. a right or a particular fact. the petition in the RTC sought to establish (1) the status and concomitant rights of Fujiki and Marinay as husband and wife and (2) the fact of the rendition of the Japanese Family Court judgment declaring the marriage between Marinay and Maekara as void on the ground of bigamy." "judgments of annulments of marriage" and "judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning" are subject to cancellation or correction." To apply Section 2(a) in bigamy would be absurd because only the guilty parties would be permitted to sue. 21 The trial court reiterated its two grounds for dismissal. is an injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. the RTC resolved to deny petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. In the words of Fujiki. 32 The Solicitor General argued that Fujiki. 30 The public respondents. petitioner alleged that the trial court should not have "immediately dismissed" the petition under Section 5 of A. 02-11-10-SC. the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Administrator and Civil Registrar General of the NSO. In its Resolution.16 The Civil Register Law imposes a duty on the "successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of marriage to send a copy of the final decree of the court to the local registrar of the municipality where the dissolved or annulled marriage was solemnized. it was also Fujiki’s view that A. No. Fujiki argued that Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court is applicable. No. Hence. as the spouse of the first marriage. of course. Negros Occidental.M. difficult to realize that the party interested in having a bigamous marriage declared a nullity would be the husband in the prior. 02-11-10-SC.12 In any case.] it should be taken together with the other ground cited by the Court x x x which is Sec. it dismissed the petition based on improper venue. On 2 March 2011. Fujiki stated that the RTC may be confusing the concept of venue with the concept of jurisdiction. 02-11-10-SC provides that "a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages may be filed solely by the husband or the wife. In Juliano-Llave. Section 2(a) of A. i. "[i]t is not."20Moreover. 02-11-10-SC applied only to void marriages under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of psychological incapacity. Thus." 26 Braza emphasized that the "validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the proper party. which he now seeks to be judicially recognized. No. 02-11-10-SC x x x be set aside" and that the case be reinstated in the trial court for further proceedings. or in the case of a non-resident respondent. The RTC considered Fujiki as a "third person"22 in the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court.M.M." 10 In other words. A petition for recognition of foreign judgment is a special proceeding. 0211-10-SC does not apply in cases of bigamy. No.Sec. at the election of the petitioner. It only said that "[a]lthough the Court cited Sec. Intermediate Appellate Court19 which held that the "trial court cannot pre-empt the defendant’s prerogative to object to the improper laying of the venue by motu proprio dismissing the case. The trial court based its dismissal on Section 5(4) of A. the RTC did not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages x x x. A." 23 On the other hand. No. the verification and certification against forum shopping of the petition was not authenticated as required under Section 5 29 of A. without further explanation. this also warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition under the same provision. No. 28 Moreover. Venue. He argued that A.31 The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. in effect. Fujiki cited Dacoycoy v. 02-11-10-SC which provides that "[f]ailure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of the petition. can file the petition to declare their marriage void. where he may be found in the Philippines. the Court required respondents to file their comment on the petition for review.e. He prayed that the RTC’s "pronouncement that the petitioner failed to comply with x x x A. 02-11-10-SC does not apply.M.M. No.M. 2(a) x x x. or the prevention or redress of a wrong. x x x The RTC ruled. the RTC took the view that only "the husband or the wife. No."24 The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the petition based on Braza v. participated through the Office of the Solicitor General.M. The trial court held that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the petition. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City.

Thus. "[t]he law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences upon a person’s legal capacity and status x x x. To be more specific. who is a Filipino citizen. To extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines.36 this Court held that "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself.M. 43Maekara also denied that he inflicted any form of violence on Marinay. In Mijares v. and especially if the conjugal bliss had already vanished. (3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.50 To hold that A. Republic. The latter is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of all. The Ruling of the Court We grant the petition. 02-11-10-SC) does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. However. citing De Castro v. rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation. especially Marinay. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court and the parties should follow its provisions. Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. If the office which has custody is in a foreign country such as Japan. Philippine courts must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with domestic public policy and other mandatory laws.M. No. The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of Court is the procedure to record "[a]cts. a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and proven as a fact under Rule 132. For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country. Rañada. even though living abroad. It will defeat the purpose of recognizing foreign judgments. 42 Maekara wrote that Marinay concealed from him the fact that she was previously married to Fujiki. the certification may be made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the seal of office. the Philippine 39 ."48 I." 37 WhileCorpuz concerned a foreign divorce decree. 45 She would like to maintain her silence for fear that anything she say might cause misunderstanding between her and Fujiki. Sections 24 and 25. 49 Petitioner may prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer who has custody of the judgment. De Castro39 and Niñal v. The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A. the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. condition and legal capacity of its parties.58 this Court explained that "[i]f every judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits. the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. Moreover. the Solicitor General argued that there is no jurisdictional infirmity in assailing a void marriage under Rule 108. it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse. Marinay wrote that she had no reason to oppose the petition.46 The Issues Petitioner raises the following legal issues: (1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A. including the form and contents of the petition. the plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action. 0211-10-SC) is applicable."59 A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the civil status. it would not be expected that they would file an action to declare the marriage void and thus. No. 60 Article 15 of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights and duties. in relation to Rule 39.52 the investigation of the public prosecutor.53 the setting of pre-trial." 38 The Japanese Family Court judgment directly bears on the civil status of a Filipino citizen and should therefore be proven as a fact in a Rule 108 proceeding. or to the status. No. in Juliano-Llave v. as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact. the "injured spouse" who should be given a legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous marriage. In other words. Bayadog40 which declared that "[t]he validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked. No.54 the trial55 and the judgment of the trial court." 57 The interpretation of the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits.44 On the other hand.M." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international law.[t]he subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if he or she had only discovered during the connubial period that the marriage was bigamous. Moreover. Santo Tomas. 51 the service of summons.34 The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding.35 In Corpuz v. 02-11-10-SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind the petition is bigamy. which is "to limit repetitive litigation on claims and issues. The subsequent marriage will always be a reminder of the infidelity of the spouse and the disregard of the prior marriage which sanctity is protected by the Constitution. (2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy.47 this Court held that the rule in A.56 This is absurd because it will litigate the case anew.M. in the present case the Japanese Family Court judgment also affected the civil status of the parties. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons" in the civil registry as required by Article 407 of the Civil Code. Should parties in a subsequent marriage benefit from the bigamous marriage."41 Marinay and Maekara individually sent letters to the Court to comply with the directive for them to comment on the petition. condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines. in such circumstance.

65 There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as a fact the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy.M. Section 2(a) of A. II. (Emphasis supplied) Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. over whom it exercises personal jurisdiction relating to the status. condition and legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of another state. Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of fact of the judgment. condition and legal capacity of such citizen. a right. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. No. "want of jurisdiction. bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. as bigamous marriages are declared void from the beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Thus.M. Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. collusion. may file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry relating thereto. The husband or the wife of the prior subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under Section 2(a) of A. but the recognition of a foreign divorce decree does not involve the extended procedure under A. 02-1110-SC cannot "diminish. Thus. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and proven in a Philippine court.62 Since 1922 in Adong v. For the same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule 108 to cancel the entry of marriage between Marinay and Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the Japanese Family Court. Thus. 02-11-10-SC or the rules of ordinary trial. the Japanese Family Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public policy. Section 3 of the Rules of Court provides that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status. Tomas this Court declared that "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself. There is also no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a bigamous marriage in the civil registry. Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: Sec. 40 .M. Rule 1. While the Philippines has no divorce law. to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad. collusion. 69 These property interests in marriage include the right to be supported "in keeping with the financial capacity of the family"70 and preserving the property regime of the marriage. 3753. event.e. recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment affecting its citizen. Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign judgments.64 Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage. increase." Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or Act No. On the contrary. Sto. Bigamy is a crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. in Corpuz v. 66 which the State has an interest in recording. . fraud. order or decree concerning the civil status of persons which has been recorded in the civil register. There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he contracted and the property relations arising from it. however.M. fraud. — Any person interested in any act. it may be made in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the union recognized by law. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a foreign judgment or final order against a person creates a "presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their successors in interest by a subsequent title. when Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife"75—it refers to the husband or the wife of the subsisting marriage. Philippine courts can only recognize the foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence. death or marriage.71 Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the Constitution. Philippine courts may. No.State may require. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. i." Moreover. recognize a foreign divorce decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Fujiki can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment in accordance with Rule 132. or a particular fact. 73 A. in relation to Rule 39. They cannot substitute their judgment on the status. with the Regional Trial Court of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located. 61 as well as respecting the jurisdiction of other states. The interest derives from the substantive right of the spouse not only to preserve (or dissolve. 02-11-10-SC. want of notice to the party." Thus. 74 In any case. want of notice to the party. 1. Section 48 of the Rules of Court states that "the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction. These are facts of public consequence such as birth. which compromises the public record of his marriage. Sections 24 and 25.63 Philippine courts have recognized foreign divorce decrees between a Filipino and a foreign citizen if they are successfully proven under the rules of evidence. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a foreign judgment. the parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the wife under the law."67 Rule 108. or clear mistake of law or fact. or clear mistake of law or fact. or modify" the substantive right of the spouse to maintain the integrity of his marriage. A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a spouse of a subsisting marriage to question the validity of a subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. it can only be repelled on grounds external to its merits. Section 48(b). for effectivity in the Philippines. Section 2(a) of A. No. As noted by the Solicitor General." The rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the protection of party expectations.72 but a spouse’s right in a marriage extends further to relational rights recognized under Title III ("Rights and Obligations between Husband and Wife") of the Family Code. Cheong Seng Gee.M. No. Who may file petition. but also to protect his property interests that arise by operation of law the moment he contracts marriage. No. While the Philippines does not have a divorce law. in limited instances 68) his most intimate human relation. as the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular fact.

A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to nullify a marriage. Once established. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here 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. 8369). III. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country."91 The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a marriage between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of bigamy. is the civil aspect of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. there should be no more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage in the civil registry. The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to declare the marriage void on the ground of bigamy. nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under R. anyone can initiate prosecution for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution and prevention of crimes.Article 35(4) of the Family Code. The principle in the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code applies because the foreign spouse.86 A direct action for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the foreign court. Orbecido. which presupposes a case which was already tried and decided under foreign law. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment. Thus.A. and a foreign citizen. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. 81 Thus. he is also personally interested in the purely civil aspect of protecting his marriage. No. A critical difference between the case of a foreign divorce decree and a foreign 41 . this does not apply in a petition for correction or cancellation of a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. the Filipino spouse will be discriminated—the foreign spouse can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the dissolution of the marriage. However. The anomaly consists in the Filipino spouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry under the laws of his or her country. Philippine courts are empowered to correct a situation where the Filipino spouse is still tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free to marry. Romillo90 which declared that the Filipino spouse "should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served. as a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the corresponding civil registry is located. this Court held that a "trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages" in a special proceeding for cancellation or correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.76 which penalizes bigamy.A. partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses. it causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse. No. after the foreign judgment nullifying the marriage. the spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested in the judgment of the suit.M. No. The procedure in A. which is already effective in the country where it was rendered. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce.85 and the investigation of the public prosecutor to determine collusion. a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a marriage. Negros Occidental. the "validity of marriage[] x x x can be questioned only in a direct action" to nullify the marriage. When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated. after obtaining a divorce. To be sure.78 there is more reason to confer personality to sue on the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage.84 the liquidation. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the Family Code. Moreover. A. For this purpose. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow divorce. 8369. The prior spouse does not only share in the public interest of prosecuting and preventing crimes. The correction is made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the foreign divorce decree. There is neither circumvention of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under Philippine law. 77If anyone can file a criminal action which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous marriage.79 Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior spouse "is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of all. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code is based on this Court’s decision in Van Dorn v." InRepublic v. Bigamy is a public crime. whose laws do not allow divorce. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Philippines. a Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry. The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure to address the anomaly that results from a marriage between a Filipino.M. is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or her country. notwithstanding Article 26 of the Family Code. In Braza v."80 Being a real party in interest." 87 In other words. Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic public policy. the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare a bigamous marriage void. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse" 89 under the laws of his or her country.83 support pendente lite of the spouses and children. 82 The RTC relied on Braza in dismissing the petition for recognition of foreign judgment as a collateral attack on the marriage between Marinay and Maekara.88 this Court recognized the legislative intent of the second paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. he can petition a court to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in the Philippines. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City. Among these safeguards are the requirement of proving the limited grounds for the dissolution of marriage. whose laws allow divorce. which declares bigamous marriages void from the beginning. Neither can R.

2013 JAMES WALTER P. there will be an inconsistency between the recognition of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and the public records in the Philippines. condition and legal capacity" of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Moreover. Philippine courts are incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was decided under foreign law. or clear mistake of law or fact. Tismo. WHEREFORE. 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. The Regional Trial Court is ORDERED to REINSTATE the petition for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision. the RTC of Pasig City granted petitioner’s Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss. the RTC of Antipolo City rendered a decision declaring the voidness or incipient invalidity of the second marriage between petitioner and private respondent on the ground that a subsequent marriage contracted by the husband during the lifetime of the legal wife is void from the beginning. the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. The factual antecedents are as follows: On June 28.M. "[t]he term of prescription [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the Philippine archipelago.3 Petitioner thereafter filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings alleging that: (1) there is a pending civil case for declaration of nullity of the second marriage before the RTC of Antipolo City filed by Karla Y. RESPONDENTS. The Order dated 31 January 2011 and the Resolution dated 2 March 2011 of the Regional Trial Court. the accused being previously united in lawful marriage with Karla Y. in view of the filing of the Motion to Suspend Proceedings filed by petitioner. 01-6043 (entitled: "Karla Medina-Capili versus James 42 ." Upon recognition of the foreign judgment.1âwphi1 However. in Pasig City. under the rule of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code. Contrary to law. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. G.M. recognize the foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SHIRLEY TISMO-CAPILI. CAPILI. petitioner was charged with the crime of bigamy before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City in an Information which reads: On or about December 8. unlawfully and feloniously contract a second marriage with Shirley G.R. Otherwise. respectively. For this purpose. the Court no longer sees the need to address the questions on venue and the contents and form of the petition under Sections 4 and 5. 2004. In an Order4 dated July 7. No. collusion. Thus. If there is neither inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the judgment.M. or on the status. vs. CR No. we GRANT the petition. PETITIONER. as a ground for the nullity of marriage. and (3) the pendency of the civil case for the declaration of nullity of the second marriage serves as a prejudicial question in the instant criminal case. Branch 72 in Civil Case No. 2004 had already been rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City. without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy. Branch 107. 1999. to the damage and prejudice of the latter. Philippine courts only decide whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party. No.e. by default. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage. fraud. this right becomes conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. but this is not the only remedy available to him or her. right and fact 92 that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. is fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public policy in the Philippines. the arraignment and pre-trial were reset by the RTC of Pasig City. 02-11-10-SC. it would exculpate him from the charge of bigamy. 30444. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable. 183805 July 3. The Filipino spouse has the option to undergo full trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under A. i. They cannot decide on the "family rights and duties. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status. Thereafter. of A. 02-11-10-SC. In the interim.93 The recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision 1 dated February 1. Section 48(b). want of notice to the party. 2006. Medina-Capili and without said marriage having been legally dissolved or annulled. No. under Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code. Philippine courts should. In the recognition of foreign judgments." Since A. did then and there willfully. want of jurisdiction. In a foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of a foreign country. Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. Q-11-68582 are REVERSED andSET ASIDE.judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is that bigamy. 2008 and Resolution2 dated July 24. to wit: The motion is anchored on the allegation that this case should be dismissed as a decision dated December 1. Consequently. and (2) whether any alleging party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment. Medina-Capili. Quezon City. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties. (2) in the event that the marriage is declared null and void. the petitioner accused filed his Manifestation and Motion (to Dismiss) praying for the dismissal of the criminal case for bigamy filed against him on the ground that the second marriage between him and private respondent had already been declared void by the RTC. in Civil Case No. No.R.

the issue is whether or not the subsequent declaration of nullity of the second marriage is a ground for dismissal of the criminal case for bigamy. The fallo reads: WHEREFORE. among others. 2008. THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN PETITIONER JAMES WALTER P.8 In essence. THE CASE OF TENEBRO V. Capili and Shirley G. but the same was denied in a Resolution[7] dated July 24. No costs. HENCE. Case No. TISMO BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY. AFTER PERUSAL OF THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD AND THE TESTIMONIES OF WITNESSES X X X. 128370 GRANTING THE MOTION TO DISMISS THE CASE OF BIGAMY AGAINST PETITIONER. Thus. nonexistent or incipient invalidity" of the said second marriage. DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF ANY SUCH FINDINGS OR FACTS ON WHICH IT IS BASED IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE VIII. are: (1) the offender has been legally married. IT IS AN EXCEPTION TO EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE INVOLVING DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE AND IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO THE SET OF FACTS IN THE SAID CASE. 2008. BRANCH 72 IN CIVIL CASE NO. COURT OF APPEALS SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. IS HEREBY NULL AND VOID. this Court is of the humble opinion that there is merit on the Motion to dismiss filed by the accused as it appears that the second marriage between James Walter P. premises considered. Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the crime of bigamy as follows: Art. 01-6043 AND THE CONCLUDING AND DISPOSITIVE PORTION IN THE SAID DECISION WHICH STATES THAT. WHICH RULING IS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FACTS OF THE CASE OF THE SAID DECISION AND WHICH IS CONTRARY TO APPLICABLE LAWS AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE. 349. BRANCH 72 IN ITS DECISION IN CIVIL CASE NO. the absent spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code. Branch 152 in Crim. SO ORDERED. The elements of the crime of bigamy. petitioner filed the present petition for review on certiorari alleging that: THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE COURT OF APPEALS TO DISREGARD EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE PRONOUNCED BY THIS HONORABLE SUPREME COURT AND TO REVERSE THE ORDER DATED JULY 7. it was stated. AND IN CONCLUDING THAT THE SAID DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE IS NOT A GROUND FOR DISMISSAL OF THE BIGAMY CASE AGAINST THE PETITIONER. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN HOLDING THAT THE DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE BETWEEN PETITIONER JAMES WALTER P. SECTION 14 OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION. in a Decision5 dated February 1." a case for declaration of nullity of marriage) nullifying the second marriage between James Walter P. the CA reversed and set aside the RTC’s decision. Branch 72 of Antipolo City which has declared "the voidness. 128370 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.6 Petitioner then filed a Motion for Reconsideration against said decision. the Order dated 07 July 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. Capili and Shirley G. IN CIVIL CASE NO. 2004 AND DULY RECORDED IN THE RECORDS OF ENTRIES IN THE CORRESPONDING BOOK IN THE OFFICE OF THE CIVIL REGISTRAR OF PASIG CITY AND THE NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE. As such. this Court submits that there is no more bigamy to speak of. 2006 OF THE TRIAL COURT (REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. therefore. WHEREFORE. or before the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings. 01-6043. Tismo and said decision is already final. private respondent filed an appeal before the CA. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE USE BY RESPONDENT SHIRLEY G. (2) the marriage has not been legally dissolved or. that the issues raised in the civil case are not similar or intimately related to the issue in this above-captioned case and that the resolution of the issues in said civil case would not determine whether or not the criminal action may proceed. in case his or her spouse is absent. CAPILI AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT SHIRLEY G. Accordingly. IS ON THE GROUND THAT IT IS BIGAMOUS IN NATURE. TISMO OF THE SURNAME "CAPILI" IS ILLEGAL INASMUCH AS THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY. 01-6043 DECLARING NULL AND VOID THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN JAMES WALTER P. PASIG CITY. BRANCH 152) ISSUED IN CRIMINAL CASE NO. Bigamy. AND THE GROUND FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE IS PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. – The penalty of prision mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally dissolved. CAPILI AND SHIRLEY G. We rule in the negative. In the opposition filed by the private prosecutor to the motion. Aggrieved.Walter P. The case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. TISMO HAD LONG BECOME FINAL AND UNAPPEALABLE AS OF THE DATE OF THE SAID DECISION ON DECEMBER 1. Tismo. (3) 43 . SO ORDERED. Capili and Shirley G. THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR ABANDONING EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE AS WHERE IN THE INSTANT CASE THE GROUND FOR DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE IS VIOLATIVE OF ARTICLE 3 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 4 OF THE FAMILY CODE. after a judicious evaluation of the issue and arguments of the parties. INASMUCH AS THE ISSUANCE OF THE SAID ORDER IS BASED ON THE FINDINGS AND/OR FACTS OF THE CASE IN THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY. TISMO. BRANCH 72. Tismo had already been nullified by the Regional Trial Court. CAPILI AND SHIRLEY G.

Thus. Cariño.9 In the present case. so long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second marriage was celebrated.11 In like manner. it is a settled rule that the criminal culpability attaches to the offender upon the commission of the offense. the RTC of Antipolo City itself declared the bigamous nature of the second marriage between petitioner and private respondent.nêt Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to set aside the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.00 from “GSIS Life. who spent for his medical and burial expenses. He passed away on November 23. even one which is void or voidable. [and] Pag-ibig. In this case. respondent. 1999 during the subsistence of a valid first marriage between petitioner and Karla Y.that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage. with whom he had no children in their almost ten year cohabitation starting way back in 1982. We cannot allow that. petitioner’s assertion would only delay the prosecution of bigamy cases considering that an accused could simply file a petition to declare his previous marriage void and invoke the pendency of that action as a prejudicial question in the criminal case. 1992. Both petitioner and respondent filed claims for monetary benefits and financial assistance pertaining to the deceased from various government agencies. It further held that the parties to the marriage should not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity. In Jarillo v. 44 . 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding. Cariño. a marriage. 2004. Commutation. and the second was on November 10. which affirmed in toto the decision 2 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. NAPOLCOM. In 1988. and (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential requisites for validity. the Court recently upheld the ruling in the aforementioned case and ruled that what makes a person criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid first marriage. the crime had already been consummated.000. that petitioner be ordered to return to her at least one-half of the one hundred forty-six thousand pesos (P146. SPO4 Santiago S.12 Finally.00) collectively denominated as “death benefits” which she (petitioner) received from “MBAI. Q-93-18632. under the care of Susan Yee. People.00 from “MBAI.10 the Court affirmed the accused’s conviction for bigamy ruling that the crime of bigamy is consummated on the celebration of the subsequent marriage without the previous one having been judicially declared null and void.000. Commutation. respondent Susan Yee filed the instant case for collection of sum of money against petitioner Susan Nicdao praying. 1992. 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. it appears that all the elements of the crime of bigamy were present when the Information was filed on June 28. even if there is a subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage. [and] Pag-ibig. Notably. PCCUI. because all that is required for the charge of bigamy to prosper is that the first marriage be subsisting at the time the second marriage is contracted. viz. No. G. even if petitioner eventually obtained a declaration that his first marriage was void ab initio. inter alia. 1993. he who contracts a second marriage before the judicial declaration of the first marriage assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy. Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that the accused may still be charged with the crime of bigamy. PCCUI. February 2.R. Thus. 2008 and Resolution dated July 24. namely. Therefore. 132529. NAPOLCOM. 30444 are hereby AFFIRMED. Petitioner Susan Nicdao was able to collect a total of P146. in Civil Case No. Medina-Capili contracted on September 3. the subsequent judicial declaration of the second marriage for being bigamous in nature does not bar the prosecution of petitioner for the crime of bigamy. During the lifetime of the late SPO4 Santiago S. under the law. petitioner failed to file her answer. the point is. The outcome of the civil case for annulment of petitioner’s marriage to [private complainant] had no bearing upon the determination of petitioner’s innocence or guilt in the criminal case for bigamy. 51263. SUSAN YEE CARIÑO. 1969. Branch 87.13 It is clear then that the crime of bigamy was committed by petitioner from the time he contracted the second marriage with private respondent. prompting the trial court to declare her in default. CR No.” 3 while respondent Susan Yee received a total of P21. It is undisputed that a second marriage between petitioner and private respondent was contracted on December 8. whose “death benefits” is now the subject of the controversy between the two Susans whom he married. petitioner. 1999. vs.000. both the first and the second marriage were subsisting before the first marriage was annulled. 1âwphi1. and so long as there is no such declaration the presumption is that the marriage exists. CV No. with petitioner Susan Nicdao Cariño (hereafter referred to as Susan Nicdao). Burial (GSIS) and burial (SSS). the first was on June 20. Sahlee and Sandee Cariño. The issue for resolution in the case at bar hinges on the validity of the two marriages contracted by the deceased SPO4 Santiago S.” Despite service of summons. the finality of the judicial declaration of nullity of petitioner’s second marriage does not impede the filing of a criminal charge for bigamy against him. 2001 SUSAN NICDAO CARIÑO. and from that instant.: The subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage was immaterial because prior to the declaration of nullity. premises considered. with respondent Susan Yee Cariño (hereafter referred to as Susan Yee). Thus. he contracted two marriages. with whom he had two offsprings.” 4 On December 14.R. The Decision dated February 1. Cariño became ill and bedridden due to diabetes complicated by pulmonary tuberculosis. liability appends to him until extinguished as provided by law.R. Moreover. WHEREFORE. the petition is DENIED.

such as but not limited to the determination of heirship. 14 In the case at bar. These need not be limited solely to an earlier final judgment of a court declaring such previous marriage void. Hence. holding as follows: WHEREFORE. is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void. as certified by the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan. the certification issued by the local civil registrar enjoys probative value. and not being one of the marriages exempt from the marriage license requirement. respondent contended that the marriage of petitioner and the deceased is void ab initio because the same was solemnized without the required marriage license. 12 and the absence thereof. is undoubtedly void ab initio.Respondent Susan Yee admitted that her marriage to the deceased took place during the subsistence of. 10 In such instances. he being the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. Cariño. so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. IT IS SO ORDERED. that the marriage between petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased. no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. But petitioner conveniently avoided the issue and chose to refrain from pursuing an argument that will put her case in jeopardy. subject to certain exceptions. In support thereof. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE LOWER COURT THAT VDA. This certification is issued upon the request of Mrs. Under the Civil Code. a valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage. Absent any circumstance of suspicion. 45 .000. the marriage between petitioner and the deceased. For other purposes. respondent presented: 1) the marriage certificate of the deceased and the petitioner which bears no marriage license number. dissolution of property regime. settlement of estate. evidence must be adduced. as in the present case. Hence. This notwithstanding. Such being the case. It is beyond cavil. which reads – This is to certify that this Office has no record of marriage license of the spouses SANTIAGO CARINO (sic) and SUSAN NICDAO. for said projected marriage to be free from legal infirmity. Metro Manila. 1995. 8 Under Article 40 of the Family Code. 1994. DE CONSUEGRA VS. where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage. 13 renders the marriage void ab initio. plus attorney’s fees in the amount of P5. Susan Yee Cariño for whatever legal purpose it may serve. the instant petition. 11 It is clear therefore that the Court is clothed with sufficient authority to pass upon the validity of the two marriages in this case. legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child. In Republic v. or a criminal case for that matter.00. 1969. we cannot issue as requested a true copy or transcription of Marriage License number from the records of this archives. AMENDED AND EVEN ABANDONED BY THE ENACTMENT OF THE FAMILY CODE. their office has no record of such marriage license. the defendant is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of P73. To bolster her action for collection of sum of money. 6 On August 28. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN APPLYING EQUITY IN THE INSTANT CASE INSTEAD OF THE CLEAR AND UNEQUIVOCAL MANDATE OF THE FAMILY CODE. Hence. and without first obtaining a judicial declaration of nullity of. the presumed validity of their marriage cannot stand. III. and costs of suit. from the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan. therefore. where she met petitioner who introduced herself as the wife of the deceased. who are married in this municipality on June 20. Court of Appeals.00. the presumed validity of the marriage of petitioner and the deceased has been sufficiently overcome. for purposes other than remarriage. A marriage license. 15 the Court held that such a certification is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage license. which was the law in force when the marriage of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased was solemnized in 1969. as the same is essential to the determination of who is rightfully entitled to the subject “death benefits” of the deceased. having been solemnized without the necessary marriage license. II.000. petitioner could have squarely met the issue and explained the absence of a marriage license in her pleadings before the Court of Appeals and this Court. and even in a suit not directly instituted to question the validity of said marriage. DE CONSUEGRA VS GSIS TO HAVE BEEN MODIFIED. the sole basis acceptable in law. Although she was declared in default before the trial court. 5 and 2) a certification dated March 9. GSIS IS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. the latter affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court. therefore. there is no question that the marriage of petitioner and the deceased does not fall within the marriages exempt from the license requirement. testimonial or documentary. 7 On appeal by petitioner to the Court of Appeals. was indispensable to the validity of their marriage. She. to prove the existence of grounds rendering such a previous marriage an absolute nullity. the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even after the death of the parties thereto. however. Metro Manila. half of the amount which was paid to her in the form of death benefits arising from the death of SPO4 Santiago S. claimed that she had no knowledge of the previous marriage and that she became aware of it only at the funeral of the deceased. the records reveal that the marriage contract of petitioner and the deceased bears no marriage license number and. Susan Yee. 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. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THE CASE OF VDA. contending that: I. Meaning. It then became the burden of petitioner to prove that their marriage is valid and that they secured the required marriage license. the trial court ruled in favor of respondent. 9 However.

the properties acquired by the parties through their actual joint contribution shall belong to the co-ownership.. NAPOLCOM. a party who did not participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former’s efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family and of the household. [S]ince the defendant’s first marriage has not been dissolved or declared void the conjugal partnership established by that marriage has not ceased. relationships in a state of concubine. 20 where the Court awarded one-half of the retirement benefits of the deceased to the first wife and the other half. each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. for purposes of remarriage. and the other half pertaining to the deceased shall pass by. this Court observed that although the second marriage can be presumed to be void ab initio as it was celebrated while the 46 . live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. whether as conjugal partner in a still subsisting marriage or as such putative heir she has an interest in the husband’s share in the property here in dispute. 19 Conformably. under Article 40 of the Family Code.” In this property regime. Hence. the second marriage would also be void. And. Government Service Insurance System. intestate succession. As there is no allegation of bad faith in the present case. Article 147 of the Family Code reads Art. Article 147 creates a co-ownership in respect thereto. the declaration in the instant case of nullity of the previous marriage of the deceased and petitioner Susan Nicdao does not validate the second marriage of the deceased with respondent Susan Yee. the applicable property regime would not be absolute community or conjugal partnership of property. property. otherwise. contributions in the form of care of the home. Wages and salaries earned by each party belong to him or her exclusively. both parties of the first marriage are presumed to be in good faith. Consequently. it could not be said that she contributed money. adulterous relationships. Inc. In affirming the decision of the trial court. are clearly renumerations. such share shall belong to the innocent party.. which refers to the property regime of bigamous marriages. In the absence of proof to the contrary. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants. In the absence of descendants. and shall be owned by them in equal shares. under the foregoing article. wages and salaries earned by either party during the cohabitation shall be owned by the parties in equal shares and will be divided equally between them.. namely. the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. xxx When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith. Thus. be governed by the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code on “Property Regime of Unions Without Marriage. As to the property regime of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased. entitled to share in his estate upon his death should she survive him. or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions .. the application of Article 148 is therefore in order.. de Consuegra v. Nor has the first wife lost or relinquished her status as putative heir of her husband under the new Civil Code... relationships where both man and woman are married to other persons. like the absence of a marriage license. respondent. even if only one party earned the wages and the other did not contribute thereto. [O]nly the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money.” And with respect to the right of the second wife. but whose marriage is nonetheless void for other reasons. To reiterate. likewise. In all cases. even if the disputed “death benefits” were earned by the deceased alone as a government employee. or spiritual or moral inspiration. the “death benefits” under scrutiny would now be awarded to respondent Susan Yee. Article 147 of the Family Code governs. 18 Considering that the marriage of respondent Susan Yee and the deceased is a bigamous marriage. Hence. children and household. One of the effects of the declaration of nullity of marriage is the separation of the property of the spouses according to the applicable property regime. having been solemnized during the subsistence of a previous marriage then presumed to be valid (between petitioner and the deceased). are excluded in this regime. to the second wife. that since the marriage of petitioner and the deceased is declared void ab initio. 16 Considering that the two marriages are void ab initio. the Court of Appeals relied on the case of Vda. properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts..It does not follow from the foregoing disquisition. property or industry in the acquisition of these monetary benefits. they are not owned in common by respondent and the deceased. however. their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co-ownership.” Under Article 148 of the Family Code. In contrast to Article 148. and PCCUI. though void. before a party can enter into a second marriage. Pag-ibig. The fact remains that their marriage was solemnized without first obtaining a judicial decree declaring the marriage of petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased void.000. This article applies to unions of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage. the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. Then too. one-half of the subject “death benefits” under scrutiny shall go to the petitioner as her share in the property regime. multiple alliances of the same married man. By intestate succession. work or industry. not being the legal wife of the deceased is not one of them.. Commutation. to his legal heirs. but belong to the deceased alone and respondent has no right whatsoever to claim the same. 17 “. entitling the petitioner to share one-half thereof. holding that: “. the marriage of respondent Susan Yee and the deceased is. there must first be a prior judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage. For purposes of this Article. 147. void ab initio. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other. incentives and benefits from governmental agencies earned by the deceased as a police officer. The disputed P146. but rather.]. Accordingly. his children with Susan Nicdao. the said “death benefits” of the deceased shall pass to his legal heirs.00 from MBAI [AFP Mutual Benefit Association. Unless respondent Susan Yee presents proof to the contrary.

together with her children. Elise impugned the validity of Eliseo’s marriage to Amelia by claiming that it was bigamous for having been contracted during the subsistence of the latter’s marriage with one Filipito Sandico (Filipito). Petitioners. like for filing a case for collection of sum of money anchored on a marriage claimed to be valid. This is the reason why in the said case. And inasmuch as the conjugal partnership formed by the second marriage was dissolved before judicial declaration of its nullity. in Niñal v. for and in behalf of MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON.1âwphi1. However. Ma. Court of Appeals. Amelia was joined by her children. To prove her filiation to the decedent.00 plus attorney’s fees in the amount of P5.000. filed by herein respondents who are Eliseo’s common-law wife and daughter. Lourdes Belen (Lourdes). the RTC directed the issuance of Letters of Administration to Elise upon posting the necessary bond. Maria Lourdes Elise Quiazon (Elise).R. In the same petition. the Court. attached to the Petition for Letters of Administration her Certificate of Live Birth4 signed by Eliseo as her father. it was alleged that Eliseo left real properties worth P2.00. clarified that a prior and separate declaration of nullity of a marriage is an all important condition precedent only for purposes of remarriage. M-3957. 5 The petitioners asserted that as shown by his Death Certificate.100. Branch 275. and consider the other half as pertaining to the conjugal partnership of the first marriage. No. represented by her mother. Insisting on the legal capacity of Eliseo and Lourdes to marry. the Court determined the rights of the parties in accordance with their existing property regime. Q-93-18632. In order to preserve the estate of Eliseo and to prevent the dissipation of its value. that would prove that the marriage from which his or her rights flow is in fact valid.00. opposed the issuance of the letters of administration by filing an Opposition/Motion to Dismiss. thereby discrediting the position taken by the petitioners that Eliseo’s last residence was in Capas.040.” 21 It should be stressed. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. 2006 of the Regional Trial Court. All that a party has to do is to present evidence. premises considered. No pronouncement as to costs. still there is need for judicial declaration of such nullity. 6 Eliseo was a resident of Capas.000. he or she has to obtain first a judicial decree declaring the first marriage void. otherwise the second marriage would be void. Bayadog. The clause “on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void” in Article 40 of the Family Code connoted that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage. The lower court ruled that the venue of the petition was properly laid in Las Piñas City. Claiming that the venue of the petition was improperly laid. Thus.R. Tarlac. 7 the petition for settlement of decedent’s estate should have been filed in Capas. Jenneth and Jennifer. 51263 which affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City ordering petitioner to pay respondent the sum of P73. 88589. at the time of his death. In addition to their claim of improper venue. 2013 AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON. This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed pursuant to Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. construing Article 40 of the Family Code. Respondent.00 and personal properties worth P2. Pursuant to Section 1. the court.3 In her Petition docketed as SP Proc. Elise sought her appointment as administratrix of her late father’s estate. In a Decision8 dated 11 March 2005. no prior and separate judicial declaration of nullity is necessary. as hearsay. Elise. Thereupon.nêt G.000. if a party who is previously married wishes to contract a second marriage. The petition was opposed by herein petitioners Amelia Garcia-Quaizon (Amelia) to whom Eliseo was married. before he or she could contract said second marriage. among others. and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.first marriage was still subsisting.1 the decretal portion of which states: WHEREFORE. the petition is GRANTED. for purposes other than to remarry. The complaint in Civil Case No. testimonial or documentary. a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. filed a Petition for Letters of Administration before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Las Piñas City. CV No. if material to the determination of the issues before it. No. The same rule applies even if the first marriage is patently void because the parties are not free to determine for themselves the validity or invalidity or their marriage. Tarlac and not in Las Piñas City. When such need arises. and the Order dated March 24.2 The Facts This case started as a Petition for Letters of Administration of the Estate of Eliseo Quiazon (Eliseo). Eliseo died intestate on 12 December 1992. JENNETH QUIAZON and MARIA JENNIFER QUIAZON. On 12 September 1994. the petitioners averred that there are no factual and legal bases for Elise to be appointed administratix of Eliseo’s estate. 22 however. 23 the Court explained: [T]he court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. Tarlac and not of Las Piñas City. the appeal is hereby DENIED. The dispositive of the RTC decision reads: 47 . LOURDES BELEN. 189121 July 31.R. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Jenneth Quiazon (Jenneth) and Maria Jennifer Quiazon (Jennifer). Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court. “[t]he only just and equitable solution in this case would be to recognize the right of the second wife to her share of one-half in the property acquired by her and her husband. that the aforecited decision is premised on the rule which requires a prior and separate judicial declaration of nullity of marriage. will rule on the status of the marriage involved and proceed to determine the rights of the parties in accordance with the applicable laws and jurisprudence. primarily assailing the 28 November 2008 Decision rendered by the Ninth Division of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Elise claims that she is the natural child of Eliseo having been conceived and born at the time when her parents were both capacitated to marry each other. MA. 2005.000. Las Piñas City are AFFIRMED in toto. WHEREFORE. vs. Amelia. That is. The assailed Decision dated March 11. CV No. however. In Domingo v. is hereby DISMISSED.

Pilar Village.21 Likewise unmeritorious is petitioners’ contention that the Court of Appeals erred in declaring Amelia’s marriage to Eliseo as void ab initio. after the approval by this Court of a bond in the amount of P100. Phase 5. the contents thereof.13 Even where the statute uses word "domicile" still it is construed as meaning residence and not domicile in the technical sense. Las Piñas City.19 Viewed in light of the foregoing principles. the Court of First Instance now Regional Trial Court of any province in which he had estate. from 1972 up to the time of his death in 1995. and convey the same meaning as the term "inhabitant. in the original case. This finding is consistent with the fact that in 1985. so far as it depends on the place of residence of the decedent. "residence. Ma. THE PETITION FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION WAS PROPERLY FILED WITH THE RTC OF LAS PIÑAS. Under Section 1. or when the want of jurisdiction appears on the record. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN AFFIRMING THAT ELISEO QUIAZON WAS A RESIDENT OF LAS PIÑAS AND THEREFORE. 26 Everlasting Road. While the recitals in death certificates can be considered proofs of a decedent’s residence at the time of his death. and his estate settled.CV No. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING THAT AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON WAS NOT LEGALLY MARRIED TO ELISEO QUIAZON DUE TO PREEXISTING MARRIAGE. Branch 106. therefore. his will shall be proved. the personal." 15 In other words. For purposes of fixing the venue of the settlement of Eliseo’s estate. Factual findings of the trial court. when affirmed by the appellate court. Lourdes Elise Quiazon. whether a citizen or an alien. 88589. actual residence or place of abode.R. the law in effect was the Civil Code. except in an appeal from that court.18 As thus defined. The petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution11 dated 7 August 2009. II. the venue for the settlement of his estate may be laid in the said city. The term "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence or domicile. in the Court of First Instance now Regional Trial Court in the province in which he resides at the time of his death. Both the RTC and the Court of Appeals found that Eliseo had been living with Lourdes. A void marriage can be questioned even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. means nothing more than a person’s actual residence or place of abode.9 On appeal. 26 Everlasting Road. however. Any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally. – If the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines at the time of his death. AND III. Pilar Village. shall not be contested in a suit or proceeding." in the context of venue provisions. For this reason. the Court of Appeals upheld the conclusion reached by the RTC that the decedent was a resident of Las Piñas City.00 to be posted by her. it was though no marriage has taken place.12 The Court’s Ruling We find the petition bereft of merit. the decision of the trial court was affirmed in toto in the 28 November 2008 Decision 10 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The Issues The petitioners now urge Us to reverse the assailed Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution on the following grounds: I. The jurisdiction assumed by a court. Rule 73 of the Revised Rules of Court is of such nature – residence rather than domicile is the significant factor. the Court of Appeals held that Elise was able to prove that Eliseo and Lourdes lived together as husband and wife by establishing a common residence at No. deporting themselves as husband and wife. or letters of administration granted. the petition for letters of administration of the estate of a decedent should be filed in the RTC of the province where the decedent resides at the time of his death: Sec." This term "resides. let letters of administration over the estate of the decedent Eliseo Quiazon. thus. 1. In validating the findings of the RTC.14 Some cases make a distinction between the terms "residence" and "domicile" but as generally used in statutes fixing venue." like the terms "residing" and "residence. 22 It must be pointed out that at the time of the celebration of the marriage of Eliseo and Amelia. shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts. Rule 73 of the Rules of Court. (Emphasis supplied). Eliseo resided at No. THE COURT OF APPEALS OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT ELISE QUIAZON HAS NOT SHOWN ANY INTEREST IN THE PETITION FOR LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION. and not 48 . In opposing the issuance of letters of administration. The court first taking cognizance of the settlement of the estate of a decedent." is elastic and should be interpreted in the light of the object or purpose of the statute or rule in which it is employed. Phase 5. the petitioners harp on the entry in Eliseo’s Death Certificate that he is a resident of Capas. 17 Venue for ordinary civil actions and that for special proceedings have one and the same meaning.000. In the application of venue statutes and rules – Section 1. or of the location of his estate. the Court of Appeals cannot be faulted for affirming the ruling of the RTC that the venue for the settlement of the estate of Eliseo was properly laid in Las Piñas City. "resides" should be viewed or understood in its popular sense. provided he resides therein with continuity and consistency. 20 That Eliseo went to the extent of taking his marital feud with Amelia before the courts of law renders untenable petitioners’ position that Eliseo spent the final days of his life in Tarlac with Amelia and her children. it cannot be the source of rights. actual or physical habitation of a person. the terms are synonymous. It disproves rather than supports petitioners’ submission that the lower courts’ findings arose from an erroneous appreciation of the evidence on record. from 1975 up to the time of Eliseo’s death in 1992. is not binding on the courts. and if he is an inhabitant of a foreign country. It is evident from the records that during his lifetime. Where estate of deceased persons settled.Having attained legal age at this time and there being no showing of any disqualification or incompetence to serve as administrator. Las Piñas City. on the ground that their marriage is void for being bigamous. meaning. must be held to be conclusive and binding upon this Court.16 It signifies physical presence in a place and actual stay thereat. Eliseo filed an action for judicial partition of properties against Amelia before the RTC of Quezon City. be issued to petitioner. In a void marriage. Tarlac where they insist his estate should be settled.

(c) If there is no such creditor competent and willing to serve. or next of kin. making the ruling in Niñal v. as a compulsory heir who stands to be benefited by the distribution of Eliseo’s estate. (c) The probable value and character of the property of the estate. is entitled to her legitimate after the debts of the estate are 49 . or fail to give bond. is just a desperate attempt to sway this Court to reverse the findings of the Court of Appeals. and the death of either party to the said marriage does not extinguish such cause of action. given the interval of time. it may be granted to such other person as the court may select. be incompetent or unwilling. 2. or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse. the right of Elise to be appointed administratix of the estate of Eliseo is on good grounds. the Court. Tarlac. it may be granted to one or more of the principal creditors. Consequently." in estate proceedings. It is founded on her right as a compulsory heir. administration shall be granted: (a) To the surviving husband or wife. who. requests to have appointed. (b) If such surviving husband or wife. 26 has a cause of action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the void marriage of Eliseo and Amelia. in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid. the existence of a previous marriage between Amelia and Filipito was sufficiently established by no less than the Certificate of Marriage issued by the Diocese of Tarlac and signed by the officiating priest of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Capas. and the names and residences of the creditors. In Niñal. Also. or both. thus: Sec. — A petition for letters of administration must be filed by an interested person and must show. in the discretion of the court. is not completely remote. is one who would be benefited in the estate. Certainly. or if the husband or widow. Elise. the possibility that a record of marriage can no longer be found in the National Archive. Section 6. under the law. the petitioners’ pounding on her lack of interest in the administration of the decedent’s estate. void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either. or the person selected by them. Upon the other hand. such that any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally without prescription. we now proceed to determine whether or not the decedent’s marriage to Amelia is void for being bigamous. or the executor or executors are incompetent. With the overwhelming evidence on record produced by Elise to prove her filiation to Eliseo. so far as known to the petitioner: (a) The jurisdictional facts. Contents of petition for letters of administration. in the absence of any showing that such marriage had been dissolved at the time Amelia and Eliseo’s marriage was solemnized. unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. the phrase "next of kin" refers to those whose relationship with the decedent Is such that they are entitled to share in the estate as distributees. such as an heir. Contrary to the position taken by the petitioners. as the case may be. refuse the trust. in no uncertain terms. Having established the right of Elise to impugn Eliseo’s marriage to Amelia. thus: Sec. Section 2 of Rule 79 provides that a petition for Letters of Administration must be filed by an interested person.28 In the instant case. Rule 78 of the Revised Rules of Court lays down the preferred persons who are entitled to the issuance of letters of administration. such as a creditor. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage. there is no doubt that Elise. by contradistinguishing void from voidable marriages.the Family Code. the inescapable conclusion is that the latter marriage is bigamous and. and residences of the heirs. if competent and willing to serve. is deemed to be an interested party. But no defect in the petition shall render void the issuance of letters of administration. whose successional rights would be prejudiced by her father’s marriage to Amelia. or next of kin. The said marriage may be questioned directly by filing an action attacking the validity thereof. or next of kin. The said marriage certificate is a competent evidence of marriage and the certification from the National Archive that no information relative to the said marriage exists does not diminish the probative value of the entries therein. as the case may be. or one who has a claim against the estate. in estate proceedings. neglects for thirty (30) days after the death of the person to apply for administration or to request that administration be granted to some other person. (b) The names.27 Neither are we inclined to lend credence to the petitioners’ contention that Elise has not shown any interest in the Petition for Letters of Administration. — If no executor is named in the will.24 It was emphasized in Niñal that in a void marriage. 6. (d) The name of the person for whom letters of administration are prayed. of the decedent. which may be filed even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. An "interested party. may impugn the existence of such marriage even after the death of her father. or next of kin. Elise. or a person dies intestate. Ineluctably. no marriage has taken place and it cannot be the source of rights. if competent and willing to serve. to wit: Consequently. as a compulsory heir. void ab initio.25 Relevant to the foregoing. allowed therein petitioners to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of their father’s marriage to therein respondent after the death of their father. such as in the case at bar. Bayadog23 applicable four-square to the case at hand. When and to whom letters of administration granted. ages. That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible. or to such person as such surviving husband or wife. We take judicial notice of the fact that the first marriage was celebrated more than 50 years ago. thus. therefore.

Jocelyn left Angelito sometime in July 1987. Branch 119. their relationship had been marred with bitter quarrels which caused unbearable physical and emotional pains on the part of the plaintiff because defendant inflicted physical injuries upon her every time they had a troublesome encounter. Soon thereafter. on the other hand. arc AFFIRMED in toto. will you describe his behavioural (sic) pattern before you got married? 50 . SUAZO We resolve the appeal filed by petitioner Jocelyn Suazo (Jocelyn) from the July 14. Since you cited violence. Ten years after their separation. They had by this time stopped schooling. Elise can rightfully be considered as an interested party within the purview of the law. Can you describe your relationship with the respondent before you got married? A. including the alleged incidents of physical beating she received from Angelito.[2] The reversed RTC decision nullified Jocelyns marriage with respondent Angelito Suazo (Angelito) on the ground of psychological incapacity. Jocelyn and Angelito lived with Angelitos parents after their marriage. After months of courtship. They now have children. after celebration of marriage. their parents sought Jocelyn and Angelito and after finding them. On cross-examination. That the main reason for their quarrel was always the refusal of the defendant to work or his indolence and his excessive drinking which makes him psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations making life unbearably bitter and intolerable to the plaintiff causing their separation in fact in July 1987.satisfied. she alleged in her complaint: xxxx 8. Pasay City in Civil Case No. 1986 in a ceremony officiated by the Mayor of Bian.R. In her testimony. Asst. as amended. permanent and incurable. 97-1282. She claimed that Angelito was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage. WHEREFORE. Jocelyn essentially repeated the allegations in her petition. Jocelyn. 2004 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. [1] THE FACTS Jocelyn and Angelito were 16 years old when they first met in June 1985. Kim Briguera: Q. That such psychological incapacity of the defendant started from the time of their marriage and became very apparent as time went and proves to be continuous. the Court of Appeals assailed 28 November 2008 Decision and 7 August 2009 Resolution.29Having a vested right in the distribution of Eliseo’s estate as one of his natural children. He always go (sic) to our house to court me. 62443. CV No. she remained firm on these declarations but significantly declared that Angelito had not treated her violently before they were married. premises considered. 10. Angelito thereafter found another woman with whom he has since lived. 1997. Jocelyn took odd jobs and worked for Angelitos relatives as household help. Angelito. Jocelyn and Angelitos marriage was arranged and they were married on March 3. Laguna. Having been gone for three days. Sol. refused to work and was most of the time drunk. xxxx Angelito did not answer the petition/complaint. 9. The case proceeded to trial on the merits after the trial court found that no collusion existed between the parties. or on October 8. which reversed the January 29. brought them back to Bian. In addition to the above historical narrative of their relationship. That from the time of their marriage up to their separation in July 1987. Accordingly. Jocelyn filed with the RTC a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. her aunt Maryjane Serrano. Without any means to support themselves. Jocelyn urged Angelito to find work and violent quarrels often resulted because of Jocelyns efforts. 1999 judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. SUAZO vs. Gen. they were residents of Laguna at that time. and the psychologist testified at the trial. Q. Jocelyn went to Manila with Angelito and some friends. Neither did he submit himself to a psychological examination with psychologist Nedy Tayag (who was presumably hired by Jocelyn).

Even to other people? A. is there any signs (sic) of violence? A. None maam (sic). The disorder is chronic and long-standing in proportion and appear(s) incurable. When the psychologist took the witness stand. And this long standing proportion (sic). Respondent(s) immature. Could you explain what does chronic mean? A. You also said that this psychological disorder is present during the wedding or at the time of the wedding or became manifest thereafter? A. Personality Disorder labeled on Anti-Social Personality Disorder (sic).[3] Maryjane Serrano corroborated parts of Jocelyns testimony. The disorder was present at the time of the wedding and became manifest thereafter due to stresses and pressure of married life. he always come (sic) to the house. He show (sic) kindness. permanent? A. xxxx Court: Q. The physical abuses on the petitioner also correlated without any employment exploitative and silent (sic) on the part of the respondent is clearly Anti-Social Disorder. Is there a clinical findings (sic)? A. He apparently grew up in a dysfunctional family. the behavior and actuation of the respondent during the time of the marriage the respondent is suffering from anti-social personality Disorder this is a serious and severe apparently incurable (sic). Q. And you based your interpretation on the report given by the petitioner? A. she declared: Q. Q. Yes. coherent. concern and responsibility to his family. Apparently. How was shown during the marriage (sic)? A. This disorder is chronic and long-standing before the marriage. Q. did you also make clinical interpretation of his behavior? A. Chronic is a clinical language which means incurable it has been there long before he entered marriage apparently. irresponsible and callous emotionality practically harbors (sic) the possibility of having blissful relationship. Such disorder is serious and severe and it interferred (sic) in his capacity to provide love. it came during early developmental (sic) Basic trust was not develop (sic). Q. He also quarrel (sic). Permanent and incurable. That is the clinical findings. So in other words. caring. Q. Based on the psychological examination wherein there is no pattern of lying when I examined her. relevant to marital relationship with respondent. because we were not sweethearts. Q. Q.A. the petitioner was found to be very responsive. Do the respondent know that he has that kind of psychological disorder (sic)? 51 . Q. His general behavior fulfill(s) the diagnostic criteria for a person suffering from Anti Social Personality Disorder. last paragraph which state: It is the clinical opinion of the undersigned that marriage between the two. Q. That no amount of psychological behavioral help to cure such because psychological disorder are not detrimental to men but to others particularly and this (sic) because the person who have this kind of disorder do not know that they have this kind of disorder. maam. So you cannot say his behavioral pattern composing of violent nature before you got married (sic). What about the respondent. had already hit bottom rock (sic) even before the actual celebration of marriage. And the last page of Exhibit E which is your report there is a statement rather on the last page. A.

the respondent is not aware that this kind of personality affect the other party (sic). Why did you know? A. So because of this Anti-Social Disorder the petitioner suffers a lot (sic)? A. How was the petitioner tortured? A. She was able to counter-act by the time she was separated by the respondent (sic). they do not have peaceful harmonious relationship during the less than one year and one thing what is significant. Court: Q. Alcohol and gambling. Court: Q. because the petitioner is a victim of hardships of marital relation to the respondent (sic). From the very start the respondent has no emotion to sustain the marital relationship but what he need is to sustain his vices thru the petitioner (sic). Yes. What are the vices? A. Anti-Social disorder is incurable again because the person itself. Court: Q. respondent allowed wife to work as housemaid instead of he who should provide and the petitioner never receive and enjoy her earning for the five months that she work and it is also the petitioner who took sustainance of the vices. Usually a person suffering that psychological disorder will not admit that they are suffering that kind of disorder (sic). according to the petitioner. Actually. (sic) Q.A. Do you mean to tell us that Anti-Social disorder is incurable? A. Court: Q. respondent never give due respect more often than not he even shouted at them for no apparent reason (sic). Yes. And because of that Anti-Social disorder he had not shown love to the petitioner? A. Court: Q. Did you say Anti-Social Disorder incurable (sic)? A. Court: Q. They do not have children because more often than not the respondent is under the influence of alcohol. Yes. Yes. Was the Anti-Social Personality Disorder also shown to the parents (sic)? A. I could see the petitioner is tortured mentally of the respondent (sic). sir. Is there a physical violence (sic)? A. This Anti-Social behavior is naturally affected the petitioner (sic)? A. 52 . Court: Q. Court: Q. sir. Court: Q.

Her tolerance for frustration appears to be at par with her coping mechanism that she is able to discharge negative trends appropriately. 1988 ed. Through a Certification filed with the RTC.39. described to be an alcoholic. immature. decided.) The evidence presented by the petitioner and the testimony of the petitioner and Dr. it argued that the psychologist failed to examine and test Angelito. eldest among 4 siblings. THE RTC RULING The RTC annulled the marriage under the following reasoning: While there is no particular instance setforth (sic) in the law that a person may be considered as psychologically incapacitated. She is pictured as a hard-working man (sic) who looks forward for a better future in spite of difficulties she had gone through in the past. what she said about him was purely hearsay.[4] The psychologist also identified the Psychological Report she prepared. points ( sic) to one thing that the petitioner failed to establish a harmonious family life with the respondent. after one year and four months of messy days. And this affected psychological incapacity to perform marital obligation? A.. thus. However. she needs to prioritize her interest in order to direct her energy toward specific goals. p. to leave the respondent. there as (sic) some admitted grounds that would render a person to be unfit to comply with his marital obligation. Not only that up to this time from my clinical analysis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder. gambler. 28 years old reached 3rd year high school. womanizer and a heavy gambler. otherwise peculiar to infants (like refusal of the husband to support the family or excessive dependence on parents or peer group approval) and habitual alcoholism. Tayag. 53 . i. or the condition by which a person lives for the next drink and the next drinks (The Family Code of the Phils. SUAZO GENERAL DATA [This pertains to Jocelyns] BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY xxxx Husband is Angelito D. She is fully aware of external realities of life that she set simple life goals which is (sic) commensurate with her capabilities and limitations. such as immaturity. While mother is a sales agent. Familial relationship was described to be stormy. chaotic whose bickering and squabbles were part and parcel of their day to day living. It was a common knowledge within their vicinity that she was also involved in an illicit relationship.Court: Q. jobless. The Report pertinently states:[5] Report on the psychological condition of JOCELYN M. She is fully equipped in terms of drives and motivation particularly in uplifting not. in order to remain in goodstead (sic) with her immediate environment. On the contrary. the respondent has not shown love and respect to the petitioner manifested by the formers being irresponsible. Alicia Sempio-Diy. he is good for nothing person. lack of an effective sense of rational judgment and responsibility. drunkard and worst of all a wife beater. a part time tricycle driver.e. SUAZO. a petitioner for Nullity of Marriage versus ANGELITO D. Father is a machine operator. Suazo. REMARKS : [Already cited in full in the psychologists testimony quoted above][6] The Office of the Solicitor General representing the Republic of the Philippines strongly opposed the petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage. She may be sensitive yet capable of containing the effect of such sensitiveness. The petitioner. TEST RESULTS AND EVALUATION Projective data reveal an introvert person whose impulse life is adequately suppressed so much so that it does not create inner tension and anxiety. unable to bear any longer the misbehavior and attitude of the respondent. only her socio-emotional image but was as her morale.

there is much scarcer evidence to hold that the respondent was psychologically incapable of entering into the marriage state. suffering from psychological incapacity which is not only grave but also incurable. This situation that the petitioner had underwent may be attributed to the fact that at the time of their marriage. In the case at bench. the respondent blamed the petitioners family for said early marriage and not to his own liking. The theory of the psychologist that the respondent was suffering from an anti-social personality syndrome at the time of the marriage was not the product of any adequate medical or clinical investigation. that is. In any event. she was obliged to do the household chores an indication that she is a battered wife coupled with the fact that she served as a servant in his (sic) husbands family. or the failure or refusal to work could have been the result of rebelliousness on the part of one who felt that he had been forced into a loveless marriage.[7] the RTC concluded: The above findings of the psychologist [referring to the psychologist testimony quoted above] would only tend to show that the respondent was. she already suffered from maltreatment. 268 SCRA 198. Only the wife gave first-hand testimony on the behavior of the husband.[8] THE CA RULING The Republic appealed the RTC decision to the CA. Court of Appeals. Likewise. The CA reversed the RTC decision. instead. she and her husband are still young and was forced only to said marriage by her relatives. as stated in Marcos vs Marcos 343 SCRA 755. Familiar (sic) [the psychologist who testified in this case was Nedy Tayag.Applied in Marcos. the person whose mental and psychological capacity was in question. Familiar] attesting that there is psychological incapacity on the part of the respondent to comply with the essential marital obligations has been sufficiently and clearly proven and. not a Dr. the guidelines set in Santos vs Court of Appeals and Republic vs Court of Appeals do not require that a physician personally examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. but it is still necessary to show that they were manifestations of a deeper psychological malaise that was clinically or medically identified. The element of permanence or incurability that is one of the defining characteristic of psychological incapacity is not present. the RTC cited the pertinent Molina ruling] The Court is satisfied that the evidence presented and the testimony of the petitioner and Dr. and a grim and sad reminder of her husband who made here a slave and a punching bag during the short span of her marriage with him. indeed. in the absence of any evaluation of the respondent himself. As observed by the Court in Marcos. the petitioner was able to prove that right from the start of her married life with the respondent. Applying the principles and the requisites of psychological incapacity enunciated by this Court in Santos v.In this regard. however. and it is inconclusive. therefore. applying the principles set forth in the case of Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina. the respondent may have failed to provide material support to the family and has resorted to physical abuse. 54 . petitioner is entitled to the relief prayed for. A claim that the marriage is valid as there is no psychological incapacity of the respondent is a speculation and conjecture and without moral certainty. due to physical injuries inflicted upon her and that she was the one who worked as a housemaid of a relative of her husband to sustain the latters niece (sic) and because they were living with her husbands family. Pesca vs Pesca 356 SCRA 588. The law on annulment should be liberally construed in favor of an innocent suffering petitioner otherwise said law will be an instrument to protect persons with mental illness like the serious anti-social behavior of herein respondent. The Supreme Court adopted the totality of evidence approach which allows the fact of psychological incapacity to be drawn from evidence that medically or clinically identify the root causes of the illness. the respondent was not under a permanent compulsion because he had later on shown his ability to engage in productive work and more stable relationships with another. wherein the Supreme Court held that: x x x x [At this point. although they are now separated. anecdotal at best. relatives and the social worker were not found to be sufficient to prove psychological incapacity. could equally show that the behavior of the respondent was due simply to causes like immaturity or irresponsibility which are not equivalent to psychological incapacity. children. The evidence that she got from the petitioner. This will enhanced (sic) a greater tragedy as the battered wife/petitioner will still be using the surname of the respondent. to assume the essential duties of marriage due to an underlying psychological illness. then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. If the totality of the evidence is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity.The petitioner and the respondent had never developed the feeling of love and respect. ruling that: True. the aggregate testimony of the aggrieved spouse.

as it merely introduced an abstract concept psychological incapacity that disables compliance with the contractual obligations of marriage without any concrete definition or. at the very least. The decision of the RTC. the OSG relied on generalities without being specific on why it is opposed to the dissolution of a marriage that actually exists only in name. The CA committed no reversible error of law in setting aside the RTC decision. which gives three conditions that would make a person unable to contract marriage from mental incapacity as follows: 1095. The RTC. The Court of Appeals went beyond what the law says. applied its finding of psychological incapacity based on existing jurisprudence and the law itself which gave lower court magistrates enough latitude to define what constitutes psychological incapacity. They are incapable of contracting marriage: (1) who lack the sufficient use of reason. an illustrative example. this omission was intentional to give the courts a wider discretion to interpret the term without being shackled by statutory parameters. Santos v. Simply stated. As the Supreme Court intimates in Pesca. But the marriage cannot for this reason be extinguished. Molina and Te Article 36 of the Family Code provides that a marriage contracted by any party who. as no basis exists to declare Jocelyns marriage with Angelito a nullity under Article 36 of the Family Code and its related jurisprudence. (2) who suffer from grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and duties which are to be mutually given and accepted. THE COURTS RULING We find the petition devoid of merit. petitioner has not sufficiently shown that the trial courts factual findings and evaluation of the testimonies of private respondents witnesses vis--vis petitioners defenses are clearly and manifestly erroneous.[10] 55 . We must therefore apply the law based on how the concept of psychological incapacity was shaped and developed in jurisprudence. THE PETITION Jocelyn now comes to us via the present petition to challenge and seek the reversal of the CA ruling based on the following arguments: 1. (b) juridical antecedence. Article 36 of the Family Code did not define psychological incapacity. our strict handling of Article 36 will be a reminder of the inviolability of the marriage institution in our country and the foundation of the family that the law seeks to protect. Court of Appeals) holds that the finding of the Trial Court as to the existence or non-existence of petitioners psychological incapacity at the time of the marriage is final and binding on us (the Supreme Court).There is no doubt that for the short period that they were under the same roof. It must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. The Law. being clothed with discretionary functions. A unique feature of this law is its intended open-ended application. intelligently conforms to these criteria. Court of Appeals[9] declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity. was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage. and (c) incurability. It should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage. Tuason (256 SCRA 158. at the time of the celebration. as it totally disregarded the legal basis of the RTC in declaring the marriage null and void Tuason v. she further claims. shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. Article 36 though was taken from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law. 2. to be accurate. On the contrary. (3) who are not capable of assuming the essential obligations of matrimony due to causes of a psychic nature. The concept of psychological incapacity is not to be a mantra to legalize what in reality are convenient excuses of parties to separate and divorce. we face the issue of whether there is basis to nullify Jocelyns marriage with Angelito under Article 36 of the Family Code. should be Tuason v. the married life of the petitioner with the respondent was an unhappy one. Jocelyn claims.

occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. Marcos. the latter as so interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family. could not have given valid assumption thereof. The evidence must convince the court that the parties or one of them was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming.[13] A later case. Thus. not necessarily to those not related to marriage. while not controlling or decisive. proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. nevertheless such root cause must be identified as apsychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. Thus. under the reasoning that the courts interpretation or construction establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. not a refusal. Accordingly. (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220. Although no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. should be given great respect by our courts x x x (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. mood changes. Furthermore. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable. shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. recognizing it as the foundation of the nation. such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations. it is no longer necessary to introduce expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence shows that psychological incapacity exists and its gravity. Court of Appeals[11] (Molina) as follows: (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff.[14] further clarified that there is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Pesca[16] clarifies that the Molina guidelines apply even to cases then already pending. (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. The Solicitor General. an adverse integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence. merely expounded on the basic requirements of Santos. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability. which will be quoted in the decision. inviolability and solidarity. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse. like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. along with the prosecuting attorney. (b) alleged in the complaint. thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. to the petition. It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds 56 . there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person. (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. subsequent jurisprudence holds. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological .[12] Molina.not physical. The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time. not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. or prior thereto. much less ill will. as the case may be. and incurability can be duly established. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095.The Court laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of the law in Republic v. mild characteriological peculiarities. 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. x x x (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification. In other words. (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified. (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Both the family and marriage are to be protected by the state. Marcos v. neglect or difficulty. briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition. juridical antecedence. or knowing them. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their I do's. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition.[15] Pesca v. but the illness itself must have attached at such moment.

has allowed diagnosed sociopaths. Again. upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a judgment on the pleadings. Velez-Ting[20] follows Tes lead when it reiterated that Te did not abandon Molina. somehow. as so intended by its framers. as are indicative of psychological incapacity at the time of the celebration of the marriage but expert opinion need not be alleged. Rules) promulgated by the Court took effect. had. if any. It said that the resiliency with which the concept should be applied and the case-to-case basis by which the provision should be interpreted. on a case-to-case basis. the Court. although not binding on the civil courts. Court of Appeals. predilections or generalizations.M. Molina. Courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis. to continuously debase and pervert the sanctity of marriage. No. Court of Appeals. to Te. Reyes. far from abandoning Molina. wittingly or unwittingly. guided by experience. but according to its own facts. On March 15. the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines. schizophrenics.itself later overruled. Te then enunciated the principle that each case must be judged. and by decisions of church tribunals that. Under Section 17 of the Rules. may be given persuasive effect since the provision itself was taken from the Canon Law. been rendered ineffectual by the imposition of a set of strict standards in Molina. explained that when private respondent testified under oath before the lower court and was cross-examined by the adverse party. The complete facts should allege the physical manifestations. Te launched an attack on Molina. narcissists and the like. All cases involving the application of Article 36 of the Family Code that came to us were invariably decided based on the principles in the cited cases. in Tsoi v. Te begins with the observation that the Committee that drafted the Family Code did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that by so doing. has become a strait-jacket. The subsequent Ting v. guided by experience. forcing all sizes to fit into and be bound by it. the Court. nymphomaniacs. Te expressly stated that it is not suggesting the abandonment of Molina. including expert opinion. not on the basis of a priori assumptions.[18] Te thus assumes it a basic premise that the law is so designed to allow some resiliency in its application. that the Committee desired that the courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis. Section 2(d) of the Rules pertinently provides: (d) What to allege. and a different view is adopted. As a final note though. in sustaining the lower courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. it would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A. that should determine whether a party to a marriage is psychologically incapacitated. With this as backdrop. saying that its interpretation is consistent with that of the Canon Law. 2003. and by decisions of church tribunals. that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance therewith under the familiar rule of lex prospicit. it simply suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements. she thereby presented evidence in the form of testimony. the grounds for the declaration of the absolute nullity or annulment of marriage must be proved. cognizant of the explanation given by the Committee on the Revision of the Rules on the rationale of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages:[21] 57 . by the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines. Te said: Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts. This was the state of law and jurisprudence on Article 36 when the Court decided Te v. the Court. Importantly. the Court. non respicit. if any. following Antonio v. ruled that the senseless and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the marital obligation of procreating children is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Section 14(b) requires the court to consider during the pre-trial conference the advisability of receiving expert testimony and such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the petition. but that. it merely looked at other perspectives that should also govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. Section 12(d) of the Rules requires a pre-trial brief containing all the evidence presented. ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and binding on the appellate courts.[19] Te then sustained Santos doctrinal value. 08-11-10 SC. briefly stating or describing the nature and purpose of these pieces of evidence. aware of parallel decisions of Catholic marriage tribunals. Yu-Te[17] (Te) which revisited the Molina guidelines. A petition under Article 36 of the Family Code shall specifically allege the complete facts showing that either or both parties were psychologically incapacitated from complying with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of marriage even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its celebration. in conveniently applying Molina. Going back to its basic premise.

refusal or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will on the part of the spouse is different from incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness. Marcos asserts. This is proof of Santos continuing doctrinal validity.[24] Under this evolutionary development. the Committee deemed itnecessary to relax this stringent requirement enunciated in the Molina Case. we find Jocelyns evidence insufficient to establish Angelitos psychological incapacity to perform essential marital obligations. what should not be lost on us is the intention of the law to confine the application of Article 36 to the most serious cases of personality disorders. courts. or was unwilling to perform these obligations. irreconcilable differences. for they are but iterations of Santos juridical antecedence. This is not to mention. but we mention nevertheless for emphasis.[23] [Underscoring supplied] This evidentiary approach is repeated in Ting v. It is also noteworthy for its evidentiary approach in these cases. instead of substantially departing from Molina. It is also a fact that there are provinces where these experts are not available. despite having the primary task and burden of decisionmaking. Thus. between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. And as Marcos v. which it expounded on as follows: By the very nature of Article 36. must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the parties. for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave. We so conclude based on our own examination of the evidence on record. Verily. that the psychological illness that must have afflicted a party at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she is about to assume. sexual infidelity or perversion. Proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor an adverse integral element in the respondents personality structure that effectively incapacitated him from complying with his essential marital obligations must be shown. they do. [27] If all these sound familiar. clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. Velez-Ting. The need for the examination of a party or parties by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist and the presentation of psychiatric experts shall now be determined by the court during the pretrial conference. Court of Appeals emphasizes the importance of presenting expert testimony to establish the precise cause of a partys psychological incapacity. there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated be personally examined by a physician. do not by themselves warrant a finding of psychological incapacity under Article 36. emotional immaturity and irresponsibility and the like. gravity and incurability requisites.[26] Mere difficulty. which we were compelled to undertake because of the differences in the trial court and the appellate courts appreciation and evaluation of Jocelyns presented evidence. The Present Case As the CA did. medical or the like. xxxx Hernandez v.To require the petitioner to allege in the petition the particular root cause of the psychological incapacity and to attach thereto the verified written report of an accredited psychologist or psychiatrist have proved to be too expensive for the parties. must not discount but. if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. had difficulty in complying with his marital obligations. instead. that the presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert. 58 . They adversely affect access to justice of poor litigants.[25] It is not enough that the respondent. as shown by the current string of cases on Article 36 of the Family Code. alleged to be psychologically incapacitated. and to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage. the evidence must show a link.[22] merely stands for a more flexible approach in considering petitions for declaration of nullity of marriages based on psychological incapacity. as the same may only be due to a persons refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Te. therefore. severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity.

59 . b. From these perspectives. gravity and incurability of Angelitos alleged psychological condition. that there must be a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert. Quite noticeable. i. could not have secured a complete personality profile and could not have conclusively formed an objective opinion or diagnosis of Angelitos psychological condition.e. on the bases for her conclusion or theparticulars that gave rise to the characterization she gave. In saying this. the psychologist evaluated Angelitos psychological condition only in an indirect manner she derived all her conclusions from information coming from Jocelyn whose bias for her cause cannot of course be doubted. however. too. jurisprudence holds that this type of examination is not a mandatory requirement. the psychologist merely generalized on the questions of why and to what extent was Angelitos personality disorder grave and incurable. However. for it was based entirely on Jocelyns assumed knowledge of Angelitos family background and upbringing. grave and incurable. The psychologist therefore failed to provide the answers to the more important concerns or requisites of psychological incapacity. While such examination is desirable.Based on her declarations in open court.a. all of which are critical to the success of Jocelyns cause. For instance. the credibility gaps spawned by supposedly expert opinion based entirely on doubtful sources of information. This is an approach in the application of Article 36 that allows flexibility. the court must evaluate the evidentiary worth of the opinion with due care and with the application of the more rigid and stringent set of standards outlined above. the psychologist testified that Angelitos personality disorder is chronic or incurable. if not totally obliterate. she did not support this declaration with any factual basis. Additionally. for a conclusive diagnosis of a psychological incapacity that is grave. we conclude that the psych`ologist. as basic trust was not developed. Jocelyns Testimony The inadequacy and/or lack of probative value of the psychological report and the psychologists testimony impel us to proceed to the evaluation of Jocelyns testimony. The veracity. The methodology employed simply cannot satisfy the required depth and comprehensiveness of examination required to evaluate a party alleged to be suffering from a psychological disorder. severe and incurable. Other than this credibility or reliability gap. we recognize that it may not be practical in all instances given the oftentimes estranged relations between the parties. The psychologist was conspicuously silent. to find out whether she provided the court with sufficient facts to support a finding of Angelitos psychological incapacity. this is not true for Angelitos. both the psychologists report and testimony simply provided a general description of Angelitos purported anti-social personality disorder. In her Report. this is not the psychological report that the Court can rely on as basis for the conclusion that psychological incapacity exists. Angelito has long been afflicted with the disorder prior to his marriage with Jocelyn or even during his early developmental stage. at the same time that it avoids. While the report or evaluation may be conclusive with respect to Jocelyns psychological condition. is the psychologists own equivocation on this point she was not firm in her conclusion for she herself may have realized that it was simply conjectural. information coming from persons intimately related to him (such as the partys close relatives and friends) may be helpful. For a determination though of a partys complete personality profile. using meager information coming from a directly interested party. of this finding is highly suspect.. The Expert Opinion Evidence Both the psychologists testimony and the psychological report did not conclusively show the root cause. and on the effects of the disorder on Angelitos awareness of and his capability to undertake the duties and responsibilities of marriage. though. she based her conclusion on the presumption that Angelito apparently grew up in a dysfunctional family. We first note a critical factor in appreciating or evaluating the expert opinion evidence the psychologists testimony and the psychological evaluation report that Jocelyn presented. Given the source of the information upon which the psychologist heavily relied upon. we do not suggest that a personal examination of the party alleged to be psychologically incapacitated is mandatory. These particulars are simply not in the Report. In short. supported by the characterization of this disorder as chronic. and neither can they be found in her testimony.

Maria Eva (Ria). The fallo of the assailed Decision reads: WHEREFOREthe appeal is GRANTED. do not. She did not clarify when these beatings exactly took place whether it was near or at the time of celebration of the marriage or months or years after. not before or at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Also. neglect or mere refusal to perform marital obligations that. she declared in her testimony that Angelito showed no signs of violent behavior. the CA correctly reversed the RTC judgment. 2004 Resolution[3] in CA-G. 2004 Decision[2] and December 15. and the assailed Decision is SET ASIDE and VACATED while the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is hereby DISMISSED. KALAW vs. medical or the like. gambling. premises considered. the children stayed with Malyn on weekends. gambling and refusal to find a job. Before the Court is a Petition for Review[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) May 27. and Jaime Teodoro (Jay). on the contrary. this evidence does not satisfy the requirement of Article 36 and its related jurisprudence.[4] Factual Antecedents Petitioner Valerio E. show psychological incapacity. We AFFIRM the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Malyn left the conjugal home (the house of her Kalaw in-laws) and her four children with Tyrone.R. Tyrone started living with Jocelyn. Ramon Miguel (Miggy or Mickey). Significantly. Jocelyn merely testified on Angelitos habitual drunkenness. Tyrone went to the United States (US) with Jocelyn and their children. 1976. whose factual bases we now find to be clearly and manifestly erroneous. 62443. The evidence of this nexus is irretrievably lost in the present case under our finding that the opinion of the psychologist cannot be relied upon. She testified on the alleged physical beatings after the marriage. They had four children. FERNANDEZ A finding of psychological incapacity must be supported by well-established facts. They maintained a relationship and eventually married in Hong Kong on November 4. we find Jocelyns testimony to be insufficient. SO ORDERED.[5] In May 1985. Elena Fernandez (Malyn) met in 1973. cannot be considered to be constitutive of psychological incapacity in the absence of proof that these are manifestations of an incapacity rooted in some debilitating psychological condition or illness. Our ruling in Tuason recognizing the finality of the factual findings of the trial court in Article 36 cases (which is Jocelyns main anchor in her present appeal with us) does not therefore apply in this case. Habitual drunkenness. by themselves.[7] In 1990. who bore him three more children. It is the plaintiffs burden to convince the court of the existence of these facts. who gave birth to a son in March 1983. specifically the Santos requisites. WHEREFORE. This is a clear evidentiary gap that materially affects her cause. while indicative of psychological incapacity. refusal to seek employment and the physical beatings she received from him all of which occurred after the marriage. standing alone. the CA correctly applied Article 36 and its related jurisprudence to the facts and the evidence of the present case. While we may concede that physical violence on women indicates abnormal behavioral or personality patterns. We find that. which reversed the trial courts declaration of nullity of the herein parties marriage. therefore. All these simply indicate difficulty. Shortly after the birth of their youngest son. such violence. during the courtship stage or at the earliest stages of her relationship with him.[8] The househelp would just call Malyn to take care of the children whenever any of them got sick.[6] Meanwhile. Even assuming. CV No. we DENY the petition for lack of merit. between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. Valerio (Rio). Tyrone had an extramarital affair with Jocelyn Quejano (Jocelyn).[9] 60 . Costs against the petitioner. CV No. The physical violence allegedly inflicted on Jocelyn deserves a different treatment. as the cited jurisprudence holds. in accordance with their custody agreement.Unfortunately. He left his four children from his marriage with Malyn in a rented house in Valle Verde with only a househelp and a driver. that Jocelyns account of the physical beatings she received from Angelito were true. 64240.R. Jurisprudence holds that there must be evidence showing a link. does not constitute psychological incapacity. as the law and its related jurisprudence require that the psychological incapacity must exist at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Kalaw (Tyrone) and respondent Ma. On the whole. assuming this to be indicative of a personality disorder.

Fr. she left the house to party with male friends and returned in the early hours of the following day. Dayan). and her frequent nights-out with friends may reflect a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Malyn is so self-absorbed that she is incapable of prioritizing her familys needs.In 1994. 2.[19] Dr. [25] He clarified that he did not verify the truthfulness of the factual allegations regarding Malyns habits because he believed it is the courts duty to do so. Ria returned to the Philippines and chose to live with Malyn. Tyrone filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code. Healy clarified that playing mahjong and spending time with friends are not disorders by themselves. he saw Benjie and Malyn inside. [15] At rebuttal.[18] Malyns NPD is manifest in her utter neglect of her duties as a mother.[10]After just one year. nine years since the de facto separation from his wife. He concluded that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform her marital duties. [23] Fr. Tyrone and Jocelyns family returned to the Philippines and resumed physical custody of the two younger children. 1994. They only constitute psychological incapacity whenever inordinate amounts of time are spent on these activities to the detriment of ones familial duties. explained that she did so only to escape her physically abusive husband. Healy).[13] During trial. and the son Miggy. as well as the report of Dr.[20] Dr.m. the children refused to go to her house on weekends because of alleged weekend plans with their father. 1985. Natividad Dayan (Dr. Gerard Healy. she left the children without proper care and attention as she played mahjong all day and all night.[21] Fr. Healy characterized Malyns psychological incapacity as grave and incurable. which act Tyrone discovered in flagrante delicto. [17] NPD is present when a person is obsessed to meet her wants and needs in utter disregard of her significant others. Malyn rushed out of their bedroom and into her mother-in-laws room.[29] She maintained that she did not neglect her duties as mother and wife. Tyrone then placed cigarette ashes on Malyns head and proceeded to lock the bedroom doors. which the psychologist gathered to be materially deprived and without a proper maternal role model. Fr.[31] She never returned to their conjugal home. Miggy and Jay. He called up the security guards and instructed them not to let Malyn out of the house.[16] They put their agreement in writing before Atty.[11] Complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage On July 6. [26] Instead.m. Rio and Ria. Tyrone elaborated that Benjie was wearing only a towel around his waist. Dr. habitual mahjong playing. she committed adultery on June 9. (Fr.[12] He alleged that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform and comply with the essential marital obligations at the time of the celebration of their marriage. Malyn acceded only to learn later that Tyrone brought the children to the US. This role allegedly inflated Malyns ego to the point that her needs became priority. According to him. She maintained that she did so only two to three times a week and always between 1 p. proceeded to Hyatt Hotel and learned that Malyn was occupying a room with a certain Benjie Guevarra (Benjie). on June 9. she denied playing as frequently as Tyrone alleged. 61 .J. Healy corroborated Dr. Gates reported that Malyns personality disorder may have been evident even prior to her marriage because it is rooted in her family background and upbringing. Gates explained on the stand that the factual allegations regarding Malyns behavior her sexual infidelity. [22] He explained that her psychological incapacity is rooted in her role as the breadwinner of her family. 1985. while Malyn was lying in bed in her underwear. Dr. Malyns version Malyn denied being psychologically incapacitated. was upset that Malyn was preparing to go to work. Ronald Fernandez (Malyns brother). Meanwhile. the two elder children. she always had Tyrones permission and would often bring the children and their respective yayas with her. he agreed not to charge Malyn with adultery when the latter agreed to relinquish all her marital and parental rights. He further claimed that her psychological incapacity was manifested by her immaturity and irresponsibility towards Tyrone and their children during their co-habitation. After an exchange of words. Trinidad Kalaw (Tyrones sister-in-law). Cristina Gates (Dr. Gates based her diagnosis on the facts revealed by her interviews with Tyrone. She. She also read the transcript of Tyrones court testimony. who preferred to keep Malyn a housewife. Fearing another beating. Malyn admitted leaving the conjugal home in May 1985. and 3.[27] While she admitted playing mahjong. When he proceeded to the said room. [28] And in those instances. asked for Malyns permission to go to Japan for a one-week vacation.[14] Tyrone narrated the circumstances of Malyns alleged infidelity. while her kids and husbands needs became secondary. he and his brother-in-law. Tyrone. Malyns expert witness. S. Gates). from that time on. She blurted that Tyrone would beat her up again so her mother-in-law gave her P300 to leave the house. however. Gates assessment. he formed his opinion on the assumption that the factual allegations are indeed true. the trial transcripts. to 6 p. as shown by Malyns following acts: 1. only. According to Malyn. Jose Palarca. [30] On the day she left. Tyrone presented a psychologist.[24] He based his opinion on his interview with Tyrone. to testify on Malyns psychological incapacity. and a Catholic canon law expert.

The two elder kids remembered the fights between their parents but it was only Ria who admitted actually witnessing physical abuse inflicted on her mother. but not severe. She became relationship-dependent. flowers. confirmed Tyrones allegation that they found Malyn with Benjie in the Hyatt hotel room. As an affirmative defense.Malyn explained that she applied for work. When Malyn first met Tyrone who showered her with gifts. dependency. They had a common recollection that the househelp would call their mother to come and take care of them in Valle Verde whenever any of them was sick. for the duration of Tyrones confinement. [46] He likewise testified that Tyrone tested negative for drugs and was not a drug dependent.[49] 62 .[35] Malyn presented Dr. Malyn only saw her children by surreptitiously visiting them in school. Contrary to Tyrones version. Dayan interviewed Tyrone. Rio testified that they would accompany their mother to White Plains on days that she played mahjong with her friends. Miggy/Mickey.[33] Malyn insisted that she wrote the letter relinquishing all her spousal and parental rights under duress. testified that. [44] While they did not live with their mother while they were housed in Valle Verde. Tyrones attending psychiatrist at the Manila Sanitarium. and affection she resisted his overtures. None of them reported being neglected or feeling abandoned. drinking. precipitating the demise of their marriage. Both of them seem behaviorally immature. against Tyrones wishes. He is unable to remain faithful to Malyn and is psychologically incapacitated to perform this duty.[40] As for Tyrone.[39] On the stand.[47] Malyns brother. doubting his love. and loved them. His interest in them was not necessarily for sex. she puts all her energy into him and loses focus on herself. She maintained that Benjie only booked a room at the Hyatt Hotel for her because she was so drunk after partying with friends. Dayan determined that both Tyrone and Malyn were behaviorally immature. Jay. drug habit. [36] while Malyn was fed up with Tyrones sexual infidelity. who was allegedly part of Malyns group of friends. The factual narrations culled from these interviews reveal that Tyrone found Malyn a lousy mother because of her mahjong habit. Dayan likewise wrote in her psychological evaluation report that Malyn exhibited significant. Dayan a clinical psychologist. She made it clear that she could take him or leave him. he was often out seeking other women.[42] The two elder kids also recalled that. womanizing. the kids were in agreement that their mother took care of them on weekends and would see to their needs. Because of Malyns and Tyrones backgrounds (both came from families with high conflicts) they experienced turmoil and chaos in their marriage. It appears that her style then was when she begins to care for a man. Malyn. she appeared to have a good relationship with her kids. He stated on the stand that they would go on nightsout as a group and Malyn would meet with a male musician-friend afterwards. This imbalance between thinking and feeling was overwhelming to Tyrone who admitted that the thought of commitment scared him. and physical violence.[45] Other witnesses Dr. she became a different person clingy and immature.[34] After the Hyatt Hotel incident. and physical abuse. as her expert witness. because she wanted to be self-sufficient.[41] Childrens version The children all stated that both their parents took care of them. just for fun dancing. their mother would visit them only in school. habitual drinking. as manifested by his drug dependence. and Ria for her psychological evaluation of the spouses. He likewise did not recall seeing Benjie or Malyn halfnaked. he testified that neither he nor Tyrone entered the room. concerned more about his work and friends tha[n] he was about spending time with his family. Ronald Fernandez. the psychologist elaborated that while Malyn had relationship problems with Tyrone. She admitted finding her brother Ronald and Tyrone at the door of the Hyatt Hotel room.[32] Malyn denied the allegation of adultery. But the minute she started to care. She later obtained partial custody of the children as an incident to the legal separation action filed by Tyrone against her (which action was subsequently dismissed for lack of interest). For some time. which ultimately led to the demise of their marriage. Her resolve came from her discovery that Tyrone had a son by Jocelyn and had secretly gone to the US with Jocelyn.[38] Dr. Both of them were not truly ready for marriage even after two years of living together and having a child. Her diagnostic impressions are summarized below: The marriage of Tyrone and Malyn was a mistake from the very beginning. They encountered problems because of their personality differences.[43] The children recalled living in Valle Verde with only the househelp and driver during the time that their dad was abroad. Dr. he has commitment issues which prevent him from committing himself to his duties as a husband. constantly demanding reassurance that she was the most important person in his life. and compulsiveness. narcissism.[48] Tyrone then presented Mario Calma (Mario). Malyn maintained that it was Tyrone who was suffering from psychological incapacity. The conflicts they had struggled to avoid suddenly galloped out of control Their individual personalities broke through. or simply flirting. He was a distancer. but stayed in the hallway. Tyrone admitted that when he was in his younger years. the couple appeared happy and the wife was commendable for the support she gave to her spouse. after the separation. provided for their needs. [37] Dr. but maintained being fully clothed at that time. Cornelio Banaag. Malyn adapted to her husband who was a moody man with short temper and unresolved issues with parents and siblings.

Social worker The trial court ordered the court social worker. Jocelyn V. simply left the children for several years with only a maid and a driver to care for them while he lived with his second family abroad. Parties psychological incapacity is grave. the psychological report submitted by petitioners expert witness. Arre (Arre). who had custody of the children since the couples de facto separation. Moreover. It failed to satisfy the legal and jurisprudential requirements for the declaration of nullity of marriage. Healys testimony. While both parents are financially stable and have positive relationships with their children. The incapacity has been clinically established and was found to be pervasive. albeit on petitioners part. does not explain how the diagnosis of NPD came to be drawn from the sources. Dr. on the other hand.[51] On the contrary. proved on the stand that respondents egocentric attitude. Healy.[67] Fr.[62] and c) that respondents NPD existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage because it is rooted in her upbringing. and serious such that both are incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage. Jocelyn. grave and incurable. Ria. the rendering of mutual help. Both parties allegations and incriminations against each other do not support a finding of psychological incapacity. Malyn was shown to be more available to the children and to exercise better supervision and care. the trial court concluded that both parties are psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations under the Family Code. she made efforts to visit her children clandestinely in their respective schools. the procreation and education of their children to become responsible individuals. He opines that he has presented preponderant evidence to prove that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations. or even Jocelyn. she recommended that the custody of the minor children be awarded to Malyn. Gates. Gates did not interview her. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court[53] After summarizing the evidence presented by both parties. [50] and Tyrone and Malyns only daughter.[68] 63 . The CA reversed the trial courts ruling because it is not supported by the facts on record.[60] Petitioners arguments Petitioner Tyrone argues that the CA erred in disregarding the factual findings of the trial court. The courts Decision is encapsulated in this paragraph: From the evidence.[65] She argues that the testimonies of her children and the findings of the court social worker to the effect that she was a good.[55] Ruling of the Court of Appeals[56] Malyn appealed the trial courts Decision to the CA. to wit: a) the expert witnesses.[66] She assails Dr.[61] b) these expert witnesses proved that respondents NPD is grave and incurable and prevents her from performing her essential martial obligations. was based only on Tyrones version of the facts. And while she was only granted weekend custody of the children.[63] Petitioner stresses that even respondent insisted that their marriage is void because of psychological incapacity. to conduct a social case study on the parties as well as the minor children. family background. and attentive mother are sufficient to rebut Tyrones allegation that she was negligent and irresponsible. Based on the interviews of family members themselves. [57] Moreover. loving. her report failed to state that Malyns alleged psychological incapacity was grave and incurable. Arre interviewed the parties Tyrone and Malyn. The social worker commended the fact that even after Malyn left the conjugal home in 1985. the social worker did not find Tyrone a reliable parent to whom custody of adolescents may be awarded. it appears that parties are both suffering from psychological incapacity to perform their essential marital obligations under Article 36 of the Family Code.[64] Respondents arguments Respondent maintains that Tyrone failed to discharge his burden of proving her alleged psychological incapacity. Gatess report as one-sided and lacking in depth. the community of life and love. which is the court that is in the best position to appreciate the evidence. Given this history during the formative years of the children. Tyrones live-in partner. The parties entered into a marriage without as much as understanding what it entails. Tyrone. there may be sufficient grounds for a legal separation. At most. 2004. [52] The social worker found that Tyrone tended to prioritize his second family to the detriment of his children with Malyn. their common children. it appeared that she made efforts to personally attend to their needs and to devote time with them. selfobsession and self-centeredness were manifestations of respondents NPD. The parties faults tend only to picture their immaturity and irresponsibility in performing their marital and familial obligations. They failed to commit themselves to its essential obligations: the conjugal act. and socialite lifestyle prior to her marriage. Dr. Gates and Fr.[54] The trial court then declared the parties marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code.[58] Tyrone filed a motion for reconsideration[59] but the same was denied on December 15. the minor children Miggy/Mickey and Jay. immaturity. Dr.

Sexual infidelity per se is a ground for legal separation.Malyn reiterates the appellate courts ruling that the trial court Decision is intrinsically defective for failing to support its conclusion of psychological incapacity with factual findings. Almost four years after filing her memorandum. saying that they were with their mother when she played mahjong in their relatives home.[74] In the case at bar. He presented the testimonies of two supposed expert witnesses who concluded that respondent is psychologically incapacitated. petitioner alleged that respondent constantly played mahjong and neglected their children as a result. there is nothing to link their academic shortcomings to Malyns actions. 64 . there is no basis for concluding that she was indeed psychologically incapacitated. The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the trial courts Decision for lack of legal and factual basis. shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. and must be incurable. The psychological problem must be grave. Thus. In fact. and neglect of their children. No proof whatsoever was presented to prove her visits to beauty salons or her frequent partying with friends. the totality of the evidence points to the opposite conclusion. suffers a serious psychological disorder that completely disables him or her from understanding and discharging the essential obligations of the marital state. they narrated that she took care of them. Petitioners experts heavily relied on petitioners allegations of respondents constant mahjong sessions. This was not done.[69] She manifested that she was no longer disputing the possibility that their marriage may really be void on the basis of Tyrones psychological incapacity. Also unproven was petitioners claim about respondents alleged constant visits to the beauty parlor. petitioner failed to prove that his wife (respondent) suffers from psychological incapacity. 2010 Resolution. but Mario only testified that respondent appeared to be dating other men. constitute a psychological incapacity in the form of NPD. both failed the second elementary level despite having tutors. The trial courts Decision merely summarized the allegations. but it did not actually assess the veracity of these allegations. Psychological incapacity is the downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations. While he intimated that two of his sons repeated the second grade. and the weight of the evidence. at the time of the celebration. but it was not proven that she engaged in mahjong so frequently that she neglected her duties as a mother and a wife. but the conclusions of these witnesses were premised on the alleged acts or behavior of respondent which had not been sufficiently proven. Petitioner presented Mario (an alleged companion of respondent during these nights-out) in order to prove that respondent had affairs with other men. Even assuming arguendo that petitioner was able to prove that respondent had an extramarital affair with another man. There was no testimony whatsoever that shows abandonment and neglect of familial duties. While petitioner cites the fact that his two sons. She then asked the Court to dispose of the case with justice. Rio and Miggy. but it does not necessarily constitute psychological incapacity. [72] The burden of proving psychological incapacity is on the plaintiff. The least that could have been done was to prove the frequency of respondents mahjong-playing during the years when these two children were in second grade. Petitioner did not present any proof. other than his own testimony. The children corroborated this. and obsessive need for attention from other men. that one instance of sexual infidelity cannot. while there is no dispute that respondent played mahjong. For instance. must have existed at the time of marriage. She maintained it was only two to three times a week and always with the permission of her husband and without abandoning her children at home. respondent apparently had a change of heart and filed a Manifestation with Motion for Leave to Withdraw Comment and Memorandum. On the contrary.[71] Issue Whether petitioner has sufficiently proved that respondent suffers from psychological incapacity Our Ruling The petition has no merit. [73] The plaintiff must prove that the incapacitated party. There is no error in the CAs reversal of the trial courts ruling that there was psychological incapacity. were not actually proven. A marriage contracted by any party who. respondent presented contrary evidence refuting these allegations of the petitioner.[70] Her manifestation and motion were noted by the Court in its January 20. visits to the beauty parlor. its alleged debilitating frequency and adverse effect on the children were not proven. when performed constantly to the detriment of quality and quantity of time devoted to her duties as mother and wife. Respondent refuted petitioners allegations that she played four to five times a week. Indeed. the Court finds no factual basis for the conclusion of psychological incapacity. and cooked the food they like. adultery. But petitioners allegations. he was not able to link this episode to respondents mahjong-playing. was around when they were sick. A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is governed by Article 36 of the Family Code which provides: ART. going out with friends. A fair assessment of the facts would show that respondent was not totally remiss and incapable of appreciating and performing her marital and parental duties. going out with friends. that the mahjong sessions were so frequent that respondent neglected her family. After poring over the records of the case. 36. It appears that respondent made real efforts to see and take care of her children despite her estrangement from their father. The trial court did not make factual findings which can serve as bases for its legal conclusion of psychological incapacity. be equated with obsessive need for attention from other men. Given the insufficiency of evidence that respondent actually engaged in the behaviors described as constitutive of NPD. Not once did the children state that they were neglected by their mother. the credibility of the witnesses. Respondent admittedly played mahjong. based on his or her actions or behavior. which served as the bases or underlying premises of the conclusions of his experts. and evidence of the respective parties. by itself. testimonies. was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage. Petitioners experts opined that respondents alleged habits.

as duly 65 . Natividad contracted a second marriage on January 11. averring that there was no showing that Natividad’s personality traits constituted psychological incapacity as envisaged under Article 36 of the Family Code. adding too that he sired a son with another woman. finding that while Natividad’s emotional immaturity. Petitioner. respectively. Similarly. Rizza R. RODOLFO O. Rodolfo was left to take care of Ma. 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Zamboanga del Norte. Rizza). but are mere grounds for legal separation under the Family Code. 171557. The Facts Rodolfo and Natividad were married on February 15.R. Zalsos stated that both Rodolfo and Natividad were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. Cheryl T. De Gracia (Ma.What transpired between the parties is acrimony and. proved futile because of Natividad’s psychological incapacity that appeared to be incurable. Zalsos’s observation that Natividad’s condition is incurable since it is deeply rooted within the make–up of her personality.” 22 As for Natividad. who were born on August 20.15 From the time Natividad abandoned them in 1972. It relied on the findings and testimony of Dr. Sindangan. Zalsos concluded that the “couple’s union was bereft of the mind. It likewise concurred with Dr. 12Natividad left their conjugal home and sold their house without his consent. WHEREFORE. contending that the acts committed by Natividad did not demonstrate psychological incapacity as contemplated by law.20 In her two–page psychiatric evaluation report. the petition is DENIED. perhaps.R. DE GRACIA. as well as appear during trial. S–665 declaring the marriage of respondent Rodolfo O.11 At the time of their marriage. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).19 Rodolfo also underwent the same examination. In compliance with the Order8 dated January 5. Rodolfo testified. “their degree or severity. CV No. filed an opposition24 to the complaint. Zamboanga del Norte and have two (2) children. Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated June 2. Zalsos) in response to Rodolfo’s claims. 64240 are AFFIRMED. 2004 Resolution in CA-G. she informed the court that she submitted herself for psychiatric examination to Dr. and bore him a child named Julie Ann Terez. 1998. Accordingly. knowing them. G. 2005. No. alleging that Natividad was psychologically incapacitated to comply with her essential marital obligations.10 and he was forced to marry her barely three (3) months into their courtship in light of her accidental pregnancy.R. the RTC declared the marriage between Rodolfo and Natividad void on the ground of psychological incapacity. 6 They lived in Dapaon. while Natividad was 18 years of age. although it only manifested after. De Gracia (Ma. 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA–G. despite service of summons. could not have given a valid assumption thereof. 1999. 2004 Decision and its December 15. Dr. and that the testimony of the expert witness was not conclusive upon the court.9 Trial on the merits then ensued. docketed as Civil Case No. February 12. In support of his complaint. however.” 23 On February 10. namely. Zalsos also observed that she lacked the willful cooperation of being a wife and a mother to her two daughters. finding that both parties suffered from “utter emotional immaturity [which] is unusual and unacceptable behavior considered [as] deviant from persons who abide by established norms of conduct. premises considered. 1999 of the RTC. He had no stable job and merely worked in the gambling cockpits as “kristo” and “bangkero sa hantak. 1972. Natividad failed to file her answer. Rosalem (Natividad) void on the ground of psychological incapacity pursuant to Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines5 (Family Code). 1969 and January 15. There may be grounds for legal separation. much more comprehend the marital obligations she was assuming. Further. infidelity. Zalsos. it concluded that Natividad could not have known. 18 Nonetheless. v. 1991 with another man named Antonio Mondarez and has lived since then with the latter in Cagayan de Oro City. Dr. Rodolfo failed to perform his obligations as a husband. the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC.17 For her part. 14 After cohabiting with Terez. Reynilda and Ma. will and heart for the obligations of marriage. that he first met Natividad when they were students at the Barangay High School of Sindangan. S–665. 69103 which affirmed the Decision 4 dated October 17. or. Based on the foregoing. 2005 and Resolution3dated February 3. Zamboanga del Norte. holding that Natividad’s emotional immaturity exhibited a behavioral pattern which in psychiatry constitutes a form of personality disorder that existed at the time of the parties’ marriage but manifested only thereafter. representing petitioner Republic of the Philippines (Republic). among others. Zalsos (Dr.27 The Republic appealed to the CA. he was 21 years old. Ma. Reynilda R.7 On December 28. Natividad moved to Dipolog City where she lived with a certain Engineer Terez (Terez). Branch 11 (RTC) in Civil Case No. the public prosecutor conducted an investigation to determine if collusion exists between Rodolfo and Natividad and found that there was none. CV No.28 The CA Ruling In a Decision29 dated June 2. De Gracia (Rodolfo) and Natividad N. which may have constrained them from dedicating the best of themselves to each other and to their children. Reynilda) and Ma. irresponsibility and promiscuity by themselves do not necessarily equate to psychological incapacity. Respondent. but certainly not psychological incapacity that voids a marriage. 2000.25 The RTC Ruling In a Decision26 dated October 17. 13 Thereafter. The Court of Appeals May 27. Rodolfo filed a verified complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage (complaint) before the RTC. Dr. 1969 at the Parish of St.21 Dr. Rizza 16 and he exerted earnest efforts to save their marriage which.” When he decided to join and train with the army. Zalsos noted that the mental condition of both parties already existed at the time of the celebration of marriage. Vincent Ferrer in Salug. 2014 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.

has sufficiently established a case of psychological disorder so profound as to render [Natividad] incapacitated to perform her essential marital obligations. irresponsibility. to refuse or be reluctant to perform one’s duties is another. Dr. among others. coupled too with the recognition that marriage is an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family. 2005 and Resolution dated February 3. the Court. there exists insufficient factual or legal basis to conclude that Natividad’s emotional immaturity. as petitioner therein “utterly failed.35 In Santos v. hence. although expert opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological temperament of parties are usually given considerable weight by the courts. let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract. although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage). not merely due to her youth.e. In the same vein.testified to by Dr. appears to be drawn out as a bare conclusion and even self– serving. should refer to no less than a mental – not merely physical – incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which.e. as affirmed by the CA. Based on the evidence presented. in Dedel v.41 held that therein respondent’s emotional immaturity and irresponsibility could not be equated with psychological incapacity as it was not shown that these acts are manifestations of a disordered personality which make her completely unable to discharge the essential marital obligations of the marital state. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of “psychological incapacity” to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. respect and fidelity and render help and support. 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. the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved).” as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 36 32 of the Family Code. To the Court’s mind. heavily relied on the psychiatric evaluation report of Dr. CA. observe love. Zalsos which does not. the petition is GRANTED. to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing. Further. CA. Pesca43(Pesca). that the incapacity is grave.34include their mutual obligations to live together. Accordingly. has preceded the marriage and is incurable. The Ruling of the Court The petition is meritorious. 66 . it must be incurable. the Court. or even sexual promiscuity. Dr. irresponsibility and infidelity do not rise to the level of psychological incapacity that would justify the nullification of the parties’ marriage.e. which is essentially a reiteration of her report.” In Pesca. v. however. however. that the root cause of the incapacity has been identified medically or clinically.38whose salient points are footnoted hereunder. 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA–GR. the complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage filed under Article 36 of the Family Code isDISMISSED. invoked by her. denied in a Resolution 31 dated February 3. deeply–rooted.. however. immaturity or sexual promiscuity. (b) juridical antecedence (i. Zalsos’s report. CA36 (Santos). Zalsos’s testimony during trial. hence. explain in reasonable detail how Natividad’s condition could be characterized as grave. to make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent. does not find any such evidence sufficient enough to uphold the court a quo’s nullity declaration. and (c) incurability (i. Thus. the existence of psychological incapacity must still be proven by independent evidence. the Court upheld the appellate court’s finding that the petitioner therein had not established that her husband “showed signs of mental incapacity as would cause him to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenant. can be equated with psychological incapacity. as so expressed in Article 68 33 of the Family Code. WHEREFORE. the Court.. Neither was the gravity or seriousness of Natividad’s behavior in relation to her failure to perform the essential marital obligations sufficiently described in Dr. the instant petition. Indeed. To hark back to what has been earlier discussed.” significantly noting that the “[e]motional immaturity and irresponsibility. Aside from failing to disclose the types of psychological tests which she administered on Natividad. not physical illness.”44 The Court maintains a similar view in this case. and that the incapacity is permanent and incurable in nature. ruled against a declaration of nullity. the Court does not perceive a disorder of this nature to exist in the present case. Natividad’s refusal to live with Rodolfo and to assume her duties as wife and mother as well as her emotional immaturity. it must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage. psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.37 The Court laid down more definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code in Republic of the Phils. and has been proven by an expert. the finding contained therein on the incurability of Natividad’s condition remains unsupported by any factual or scientific basis and. 69103 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. so as to warrant a declaration of nullity of the marriage.39 These guidelines incorporate the basic requirements that the Court established in Santos.. 45 After poring over the records.42 In the same light. 2006. also fails to convince the Court of her conclusion that Natividad was psychologically incapacitated. and incurable within the parameters of psychological incapacity jurisprudence. in the case of Pesca v. Verily. as so provided for in Article 68 of the Family Code.40 Keeping with these principles. both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence. the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by: (a) gravity (i.46 In the final analysis. it must be grave and serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in a marriage). “Psychological incapacity. Zalsos. cannot be equated with psychological incapacity. The Decision dated June 2. The RTC. or even if it were otherwise. for these reasons. CV No. that his incapacity to meet his marital responsibility is because of a psychological.47 the instant petition is hereby granted.”30 The Republic moved for reconsideration which was. SO ORDERED. The Issue Before the Court The primordial issue in this case is whether or not the CA erred in sustaining the RTC’s finding of psychological incapacity.

94-178 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 23 to RTC-Br. Robert filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage before the RTC. (3) it was also her sister who took care of their children while she spent her time sleeping and looking at the mirror. CV No. xxxx In the case at bar. 2009 Decision. Assistant City Prosecutor Isabelo Sabanal appeared for the State. apart from his self-serving declarations. They begot three (3) children. she would receive male visitors. USA. Despite due notice. Luz was suffering from psychological and mental incapacity and unpreparedness to enter into such marital life and to comply with its essential obligations and responsibilities. in its November 20. a certain Lt. 2002. (7) a certain Romy Padua slept in their house when he was away. the Metropolitan Tribunal handed down a decision declaring their marriage invalid ab initio on the ground of grave lack of due discretion on the part of both parties as contemplated by the second paragraph of Canon1095.R. Robert appealed this judgment before the CA where it was docketed as CA-G. Yet. the evidence adduced by Robert fell short of establishing the fact that at the time of their marriage. deficiency of independent rational judgment. he disclosed that Luz was already living in California. SO ORDERED. including the decretal portion. When Robert testified. 23). He also revealed that when they were still engaged. In the complaint. 1994. while the case was pending before the trial court. irresponsibility. and inability to cope with the heavy and oftentimes demanding obligation of a parent. however. 37.R. the appealed Decision dated September 20. x x x. Jamesolamin (Luz) null and void. FOR THESE REASONS. (5) he received anonymous letters reporting her loitering with male students.R. Such ground. 23 denied the petition. but merely constituted a ground for legal separation. Robert presented the testimony of Myrna Delos Reyes Villanueva (Villanueva). 2002. partially reads: [W]e find that the trial court committed a reversible error. Prior to that. LUZ G. RTC-Br. 78303-MIN. Robert filed a petition for marriage annulment with the Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance for the Archdiocese of Manila (Metropolitan Tribunal). The decision.the RTC had rendered a decision declaring the marriage null and void on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of Luz as she failed to comply with the essential marital obligations. Petitioner. 2000. Liwag. On March 7. Robert alleged that at the time of the celebration of their marriage. 2009 Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) and its June 1. should not result in the nullification of the marriage under the law. Luz continued seeing and dating another boyfriend. MALLILIN. xxxx We commiserate with the plaintiff-appellee’s undeserved marital plight. This decision was affirmed by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal (NAMT). On March 16. however harsh it may be on whomsoever is called upon to bear its unbiased brunt. (4) when she resumed her schooling. 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court. the OSG contended. CV No. she dated different men. declaring the marriage between petitioner Robert F. Luz filed her Answer with Counterclaim contesting the complaint. The Facts: Robert and Luz were married on September 6. Cagayan de Oro City(RTC-Br. 54261. 1972. Closer scrutiny of the records reveals. 1999. He also claimed that from the outset. 2010 Resolution. (2) it was her mother who prepared their meal while her sister was the one who washed their clothes because she did not want her polished nails destroyed. 23 decision "due to lack of participation of the State as required under Article 48 of the Family Code. interposed an appeal with the CA. (6) when he was not home. On January 29. 192718 February 18. The OSG argued that Robert failed to make a case for declaration of nullity of his marriage with Luz. Guidance Psychologist II of Northern Mindanao Medical Center. This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the November 20. The State. Cagayan de Oro City (RTC-Br. 2002 in Civil Case No. the CA reversed the RTC-Br. Respondents. On October 10." 3 The case was remanded to the RTC for further proceedings and its records were thereafter transferred from RTC-Br. It pointed out that the real cause of the marital discord was the sexual infidelity of Luz. sexual infidelity are not rooted on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to assume the essential obligations of marriage. as correctly noted by the Solicitor General. No.4 granted the petition and reversed the RTC decision. and (6) she would contract loans without his knowledge. Branch 23. Luz was suffering from a psychological defect which in fact deprived [her] of the ability to assume the essential duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities. No costs. On May 8. and had married an American. The CA.G.2 in CA-G. Branch 37. as the latter was designated as Family Court pursuant to the Family Code Act of 1997. which reversed and set aside the September 20.5 67 . she did not appear during the trial. Mallilin (Robert) and private respondent Luz G. Our paramount duty as a court compels Us to apply the law at all costs. She averred that it was Robert who manifested psychological incapacity in their marriage.37). represented by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). In addition. vs. 2015 ROBERT F. Luz had been remiss in her duties both as a wife and as a mother as shown by the following circumstances: (1) it was he who did the cleaning of the room because Luz did not know how to keep order. Such incapacity became even more apparent during their marriage when Luz exhibited clear manifestation of immaturity. JAMESOLAMIN and the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. on September 20. 1996.

1996 RTC Decision. Among others.Robert filed a motion for reconsideration. Hence. when. III THE RESPONDENT WIFE WAS ALSO FOUND BY THE LOWER COURT AS PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO COMPLY WITH THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATIONS. 2010 Resolution. Robert now argues that he has sufficiently proven the nullity of his marriage even in the absence of any medical. if not constitutive. should refer to no less than a mental – not merely physical – incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be 68 . A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides: Art. the chronological events after the trial court issued its March 7. It bears stressing that the Appellee. ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR: I THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS’ HOLDING THAT THE ABSENCE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF THE WIFE UNDERSCORES THE EVIDENTIAL GAP TO SUSTAIN THE DECISION OFTHE RTC DECLARING THE MARRIAGE OF PETITIONER TO RESPONDENT NULL AND VOID ON THE GROUND OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE. psychiatric or psychological examination of the wife by a competent and qualified professional. respondent’s Retraction of Testimony was executed without the presence of counsel sometime in 1998. but clearly an illness that was rooted on some debilitating psychological condition which incapacitated her to carry out the responsibilities of a married woman. at the time of the celebration. in the present recourse. and that no new substance was brought out to warrant the reconsideration or reversal of its decision. in the Court a quo. This irregularity was even noticed by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. To bolster his claim. 54261: xxxx The involvement and active participation of the Solicitor General became indispensable. 6 stating that the arguments of Robert were mere rehash of the same ground. shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization." as a ground to nullify a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. The OSG also raises the strong possibility of collusion between the parties as shown by the events that took place after the issuance of the March 7. The OSG wrote: Significantly. the Appellee made a VOLTE FACE executed a "Retraction of Testimony" and a "Waiver of Custody" waiving custody of Franco Mark J Mallillin. 36. a few months before she married an American. he avers that the Metropolitan Tribunal already declared that Luz exhibited grave lack of discretion in judgment concerning the essential rights and obligations mutually given and accepted in marriage. of collusion or a modus vivendi between the parties. outlawed by the Family Code of the Philippines and the Constitution. in the present recourse. arguments and discussion previously pointed out by him. A marriage contracted by any party who. to the extent of disowning her testimony in the Court a quo and even praying for the reversal of the Decision of the Trial Court is strongly suggestive. Robert avers that a sex maniac is not just a mere sexual infidel but one who is suffering from a deep psychological problem. was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligation of marriage. "Psychological incapacity. but it was denied by the CA in its June 1. Luz was suffering from a psychological defect which deprived her of the ability to assume the essential duties of marriage and its concomitant responsibilities. His evidence fell short of establishing his assertion that at the time of their marriage. Further. her son by the Appellant. Position of the State The OSG argues that the CA correctly ruled that the totality of evidence presented by Robert was not sufficient to support a finding that Luz was psychologically incapacitated. the decision was based on grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning matrimonial rights and obligations due to outside factors other than psychological incapacity as contemplated in Article 36 of the Family Code. The said decision was affirmed by the NAMT. CV No. he asserts that the case of Luz was not a mere case of sexual infidelity. x x x The Court’s Ruling The main issue is whether the totality of the evidence adduced proves that Luz was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential obligations of marriage warranting the annulment of their marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. the OSG claims that the same were only given persuasive value and were not controlling or decisive in cases of nullity of marriage. The petition is bereft of merit. With regard to the findings of the Metropolitan Tribunal and the NAMT. II THE RESPONDENT WIFE WAS ALSO DECLARED BY THE NATIONAL APPELLATE MATRIMONIAL TRIBUNAL OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOP’S CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES AS GUILTY OF GRAVE LACKOF DUE DISCRETION. Robert further argues that the sexual indiscretion of Luz with different men coupled with the fact that she failed to function as a home maker to her family and as a housewife to him incapacitated her from accepting and complying with her essential marital obligations. The sudden turn-about of the appellee. in a whirlwind turn of events. For said reason.R. this petition. still a minor. obdurately denied the material allegations of the Appellant’s complaint and declared that it was the Appellant who was psychologically incapacitated. 1996 Decision unmistakably show the collusion between the parties to obtain the reliefs pleaded.

assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which. no other convincing evidence was adduced to prove that these sexual indiscretions were considered as nymphomania. while not controlling or decisive.10based on Article 36 of the Family Code. as well as her emotional immaturity. the Court is of the considered view that Robert’s evidence failed to establish the psychological incapacity of Luz. (b) juridical antecedence and (c) incurability. on the part of the errant spouse. as so expressed in Article 68 of the Family Code. 8 In Republic v. the testimony of Robert failed to overcome the burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage. It must be incurable or. constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void based on psychological incapacity. which could be considered as nymphomania or "excessive sex hunger. the root cause of the alleged psychological incapacity of Luz was not medically or clinically identified. observe love. and incurable within the parameters of jurisprudence on psychological incapacity. Psychological incapacity refers only to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. x x x. xxxx (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. much less ill will.7 Psychological incapacity as required by Article 36 must be characterized by (a) gravity. First. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. cannot rise to the level of psychological incapacity that justifies the nullification of the parties' marriage. neglect or difficulty. even if it were otherwise. Robert argues that the series of sexual indiscretion of Luz were external manifestations of the psychological defect that she was suffering within her person. include their mutual obligations to live together. Thus. xxxx (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage. among others. Such noncomplied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition. no other evidence was adduced to show the alleged incapacity of Luz. De Quintos. x x x. (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. deeply rooted. and sufficiently proven during the trial. and incurable within the term of psychological incapacity embodied in Article 36." not merely the refusal. xxxx (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220. x x x. "mild characteriological peculiarities. was grave. preparing their meal. x x x. and render help and support. however. mood changes. Thus. (b) alleged in the complaint. Court of Appeals and Molina. x x x. Guided by these pronouncements. xxxx (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage. xxxx (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. Robert’s testimony alone is insufficient to prove the existence of psychological incapacity. 69 . Thus: (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. and that it was grave. He presented no other witnesses to corroborate his allegations on her behavior. although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. To stress. deeply rooted. There is hardly a doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.12 As correctly found by the CA. washing the clothes. although the overt manifestations may only emerge after the marriage. embodied in Republic v. 9 the Court reiterated the well-settled guidelines in resolving petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. The Court has repeatedly stressed that psychological incapacity contemplates "downright incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations. irresponsibility and infidelity." Other than his allegations. (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. Jr. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological — not physical. by themselves. x x x. The alleged failure of Luz to assume her duties as a wife and as a mother.. to refuse or be reluctant to perform one's duties is another. 11 Indeed. respect and fidelity. should be given great respect by our courts. Other than his self-serving testimony. x x x. sexual infidelity or perversion and abandonment do not. occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted as root causes. Second. the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. and propensity for dating and receiving different male visitors. xxxx (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified. It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage. to be declared clinically or medically incurable is one thing. his testimony was self-serving and had no serious value as evidence. Court of Appeals and Eduardo C. Robert failed to prove that her disposition of not cleaning the room. Based on the records.

especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. The Court ruled that it was not similar to. Granting that it was offered and admitted. WHEREFORE. May Ascension A. 13 the Court ruled that the respondent’s act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder. In the said case. those who lack sufficient use of reason. hereby declares and decrees the confirmation of the nullity decision rendered by the Metropolitan Tribunal of First Instance for the Archdiocese of Manil on the Marriage Case MALLILIN – JAMISOLAMIN with Prot. the belated presentation of the decision of the NAMT cannot be given value since it was not offered during the trial. Rule 132. Ideally – subject to our law on evidence– what is decreed as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly void x x x. Thus: Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people. the decision of the Metropolitan Tribunal is insufficient to prove the psychological incapacity of Luz. the NAMT decision was also based on the second paragraph of Canon 1095. and the Court has in no way of ascertaining the evidence considered by the same tribunal. those who. great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. and only annulments under the third paragraph of. 2002. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)15 In Santos v. which was forwarded to this Court only on February 11. There was nothing in the records that would indicate that Luz had either been interviewed or was subjected to a psychological examination. because of causes of a psychological nature. this COLLEGIAL COURT OF APPEALS. Section 34 of the Rules of Evidence provides: The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. 63/2000 on the ground provided by Canon 1095 par. are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization. Although it is true that in the case of Republic v. 2. reads as follows: 70 . The finding as to her psychological incapacity was based entirely on hearsay and the self-serving information provided by Robert. which made her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state. her grave lack of due discretion in judgement for marriage intents and purposes basically by reason of her immaturity of judgement as manifested by her emotional ambivalence x x x. Third. N. 2004. 3. it is clear that the Court of Appeals considered the Matrimonial Tribunal’s decision in its Resolution dated August 5. For clarity. 14 the Court stated that interpretations given by the NAMT of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. Guidance Psychologist II of the Northern Mindanao Medical Center. the pertinent portions of the NAMT decision are as follows: The FACTS on the Case prove with the certitude required by law that based on the deposition of the petitioner – the respondent understandably ignored the proceedings completely for which she was duly cited for Contempt of Court – and premised on the substantially concordant testimonies of the Witnesses. the Court wrote: Petitioner’s argument is without merit. 2004 when it resolved petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. which drafted the Code. The petitioner must be able to establish that the respondent’s unfaithfulness was a manifestation of a disordered personality. but the second paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. it must be pointed out that the basis of the declaration of nullity of marriage by the NAMT was not the third paragraph of Canon 1095 which mentions causes of a psychological nature similar to Article 36 of the Family Code. Cagayan deOro City. should be given great respect by our courts. In its Decision dated February 23. Ligeralde v. the Court of Appeals apparently did not have the opportunity to consider the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal. before and after the marriage-in-fact. to provide an insight on the import of Article 36 of the Family Code. having invoked the Divine Name and having in mind the Law.6 the Court referred to the deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee. (Emphasis supplied) Pertinently. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. Elucidating. the only ground recognized in our law. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) In Najera v. while not controlling or decisive. The following are incapable of contracting marriage: 1. It went out to state that a part of the provision is similar to the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law. was insufficient to prove the psychological in capacity of Luz. Najera. In this regard. Canon 1095 should be considered. which reads: Canon 1095. In the said Resolution.17 the Court was also confronted with a similar issue of whether to consider an annulment by the NAMT as also covering psychological incapacity. 2CIC on the part of the woman Respondent – but NOT on the part of the man Petitioner for lack of evidence. Court of Appeals and Molina. still it is subject to the law on evidence. the psychological report of Villanueva. The purpose of which the evidence is offered must be specified. the Jurisprudence and the Facts pertaining to the Case. the woman Respondent demonstrated in the external forum through her action and reaction patterns. Patalinghug and the Republic of the Philippines. the Court of Appeals took cognizance of the very same issues now raised before this Court and correctly held that petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was devoid of merit.In Sivino A. 2004. Fourth. It stated: The Decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal dated July 2. Nevertheless. Santos.

in effect waiving his right to be heard. hence. WHEREFORE. therefore. but the second paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. apparently. trial in absentia followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to believe with moral certainty required by law and conclude that the husbandrespondent upon contracting marriage suffered from grave lack of due discretion of judgment. this led to final separation. petitioner-appellant should not expect us to give credence to the Decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal when. The purpose of which the evidence is offered must be specified. those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. petitioner-appellant offered the testimonies of the following persons only. And in relation thereto. 1994 wherein the respondent allegedly made an attempt on the life of the petitioner. Finally. But unlike the hearing and finding before the Matrimonial Tribunal. Petitioner. And based on the evidence on record. 362 SCRA 430 [2001]). It must be pointed out that in this case. which reads: Canon 1095. this Court of Second Instance. he therefore grew up with a domineering mother with whom [he] identified and on whom he depended for advice. Bugallon. it is an elementary rule that judgments must be based on the evidence presented before the court (Manzano vs. having invoked the Divine Name and having considered the pertinent Law and relevant Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims. to provide an insight on the import of Article 36 of the Family Code. PNP. having invoked the Divine Name and having considered the pertinent Law and relevant Jurisprudence to the Facts of the Case hereby proclaims. Ideally – subject to our law on evidence– what is decreed as [canonically] invalid should be decreed civilly void x x x. However. the Supreme Court held that the interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. premises considered. peaceful but later hotheaded even violent. Santos18 cited the deliberations during the sessions of the Family Code Revision Committee. in effect waiving his right to be heard. Sonny de la Cruz (member. and Ma.[31] Santos v. his own two siblings have broken marriages. 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. declares and decrees the confirmation of the sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated under Canon 1095. thereby rendering nugatory his marital contract: First. 1999. which drafted the Code. records of the proceedings before the Trial Court show that. other than herself. his family was dysfunctional in that as a child. Court of Appeals. he saw the break-up of the marriage of his own parents. Cristina R. Furthermore. Third. should be given great respect by our courts. those who. he was according to his friends. he also was aware of the infidelity of his mother who now lives with her paramour. trial in absentia followed) corroborate and lead this Collegiate Court to believe with moral certainty required by law and conclude that the husbandrespondent upon contacting marriage suffered from grave lack of due discretion of judgment. However. are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. petitioner-appellant’s sister-in-law and friends of the opposing parties were never presented before said Court. The following are incapable of contracting marriage: 1. in the case of Republic v. into marriage. (268 SCRA 198). WHEREFORE. For clarity. 3. it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization. great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. Rule 132. to the unfaithful night of July 1. the basis of the declaration of nullity of marriage by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal is not the third paragraph of Canon 1095 which mentions causes of a psychological nature. the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal confirming the decree of nullity of marriage by the court a quo is not based on the psychological incapacity of respondent. as contended by petitioner. x x x. because of causes of a psychological nature. Perez. Sec. Second. Gates (psychologist). the Highest Tribunal expounded as follows: Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people. he continued with his drugs and alcohol abuse until one time he came home very drunk and beat up his wife and attacked her with a bolo that wounded her.[T]he FACTS collated from party complainant and reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of Respondent (despite summons from the Court dated June14. Hence. he did not appear before the Court. We find no ample reason to reverse or modify the judgment of the Trial Court. this Court is without any clue. already into drugs and alcohol before marriage. even if. this affected his conduct of bipolar kind: he could be very quiet but later very talkative. it was made on a different set of evidence of which We have no way of ascertaining their truthfulness. 34 of the Rules of Evidence states: The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. in particular. those who lack sufficient use of reason. et al. premises considered. As to the contents and veracity of the latter’s testimonies. 1999. he did not appear before the Court. Given the preceding disquisitions. to wit: Aldana Celedonia (petitioner-appellant’s mother). thereby rendering nugatory his marital contract x x x. while not controlling or decisive. True. 2. this Court of Second Instance. Pangasinan). the pertinent portion of the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal reads: The FACTS collated from party complainant and reliable witnesses which include a sister-in-law of Respondent (despite summons from the Court dated June 14. also married and a policeman. It stated that a part of the provision is similar to the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law. Said witnesses testified. hence. declares and decrees the confirmation of the sentence from the Court a quo in favor of the nullity of marriage on the ground contemplated under Canon 1095. the factual basis of the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal is similar to the facts established by petitioner before the trial court. 2 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. erred 71 .

What would prevent members of other religious groups from invoking their own interpretation of psychological incapacity? Would this not lead to multiple. As asserted by the OSG. In this disposition. EDNA ORCELINO-VILLANUEVA. Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties. She also went to his birthplace in Escalante. or one of them. in Iligan City. G. To hold that annulment of marriages decreed by the NAMT under the second paragraph of Canon 1095 should also be covered would be to expand what the lawmakers did not intend to include. Santos 19). could not have validly entered into a marriage by reason of a grave and serious psychological illness existing at the time it was celebrated. are hereby AFFIRMED. In 1992. those who. judgment is hereby rendered declaring Romeo L. 2013 Decision 1 and the January 8. Still. A cause of psychological nature similar to Article 36 is covered by the third paragraph of Canon 1095 of the Code of Canon Law (Santos v. Edna was presented as the lone witness. Petitioner. Negros Oriental.R. the Court is compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie. Marriage. 1978. 4chanrobleslaw The Edna Antecedents and Romeo were married on December 21. in SP Proc. there are matters and consequences like custody and separation of properties that need to be considered and settled. a cause not of psychological nature under Article 36 of the Family Code. assails the October 18.R. On August 6. and the marriage was the foundation of the family. without prejudice. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). Branch 10. 2009 Judgment3 of the Regional Trial Court. In Republic v. which affirmed the October 8. dated November 20. In 1993. 2009 Order. Galang. 3316-09. interpretations? To consider church annulments as additional grounds for annulment under Article 36 would be legislating from the bench. Edna filed before the RTC a petition 5 to declare Romeo presumptively dead under Article 41 of the Family Code. the Court of Appeals did not err in affirming the Decision of the RTC. Underscoring supplied) Hence. the allegations of the petitioner make a case for legal separation. without prejudice to his reappearance. Thereafter. The following are incapable of contracting marriage: xxxx 3. During the trial. as an inviolable institution protected by the State. Bukidnon (RTC). Bukidnon. the decision of the NAMT was based on the second paragraph of Canon 1095 which refers to those who suffer from a grave lack of discretion of judgment concerning essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. if not inconsistent. The Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. this decision is without prejudice to an action for legal separation if a party would want to pursue such proceedings. she found no leads as to his whereabouts or existence. 2009. the petition is DENIED. cannot be dissolved at the whim of the parties. are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Edna worked as domestic helper in Singapore while her husband worked as a mechanic in Valencia City. and inquired from his relatives. 2010. Robert’s reliance on the NAMT decision is misplaced. She inquired from her parents-in-law and common friends in Iligan City. as presumptively dead under Article 41 of the Family Code. No. To repeat. 2015 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. and its Resolution. Romeo L.P. which for ready reference reads: Canon 1095. dated June 1.21 it was written that the Constitution set out a policy of protecting and strengthening the family as the basic social institution.in stating that the conclusion of Psychologist Cristina Gates regarding the psychological incapacity of respondent is supported by the decision of the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal. Case No. because of causes of a psychological nature. In its October 8. July 29. In fine. Court of Appeals and Molina. in CA-G. 20 interpretations given by the NAMT of the Catholic Church in the Philippines are given great respect by our courts. 2009. CV No. Hence. 78303-MIN.1âwphi1 As stated in Republic v.6 the RTC granted the petition on the basis of her well-founded belief of Romeo's death. premises considered. 2014 Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA). 210929. Villanueva (Romeo). 72 . v. In petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. the Court cannot decree a legal separation because in such proceedings. the burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies with the plaintiff. In this petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Malaybalay City. Respondent.R. Edna took a leave from work and returned to the country to look for Romeo. No. but they are not controlling or decisive. WHEREFORE. 03768-MIN. S. In fine. (Emphases in the original. Petitioner Robert failed to adduce sufficient and convincing evidence to prove the alleged psychological incapacity of Luz. Villanueva to be presumptively dead for all legal intents and purposes in accordance with Article 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines. granting the petition of respondent Edna Orcelino-Villanueva (Edna) and declaring her husband. Edna heard the news from her children that Romeo had left their conjugal home without reason or information as to his whereabouts. Hence:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary WHEREFORE. the Court holds that the CA decided correctly.

holding that the RTC acted within its jurisdiction in issuing the assailed decision having been expressly clothed with the power to determine the case. Edna failed. Hence. Mere absence of the spouse (even beyond the period required by law). was dead. On November 20.7 On August 13. In Republic of the Philippines v. It necessitates exertion of active effort (not a mere passive one).SO ORDERED. Article 41 of the Family Code provides that before a judicial declaration of presumptive death may be granted. this petition. the OSG filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied it on January 8. 2010. the present spouse must prove that he/she has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead. Biasbas9 On October 18. ISSUES I. which was affirmed by the CA. v. 14In this case. or general presumption of absence under the Civil Code would not suffice. Courts should never allow procedural shortcuts but instead should see to it that the stricter standard required by the Family Code is met. as ruled by the Court in Republic v. (2) He sought the barangay captain's aid to locate her. never amounted to a diligent and serious search required under prevailing jurisprudence. II. 10 It also cited Article 247 of the Family Code11 which provided for the final and immediate executory character of the decision of the RTC. 73 . Respondent Edna.12 The OSG argues that the CA erred in not finding grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC when the latter affirmed the existence of Edna's well-founded belief as to the death of her absent spouse. thus. the OSG filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court before the CA alleging grave abuse of discretion on the part of the RTC in finding that Edna had a well-founded belief that Romeo. The well-founded belief in the absentee's death requires the present spouse to prove that his/her belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts to locate the absent spouse and that based on these efforts and inquiries.18 the Court ruled that the present spouse failed to prove that he had a well-founded belief that his absent spouse was already dead before he filed his petition. rendering the issue of whether or not Edna had sufficiently established a well-founded belief to warrant the decree of presumptive death of her absent spouse. The RTC and the CA overlooked Edna's patent non-compliance with the said requirement.17chanrobleslaw Accordingly. inalterability and immutability of the RTC decision. this Court has denied petitions for the declaration of presumptive death on the said basis. WHETHER OR NOT THE CA ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE RTC DECISION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE CONCLUSION REACHED BY THE RTC IS CONTRARY TO PREVAILING JURISPRUDENCE. acting as a family court. It argued that the conclusions reached by the RTC were in direct opposition to established jurisprudence. invokes the finality. he/she believes that under the circumstances. whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. 2013. Nolasco8 (Nolasco) andU.16chanrobleslaw This strict standard approach ensures that a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is not used as a tool to conveniently circumvent the laws in light of the State's policy to protect and strengthen the institution of marriage. as moot and academic. (3) He went to her friends' houses to find her and inquired about her whereabouts among her friends. through her counsel.13chanrobleslaw Ruling of the Court The Court grants the petition. Court of Appeals. It claims that the evidence presented by Edna.S. the CA dismissed the petition. His efforts to locate his absent wife allegedly consisted of the following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary (1) He went to his in-laws' house to look for her. more importantly. lack of any news that the absentee spouse is still alive. the absent spouse is already dead. 2014. WHETHER OR NOT THE CA ERRED IN RULING THAT THE GROUNDS RAISED BY THE PETITIONER TO ASSAIL THE RTC DECISION ARE MERE ERRORS OF JUDGMENT. in a string of cases. which merely consisted of bare and uncorroborated assertions. mere failure to communicate. 15 The premise is that Article 41 of the Family Code places upon the present spouse the burden of complying with the stringent requirement of well-founded belief which can only be discharged upon a showing of proper and honest-to-goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain not only the absent spouse's whereabouts but. her absent spouse. 2013.

neighbors and friends. It stated that the pieces of evidence only proved that his wife had chosen not to communicate with their common acquaintances. the wife merely engaged in a "passive search" where she relied on uncorroborated inquiries from her in-laws. that she did not present as witnesses her missing husband's relatives or their neighbors and friends. In this case. She. Edna claimed to have husband:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary done the following to determine the whereabouts and the status of her 1. she did not explain her omissions. Moreover. In fact. Despite her efforts. which all proved fruitless. Recently. where he was known to have worked. so she could inquire from her husband's relatives. She inquired from her parents-in-law in Iligan City and from their common friends in the same city and in Valencia City. Following the basic rule that mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary In Nolasco. in Republic v. the Court considered the present spouse's efforts to have fallen short of the "stringent standard" and lacked the degree of diligence required by jurisprudence as she did not actively look for her missing husband. In the Court's view.(4) He went to Manila and worked as a part-time taxi driver to look for her in malls during his free time." the Court still ruled against the present spouse. As the OSG observed. Her claim of making diligent search and inquiries remained unfounded as it merely consisted of bare assertions without any corroborative evidence on record. she averred that she received negative responses from them because none of them had knowledge of the existence of her husband who had been missing for 15 years. were not even named. The Court explained that he failed to present the persons from whom he made inquiries and only reported his wife's absence after the OSG filed its notice to dismiss his petition in the RTC. and (6) He reported her disappearance to the local police station and to the NBI. Granada. Her claimed efforts were insufficient to form a well-founded belief that her husband was already dead. failed to conduct a diligent search. She also failed to present any person from whom she inquired about the whereabouts of her husband. Negros Oriental. Despite these claimed "earnest efforts. the Court wrote:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary The belief of the present spouse must be the result of proper and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. particularly Cantor. at the very least. that these persons. the Court denied her pleas. Cantor20 (Cantor).22 Yet. who could corroborate her efforts to locate him. Similarly in Republic v. She went as far as the birthplace of her husband in Escalante. thus. In said case. and that there was no other corroborative evidence to support her claim that she conducted a diligent search. She did not even present her children from whom she learned the disappearance of her husband. Applying the standard set forth by the Court in the previously cited cases. Edna's efforts failed to satisfy the required well-founded belief of her absent husband's death. (5) He went back to Catbalogan and again looked for her. she was the lone witness. reported his absence to the police. 74 . 3. She took a vacation/leave of absence from her work and returned to the Philippines to look for her husband. She simply did not exert diligent efforts to locate her husband either in the country or in Taiwan. Moreover. that she did not report his absence to the police or seek the aid of the authorities to look for him. He testified that his efforts to find her consisted of:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary (1) Searching for her whenever his ship docked in England. 2. there was not even any attempt to seek the aid of the authorities at the time her husband disappeared. no document was submitted to corroborate the allegation that her husband had been missing for at least fifteen (15) years already. who had been missing for more than four years. (2) Sending her letters which were all returned to him. and (3) Inquiring from their friends regarding her whereabouts. 21 the Court cannot give credence to her claims that she indeed exerted diligent efforts to locate her husband. The Court held that the present spouse's methods of investigation were too sketchy to form a basis that his wife was already dead. the present spouse claimed to have sought the aid of the authorities or. the present spouse filed a petition for declaration of presumptive death of his wife.19 the Court ruled that the present spouse failed to prove her "well-founded belief" that her absent spouse was already dead prior to her filing of the petition. and not that she was dead. from whom she allegedly made inquiries. In Cantor. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of the death of the absent spouse depends upon inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of an absent spouse and the nature and extent of the inquiries made by the present spouse.

she also allegedly made it a point to check the patients’ directory whenever she went to a hospital. The petition of respondent Edna Orcelino-Villanueva to have her husband declared presumptively dead is DENIED. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). She alleged that she had inquired from her mother-in-law. reasoning xxx that it was in 1993 when the petitioner while abroad heard the news from her children that her husband left their conjugal home xxx without informing the children nor communicating with the herein petitioner as to the reasons why he left their family abode nor giving them any information as to his whereabouts. however. Republic of the Philippines. MARIA FE ESPINOSA CANTOR.5 The Ruling of the CA The case reached the CA through a petition for certiorari6filed by the petitioner. or more than four (4) years from the time of Jerry’s disappearance. in order to look for her husband and made some inquiries with her parents-in-law in Iligan City. vs. Koronadal City. The RTC. Petitioner. including 75 . and. Cantor. judgments or final orders of trial courts in petitions for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Rule 41 of the Family Code. SP No. South Cotabato. in SP Proc. By declaring Romeo presumptively dead. granted it. 313-25. located nor traced as there is no any information as to his existence or whereabouts. but she only got negative response from them since none of them have any knowledge as to the present existence of her husband that since the year 1993 up to the present. 2006 declaring Jerry F. Jerry left their conjugal dwelling and this was the last time that the respondent ever saw him. presumptively dead under Article 41 of the Family Code. Respondent. Koronadal City. 2002. the person and the body of petitioner's husband could not be found. the October 18. from their common friends in Iligan City and in Valencia City. her sisters-in-law. It maintains that although judgments of trial courts in summary judicial proceedings. South Cotabato. No. and even went as far as the birthplace of her husband. Branch 25.R. that herein petitioner took vacation/leave of absence from her work and return to the Philippines. proved futile. the CA affirmed the RTC decision when it dismissed the petition for certiorari filed by the OSG. 1997. Case No. the couple had a violent quarrel brought about by: (1) the respondent’s inability to reach "sexual climax" whenever she and Jerry would have intimate moments. The CA should have realized the glaring and patent disregard by the RTC of the rulings in similar situations where petitions for declaration of presumptive death have been denied by this Court. premises foregoing (sic). WHEREFORE. Cantor is presumptively dead pursuant to Article 41 of the Family Code of the Philippines without prejudice to the effect of the reappearance of the absent spouse Jerry F. accordingly. 313-25.23 Worse. the CA dismissed the petitioner’s petition. the RTC issued an order granting the respondent’s petition and declaring Jerry presumptively dead. her brothers-in-law. Case No. declaring Jerry F. it makes sense to conclude that her efforts were not diligent and serious enough to give meaning to her well-founded belief that Romeo was already dead. finding no grave abuse of discretion on the RTC’s part. Negros Oriental. The Petition The petitioner contends that certiorari lies to challenge the decisions. 2006 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Sometime in January 1998. thus: WHEREFORE. the petition is GRANTED. Since then. respondent Maria Fe Espinosa Cantor’s husband. the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED and the assailed Order dated December 15. It concluded that the respondent had a well-founded belief that her husband was already dead since more than four (4) years had passed without the former receiving any news about the latter or his whereabouts. inquiring from her husband's relatives. 2008 decision. Suffice it to state that her petition should have been denied at the first instance.7 The petitioner brought the matter via a Rule 45 petition before this Court. as well as her neighbors and friends. Cantor. The Factual Antecedents The respondent and Jerry were married on September 20. docketed as SP Proc. the respondent filed before the RTC a petition4for her husband’s declaration of presumptive death. After their quarrel. communicated nor heard anything from Jerry or about his whereabouts. 2013 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. particularly at Escalante. and (2) Jerry’s expression of animosity toward the respondent’s father. The dispositive portion of the order dated December 15. All these earnest efforts. The Ruling of the RTC After due proceedings. prompting her to file the petition in court. 184621 December 10. 2014 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. a period of about fifteen [15] years have elapsed. 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. She claimed that she had a well-founded belief that Jerry was already dead. Accordingly. The petition for review on certiorari1 before us assails the decision2 dated August 27.Verily.R. 01558-MIN which affirmed be order3 dated December 15. as it hereby declared that respondent Jerry F. In its August 27. Cantor presumptively dead is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. the CA clearly ignored this Court's categorical pronouncements.cralawlawlibrary G. In the hopes of finding Jerry. but to no avail. the respondent claimed. 2006 reads: WHEREFORE. 2013 Decision and the January 8. They lived together as husband and wife in their conjugal dwelling in Agan Homes. the Court hereby declares. SO ORDERED. she had not seen. fully affirmed the latter’s order. On May 21.

The Court’s Ruling We grant the petition. [emphases ours. Bermudez-Lorino. the petitioner invites this Court’s attention to the attendant circumstances surrounding the case. by express mandate of Article 247 of the Family Code. The Republic of the Philippines. judgments or final orders of trial courts in petitions for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. by express provision of [Article] 247. precisely because judgments rendered thereunder. is not entirely left without a remedy." It was erroneous. As held in Delos Santos v. Likewise. an aggrieved party may. Comelec. therefore. it necessarily follows that it is no longer subject to an appeal. 41. The final and executory nature of this summary proceeding thus prohibits the resort to appeal. are "immediately final and executory. Hence..10 the fact that a decision has become final does not automatically negate the original action of the CA to issue certiorari. nevertheless. no matter how erroneous is no longer permissible. by express provision of law. not appeal able under Article 247 of the Family Code). v. shall be immediately final and executory. [underscores ours] With the judgment being final. Family Code. there is no reglementary period within which to perfect an appeal. It had no right to appeal the RTC decision of November 7. 247. supra. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. file a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to question any abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction that transpired. Unappealable in for Is the Declaration Final Judicial of and The Family Code was explicit that the court’s judgment in summary proceedings.in relation to Article 247. Article 41. italics supplied] Certiorari Decisions. such as the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. are deemed immediately final and executory (hence. A marriage contracted by any person during subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void. 2001. The petitioner also posits that the respondent did not have a well-founded belief to justify the declaration of her husband’s presumptive death. however. 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. 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. of the Family Code provides: Art. As explained in Republic of the Phils. Certiorari may be availed of where a court has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. "the right to appeal is not a natural right nor is it a part of due process. Art. and (2) Whether the respondent had a well-founded belief that Jerry is already dead." the right to appeal was not granted to any of the parties therein. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code. for it is merely a statutory privilege. this rule does not mean that they are not subject to review on certiorari. is immediately final and executory. the degree of search conducted and the respondent’s resultant failure to meet the strict standard under Article 41 of the Family Code. Tango. Orders of Proceeding for Death Under the Family Code Lies to Judgments Trial the Challenge or Courts in Declaration a of the Final Summary Presumptive A losing party in this proceeding. While jurisprudence tells us that no appeal can be made from the trial court's judgment. as oppositor in the petition for declaration of presumptive death. the dispositions and conclusions therein having become immutable and unalterable not only as against the parties but even as against the courts. an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. An appellate court acquires no jurisdiction to review a judgment which. Such a procedure finds support in the case of Republic v. a. On the Issue of the Propriety of Certiorari as a Remedy Court’s Judgment Proceedings Presumptive Death Executory. without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. and where the ordinary remedy of appeal is not available. 8 Modification of the court’s ruling. particularly. all judgments rendered in summary judicial proceedings in Family Law are "immediately final and executory. It claims that the respondent failed to conduct the requisite diligent search for her missing husband. The Issues The petition poses to us the following issues: (1) Whether certiorarilies to challenge the decisions. prohibition and mandamus in connection with orders or processes issued by the trial court. should not be treated differently. to wit: In Summary Judicial Proceedings under the Family Code.11 wherein we held that: 76 . As we have said in Veloria vs." Since.9 the right to appeal is not granted to parties because of the express mandate of Article 247 of the Family Code. Rodriguez. unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage.presumptive death cases. et al. on the part of the RTCto give due course to the Republic’s appeal and order the transmittal of the entire records of the case to the Court of Appeals.

14 where we noted the crucial differences between Article 41 of the Family Code and Article 83 of the Civil Code. there is need for a judicial declaration of presumptive death to enable the spouse present to remarry.247. The judgment of the court shall be immediately final and executory. The Family Code. the time required for the presumption to arise has been shortened to four (4) years. b. it stands to reason that the burden of proof lies with him/her."(Emphasis supplied. or is presumed dead under Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code. upon the other hand. 3. 238. To be sure. It requires a "well-founded belief " that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. or the absentee is generally considered to be dead and believed to be so by the spouse present. Article 253 of the Family Code specifies the cases covered by the rules in chapters two and three of the same title. 51. and 4. [emphasis ours] Viewed in this light. under Title XI: SUMMARY JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS IN THE FAMILY LAW. that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. such concurrence does not sanction an unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. Article 41 of the Family Code imposes a stricter standard than the Civil Code: Article 83 of the Civil Code merely requires either that there be no news that such absentee is still alive. 253. He who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not evidence. Under Article 41 of the Family Code. substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue. there are four (4) essential requisites for the declaration of presumptive death: 1.This case presents an opportunity for us to settle the rule on appeal of judgments rendered in summary proceedings under the Family Code and accordingly. It goes without saying. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary proceedings filed under Articles 41. we find that the petitioner’s resort to certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to question the RTC’s order declaring Jerry presumptively dead was proper. however. however. establishes the rules that govern summary court proceedings in the Family Code: "ART. Thus." In turn. even if the Court's original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the RTCs and the Court of Appeals in certain cases. 69. imposes a stricter standard. 2. compared to the old provision of the Civil Code which it superseded. or two consecutive years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the circumstances laid down in Article 391. 96. refine our previous decisions thereon. the procedural rules in this Title shall apply in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. failure to communicate or general presumption of absence under the Civil Code would not suffice. That the present spouse files a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee. As a matter of course.) In plain text. We have had occasion to make the same observation in Republic v. Since it is the present spouse who. That the present spouse wishes to remarry. Nolasco. Article 41 of the Family Code.13 Declaration Under Article Imposes a Stricter Standard of 41 of Presumptive the Family Death Code Notably. Such cases shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. Civil Code. for purposes of declaration of presumptive death. prescribes as "well founded belief" that the absentee is already dead before a petition for declaration of presumptive death can be granted. That the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead. insofar as they are applicable." By express provision of law. the judgment of the court in a summary proceeding shall be immediately final and executory. it follows that no appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment ina summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. 73. Until modified by the Supreme Court. 124 and 217. On the Issue of the Existence of Well-Founded Belief The Essential Declaration Under Article 41 of the Family Code Requisites of for the Death Presumptive Before a judicial declaration of presumptive death can be obtained. to wit: Under Article 41. It states: "ART. lack of any news that such absentee is still alive. That the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years. Also. it must be shown that the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the present spouse had a well-founded belief that the prior spouse was already dead. This conclusion proceeds from the premise that Article 41 of the Family Code places upon the present spouse the burden of proving the additional and more stringent requirement 77 . Such petition should be filed in the Court of Appeals in accordance with the Doctrine of Hierarchy of Courts. Article 247 in Chapter 2 of the same title reads: "ART. Article 238 of the Family Code. mere absence of the spouse (even for such period required by the law).12 The Present of Proof Requisites Under Family Code Are Present Spouse to Has Show Article the that 41 All of Burden the the The burden of proof rests on the present spouse to show that all the requisites under Article 41 of the Family Code are present.

and (3) Inquiring from their friends regarding her whereabouts. To be able to comply with this requirement. It requires exertion of active effort (not a mere passive one). more importantly. In short. Court of Appeals (Tenth Div. 78 . Court of Appeals (Tenth Div.)16 In Republic of the Philippines v. To illustrate this degree of "diligent and reasonable search" required by the law. Republic v. the Court ruled that the absent spouse failed to prove her "well-founded belief" that her absent spouse was already dead prior to her filing of the petition. which all proved fruitless. the respondent’s "well-founded belief" was anchored on her alleged "earnest efforts" to locate Jerry. neighbors and friends.15 The Requirement of Well-Founded Belief The law did not define what is meant by "well-founded belief. she saw to it that she looked through the patients’ directory. she would have sought information from the Taiwanese Consular Office or assistance from other government agencies in Taiwan or the Philippines. an analysis of the following relevant cases is warranted: i. so to speak. The present spouse did not report to the police nor seek the aid of the mass media.of "well-founded belief" which can only be discharged upon a showing of proper and honest-to-goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain not only the absent spouse’s whereabouts but." the Court still ruled against the present spouse. Its determination. He testified that his efforts to find her consisted of: (1) Searching for her whenever his ship docked in England. the present spouse must prove that his/her belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts and inquiries to locate the absent spouse and that based on these efforts and inquiries.). the absent spouseis already dead. she failed to explain these omissions. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of the absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and the nature and extent of the inquiries made by [the] present spouse. (2) He sought the barangay captain’s aid to locate her.). iv. The Court ruled that the present spouse’s investigations were too sketchy to form a basis that his wife was already dead and ruled that the pieces of evidence only proved that his wife had chosen not to communicate with their common acquaintances. Petitioner argues that if she were.18 ii. but she did not. the present spouse alleged that her brother had made inquiries from their relatives regarding the absent spouse’s whereabouts. The Court also provided the following criteria for determining the existence of a "well-founded belief" under Article 41 of the Family Code: The belief of the present spouse must be the result of proper and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. (2) Sending her letters which were all returned to him. In this case. (3) He went to her friends’ houses to find her and inquired about her whereabouts among his friends. and (2) Whenever she went to a hospital. (4) He went to Manila and worked as a part-time taxi driver to look for her in malls during his free time. and (6) He reported her disappearance to the local police station and to the NBI. (5) He went back to Catbalogan and again looked for her. he/she believes that under the circumstances.The present case In the case at bar. the present spouse filed a petition for declaration of presumptive death of his wife. as follows: Applying the foregoing standards to the present case. Applying the standards in Republic of the Philippines v.20 the Court ruled against the present spouse. which consisted of the following: (1) She made inquiries about Jerry’s whereabouts from her in-laws.Republic v. iii. petitioner points out that respondent Yolanda did not initiate a diligent search to locate her absent husband. While her brother Diosdado Cadacio testified to having inquiredabout the whereabouts of Cyrus from the latter’s relatives." It depends upon the circumstances of each particular case. Republic of the Philippines v. respondent was allegedly not diligent in her search for her husband. that the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. who had been missing for more than four years. Worse. hoping to find Jerry. Court of Appeals (Tenth Div. Granada19 Similarly in Granada.17 the Court ruled that the present spouse failed to prove that he had a well-founded belief that his absent spouse was already dead before he filed his petition. and not that she was dead. The Court found that he failed to present the persons from whom he allegedly made inquiries and only reported his wife’s absence after the OSG filed its notice to dismiss his petition in the RTC. remains on a case-to-case basis. She could have also utilized mass media for this end. Nolasco21 In Nolasco. His efforts to locate his absent wife allegedly consisted of the following: (1) He went to his in-laws’ house to look for her. Despite these alleged "earnest efforts. these relatives were not presented to corroborate Diosdado’s testimony.

23 we emphasized that: In view of the summary nature of proceedings under Article 41 of the Family Code for the declaration of presumptive death of one’s spouse. As held in Nolasco. Second. 28 Thus. she did not present as witnesses Jerry’s relatives or their neighbors and friends. To rectify this 79 .22 "[w]hether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of the absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and the natureand extent of the inquiries made by [the] present spouse. Worse. Final Word As a final word. has consistently ruled on the sanctity of marriage and reiterated that anything less than the use of the strict standard necessitates a denial. Third. we find it proper and prudent for a present spouse. In sum. It can be inferred from the records that her hospital visits and her consequent checking of the patients’ directory therein were unintentional. In Article II. these persons. the present spouse's good faith in contracting a second marriage is effectively established. Court of Appeals (Tenth Div. the Court is of the view that the respondent merely engaged in a "passive search" where she relied on uncorroborated inquiries from her in-laws. on review. for purposes of remarriage. While a finding of well-founded belief varies with the nature of the situation in which the present spouse is placed. Section 12 of the Constitution there is set forth the following basic state policy: The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. this is the underlying rationale –to uphold the sanctity of marriage. there was no other corroborative evidence to support the respondent’s claim that she conducted a diligent search. In Republic of the Philippines v. however. the public policy here involved is of the most fundamental kind. Courts should never allow procedural shortcuts and should ensure that the stricter standard required by the Family Code is met.24 Since marriage serves as the family’s foundation25 and since it is the state’s policy to protect and strengthen the family as a basic social institution. the present spouse’s bare assertion that he inquired from his friends about his absent spouse’s whereabouts is insufficient as the names of the friends from whom he made inquiries were not identified in the testimony nor presented as witnesses. the degree of due diligence set by this Honorable Court in the above-mentioned cases in locating the whereabouts of a missing spouse must be strictly complied with. Court of Appeals27 reflected this sentiment when we stressed: [The]protection of the basic social institutions of marriage and the family in the preservation of which the State has the strongest interest. In interpreting and applying Article 41. She failed to conduct a diligent search because her alleged efforts are insufficient to form a well-founded belief that her husband was already dead. fell short of the "stringent standard" and degree of diligence required by jurisprudence for the following reasons: First. to seek the aid of the authorities or." Strict Standard Consistent with to Protect and Strengthen Marriage Approach State’s the Is Policy In the above-cited cases. the respondent did not actively look for her missing husband. from whom she allegedly made inquiries. Lastly. Jr. it has not escaped this Court's attention that the strict standard required in petitions for declaration of presumptive death has not been fully observed by the lower courts.26 marriage should not be permitted to be dissolved at the whim of the parties. It is intended to protect him/her from a criminal prosecution of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code which might come into play if he/she would prematurely remarry sans the court's declaration. under present conditions. the application of a stringent standard for its issuance) is also for the present spouse's benefit. We need only to cite the instances when this Court. She did not purposely undertake a diligent search for her husband as her hospital visits were not planned nor primarily directed to look for him. Court of Appeals (Tenth Div. There have been times when Article 41 of the Family Code had been resorted to by parties wishing to remarry knowing fully well that their alleged missing spouses are alive and well.). Neither was there supporting evidence proving that she had a well-founded belief other than her bare claims that she inquired from her friends and in-laws about her husband’s whereabouts. at the very least. The application of this stricter standard becomes even more imperative if we consider the State’s policy to protect and strengthen the institution of marriage. report his/her absence to the police. This is to ensure that a petition for declaration of presumptive death under Article 41 of the Family Code is not used as a tool to conveniently circumvent the laws. whose spouse had been missing. it is necessary to strictly comply with the stringent standard and have the absent spouse judicially declared presumptively dead. The decision of the competent court constitutes sufficient proof of his/her good faith and his/her criminal intent in case of remarriage is effectively negated. It is even possible that those who cannot have their marriages xxx declared null and void under Article 36 of the Family Code resort to Article 41 of the Family Code for relief because of the xxx summary nature of its proceedings. neighbors and friends. Upon the issuance of the decision declaring his/her absent spouse presumptively dead.v. As held in Republic of the Philippines v.). This Court thus considers these attempts insufficient to engender a belief that her husband is dead. the Court. Arroyo. fully aware of the possible collusion of spouses in nullifying their marriage. has consistently applied the "strictstandard" approach. were not even named. she did not report Jerry’s absence to the police nor did she seek the aid of the authorities to look for him. Strict Article 41 Is for the Present Spouse’s Benefit Standard Prescribed of the Family Under Code The requisite judicial declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse (and consequently. who can corroborate her efforts to locate Jerry.These efforts.

had filed a petition for declaration of absence or presumptive death for the purpose of remarriage on June 15. Cantor presumptively dead is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2009. Ricardo was aware that she never left their conjugal dwelling in Quezon City. 30chanrobleslaw 80 . G.25 She added that the Office of the Solicitor General and the Provincial Prosecutor's Office were not furnished copies of Ricardo's petition. RICARDO T. 3 After a year. 2008. Congressional Avenue. the proper remedy was to file a sworn statement before the civil registry. she was deprived of any notice of and opportunity to oppose the petition declaring her presumptively dead. 2008. Respondent.6 Ricardo initially refused but because of Celerina's insistence. the assailed decision dated August 27. Celerina convinced him to allow her to work as a domestic helper in Hong Kong.4chanrobleslaw Ricardo claimed that their business did not prosper.22 It was he who left the conjugal dwelling in May 2008 to cohabit with another woman. No.26chanrobleslaw The Court of Appeals issued the resolution dated November 28. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for the annulment of the trial court's judgment declaring her presumptively dead. 2008. declaring her reappearance in accordance with Article 42 of the Family Code. This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Celerina J. Metro Manila. he allowed her to work abroad. but they. 2008. declaring Jerry F. SANTOS. which affirmed the order dated December 15. 13chanrobleslaw On November 17. Santos. He believed that she had passed away. 2chanrobleslaw In his petition for declaration of absence or presumptive death. too. did not know their daughter's whereabouts. The proper remedy for a judicial declaration of presumptive death obtained by extrinsic fraud is an action to annul the judgment. On July 27.8chanrobleslaw Ricardo further alleged that he exerted efforts to locate Celerina. Manila.17 As a result of Ricardo's misrepresentation. misrepresented to the court that she was a resident of Tarlac City. 1980. 2007. appeal. her true residence was in Neptune Extension. She argued that she was deprived her day in court when Ricardo.15 According to Celerina. 29The Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration in the resolution dated March 5. 2007. assailing the Court of Appeals' resolutions dated November 28.9 He went to Celerina's parents in Cubao. or other appropriate remedies.18chanrobleslaw Celerina claimed that she never resided in Tarlac.10 He also inquired about her from other relatives and friends. Ricardo alleged that he and Celerina rented an apartment somewhere in San Juan. Santos (Celerina) presumptively dead after her husband. respondent Ricardo T. 2008 of the Court of Appeals.24chanrobleslaw Celerina also argued that the court did not acquire jurisdiction over Ricardo's petition because it had never been published in a newspaper. WHEREFORE.12chanrobleslaw Celerina claimed that she learned about Ricardo's petition only sometime in October 2008 when she could no longer avail the remedies of new trial. 7 She allegedly applied in an employment agency in Ermita.16 This residence had been her and Ricardo's conjugal dwelling since 1989 until Ricardo left in May 2008.1 Ricardo remarried on September 17.21 She also claimed that it was not true that she had been absent for 12 years. 2014 CELERINA J.23 Celerina referred to a joint affidavit executed by their children to support her contention that Ricardo made false allegations in his petition. the Regional Trial Court of Tarlac City declared petitioner Celerina J. but no one gave him any information. Petitioner. October 08. She also never left and worked as a domestic helper abroad. after they had gotten married on June 18. Quezon City. petition for relief. Quezon City.27 According to the Court of Appeals. Branch 25. South Cotabato. they moved to Tarlac City. v. SANTOS. Koronadal City. lower courts are now expressly put on notice of the strict standard this Court requires in cases under Article 41 of the Family Code.situation. dismissing Celerina's petition for annulment of judgment for being a wrong mode of remedy. 2009. 2006 of the Regional Trial Court. Celerina filed a petition for annulment of judgment 14 before the Court of Appeals on the grounds of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. They were engaged in the buy and sell business. 2008 and March 5. in view of the foregoing. 20 Neither did she go to an employment agency in February 1995.5 As a result. despite his knowledge of her true residence. An affidavit of reappearance is not the proper remedy when the person declared presumptively dead has never been absent. 28chanrobleslaw Celerina filed a motion for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals' resolution dated November 28. in February 1995.R.11chanrobleslaw Ricardo claimed that it was almost 12 years from the date of his Regional Trial Court petition since Celerina left. Santos (Ricardo). She left Tarlac two months after and was never heard from again. 187061.

Celerina filed her petition for annulment of judgment 45 on November 17. appeal."36chanrobleslaw The grounds for annulment of judgment are extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction. therefore. Celerina could always file an affidavit of reappearance to terminate the subsequent marriage.37 This court defined extrinsic fraud in Stilianopulos v. order. City of Legaspi:38chanrobleslaw For fraud to become a basis for annulment of judgment.31 She added that it would be inappropriate to file an affidavit of reappearance if she did not disappear in the first place. petition for relief (or other appropriate remedies) are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. such that there is no fair submission of the controversy. and before the action is barred by laches. 43 Celerina further claimed that the court did not acquire jurisdiction because the Office of the Solicitor General and the Provincial Prosecutor's Office were not given copies of Ricardo's petition. which is the period allowed in case of lack of jurisdiction. 2008. and the "remedies of new trial. The issue for resolution is whether the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing Celerina's petition for annulment of judgment for being a wrong remedy for a fraudulently obtained judgment declaring presumptive death. A sworn statement of the fact and circumstances of reappearance shall be recorded in the civil registry of the residence of the parties to 81 . filed within the four-year period allowed by law in case of extrinsic fraud. The petition was. 40 Ricardo also falsely claimed that she was absent for 12 years.35 he argued that a petition for annulment of judgment is not the proper remedy because it cannot be availed when there are other remedies available. she was deprived of notice and opportunity to oppose Ricardo's petition to declare her presumptively dead. The choice of remedy is important because remedies carry with them certain admissions. Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary Article 42. coupled with a well-founded belief by the present spouse that the absent spouse is already dead. The Family Code provides that it is the proof of absence of a spouse for four consecutive years. This was less than two years from the July 27. It is extrinsic or collateral when a litigant commits acts outside of the trial which prevents a parly from having a real contest. this petition was filed. or resolution has become final. or from presenting all of his case. 2007 decision declaring her presumptively dead and about a month from her discovery of the decision in October 2008.46chanrobleslaw There was also no other sufficient remedy available to Celerina at the time of her discovery of the fraud perpetrated on her. Ricardo iterated the Court of Appeals' ruling that the remedy afforded to Celerina under Article 42 of the Family Code is the appropriate remedy.33chanrobleslaw Celerina further argued that filing an affidavit of reappearance under Article 42 of the Family Code would not be a sufficient remedy because it would not nullify the legal effects of the judgment declaring her presumptive death. The petition is meritorious. and conditions.Hence. 34chanrobleslaw In Ricardo's comment. Celerina argued that filing an affidavit of reappearance under Article 42 of the Family Code is appropriate only when the spouse is actually absent and the spouse seeking the declaration of presumptive death actually has a well-founded belief of the spouse's death. The subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article shall be automatically terminated by the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent spouse.44chanrobleslaw These are allegations of extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction.39 (Emphasis supplied) Celerina alleged in her petition for annulment of judgment that there was fraud when Ricardo deliberately made false allegations in the court with respect to her residence. It is intrinsic when the fraudulent acts pertain to an issue involved in the original action or where the acts constituting the fraud were or could have been litigated. unless there is a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it void ab initio. it has to be extrinsic or actual. Annulment of judgment is the remedy when the Regional Trial Court's judgment. Celerina alleged in her petition with the Court of Appeals sufficient ground/s for annulment of judgment. There was also no publication of the notice of hearing of Ricardo's petition in a newspaper of general circulation. 42chanrobleslaw Celerina alleged that all the facts supporting Ricardo's petition for declaration of presumptive death were false.47chanrobleslaw The Family Code also provides that the second marriage is in danger of being terminated by the presumptively dead spouse when he or she reappears. presumptions. 41 Celerina claimed that because of these. 32 She insisted that an action for annulment of judgment is proper when the declaration of presumptive death is obtained fraudulently. that constitutes a justification for a second marriage during the subsistence of another marriage.

the subsequent marriage at the instance of any interested person, with due notice to the spouses of the subsequent marriage and
without prejudice to the fact of reappearance being judicially determined in case such fact is disputed. (Emphasis supplied)
In other words, the Family Code provides the presumptively dead spouse with the remedy of terminating the subsequent marriage by
mere
reappearance.
The filing of an affidavit of reappearance is an admission on the part of the first spouse that his or her marriage to the present spouse
was
terminated
when
he
or
she
was
declared
absent
or
presumptively
dead.
Moreover, a close reading of the entire Article 42 reveals that the termination of the subsequent marriage by reappearance is subject to
several conditions: (1) the non-existence of a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it void ab initio; (2) recording in the
civil registry of the residence of the parties to the subsequent marriage of the sworn statement of fact and circumstances of
reappearance; (3) due notice to the spouses of the subsequent marriage of the fact of reappearance; and (4) the fact of reappearance
must
either
be
undisputed
or
judicially
determined.
The existence of these conditions means that reappearance does not always immediately cause the subsequent marriage's
termination. Reappearance of the absent or presumptively dead spouse will cause the termination of the subsequent marriage only
when
all
the
conditions
enumerated
in
the
Family
Code
are
present.
Hence, the subsequent marriage may still subsist despite the absent or presumptively dead spouse's reappearance (1) if the first
marriage has already been annulled or has been declared a nullity; (2) if the sworn statement of the reappearance is not recorded in
the civil registry of the subsequent spouses' residence; (3) if there is no notice to the subsequent spouses; or (4) if the fact of
reappearance is disputed in the proper courts of law, and no judgment is yet rendered confirming, such fact of reappearance.
When subsequent marriages are contracted after a judicial declaration of presumptive death, a presumption arises that the first spouse
is already dead and that the second marriage is legal. This presumption should prevail over the continuance of the marital relations with
the first spouse.48 The second marriage, as with all marriages, is presumed valid. 49 The burden of proof to show that the first marriage
was not properly dissolved rests on the person assailing the validity of the second marriage. 50chanrobleslaw
This court recognized the conditional nature of reappearance as a cause for terminating the subsequent marriage in Social Security
System v. Vda. de Bailon.51 This court noted52 that mere reappearance will not terminate the subsequent marriage even if the parties to
the subsequent marriage were notified if there was "no step . . . taken to terminate the subsequent marriage, either by [filing an]
affidavit [of reappearance] or by court action[.]" 53 "Since the second marriage has been contracted because of a presumption that the
former spouse is dead, such presumption continues inspite of the spouse's physical reappearance, and by fiction of law, he or she must
still be regarded as legally an absentee until the subsequent marriage is terminated as provided by law."54chanrobleslaw
The choice of the proper remedy is also important for purposes of determining the status of the second marriage and the liabilities of
the
spouse
who,
in
bad
faith,
claimed
that
the
other
spouse
was
absent.
A second marriage is bigamous while the first subsists. However, a bigamous subsequent marriage may be considered valid when the
following are present:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1)

The prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years;

2)

The spouse present has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead;

3)

There must be a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse; and

4)

There is a court declaration of presumptive death of the absent spouse.55

A subsequent marriage contracted in bad faith, even if it was contracted after a court declaration of presumptive death, lacks the
requirement of a well-founded belief 56 that the spouse is already dead. The first marriage will not be considered as. validly terminated.
Marriages contracted prior to the valid termination of a subsisting marriage are generally considered bigamous and void. 57 Only a
subsequent
marriage
contracted
in
good
faith
is
protected
by
law.
Therefore, the party who contracted the subsequent marriage in bad faith is also not immune from an action to declare his subsequent
marriage void for being bigamous. The prohibition against marriage during the subsistence of another marriage still
applies.58chanrobleslaw
If, as Celerina contends, Ricardo was in bad faith when he filed his petition to declare her presumptively dead and when he contracted
the subsequent marriage, such marriage would be considered void for being bigamous under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. This is
because the circumstances lack the element of "well-founded belief under Article 41 of the Family Code, which is essential for the
exception
to
the
rule
against
bigamous
marriages
to
apply.59chanrobleslaw

82

The provision on reappearance in the Family Code as a remedy to effect the termination of the subsequent marriage does not preclude
the spouse who was declared presumptively dead from availing other remedies existing in law. This court had, in fact, recognized that a
subsequent marriage may also be terminated by filing "an action in court to prove the reappearance of the absentee and obtain a
declaration
of
dissolution
or
termination
of
the
subsequent
marriage." 60chanrobleslaw
Celerina does not admit to have been absent. She also seeks not merely the termination of the subsequent marriage but also the
nullification of its effects. She contends that reappearance is not a sufficient remedy because it will only terminate the subsequent
marriage but not nullify the effects of the declaration of her presumptive death and the subsequent marriage.
Celerina is correct. Since an undisturbed subsequent marriage under Article 42 of the Family Code is valid until terminated, the
"children of such marriage shall be considered legitimate, and the property relations of the spouse[s] in such marriage will be the same
as in valid marriages."61 If it is terminated by mere reappearance, the children of the subsequent marriage conceived before the
termination shall still be considered legitimate.62 Moreover, a judgment declaring presumptive death is a defense against prosecution for
bigamy.63chanrobleslaw
It is true that in most cases, an action to declare the nullity of the subsequent marriage may nullify the effects of the subsequent
marriage, specifically, in relation to the status of children and the prospect of prosecuting a respondent for bigamy.
However, "a Petition for Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages may be filed solely by the husband or wife." 64 This means that
even if Celerina is a real party in interest who stands to be benefited or injured by the outcome of an action to nullify the second
marriage,65 this
remedy
is
not
available
to
her.
Therefore, for the purpose of not only terminating the subsequent marriage but also of nullifying the effects of the declaration of
presumptive death and the subsequent marriage, mere filing of an affidavit of reappearance would not suffice. Celerina's choice to file
an
action
for
annulment
of
judgment
will,
therefore,
lie.
WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the Court of Appeals for determination of the existence of extrinsic fraud, grounds for
nullity/annulment
of
the
first
marriage,
and
the
merits
of
the
petition.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
G.R. No. 179620
August 26, 2008
MANUEL G. ALMELOR, petitioner, vs THE HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS PIÑAS CITY, BRANCH 254, and LEONIDA T.
ALMELOR, respondents.
MARRIAGE, in its totality, involves the spouses' right to the community of their whole lives. It likewise involves a true intertwining of
personalities.1
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) denying the petition for annulment of judgment
and affirming in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Las Piñas, Branch 254. The CA dismissed outright the Rule 47
petition for being the wrong remedy.
The Facts
Petitioner Manuel G. Almelor (Manuel) and respondent Leonida Trinidad (Leonida) were married on January 29, 1989 at the Manila
Cathedral.3 Their union bore three children: (1) Maria Paulina Corinne, born on October 20, 1989; (2) Napoleon Manuel, born on August
9, 1991; and (3) Manuel Homer, born on July 4, 1994. 4 Manuel and Leonida are both medical practitioners, an anesthesiologist and a
pediatrician, respectively.5
After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Piñas City to annul their marriage on the ground that
Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. The case, docketed as LP-00-0132 was raffled off to
Branch 254.
During the trial, Leonida testified that she first met Manuel in 1981 at the San Lazaro Hospital where they worked as medical student
clerks. At that time, she regarded Manuel as a very thoughtful person who got along well with other people. They soon became
sweethearts. Three years after, they got married.6
Leonida averred that Manuel's kind and gentle demeanor did not last long. In the public eye, Manuel was the picture of a perfect
husband and father. This was not the case in his private life. At home, Leonida described Manuel as a harsh disciplinarian,
unreasonably meticulous, easily angered. Manuel's unreasonable way of imposing discipline on their children was the cause of their
frequent fights as a couple.7 Leonida complained that this was in stark contrast to the alleged lavish affection Manuel has for his mother.
Manuel's deep attachment to his mother and his dependence on her decision-making were incomprehensible to Leonida.8
Further adding to her woes was his concealment to her of his homosexuality. Her suspicions were first aroused when she noticed
Manuel's peculiar closeness to his male companions. For instance, she caught him in an indiscreet telephone conversation manifesting
his affection for a male caller.9 She also found several pornographic homosexual materials in his possession. 10 Her worse fears were
confirmed when she saw Manuel kissed another man on the lips. The man was a certain Dr. Nogales. 11 When she confronted Manuel,
he denied everything. At this point, Leonida took her children and left their conjugal abode. Since then, Manuel stopped giving support
to their children.12

83

Dr. Valentina del Fonso Garcia, a clinical psychologist, was presented to prove Leonida's claim. Dr. del Fonso Garcia testified that she
conducted evaluative interviews and a battery of psychiatric tests on Leonida. She also had a one-time interview with Manuel and faceto-face interviews with Ma. Paulina Corrinne (the eldest child). 13 She concluded that Manuel is psychologically incapacitated. 14Such
incapacity is marked by antecedence; it existed even before the marriage and appeared to be incurable.
Manuel, for his part, admitted that he and Leonida had some petty arguments here and there. He, however, maintained that their
marital relationship was generally harmonious. The petition for annulment filed by Leonida came as a surprise to him.
Manuel countered that the true cause of Leonida's hostility against him was their professional rivalry. It began when he refused to heed
the memorandum15 released by Christ the King Hospital. The memorandum ordered him to desist from converting his own lying-in clinic
to a primary or secondary hospital.16 Leonida's family owns Christ the King Hospital which is situated in the same subdivision as
Manuel's clinic and residence.17 In other words, he and her family have competing or rival hospitals in the same vicinity.
Manuel belied her allegation that he was a cruel father to their children. He denied maltreating them. At most, he only imposed the
necessary discipline on the children.
He also defended his show of affection for his mother. He said there was nothing wrong for him to return the love and affection of the
person who reared and looked after him and his siblings. This is especially apt now that his mother is in her twilight years. 18 Manuel
pointed out that Leonida found fault in this otherwise healthy relationship because of her very jealous and possessive nature.19
This same overly jealous behavior of Leonida drove Manuel to avoid the company of female friends. He wanted to avoid any further
misunderstanding with his wife. But, Leonida instead conjured up stories about his sexual preference. She also fabricated tales about
pornographic materials found in his possession to cast doubt on his masculinity.20
To corroborate his version, he presented his brother, Jesus G. Almelor. Jesus narrated that he usually stayed at Manuel's house during
his weekly trips to Manila from Iriga City. He was a witness to the generally harmonious relationship between his brother Manuel and
sister-in-law, Leonida. True, they had some quarrels typical of a husband and wife relationship. But there was nothing similar to what
Leonida described in her testimony.21
Jesus further testified that he was with his brother on the day Leonida allegedly saw Manuel kissed another man. He denied that such
an incident occurred. On that particular date,22 he and Manuel went straight home from a trip to Bicol. There was no other person with
them at that time, except their driver.23
Manuel expressed his intention to refute Dr. del Fonso Garcia's findings by presenting his own expert witness. However, no psychiatrist
was presented.
RTC Disposition
By decision dated November 25, 2005, the RTC granted the petition for annulment, with the following disposition:
WHEREFORE, premised on the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
1. Declaring the marriage contracted by herein parties on 29 January 1989 and all its effects under the law null and void from
the beginning;
2. Dissolving the regime of community property between the same parties with forfeiture of defendant's share thereon in favor
of the same parties' children whose legal custody is awarded to plaintiff with visitorial right afforded to defendant;
3. Ordering the defendant to give monthly financial support to all the children; and
4. Pursuant to the provisions of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC:
a. Directing the Branch Clerk of this Court to enter this Judgment upon its finality in the Book of Entry of Judgment
and to issue an Entry of Judgment in accordance thereto; and
b. Directing the Local Civil Registrars of Las Piñas City and Manila City to cause the registration of the said Entry of
Judgment in their respective Books of Marriages.
Upon compliance, a decree of nullity of marriage shall be issued.
SO ORDERED.24 (Emphasis supplied)
The trial court nullified the marriage, not on the ground of Article 36, but Article 45 of the Family Code. It ratiocinated:
x x x a careful evaluation and in-depth analysis of the surrounding circumstances of the allegations in the complaint and of the
evidence presented in support thereof (sic) reveals that in this case (sic) there is more than meets the eyes (sic).
Both legally and biologically, homosexuality x x x is, indeed, generally incompatible with hetero sexual marriage. This is reason
enough that in this jurisdiction (sic) the law recognizes marriage as a special contract exclusively only between a man and a
woman x x x and thus when homosexuality has trespassed into marriage, the same law provides ample remedies to correct
the situation [Article 45(3) in relation to Article 46(4) or Article 55, par. 6, Family Code]. This is of course in recognition of the
biological fact that no matter how a man cheats himself that he is not a homosexual and forces himself to live a normal
heterosexual life, there will surely come a time when his true sexual preference as a homosexual shall prevail in haunting him
and thus jeopardizing the solidity, honor, and welfare of his own family.25
Manuel filed a notice of appeal which was, however, denied due course. Undaunted, he filed a petition for annulment of judgment with
the CA.26

84

The exception is that while the Rules are liberally construed. 35 It has.37 petitioner Delia R. The Court AFFIRMS in toto the Decision (dated November 25. No costs. in Las Piñas City. refused to sacrifice justice for technicality. Said the appellate court: It is obvious that the petitioner is questioning the propriety of the decision rendered by the lower Court. As an exception to the exception. inter alia: 85 . she is ordered reinstated without back wages. On appeal.34 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) For reasons of justice and equity. these rules have sometimes been relaxed on equitable considerations . the present Petition for Annulment of Judgment is hereby DENIED. an appeal taken either to the Supreme Court or the CA by the wrong or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. in the past. After all. II THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT AS REGARDS THE ORDER DECLARING THE MARRIAGE AS NULL AND VOID ON THE GROUND OF PETITIONER'S PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY. substantial justice and. in Civil Case No. that it had no jurisdiction to dissolve the absolute community of property and forfeit his conjugal share in favor of his children. The stringent rules of procedures may be relaxed to serve the demands of substantial justice and in the Court's exercise of equity jurisdiction. assigning to the CA the following errors: I THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT TREATING THE PETITION FOR ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT AS A PETITION FOR REVIEW IN VIEW OF THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUES INVOLVED AND IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE. but only when to do so would serve the demands of substantial justice and in the exercise of equity jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.Manuel contended that the assailed decision was issued in excess of the lower court's jurisdiction. a public school teacher. therefore. Generally. Also. they should not be applied in a very rigid and technical sense. which is properly the subject of an ordinary appeal. But the remedy assuming there was a mistake is not a Petition for Annulment of Judgment but an ordinary appeal. Nevertheless. Civil Service Commission. An error of judgment may be reversed or corrected only by appeal.36 After discovering the palpable error of his petition. not of jurisdiction. In Nerves v. The CSC ruled Nerves. it carries certain exceptions. 2007. 29 Our Ruling I. this Court has allowed exceptions to the stringent rules governing appeals. 2005) of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 254). Manuel seeks the indulgence of this Court to consider his petition before the CA instead as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65. not to defeat. It can not be resorted to if the ordinary remedies are available or no longer available through no fault of petitioner. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. in this wise: Rules of procedures are intended to promote. 30 This is to prevent the party from benefiting from one's neglect and mistakes. This is not the first time that this Court is faced with a similar situation. the provisions with respect to the rules on the manner and periods for perfecting appeals are strictly applied. in some cases the Supreme Court has given due course to an appeal perfected out of time where a stringent application of the rules would have denied it. In short. CA Disposition On July 31. petitioner admits the jurisdiction of the lower court but he claims excess in the exercise thereof. LP-00-0132. However. A perusal of the said petition reveals that Manuel imputed grave abuse of discretion to the lower court for annulling his marriage on account of his alleged homosexuality. in Buenaflor v. the ultimate purpose of all rules of procedures is to achieve substantial justice as expeditiously as possible. The Rule refers the lack of jurisdiction and not the exercise thereof.27 The CA stated that petitioner pursued the wrong remedy by filing the extraordinary remedy of petition for annulment of judgment.33 this Court clarified the proper appreciation for technical rules of procedure. Nerves elevated to the CA a Civil Service Commission (CSC) decision suspending her for six (6) months.31 Annulment of judgment under Rule 47 is a last remedy. Nerves stated in her petition.28 Issues Petitioner Manuel takes the present recourse via Rule 45. Court of Appeals. "Excess" assuming there was is not covered by Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. III THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT AS REGARDS THE ORDER TO FORFEIT THE SHARE OF PETITIONER IN HIS SHARE OF THE CONJUGAL ASSETS. like most rules. the CA denied the petition. What petitioner is ascribing is an error of judgment.32 However. is deemed to have already served her six-month suspension during the pendency of the case.

there is a strong showing that grave miscarriage of justice would result from the strict application of the Rules. In the instant case. reckless inattention and downright incompetence of lawyers. 1-95 (Revised Circular No.47 The negligence of Manuel's counsel falls under the exceptions. higher interests of justice and equity demand that petitioners be allowed to present evidence on their defense. Court of Appeals. it was the negligence and incompetence of Manuel's counsel that prejudiced his right to appeal. Tan availed of a wrong remedy by filing a petition for review on certiorari instead of a motion for new trial or an ordinary appeal. True it is that the negligence of counsel binds the client. justice will be better served by giving due course to the present petition and treating petitioner's CA petition as one for certiorari under Rule 65. the appeal on its face appears to be impressed with merit.51 and Ancheta v.45 Indeed. This Court is guided with the thrust of giving a party the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of one's action. With more conviction should it wield such power in a case involving the sacrosanct institution of marriage. this Court reiterated: x x x The dismissal of appeals on purely technical grounds is frowned upon. 1-91) petitioner is filing the instant petition with this Honorable Court instead of the Supreme Court. considering that what is at stake is the validity or non-validity of a marriage. Inc. or bar the vindication of a legitimate grievance. she failed to move for reconsideration or new trial at the first instance. Section 7 of the Constitution of the Philippines and under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. the client is deprived of his day in court and the judgment may be set aside on such ground.38(Underscoring supplied) The CA dismissed Nerves' petition for certiorari for being the wrong remedy or the inappropriate mode of appeal. the Court of Appeals should have overlooked the insubstantial defects of the petition x x x in order to do justice to the parties concerned. not fatal to the appeal. But per Supreme Court Revised Administrative Circular No. negligence and dereliction of duty. The Court stated: That it was erroneously labeled as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is only a minor procedural lapse. Still. but rather. or (3) where the interest of justice so require.44 citing Labad v.50 The client was likewise spared from counsel's negligence in Government Service Insurance System v. These manifest errors were clearly indicative of counsel's incompetence. pro hac vice. as a petition forcertiorari under Rule 65. Dumarpa. which resulted in the client's being held liable for damages in a damage suit. nonetheless it is an essential part of our judicial system and courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal.49 (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. Ultimately. If uncorrected. His counsel.46 Furthermore. 2. Bengson Commercial Buildings. free from the constraints of technicalities.42 petitioner Joy G. These gravely worked to the detriment of Manuel's appeal. After the denial of her notice of appeal. it will cause petitioner great injustice. where the rigid application of the rules would frustrate substantial justice. this Court has recognized certain exceptions: (1) where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law. in the more recent case of Tan v. speedy. Guersey-Dalaygon. of their day in court. which has the consequence of depriving their clients. nothing sacrosanct about procedural rules. this Court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the demands of justice require it. She also erroneously filed a petition for annulment of judgment rather than pursue an ordinary appeal.41 (Underscoring supplied) Similarly. 39 The CA opined that "under the Supreme Court Revised Administrative Circular No."40 This Court granted Nerves petition and held that she had substantially complied with the Administrative Circular.1. where as here. the courts are justified in exempting a particular case from the operation of the rules. While the right to appeal is a statutory. As it has been said. This Court will always be disposed to grant relief to parties aggrieved by perfidy. the trial court prima facie committed grave abuse of discretion in rendering a judgment by default. Higher interests of justice and equity demand that he be allowed to ventilate his case in a higher court. This is based on the rule that any act performed by a counsel within the scope of his general or implied authority is regarded as an act of his client. University of Southeastern Philippines.52 Said the Court in Bengson: 86 . Atty. Hence. Petitioners may not be made to suffer for the lawyer's mistakes. repeatedly availed of inappropriate remedies. the reckless or gross negligence of petitioner's former counsel led to the loss of his right to appeal. (2) when its application will result in outright deprivation of the client's liberty and property. This is a petition for certiorari filed pursuant to Article IX-A.48 this Court explained thus: It is settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. The Court elucidated in this wise: Indeed. In Salazar v. v. it is far better and more prudent for a court to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a review of the case on the merits to attain the ends of justice. x x x More importantly. Christine Dugenio. we will not hesitate to relax the same in the interest of substantial justice. Inc. In Apex Mining. this Court considered the petition.43 (Underscoring supplied) Measured by the foregoing yardstick. There is. where counsel is guilty of gross ignorance. In the interest of justice. ensure that every party-litigant has the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause. However. not a natural right. He should not be made to suffer for his counsel's grave mistakes. and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding. This Court found that based on Tan's allegations. which should be liberally construed in order to promote their object and assist the parties in obtaining just. 1-95 x x x appeals from judgments or final orders or resolutions of CSC is by a petition for review. Court of Appeals. fraud. indeed.

53 II. The Committee approved the suggestion. but in the end. The accusation of plaintiff versus thereof of defendant may be the name of the game in this case. reason why obviously defendant failed to establish a happy and solid family. Molina:54 Indeed. In support of its conclusion. no sufficient proof was presented to substantiate the allegations that Manuel is a homosexual and that he concealed this to Leonida at the time of their marriage. Even assuming. and in so failing. The trial court declared that Leonida's petition for nullity had "no basis at all because the supporting grounds relied upon can not legally make a case under Article 36 of the Family Code. ex gratia argumenti. etc. TSN. TSN. the lower court cannot appreciate it as a ground to annul his marriage with Leonida. plaintiff just the same married him. 15 December 2003). incessant quarrels and/or beatings. 14 February 2001) he was allegedly seen by plaintiff kissing another man lips-to-lips plus the homosexual magazines and tapes likewise allegedly discovered underneath his bed (Exhibits "L" and "M"). In other words. TSN. putting more premiums on defendant's denials. unpredictable mood swings. mere allegations of conflicting personalities. for clarity. The lower court considered the public perception of Manuel's sexual preference without the corroboration of witnesses. to wit: Justice Caguioa remarked that this ground should be eliminated in the provision on the grounds for legal separation. neglect. Consent is an essential requisite of a valid marriage. it must be freely given by both parties. But instead of dismissing the petition. they add the phrase "existing at the time of the marriage" at the end of subparagraph (4). Persistent in his quest. To be valid. it took cognizance of Manuel's peculiarities and interpreted it against his sexuality. the smoke of doubt about his real preference continued and even got thicker.63 87 . 73-75." while in the article on legal separation. that vitiates the consent of the innocent party.But if under the circumstances of the case. Also. the ground existed after the marriage. not homosexuality per se. 15 December 2003). The Family Code has enumerated an exclusive list of circumstances 61 constituting fraud. 13 December 2000. 57 Evidently. however. What Leonida attempted to demonstrate were Manuel's homosexual tendencies by citing overt acts generally predominant among homosexual individuals. 15 December 2003). and not homosexuality per se. he fought back all the heavy accusations of incapacity. the lower court should have dismissed outright the petition for not meeting the guidelines set in Molina. Homosexuality per se is not among those cited. Justice Reyes suggested that. Manuel is a desperate man determined to salvage what remains of his marriage. the ground existed at the time of the marriage. Concealment of homosexuality is the proper ground to annul a marriage.55 If so. pointed out that in Article 46. but the simple reason of professional rivalry advanced by the defendant is certainly not enough to justify and obscure the question why plaintiff should accuse him of such a very untoward infidelity at the expense and humiliation of their children and family as a whole. or if a man is more authoritative in knowing what clothes or jewelry shall fit his wife (pp. its rigors must be relaxed to admit exceptions thereto and to prevent a miscarriage of justice. and difficulty. infidelities. there is preponderant evidence enough to establish with certainty that defendant is really a homosexual. cruelty. defendant knew very well that people around him even including his own close friends doubted his true sexual preference (TSN. 75. abandonment. This distinction becomes more apparent when we go over the deliberations 62 of the Committees on the Civil Code and Family Law. Dean Gupit. he is meticulous over even small details in the house (sic) like wrongly folded bed sheets. 58 such as concealment of homosexuality. Reasons upon reasons may be advanced to either exculpate or nail to the cross defendant for his act of initially concealing his homosexuality to plaintiff. pp. or failure in the performance of some marital obligations do not suffice to establish psychological incapacity. The law is clear . there is actuality.even during his marriage with plaintiff.59Nowhere in the said decision was it proven by preponderance of evidence that Manuel was a homosexual at the onset of his marriage and that he deliberately hid such fact to his wife. plaintiff and their children became his innocent and unwilling victims. Although vehemently denied by defendant. Defendant threatened to sue those people but nothing happened after that. Such concealment presupposes bad faith and intent to defraud the other party in giving consent to the marriage. but these admissions of defendant taken in the light of evidence presented apparently showing that he had extra fondness of his male friends (sic) to the extent that twice on separate occasions (pp. the rule deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes a great hindrance and chief enemy. when there is smoke surely there is fire. 35-36. that Manuel is a homosexual. After receiving many forewarnings.a marriage may be annulled when the consent of either party was obtained by fraud." It went further by citing Republic v. vices. An allegation of vitiated consent must be proven by preponderance of evidence. but its concealment. the court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of justice require it. only one thing is certain . plaintiff told defendant about the rumor she heard but defendant did not do anything to prove to the whole world once and for all the truth of all his denials. they are talking only of "concealment. while in Article 46. There may have been more important matters to attend to than to waste time and effort filing cases against and be effected by these people and so. like herein defendant. there is nothing untoward of a man if. the doubt as to his real sex identity becomes stronger. Judge Diy added that in legal separation. 7781. the lower court reasoned out: As insinuated by the State (p. 4-7. Yes. This is the fact that can bededuced from the totality of the marriage life scenario of herein parties. pp. and doubted masculinity thrown at him. irreconcilable differences. the trial court nullified the marriage between Manuel and Leonida on the ground of vitiated consent by virtue of fraud. 56 She wanted to prove that the perceived homosexuality rendered Manuel incapable of fulfilling the essential marital obligations. 60 It is the concealment of homosexuality. Before his marriage.

x x x Appellant also invoked fraud to annul his marriage. In a valid marriage. x x x The Court is not convinced that appellant's apprehension of danger to his person is so overwhelming as to deprive him of the will to enter voluntarily to a contract of marriage. It is its concealment that serves as a valid ground to annul a marriage. In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the common properties. Court of Appeals.71 Thus. and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors. Article 12472 prescribes joint administration and enjoyment in a regime of conjugal partnership. Article 96 of the Family Code. the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. What was proven in the hearings a quo was a relatively blissful marital union for more than eleven (11) years. intimidation. the RTC decreed a dissolution of the community property of Manuel and Leonida. appellant worked as a security guard in a bank. In case of disagreement. In the same breath. the validity of his marriage must be upheld. any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of marriage. In the case under review. homosexuality per se is only a ground for legal separation. Since the appellant failed to justify his failure to cohabit with the appellee on any of these grounds.67 However. the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration. but one that is constitutive of fraud. are generally binding on this Court. the proper way to keep himself out of harm's way. The complaint is bereft of any reference to his inability to copulate with the appellee. homosexuality has been considered as a basis for divorce. 88 . Appellant's excuse that he could not have impregnated the appellee because he did not have an erection during their tryst is flimsy at best. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage rests on Leonida. the husband and wife jointly administer and enjoy their community or conjugal property. This Court is mindful of the constitutional policy to protect and strengthen the family as the basicautonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. instead of proving vitiation of consent. which is the exclusive sexual bond between the spouses. It indicates that questions of sexual identity strike so deeply at one of the basic elements of marriage. or. the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person. which produced three (3) children. she failed to discharge this onus.64 Concealment in this case is not simply a blanket denial. We affirm the findings of the Court of Appeals that petitioner freely and voluntarily married private respondent and that no threats or intimidation. x x x xxxx x x x The failure to cohabit becomes relevant only if it arises as a result of the perpetration of any of the grounds for annulling the marriage. duress or violence compelled him to do so. In the absence of such authority or consent. and an outright lie at worst. the legal overtones are significantly different. the dissolution and forfeiture of Manuel's share in the property regime is unwarranted. or undue influence x x x.68 In Villanueva. at the very least. The administration and enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both spouses jointly. the lower court committed grave abuse of discretion. insanity. III. Crutcher. subject to recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy. thus Appellant anchored his prayer for the annulment of his marriage on the ground that he did not freely consent to be married to the appellee. on regimes of absolute community property. He cited several incidents that created on his mind a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an imminent and grave danger to his life and safety. They remain the joint administrators of the community property. 96. and which would make the marriage relation so revolting to her that it would become impossible for her to discharge the duties of a wife. A similar provision. Given the rudiments of self-defense. Said the Court: Factual findings of the Court of Appeals. but by declaring the marriage void from its existence. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance without the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse.70 The State and the public have vital interest in the maintenance and preservation of these social institutions against desecration by fabricated evidence. It is not disputed that at the time he was allegedly being harassed.66 the Court held: Unnatural practices of the kind charged here are an infamous indignity to the wife. However. the husband's decision shall prevail. such as lack of parental consent. it is only a ground to separate from bed and board. It is this fundamental element that respondent failed to prove. and would defeat the whole purpose of the relation.To reiterate. In the natural course of things. not only by solely taking into account petitioner's homosexuality per se and not its concealment. Sadly. In the United States. 69 Verily. provides: Art. the trial court forfeited Manuel's share in favor of the children. The same failure to prove fraud which purportedly resulted to a vitiated marital consent was found inVillanueva v. which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision. as in the instant case. appellant resorted to baseless portrayals of his wife as a perpetrator of fraudulent schemes. especially if they coincide with those of the trial court. both spouses exercise administration and enjoyment of the property regime. 65 In Crutcher v. jointly. as he was made to believe by appellee that the latter was pregnant with his child when they were married. In a valid marriage. Homosexuality and its alleged incompatibility to a healthy heterosexual life are not sanctioned as grounds to sever the marriage bond in our jurisdiction. they would cause mental suffering to the extent of affecting her health. Divorce is not recognized in the country. although there may be similar sentiments here in the Philippines. fraud. Considering that the marriage is upheld valid and subsisting. At most.

appellant's counsel maintaining that the lower court erred: (a) In so prematurely dismissing the case. Benjamin Bugayong began receiving letters from Valeriana Polangco (plaintiff's sister-in-law) and some from anonymous writers(which were not produced at the hearing) informing him of alleged acts of infidelity of his wife which he did not even care to mention. where they stayed and lived for 2 nights and 1 day as husband and wife. This is a case for legal separation filed in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan wherein on motion of the defendant. The legal separation may be claimed only by the innocent spouse. 100. The Civil Code provides: ART. A petition for legal separation may be filed: (1) For adultery on the part of the wife and for concubinage for the part of the husband as defined on the Penal Code. As early as July. is barred by the statute of limitations. LEONILA GINEZ. the act charged have been condoned by the plaintiff-husband. "to soothe his wounded feelings". defendant-appellee. ART. or (2) An attempt by one spouse against the life of the other. ordered the dismissal of the action. counsel for the defendant orally moved for the dismissal of the complaint.. a cousin of the plaintiffhusband. which she claims to have destroyed. Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation shall cause the dismissal of the petition. After some time. condonation. and (c) In entertaining condonation as a ground for dismissal inasmuch as same was not raised in the answer or in a motion to dismiss. On cross-examination. After that and despite such belief. the case was taken up for review to the Court of Appeals. was married to defendant Leonila Ginez on August 27. 1952. Plaintiff's counsel announced that he was to present 6 witnesses but after plaintiff-husband finished testifying in his favor. merely packed up and left. Leonila Ginez. but the Court ordered him to file a written motion to that effect and gave plaintiff 10 days to answer the same. e. the petition is GRANTED. The facts of the case abridgedly stated are as follows: Benjamin Bugayong. plaintiff went to Asingan. a legal separation cannot by either of them. As the questions raised in the brief were merely questions of law. he went to Bacarra.R. The motion to dismiss was answered by plaintiff and the Court. plaintiff-appellant. 102. Pangasinan. Pangasinan. No. the couple lived with their sisters who later moved to Sampaloc. defendant's godmother. Where both spouses are offenders. and he was directed to consult instead the navy legal department. instead of answering his query. 1951 to seek the advice of the Navy Chaplain as to the propriety of a legal separation between him and his wife on account of the latter's alleged acts of infidelity. the motion being predicated on the assumption as true of the very facts testified to by plaintiff-husband. After the motion for reconsideration filed by plaintiff was denied. 1949. 1951. On the second day. the case was dismissed. 1956 BENJAMIN BUGAYONG. 1951. An action for legal separation cannot be filed except within one year from and after the date on which the plaintiff became cognizant of the cause and within five years from and after the date when such cause occurred. if any. which he took as a confirmation of the acts of infidelity imputed on her. Ilocos Norte. Immediately after their marriage. 89 . that a certain "Eliong" kissed her. (b) In finding that there were condonation on the part of plaintiff-appellant. She came along with him and both proceeded to the house of Pedro Bugayong. a serviceman in the United States Navy. considering only the second ground of the motion to dismiss i. G. On November 18. plaintiff exerted efforts to locate her and failing to find her. All these communications prompted him in October. Benjamin Bugayong filed in the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan a complaint for legal separation against his wife. After the issues were joined and convinced that a reconciliation was not possible. Malalang. from which place she later moved to Dagupan City to study in a local college there. Benjamin Bugayong tried to verify from his wife the truth of the information he received that she had committed adultery but Leonila. or about July.WHEREFORE. Manila. (2) That under the same assumption. the Court of Appeals certified the case to Superiority. The order of dismissal was appealed to the Court of Appeals. 1952. Then they repaired to the plaintiff's house and again passed the night therein as husband and wife. The motion to dismiss was predicted on the following grounds: (1) Assuming arguendo the truth of the allegations of the commission of "acts of rank infidelity amounting to adultery". In August. The appealed Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDEand the petition in the trial court to annul the marriage is DISMISSED. 97. ART. at Asingan. while on furlough leave. the court set the case for hearing on June 9. Leonila Ginez left the dwelling of her sister-in-law and informed her husband by letter that she had gone to reside with her mother in Asingan. 1953. L-10033 December 28. and sought for his wife whom he met in the house of one Mrs. provided there has been no condonation of or consent to the adultery or concubinage. but said Tribunal certified the case to the Court on the ground that there is absolutely no question of fact involved. the cause of action. plaintiff admitted that his wife also informed him by letter. and (3) That the complaint failed to state a cause of action sufficient for this court to render a valid judgment. who timely filed an answer vehemently denying the averments of the complaint and setting up affirmative defenses. Pangasinan. vs.

As the only reason of the lower Court for dismissing the action was the alleged condonation of the charges of adultery that the plaintiffhusband had preferred in the complaint against his wife. nor the anonymous letters which plaintiff also failed to present. But this is not a question at issue. t. In this appeal. (p. provided there has been no condonation of or consent to the adultery or concubinage. It is to be noted. t. On the next night. 48 N. Now Mr.)lawphil. 19. he went to Pangasinan and looked for his wife and after finding her they lived together as husband and wife for 2 nights and 1 day.n. who was the only one that had the chance of testifying in Court and link such evidence with the averments of the complaint. 585. t. and the fact that she went with him and consented to be brought to the house of his cousin Pedro Bugayong and together they slept there as husband and wife for one day and one night. (p. (p. (p. Bugayong.) Q. Court why you want to separate from your wife? — A. She consented but I did not bring her home but brought her to the house of my cousin Pedro Bugayong.s. Admitting for the sake of argument that the infidelities amounting to adultery were committed by the defendant.n. according to plaintiff. and even if We were to give full weight to the testimony of the plaintiff. did you sleep together also as husband and wife? — A. 12. condonation is the "conditional forgiveness or remission. Where both spouses are offenders.) Q. especially those portions quoted above. (p. do not amount to anything that can be relied upon. in its Art.s.) Q.s. And yet he tried to locate her. the letter that plaintiff claims to have received from his sister-in-law Valeriana Polangco.n.n. Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation shall cause the dismissal of the petition. legal separation cannot be claimed by either of them.net The legal separation may be claimed only by the innocent spouse. (p. We would have to conclude that the facts appearing on the record are far from sufficient to establish the charge of adultery. instead of answering his query on the matter. Please tell this Hon.s. The act of the latter in persuading her to come along with him. Certainly. the plaintiff further testified as follows: Q. 19. did you slept together? — A. 19 t. t. that in defendant's answer she vehemently and vigorously denies having committed any act of infidelity against her husband. J. amount to a condonation of her previous and supposed adulterous acts? In the order appealed from. 12. 97.s. I persuaded her to come along with me.n. It is entirely consonant with reason 90 . whose identity was not established and which admission defendant had no opportunity to deny because the motion to dismiss was filed soon after plaintiff finished his testimony in Court. Four days later or on the fifth day since my arrival she went to the house of our god-mother. 1952. That was in August. 1952. a reconciliation was effected between her and the plaintiff. his wife addressed to him admitting that she had been kissed by one Eliong.) Q. I consulted the chaplain and he told me to consult the legal adviser. (p. Yes. which must have been too vague and indefinite as to defendant's infidelity to deserve its production in evidence. Yes. and the further fact that in the second night they again slept together in their house likewise as husband and wife — all these facts have no other meaning in the opinion of this court than that a reconciliation between them was effected and that there was a condonation of the wife by the husband. We will disregard the other 2 grounds of the motion to dismiss. but failed to attain his purpose because his wife.s. How many nights did you sleep together as husband and wife? — A.) Q. Shackleton. 364. In August. What happened next? — A.s. the Court a quo had the following to say on this point: In the hearing of the case. do the husband's attitude of sleeping with his wife for 2 nights despite his alleged belief that she was unfaithful to him. Eq. Now. When was that? — A.n. of "acts of rank infidelity amounting to adultery" preferred against the defendant. however. 100 it says:lawphil.n. preferred to desert him. 11. t. nor the alleged letter that. p. I came to know that my wife is committing adultery. after which he says that he tried to verify from her the truth of the news he had about her infidelity. One day and one night. as the complaint states. clearly shows that there was a condonation on the part of the husband for the supposed "acts of rank infidelity amounting to adultery" committed by defendant-wife. A detailed examination of the testimony of the plaintiff-husband. such acts necessary implied forgiveness. We have to consider plaintiff's line of conduct under the assumption that he really believed his wife guilty of adultery. sir. t. when you slept in your own house. t. sir. How long did you remain in the house of your cousin Pedro Bugayong? — A.) Q. In Shackleton vs.n.) The New Civil Code of the Philippines. probably enraged for being subjected to such humiliation. Did you finally locate her?--A.s. The reconciliation occurred almost ten months after he came to know of the acts of infidelity amounting to adultery. or. That night when you stayed in the house of your cousin Pedro Bugayong as husband and wife. What did he do in such state of mind. by a husband or wife of a matrimonial offense which the latter has committed". 12. and in its Art. as stated in I Bouver's Law Dictionary. as anyway they have not been raised in appellant's assignment of errors. Only two nights. (p. 935. 21 Atl. you have filed this action for legal separation from your wife. it has been held that "condonation is implied from sexual intercourse after knowledge of the other infidelity. and as a husband I went to her to come along with me in our house but she refused. 19.net Q. says: A petition for legal separation may be filed: (1) For adultery on the part of the wife and concubinage on the part of the husband as defined on the Penal Code. though in vain. Condonation is the forgiveness of a marital offense constituting a ground for legal separation or.

and on the strength of the foregoing. Martin. J. implied by the law when not express." In Tiffany's Domestic and Family Relations. after the commission of the offense. Lapuz Sy died in a vehicular accident on 31 May 1969. Collins. Lapuz Sy. in its Civil Case No. and with the knowledge or belief on the part of the injured party of its commission. of the legal provisions above quoted. 401. 73). Toulson. herein respondent Eufemio S. There is no merit in the contention of appellant that the lower court erred in entertaining condonation as a ground for dismissal inasmuch as same was not raised in the answer or in a motion to dismiss. We agree with the trial judge that the conduct of the plaintiffhusband above narrated despite his belief that his wife was unfaithful. Lapuz Sy filed a petition for legal separation against Eufemio S. alias Ngo Hiok. Marsh. it is presumed that they live on terms of matrimonial cohabitation (27 C. 534) or sleeping together for a single night (Toulson vs. alleging. with costs against appellant. dismissing said case for legal separation on the ground that the death of the therein plaintiff. Carmen O. 185. but this presumption may be rebutted by evidence (60 L. vs. Counsel for petitioner duly notified the court of her death. The only general rule in American jurisprudence is that any cohabitation with the guilty party. that 'a single voluntary act of sexual intercourse by the innocent spouse after discovery of the offense is ordinarily sufficient to constitute condonation. The resumption of marital cohabitation as a basis of condonation will generally be inferred. Issues having been joined. Wherefore. Day vs. Eufemio. There is no ruling on this matter in our jurisprudence but we have no reason to depart from the doctrines laid down in the decisions of the various supreme courts of the United States above quoted. Prob. J. But before the trial could be completed (the respondent was already scheduled to present surrebuttal evidence on 9 and 18 June 1969). petitioner Carmen O. for review by certiorari of an order. Rogers. 80 Pac. EUFEMIO alias EUFEMIO SY UY. on the ground of his prior and subsisting marriage. abated the cause of action as well as the action itself. and that she discovered her husband cohabiting with a Chinese woman named Go Hiok at 1319 Sisa Street. 974) or there is sexual intercourse after knowledge of adultery (Rogers vs. It has been held in a long line of decisions of the various supreme courts of the different states of the U. Eufemio should be deprived of his share of the conjugal partnership profits. 50 Atl. In the lights of the facts testified to by the plaintiff-husband. No. 199. 114 S. the heir of the deceased plaintiff (and petitioner herein) who sought to substitute the deceased and to have the case prosecuted to final judgment. The dismissal order was issued over the objection of Macario Lapuz.and justice that if the wife freely consents to sexual intercourse after she has full knowledge of the husband's guilt. EUFEMIO S. will amount to conclusive evidence of condonation. among others. But it is on the condition. her consent should operate as a pardon of his wrong. 154 Ga. 315). of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court of Manila.. On 18 August 1953. It is so ordered. and of the various decisions above-cited. section 107 says: Condonation. especially as against the husband'. especially as against the husband (Marsh vs. It is true that it was filed after the answer and after the hearing had been commenced. and also that he shall thereafter treat the other spouse with conjugal kindness. represented by her substitute MACARIO LAPUZ. Although no acts of infidelity might have been committed by the wife. Is the forgiveness of a marital offense constituting a ground for divorce and bars the right to a divorce. Eufemio alleged affirmative and special defenses. the order appealed from is hereby affirmed. because in the second ground of the motion to dismiss. 15 South 657. S. A divorce suit will not be granted for adultery where the parties continue to live together after it was known (Land vs. In his second amended answer to the petition. Eq. 91 . which. Lapuz Sy. that they were married civilly on 21 September 1934 and canonically on 30 September 1934. because his said conduct comes within the restriction of Article 100 of the Civil Code. dated 29 July 1969. as alleged the offended spouse. citing Phinizy vs. that they had lived together as husband and wife continuously until 1943 when her husband abandoned her. (27 Corpus Juris Secundum. 20387. respondent-appellee. 1972 CARMEN LAPUZ SY. and many others. If there had been cohabitation. deprives him. Condonation may be express or implied. that they acquired properties during their marriage. with one Go Hiok. to what extent must it be to constitute condonation? Single voluntary act of marital intercourse between the parties ordinarily is sufficient to constitute condonation. in the main. petitioner-appellant. trial proceeded and the parties adduced their respective evidence. J. would order that the defendant Eufemio S. Day. along with several other claims involving money and other properties. Collins vs. Carmen O. which occurred during the pendency of the case. S. 702). She prayed for the issuance of a decree of legal separation. A breach of the condition will revive the original offense as a ground for divorce. the inevitable conclusion is that the present action is untenable. Petition. on or about March 1949. Rule 17 of the Rules of Court). and. 67 N. G. Manila. that the wrongdoer shall not again commit the offense. nothing appearing to the contrary. section 61 and cases cited therein). of any action for legal separation against the offending wife.R. celebrated according to Chinese law and customs. filed after the effectivity of Republic Act 5440. J. from the fact of the living together as husband and wife. Phinizy. that they had no child. L-30977 January 31. E. Eq. counter-claimed for the declaration of nullity ab initio of his marriage with Carmen O. and where the parties live in the same house. section 6-d). 14 N. 193 So. yet that motion serves to supplement the averments of defendant's answer and to adjust the issues to the testimony of plaintiff himself (section 4.

717. Rep.W. Petitioner's moved to reconsider but the motion was denied on 15 September 1969. the court stated that the motion to dismiss and the motion for substitution had to be resolved on the question of whether or not the plaintiff's cause of action has survived. which is without basis. Strickland v. The heirs cannot even continue the suit. On 29 July 1969. H. without prejudice to the provisions of article 176. The decree of legal separation shall have the following effects: (1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each other. On the point. They are not inseparable nor was the action for legal separation converted into one for a declaration of nullity by the counterclaim. Macario Lapuz. 659. 1933. 155. 106. and an action for divorce is a proceeding brought for the purpose of effecting a dissolution of that relation. D. 1871. namely: that the petition for legal separation was filed beyond the one-year period provided for in Article 102 of the Civil Code. will abatement also apply if the action involves property rights? . 874. the death of one of the parties to such action abates the action. it follows that the death of one party to the action causes the death of the action itself — actio personalis moritur cum persona. while the petition for nullity has a voidable marriage as a pre-condition. 817. The petition for legal separation and the counterclaim to declare the nullity of the self same marriage can stand independent and separate adjudication. 332. both over the persons of the parties to the action and of the subject-matter of the action itself.On 9 June 1969. 208. 17 Ann. Ark. 2 Gilman. the court issued the order under review. counsel for deceased petitioner moved to substitute the deceased Carmen by her father. When one of the spouses is dead. On 26 June 1969. abate the action? If it does. 1933.A. D. 2 In the body of the order. . 1 Corpus Juris 208). there is no need for divorce. Strickland. But petitioner Carmen O. by allowing only the innocent spouse (and no one else) to claim legal separation. 128 Cal. by providing that the spouses can. hence. unless otherwise directed by the court in the interest of said minors. for the reason that death has settled the question of separation beyond all controversy and deprived the court of jurisdiction. Moss. they can not survive the death of the plaintiff if it occurs prior to the decree. Begbie. The action is one of a personal nature. 830. 141. In the absence of a statute to the contrary. 134 Am St. Eufemio. 45 Am. for legal separation pre-supposes a valid marriage. if the death of the spouse takes place during the course of the suit (Article 244. Danforth v. Begbie v. 89 N. 196 N. 236. 41 N. but the marriage bonds shall not be severed. 80 Ark. (2) The conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute conjugal community of property shall be dissolved and liquidated. For this reason the courts are almost unanimous in holding that the death of either party to a divorce proceeding. 92 . does the death of a party abate the proceedings? The issue as framed by petitioner injects into it a supposed conversion of a legal separation suit to one for declaration of nullity of a marriage. After first securing an extension of time to file a petition for review of the order of dismissal issued by the juvenile and domestic relations court. Section 3). by their reconciliation. 667. req. Wilcon v. respondent Eufemio moved to dismiss the "petition for legal separation" 1 on two (2) grounds. for whom said court may appoint a guardian. 60 Pac. Marriage is a personal relation or status. A review of the resulting changes in property relations between spouses shows that they are solely the effect of the decree of legal separation. He acquiesced in the dismissal of said counterclaims by praying for the affirmance of the order that dismissed not only the petition for legal separation but also his counterclaim to declare the Eufemio-Lapuz marriage to be null and void ab initio. Danforth. created under the sanction of law. 71. McCurley. 49 L. who prayed for the affirmance of the said order. the petitioner filed the present petition on 14 October 1969. stop or abate the proceedings and even rescind a decree of legal separation already rendered. The first real issue in this case is: Does the death of the plaintiff before final decree. 72. . in an action for legal separation. 81. and in its Article 108. Wilson. An action for legal separation which involves nothing more than the bed-and-board separation of the spouses (there being no absolute divorce in this jurisdiction) is purely personal.R. 60 Md. Rep.. filed counterclaims.") 4 . 111 Ill. July 27. The action is absolutely dead (Cass. 127. for even petitioner asserted that "the respondent has acquiesced to the dismissal of his counterclaim" (Petitioner's Brief. Art. May 8. 3 Although the defendant below. before final decree. but the offending spouse shall have no right to any share of the profits earned by the partnership or community. page 22). W. Cas. 97 S.. 73 Mich. he did not pursue them after the court below dismissed the case. Not only this. 1 Corpus Juris.E. dismissing the case. Counsel for Eufemio opposed the motion. 578. McCurley v. Matter of Grandall.. which the court resolved in the negative. The Civil Code of the Philippines recognizes this in its Article 100.Y. Lapuz Sy (through her self-assumed substitute — for the lower court did not act on the motion for substitution) stated the principal issue to be as follows: When an action for legal separation is converted by the counterclaim into one for a declaration of nullity of a marriage. Cass. (3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to the innocent spouse. 5 The same rule is true of causes of action and suits for separation and maintenance (Johnson vs. The same was given due course and answer thereto was filed by respondent. 185. the herein respondent Eufemio S.. 101 SW 412. 452. and that the death of Carmen abated the action for legal separation. Wren v. 1. Being personal in character. abates the action. because the marriage is dissolved. Article 106 of the Civil Code provides: . 620. Bates.

3 On March 21.R. William would shout invectives at her like "putang ina mo". may be commenced against him. Branch 41 alleging that her life with William was marked by physical violence. and not in the annulment proceeding. of the Rules of Court. or when she had been generally believed dead. ONG. so that before the finality of a decree.. From this article it is apparent that the right to the dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains (or of the absolute community of property). 2006 ONG ENG KIAM a. of the Civil Code. even if property rights are involved. of the Code. the appealed judgment of the Manila Court of Juvenile and Domestic Relations is hereby affirmed. Before this Court is a Petition for Review seeking the reversal of the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G. CV No. the loss of right by the offending spouse to any share of the profits earned by the partnership or community.. In fact. whenever she tried to stop William from hitting the children. on December 9. or an interest therein. after she protested with William’s decision to allow their eldest son Kingston to go to Bacolod. kick her. intimidation and grossly abusive conduct. within a period of thirty (30) days. under Section 17. William would also scold and beat the children at different parts of their bodies using the buckle of his belt. and there could be no further interest in continuing the same after her demise. ACCORDINGLY. "it is none of your business". real or personal. because the second marriage had been contracted with the first wife having been an absentee for seven consecutive years. A further reason why an action for legal separation is abated by the death of the plaintiff. paragraph 2. a violent quarrel 93 .5 Lucita claimed that: soon after three years of marriage. No action upon a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest thereon shall be commenced against the executor or administrator. 1995. vs. and by their nature and intent. still the action for annulment became extinguished as soon as one of the three persons involved had died. without the decree such rights do not come into existence. upon proper notice. of the Revised Rules of Court: SECTION 1. "gago". 1995. and Princeton who are now all of the age of majority. "tanga". also known as William Ong (William) and Lucita G. that automatically dissolved the questioned union. bang her head against concrete wall and throw at her whatever he could reach with his hand. on December 14. 17. respondent. a claim to said rights is not a claim that "is not thereby extinguished" after a party dies. the court shall order. 1975 at the San Agustin Church in Manila. No. from the estate. and the expected consequential rights and claims would necessarily remain unborn. Moreover. Rule 3. such claims and disabilities are difficult to conceive as assignable or transmissible. WILLIAM ONG. is that these rights are mere effects of decree of separation. 59400 which affirmed in toto the Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 41. he would turn his ire on her and box her. G. 2002 which denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Sec. as well as the Resolution2 of the CA dated April 26. Any property rights acquired by either party as a result of Article 144 of the Civil Code of the Philippines 6 could be resolved and determined in a proper action for partition by either the appellee or by the heirs of the appellant. the legal representative of the deceased to appear and to be substituted for the deceased. LUCITA G. these claims are merely rights in expectation. or his disqualification to inherit by intestacy from the innocent spouse as well as the revocation of testamentary provisions in favor of the offending spouse made by the innocent one. but actions to recover real or personal property.R. Actions which may and which may not be brought against executor or administrator. Neither actions for legal separation or for annulment of marriage can be deemed fairly included in the enumeration. After a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished. or to enforce a lien thereon. and he would slap her. (1) of the Family Code 4before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City. Rule 87. she asked William to bring Kingston back from Bacolod. provisions in favor of the offending spouse made in the will of the innocent one shall be revoked by operation of law. Ong Eng Kiam. as provided in Article 87. it is apparent that such action became moot and academic upon the death of the latter. If death supervenes during the pendency of the action. paragraph 2. And furthermore. Lucita filed a Complaint for Legal Separation under Article 55 par. William slapped her and said. to warrant continuation of the action through a substitute of the deceased party. The same result flows from a consideration of the enumeration of the actions that survive for or against administrators in Section 1. No special pronouncement as to costs. Death of party. 1996. and actions to recover damages for an injury to person or property. as expressly provided in Section 2 of the Revised Rule 73. are vested exclusively in the persons of the spouses.(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate succession. pull her hair. They have three children: Kingston. Hence. death producing a more radical and definitive separation. with physical violence being inflicted upon her. As to the petition of respondent-appellee Eufemio for a declaration of nullity ab initio of his marriage to Carmen Lapuz. no decree can be forthcoming. 153206 October 23.k.. their source being the decree itself. Charleston. Dagupan City granting the petition for legal separation filed by herein respondent. threats. the causes of these fights were petty things regarding their children or their business. the liquidation of any conjugal partnership that might have resulted from such voidable marriage must be carried out "in the testate or intestate proceedings of the deceased spouse". by the very terms of the Civil Code article. or within such time as may be granted. Ong (Lucita) were married on July 13. petitioner. even if the bigamous marriage had not been void ab initio but only voidable under Article 83. requiring that the action for annulment should be brought during the lifetime of any one of the parties involved. are all rights and disabilities that.a. she and William quarreled almost every day.

The aggregate behavior of [William] warrants legal separation under grossly abusive conduct. were adequately proven. abandon the comforts of her home and be separated from her children. shouting words like. black eye on her left eye. She was a witness to the kind of relationship her sister and [William] had during the three years she lived with them. Dr. As very well stated in plaintiff’s memorandum. The Memorandum/Medical Certificate also confirmed the evidence presented and does not deviate from the doctor’s main testimony --. 1995. insulting words and language were heaped upon her. blood clot and a blackish discoloration on both shoulders and a "bump" or "bukol" on her head. Tondo. except by making a general denial thereof. "putang ina mo. 2002. In its Decision dated October 8. 1998." and "you don’t know anything. in its entirety. the following day.that [Lucita] suffered physical violence on [sic] the hands of her husband. particularly the dissolution and liquidation of the conjugal partnership properties. " gaga". harmony and peace. The grossly abusive conduct is also apparent in the instances testified to by [Lucita] and her sister. judgment is hereby rendered decreeing the legal separation of plaintiff and defendant. 1995 when she had reached the limits of her endurance. for which purpose the parties are hereby ordered to submit a complete inventory of said properties so that the Court can make a just and proper division. 1 of the Family Code. slapping of the cheek. if there exists no cause. 1995." She cited several instances which proved that William Ong indeed treated her wife shabbily and despicably. thus: WHEREFORE. Dr. when William hit her on the stomach and she bent down because of the pain." These were further corroborated by several incidents narrated by Linda Lim who lived in their conjugal home from 1989 to 1991. at their house in Jose Abad Santos Avenue. caused by physical trauma. he claimed that he left the same. and arms. 2001. she sustained redness in her cheek. their children are also suffering. threats and intimidation by the defendant against the plaintiff and on the children. Linda Lim. Elinzano’s testimony was able to show that the [Lucita] suffered several injuries inflicted by [William]. weight must be accorded to the affirmative assertion. the RTC rendered its Decision decreeing legal separation. eye. In the process. The plaintiff suffered and endured the mental and physical anguish of these marital fights until December 14. in front of their employees and friends. These incidents were not explained nor controverted by [William]. (citations omitted) These quarrels were always punctuated by acts of physical violence. she then went to her sister’s house in Binondo where she was fetched by her other siblings and brought to their parents house in Dagupan.e. While he admits that he and Lucita quarreled on December 9. or whipped the children with the buckle of his belt. physical violence and grossly abusive conduct directed against Lucita. 1995. the CA found that the testimonies for Lucita were straightforward and credible and the ground for legal separation under Art. boxing and fist blows.8 The RTC found that: It is indubitable that plaintiff (Lucita) and defendant (William) had their frequent quarrels and misunderstanding which made both of their lives miserable and hellish. fist blow on the stomach. Manila. such division to be embodied in a supplemental decision. Vicente Elinzano for treatment of her injuries. used insulting language against her. Also. he hit her on the head then pointed a gun at her and asked her to leave the house. In the afternoon of December 14. The more than twenty years of her marriage could not have been put to waste by the plaintiff if the same had been lived in an atmosphere of love.ensued and William hit her on her head. Defendant had regarded the plaintiff negligent in the performance of her wifely duties and had blamed her for not reporting to him about the wrongdoings of their children. xxx That the physical violence and grossly abusive conduct were brought to bear upon [Lucita] by [William] have been duly established by [Lucita] and her witnesses. in words and deeds. which is already beyond her endurance. SO ORDERED. stayed in their Greenhills condominium and only went back to their Tondo house to work in their office below. their laundrywoman told him that Lucita left the house. The injurious invectives hurled at [Lucita] and his treatment of her. 7 On January 5. x x x11 William filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the CA on April 26. This is even admitted by the defendant when he said that there was no day that he did not quarrel with his wife." tanga.12 94 .10 As the CA explained: The straightforward and candid testimonies of the witnesses were uncontroverted and credible. The presence of these injuries was established by the testimonies of [Lucita] herself and her sister. 1995 incident when she (Lucita) was fetched by the latter on the same date.9 William appealed to the CA which affirmed in toto the RTC decision. she went to her parent’s doctor. left cheek. the testimony of [Lucita] herself consistently and constantly established that [William] inflicted repeated physical violence upon her during their marriage and that she had been subjected to grossly abusive conduct when he constantly hurled invectives at her even in front of their customers and employees. Worst. with all the legal effects attendant thereto. Consequently. whom she loves. i. stomach. She observed that [William] has an "explosive temper. easily gets angry and becomes very violent. "it would be unthinkable for her to throw away this twenty years of relationship. are enough to constitute grossly abusive conduct. It is clear that on December 14. as between an affirmative assertion and a general denial.6 William for his part denied that he ever inflicted physical harm on his wife. The effect of the so-called alterations in the Memorandum/Medical Certificate questioned by [William] does not depart from the main thrust of the testimony of the said doctor. premises considered. She saw her sister after the December 14. 55. par..

what took place were disagreements regarding the manner of raising and disciplining the children particularly Charleston.20 The only instances when this Court reviews findings of fact are: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation. 1995 and instituted the complaint below in order to appropriate for herself and her relatives the conjugal properties. the findings of the trial court that he committed acts of repeated physical violence against Lucita and their children were not sufficiently established. Lucita will not just throw her marriage of 20 years and forego the companionship of William and her children just to serve the interest of her family. (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case. The rule finds more stringent application where the CA upholds the findings of fact of the trial court. reasserting his claims in his petition.16 as well as a Memorandum where he averred for the first time that since respondent is guilty of abandonment. 56. and will taint his reputation. in the 20 years of their marriage. William expressed his willingness to receive respondent unconditionally however. Metro Manila. the contention of William that Lucita filed the case for legal separation in order to remove from William the control and ownership of their conjugal properties and to transfer the same to Lucita’s family is absurd. and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties. especially when they are borne out by the records or are based on substantial evidence.18 Respondent likewise filed a Memorandum reiterating her earlier assertions. (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based. which grounds should be clearly and convincingly proven. the CA erred in relying on the testimonies of Lucita and her witnesses. the petition for legal separation should be denied following Art. (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts. the general rule applies. Indeed. Lucita has not complained of any cruel behavior on the part of William in relation to their marital and family life. these properties. Baguio and Dagupan. (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record. or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee. (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting. the findings of both lower courts rest on strong and clear evidence borne by the records. marriage being a social contract cannot be impaired by mere verbal disagreements and the complaining party must adduce clear and convincing evidence to justify legal separation. substantial facts and circumstances have been overlooked which warrant an exception to the general rule that factual findings of the trial court will not be disturbed on appeal. only for grounds enumerated in Art.19 We resolve to deny the petition. 55 of the Family Code. II THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW IN DISREGARDING CLEAR EVIDENCE REPUDIATING PRIVATE RESPONDENT’S CLAIM OF REPEATED PHYSICAL VIOLENCE AND GROSSLY ABUSIVE CONDUCT ON THE PART OF PETITIONER. it is Lucita who abandoned the conjugal dwelling on December 14. her sister Linda Lim.Hence the present petition where William claims that: I THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW IN DISREGARDING CLEAR EVIDENCE THAT THE PETITION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION WAS INSTITUTED BY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF REMOVING FROM PETITIONER THE CONTROL AND OWNERSHIP OF THEIR CONJUGAL PROPERTIES AND TO TRANSFER THE SAME TO PRIVATE RESPONDENT’S FAMILY. (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken. which include real properties in Hong Kong. (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion. if properly considered. Lucita left the conjugal home because of the repeated physical violence and grossly abusive conduct of petitioner. would justify a different conclusion. Lucita’s favorite son. this Court cannot review factual findings on appeal. (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent. asserts that: the issues raised in the present petition are factual. were acquired during the marriage through his (William’s) sole efforts. this Court is not a trier of facts and factual findings of the RTC when confirmed by the CA are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal.17 Petitioner argues that since respondent herself has given ground for legal separation by abandoning the family simply because of a quarrel and refusing to return thereto unless the conjugal properties were placed in the administration of petitioner’s in-laws. and their parent’s doctor. this Court is generally bound to adopt the facts as determined by the lower courts. Vicente Elinzanzo.14 Respondent Lucita in her Comment. (4) of the Family Code.15 Petitioner filed a Reply.22 In this case. the only parties who will benefit from a decree of legal separation are Lucita’s parents and siblings while such decree would condemn him as a violent and cruel person. which. can the courts decree a legal separation among the spouses. a wife-beater and child abuser. the Constitution provides that marriage is an inviolable social institution and shall be protected by the State. par.21 As petitioner failed to show that the instant case falls under any of the exceptional circumstances. It is settled that questions of fact cannot be the subject of a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. whose testimonies are tainted with relationship and fraud. surmises or conjectures.13 William argues that: the real motive of Lucita and her family in filing the case is to wrest control and ownership of properties belonging to the conjugal partnership. (7) when the findings are contrary to that of the trial court. absurd or impossible. Dr. thus the rule is the preservation of the marital union and not its infringement. the findings of the RTC were affirmed by the CA and are adequately supported by the records. 95 . no decree of legal separation should be issued in her favor. especially among the Filipino-Chinese community. meanwhile. In such instance.

a decree of legal separation should not be granted.23 Lucita and her sister.38 Considering the detailed and straightforward testimonies given by Linda Lim and Dr. If there would be such a smear on his reputation then it would not be because of Lucita’s decision to seek relief from the courts. could offer are denials and attempts to downplay the said incidents. the Court gives more weight to those of the former. 1995 incidents which forced Lucita to leave the conjugal dwelling.25 slapped Lucita and utter insulting words at her.31 Lucita also explained that the injuries she received on December 14. the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. as well as prescribes the grounds for declaration of nullity and those for legal separation. 27 pinned Lucita against the wall with his strong arms almost strangling her. it is settled that the assessment of the trial court of the credibility of witnesses is entitled to great respect and weight having had the opportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses while testifying. their testimonies may be tainted with bias and they could not be considered as impartial and credible witnesses. but on this December 14. which is already beyond her endurance. Since the office secretary Ofelia Rosal and the family laundrywoman Rosalino Morco are dependent upon defendant for their livelihood.. spells out the corresponding legal effects.26 use the buckle of the belt in whipping the children. WHEREFORE. gago. William claims that that the witnesses of Lucita are not credible because of their relationship with her. 1995 were the most serious? a. We do not agree. (4) of the Family Code which provides that legal separation shall be denied when both parties have given ground for legal separation. and smashed the flower vase and brick rocks and moldings leaving the bedroom in disarray. What benefit would Lucita personally gain by pushing for her parents’ and siblings’ financial interests at the expense of her marriage? What is more probable is that there truly exists a ground for legal separation. which made his life miserable. as it remains the province of the legislature to define all legal aspects of marriage and prescribe the strategy and the modalities to protect it and put into operation the constitutional provisions that protect the same. 24 threw chairs at their children. Also without merit is the argument of William that since Lucita has abandoned the family. 1995 the very serious because before it is only on the arm and black eye. As she related before the trial court: q.As correctly observed by the trial court. par. imposes the limitations that affect married and family life. William himself admitted that there was no day that he did not quarrel with his wife. bolstered by the credence accorded them by the trial court.33 As between the detailed accounts given for Lucita and the general denial for William. a cause so strong. 1995. I suffered bruises in all parts of my body. The Court also gives a great amount of consideration to the assessment of the trial court regarding the credibility of witnesses as trial court judges enjoy the unique opportunity of observing the deportment of witnesses on the stand. tarantado" when she sided with Charleston. The Court finds such reasoning hard to believe. As a final note. if there exists no cause. So with Kingston Ong who lives with defendant and depends upon him for support. then slapped Lucita and shouted at her "putang ina mo. the Court has no reason but to affirm the findings of the RTC and the CA. 42 With the enactment of the Family Code. a vantage point denied appellate tribunals. but because he gave Lucita reason to go to court in the first place.. . we reiterate that our Constitution is committed to the policy of strengthening the family as a basic social institution.36 Parenthetically. 56. that Lucita was willing to destroy his reputation by filing the legal separation case just so her parents and her siblings could control the properties he worked hard for.30 and the December 9 and December 14. that Lucita had to seek redress from the courts. in front of Linda and the employees of their business.39 The claim of William that a decree of legal separation would taint his reputation and label him as a wife-beater and child-abuser also does not elicit sympathy from this Court.it would be unthinkable for her to throw away this twenty years of relationship. Linda Lim. Relationship alone is not reason enough to discredit and label a witness’s testimony as biased and unworthy of credence 37 and a witness’ relationship to one of the parties does not automatically affect the veracity of his or her testimony. because he could not find a draft letter on his table. this has been accomplished as it defines marriage and the family. abandon the comforts of her home and be separated from her children whom she loves. William also posits that the real motive of Lucita in filing the case for legal separation is in order for her side of the family to gain control of the conjugal properties. also gave numerous accounts of the instances when William displayed violent temper against Lucita and their children.40 As it was established that Lucita left William due to his abusive conduct. 43 As Lucita has adequately proven the presence of a ground for legal separation. 28 shouted at Lucita and threw a directory at her. You stated on cross examination that the injuries you sustained on December 14. The abandonment referred to by the Family Code is abandonment without justifiable cause for more than one year. and grant her the relief she is entitled to under the law.34 Indeed. wala kang pakialam. such does not constitute abandonment contemplated by the said provision. and he blames her for being negligent of her wifely duties and for not reporting to him the wrongdoings of their children. the RTC noted that: William’s denial and that of his witnesses of the imputation of physical violence committed by him could not be given much credence by the Court. Unlike before I considered December 14. sir. 96 . the Court finds that their testimonies are not tainted with bias. such as: when William threw a steel chair at Lucita.35 In this case. 29 got mad at Charleston for cooking steak with vetchin prompting William to smash the plate with steak and hit Charleston. were not the first. all William and his witnesses. 41 The Constitution itself however does not establish the parameters of state protection to marriage and the family.32 To these. As aptly stated by the RTC. following Art. Vicente Elinzano.

the two petitions. Out of their marriage. they separated from bed and board for undisclosed reasons. For many years. Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years of age possessed of extensive property valued at millions of pesos. petitioners. where there is denial of due process. upon Potencianos arrival from the United States. Sylvia and Erlinda (Lin). 1942. the administrator of Cleveland Condominium or anywhere in its place. to do. Ilusorio visitation rights to her husband and to enjoin Erlinda and the Court of Appeals from enforcing the visitation rights. the spouses had six (6) children. Erlinda Kalaw and Potenciano Ilusorio contracted matrimony and lived together for a period of thirty (30) years. namely: Ramon Ilusorio (age 55). 1998. 97 . ILUSORIO. As heretofore stated. ILUSORIO. the petition of Potenciano Ilusorio [9] is to annul that portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals giving Erlinda K.ERLINDA K."[12] Hence.[4] It is issued when one is deprived of liberty or is wrongfully prevented from exercising legal custody over another person. Potenciano Ilusorio did not return to Antipolo City and instead lived at Cleveland Condominium. lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio and enforce consortium as the wife. The children. She alleged that respondents[11] refused petitioners demands to see and visit her husband and prohibited Potenciano from returning to Antipolo City. BILDNER. and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ shall consider in that behalf. ERLINDA I. Slxsc On March 11. Potenciano lived at Urdaneta Condominium. vs."[3] It is a high prerogative. On December 30. Maximo (age 50). after attending a corporate meeting in Baguio City. ERLINDA I. On May 31. Erlinda filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for habeas corpus to have the custody of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio. Marietta (age 48). where the restraints are not merely involuntary but are unnecessary. common-law writ. as it is hereby DISMISSED for lack of unlawful restraint or detention of the subject of the petition. DOE. the great object of which is the liberation of those who may be imprisoned without sufficient cause. A writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention. on April 5. [13] or by which the rightful custody of a person is withheld from the one entitled thereto. Marital rights including coverture and living in conjugal dwelling may not be enforced by the extra-ordinary writ of habeas corpus. JOHN DOE and JANE [G. 1999. Makati. he stayed with Erlinda for about five (5) months in Antipolo City. Erlinda Ilusorio Bildner (age 52). Potencianos health deteriorated.. The undisputed facts are as follows: Scslx Erlinda Kalaw Ilusorio is the wife of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio. judgment is hereby rendered: "(1) Ordering. 139808. in the light of the foregoing disquisitions. Antipolo City a petition [10] for guardianship over the person and property of Potenciano Ilusorio due to the latters advanced age.[2] Slx "Habeas corpus is a writ directed to the person detaining another. the Court of Appeals rendered decision the dispositive portion of which reads: "WHEREFORE. "SO ORDERED. BILDNER and SYLVIA K.[5] The petition of Erlinda K. alleged that during this time.S. with the day and cause of his capture and detention. On July 11. his guards and Potenciano Ilusorios staff especially Ms. for humanitarian consideration and upon petitioners manifestation. respondents. As a consequence. 2000] POTENCIANO ILUSORIO. On February 25.[1] or by which the rightful custody of a person is withheld from the one entitled thereto. ILUSORIO. lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio was Chairman of the Board and President of Baguio Country Club. Erlinda lived in Antipolo City. their mother gave Potenciano an overdose of 200 mg instead of 100 mg Zoloft. Ilusorio Bildner and Sylvia Ilusorio-Yap. Sylvia (age 49). petitioner. In 1972. under penalty of contempt in case of violation of refusal thereof. After due hearing. and Shereen (age 39). an antidepressant drug prescribed by his doctor in New York. No. xxx "(2) ORDERING that the writ of habeas corpus previously issued be recalled and the herein petition for habeas corpus be DENIED DUE COURSE. COURT OF APPEALS and ERLINDA K. notwithstanding any list limiting visitors thereof. poor eyesight and impaired judgment. Erlinda Ilusorio and all her children. respondents Erlinda K. 1997. Aurora Montemayor to allow visitation rights to Potenciano Ilusorios wife. On the other hand. submit to. Ilusorio[6] is to reverse the decision[7] of the Court of Appeals and its resolution[8] dismissing the application for habeas corpus to have the custody of her husband. Erlinda filed with the Regional Trial Court. and SYLVIA ILUSORIO. of ancient origin. MA.A. 1998. May 12. 1999. which were consolidated and are herein jointly decided. respondents. Makati City when he was in Manila and at Ilusorio Penthouse. commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a designated time and place. a writ of habeas corpus extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention. U. May a wife secure a writ of habeas corpus to compel her husband to live with her in conjugal bliss? The answer is no. On the other hand. frail health. Baguio Country Club when he was in Baguio City. It is available where a person continues to be unlawfully denied of one or more of his constitutional freedoms. Ayala Ave.R. vs.

which reversed the October 1. RUBEN D. Respondents. The couple had two (2) sons. or under medication does not necessarily render him mentally incapacitated.[15] Jksm The essential object and purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to inquire into all manner of involuntary restraint. as the best and only sufficient defense of personal freedom. The fact that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio is about 86 years of age. WHEREFORE. and to relieve a person therefrom if such restraint is illegal. Needless to say. Adriano Adriano (Atty. ADRIANO. No. naked power is unnecessary. MARIA TERESA ADRIANO ONGOCO. 1998 Decision 3 of the Regional Trial Court. [17] The illegal restraint of liberty must be actual and effective.[18] The evidence shows that there was no actual and effective detention or deprivation of lawyer Potenciano Ilusorios liberty that would justify the issuance of the writ. and one (1) adopted daughter. 61613. 2008 Resolution 2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. The Facts: Atty. No. 2006 Decision 1 and the May 9. ROSARIO D. 98 . With that declaration. the Court GRANTS the petition and nullifies the decision of the Court of Appeals insofar as it gives visitation rights to respondent Erlinda K. The Court of Appeals missed the fact that the case did not involve the right of a parent to visit a minor child but the right of a wife to visit a husband. 182894 April 22. DECISION MENDOZA. J. Potenciano Ilusorio may not be the subject of visitation rights against his free choice. Leah Antonette. the Court DISMISSES the petition for lack of merit. Rosario. 1955. in G. R. vs. the Court of Appeals concluded that there was no unlawful restraint on his liberty. When the court ordered the grant of visitation rights. He made it clear before the Court of Appeals that he was not prevented from leaving his house or seeing people. having answered all the relevant questions to the satisfaction of the court. FLORANTE D. 139789. That is a matter beyond judicial authority and is best left to the man and womans free choice. the restraint of liberty must be an illegal and involuntary deprivation of freedom of action. Quezon City (RTC) which ruled that petitioner Fe Floro Valino (Valino) was entitled to the remains of the decedent. Coverture cannot be enforced by compulsion of a writ of habeas corpus carried out by sheriffs or by any other mesne process. 139808. he is thus possessed with the capacity to make choices. he is at liberty to do so without threat of any penalty attached to the exercise of his right. No costs. ADRIANO. The ruling is not consistent with the finding of subjects sanity. CV No. 2014 FE FLORO VALINO. As to lawyer Potenciano Ilusorios mental state. No costs.R. G. we will deprive him of his right to privacy. we have no reason to reverse the findings of the Court of Appeals. and absent any true restraint on his liberty. married respondent Rosario Adriano (Rosario) on November 15.R.: Challenged in this petition is the October 2. it also emphasized that the same shall be enforced under penalty of contempt in case of violation or refusal to comply. not merely nominal or moral. Florante and Ruben Adriano. Otherwise. In case the husband refuses to see his wife for private reasons.[16] To justify the grant of the petition. VICTORIA ADRIANO BAYONA. Ilusorio. With his full mental capacity coupled with the right of choice. The choices he made may not appeal to some of his family members but these are choices which exclusively belong to Potenciano. Being of sound mind. Adriano). Petitioner. He made it clear that he did not object to seeing them. ADRIANO. Es m The Court of Appeals exceeded its authority when it awarded visitation rights in a petition for habeas corpus where Erlinda never even prayed for such right. No court is empowered as a judicial authority to compel a husband to live with his wife. three (3) daughters. The Court of Appeals also observed that lawyer Potenciano Ilusorio did not request the administrator of the Cleveland Condominium not to allow his wife and other children from seeing or visiting him. and LEAH ANTONETTE D. In this case. Soundness of mind does not hinge on age or medical condition but on the capacity of the individual to discern his actions. Such assertion of raw. Branch 77. After due hearing.and where a deprivation of freedom originally valid has later become arbitrary.[14] It is devised as a speedy and effectual remedy to relieve persons from unlawful restraint. Victoria and Maria Teresa. this will run against his fundamental constitutional right. ADRIANO. the Court of Appeals observed that he was of sound and alert mind. R. In G. a partner in the Pelaez Adriano and Gregorio Law Office. No. the crucial choices revolve on his residence and the people he opts to see or live with.

he had introduced her to his friends and associates as his wife. Claiming that they were deprived of the chance to view the remains of Atty. to transfer. 305. In reaching said determination. She contended that. notwithstanding their 30-year separation in fact. Adriano had been separated for more than twenty (20) years before he courted her. As none of the family members was around. The remains of Atty. Taking into consideration the fact that Rosario left for the United States at the time that he was fighting his illness. Adriano was in a coma and dying. Considering also that it was Valino who performed all the duties and responsibilities of a wife. Adriano and Rosario. The duty and the right to make arrangements for the funeral of a relative shall be in accordance with the order established for support. Although they were living together. Despite such arrangement. the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided: (1) The spouse. the oldest shall be preferred. would not serve any useful purpose and so he should be spared and respected. All other claims for damages were similarly dismissed. Valino further claimed that she had suffered damages as result of the suit brought by respondents. Adriano at the time of the latter’s death. the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision and directed Valino to have the remains of Atty. Adriano were then interred at the mausoleum of the family of Valino at the Manila Memorial Park. turned sour and they were eventually separated-in-fact. (294a) [Emphasis supplied] 99 . Quezon City. it was Atty. Quezon City. Decision of the RTC The RTC dismissed the complaint of respondents for lack of merit as well as the counterclaim of Valino after it found them to have not been sufficiently proven. was entitled to the custody of the remains of her deceased husband. Quezon City. Adriano to the Adriano family plot at the Holy Cross Memorial Cemetery in Novaliches. Adriano’s last wish that his remains be interred in the Valino family mausoleum at the Manila Memorial Park. Atty.5 Decision of the CA On appeal.4 In disposing of the case. The RTC opined that because Valino lived with Atty. the RTC noted that the exhumation and the transfer of the body of Atty. Adriano. Adriano exhumed at the expense of respondents. Valino countered that Rosario and Atty. she knew very well that it was his wish to be buried at the Manila Memorial Park. (2) The descendants in the nearest degree. it was the considered view of the appellate court that the law gave the surviving spouse not only the duty but also the right to make arrangements for the funeral of her husband.The marriage of Atty. Adriano and paid for all his medical expenses when he got seriously ill. Adriano before he was buried and that his burial at the Manila Memorial Park was contrary to his wishes. Years later. The Court’s Ruling Article 305 of the Civil Code. The Sole Issue The lone legal issue in this petition is who between Rosario and Valino is entitled to the remains of Atty. specifies the persons who have the right and duty to make funeral arrangements for the deceased. [Emphases supplied] Art. Valino claimed that throughout the time they were together. Respondents were not able to attend the interment. Rosario was in the United States spending Christmas with her children. In 1992. In case of ascendants. Like the RTC. Rosario still left for the United States. Atty. Adriano for a very long time. the CA did not award damages in favor of respondents due to the good intentions shown by Valino in giving the deceased a decent burial when the wife and the family were in the United States. (3) The ascendants in the nearest degree. however. the paternal shall have a better right. According to Valino. until they decided to live together as husband and wife. Adriano be exhumed and transferred to the family plot at the Holy Cross Memorial Cemetery in Novaliches. in relation to what is now Article 199 6 of the Family Code. the CA explained that Rosario. unlike Rosario. the RTC wrote that it could be reasonably presumed that he wished to be buried in the Valino family mausoleum. In case of descendants of the same degree. one of his clients. When Rosario learned about the death of her husband. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support. Citing Article 305 of the New Civil Code in relation to Article 199 of the Family Code. at their expense. moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees and that the remains of Atty. Thus. she immediately called Valino and requested that she delay the interment for a few days but her request was not heeded. she prayed that she be awarded moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees. It likewise directed respondents. Thus: Art. the trial court concluded that Rosario did not show love and care for him. 199. or of brothers and sisters. he continued to provide financial support to Rosario and their children (respondents). respondents commenced suit against Valino praying that they be indemnified for actual. transport and inter the remains of the decedent in the family plot at the Holy Cross Memorial Park in Novaliches. Adriano. In her defense. and (4) The brothers and sisters. Rosario was still entitled to such right on the ground of her subsisting marriage with Atty. She also claimed that despite knowing that Atty. however. under Article 294. being the legal wife. Adriano courted Valino. Valino took it upon herself to shoulder the funeral and burial expenses for Atty. At that time. For the CA. she took good care of Atty. Valino admitted that he never forgot his obligation to support the respondents. Adriano died of acute emphysema.

Here. Article 308 of the Civil Code provides: Art. the Court resolved that the trial court continued to have jurisdiction over the case notwithstanding the death of Vitaliana Vargas. To say that Rosario had. It should be noted. Tomas Eugenio. the respondents immediately contacted Valino and the Arlington Memorial Chapel to express their request.' the same must be the legitimate 'spouse' (not common-law spouses). We hold that the provisions of the Civil Code. In Santero vs. Sr. 308. who represent themselves to the public as husband and wife. It appearing that she already died of heart failure due to toxemia of pregnancy. regardless of the ultimate liability for the expense thereof. except upon clear and satisfactory proof of conduct indicative of a free and voluntary intent to that end. that other than Valino’s claim that Atty. Considering that Rosario equally claims that Atty. Verily. 1992 (December 20. it is the law that supplies the presumption as to his intent. Petitioner vis-a-vis Vitaliana was not a lawfully-wedded spouse to her. Sr. Adriano’s wish to be buried in their family plot is being relied upon heavily. But this view cannot even apply to the facts of the case at bar. Should there be any doubt as to the true intent of the deceased. Adriano wished to be buried in the Adriano family plot in Novaliches. it is said. disposed of or exhumed without the consent of the persons mentioned in Articles 294 and 305. solely on account of a long-time relationship with Atty. the Court also recognizes that human compassion. In any case. a legal impediment which disqualified him from even legally marrying Vitaliana. it is an undisputed fact that the respondents wasted no time in making frantic pleas to Valino for the delay of the interment for a few days so they could attend the service and view the remains of the deceased. the law favors the legitimate family. in the same vein that the right and duty to make funeral arrangements will not be considered as having been waived or renounced. she had already renounced her right to do so. the Court. that with respect to 'spouse. the term "spouse" embraces common law relation for purposes of exemption from criminal liability in cases of theft. like any other right. Velez. Sr. no other evidence was presented to corroborate such claim. While it is true that our laws do not just brush aside the fact that such relationships are present in our society. Adriano. the right to deprive a legitimate spouse of her legal right to bury the remains of her deceased husband should not be readily presumed to have been exercised. The Penal Code article. Adriano and Rosario and their children when he was still alive. [Emphases supplied] In this connection. will not be considered as having been waived or renounced. Valino insists that the expressed wishes of the deceased should nevertheless prevail pursuant to Article 307 of the Civil Code. however. it becomes apparent that the supposed burial wish of Atty. shall devolve upon the persons herein below specified: (a) If the deceased was a married man or woman. Considering this ambiguity as to the true wishes of the deceased. Philippine Law does not recognize common law marriages. Adriano was unclear and undefinite. Section 1103 of the Revised Administrative Code provides: Section 1103. [Emphases supplied] From the aforecited provisions. interred. No presumption can be said to have been created in Valino’s favor. Notably. Adriano’s death in the morning of December 19. Adriano wished to be buried at the Manila Memorial Park. her right and duty to make arrangements for the funeral of her deceased husband is baseless." There is a view that under Article 332 of the Revised Penal Code. v. Justice Paras.. Tomas Eugenio. interpreting Art. and who are reputed to be husband and wife in the community where they live may be considered legally married in common law jurisdictions but not in the Philippines. CFI of Cavite. it is undeniable that the law simply confines the right and duty to make funeral arrangements to the members of the family to the exclusion of one’s common law partner. she being the surviving legal wife of Atty. as the common-law husband.8 [Emphases supplied] As applied to this case. more often than not. authority exists in case law to the effect that such form of co-ownership requires that the man and woman living together must not in any way be incapacitated to contract marriage. makes no distinction between a couple whose cohabitation is sanctioned by a sacrament or legal tie and another who are husband and wife de facto. – The immediate duty of burying the body of a deceased person. expressly or impliedly. it cannot be surmised that just because Rosario was unavailable to bury her husband when she died. As soon as they came to know about Atty. and that they produce a community of properties and interests which is governed by law. x x x x. 188 of the Civil Code (Support of Surviving Spouse and Children During Liquidation of Inventoried Property) stated: "Be it noted. Sr. the duty of the burial shall devolve upon the surviving spouse if he or she possesses sufficient means to pay the necessary expenses. except upon clear and satisfactory proof of conduct indicative of a free and voluntary intent of the deceased to that end. Persons charged with the duty of burial. As to the claim of Tomas Eugenio. Rosario’s keenness to exercise the rights and obligations accorded to the legal wife was even bolstered by the fact that she was joined by the children in this case. 1992 in the Philippines). 100 . thru Mr. alleging that the latter forcibly took her and confined her in his residence. Moreover. when referring to a "spouse" contemplate a lawfully wedded spouse. the Court ruled: x x x Indeed.9 While there was disaffection between Atty. In Tomas Eugenio. in effect. herein petitioner has a subsisting marriage with another woman. The fact that she was living separately from her husband and was in the United States when he died has no controlling significance. however. swindling and malicious mischief committed or caused mutually by spouses. but to no avail. sought the dismissal of the petition for lack of jurisdiction and claimed the right to bury the deceased. waived or renounced. he was not legally capacitated to marry her in her lifetime. that he should be considered a "spouse" having the right and duty to make funeral arrangements for his common-law wife. opens the door to mercy and forgiveness once a family member joins his Creator. The right and duty to make funeral arrangements. Adriano. unless expressly providing to the contrary as in Article 144. 7 a petition for habeas corpus was filed by the brothers and sisters of the late Vitaliana Vargas against her lover. it is clear that the law gives the right and duty to make funeral arrangements to Rosario.Further. No human remains shall be retained. In its decision. Valino’s own testimony that it was Atty. A man and woman not legally married who cohabit for many years as husband and wife. in fact.

still. the right and duty to make funeral arrangements reside in the persons specified in Article 305 in relation to Article 199 of the Family Code. There can be no doubt that persons having this right may recover the corpse from third persons. liquidated or compensatory damages. an eminent authority on civil law. Adriano truly wished to be buried in the Valino family plot at the Manila Memorial Park. who is not even in the list of those legally preferred.Even assuming. It does not only violate their right provided by law. plaintiff-appellant Rosario D. it would indeed be unkind to assess actual or moral damages against her. Adriano. In the absence of such expression. The law does not even consider the emotional fact that husband and wife had. Adriano after he was separated in fact from his wife. Adriano. but it also disrespects the family because the remains of the patriarch are buried in the family plot of his live-in partner. or the place of burial. ex gratia argumenti. Plaintiffs-appellants are not also entitled to moral and exemplary damages. Tolentino further wrote: The dispositions or wishes of the deceased in relation to his funeral. or to even transfer it to a proper place where the memory of the dead may receive the respect of the living. loss or injury sustained. This quasi-property right. and subject the same to those charged with the right and duty to make the proper arrangements to bury the remains of their loved-one. Arturo M. the law grants the duty and the right to decide what to do with the remains to the wife. despite the fact that her intentions may have been very commendable. or the ceremony to be observed. must bend to the provisions of the law. Adriano Adriano while he was alive and even took care of his remains when he had died. and counsel's fees are not to be awarded every time a party wins a suit. As aptly explained by the CA: The trial court found that there was good faith on the part of defendant-appellee Fe Floro Valino. In case of doubt. after consulting the other members of the family.13 All this notwithstanding. Adriano during his final moments and giving him a proper burial. arising out of the duty of those obligated by law to bury their dead. having lived with Atty. Even assuming arguendo that it was the express wish of the deceased to be interred at the Manila Memorial Park. Actual damages are those awarded in satisfaction of. To be recoverable. neither of the requirements to sustain an award for either of these damages would appear to have been adequately established by plaintiffs-appellants. Tolentino). for the purpose of a decent burial. It cannot be inferred lightly. they must not only be capable of proof but must actually be proven with a reasonable degree of certainty.1âwphi1 Moral damages may be recovered only if the plaintiff is able to satisfactorily prove the existence of the factual basis for the damages and its causal connection with the acts complained of because moral damages although incapable of pecuniary estimation are designed not to impose a penalty but to compensate for injury sustained and actual damages suffered. At any rate. or in recompense for. as the surviving spouse. However. From its terms. lovingly and caringly took care of the well-being of Atty. Tolentino (Dr. in this case at bench. the wishes of the deceased with respect to his funeral are limited by Article 305 of the Civil Code in relation to Article 199 of the Family Code. Unfortunately. temperate. the result remains the same. no other evidence was presented to corroborate it. it is an accepted doctrine that the award thereof as an item of damages is the exception rather than the rule. and for the exclusion of the intrusion by third persons who have no legitimate interest in it. Exemplary damages. who. commented that it is generally recognized that any inferences as to the wishes of the deceased should be established by some form of testamentary disposition. legal and equitable justification. the form of the funeral shall be decided upon by the person obliged to make arrangements for the same. They must not violate the legal and reglamentary provisions concerning funerals and the disposition of the remains. and not to defendant-appellee Fe Floro Valino.10 As Article 307 itself provides. in this case. It bears stressing once more that other than Valino’s claim that Atty. it should be said that the burial of his remains in a place other than the Adriano family plot in Novaliches runs counter to the wishes of his family. it should be remembered that the wishes of the decedent with respect to his funeral are not absolute. it is apparent that Article 307 simply seeks to prescribe the "form of the funeral rites" that should govern in the burial of the deceased. also authorizes them to take possession of the dead body for purposes of burial to have it remain in its final resting place. the wishes of the deceased must be expressly provided. As Dr. As regards the award of attorney's fees. such as from the circumstance that Atty. the law recognizes that a certain right of possession over the corpse exists. No injury was caused to plaintiffs-appellants. plaintiffs-appellants are not entitled to actual damages. Even if Article 307 were to be interpreted to include the place of burial among those on which the wishes of the deceased shall be followed. On the issue of damages. 307.11 [Emphases supplied] In this case. there was no iota of evidence presented to justify award of actual damages. without which the award is a conclusion 101 . Article 307 of the Civil Code provides: Art. In this case at bench. on the other hand. must not be contrary to law. The funeral shall be in accordance with the expressed wishes of the deceased. nor was any intended by anyone in this case. Adriano wished to be buried at the Valino family plot. This is a family right. As thoroughly explained earlier.12 As for Valino’s contention that there is no point in exhuming and transferring the remains of Atty. It is generally recognized that the corpse of an individual is outside the commerce of man. The power of the court to award attorney's fees under Article 2208 of the New Civil Code demands factual. whether as regards the time and manner of disposition. Adriano a decent burial when the wife and family were all in the United States and could not attend to his burial. Adriano Adriano that he be interred at the Floro family’s mausoleum at the Manila Memorial Park. As aptly explained by the appellate court in its disquisition: The testimony of defendant-appellee Fe Floro Valino that it was the oral wish of Atty. Adriano spent his last remaining days with Valino. Dr. may only be awarded if claimant is able to establish his right to moral. been separated-infact and had been living apart for more than 30 years. For her sacrifices. Defendant-appellee Fe Floro Valino had all the good intentions in giving the remains of Atty. that Atty. the Court finds laudable the acts of Valino in taking care of Atty. his religious beliefs or affiliation shall determine the funeral rites.

It is for the purpose of preventing such controversies that the Code Commission saw it best to include the provisions on "Funerals."15 102 . its basis being improperly left to speculation and conjecture.without a premise. it should be said that controversies as to who should make arrangements for the funeral of a deceased have often aggravated the bereavement of the family and disturbed the proper solemnity which should prevail at every funeral. we have searched but found nothing in plaintiffs-appellants' suit that justifies the award of attorney's fees. In this case.14 Finally.