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FIRST DIVISION

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 154380
Petitioner,

Present:
Davide, Jr., C.J.,
- versus - (Chairman),
Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
Carpio, and
Azcuna, JJ.
CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III,
Respondent. Promulgated:

October 5, 2005
x--------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:

Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one party is later
naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid divorce decree capacitating him or her

to remarry, can the Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law?

Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to make a definite
ruling on this apparently novel question, presented as a pure question of law.

In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails the Decision[1] dated May
15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and
its Resolution[2] dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for reconsideration. The court a

quo had declared that herein respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry.
The fallo of the impugned Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second paragraph of Art. 26 of the Family
Code and by reason of the divorce decree obtained against him by his American wife, the
petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine Law.

IT IS SO ORDERED.[3]

The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as follows.

On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. Villanueva at the United
Church of Christ in the Philippines in Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was blessed
with a son and a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly V.

Orbecido.

In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along their son Kristoffer.
A few years later, Cipriano discovered that his wife had been naturalized as an American

citizen.

Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife had obtained a divorce
decree and then married a certain Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him

currently live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California.

Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority to remarry invoking
Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code. No opposition was filed. Finding merit in
the petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the Office
of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but it was denied.

In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE
FAMILY CODE[4]

The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code is not applicable to
the instant case because it only applies to a valid mixed marriage; that is, a marriage
celebrated between a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper remedy, according to the

OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal separation.[5] Furthermore, the OSG
argues there is no law that governs respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a
matter of legislation and not of judicial determination.[6]

For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly applicable to his case but
insists that when his naturalized alien wife obtained a divorce decree which capacitated her
to remarry, he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section 12, Article
II of the Constitution.[7]

At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry filed before the trial court
actually constituted a petition for declaratory relief. In this connection, Section 1, Rule 63
of the Rules of Court provides:
RULE 63
DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES

Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a deed, will, contract or other
written instrument, or whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation,
ordinance, or other governmental regulation may, before breach or violation thereof, bring
an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction
or validity arising, and for a declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder.
...

The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there must be a justiciable
controversy; (2) the controversy must be between persons whose interests are adverse; (3)
that the party seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; and (4) that the issue
is ripe for judicial determination.[8]

This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 to a marriage
between two Filipino citizens where one later acquired alien citizenship, obtained a divorce
decree, and remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also adverse, as

petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to protect the institution of marriage while
respondent, a private citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity to remarry.
Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the controversy. The issue raised is also

ripe for judicial determination inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation ensues
and puts into question the validity of his second marriage.

Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code

apply to the case of respondent? Necessarily, we must dwell on how this provision had
come about in the first place, and what was the intent of the legislators in its enactment?

Brief Historical Background
On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law Executive Order
No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code, which took effect on August 3, 1988.
Article 26 thereof states:

36. and 38. This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of divorce even for Filipino citizens. We propose that this be deleted and made into law only after more widespread consultation. It discriminates against those whose spouses are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. amending Articles 26. the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) registered the following objections to Paragraph 2 of Article 26: 1. while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad can. (Emphasis supplied) On its face. and valid there as such. 36. the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to remarry. Executive Order No. but later on. 37 and 38. Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. it now provides: ART. 37. shortly after the signing of the original Family Code. according to Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). and valid there as such. 26. 1987. except those prohibited under Articles 35. As so amended. 2. the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is one where at the time the marriage was solemnized.A. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. For those whose foreign spouses validly divorce them abroad will also be considered to be validly divorced here and can re-marry. Noteworthy. the parties were two Filipino citizens. (4).S. shall also be valid in this country. a member of the Civil . and 39 of the Family Code. It seems to apply only to cases where at the time of the celebration of the marriage. 227 was likewise signed into law. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. (5) and (6). These spouses who are divorced will not be able to re-marry. shall also be valid in this country. On July 17. The rule is discriminatory. and indeed she remarried an American citizen while residing in the U. (Emphasis supplied.) Legislative Intent Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the situation presented by the case at hand. A second paragraph was added to Article 26. in the Report of the Public Hearings[9] on the Family Code.

is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. it should be construed according to its spirit and reason. Filipino citizens when they got married. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within the literal meaning of its terms. as in this case. and consequently. after obtaining a divorce. the Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. the parties were Filipino citizens. Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the celebration of the marriage. one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a divorce decree. but later on. that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry. 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. Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the 1985 case of Van Dorn v. but later on. so long as they come within its spirit or intent. The wife became a naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in the same year. The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines. Jr. by way of obiter dictum.Code Revision Committee. at the time of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens. one of them obtains a foreign citizenship by naturalization? The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse.[10] The Van Dorn case involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should be interpreted to include cases involving parties who. The Court therein hinted. Interestingly. disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the law. taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying the rule of reason. To rule otherwise would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. the parties were. Thus. [12] . Court of Appeals.[11] In Quita. 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. Romillo.

the legally separated Filipino spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse. we note that the records are bereft of competent evidence duly submitted by respondent concerning the divorce decree and the naturalization of respondents wife. Annulment would be a long and tedious process. not even feasible. when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an American citizen. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. we state the twin elements for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows: 1. 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. the divorced Filipino spouse. Thus Cipriano. but their citizenship at the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating the latter to remarry. should be allowed to remarry. legal separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not sever the marriage tie. then the instant case must be deemed as coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26. However. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. after obtaining a divorce is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. Clearly. It is . The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the time of the celebration of the marriage. As fate would have it. On the other hand. and in this particular case. there was still a valid marriage that has been celebrated between her and Cipriano. and 2. In view of the foregoing. In this case. considering that the marriage of the parties appears to have all the badges of validity. hence. the twin requisites for the application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this case. the naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce capacitating her to remarry. We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for annulment or a petition for legal separation.

of the Regional Trial Court of Molave. for his plea to prosper. No pronouncement as to costs. we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code (E. Like any other fact. should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen. However. as amended by E. the petition by the Republic of the Philippines is GRANTED. No. . had obtained a divorce decree and had remarried an American. that respondent is now capacitated to remarry.[15] Furthermore. SO ORDERED. Nevertheless. [14] Such foreign law must also be proved as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Likewise. 227). considering that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence submitted and on record. and Resolutiondated July 4. Branch 23. such laws must be alleged and proved. 2002. Otherwise. there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another marriage. who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign citizenship and remarried. The assailed Decision dated May 15. 209. also to remarry. ACCORDINGLY. the party pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.[13] Accordingly.O. 2002. are hereby SET ASIDE. respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26.O. who was naturalized as an American citizen. before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our own courts. respondent herein must prove his allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American citizen. we are unable to declare. Zamboanga del Sur. based on respondents bare allegations that his wife.settled rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and mere allegation is not evidence. Such declaration could only be made properly upon respondents submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor. No.

. No. October 5.. 2002 Decision[1] and February 6. Rodolfo.. by respondent Miguel Castelltort (Castelltort). 157044 (represented by his heirs..: The present petition for review on certiorari assails the October 2. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. assisted by her Attorney-in-Fact. 1995.. and LINA LOPEZ-VILLEGAS. JJ... Respondents..xx DECISION CARPIO MORALES. Roger Lyle and Alexander PANGANIBAN. Nicolai..R. Chairman. Rosales and Lily Rosqueta-Rosales (petitioners) are the registered owners of a parcel of land with an area of approximately 315 square meters. Block 1 of Subdivision Plan LRC Psd-55244 situated in Los Baos..[6] In the alternative. CORONA. Promulgated: Rene Villegas. petitioners discovered that a house was being constructed on their lot.. Present: Lillian Rhodora.. he pointed to Lot 17 as the Lot 16 the Castelltorts purchased. 2003 Resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA G. Laguna... 2005 xx ... with Villegas offering a larger lot near petitioners lot in the same subdivision as a replacement thereof... Lot 16 of the same Subdivision Plan. 64046 and seeks to reinstate the April 21. all surnamed Rosales) SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. J. J.... Laguna. ROSALES.. On August 16.versus - MIGUEL CASTELLTORT.. from respondent Lina Lopez-Villegas (Lina) through her son-attorney-in-fact Rene Villegas (Villegas) but that after a survey thereof by geodetic engineer Augusto Rivera. 2229-95-C... Negotiations for the settlement of the case thus began.. Branch 34 in Civil Case No.. JUDITH CASTELLTORT. CV No. G. 36856[4] and designated as Lot 17.. Roy Victor. ..[5] It turned out that respondents Castelltort and his wife Judith had purchased a lot. 1999 Decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Calamba....R..... GARCIA. without their knowledge and consent. Jr.... Romeo Allan. and LILY ROSQUETA. Spouses-petitioners Rodolfo V. ROSALES.... CARPIO MORALES. THIRD DIVISION RODOLFO V... .. and Petitioners.

To the complaint. [7] Both proposals were. In her Answer to the complaint. Nevertheless. which was verified by her officially designated geodetic engineer. Lot 16. Lina. 2229-95-C. 8. and desist from entering the lot. defendants betrayed this very belief in their ownership when realizing the inutility of anchoring their ownership on the basis of the Contract of Sale. by letter[9] of August 24.Villegas proposed to pay the purchase price of petitioners lot with legal interest. particularly the procurement of a building permit. Lina proposed to give petitioners a lot containing an area of 536 square meters together with the house and duplex structure built thereon or. And by their own actions. directed Castelltort to stop the construction of and demolish his house and any other structure he may have built thereon. 1999. pp. 1998) despite an admission in their answer that they are the spouses named as defendants (tsn. the Castelltorts claimed in their Answer with Counterclaim[11] that they were builders in good faith. Laguna. 1995. rejected by petitioners[8] whose counsel. defendant Miguel Castelltort in his testimony declared Elizabeth Yson Cruz as his wife (tsn. docketed as Civil Case No. represented by her son-attorney-in-fact Villegas. particularly defendant Miguel Castelltort. there is no well-founded belief of ownership by the defendants of the land upon which they built their house.[15] Ruling out good faith. if petitioners choose. the designated buyer being Elizabeth Yson Cruz and the sale even subjected to the judicial reconstitution of the title. soon filed a Motion for Intervention[12] before the RTC which was granted by Order[13] of December 19. xxx .[14] Lina alleged that the Castelltorts acted in good faith in constructing the house on petitioners lot as they in fact consulted her before commencing any construction thereon. found for petitioners in this wise: In the instant case. January 12. March 24. 7-8. stained such good faith and belief. the RTC. 1998) and which declaration is an utter falsehood as the Contract to Sell itself indicates the civil status of said Elizabeth Yson Cruz to be single. Petitioners subsequently filed on September 1. however. they having relied on the technical description of the lot sold to them. The title or mode of acquisition upon which they based their belief of such ownership stemmed from a Contract to Sell (Exhibit P) of which they were not even parties. to encumber the 536 square meter lot as collateral to get immediate cash through a financing scheme in order to compensate them for the lot in question. 1995. their failure to comply with the requirements of the National Building Code. Even if we are to concede that defendants built their house in good faith on account of the representation of attorney-in-fact Rene Villegas. by Decision of April 21. p. 1995 a complaint [10] for recovery of possession and damages with prayer for the issuance of a restraining order and preliminary injunction against spouses-respondents Miguel and Judith Castelltort before the RTC of Calamba.

00) PESOS as exemplary damages. quoted verbatim: WHEREFORE. we hold that defendants and the intervenor were equally guilty of negligence which led to the construction of the defendants house on plaintiffs property and therefore jointly and severally liable for all the damages suffered by the plaintiffs. And from the evidence thus adduced. b) FIFTY THOUSAND (P50. 2002. Dumlao. died on December 7. in the meantime.000. 1999 RTC Decision. this deliberate breach is an unmitigated manifestation of bad faith. premises considered. SO ORDERED. Roger Lyle and Alexander Nicolai. ordering the latter to surrender the possession of the property covered by TCT No. His heirs Rodolfo. the CA granted the appeal and set aside the April 21. applying . In accordance with the cases of Technogas Philippines Manufacturing Corp. d) TWENTY THOUSAND (P20.000.00) PESOS as attorneys fees and cost of suit.[17] Respondents thereupon filed their respective appeals with the CA. Defendants and intervenors are likewise jointly and severally directed to pay to plaintiffs the following damages: a) TWO THOUSAND (P2. Romeo Allan.000. Lillian Rhodora. all surnamed Rosales. quoted verbatim: ACCORDINGLY.00) PESOS per month from February 1995 by way of reasonable compensation for the use of plaintiffs property until the surrender of the same.. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs and against the defendants. Roy Victor. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads.[16] (Underscoring supplied) The dispositive portion of the trial courts Decision reads. By Decision of October 2.00) PESOS by way of moral damages. 36856 of the Register of Deeds of Laguna including any and all improvements built thereon to the plaintiffs. c) THIRTY THOUSAND (P30. the instant appeal is hereby GRANTED and the assailed decision of the court a quo REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. vs. From any and all indications. Jr.000. Petitioner Rodolfo Rosales. The counterclaim interposed by the defendants in their responsive pleading is hereby dismissed for lack of merit. 2001. Court of Appeals and Depra vs. filed their Appearance[18] as his substitute. in view of all the foregoing.

2. the CA held: xxx x x x A perusal of the records readily reveals that said court instead relied on flimsy.000. to order the appellees to exercise their option under the law (Article 448. If no agreement is reached by the parties.00) per month.[19] (Emphasis in the original) In reversing the trial court.Article 448 of the Civil Code.00) as reasonable compensation for their occupancy of the encroached property from the time said appellants good faith cease (sic) to exist until such time the possession of the property is delivered to the appellees subject to the reimbursement of the aforesaid expenses in favor of the appellants or until such time the payment of the purchase price of the said lot be made by the appellants in favor of the appellees in case the latter opt for the compulsory sale of the same. as follows: 1. as found by the court. and to have the improvement removed by the appellants at the latters expense. Civil Code). In any event. which have no direct bearing in the determination of whether the appellants are builders in bad faith. this case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Calamba. the value of the land is considerably more than that of the house. the court shall order the parties to agree upon the terms of a forced lease. which is the time they were notified of appellees rightful claim over Lot 17. Laguna. . whether to appropriate the house as their own by paying to the appellants the amount of the expenses spent for the house as determined by the court a quo in accordance with the limitations as aforestated or to oblige the appellants to pay the price of the land. payable within the first five (5) days of each calendar month and the period thereof shall not be more than two (2) years. the court a quo shall then fix the terms of the forced lease. or upon default by the appellants in the payment of rentals for two (2) consecutive months. In case the appellees exercise the option to oblige the appellants to pay the price of the land but the latter reject such purchase because. allegations of the appellees.000. and such tender shall constitute evidence of whether or not compliance was made within the period fixed by the court. if not immaterial. Upon the expiration of the forced lease. to determine the present fair price of appellees 315 square meter area of land and the amount of the expenses actually spent by the appellants for building the house as of 21 August 1995. SO ORDERED. The rentals herein provided shall be tendered by the appellants to the court for payment to the appellees. and give the court a quo a formal written notice of such agreement and its provisos. the appellants shall pay the appellees the amount of Two Thousand Pesos (P2. Branch 34. provided that the monthly rental to be fixed by the Court shall not be less that Two Thousand Pesos (P2. for further proceedings. counted from the finality of the judgment. to recover their land. the appellees shall be entitled to terminate the forced lease.

Lanuang. the court a quo defied law and settled jurisprudence considering that the factual basis of its findings and the incontrovertible evidence in support thereof prove that the appellant Miguel. has no annotation that would otherwise show a prior adverse claim. For another. is clean and untainted by an adverse claim or other irregularities. The instant case does not in any way concern the personal and property relations of spouses- appellants and Elizabeth Yson Cruz which is an altogether different matter that can be ventilated by the concerned parties through the institution of a proper action. he should have secured a building permit on Lot 17 instead or should not have bothered to take the necessary measures to obtain a building permit on Lot 16 in the first place. Otherwise. it can be told that a building permit was actually filed by appellant Miguel with respect to Lot 16 and it was only due to the confusion and misapprehension by the intervenor of the exact parameters of the property which caused appellants belief that Lot 17 [the questioned lot].e. In fact. Having been assured by the intervenor that the stone monuments were purposely placed. was ignored by the court a quo. xxx The court a quo should have focused on the issue of whether appellant Miguel built. in good faith. the pivotal issue to be resolved in this case. the subject house without notice of the adverse claim of the appellees and under the honest belief that the lot which he used in the construction belongs to him. in good faith. considering that he is a layman not versed in the technical description of his property. built the house on appellees land without knowledge of an adverse claim or any other irregularities that might cast a doubt as to the veracity of the assurance given to him by the intervenor. xxx In holding the appellants as builders in bad faith. the appellant is presumed to have knowledge of the metes and bounds of the property with which he is dealing. the records show that. i. cannot be faulted in his reliance on the survey plan that was delivered to him by the intervenor and the stone monuments that were placed in the encroached property. by the land surveyor in said land to specifically identify the lot and its inclusive boundaries. significantly. Thus. xxx xxx As it is. Although the building permit was belatedly issued in January 1996. this does not in any way detract from appellant Miguels good faith. This fact bolsters appellant Miguels good faith in building his house on appellees lot under the mistaken belief that the same is his property. appellant Miguel had already applied for a building permit as early as February 1994 and was in fact issued a temporary building permit pending the completion of the requirements for said permit. his title over the subject lot. as testified to by Engr. . as well as the title of the intervenor thereto. as far as appellant Miguel is concerned. is his. the appellants failure to secure a building permit from the Municipal Engineers Office on their construction on Lot 17 does not impinge on the good faith of the appellants. Although under the Torrens system of land registration. For one. Rebecca T. appellant Miguel relied on the title which the intervenor showed to him which. appellant however. By and large. the appellants cannot be faulted for having relied on the expertise of the land surveyor who is more equipped and experienced in the field of land surveying. albeit wrongfully. whether appellant Miguel is a builder in good faith.

IN DECIDING THE CASE. the appellants house erroneously encroached on the property of the appellees due to a mistake in the placement of stone monuments as indicated in the survey plan. which has been applied to improvements or portions of improvements built by mistaken belief on land belonging to the adjoining owner. this Court finds reason to maintain good faith on the part of the appellant. ALLEGATIONS OF THE PETITIONERS. 2002. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN MAKING A FINDING THAT IS CONTRARY TO THE ADMISSIONS BY THE PARTIES II. the present petition was filed raising the following issues: I. which error is directly attributable to the fault of the geodetic engineer who conducted the same. xxx Moreover. IF NOT IMMATERIAL. RELIED ON FLIMSY. xxx Peremptorily. This fact alone negates bad faith on the part of appellant Miguel. WHICH HAVE NO DIRECT BEARING IN THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER THE RESPONDENTS ARE BUILDERS IN GOOD FAITH III. x x x xxx In view of the good faith of both parties in this case. contrary to the flawed pronouncements made by the court a quo that appellant Miguel is deemed as a builder in bad faith on the basis of a mere assertion that he built his house without initially satisfying himself that he owns the said property. it is quite illogical for appellant Miguel to knowingly build his house on a property which he knew belongs to another person. 2002 having been denied by the CA by Resolution of March 13. their rights and obligations are to be governed by Article 448. Admittedly. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR OF LAW IN CONCLUDING THAT THE TRIAL COURT. x x x x x x[20] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration[21] dated October 22. .

should be ignored. The fact. Court of Appeals:[25] In its Resolution reversing the original Decision. however. in open Court. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED A REVERSIBLE ERROR OF LAW IN RENDERING A DECISION THAT IS UNENFORCEABLE AGAINST BOTH RESPONDENT JUDITH CASTELLTORT AND THIRD-PARTY ELIZABETH CRUZ[22] Petitioners initially hammer against respondents proving that Castelltort and a certain Elizabeth Cruz are the builders of the house on the subject property. As Ariosto SANTOS himself. whether objection is interposed by the party or not x x x Petitioners contention is hardly relevant to the case at bar. An Answer is a mere statement of fact which the party filing it expects to prove. As found by the CA: The fact remains that appellant [Castelltort] is the builder of the house on Lot 17 xxx The court a quo should have focused on the issue of whether appellant Miguel built. the subject house without notice of the adverse claim of the appellees and under the honest belief that the lot which he used in the construction belongs to him. as this Court held in the case of Gardner v. but this is not an absolute and inflexible rule. respondent Court discredited the testimony of Ariosto SANTOS for being at variance with the allegations in his Answer. had repudiated the defenses he had raised in his Answer and against his own interest. As a general rule. but it is not evidence. facts alleged in a partys pleading are deemed admissions of that party and binding upon it. his testimony is deserving of weight and credence. in good faith. Petitioners rely on the following doctrine established in Elayda v. that the allegations made by Ariosto SANTOS in his pleadings and in his declarations in open Court differed will not militate against the findings herein made nor support the reversal by respondent Court. .[26] (Underscoring supplied) The issue determinative of the controversy in the case at bar hinges on whether Castelltort is a builder in good faith. they faulting them with estoppel for alleging in their Answer before the trial court that they (respondents Castelltort and Judith) caused the construction of their house which they bought from a certain Lina Lopez-Villegas. Whether it was Castelltort and Judith or Castelltort and Elizabeth Cruz who purchased the property from Lina is not material to the outcome of the instant controversy. Court of Appeals:[23] an admission made in the pleadings cannot be controverted by the party making such admission and are conclusive as to him and that all proofs submitted by him contrary thereto or inconsistent therewith. xxx it cannot be gainsaid that appellant Miguel has a title over the land that was purchased from the intervenor x x x[24] At all events.

(T-42171) T-18550[30] he explaining that the owners duplicate of the title was lost and that judicial reconstitution thereof was ongoing. Villegas testified: Q: You said the surveyor placed a mujon along boundary of the property? A: Yes. he believed that it was the Lot 16 he bought and delivered to him by Villegas. xxx Q: Was there any remarkable difference between lot 16 and 17 at the time that this particular lot was sold to Miguel Castelltort and Elizabeth Cruz? xxx A: Both lots 16 and 17 are practically the same.[27] Article 527 of the Civil Code provides that good faith is always presumed. because based on my knowledge also that that was the lot as pointed by Engr.[28] In the case at bar. Castelltort started the construction of the house. Q: When were the mujons placed in the boundary of the property? A: These mujons were the basis for my locating the property in pointing to Mr. Castelltort. Lot 16 was sold by Lina. or that by some title one has the right to build thereon. and upon him who alleges bad faith on the part of a possessor rests the burden of proof. as drawn they were facing the same road. what Villegas showed Castelltort as evidence of his mother Linas ownership of the property was only a photocopy of her title TCT No. one is 311 square meters and the other 315 square meters. Rivera. They are practically the same. Castelltort acted in the manner of a prudent man and went to the Registry of Deeds of Laguna to procure a certified true copy of the TCT. In his cross-examination.00. to Castelltort and a certain Elizabeth Cruz[29] for a consideration of P500. xxx Q: Is it not a fact that before Miguel Castelltort started constructing that house he sought your advice or permission to construct the same over that particular lot? A: Yes. Both sides were fenced. A builder in good faith is one who builds with the belief that the land he is building on is his. Q: But at the time or immediately before Mr. There is only a difference of 4 square meters. was there any remarkable distinction between these two properties? . The records indicate that at the time Castelltort began constructing his house on petitioners lot. through her attorney-in-fact Villegas. The (sic) have the same frontage. [31] The certified true copy bore no annotation indicating any prior adverse claim on Lot 16. While prior to the sale. Q: And you gave your consent? A: Yes.000. and is ignorant of any defect or flaw in his title.

Q: Now. xxx Q: And did you investigate how your men committed this mistake of planting these monuments on another lot when corners 4 & 1 were clearly planted on the ground? A: I myself rechecked it and found out that they committed an error. what else did your men or assistants do? A: After computing the subdivision lots. Mario Carpio and Sovejano when you allowed them to proceed on their own to make this computation. sir. Q: And what did you see there? A: A house being constructed then I rechecked the location of the house and it turned out to be in Lot 17. xxx Q: Considering that you found out that a mistake was actually made by your assistants Dennis Orencio. sir. instead of on Lot 16. Q: And you met him again because he had a problem regarding the property of one Engr. Q: In what manner? A: I actually reprimanded them verbally and also I dismissed Mario Carpio from my office.[32] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) The confusion in the identification of Lot 16 was eventually traced to the error committed by geodetic engineer Augusto Riveras employees in placing stone monuments on petitioners property. they went back to the field to plant those subdivision corners with concrete monuments. did you go to the site of Lot 16 or 17? A: Yes. sir. lot 17. xxx . Rene Villegas or after how many months or year? A: Maybe after a year. can you point to this Honorable Court where exactly did your men place these additional mohons and how many? A: Later on we discovered that they placed the mohons in the adjoining lot. the lot sold to Castelltort. aside from inspecting personally the site. Q: And when he confided to you this matter. Rosales? A: Yes. Q: Which is (sic) also called as mohons? A: Yes. xxx Q: x x x when again did you meet Mr. sir. did you confront these men of yours afterwards? A: Yes. based on the survey made by the engineer in 1992. The engineer so testified: Q: Now. sir. A: None.

the builder or planter cannot be obliged to buy the land if its value is considerably . after payment of the indemnity provided for in Articles 546 and 548. 1995. Q: So that when these monuments were placed on lines 1 & 4 somebody could mistake it for Lot 17 also because there were monuments now 1 &4 for lot 16 since these are common lines for Lot 17 also with Lot 16. the proper rent.[33] (Underscoring supplied) As correctly found by the CA. how they determine (sic) the exact location of lot 16? A: They just relied on one side of the subdivision. Q: And now. sir. you are saying that your men committed a mistake by placing thereon monuments by planting these monuments not on Lot 16 but on Lot 17? A: When I investigated how did they commit (sic) a mistake it came to be like this. 448. this line 1 &4 devides (sic) Lot 16 & 17? A: Yes. sir a common line. sowing or planting. and the one who sowed. is this line 1 & 4 on Lot 16 a common line 1 &4 on Lot 17? A: Yes. the correct one because they also checked it with the other corner of the road going back. Q: In other words. they thought that it was Lot 19. Q: By just counting the number of lots? A: Yes. it could also be construed that these are monuments for Lot 17? A: Yes. you said that when you went to the place because you heard from Rene Villegas that there was a mistake you no longer could find the monuments on lines 1 and 4 and according to you the reason is that a fence was already constructed? A: Yes. or to oblige the one who built or planted to pay the price of the land. the applicable provision in this case is Article 448 of the Civil Code which reads: Art. Before when we surveyed first this in 1992. at that time Dante Villegas contracted my services there was a fence here then when we went back. xxx Q: Now. both parties having acted in good faith at least until August 21. the back portion. Q: Without making any actual measurement? A: They made an actual measurement but the reference point is not the one. sown or planted in good faith. did you find out how your men checked the succeeding lots. sir. The owner of the land on which anything has been built. Q: For clarification. shall have the right to appropriate as his own the works. sir possible. sir. the road was already removed so they committed an error that this point is Lot 19. xxx Q: And how did they commit a mistake when you said they checked the lot at the back of Lot 16? A: Because they were quite confident since we had already relocated the property two years ago so they thought that they get (sic) the right lot without checking the other side of the subdivision. xxx Q: In this particular case. However.

more than that of the building or trees. In such case, he shall pay reasonable rent, if the
owner of the land does not choose to appropriate the building or trees after proper
indemnity. The parties shall agree upon the terms of the lease and in case of disagreement,
the court shall fix the terms thereof.

Under the foregoing provision, the landowner can choose between appropriating the
building by paying the proper indemnity or obliging the builder to pay the price of the land,
unless its value is considerably more than that of the structures, in which case the builder
in good faith shall pay reasonable rent.[34] If the parties cannot come to terms over the
conditions of the lease, the court must fix the terms thereof.

The choice belongs to the owner of the land, a rule that accords with the principle of
accession, i.e., that the accessory follows the principal and not the other way around. Even
as the option lies with the landowner, the grant to him, nevertheless, is preclusive. [35] The
landowner cannot refuse to exercise either option and compel instead the owner of the
building to remove it from the land.[36]

The raison detre for this provision has been enunciated thus:

Where the builder, planter or sower has acted in good faith, a conflict of rights
arises between the owners, and it becomes necessary to protect the owner of the
improvements without causing injustice to the owner of the land. In view of the
impracticability of creating a state of forced co-ownership, the law has provided a just
solution by giving the owner of the land the option to acquire the improvements after
payment of the proper indemnity, or to oblige the builder or planter to pay for the land and
the sower the proper rent. He cannot refuse to exercise either option. It is the owner of the
land who is authorized to exercise the option, because his right is older, and because, by
the principle of accession, he is entitled to the ownership of the accessory thing.[37]

Possession acquired in good faith does not lose this character except in the case and
from the moment facts exist which show that the possessor is not unaware that he possesses
the thing improperly or wrongfully.[38] The good faith ceases or is legally interrupted from
the moment defects in the title are made known to the possessor, by extraneous evidence
or by suit for recovery of the property by the true owner.[39]

In the case at bar, Castelltorts good faith ceased on August 21, 1995 when petitioners
personally apprised him of their title over the questioned lot. As held by the CA, should
petitioners then opt to appropriate the house, they should only be made to pay for that part
of
the improvement built by Castelltort on the questioned property at the time good faith still
existed on his part or until August 21, 1995.

The CA, however, failed to qualify that said part of the improvement should be
pegged at its current fair market value consistent with this Courts pronouncement in Pecson
v. Court of Appeals.[40]

And, as correctly found by the CA, the commencement of Castelltorts payment of
reasonable rent should start on August 21, 1995 as well, to be paid until such time that the
possession of the property is delivered to petitioners, subject to the reimbursement of
expenses, that is, if such option is for petitioners to appropriate the house.

This Court quotes the CAs ratiocination with approval:

x x x Generally, Article 448 of the Civil Code provides that the payment of
reasonable rent should be made only up to the date appellees serve notice of their option
as provided by law upon the appellants and the court a quo; that is, if such option is for
appellees to appropriate the encroaching structure. In such event, appellants would have a
right to retain the land on which they have built in good faith until they are reimbursed the
expenses incurred by them. This is so because the right to retain the improvements while
the corresponding indemnity is not paid implies the tenancy or possession in fact of the
land on which it is built, planted or sown.

However, considering that appellants had ceased as builders in good faith at the
time that appellant Miguel was notified of appellees lawful title over the disputed property,
the payment of reasonable rent should accordingly commence at that time since he can no
longer avail of the rights provided under the law for builders in good faith.[41]

If the option chosen by petitioners is compulsory sale, however, the payment of rent
should continue up to the actual transfer of ownership.[42]

Respecting petitioners argument that the appellate court erred in rendering a decision
that is unenforceable against Judith who is not the owner of the house and Elizabeth Cruz
who was found to be a part owner of the house built on their lot but is not a party to the
case, the same does not lie.

While one who is not a party to a proceeding shall not be affected or bound [43] by a
judgment rendered therein,[44] like Elizabeth Cruz, this does not detract from the validity
and enforceability of the judgment on petitioners and respondents Castelltorts.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated October 2, 2002 and
Resolution dated February 6, 2003 of the Court of Appeals
are AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION such that the trial court shall include for
determination the increase in value (plus value) which petitioners 315 square meter lot may
have acquired by reason of the existence of that portion of the house built before
respondents Miguel and Judith Castelltort were notified of petitioners rightful claim on said
lot, and the current fair market value of said portion. SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

HEIRS OF MARIO MALABANAN, G.R. No. 179987
Petitioner,
Present:
PUNO, C.J.,
QUISUMBING,
YNARES-SANTIAGO,
CARPIO,
- versus - AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CORONA,
CARPIO MORALES,
TINGA,
CHICO-NAZARIO,
VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA,
LEONARDO DE CASTRO,
BRION,
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, PERALTA, and
Respondent. BERSAMIN, JJ.

Promulgated:

April 29, 2009

x--------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

The countrywide phenomenon of untitled lands. xxx The question is: How is it that so many governments. has unfortunately been treated with benign neglect. The petition. was accepted by the Court en banc in order to provide definitive clarity to the applicability and scope of original registration proceedings under Sections 14(1) and 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree.TINGA. The issue is that there exists a "common law" and an "informal law" which the Latin American formal legal system does not know how to recognize. . The only one who does not know it is the government. . The informals have their own papers. all of which are very clearly stated in the maps which they use for their own informal business transactions. from Indonesia to Peru. while unremarkable as to the facts. J. and you walk by field after field--in each field a different dog is going to bark at you. but also the reality on the ground. the Court confronts not only the relevant provisions of the Public Land Act and the Civil Code. 90 percent of the informal lands are not titled and registered. This is a generalized phenomenon in the so-called Third World. And it has many consequences. have wanted to title these people and have not been able to do so effectively? One reason is that none of the state systems in Asia or Latin America can gather proof of informal titles. though our social obligations dissuade us from casting a blind eye on the endemic problems. from Suharto's in Indonesia to Fujimori's in Peru. Even dogs know what private property is all about.: One main reason why the informal sector has not become formal is that from Indonesia to Brazil. their own forms of agreements. In doing so.Hernando De Soto[1] This decision inevitably affects all untitled lands currently in possession of persons and entities other than the Philippine government. the informals have means of proving property ownership to each other which are not the same means developed by the Spanish legal system. Still. the duty on our part is primarily to decide cases before us in accord with the Constitution and the legal principles that have developed our public land law. as well as the problem of informal settlement it has spawned. Yet our current laws are hemmed in by their own circumscriptions in addressing the phenomenon. In Peru. If you take a walk through the countryside. and their own systems of registration.

He further manifested that he also [knew] the property and I affirm the truth of the testimony given by Mr. On 20 February 1998.324 square meters. did not cross-examine Aristedes Velazco.[6] The Republic of the Philippines likewise did not present any evidence to controvert the application.[3] and that he and his predecessors-in-interest had been in open. including Lot 9864-A. Gregorio. his four sons inherited the property and divided it among themselves. which stated that the subject property was verified to be within the Alienable or Disposable land per Land Classification Map No. Jr. Department of Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO-DENR). Lino had four sons Benedicto. Malabanan claimed that he had purchased the property from Eduardo Velazco. Jr. 20-A and approved as such under FAO 4-1656 on March 15.. notorious. Cad-452-D. and consisting of 71. their son Virgilio succeeded them in administering the properties. 1982.[7] . After the death of Esteban and Magdalena. Magdalena. Aristedes Velazco. Mario Malabanan filed an application for land registration covering a parcel of land identified as Lot 9864-A. Lino. Branch 18. Velazco. Eduardo and Estebanthe fourth being Aristedess grandfather. Among the evidence presented by Malabanan during trial was a Certification dated 11 June 2001.[2] situated in Barangay Tibig. which originally belonged to his uncle. But by 1966. 3013 established under Project No. Eduardo Velazco. The application was raffled to the Regional Trial Court of (RTC) Cavite-Tagaytay City. Jose Velazco. Estebans wife. Velazco testified that the property was originally belonged to a twenty-two hectare property owned by his great-grandfather. had become the administrator of all the properties inherited by the Velazco sons from their father. Silang Cavite. Lino Velazco.[5] Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Jose Velazco. and continuous adverse and peaceful possession of the land for more than thirty (30) years. Malabanan himself and his witness.[4] Apart from presenting documentary evidence. to appear on behalf of the State. issued by the Community Environment & Natural Resources Office. I. Silang Cadastre. It was this property that was sold by Eduardo Velazco to Malabanan. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) duly designated the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Cavite. testified at the hearing. Upon Linos death.

it was his heirs who appealed the decision of the appellate court. this Court hereby approves this application for registration and thus places under the operation of Act 141. arguing that Malabanan had failed to prove that the property belonged to the alienable and disposable land of the public domain. in addition to other proofs adduced in the name of MARIO MALABANAN. This interpretation of the Court of Appeals of Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree was based on the Courts ruling in Republic v. the corresponding decree of registration shall forthwith issue. the RTC rendered judgment in favor of Malabanan. SO ORDERED. and that the RTC had erred in finding that he had been in possession of the property in the manner and for the length of time required by law for confirmation of imperfect title. Cavite.324) Square Meters. On 23 February 2007. Filipino. otherwise known as Property Registration Law. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. The appellate court held that under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree any period of possession prior to the classification of the lots as alienable and disposable was inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession. Lot 9864-A and containing an area of Seventy One Thousand Three Hundred Twenty Four (71. Petitioners. On 3 December 2002. widower. Once this Decision becomes final and executory. rely on our ruling in Republic v.[10] hence. Naguit. Act 496 and/or P. Herbieto. the Court of Appeals rendered a Decision[8] reversing the RTC and dismissing the application of Malabanan.the Velazcos possession prior to that date could not be factored in the computation of the period of possession. the appellate court noted that since the CENRO-DENR certification had verified that the property was declared alienable and disposable only on 15 March 1982. Petitioners suggest that the discussion in Herbieto cited by the . Thus.[9] Malabanan died while the case was pending with the Court of Appeals. Silang.D. The Republic interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. before this Court. as supported by its technical description now forming part of the record of this case. who is of legal age.[11] which was handed down just four months prior to Herbieto. the lands described in Plan Csd-04-0173123-D. and with residence at Munting Ilog. 1529.

1945 or is it sufficient that such classification occur at any time prior to the filing of the applicant for registration provided that it is established that the applicant has been in open. 1945 or earlier? 2. with respect to agricultural lands. should the land be classified as alienable and disposable as of June 12. the parties formulated their respective positions. Naguit. continuous. Therefore. otherwise known as the Property Registration Decree. exclusive and notorious possession of the land under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. petitioners argue. to wit: 1. 1529. May a parcel of land established as agricultural in character either because of its use or because its slope is below that of forest lands be registrable under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree in relation to the provisions of the Civil Code on acquisitive prescription? 4. With respect to Section 14(1). Are petitioners entitled to the registration of the subject land in their names under Section 14(1) or Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree or both?[13] Based on these issues. remains the controlling doctrine. The seemingly contradictory pronouncement in Herbieto. any possession prior to the declaration of the alienable property as disposable may be counted in reckoning the period of possession to perfect title under the Public Land Act and the Property Registration Decree. petitioners reiterate that the analysis of the Court in Naguit is the correct interpretation of the provision. it is submitted. the case was heard on oral arguments. For purposes of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree may a parcel of land classified as alienable and disposable be deemed private land and therefore susceptible to acquisition by prescription in accordance with the Civil Code? 3. In order that an alienable and disposable land of the public domain may be registered under Section 14(1) of Presidential Decree No. especially when the property in question is agricultural land. should be considered obiter dictum. The petition was referred to the Court en banc.Court of Appeals is actually obiter dictum since the Metropolitan Trial Court therein which had directed the registration of the property had no jurisdiction in the first place since the requisite notice of hearing was published only after the hearing had already begun. since the .[12] and on 11 November 2008. The Court formulated the principal issues for the oral arguments.

[18] With respect to Section 14(2). exclusive and notorious possession of an alienable land of the public domain for more than 30 years ipso jure converts the land into private property. petitioners submit that open. II. the OSG also cites the subsequent rulings in Buenaventura v. at the time of the application. the Court applied Naguit and adopted the same observation that the preferred interpretation by the OSG of Section 14(1) was patently absurd. Republic. thus placing it under the coverage of Section 14(2). The OSG further submits that. Republic[16] and Republic v. and that the 30-year possession period refers to the period of possession under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. while Section 14(2) speaks of private lands. It observes that the Court has yet to decide a case that presented Section 14(2) as a ground for application for registration. The OSG notes that under Article 1113 of the Civil Code. the property had already been converted into private property through prescription. petitioners cite extensively from our 2008 ruling in Republic v.[15]Fieldman Agricultural Trading v. Court of Appeals. said period should be reckoned from the time the public land was declared alienable and disposable.A. Properties.[17] as well as the earlier case of Director of Lands v. assuming that the 30-year prescriptive period can run against public lands. According to them. To bolster their argument. For its part. Apart from Herbieto. the land should have been classified as alienable and disposable as of 12 June 1945.land registration proceedings therein was void ab initio due to lack of publication of the notice of initial hearing.[19] The arguments submitted by the OSG with respect to Section 14(2) are more extensive. . Imperial Credit Corporation. T. continuous. and not the concept of prescription under the Civil Code. it would not matter whether the land sought to be registered was previously classified as agricultural land of the public domain so long as. Petitioners further point out that in Republic v.N. Bibonia. the acquisitive prescription of properties of the State refers to patrimonial property.[14]promulgated in June of 2007. the OSG remains insistent that for Section 14(1) to apply. Both sides likewise offer special arguments with respect to the particular factual circumstances surrounding the subject property and the ownership thereof.

under the Land Registration Act. or (d) reservations for town sites and for public and quasi-public uses. subject to the requisites stated therein: Sec. 1945. to classify the lands of the public domain into alienable and disposable. No. since June 12. Commonwealth Act No.D. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. 141. timber. supplies the details and unmistakably grants that right. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this chapter. from time to time. commercial. or mineral lands. since its enactment. we discuss Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. . The following described citizens of the Philippines. governed the classification and disposition of lands of the public domain. continuous.[21] May a private person validly seek the registration in his/her name of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain? Section 11 of the Public Land Act acknowledges that public lands suitable for agricultural purposes may be disposed of by confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles through judicial legalization. 48. industrial. 1073. or for similar productive purposes. For a full understanding of the provision. The President is authorized.[20] Alienable and disposable lands of the public domain are further classified according to their uses into (a) agricultural. (b) residential. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such land or an interest therein. immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title except when prevented by war or force majeure. has. (c) educational. charitable. also known as the Public Land Act. reference has to be made to the Public Land Act. A. exclusive. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed.First. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. as amended by P. or other similar purposes.[22] Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. or earlier. to wit: xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open.

1073. whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: (1) those who by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest have been in open. the length of the requisite possession was changed from possession for thirty (30) years immediately preceding the filing of the application to possession since June 12. Evidently.[23] This is not actually the case. First. Then in 1977. Act No. continuous. The provision reads: SECTION 14. The OSG submits that this amendment restricted the scope of the lands that may be registered. Act No. Both laws commonly . agricultural lands are a mere subset of lands of the public domain alienable or open to disposition. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act was again amended. which pegged the reckoning date at June 12. which provided that the bona fide claim of ownership must have been for at least thirty (30) years. xxx It bears further observation that Section 48(b) of Com. 1942. The Court in Naguit explained: When the Public Land Act was first promulgated in 1936.D. Said Decree codified the various laws relative to the registration of property. No. 1945. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. No. 1894. this time by P. Second. the period of possession deemed necessary to vest the right to register their title to agricultural lands of the public domain commenced from July 26. 141 is virtually the same as Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Two significant amendments were introduced by P. the term agricultural lands was changed to alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. or earlier. 1073. 1945. including lands of the public domain. Who may apply. alienable and disposable lands of the public domain are a larger class than only agricultural lands. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12.A.Section 48(b) of Com. 1945 or earlier. No. No. the Public Land Act has remained in effect. 141 received its present wording in 1977 when the law was amended by P. Under Section 9 of the Public Land Act. 1073. It is Section 14(1) that operationalizes the registration of such lands of the public domain. Notwithstanding the passage of the Property Registration Decree and the inclusion of Section 14(1) therein. However. this period was amended by R.D.D.

which seems to presume the pre-existence of the right. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. that has primarily established the right of a Filipino citizen who has been in open. exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain under a bona fide claim of ownership since June 12. No. 14 [of the Property Registration Decree]. The following described citizens of the Philippines. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. to wit: xxx Sec.refer to persons or their predecessors-in-interest who have been in open. That is not the case. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such land or an interest therein. which provides that public lands suitable for agricultural purposes may be disposed of by confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. since June 12. 48 [of the Public Land Act]. 1945 to perfect or complete his title by applying with the proper court for the confirmation of his ownership claim and the issuance of the corresponding certificate of title. or earlier. That circumstance may have led to the impression that one or the other is a redundancy. under the Land Registration Act. rather than establishing the right itself for the first time. 1073 effective 25 January 1977. Section 48 can be viewed in conjunction with the afore-quoted Section 11 of the Public Land Act. or that Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act has somehow been repealed or mooted. as amended by P. continuous. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed.D. and given the notion that . whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: xxx It is clear that Section 48 of the Public Land Act is more descriptive of the nature of the right enjoyed by the possessor than Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. It is proper to assert that it is the Public Land Act. continuous. Who may apply. The opening clauses of Section 48 of the Public Land Act and Section 14 of the Property Registration Decree warrant comparison: Sec. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. exclusive. 1945.

the substantive right granted under Section 48(b) may be availed of only until 31 December 2020. most recently by Rep. 9176 in 2002. In turn. but this Section shall not be construed as prohibiting any said persons from acting under this Chapter at any time prior to the period fixed by the President.both provisions declare that it is indeed the Public Land Act that primarily establishes the substantive ownership of the possessor who has been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945. That the several periods of time designated by the President in accordance with Section Forty-Five of this Act shall apply also to the lands comprised in the provisions of this Chapter. 2020 within which to avail of the benefits of this Chapter: Provided. further. . Despite the clear text of Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. as well provides the corresponding original registration procedure for the judicial confirmation of an imperfect or incomplete title. The absurdity of such an implication was discussed in Naguit. There is another limitation to the right granted under Section 48(b). Section 47 of the Public Land Act limits the period within which one may exercise the right to seek registration under Section 48. The provision has been amended several times. Act No. Following the OSGs approach. all lands certified as alienable and disposable after 12 June 1945 cannot be registered either under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree or Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act as amended. the OSG has adopted the position that for one to acquire the right to seek registration of an alienable and disposable land of the public domain. It currently reads thus: Section 47.[24] Accordingly under the current state of the law. the alienable and disposable character of the property must have been declared also as of 12 June 1945. it is not enough that the applicant and his/her predecessors-in-interest be in possession under a bona fide claim of ownership since 12 June 1945. Section 14(a) of the Property Registration Decree recognizes the substantive right granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. not to extend beyond December 31. as amended and Section 14(a) of the Property Registration Decree. That this period shall apply only where the area applied for does not exceed twelve (12) hectares: Provided. The persons specified in the next following section are hereby granted time. B.

as it is in this case. Absent a legislative amendment. the rule would be. The unreasonableness of the situation would even be aggravated considering that before June 12. as used in the provision. adopting the OSGs view. the Court in Naguit explained: [T]he more reasonable interpretation of Section 14(1) is that it merely requires the property sought to be registered as already alienable and disposable at the time the application for registration of title is filed. However. exclusive and notorious possession under a bona fide claim of ownership long before that date. as pointed out in Naguit. the presumption is that the government is still reserving the right to utilize the property. then there is already an intention on the part of the State to abdicate its exclusive prerogative over the property. absurdly limits the application of the provision to the point of virtual inutility since it would only cover lands actually declared alienable and disposable prior to 12 June 1945. The contrary pronouncement in Herbieto. continuous. The Court declares that the correct interpretation of Section 14(1) is that which was adopted in Naguit. the Naguit interpretation allows more possessors under a bona fide claim of ownership to avail of judicial confirmation of their imperfect titles than what would be feasible under Herbieto. at the time the application is made. that all lands of the public domain which were not declared alienable or disposable before June 12. we are mindful of the absurdity that would result if we adopt petitioners position. Petitioner suggests an interpretation that the alienable and disposable character of the land should have already been established since June 12. Accordingly. if the property has already been classified as alienable and disposable. Since June 12. 1945. especially considering our forthcoming discussion on the scope and reach of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. Moreover. This balancing fact is significant. no matter the length of unchallenged possession by the occupant. qualifies its antecedent phrase under a bonafide claim of ownership. Besides. If the State. the Philippines was not yet even considered an independent state. has not yet deemed it proper to release the property for alienation or disposition. the need to preserve its ownership in the State irrespective of the length of adverse possession even if in good faith. 1945 or earlier. This is not borne out by the plain meaning of Section 14(1). Such interpretation renders paragraph (1) of Section 14 virtually inoperative and even precludes the government from giving it effect even as it decides to reclassify public agricultural lands as alienable and disposable. .[25] Ad proximum antecedents fiat relation nisi impediatur sentencia. Generally speaking. 1945. hence. 1945 would not be susceptible to original registration. even if the current possessor is able to establish open. qualifying words restrict or modify only the words or phrases to which they are immediately associated. and not those distantly or remotely located.

citing Section 14(2). in the context of Section 14(1). The evidence submitted by petitioners therein did not establish any mode of possession on their part prior to 1948. quoted extensively from it. penned the ruling in Republic v. Any doubt as to which between Naguit or Herbieto provides the final word of the Court on Section 14(1) is now settled in favor of Naguit. and following the mindset of the dissent. citing Herbieto. their position being that they had been in exclusive possession under a bona fide claim of ownership for over fifty (50) years. Ceniza. as it suffices that the Courts acknowledgment that the particular line of argument used therein concerning Section 14(1) is indeed obiter. . Court of Appeals[27] since in the latter. the attempt at registration in Ceniza should have failed. Ceniza cited Bracewell. There is no need to explicitly overturn Herbieto. the application for registration had been filed before the land was declared alienable or disposable. Nonetheless. neither Herbieto nor its principal discipular ruling Buenaventura has any precedental value with respect to Section 14(1). The application therein was ultimately granted. but not before 12 June 1945.[28] which involved a claim of possession that extended back to 1927 over a public domain land that was declared alienable and disposable only in 1980. since it precisely involved situation wherein the applicant had been in exclusive possession under a bona fide claim of ownership prior to 12 June 1945. The Courts interpretation of Section 14(1) therein was decisive to the resolution of the case. the esteemed Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago. It may be noted that in the subsequent case of Buenaventura. We noted in Naguit that it should be distinguished from Bracewell v. Not so. Petitioners make the salient observation that the contradictory passages from Herbieto are obiter dicta since the land registration proceedings therein is void ab initio in the first place due to lack of the requisite publication of the notice of initial hearing. It is not even apparent from the decision whether petitioners therein had claimed entitlement to original registration following Section 14(1). Thus. is certainly erroneous. the ratio of Naguit is embedded in Section 14(1). On the other hand. again stated that [a]ny period of possession prior to the date when the [s]ubject [property was] classified as alienable and disposable is inconsequential and should be excluded from the computation of the period of possession That statement. The dissent though pronounces Bracewell as the better rule between the two. its ponente. Yet two years after Bracewell.[26] the Court. thereby precluding the application of Section 14(1). the passage as cited in Buenaventura should again be considered as obiter.

per map 2962 4-I555 dated December 9. As correctly found by the Court of Appeals. We next ascertain the correct framework of analysis with respect to Section 14(2). the certification enjoys a presumption of regularity in the absence of contradictory evidence. Land Classification Project No. Worth noting also was the observation of the Court of Appeals stating that: [n]o opposition was filed by the Bureaus of Lands and Forestry to contest the application of appellees on the ground that the property still forms part of the public domain.. a difference which the dissent seeks to belittle. Thus. and a legislative act or a statute. the application was filed nine (9) years before the land was declared alienable or disposable. III. an applicant must establish the existence of a positive act of the government such as a presidential proclamation or an executive order.[29] Why did the Court in Ceniza. stating that the lots involved were "found to be within the alienable and disposable (sic) Block-I. private respondents were able to prove their open. petitioner did not show that this is one of them. through the same eminent member who authored Bracewell. 1994. we are bound by the factual findings of the Court of Appeals. it did not err in ruling in favor of private respondents as far as the first requirement in Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is concerned. which is true in this case.. 32-A. issued by Eduardo M. exclusive and notorious possession of the subject land even before the year 1927. an administrative action. To prove that the land subject of an application for registration is alienable.." This is sufficient evidence to show the real character of the land subject of private respondents application. The provision reads: . sanction the registration under Section 48(b) of public domain lands declared alienable or disposable thirty-five (35) years and 180 days after 12 June 1945? The telling difference is that in Ceniza. That crucial difference was also stressed in Naguitto contradistinguish it from Bracewell. Further. while the Court of Appeals erred in ruling that mere possession of public land for the period required by law would entitle its occupant to a confirmation of imperfect title. Inting. Although there are exceptions. private respondents presented a certification dated November 25. the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cebu City. continuous. investigation reports of Bureau of Lands investigators. while in Bracewell. the application for registration was filed nearly six (6) years after the land had been declared alienable or disposable. Nor is there any showing that the lots in question are forestal land. In this case. As a rule. for they were able to overcome the burden of proving the alienability of the land subject of their application. 1980.

. possession over which commenced only after June 12. Prescription is one of the modes of acquiring ownership under the Civil Code. The following persons may file in the proper Court of First Instance an application for registration of title to land. continuous and exclusive. 1945. SECTION 14. and where the evidence definitively establishes their claim of possession only as far back as 1948. even if possession of the alienable public land commenced on a date later than June 12. then the possessor may have the right to register the land by virtue of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. Naguit did not involve the application of Section 14(2).D. 1073 preclude the application for registration of alienable lands of the public domain. Who may apply. It is in this case that we can properly appreciate the nuances of the provision. but we nonetheless refer to it as material for further discussion. considering Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. continuous and exclusive possession of at least thirty (30) years. to be an obiter dictum. thus: Did the enactment of the Property Registration Decree and the amendatory P. and thus susceptible to registration by those who have acquired ownership through prescription. such property may now fall within the contemplation of private lands under Section 14(2). whether personally or through their duly authorized representatives: xxx (2) Those who have acquired ownership over private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws. unlike in this case where petitioners have based their registration bid primarily on that provision. No. which we did even then recognize. and still do. The Court in Naguit offered the following discussion concerning Section 14(2). and such possession being been open. A. Thus.[[30]] There is a consistent jurisprudential rule that properties classified as alienable public land may be converted into private property by reason of open. which governs and authorizes the application of those who have acquired ownership of private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws.[[31]] With such conversion. 1945? It did not.

the critical question that needs affirmation is whether Section 14(2) does encompass original registration proceedings over patrimonial property of the State. The Naguit obiter had adverted to a frequently reiterated jurisprudence holding that properties classified as alienable public land may be converted into private property by reason of open. Ownership of real property may be acquired by ordinary prescription of ten (10) years.[34] as well as just title. Thus. The Constitution itself proscribes private ownership of timber or mineral lands. continuous and exclusive possession of at least thirty (30) years.[36] Yet if we ascertain the source of the thirty-year period. On the other hand. It reads: All things which are within the commerce of men are susceptible of prescription. Specifically. it unmistakably refers to the Civil Code as a valid basis for the registration of lands. it is Article 1113 which provides legal foundation for the application.The obiter in Naguit cited the Civil Code provisions on prescription as the possible basis for application for original registration under Section 14(2). among the public domain lands that are not susceptible to acquisitive prescription are timber lands and mineral lands. For there are in fact two distinct origins of the thirty (30)-year rule. It is clear under the Civil Code that where lands of the public domain are patrimonial in character.[32] or through extraordinary prescription of thirty (30) years. unless otherwise provided. Property of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. additional complexities relating to Section 14(2) and to how exactly it operates would emerge. they are susceptible to acquisitive prescription. There are in fact several provisions in the Civil Code concerning the acquisition of real property through prescription.[33] Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession in good faith. which a private person has acquired through prescription. including patrimonial property belonging to the State.[35] When Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree explicitly provides that persons who have acquired ownership over private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws. The Civil Code is the only existing law that specifically allows the acquisition by prescription of private lands. .

as mandated under Section 14(2). exclusive and notorious possession and occupation of agricultural lands of the public domain. which made the date 12 June 1945 the reckoning point for the first time. as it applies the rules on prescription under the Civil Code. Obviously. 1073. applications for registration filed prior to 1977 could have invoked the 30-year rule introduced by Rep. under Article 1137. is completed through uninterrupted adverse possession for thirty years. particularly Article 1113 in relation to Article 1137. the first source of the thirty (30)-year period rule. may apply to the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is located for confirmation of their claims and the issuance of a certificate of title therefor. 1942.D. Act No.D. (emphasis supplied)[37] This provision was repealed in 1977 with the enactment of P. 1942. The first source is Rep. At present. but whose titles have not been perfected or completed. These shall be conclusively presumed to have performed all the conditions essential to a Government grant and shall be entitled to a certificate of title under the provisions of this Chapter. continuous. occupying lands of the public domain or claiming to own any such lands or an interest therein. Rep. . which amended Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act by granting the right to seek original registration of alienable public lands through possession in the concept of an owner for at least thirty years. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. except when prevented by war or force majeure. Nonetheless. The second source is Section 14(2) of P. 1529 itself. at least by implication. which. The following-described citizens of the Philippines. enacted in 1957. under the Land Registration Act. Act No. 1942. Act No. without need of title or of good faith. became unavailable after 1977. Note that there are two kinds of prescription under the Civil Codeordinary acquisitive prescription and extraordinary acquisitive prescription. the only legal basis for the thirty (30)-year period is the law on prescription under the Civil Code. for at least thirty years immediately preceding the filing of the application for confirmation of title. to wit: xxx xxx xxx (b) Those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open.

a fact which does not hold true with respect to Section 14(1). The identification what consists of patrimonial property is provided by Articles 420 and 421. Section 14(2) puts into operation the entire regime of prescription under the Civil Code. B.However. the thirty- year period is derived from the rule on extraordinary prescription under Article 1137 of the Civil Code. 1942. which now sets 12 June 1945 as the point of reference. There is neither statutory nor jurisprudential basis to assert Rep. as amended by Rep. Act No. without any qualification as to whether the property should be declared alienable at the beginning of. in our interpretation of Section 14(2). 1942. The following things are property of public dominion: . Then. as set forth in the Civil Code. There is no similar demand on our part in the case of Section 14(1). we are impelled to apply the civil law concept of prescription. It merely set forth a requisite thirty-year possession period immediately preceding the application for confirmation of title. Section 14(2) explicitly refers to the principles on prescription under existing laws.[38] similar to our earlier finding with respect to the present language of Section 48(b). At the same time. 1942 had mandated such a requirement. 420. Accordingly. Unlike Section 14(1). and continue as such. the thirty-year possession period as basis for original registration became Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. 1942 and how it did under the Civil Code. Act No. throughout the entire thirty- (30) years. with the repeal of Rep. Act No. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. Act No. Again. which entitled those who have acquired ownership over private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws to apply for original registration. which we quote in full: Art. did not refer to or call into application the Civil Code provisions on prescription. there is a material difference between how the thirty (30)-year rule operated under Rep. The critical qualification under Article 1113 of the Civil Code is thus: [p]roperty of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription.

are property of public dominion and thus insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. indeed. rivers. cannot be the object of prescription or. without being for public use. when no longer intended for public use or for public service. Without such . and others of similar character. without being for public use. and the same provision further provides that patrimonial property of the State may be acquired by prescription. Would such lands so declared alienable and disposable be converted. Article 1113 provides that all things within the commerce of man are susceptible to prescription. ports and bridges constructed by the State. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. whether declared alienable and disposable or not. Let us now explore the effects under the Civil Code of a declaration by the President or any duly authorized government officer of alienability and disposability of lands of the public domain. from property of the public dominion into patrimonial property? After all. by connotative definition. although already classified as alienable or disposable. All other property of the State. be subject of the commerce of man. there must be an express declaration by the State that the public dominion property is no longer intended for public service or the development of the national wealth or that the property has been converted into patrimonial. it remains property of the public dominion if when it is intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth. such as roads. which generally includes property belonging to the State. Article 420 (2) makes clear that those property which belong to the State. alienable and disposable lands may be the object of the commerce of man. is patrimonial property It is clear that property of public dominion. Article 422 of the Civil Code states that [p]roperty of public dominion. shall form part of the patrimonial property of the State. It is this provision that controls how public dominion property may be converted into patrimonial property susceptible to acquisition by prescription. After all. Art.[39] Lands of the public domain. banks. shores. under the Civil Code. (2) Those which belong to the State. Accordingly. Nonetheless. roadsteads. For as long as the property belongs to the State. (1) Those intended for public use. and are intended for some public service or for the development of the national wealth are public dominion property. which is not of the character stated in the preceding article. canals. 421. torrents.

remain as such and ought to be used only by the Government. including Fort Bonifacio and Villamor Air Base. Section 2 of the law authorizes the sale of certain military reservations and portions of military camps in Metro Manila. although declared alienable or disposable. The operation of the foregoing interpretation can be illustrated by an actual example. etc. in whole or in part. is more commonly known as the BCDA law. It is only when such alienable and disposable lands are expressly declared by the State to be no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth that the period of acquisitive prescription can begin to run.. Yet this interpretation is in accord with the Regalian doctrine and its concomitant assumption that all lands owned by the State. hold and/or administer them. entitled An Act Accelerating The Conversion Of Military Reservations Into Other Productive Uses. The remedy is to change the law. For purposes of effecting the sale of the military camps.[42] Accordingly. Congress can very well be entreated to amend Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree and pertinent provisions of the Civil Code to liberalize the requirements for judicial confirmation of imperfect or incomplete titles. The duty of the Court is to apply the Constitution and the laws in accordance with their language and intent. the law mandates the President to transfer such military lands to the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA)[40] which in turn is authorized to own. pursuant to Article 420(2). the property. Such declaration shall be in the form of a law duly enacted by Congress or a Presidential Proclamation in cases where the President is duly authorized by law. It is comprehensible with ease that this reading of Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree limits its scope and reach and thus affects the registrability even of lands already declared alienable and disposable to the detriment of the bona fide possessors or occupants claiming title to the lands. Recourse does not lie with this Court in the matter. remains property of the public dominion. Republic Act No. which is the province of the legislative branch. even if classified as alienable or disposable.express declaration. 7227.[41] The President is authorized to sell portions of the military camps. the BCDA law itself declares that the military lands subject thereof are alienable and disposable pursuant to the provisions of existing laws and regulations governing sales of government properties.[43] . and thus incapable of acquisition by prescription.

as the BCDA law itself expressly makes the reservation that these lands are to be sold in order to raise funds for the conversion of the former American bases at Clark and Subic. the lands remained property of the public dominion under Article 420(2). As the application for registration under Section 14(2) falls wholly within the framework of prescription under the Civil Code. said lands did not become patrimonial. Section 14(1) mandates registration on the basis of possession. However. Are we being inconsistent in applying divergent rules for Section 14(1) and Section 14(2)? There is no inconsistency. would the period of possession prior to the conversion of such public dominion into patrimonial be reckoned in counting the prescriptive period in favor of the possessors? We rule in the negative. Possession of public dominion property before it becomes patrimonial cannot be the object of prescription according to the Civil Code. .[44] Such purpose can be tied to either public service or the development of national wealth under Article 420(2). The limitation imposed by Article 1113 dissuades us from ruling that the period of possession before the public domain land becomes patrimonial may be counted for the purpose of completing the prescriptive period. there is no way that possession during the time that the land was still classified as public dominion property can be counted to meet the requisites of acquisitive prescription and justify registration. C. It is upon their sale as authorized under the BCDA law to a private person or entity that such lands become private property and cease to be property of the public dominion. at that time. From the moment the BCDA law was enacted the subject military lands have become alienable and disposable. Should public domain lands become patrimonial because they are declared as such in a duly enacted law or duly promulgated proclamation that they are no longer intended for public service or for the development of the national wealth. while Section 14(2) entitles registration on the basis of prescription. Thus. notwithstanding their status as alienable and disposable. Registration under Section 14(1) is extended under the aegis of the Property Registration Decree and the Public Land Act while registration under Section 14(2) is made available both by the Property Registration Decree and the Civil Code.

Act No. There are two modes of prescription through which immovables may be acquired under the Civil Code. 1472. while the period under the latter concerns a thirty-year period of extraordinary prescription. and the thirty-year period available through Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree in relation to Article 1137 of the Civil Code. while the registration under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree is founded on extraordinary prescription under the Civil Code. and that [p]roperty of the State or any of its subdivisions not patrimonial in character shall not be the object of prescription. under Article 1117. This is brought about by Article 1113. Notwithstanding the vaunted status of the Civil Code. Act No. which. neither superior nor inferior to other statutes such as the Property Registration Decree. requires possession in good faith and with just title. There is nothing in the Civil Code that bars a person from acquiring patrimonial property of the State through ordinary acquisitive . One of the keys to understanding the framework we set forth today is seeing how our land registration procedures correlate with our law on prescription. but no such intent exists with respect to Section 14(1). is completed through possession of ten (10) years. The first is ordinary acquisitive prescription. under Article 1134. Section 14(2) manifests a clear intent to interrelate the registration allowed under that provision with the Civil Code. The legislative branch is not bound to adhere to the framework set forth by the Civil Code when it enacts subsequent legislation. is one of the modes for acquiring ownership over property. which. and. The Civil Code makes it clear that patrimonial property of the State may be acquired by private persons through prescription. IV. 1472 is based on thirty years of possession alone without regard to the Civil Code.In the same manner. which states that [a]ll things which are within the commerce of man are susceptible to prescription. we can distinguish between the thirty-year period under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. as amended by Rep. The period under the former speaks of a thirty-year period of possession. Registration under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act as amended by Rep. under the Civil Code. It may be asked why the principles of prescription under the Civil Code should not apply as well to Section 14(1). it ultimately is just one of numerous statutes.

exchange. succession. and (2) the person in possession for the periods prescribed under the Civil Code acquires ownership of the property by operation of the Civil Code.[45] provisions that more or less speak for themselves. It is evident that once the possessor automatically becomes the owner of the converted patrimonial property. there is just title for the purposes of prescription when the adverse claimant came into possession of the property through one of the modes recognized by law for the acquisition of ownership or other real rights. This vice or defect is the one cured by prescription. whether by sale. succession or any other mode of the acquisition of ownership or other real rights. the period of prescription begins to run in favor of the possessor. as well as Article 1127 of the Civil Code. But after the property has been become patrimonial. Earlier. whether under ordinary prescription or extraordinary prescription. as the owner and grantor. two legal events ensue: (1) the patrimonial property is ipso jure converted into private land. nor is there any apparent reason to impose such a rule.[46] The OSG submits that the requirement of just title necessarily precludes the applicability of ordinary acquisitive prescription to patrimonial property. The major premise for the argument is that the State.[47] It is evident that the OSG erred when it assumed that the grantor referred to in Article 1129 is the State. It should be remembered that registration of property is not a mode of acquisition of ownership. Tolentino explains: Just title is an act which has for its purpose the transmission of ownership. Dr. Under Article 1129. exchange. The ascertainment of good faith involves the application of Articles 526. donation. The grantor is the one from whom the person invoking ordinary acquisitive prescription derived the title. we made it clear that. could not transmit ownership to the possessor before the completion of the required period of possession. the ideal next step is the registration of the property under the Torrens system. and 528.prescription. but merely a mode of confirmation of ownership. and which would have actually transferred ownership if the grantor had been the owner.[48] . the period of possession preceding the classification of public dominion lands as patrimonial cannot be counted for the purpose of computing prescription. donation. Once the requisite period has been completed. but the grantor was not the owner or could not transmit any right. At the same time. the concept of just title requires some clarification. and dacion in payment. Examples: sale with delivery. 527. there are indispensable requisitesgood faith and just title. On the other hand.

such lands based on the length and quality of their possession. the gap was lamentable. establishes ownership over the patrimonial property of persons who have completed the prescriptive periods ordained therein.[50] Still. though it arguably did not preclude such registration. and registrable title to. under a bona fide claim of acquisition of ownership. that is. continuous. The Land Registration Act[49] was noticeably silent on the requisites for alienable public lands acquired through ordinary prescription under the Civil Code. the possessor is entitled to secure judicial confirmation of his title thereto as soon as it is declared alienable and disposable. subject to the timeframe imposed by Section 47 of the Public Land Act. it is apparent that the registration system then did not fully accommodate the acquisition of ownership of patrimonial property under the Civil Code. by itself. Looking back at the registration regime prior to the adoption of the Property Registration Decree in 1977. Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act recognizes and confirms that those who by themselves or through their predecessors in interest have been in open. or since 12 June 1945 following P. No. We synthesize the doctrines laid down in this case. with Section 14(2) thereof expressly authorizing original registration in favor of persons who have acquired ownership over private lands by prescription under the provisions of existing laws. The gap was finally closed with the adoption of the Property Registration Decree in 1977.D. as follows: (1) In connection with Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. exclusive. and notorious possession and occupation of alienable and disposable lands of the public domain. since June 12. 1945 have acquired ownership of. considering that the Civil Code. What the system accommodated was the confirmation of imperfect title brought about by the completion of a period of possession ordained under the Public Land Act (either 30 years following Rep. Act No.[51] . (a) Since Section 48(b) merely requires possession since 12 June 1945 and does not require that the lands should have been alienable and disposable during the entire period of possession. the Civil Code as of now. V. 1073). 1942.

(b) The right to register granted under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act is further confirmed by Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. in good faith and with just title. B. Under extraordinary acquisitive prescription. And only when the property has become patrimonial can the prescriptive period for the acquisition of property of the public dominion begin to run. a person acquires ownership of a patrimonial property through possession for at least ten (10) years. regardless of good faith or just title. It is clear that the evidence of petitioners is insufficient to establish that Malabanan has acquired ownership over the subject property under Section 48(b) of the Public Land Act. under Article 422 of the Civil Code. (a) Patrimonial property is private property of the government. We now apply the above-stated doctrines to the case at bar. public domain lands become only patrimonial property not only with a declaration that these are alienable or disposable. consider that under the Civil Code. There is no substantive evidence to establish that Malabanan or petitioners as his predecessors-in-interest have been in possession of the property since 12 June 1945 or . prescription is recognized as a mode of acquiring ownership of patrimonial property. one ordinary and other extraordinary. The person acquires ownership of patrimonial property by prescription under the Civil Code is entitled to secure registration thereof under Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. However. Under ordinary acquisitive prescription. There must also be an express government manifestation that the property is already patrimonial or no longer retained for public service or the development of national wealth. a persons uninterrupted adverse possession of patrimonial property for at least thirty (30) years. (b) There are two kinds of prescription by which patrimonial property may be acquired. (2) In complying with Section 14(2) of the Property Registration Decree. ripens into ownership.

Alternative means of acquisition of these public domain lands. discomfiture over the implications of todays ruling cannot be discounted. A final word. For. While the subject property was declared as alienable or disposable in 1982. The law so far has been unable to bridge that gap. The Court is comfortable with the correctness of the legal doctrines established in this decision. and the Court would be abdicating its social responsibility to the Filipino people if we simply levied the law without comment. VI. if not the most attractive means to regularize the informal settlement of . they cannot avail themselves of registration under Section 14(1) of the Property Registration Decree. Thus. such as through homestead or free patent. whether declared alienable or not. The social implications cannot be dismissed lightly. and is common among the so-called Third World countries. is a phenomenon tied to long-standing habit and cultural acquiescence. according to their own evidencethe Tax Declarations they presented in particularis to the year 1948. Neither can petitioners properly invoke Section 14(2) as basis for registration. every untitled property that is occupied in the country will be affected by this ruling. there is no competent evidence that is no longer intended for public use service or for the development of the national evidence. The informal settlement of public lands. have proven unattractive due to limitations imposed on the grantee in the encumbrance or alienation of said properties. it is insusceptible to acquisition by prescription. The earliest that petitioners can date back their possession. conformably with Article 422 of the Civil Code. The classification of the subject property as alienable and disposable land of the public domain does not change its status as property of the public dominion under Article 420(2) of the Civil Code. This paradigm powerfully evokes the disconnect between a legal system and the reality on the ground. Nonetheless.earlier.[52] Judicial confirmation of imperfect title has emerged as the most viable. Thus.

alienable or disposable lands of the public domain, yet even that system, as revealed in
this decision, has considerable limits.

There are millions upon millions of Filipinos who have individually or exclusively held
residential lands on which they have lived and raised their families. Many more have tilled
and made productive idle lands of the State with their hands. They have been regarded
for generation by their families and their communities as common law owners. There is
much to be said about the virtues of according them legitimate states. Yet such virtues
are not for the Court to translate into positive law, as the law itself considered such lands
as property of the public dominion. It could only be up to Congress to set forth a new
phase of land reform to sensibly regularize and formalize the settlement of such lands
which in legal theory are lands of the public domain before the problem becomes
insoluble. This could be accomplished, to cite two examples, by liberalizing the standards
for judicial confirmation of imperfect title, or amending the Civil Code itself to ease the
requisites for the conversion of public dominion property into patrimonial.

Ones sense of security over land rights infuses into every aspect of well-being not
only of that individual, but also to the persons family. Once that sense of security is
deprived, life and livelihood are put on stasis. It is for the political branches to bring
welcome closure to the long pestering problem.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 23
February 2007 and Resolution dated 2 October 2007are AFFIRMED. No pronouncement
as to costs.

SO ORDERED.

THIRD DIVISION

EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE, G.R. No. 161793
Petitioner,
Present:

- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
ROWENA ONG GUTIERREZ CHICO-NAZARIO,
YU-TE, NACHURA, and
Respondent, PERALTA, JJ.

REPUBLIC OF Promulgated:
THE PHILIPPINES,
Oppositor. February 13, 2009

x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Far from novel is the issue involved in this petition. Psychological incapacity, since its
incorporation in our laws, has become a clichd subject of discussion in our
jurisprudence. The Court treats this case, however, with much ado, it having realized that
current jurisprudential doctrine has unnecessarily imposed a perspective by which
psychological incapacity should be viewed, totally inconsistent with the way the concept
was formulatedfree in form and devoid of any definition.

For the resolution of the Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court assailing the August 5, 2003 Decision[1]of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
CA-G.R. CV No. 71867. The petition further assails the January 19, 2004
Resolution[2] denying the motion for the reconsideration of the challenged decision.

The relevant facts and proceedings follow.

Petitioner Edward Kenneth Ngo Te first got a glimpse of respondent Rowena Ong
Gutierrez Yu-Te in a gathering organized by the Filipino-Chinese association in their
college. Edward was then initially attracted to Rowenas close friend; but, as the latter
already had a boyfriend, the young man decided to court Rowena. That was in January
1996, when petitioner was a sophomore student and respondent, a freshman.[3]

Sharing similar angst towards their families, the two understood one another and
developed a certain degree of closeness towards each other. In March 1996, or around three
months after their first meeting, Rowena asked Edward that they elope. At first, he refused,
bickering that he was young and jobless. Her persistence, however, made him relent. Thus,

they left Manila and sailed to Cebu that month; he, providing their travel money and she,
purchasing the boat ticket.[4]

However, Edwards P80,000.00 lasted for only a month. Their pension house
accommodation and daily sustenance fast depleted it. And they could not find a job. In
April 1996, they decided to go back to Manila. Rowena proceeded to her uncles house and
Edward to his parents home. As his family was abroad, and Rowena kept on telephoning
him, threatening him that she would commit suicide, Edward agreed to stay with Rowena
at her uncles place.[5]

On April 23, 1996, Rowenas uncle brought the two to a court to get married. He was
then 25 years old, and she, 20.[6] The two then continued to stay at her uncles place where
Edward was treated like a prisonerhe was not allowed to go out unaccompanied. Her uncle
also showed Edward his guns and warned the latter not to leave Rowena. [7] At one point,
Edward was able to call home and talk to his brother who suggested that they should stay
at their parents home and live with them. Edward relayed this to Rowena who, however,
suggested that he should get his inheritance so that they could live on their own. Edward
talked to his father about this, but the patriarch got mad, told Edward that he would be
disinherited, and insisted that Edward must go home.[8]

After a month, Edward escaped from the house of Rowenas uncle, and stayed with
his parents. His family then hid him from Rowena and her family whenever they
telephoned to ask for him.[9]

In June 1996, Edward was able to talk to Rowena. Unmoved by his persistence that
they should live with his parents, she said that it was better for them to live separate
lives. They then parted ways.[10]

After almost four years, or on January 18, 2000, Edward filed a petition before the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106, for the annulment of his marriage
to Rowena on the basis of the latters psychological incapacity. This was docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-00-39720.[11]

As Rowena did not file an answer, the trial court, on July 11, 2000, ordered the
Office of the City Prosecutor (OCP) of Quezon City to investigate whether there was
collusion between the parties.[12] In the meantime, on July 27, 2000, the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG) entered its appearance and deputized the OCP to appear on its
behalf and assist it in the scheduled hearings.[13]

On August 23, 2000, the OCP submitted an investigation report stating that it could
not determine if there was collusion between the parties; thus, it recommended trial on the
merits.[14]

The clinical psychologist who examined petitioner found both parties
psychologically incapacitated, and made the following findings and conclusions:

In the last week of March 1996. He generally considers himself to be quiet and simple. Both his parents are also in the business world by whom he [considers] as generous. respondent had insisted to petitioner that they should elope and live together. as well as being quiet and loner. respondent called petitioner by phone and said she wanted to talk to him.BACKGROUND DATA & BRIEF MARITAL HISTORY: EDWARD KENNETH NGO TE is a [29-year-old] Filipino male adult born and baptized Born Again Christian at Manila. respondents uncle brought the parties to . Petitioner responded immediately and when he arrived at their house. And because of job incompetence.] respondent brought the idea of marriage.] agreed to her to pacify her. After a few days of separation. Petitioner hesitated because he is not prepared as they are both young and inexperienced. He clearly remembers himself to be afraid of meeting people. respondent confronted petitioner as to why he appeared to be cold. but she insisted that they would somehow manage because petitioner is rich. This said virtues are said to be handed to each of the family member. he tried his luck in being a Sales Executive of Mansfield International Incorporated. 1996. respondent seriously brought the idea of eloping and she already bought tickets for the boat going to Cebu. hospitable. In January of 1996. Petitioner got scared so he went home again. respondent acted irrationally and even threatened to commit suicide.] out of frustration in life[. When the parties arrived at the house of petitioner. She is said to have not finish[ed] her collegiate degree and shared intimate sexual moments with her boyfriend prior to that with petitioner. Respondent is said to come from a fine family despite having a lazy father and a disobedient wife. He [is] said to isolate himself from his friends even during his childhood days as he only loves to read the Bible and hear its message. From that [time on]. but they were not able to locate her. And so on April 23. petitioner mentioned to respondent that he is having problems with his family. The parties tried to look for a job but could not find any so it was suggested by respondent that they should go back and seek help from petitioners parents. he did not stay long in the job until 1996. Quezon City. all of his whole family was all out of the country so respondent decided to go back to her home for the meantime while petitioner stayed behind at their home. His interest lie[s] on becoming a full servant of God by being a priest or a pastor. He presented himself at my office for a psychological evaluation in relation to his petition for Nullification of Marriage against the latter by the grounds of psychological incapacity. and patient. Petitioner[. He is married to and separated from ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE. Tuazon Street. After a month of dating.Petitioner reluctantly agreed to the idea and so they eloped to Cebu. Petitioner asked her how he would be able to make amends and at this point in time[. He is now residing at 181 P. respondent showed her kindness to petitioner and this became the foundation of their intimate relationship. Respondent would call by phone every now and then and became angry as petitioner does not know what to do. so petitioner was compelled to rent an apartment. Respondent surprisingly retorted that she also hates her family and that she actually wanted to get out of their lives.Respondent went to the extent of threatening to file a case against petitioner and scandalize his family in the newspaper. He finished two years in college at AMA Computer College last 1994 and is currently unemployed. The parties are supposed to stay at the house of a friend of respondent. Petitioner got himself three siblings who are now in business and one deceased sister. After 1994.

Respondent demanded these not knowing [that] the petitioner already settled his differences with his own family. Respondent decided that they should stay first at their house until after arrival of the parents of petitioner. Sometime in June of 1996. Respondent even threatened that if he should persist in going home. respondent refused to allow petitioner to go home. Petitioner[. Edward Kenneth Ngo Te. He was still in the state of finding his fate and fighting boredom. The said relationship between Edward and Rowena is said to be undoubtedly in the wreck and weakly-founded. while she was still egocentrically involved with herself. The break-up was caused by both parties[] unreadiness to commitment and their young age. respondent stopped tormenting petitioner and informed petitioner that they should live separate lives. TESTS ADMINISTERED: Revised Beta Examination Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test Draw A Person Test Rorschach Psychodiagnostic Test Sachs Sentence Completion Test MMPI TEST RESULTS & EVALUATION: Both petitioner and respondent are dubbed to be emotionally immature and recklessly impulsive upon swearing to their marital vows as each of them was motivated by different notions on marriage. the authorities should look for him at his parents[‫ ]ۥ‬and relatives[‫]ۥ‬ houses.] petitioner was referred for counseling.] is said to be still unsure and unready so as to commit himself to marriage.Petitioner. Respondent even made petitioner sign a declaration that if he should perish.] tried to contact respondent. they will commission their military friends to harm his family. petitioner decided to tell her to stop harassing the home of his parents.] and on that very same day[. Respondent refused the idea and claimed that she would only live with him if they will have a separate home of their own and be away from his parents. He told his parents about his predicament and they forgave him and supported him by giving him military escort. She also intimated to petitioner that he should already get his share of whatever he would inherit from his parents so they can start a new life. did not inform them that he signed a marriage contract with respondent. the petitioner in this case[.Valenzuela[. petitioner was able to escape and he went home. Petitioner was threatened in so many ways with her uncle showing to him many guns. he would not be able to support her.] after the counseling[. Petitioner offered her to live instead to[sic] the home of petitioners parents while they are still studying. But when the parents of petitioner arrived. When respondent refused to live with petitioner where he chose for them to stay. Petitioner actually never applied for any Marriage License.] petitioner was made to sign the Marriage Contract before the Judge. however. After knowing that petitioner does not have any money anymore. He told her already that he was disinherited and since he also does not have a job. When they knew about it[. He is still founded to be on the .

and relied only on the information provided by petitioner. It is apparent that she is suffering the grave. Further. He is seen too akin to this kind of lifestyle that he finds it boring and uninteresting to commit himself to a relationship especially to that of respondent. Marriage should not be taken out of intuition as it is profoundly a serious institution solemnized by religious and law. As he is more of the reserved and timid type of person. The clinical psychologist did not personally examine respondent. He is extremely introvert to the point of weakening their relationship by his weak behavioral disposition. search of what he wants in life. In the case presented by petitioner and respondent[. 2003 Decision [19] in CA- G. she used force and threats knowing that [her] husband is somehow weak-willed. Both parties display psychological incapacities that made marriage a big mistake for them to take. Court of Appeals and Molina[21] needed for the declaration of nullity of the marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code. the respondent.] (sic) it is evidently clear that both parties have impulsively taken marriage for granted as they are still unaware of their own selves. and incurable presence of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder that started since childhood and only manifested during marriage.[15] The trial court. reversed and set aside the trial courts ruling.[17] The Republic. as . is said to be of the aggressive-rebellious type of woman.] is extremely exploitative and aggressive so as to be unlawful. timely filed its notice of appeal. on the other hand[. ROWENA GUTIERREZ YU-TE. He is absconded as an introvert as he is not really sociable and displays a lack of interest in social interactions and mingling with other individuals. she gladly finds her way out of the relationship. In sum. In order to have her dreams realized. represented by the OSG. the psychological incapacity was not shown to be attended by gravity. in the assailed August 5. severe. She is seen to take move on marriage as she thought that her marriage with petitioner will bring her good fortune because he is part of a rich family. the appellate court. juridical antecedence and incurability. rendered its Decision[16] declaring the marriage of the parties null and void on the ground that both parties were psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. 71867. [22] The CA faulted the lower court for rendering the decision without the required certification of the OSG briefly stating therein the OSGs reasons for its agreement with or opposition to.R. CV No. on July 30. as he prefer to be religiously attached and spend a solemn time alone.[18] On review. She is seen to be somewhat exploitative in her [plight] for a life of wealth and glamour. Upon the realization that there is really no chance for wealth. 2001.[20] It ruled that petitioner failed to prove the psychological incapacity of respondent. one should really get to know himself and marry himself before submitting to marital vows. insincere and undoubtedly uncaring in her strides toward convenience. REMARKS: Before going to marriage. the evidence adduced fell short of the requirements stated in Republic v. as aggravated by her dangerously aggressive moves. She.

as a member of both the Family Law Revision Committee of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Civil Code Revision Commission of the UP Law Center. The letter dated April 15.[31] I. 1985 of then Judge Alicia V. the Court gave due course to the petition and required the parties to submit their respective memoranda. We begin by examining the provision. he avers that the OSG is bound by the actions of the OCP because the latter represented it during the trial. I wish to add some observations. Justice Flerida Ruth P. Article 36 was based on grounds available in the Canon Law. at the time of the celebration.[26] petitioner argues that the CA erred in substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court. Court of Appeals:[33] However. As borne out by the deliberations of the Civil Code Revision Committee that drafted the Family Code. was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage. shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. the petition. tracing its origin and charting the development of jurisprudence interpreting it. And the clinical psychologist did not personally examine the respondent. not only because of respondents psychological incapacity.[25] In his memorandum. Romero elucidated in her separate opinion in Santos v.[23] The CA later denied petitioners motion for reconsideration in the likewise assailed January 19.[28] that the annulment petition filed before the RTC contains no statement of the essential marital obligations that the parties failed to comply with. the OSG concludes that the requirements in Molina[29] were not satisfied. Thus. On June 15. Further. 2005. Sempio-Diy written in behalf of the Family Law .the case may be.[24] Dissatisfied. Petitioner also points out that there is no requirement for the psychologist to personally examine respondent. The root cause of the psychological incapacity was likewise not alleged in the petition. the marriage between the parties is null and void. based on Article 36 of the Family Code.[27] For its part.[30] The Court now resolves the singular issue of whether. and it had been furnished copies of all the pleadings. A marriage contracted by any party who. the OSG contends in its memorandum. The purported incapacity of both parties was not shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. the trial court orders and notices. Thus. 2004 Resolution. Article 36 of the Family Code[32] provides: Article 36. He posits that the RTC declared the marriage void. but rather due to both parties psychological incapacity. petitioner filed before this Court the instant petition for review on certiorari. neither was it medically or clinically identified.

however. Actually. Still later. thus. they agreed and formulated the definition of marriage as a special contract of permanent partnership between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. Justice J. to avoid the overlapping of provisions on void marriages as found in the present Civil Code and those proposed by Justice Reyes on judicial . the two Committees in their joint meetings did not pursue the idea of absolute divorce and.L. requested to again prepare a draft of provisions on such action for celebration of invalidity of marriage. and also realizing the strong opposition that any provision on absolute divorce would encounter from the Catholic Church and the Catholic sector of our citizenry to whom the great majority of our people belong. With the above definition. even the Civil Code Revision Committee took time to discuss the proposal of Justice Reyes on this matter. except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by law. and (b) whenever a married person would have obtained a decree of absolute divorce in another country. some members of the Committee were in favor of a no-fault divorce between the spouses after a number of years of separation. when the Civil Code Revision Committee and Family Law Committee started holding joint meetings on the preparation of the draft of the New Family Code. legal or de facto. such a proposal is one for absolute divorce but called by another name. the Family Law Committee had thought of including a chapter on absolute divorce in the draft of a new Family Code (Book I of the Civil Code) that it had been tasked by the IBP and the UP Law Center to prepare. Later. and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation. Reyes was then requested to prepare a proposal for an action for dissolution of marriage and the effects thereof based on two grounds: (a) five continuous years of separation between the spouses. inviolable. opted for an action for judicial declaration of invalidity of marriage based on grounds available in the Canon Law. In fact. It is an inviolable social institution whose nature. During its early meetings. consequences. instead. with or without a judicial decree of legal separation.B. It was thought that such an action would not only be an acceptable alternative to divorce but would also solve the nagging problem of church annulments of marriages on grounds not recognized by the civil law of the State. and considering the Christian traditional concept of marriage of the Filipino people as a permanent. Subsequently. Justice Reyes was. indissoluble social institution upon which the family and society are founded.and Civil Code Revision Committee to then Assemblywoman Mercedes Cojuangco-Teodoro traced the background of the inclusion of the present Article 36 in the Family Code.

The absolute nullity of a marriage may be invoked or pleaded only on the basis of a final judgment declaring the marriage void. The result was the inclusion of an additional kind of void marriage in the enumeration of void marriages in the present Civil Code. the Catholic Church has been declaring marriages null and void on the ground of lack of due discretion for causes that. Art. the foolish or ridiculous choice of a spouse by an otherwise perfectly normal person. as well as another meeting with Archbishop Oscar Cruz of the Archdiocese of Pampanga. thus rendering an absolute divorce law unnecessary. in other jurisdictions. the two Committees now working as a Joint Committee in the preparation of a New Family Code decided to consolidate the present provisions on void marriages with the proposals of Justice Reyes. 1986. declaration of invalidity of marriage on grounds similar to the Canon Law.[34] In her separate opinion in Molina. because of some personality disorder or disturbance. Bishop Cruz also informed the Committee that they have found out in tribunal work that a lot of machismo among husbands are manifestations of their sociopathic personality anomaly. would be clear grounds for divorce. The action or defense for the declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage shall not prescribe. 32. to wit: (7) those marriages contracted by any party who. the Joint Committee was informed that since Vatican II. 33. cannot support a family. was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations. like teen-age or premature marriages. constitutional indolence or laziness. like inflicting physical violence upon their wives. and psychosexual anomaly. marriage to a man who. without prejudice to the provision of Article 34. xxxxxxxxx It is believed that many hopelessly broken marriages in our country today may already be dissolved or annulled on the grounds proposed by the Joint Committee on declaration of nullity as well as annulment of marriages. drug dependence or addiction. at the time of the celebration. marriage to a woman who refuses to cohabit with her husband or who refuses to have children. the draft provision read: . as well as the following implementing provisions: Art.[35] she expounded: At the Committee meeting of July 26. In fact. during a conference with Father Gerald Healy of the Ateneo University. even if such lack or incapacity is made manifest after the celebration.

Barrera. even if such lack or incapacity becomes manifest after the celebration. Araceli T. Yet. Puno opined that sometimes a person may be psychologically impotent with one but not with another. Justice Ricardo C. but lack of appreciation of one's marital obligation. The twists and turns which the ensuing discussion took finally produced the following revised provision even before the session was over: (7) That contracted by any party who. the possibility that one may be cured after the psychological incapacity becomes manifest after the marriage was not ruled out by Justice Puno and Justice Alice Sempio-Diy. insanity of a lesser degree. considered the inclusion of the phrase and is incurable but Prof. 1984 session that this term is an invention of some churchmen who are moralists but not canonists. 36 is: Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. lack of one or more of the essential requisites of marriage as contract. He said that the Code of Canon Law would rather express it as psychological or mental incapacity to discharge . . As to the proposal of Justice Caguioa to use the term psychological or mental impotence. My own position as a member of the Committee then was that psychological incapacity is. the Committee classified the bases for determining void marriages. For clarity. Noticeably. Justice Caguioa suggested that the remedy was to allow the afflicted spouse to remarry. . the immediately preceding formulation above has dropped any reference to wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage and to mentally incapacitated. it is clear that it should be a ground for voidable marriage because there is the appearance of consent and it is capable of convalidation for the simple reason that there are lucid intervals and there are cases when the insanity is curable . . Bautista commented that this would give rise to the question of how they will determine curability and Justice Caguioa agreed that it would be more problematic. . viz. . at the time of the celebration. The Committee. . it refers to obligations attendant to marriage. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse. which is not the idea . . Esteban B. was psychologically incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations. Archbishop Oscar Cruz opined in the earlier February 9. There being a defect in consent. not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. through Prof.: 1. that is why it is considered a weak phrase. Psychological incapacity does not refer to mental faculties and has nothing to do with consent. One of the guidelines enumerated in the majority opinion for the interpretation and application of Art. even if such lack of incapacity is made manifest after the celebration. in a sense. at the time of the celebration. It was explained that these phrases refer to defects in the mental faculties vitiating consent. (7) Those marriages contracted by any party who. was wanting in the sufficient use of reason or judgment to understand the essential nature of marriage or was psychologically or mentally incapacitated to discharge the essential marital obligations.

Hence. at the time of the celebration.e. On the other hand. now open to fresh winds of change in keeping with the more permissive mores and practices of the time. because of causes of a psychological nature. however. that the following persons are incapable of contracting marriage: 3. It was precisely to provide a satisfactory solution to such anomalous situations that the Civil Law Revision Committee decided to engraft the Canon . The grounds for nullifying civil marriage. the drafters. it never really existed in the first place. (those) who. some persons contract new marriages or enter into live-in relationships. 3. The ground of psychological incapacity was subsumed under special cases and special situations. It bears stressing that unlike in Civil Law. some marriages are void from the beginning. Heedless of civil law sanctions. recognizes an intermediate state. for a valid sacramental marriage can never be dissolved. it actually declares the marriage null and void. 36 in the Family Code as finally enacted. reasons of public policy. such marriage which stands valid until annulled is capable of ratification or convalidation. the voidable or annullable marriages. When the Ecclesiastical Tribunal annuls a marriage. i. 36 of the Family Code: A marriage contracted by any party who. Canon 1095 which states. not being congruent with those laid down by Canon Law. Nowhere in the Civil Code provisions on Marriage is there a ground for avoiding or annulling marriages that even comes close to being psychological in nature. With the revision of Book I of the Civil Code. particularly the provisions on Marriage. the former being more strict. was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage. for reasons of public policy or lack of essential requisites. are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage provided the model for what is now Art. its special treatment in Art. Civil Law. took a leaf from the relatively liberal provisions of Canon Law.. a properly performed and consummated marriage between two living Roman Catholics can only be nullified by the formal annulment process which entails a full tribunal procedure with a Court selection and a formal hearing. Where consent is vitiated due to circumstances existing at the time of the marriage. inter alia. hence. shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization. Canon Law recognizes only two types of marriages with respect to their validity: valid and void. 2. special cases and special situations. Such so-called church annulments are not recognized by Civil Law as severing the marriage ties as to capacitate the parties to enter lawfully into another marriage. quite a number of married couples have found themselves in limbofreed from the marriage bonds in the eyes of the Catholic Church but yet unable to contract a valid civil marriage under state laws.

and Canon #1087 (the force and fear category) required that internal and external freedom be present in order for consent to be valid. while it did not provide directly for psychological incapacity. Diocesan Tribunals began to accept proof of serious psychological problems that manifested themselves shortly after the ceremony as proof of an inability to give valid consent at the time of the ceremony. This Old Code.[39] the phrase psychological incapacity is not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. A brief historical note on the Old Canon Law (1917).[36] Interestingly. in effect. The Committee desired that the courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis. The nature of this change was nothing short of revolutionary. Lack of due competence means that the person was incapable of carrying out the obligations of the promise he or she made during the wedding ceremony. consistent with that in Canon Law. as expressed by Article 68[40] of the Family Code. Favorable annulment decisions by the Roman Rota in the 1950s and 1960s involving sexual disorders such as homosexuality and nymphomania laid the foundation for a broader approach to the kind of proof necessary for psychological grounds for annulment.[38] Yet. respect and fidelity. Law concept of psychological incapacity into the Family Codeand classified the same as a ground for declaring marriages void ab initio or totally inexistent from the beginning. the way was paved for what came after 1970. include their mutual obligations to live together. as held in Santos. This line of interpretation produced two distinct but related grounds for annulment called lack of due discretion and lack of due competence. in fact.[37] The law is then so designed as to allow some resiliency in its application. observe love. and render help and support. the Committee did not give any examples of psychological incapacity for fear that by so doing. the union is invalid. and by decisions of church tribunals which.[41] This interpretation is. thus: . recognized the same indirectly from a combination of three old canons: Canon #1081 required persons to be capable according to law in order to give valid consent. guided by experience. may be given persuasive effect since the provision itself was taken from the Canon Law. The Rota had reasoned for the first time in several cases that the capacity to give valid consent at the time of marriage was probably not present in persons who had displayed such problems shortly after the marriage. therefore. It refers to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly noncognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which. Lack of due discretion means that the person did not have the ability to give valid consent at the time of the wedding and. the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines. Canon #1082 required that persons be at least not ignorant of the major elements required in marriage. The intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. although not binding on the civil courts. it might limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Once the Rota itself had demonstrated a cautious willingness to use this kind of hindsight.

satyriasis] or to the nature of the activity itself [sadism. it is altogether possible that the higher faculties remain intact such that a person so afflicted continues to have an adequate understanding of what marriage is and of the gravity of its responsibilities.1. explains the difference by an ordinary.5. the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage.1095. The question though is whether such a person can assume those responsibilities which he cannot fulfill. The contract is invalid because it lacks its formal object. The problem as treated can be summarized.3 deals with the object of the consent/contract which does not exist. and on the assumption that they are capable according to positive law to enter such contract. or are there sexual anomalies that are purely so that is to say. rather than the incapacity to posit consent itself. homosexuality]. namely between the grave lack of discretionary judgment and the incapacity to assume the essential obligation. In this latter hypothesis. Nymphomania is a sample which ecclesiastical jurisprudence has studied under this rubric. Mario Pompedda. thus: do sexual anomalies always and in every case imply a grave psychopathological condition which affects the higher faculties of intellect. if not actually confused. This is the hypothesis contemplated by the third paragraph of the canon. C. and they affect the sexual condition. and prior to the conclusion of the contract. there remains the object of the contract. if somewhat banal. The consent as a psychological act is both valid and sufficient. leaving intact the higher faculties however. they arise from certain physiological dysfunction of the hormonal system. and they both know well the object of their consent [the house and its particulars]. discernment. The initial steps taken by church courts were not too clear whether this incapacity is incapacity to posit consent or incapacity to posit the object of . but he is not capable of fulfilling the responsibilities he assumes as a result of the consent he elicits. and freedom. in this regard. a rotal judge.1095. is directed towards an object which is not available.3. so that these persons are still capable of free human acts. Since the address of Pius XII to the auditors of the Roman Rota in 1941 regarding psychic incapacity with respect to marriage arising from pathological conditions. example. the house. The third paragraph does not deal with the psychological process of giving consent because it has been established a priori that both have such a capacity to give consent. The Meaning of Incapacity to Assume. However. Jose wishes to sell a house to Carmela. either with respect to its frequency [nymphomania. the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage issues from the incapacity to posit the object of consent. he can choose marriage freely. The person may be capable of positing a free act of consent. The evidence from the empirical sciences is abundant that there are certain anomalies of a sexual nature which may impel a person towards sexual activities which are not normal. viz. The psychological act. The house is located in a different locality.3. although he may be able to understand them. Urbano Navarrete summarizes this distinction: the third paragraph deals not with the positing of consent but with positing the object of consent. these anomalies notwithstanding. there has been an increasing trend to understand as ground of nullity different from others. In fact. masochism. Rather. however. Ecclesiastical jurisprudence has been hesitant. especially the incapacity which arises from sexual anomalies. the house was gutted down by fire unbeknown to both of them. A sharp conceptual distinction must be made between the second and third paragraphs of C.

3. A case c. It would seem more correct to say that the consent may indeed be free. for example. nor in the weighing and evaluating of those same obligations. his consent would be juridically ineffective for this one reason that he cannot posit the object of consent. at the moment of consent. another rotal judge. or similar expressions to express a specific incapacity rooted in some anomalies and disorders in the personality. although she may have no difficulty in understanding what the obligations of marriage are. It is qualified as moral or psychic. as a matter of fact. but is juridically ineffective because the party is consenting to an object that he cannot deliver. experience difficulty in another sphere: delivering the object of the consent. Pinna. The house he is selling was gutted down by fire. is under the influence of this irresistible compulsion. on the other. proposing as he did a clear conceptual distinction between the inability to give consent on the one hand. arrives at the conclusion that the intellect. such persons.2. to think that there are certain cases in which one who is sexually hyperaesthetic can understand perfectly and evaluate quite maturely what marriage is and what it implies.3.3. and they are usually able to evaluate its implications. According to him.5. lacks the necessary freedom. Incapacity as an Autonomous Ground. What it affects is the object of consent: the delivering of the goods. obviously to distinguish it . The decision concludes that a person in such a condition is incapable of assuming the conjugal obligation of fidelity.5. the formal object of consent) can coexist in the same person with the ability to make a free decision. But this is precisely the question: is it. under such an irresistible impulse. it was not unusual to refer to this ground as moral impotence or psychic impotence. Anne. and a mature evaluation and weighing of things.3 Incapacity as Incapacity to Posit the Object of Consent. such as this irresistible impulse. The decision coram Sabattani concerning a nymphomaniac affirmed that such a spouse can have difficulty not only with regard to the moment of consent but also. is prevented from properly deliberating and its judgment lacks freedom.consent. Prior to the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law in 1983. These anomalies leave intact the faculties of the will and the intellect. This line of reasoning supposes that the intellect. and especially. It would be incontrovertible that a decision made under duress. and certainly more reasonable. true that the intellect is always and continuously under such an irresistible compulsion? It would seem entirely possible. They would have no difficulty with positing a free and intelligent consent. 3. However. the exclusive jus in corpus to be exercised in a normal way and with usually regularity. made as it was under these circumstances. would not be a free act. an intelligent judgment. capable as they are of eliciting an intelligent and free consent. Sabattani seems to have seen his way more clearly through this tangled mess. with regard to the matrimonium in facto esse. supra. It is his opinion that nymphomaniacs usually understand the meaning of marriage. From the selected rotal jurisprudence cited. such an affliction usually leaves the process of knowing and understanding and evaluating intact. had likewise treated the difference between the act of consenting and the act of positing the object of consent from the point of view of a person afflicted with nymphomania. and the inability to fulfill the object of consent. it is possible to see a certain progress towards a consensus doctrine that the incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage (that is to say. with the inevitable conclusion that such a decision.

1084. A lack of empathy (inability to recognize and experience how others feel) is common. a narcissistic personality] that he does not even know how to begin a union with the other. There is incapacity when either or both of the contractants are not capable of initiating or maintaining this consortium. Likewise common is interpersonal exploitativeness. which goes to the very substance of matrimony. the anomalies render the subject incapable of binding himself in a valid matrimonial pact.3. Such would be the case of a person who may be quite capable of procuring the economic good and the financial security of the other. he was not capable of assuming them because of his constitutional immorality. Another incapacity could arise when a spouse is unable to concretize the good of himself or of the other party.. According to the principle affirmed by the long tradition of moral theology: nemo ad impossibile tenetur. Stankiewicz clarifies that the maturity and capacity of the person as regards the fulfillment of responsibilities is determined not only at the moment of decision but also and especially during the moment of execution of decision. precisely on the basis of his irresponsibility as regards money and his apathy as regards the rights of others that he had violated. not of the bonum partium. A second incapacity could be due to the fact that the spouses are incapable of beginning or maintaining a heterosexual consortium. And when this is applied to constitution of the marital consent. one is not looking at matrimonium in fieri. A sense of entitlement. These are general strokes and this is not the place for detained and individual description. it means that the actual fulfillment of the essential obligations of marriage is a pertinent consideration that must be factored into the question of whether a person was in a position to assume the obligations of marriage in the first place. In [the] decision of 19 Dec. is usually present. unreasonable expectation. This and their .One immediately thinks of those cases where one of the parties is so self-centered [e. A rotal decision c. Interpersonal relationships are invariably disturbed in the presence of this personality disorder. but of the bonum conjugum. xxxx 3. the essential obligations of marriage.5 Indications of Incapacity. but also and especially at matrimonium in facto esse. 1985. especially favorable treatment. One of them is the right to the communio vitae. on the level of the intellect.g. Nonetheless. He concluded that while the respondent may have understood. in which others are taken advantage of in order to achieve ones ends. When one speaks of the inability of the party to assume and fulfill the obligations. Stankiewicz collocated the incapacity of the respondent to assume the essential obligations of marriage in the psychic constitution of the person. let alone how to maintain and sustain such a relationship. to the extent that the anomaly renders that person incapable of fulfilling the essential obligations.from the impotence that constitutes the impediment dealt with by C.5. Pinto resolved a petition where the concrete circumstances of the case concerns a person diagnosed to be suffering from serious sociopathy. but not capable of realizing the bonum conjugale of the other. A spouse who is capable only of realizing or contributing to the good of the other party qua persona rather than qua conjunx would be deemed incapable of contracting marriage. Authors have made listings of obligations considered as essential matrimonial obligations. The canon speaks.

A person is judged incapable in this juridical sense only to the extent that he is found to have something rooted in his psychic constitution which impedes the assumption of these obligations. which do not have to be necessarily incurable. or because of the inability to fulfill its obligations.1095 [incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage] certainly seems to be the more adequate juridical structure to account for the complex phenomenon that homosexuality is. Until 1967. Parisella was able to consider. There are some cases in which interpersonal relationship is impossible.3. and antisocial traits. In other words. the homosexual person is unable to assume the responsibilities of marriage because he is unable to fulfill this object of the matrimonial contract. narcissism.[44] . it was not very clear under what rubric homosexuality was understood to be invalidating of marriage that is to say.3. The difference being that there seems to be some freedom.Pompedda proffers the opinion that the clause is a reference to the personality of the contractant. In this same rotal decision. however remote. such a person is usually capable of full sexual relations with the spouse. the object of matrimonial consent is understood to refer not only to the jus in corpus but also the consortium totius vitae. is homosexuality invalidating because of the inability to evaluate the responsibilities of marriage. however. in sustaining the lower courts judgment of annulment in Tuason v. the Court. or even all of these rights. and a person so afflicted does not necessarily suffer from a grave lack of due discretion because this sexual anomaly does not by itself affect the critical. It is only when there is something in the psyche or in the psychic constitution of the person which impedes his capacity that one can then affirm that the person is incapable according to the hypothesis contemplated by C. in the development of the habit. with charity. Rather. corresponding obligations are basically centered around the good of the spouses and of the children. The homosexual is not necessarily impotent because.6 Causes of Incapacity. A last point that needs to be addressed is the source of incapacity specified by the canon: causes of a psychological nature. that should determine whether a party to a marriage is psychologically incapacitated. The third paragraph of C. Some characteristic features of inability for interpersonal relationships in marriage include affective immaturity. Court of Appeals. may give rise to the incapacity to assume any.Progressively. there must be a reference to the psychic part of the person.5. homosexuality as an autonomous ground of nullity. 3. Neither is it a mental infirmity. It would seem then that the law insists that the source of the incapacity must be one which is not the fruit of some degree of freedom. on a case-to-case basis. except in very few exceptional cases. This is to say that a person so afflicted is said to be unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage. and intellectual faculties. not so much in the defect of consent. A bad habit deeply engrained in ones consciousness would not seem to qualify to be a source of this invalidating incapacity. volitive. Serious psychic anomalies. Marriage and Homosexuality.[42] Conscious of the laws intention that it is the courts. In other words.1095. as in the defect of the object of consent. rotal jurisprudence began to understand it as incapacity to assume the obligations of marriage so that by 1978.[43] ruled that the findings of the trial court are final and binding on the appellate courts. or several. the invalidity lies. while one accepts as given ones psychic constitution.

Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. she thereby presented evidence in the form of testimony. Again. the following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. aware of parallel decisions of Catholic marriage tribunals. 36 of the Family Code are hereby handed down for the guidance of the bench and the bar: (1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. in Tsoi v. 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. (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) medically or clinically identified. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychologicalnot physical. been rendered ineffectual by the imposition of a set of strict standards in Molina. thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. the Court. recognizing it as the foundation of the nation.[45] explained that when private respondent testified under oath before the lower court and was cross-examined by the adverse party. or prior thereto. The evidence must convince the court that the parties. although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. Both the family and marriage are to be protected by the state. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. (b) alleged in the complaint. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable. inviolability and solidarity. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. or knowing them. had.[46] thus: From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations. The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage and the family and emphasizes their permanence. our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family. The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time. the Court. (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. could not have given valid assumption thereof. nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. or one of them. as so intended by its framers. Importantly. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their I do's. somehow. 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. Thus. upholding the trial courts findings and declaring that its decision was not a judgment on the pleadings. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only . but the illness itself must have attached at such moment. Court of Appeals. was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming. (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. The resiliency with which the concept should be applied and the case-to-case basis by which the provision should be interpreted.

not a refusal. This is one instance where. the State and the Churchwhile remaining independent. contemporaneous religious interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. which will be quoted in the decision. 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. Furthermore. The Solicitor General. shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen . mild characterological peculiarities. along with the prosecuting attorney. Thus. such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations. (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. occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. great persuasive weight should be given to decisions of such appellate tribunal. proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of Canon Law. 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children. separate and apart from each othershall walk together in synodal cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing marriage and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.in regard to the other spouse. much less ill will. briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition. in view of the evident source and purpose of the Family Code provision. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification. (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. while not controlling or decisive. there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person. not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition. Here. should be given great respect by our courts. Ideally subject to our law on evidencewhat is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed civilly void. Hence. which became effective in 1983 and which provides: The following are incapable of contracting marriage: Those who are unable to assume the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of psychological nature. it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization. bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage. (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability. neglect or difficulty. mood changes. (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our people. In other words. not necessarily to those not related to marriage. as the case may be. a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but may not be psychologically capacitated to procreate. to the petition.

through the public prosecutor. without too much regard for the laws clear intention that each case is to be treated differently. narcissists and the like. as the one in Molina. Understandably. Ironically. the Court is not demolishing the foundation of families. Padilla even emphasized that each case must be judged. consume little by little the very foundation of their families. as courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis. guided by experience. among which is the intervention by the State. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. predelictions or generalizations. however. child abuse. In dissolving marital bonds on account of either partys psychological incapacity. our basic social institutions. the Roman Rota has annulled marriages on account of the personality disorders of the said individuals. forcing all sizes to fit into and be bound by it. (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. has taken its toll on people who have to live with deviant behavior. as aforesaid. in resolving subsequent cases.[51] The Court need not worry about the possible abuse of the remedy provided by Article 36. and was sensitive to the OSGs exaggeration of Article 36 as the most liberal divorce procedure in the world. Wittingly or unwittingly. schizophrenics. Molina has become a strait-jacket. like termites. the Court. In the field of psychological incapacity as a ground for annulment of marriage.[52] The Court should rather be alarmed by the rising number of cases involving marital abuse.[47] Noteworthy is that in Molina. Panganiban. the Court was then alarmed by the deluge of petitions for the dissolution of marital bonds. to guard against collusion between the parties and/or fabrication of evidence. as much as possible. but according to its own facts. while the majority of the Courts membership concurred in the ponencia of then Associate Justice (laterChief Justice) Artemio V. because it refuses to allow a person afflicted with a psychological disorder.[50] The unintended consequences of Molina. however. has allowed diagnosed sociopaths. Then Justice Teodoro R. it may have been inappropriate for the Court to impose a rigid set of rules. Far from what was intended by the Court. the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines. avoid substituting its own judgment for that of the trial court. Justice Romerotook pains to compose their individual separate opinions. moral insanity and sociopathic personality anomaly.[48] Predictably.[49] the Court has applied the aforesaid standards. which. in conveniently applying Molina. it is trite to say that no case is on all fours with another case. three justices concurred in the result and another threeincluding. for there are ample safeguards against this contingency. and by decisions of church tribunals. . The trial judge must take pains in examining the factual milieu and the appellate court must. to continuously debase and pervert the sanctity of marriage. in resolving all cases of psychological incapacity. domestic violence and incestuous rape. but it is actually protecting the sanctity of marriage. not on the basis of a priori assumptions. nymphomaniacs. In hindsight.

At the risk of being redundant. the normal spouse would have become vigilant. Lest it be misunderstood. and respondents. the declaration of nullity under Article 36 will simply provide a decent burial to a stillborn marriage. the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines. Tinga in Antonio v. we are not suggesting the abandonment of Molina in this case. to repeat for emphasis.[53] Let it be noted that in Article 36. from remaining in that sacred bond. as aptly stated by Justice Dante O. courts. despite having the primary task and burden of decision-making.[56] By the very nature of Article 36. and never again marry a person with a personality disorder. eloped in March. guided by experience. not on the basis of a priori assumptions. We now examine the instant case. there is no marriage to speak of in the first place.[54] To indulge in imagery. as follows: Furthermore. as the same is void from the very beginning. The parties whirlwind relationship lasted more or less six (6) months.[57] Justice Romero explained this in Molina. The prospect of a possible remarriage by the freed spouses should not pose too much of a concern for the Court. First and foremost. On one hand. We simply declare that. and psychosexual anomaly are manifestations of a sociopathic personality anomaly. were presented to . And second. and equally significant. Data about the person's entire life. the professional opinion of a psychological expert became increasingly important in such cases.[55] there is need to emphasize other perspectives as well which should govern the disposition of petitions for declaration of nullity under Article 36. On the other hand. both before and after the ceremony. And. instead. a would-be spouse of the psychologically incapacitated runs the risk of the latters disorder recurring in their marriage. we reiterate once more the principle that each case must be judged. predilections or generalizations but according to its own facts. and parted ways in June. They met in January 1996. drug dependence or addiction. The psychologist who provided expert testimony found both parties psychologically incapacitated. because it is none of its business. courts should interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis. II. that of the narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder. It may be stressed that the infliction of physical violence. must not discount but. and by decisions of church tribunals. Petitioners behavioral pattern falls under the classification of dependent personality disorder. because the judicial declaration of psychological incapacity operates as a warning or a lesson learned. Reyes. constitutional indolence or laziness. exchanged marital vows in May.who cannot comply with or assume the essential marital obligations. must consider as decisive evidence the expert opinion on the psychological and mental temperaments of the parties.

according to Church decisions. Rotal decisions since 1973 have refined the meaning of psychological or psychic capacity for marriage as presupposing the development of an adult personality. (3) stability. There was now the expertise to provide the all-important connecting link between a marriage breakdown and premarital causes. During the 1970s. Fr. (4) emotional maturity. that the spouses must be other oriented since the obligations of marriage are rooted in a self-giving love. but is. in its totality the right to the community of the whole of life. The Church took pains to point out that its new openness in this area did not amount to the addition of new grounds for annulment. . These opinions were rarely challenged and tended to be accepted as decisive evidence of lack of valid consent. The marital capacity of one spouse is not considered in isolation but in reference to the fundamental relationship to the other spouse. i. The ability to both grasp and assume the real obligations of a mature.e. as meaning the capacity of the spouses to give themselves to each other and to accept the other as a distinct person. etc. The result of this was that it could no longer be assumed in annulment cases that a person who could intellectually understand the concept of marriage could necessarily give valid consent to marry. on the strength of this interpersonal relationship. the right to a developing lifelong relationship. Rotal decisions continued applying the concept of incipient psychological incapacity. but rather was an accommodation by the Church to the advances made in psychology during the past decades. in an article in Catholic Mind. .these experts and they were asked to give professional opinions about a party's mental capacity at the time of the wedding. not only to sexual anomalies but to all kinds of personality disorders that incapacitate a spouse or both spouses from assuming or carrying out the essential obligations of marriage. (5) financial responsibility. For marriage . (6) an ability to cope with the ordinary stresses and strains of marriage. lists six elements necessary to the mature marital relationship: The courts consider the following elements crucial to the marital commitment: (1) a permanent and faithful commitment to the marriage partner. the Church broadened its whole idea of marriage from that of a legal contract to that of a covenant. (2) openness to children and partner. Green. and that the spouses must have the capacity for interpersonal relationship because marriage is more than just a physical reality but involves a true intertwining of personalities.. lifelong commitment are now considered a necessary prerequisite to valid matrimonial consent. is not merely cohabitation or the right of the spouses to each other's body for heterosexual acts. Fr. A serious incapacity for interpersonal sharing and support is held to impair the relationship and consequently. The fulfillment of the obligations of marriage depends. Green goes on to speak about some of the psychological conditions that might lead to the failure of a marriage: . the ability to fulfill the essential marital obligations.

severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity. As new as the psychological grounds are. does not dispense with the parties prerogative to present their own expert witnesses. And as Marcos v. This will assist the courts. At stake is a type of constitutional impairment precluding conjugal communion even with the best intentions of the parties. there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated be personally examined by a physician. to arrive at an intelligent and judicious determination of the case. Court of Appeals[59] emphasizes the importance of presenting expert testimony to establish the precise cause of a partys psychological incapacity. Marcos[60] asserts.[62] Parenthetically. however. Whereas originally the emphasis was on the parties' inability to exercise proper judgment at the time of the marriage (lack of due discretion). at this point. An advantage to using the ground of lack of due competence is that at the time the marriage was entered into civil divorce and breakup of the family almost always is proof of someone's failure to carry out marital responsibilities as promised at the time the marriage was entered into. The rule. experts are already detecting a shift in their use. but we mention nevertheless for emphasis. that the presentation of expert proof presupposes a thorough and in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert.[58] Hernandez v. xxxx The psychological grounds are the best approach for anyone who doubts whether he or she has a case for an annulment on any other terms. This is not to mention. Among the psychic factors possibly giving rise to his or her inability to fulfill marital obligations are the following: (1) antisocial personality with its fundamental lack of loyalty to persons or sense of moral values. recent cases seem to be concentratingon the parties' incapacity to assume or carry out their responsibilities and obligations as promised (lack of due competence). A situation that does not fit into any of the more traditional categories often fits very easily into the psychological category. if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. (2) hyperesthesia. the evidence must show a link. between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. where the individual has no real freedom of sexual choice. (3) the inadequate personality where personal responses consistently fall short of reasonable expectations. medical or the like. . finds it fitting to suggest the inclusion in the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. the Court. for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave. who are no experts in the field of psychology.[61] Verily.[63] an option for the trial judge to refer the case to a court-appointed psychologist/expert for an independent assessment and evaluation of the psychological state of the parties. and to show that it existed at the inception of the marriage.

Personality disorders are often recognizable by adolescence or earlier. Schizotypal personality has been associated with low platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity and impaired smooth pursuit eye movement. maladaptive and severe enough to cause the individual mental stress or anxieties or to interfere with interpersonal relationships and normal functioning. as well as difficulties in other areas of life and often a tendency to blame others for their problems. Thus. Characteristics of obsessionality. Causes of Personality Disorders Different mental health viewpoints propose a variety of causes of personality disorders. isolated or dependent. Some family. However..) are derived from his oral. We note that The Encyclopedia of Mental Health discusses personality disorders as follows A group of disorders involving behaviors or traits that are characteristic of a persons recent and long-term functioning. Genetic Factors Researchers have found that there may be a genetic factor involved in the etiology of antisocial and borderline personality disorders. reduced self-esteem and dissatisfaction with life. the psychological assessment. An individual may have more than one personality disorder at a time. Such traits can lead to interpersonal difficulties. researchers have found that low cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) negatively correlated with measures of aggression and a past history of suicide attempts. genetic factors. some disorders as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed. Such qualities may lead to trouble getting along with other people. adoption and twin studies suggest that schizotypal personality may be related to genetic factors. paranoid. anal and phallic character types. Some individuals with personality disorders are perceived by others as overdramatic. and narcissistic and antisocial personality disorder for respondent. . dependent personality disorder for petitioner. rigidity and emotional aloofness were thought to derive from fixation at the anal stage. Patterns of perceiving and thinking are not usually limited to isolated episodes but are deeply ingrained. obnoxious or even criminal. is the way in which the disorder leads to pervasive problems in social and occupational adjustment. there is less evidence of inheritance of other personality disorders. without an awareness of their behaviors. rev. Other individuals with personality disorders are not unpleasant or difficult to work with but tend to be lonely. Freudian Sigmund Freud believed that fixation at certain stages of development led to certain personality types. fixation at the phallic stage was thought to lead to shallowness and an inability to engage in intimate relationships. Neurobiologic Theories In individuals who have borderline personality. Demanding and dependent behavior (dependent and passive-aggressive) was thought to derive from fixation at the oral stage. continue through adulthood and become less obvious in middle or old age. neurobiologic theories and brain wave activity. The common factor among individuals who have personality disorders. produced the findings that both parties are afflicted with personality disordersto repeat. despite a variety of character traits. which we consider as adequate. Going back. in the case at bench. These include Freudian. inflexible. later researchers have found little evidence that early childhood events or fixation at certain stages of development lead to specific personality patterns.

have difficulty starting projects or doing things on their own. Individuals with diagnosable personality disorders usually have long-term concerns. Individuals who have these disorders often appear overly emotional. schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. tend to agree with people even when they believe they are wrong. that can be used for other specific personality disorders or for mixed conditions that do not qualify as any of the specific personality disorders. histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. Brain Wave Activity Abnormalities in electroencephalograph (EEG) have been reported in antisocial personality for many years. 1987). volunteer to do things that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people. At times they actually bring about dominance by others through a quest for overprotection. obsessive-compulsive and passive-aggressive personality disorders. personality disorder not otherwise specified. and thus therapy may be long-term. compared with 19 percent in a control group. dependent.[64] Dependent personality disorder is characterized in the following manner A personality disorder characterized by a pattern of dependent and submissive behavior.. may allow others to make most of their important decisions (such as where to live). personality disorders are categorized into three major clusters: Cluster A: Paranoid. A study of borderline patients reported that 38 percent had at least marginal EEG abnormalities.[65] and antisocial personality disorder described. erratic and dramatic. borderline. Types of Disorders According to the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed. rev. Individuals who have this disorder may be unable to make everyday decisions without advice or reassurance from others. The DSM-III-R also lists another category. slow wave is the most widely reported abnormality.. Cluster C: Avoidant. Cluster B: Antisocial. they fear criticism and are easily hurt by others comments. Such individuals usually lack self-esteem and frequently belittle their capabilities. as follows . feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone and are often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned. Individuals who have these disorders often appear to have odd or eccentric habits and traits. Individuals who have these disorders often appear anxious or fearful. or DSM-III-R. Dependent personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood.

for he is unable to make everyday decisions without advice from others. they also may befit some individuals who are prominent in business or politics whose habits of self- centeredness and disregard for the rights of others may be hidden prior to a public scandal. child or spouse abuse without remorse and a tendency to blame others. histrionic and narcissistic. disregard for the rights of others (either through exploitiveness or criminal behavior).[66] The seriousness of the diagnosis and the gravity of the disorders considered. who is afflicted with dependent personality disorder. Although on a different plane. has no cohesive self to speak of. tends to agree with people even when he believes they are wrong. has no sense of his identity as a person. quite commonly. the others being borderline. and has no goals and clear direction in life.[68] Moreover. We further consider that the trial court. volunteers to do things that are demeaning in order to get approval from other people. During the 19th century. the Court. Indeed. and her intolerance of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed by society. anti-social personality disorder is one of the four dramatic personality disorders. has difficulty doing things on his own. her abuse. she . lack of remorse for mistreatment of others and the need to control others. finds as decisive the psychological evaluation made by the expert witness. rules that the marriage of the parties is null and void on ground of both parties psychological incapacity. an inability to sustain a job over a period of years. respect and fidelity and rendering help and support. thus.. and. respondent is impulsive and domineering. frequent physical fights and. Although characteristics of this disorder describe criminals. Characteristics include a consistent pattern of behavior that is intolerant of the conventional behavioral limitations imposed by a society. allows others to make most of his important decisions (such as where to live). There is often a faade of charm and even sophistication that masks disregard. which had a first-hand view of the witnesses deportment. her tendency to blame others. guiltless behavior that was not accompanied by impairments in reasoning. He is insecure. observing love. the same may also be said of the respondent. This finding takes into account her disregard for the rights of others. mistreatment and control of others without remorse. 1987). petitioner. According to the classification system used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3d ed. Her being afflicted with antisocial personality disorder makes her unable to assume the essential marital obligations. in this case. weak and gullible. petitioner followed everything dictated to him by the persons around him. rev.[67] As clearly shown in this case. The term described immoral. as shown in this case. this type of personality disorder was referred to as moral insanity. feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone and is often preoccupied with fears of being abandoned. cannot assume the essential marital obligations of living together. arrived at the same conclusion.

and the Decision. 2004 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. severe and incurable psychological incapacity. The August 5. . premises considered. Both parties being afflicted with grave. REINSTATED. declared null and void. 1996 is thus. WHEREFORE. 2003 Decision and the January 19. 2001. SO ORDERED. the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. the precipitous marriage which they contracted on April 23.R. dated July 30. CV No. 71867 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.had no qualms in manipulating petitioner with her threats of blackmail and of committing suicide.

Tayag). respect and fidelity required of her under Article 68 of the Family Code. They started living together in 1984 until they decided to separate in 1994. and that respondent failed to observe mutual love. clearly made out a case of psychological incapacity against respondent. Petitioner. which was granted by the Superior Court of California on 25 May 2001. incurable. vs. in view of the foregoing. the allegations in the complaint. The trial court also ruled that respondent abandoned petitioner when she obtained a divorce abroad and married another man. substantiated in the witness stand. Tayag’s psychological report. DECISION CARPIO. and had abandoned her responsibility to the family. In 1996. Branch 254 (trial court) in Civil Case No. Extrajudicial service of summons was effected upon respondent who. respondent married a certain Manuel V. judgment is hereby rendered: . J. The Decision of the Trial Court The trial court ruled that based on the evidence presented. LP-01-0149. On 14 January 1998. Diño (respondent) were childhood friends and sweethearts. was already living in the United States of America. citing psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. Dr. petitioner and respondent decided to live together again.R. respondent did not file an answer to the petition within the reglementary period. the trial court granted the petition on the ground that respondent was psychologically incapacited to comply with the essential marital obligations at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Petitioner alleged that respondent failed in her marital obligation to give love and support to him. 178044 January 19. Petitioner further alleged that respondent was not faithful. petitioner filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage against respondent. choosing instead to go on shopping sprees and gallivanting with her friends that depleted the family assets. and would at times become violent and hurt him. CARIDAD L. petitioner was able to establish respondent’s psychological incapacity. a clinical psychologist. Nedy L. MA. they were married before Mayor Vergel Aguilar of Las Piñas City. Caridad L. On 30 May 2001. submitted a psychological report establishing that respondent was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder which was deeply ingrained in her system since her early formative years. The trial court ruled that even without Dr.: The Case Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 18 October 2006 Decision2 and the 12 March 2007 Order3 of the Regional Trial Court of Las Piñas City. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. In its 18 October 2006 Decision. Despite receipt of the summons. Respondent. The Antecedent Facts Alain M. DIÑO . Tayag found that respondent’s disorder was long-lasting and by nature. 2011 ALAIN M. the Office of the Las Piñas prosecutor found that there were no indicative facts of collusion between the parties and the case was set for trial on the merits. The trial court found that respondent committed acts which hurt and embarrassed petitioner and the rest of the family. No. On 30 April 2002. The dispositive portion of the trial court’s decision reads: WHEREFORE. Tayag (Dr. at the time of the filing of the petition. Dr. Petitioner also learned that on 5 October 2001. Diño (petitioner) and Ma. Alcantara. Petitioner later learned that respondent filed a petition for divorce/dissolution of her marriage with petitioner. DIÑO.

DIÑO and defendant MA. and all its effects under the law. and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall only be issued upon compliance with Article[s] 50 and 51 of the Family Code. Petitioner assails the ruling of the trial court ordering that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued after liquidation. for their information and guidance.5 Hence. regardless of its cause. Petitioner argues that Section 19(1) of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Null Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages6 (the Rule) does not apply to Article 147 of the Family Code. partition and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall be issued after liquidation. and 2) Dissolving the regime of absolute community of property. in view of the foregoing. live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. In its 12 March 2007 Order. CARIDAD L. 1.7 Article 147 of the Family Code applies to union of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage. and all its effects under the law. Dissolving the regime of absolute community of property. the Office of the Solicitor General. SO ORDERED. CARIDAD L.4 Petitioner filed a motion for partial reconsideration questioning the dissolution of the absolute community of property and the ruling that the decree of annulment shall only be issued upon compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code. and 2. DIÑO on January 14. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other. as NULL and VOID from the beginning. We agree with petitioner. for their information and guidance. as NULL and VOID from the beginning. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the parties. the property relations of the parties during the period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family Code. Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M.8 such as petitioner and respondent in the case before the Court. Article 147 of the Family Code provides: Article 147. but whose marriage is nonetheless void. partition. Branch 102. Quezon City that in a void marriage. partition. Office of the City Prosecutor. Las Piñas City and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Las Piñas City. DIÑO on January 14. and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. RTC. 1998. the petition before this Court. The Issue The sole issue in this case is whether the trial court erred when it ordered that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued after liquidation. Let copies of this Order be furnished the parties. the Office of the Solicitor General. The Court has ruled in Valdes v. The Ruling of this Court The petition has merit. their wages and salaries . 1998. DIÑO and defendant MA. judgment is hereby rendered: 1) Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M. the trial court partially granted the motion and modified its 18 October 2006 Decision as follows: WHEREFORE. the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Piñas City and the Local Civil Registrar of Las Piñas City.

The ruling has no basis because Section 19(1) of the Rule does not apply to cases governed under Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code. partition and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. For Article 147 of the Family Code to apply. or the trustee of their property. had already provided for such matters. each vacant share shall belong to the respective surviving descendants. computed as of the date of the final judgment of the trial court. unless such matters had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings. properties acquired while they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts. and 3. property or sound securities. and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes. The pertinent provisions of the Family Code cited in Section 19(1) of the Rule are: Article 50. the forfeiture shall take place upon termination of the cohabitation. unless the parties. The effects provided for in paragraphs (2). (3). work or industry. When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith. it shall declare therein that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation. In the absence of proof to the contrary. partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses. In all cases. 2. such share shall belong to the innocent party.10 The final judgment in such cases shall provide for the liquidation. the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is situated. Partition and Distribution of Properties.9 All these elements are present in this case and there is no question that Article 147 of the Family Code applies to the property relations between petitioner and respondent. may ask for the enforcement of the judgment. . The children of their guardian. The delivery of the presumptive legitimes herein prescribed shall in no way prejudice the ultimate successional rights of the children accruing upon the death of either or both of the parents. Section 19(1) of the Rule provides: Sec. by mutual agreement judicially approved. They live exclusively with each other as husband and wife. Their union is without the benefit of marriage.(1) If the court renders a decision granting the petition. but the value of the properties already received under the decree of annulment or absolute nullity shall be considered as advances on their legitime. . We agree with petitioner that the trial court erred in ordering that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall be issued only after liquidation. All creditors of the spouses as well as of the absolute community of the conjugal partnership shall be notified of the proceedings for liquidation. without the consent of the other. or their marriage is void. the following elements must be present: 1. and shall be owned by them in equal shares. 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. In the partition. (4) and (5) of Article 43 and in Article 44 shall also apply in proper cases to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45. The man and the woman must be capacitated to marry each other. Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and owned in common. the share of the party in bad faith in the co- ownership shall be forfeited in favor of their common children. until after the termination of their cohabitation.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. For purposes of this Article. shall be adjudicated in accordance with the provisions of Articles 102 and 129. Article 51. shall be delivered in cash. In case of default of or waiver by any or all of the common children or their descendants. In said partition. Decision. 19. the custody and support of the common children. the value of the presumptive legitimes of all common children. In the absence of descendants.

there is a need to liquidate. on the other hand.11 Article 45 of the Family Code. the Court ruled that the property relations of parties in a void marriage during the period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family Code. Article 40 of the Family Code contemplates a situation where a second or bigamous marriage was contracted. That is not the case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code because the marriage is governed by the ordinary rules on co-ownership. Thus.It is clear from Article 50 of the Family Code that Section 19(1) of the Rule applies only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45 of the Family Code. petitioner’s marriage to respondent was declared void under Article 3615 of the Family Code and not under Article 40 or 45. WHEREFORE. In Valdes. Under Article 40. the marriages are governed either by absolute community of property13 or conjugal partnership of gains14 unless the parties agree to a complete separation of property in a marriage settlement entered into before the marriage. meaning. Under Article 496 of the Civil Code. Since the property relations of the parties is governed by absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains. for said projected marriage to be free from legal infirmity. marriages which are valid until they are set aside by final judgment of a competent court in an action for annulment. SO ORDERED. In this case.16 The rules on co-ownership apply and the properties of the spouses should be liquidated in accordance with the Civil Code provisions on co-ownership. is a final judgment declaring a previous marriage void. the sole basis acceptable in law." It is not necessary to liquidate the properties of the spouses in the same proceeding for declaration of nullity of marriage. refers to voidable marriages. partition and distribute the properties before a decree of annulment could be issued. we AFFIRM the Decision of the trial court with the MODIFICATION that the decree of absolute nullity of the marriage shall be issued upon finality of the trial court’s decision without waiting for the liquidation. "[t]he absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of 1avvphil remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. Article 50 of the Family Code does not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under Article 36 of the Family Code. . partition.12 In both instances under Articles 40 and 45. In short. x x x. "[p]artition may be made by agreement between the parties or by judicial proceedings. which should be declared void without waiting for the liquidation of the properties of the parties. and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code." Thus we ruled: x x x where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage. what governs the liquidation of properties owned in common by petitioner and respondent are the rules on co-ownership.

No. LEONILA P. MERCEDITA P. DELOS SANTOS. on the other hand. J. Petitioners alleged that the properties were part of Placido and Dominga’s properties that were subject of an oral partition and subsequently adjudicated to Exequiel. T-183631(M) and T-149035(M) and reconvey the same to the enumerated plaintiffs. DE MATEO. Cancellation of TCT and Reconveyance.. CARMEN P. TCT No. In its Decision dated November 4. however. 1646-B. Petitioners. Exequiel. is also in the name of respondent but co- owned by Victoria Pantaleon. MENDOZA. T-124852(M) which belongs to Victorina Pantaleon. Branch 6. After Exequiel’s death. DELOS SANTOS-CABUHAT. DELOS SANTOS VDA. with an area of 880 sq m. Gregoria died intestate and without issue. Bulacan: (1) Lot 1681-B. however. JULIANA GUILALAS and ELVIRA MENDOZA. After Leonor’s death. on the other hand. REMEDIOS MONTILLA. 2. TERESITA P. DIONISIA. and . premised from the foregoing judgment is hereby rendered: 1. Apolonio and Valentin. Petitioners Juliana. DECISION REYES. According to respondent. ROSA BUENA VENTURA. JR. respondent. Elvira and Fortunato. FELY BAUTISTA. all surnamed MENDOZA. 1646-B.1 The Facts The properties subject in the instant case are three parcels of land located in Sta.667 sq m. Mercedes. denies any obligation to reserve the properties as these did not originate from petitioners’ familial line and were not originally owned by Placido and Dominga. DELOS SANTOS. In 1992. found merit in petitioners’ claim and granted their action for Recovery of Possession by Reserva Troncal.Respondents. with an area of 7. the properties were bought by Exequiel and Antonio from a certain Alfonso Ramos in 1931. 2013 MARIA MENDOZA.749 square meters. DELOS SANTOS VDA. DELOS SANTOS. ADORA CION. Ordering the Register of Deeds of Bulacan to cancel the titles in the name of Julia Policarpio. PERFECTO P.6 The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos.2 (2) Lot 1684. vs. Respondent. petitioners claim that the properties should have been reserved by respondent in their behalf and must now revert back to them. Marcela and Ricardo are the children of Antonio.4 Lot Nos. It appears. adjudicated unto herself all these properties as the sole surviving heir of Leonor and Gregoria.3 and (3) Lot No.R. that it was only Exequiel who was in possession of the properties. Deogracias. TCT No. and CECILIA M. DE JOSE. 176422 March 20. LYDIA P. 2002. DE HILARIO. Lot No. married to Leonor. the RTC disposed as follows: WHEREFORE.: Reserva troncal is a special rule designed primarily to assure the return of a reservable property to the third degree relatives belonging to the line from which the property originally came. applying Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal. ZENAIDA P. ELVIRA P. DELOS SANTOS. and avoid its being dissipated into and by the relatives of the inheriting ascendant. MARCELA. Bulacan. Gregoria. Petitioners are grandchildren of Placido Mendoza (Placido) and Dominga Mendoza (Dominga). Placido and Dominga had four children: Antonio. Mendoza except one-half of the property described in the old title. T-149033(M). substituted by her heirs. it passed on to his spouse Leonor and only daughter. Maria. 1681-B and 1684 are presently in the name of respondent Julia Delos Santos5(respondent). Ordering respondents (heirs of Julia Policarpio) to reconvey the three (3) parcels of land subject of this action in the name of the plaintiffs enumerated in the complaint including intervenor Maria Cecilia M. who bought one-half of the property from petitioner Maria Mendoza and her siblings. with an area of 5. DELOS SANTOS VDA. who is Leonor’s sister. Fely. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. They claimed that after Gregoria’s death. are Valentin’s children. Adoracion. Hence. her share went to Gregoria. Petitioners Maria. JULIA POLl CARPIO DELOS SANTOS. Dionisia. in her own capacity and as Attorney-in-fact of DEOGRACIAS.

also called the reservista. COMING AS THEY DO FROM THE FAMILY LINE OF THE PETITIONERS MENDOZAS. admitted exceptions to this rule.7 On appeal. They also claim the properties in representation of their own predecessors. THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITIONERS MENDOZAS DO NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES BY VIRTUE OF THE LAW ON RESERVA TRONCAL. 2007. one of which is when the CA’s findings are contrary to those of the trial court. petitioners argue that: A. THE HONORABLE [CA] GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE SUBJECT PROPERTIES ARE NOT RESERVABLE PROPERTIES. The ascendant who inherits from his descendant any property which the latter may have acquired by gratuitous title from another ascendant. Article 891 of the Civil Code on reserva troncal The principle of reserva troncal is provided in Article 891 of the Civil Code: Art. The third and last transmission is from the reservista to the reservees or reservatarios who must be relatives within the third degree from which the property came.15 The lineal character of the reservable property is reckoned . Bulacan.14 This being the case in the petition at hand. who were the brothers of Exequiel. or a brother or sister. whether the properties in dispute are reservable properties and two. the CA ruled that petitioners failed to establish that Placido and Dominga owned the properties in dispute. Antonio and Valentin. 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court. SO ORDERED. The dispositive portion of the CA Decision dated November 16. Malolos. Br. No pronouncement as to claims for attorney’s fees and damages and costs. 3. (Emphasis ours) There are three (3) lines of transmission in reserva troncal. contending that it is sufficient that the properties came from the paternal line of Gregoria for it to be subject to reserva troncal. The Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. from an ascendant/brother/sister to a descendant called the prepositus.12 Petitioners take exception to the ruling of the CA. There are. whether by inheritance or donation. 609-M-92 is hereby DISMISSED. 2006 provides: WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. the November 4. The second transmission is by operation of law from the prepositus to the other ascendant or reservor. the Court must now look into the differing findings and conclusion of the RTC and the CA on the two issues that arise – one. is obliged to reserve such property as he may have acquired by operation of law for the benefit of relatives who are within the third degree and belong to the line from which said property came. whether petitioners are entitled to a reservation of these properties. however. The general rule in this regard is that it should raise only questions of law.11 Now before the Court. B.13 Ruling of the Court This petition is one for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.10 The CA also ruled that even assuming that Placido and Dominga previously owned the properties. 891.8 Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but the CA denied the same per Resolution9 dated January 17. Costs against the Plaintiffs-Appellants. it still cannot be subject to reserva troncal as neither Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga nor did Gregoria predecease Exequiel. The first transmission is by gratuitous title. premises considered. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Third Judicial Region. 6. In dismissing the complaint. the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed and set aside the RTC decision and dismissed the complaint filed by petitioners.

Ascendants. What is pertinent is that Exequiel owned the properties and he is the ascendant from whom the properties in dispute originally came. is the descendant who received the properties from Exequiel by gratuitous title. The persons involved in reserva troncal are: (1) The ascendant or brother or sister from whom the property was received by the descendant by lucrative or gratuitous title. The fallacy in the CA’s resolution is that it proceeded from the erroneous premise that Placido is the ascendant contemplated in Article 891 of the Civil Code. . Gregoria (descendant/prepositus) acquired the properties as inheritance. and (4) The reservee (reservatario) who is within the third degree from the prepositus and who belongs to the (linea o tronco) from which the property came and for whom the property should be reserved by the reservor. however. she is Gregoria’s collateral relative.from the ascendant from whom the prepositus received the property by gratuitous title Based on the circumstances of the present case. From thence. determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. Article 891 simply requires that the property should have been acquired by the descendant or prepositus from an ascendant by gratuitous or lucrative title. on the other hand. rather. Article 891 on reserva troncal is not applicable. The law does not go farther than such ascendant/brother/sister in determining the lineal character of the property. A transmission is gratuitous or by gratuitous title when the recipient does not give anything in return. Julia. (3) The reservor (reservista). descendants and collateral relatives under Article 964 of the Civil Code Article 891 provides that the person obliged to reserve the property should be an ascendant (also known as the reservor/reservista) of the descendant/prepositus. (2) The descendant or prepositus (propositus) who received the property. Gregoria.17It was also immaterial for the CA to determine whether Exequiel predeceased Placido and Dominga or whether Gregoria predeceased Exequiel. or from whom Gregoria inherited the properties in dispute.18 At risk of being repetitious. Moreover.16 It should be pointed out that the ownership of the properties should be reckoned only from Exequiel’s as he is the ascendant from where the first transmission occurred. After his death. it sought to trace the origin of the subject properties back to Placido and Dominga. what was clearly established in this case is that the properties in dispute were owned by Exequiel (ascendant). the other ascendant who obtained the property from the prepositus by operation of law. is not Gregoria’s ascendant.

First. within the third degree. is that while it may appear that the properties are reservable in character. 1009. x x x Nevertheless there is right of representation on the part of reservatarios who are within the third degree mentioned by law. Gregoria’s descendants. called reservatario. since the law does not recognize them as such. her grandparents. being her first cousins. 964.22 the Court stated: Following the order prescribed by law in legitimate succession. if she had one. therefore. The latter shall succeed without distinction of lines or preference among them by reason of relationship by the whole blood. because petitioners are not Gregoria’s relatives within the third degree. would be her children. or a surviving spouse. petitioners cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios as they are not relatives within the third degree of Gregoria from whom the properties came. Exequiel and Leonor. A collateral line is that constituted by the series of degrees among persons who are not ascendants and descendants.20 They cannot even claim representation of their predecessors Antonio and Valentin as Article 891 grants a personal right of reservation only to the relatives up to the third degree from whom the reservable properties came. Should there be neither brothers nor sisters. that is.19 It is Gregoria in this case.Article 964 of the Civil Code provides for the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants. In the case of Julia’s collateral relationship with Gregoria. when there are relatives of the descendant within the third degree. ascent is made to the common ancestor and then descent to the relative from whom the computation is made. are her collateral relatives. If there are no descendants. Petitioners are Gregoria’s fourth degree relatives. Not being Gregoria’s ascendants. inasmuch as the right granted by the Civil Code in Article 811 now Article 891 is in the highest degree personal and for the exclusive benefit of the designated persons who are the relatives. and those who are not ascendants and descendants but come from a common ancestor. 1003. which provide: Art. the CA’s disposition that the complaint filed with the RTC should be dismissed. of the person from whom the reservable property came. her aunt (third line/degree). which may be either direct or collateral. illegitimate children. who have the right to represent their ascendants (fathers and mothers) who are the brothers/sisters of the prepositus and relatives within the third degree. Hence. (Emphasis and italics ours) Gregoria’s ascendants are her parents. A series of degrees forms a line. In determining the collateral line of relationship. x x x.23 (Emphasis and underscoring ours) The conclusion. and then descent to Julia. Thus. nor children of brothers or sisters. petitioners cannot benefit from reserva troncal. but who come from a common ancestor. the right of the nearest relative. On the other hand.21 In Florentino v. ascent is to be made from Gregoria to her mother Leonor (one line/degree). Julia is Gregoria’s collateral relative within the third degree and not her ascendant. relatives of the fourth and the succeeding degrees can never be considered as reservatarios. what should apply in the distribution of Gregoria’s estate are Articles 1003 and 1009 of the Civil Code. then to the common ancestor. ascendants. the other collateral relatives shall succeed to the estate. is not the other ascendant within the purview of Article 891 of the Civil Code and second. viz: Art. Florentino. Art. as in the case of nephews of the deceased person from whom the reservable property came. great-grandparents and so on. is correct. both petitioners and Julia. First cousins of the prepositus are fourth degree relatives and are not reservees or reservatarios. therefore. excludes that of the one more remote. Therefore. because Julia. . The person from whom the degree should be reckoned is the descendant/prepositus―the one at the end of the line from which the property came and upon whom the property last revolved by descent. If at all. grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The only recognized exemption is in the case of nephews and nieces of the prepositus. First cousins of the descendant/prepositus are fourth degree relatives and cannot be considered reservees/reservatarios Moreover. only on this point. who now holds the properties in dispute. The right of representation cannot be alleged when the one claiming same as a reservatario of the reservable property is not among the relatives within the third degree belong to the line from which such property came. A direct line is that 1âwphi1 constituted by the series of degrees among ascendants and descendants. Julia and Leonor’s parents (second line/degree). over the property which the reservista (person holding it subject to reservation) should return to him. the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles.

2006 and Resolution dated January 17. the foregoing discussion does not detract from the fact that petitioners are not entitled to a reservation of the properties in dispute. whether by the latter’s wish or by operation of law. Further. 609-M-92 are AFFIRMED. In upholding the right of petitioners over the properties. assuming for argument’s sake that reserva troncal is applicable. the reservista who inherits from a prepositus.24 In reserva troncal.27 that a reservatario becomes. by operation of law. the RTC ordered the reconveyance of the properties to petitioners and the transfer of the titles in their names. This Decision is without prejudice to any civil action that the heirs of Gregoria Mendoza may file for the settlement of her estate or for the determination of ownership of the properties in question. 2007 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. has the duty to reserve and to annotate the reservable character of the property on the title.25 The reservor has the legal title and dominion to the reservable property but subject to the resolutory condition that such title is extinguished if the reservor predeceased the reservee. as reservista. The reservor is a usufructuary of the reservable property. A reservista acquires ownership of the reservable property until the reservation takes place or is extinguished Before concluding. the Court takes note of a palpable error in the RTC’s disposition of the case.28 In any event. What the RTC should have done. CV No. the petition is DENIED. acquires the inheritance by virtue of a title perfectly transferring absolute ownership. which is best accomplished in an action filed specifically for that purpose. is have the reservable nature of the property registered on respondent’s titles.R. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED. All the attributes of ownership belong to him exclusively. The transferee’s rights are revoked upon the survival of the reservees at the time of the death of the reservor but become indefeasible when the reservees predecease the reservor.Nevertheless. The transferee gets the revocable and conditional ownership of the reservor. respondent. 77694 insofar as it dismissed the Third Amended Complaint in Civil Case No. The Decision dated November 16. any determination would necessarily entail reception of evidence on Gregoria’s entire estate and the heirs entitled thereto. . He may alienate it subject to the reservation. In fact. the Court is not in the proper position to determine the proper distribution of Gregoria’s estate at this point as the cause of action relied upon by petitioners in their complaint filed with the RTC is based solely on reserva troncal.26 (Citations omitted) It is when the reservation takes place or is extinguished. the owner of the reservable property.

: When God created man. 174689 October 22.. During trial. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely. 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery2 in Bangkok. Thailand. Jr. All of a sudden. petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. 2003. as witnesses. She pecked the reed once. No. On the scheduled initial hearing. 2007 ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO. Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino Dantes on April 4. From then on. (Genesis 5:1-2) Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and she heard voices coming from inside the bamboo. impleaded the civil registrar of Manila as respondent. petitioner testified for himself.R. epublic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. J. "anatomically male but feels. He also presented Dr.1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body. Out came two human beings. docketed as SP Case No. for three consecutive weeks. drugs and counseling with regard to a person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the result of a sex reassignment surgery? On November 26. Branch 8. who issued a medical certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz." An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People’s Journal Tonight. DECISION CORONA. No opposition to the petition was made." and his sex from "male" to "female. petitioner. "Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!. he consulted several doctors in the United States. then twice. The petition. hormone treatment and breast augmentation. Edel. 2002. jurisdictional requirements were established. (The Legend of Malakas and Maganda) When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular. He made him in the likeness of God. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. respondent. petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of Manila. 1962. thinks and acts as a female" and that he had always identified himself with girls since childhood. His name was registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth certificate). Jr. Richard P. He was thereafter examined by Dr. On June 4. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27. Reysio-Cruz. a plastic and reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines. Its relevant portions read: . and his American fiancé. He created them male and female." the voices said. the trial court rendered a decision4 in favor of petitioner. vs. one was a male and the other was a female. Amihan named the man "Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" (Beautiful). His sex was registered as "male." He further alleged that he is a male transsexual.3 Copies of the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the civil registrar of Manila. He underwent psychological examination. a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila. the bamboo cracked and slit open. that is. 02-105207. does the law recognize the changes made by a physician using scalpel.

Even the State. 02- 105207. The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the relief asked for.13 In this connection. Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA 9048. except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or . 2003. petitioner. thought and acted like a woman. who has always felt. With his sexual [re-assignment]. thru the OSG. now possesses the physique of a female.9 Hence. 2006. Firstly. through the [OSG] has not seen fit to interpose any [o]pposition. (emphasis supplied) Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical features of a female. Petitioner’s misfortune to be trapped in a man’s body is not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against him. Article 376 of the Civil Code provides: ART. no evidence was presented to show any cause or ground to deny the present petition despite due notice and publication thereof. the [c]ourt believes that no harm. This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. Thus. We disagree. WHEREFORE.6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration. this petition. Likewise. injury [or] prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the petition. As found by the trial court: Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with his present sex. Section 1 of RA 9048 provides: SECTION 1. It ruled that the trial court’s decision lacked legal basis. he became entitled to the civil registry changes sought. Finally. A Person’s First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground of Sex Reassignment Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his petition for change of name and sex. Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with his present sex. not a right. 5 On August 18. filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. There is no law allowing the change of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of sex reassignment through surgery. specifically for petitioner’s first name from "Rommel Jacinto" to MELY and petitioner’s gender from "Male" to FEMALE. granting the petition would bring the much- awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her [fiancé] and the realization of their dreams. set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. the Republic of the Philippines (Republic). In particular. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. On February 23. judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the petition and ordering the Civil Registrar of Manila to change the entries appearing in the Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner. 376. The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative.12 Petitions for change of name are controlled by statutes. the Court of Appeals7 rendered a decision8 in favor of the Republic.10 The petition lacks merit. Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the Civil Code. the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition would be more in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. the Court of Appeals granted the Republic’s petition. No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.11 A change of name is a privilege. On the contrary. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification.

The intent and effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court. RA 9048 now governs the change of first name.21 In this connection. he failed to show. It was also filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. In effect. For all these reasons. RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. Before a person can legally change his given name. the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature. any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true and official name.23 Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical error" is: SECTION 2.14 It vests the power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general concerned. this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. In sum. Rather than avoiding confusion. In sum. However. not judicial. – The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed in any of the following cases: (1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be ridiculous. or even allege. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname.16 form17 and procedure.15 It likewise lays down the corresponding venue. More importantly. No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate As To Sex On the Ground of Sex Reassignment The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the statutes. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. that is. the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the local civil registrar concerned. RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed: SECTION 4. he must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code. the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was concerned. (2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly known by that first name or nickname in the community. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative. changing petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest.20 In this case. Under the law.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. he must present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change. assuming it could be legally done. Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: ART. therefore. it had no merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. the following terms shall mean: xxx xxx xxx .19 In addition. that provided under RA 9048. Definition of Terms. or (3) The change will avoid confusion. – As used in this Act. changed by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing rules and regulations. a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status. 412. tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce.

the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age. such as his being legitimate or illegitimate. and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided. judicial determination of filiation and changes of name)."26 The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. "Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is. marriages. to remove the faults or error from" while to change means "to replace something with something else of the same kind or with something that serves as a substitute. or his being married or not. Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides: . Article 413 of the Civil Code provides: ART. copying. more or less permanent in nature. (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor. including those corresponding to his first name and sex. (emphasis supplied) Under RA 9048.27 The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and relations. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. and (16) changes of name. ART. however. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning. These acts. and its various aspects. In contrast. (13) civil interdiction. No correction is necessary. events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. adoptions.28 (emphasis supplied) A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. The acts. emancipation. expressly or impliedly. To correct simply means "to make or set aright. (3) deaths. (8) adoptions. (4) legal separations. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause. declarations of nullity of marriages. Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as legitimations. (2) marriages. such as birth. capacity to have rights in general. or (12) recovery of citizenship. sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. and sometimes even succession. acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization). In this connection. (9) acknowledgments of natural children. adoption. 408. such as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like. 407. events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity. events (such as births. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law. status or sex of the petitioner. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. naturalization. The following shall be entered in the civil register: (1) Births. legitimation. (3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing. 413. were all correct. That no correction must involve the change of nationality. loss or recovery of citizenship. (7) legitimations. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws. annulments of marriage. which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding. All entries therein. nationality and his family membership. marriage. The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:24 ART. transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous. status and nationality of a person. (10) naturalization. not ordinarily terminable at his own will.25 However. (5) annulments of marriage. family relations. a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations. divorce. no reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects. (14) judicial determination of filiation. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and end of legal personality. age. civil interdiction. Acts. (11) loss. Moreover.

injury or prejudice to anyone. should it choose to do so. is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman.38 To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations.41 among others. a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. In our system of government. if not attended by error. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.29Thus. there being no legislative intent to the contrary." "male" and "female" as used in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their common and ordinary usage.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female. 5. the sex of a person is determined at birth. (c) names.39 certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code40 and the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court. citizenship and religion of parents or." However. by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newborn child.31 When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary legislative intent. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no harm. Thus. to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. the person above mentioned shall certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth. The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences. there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women. (b) sex and nationality of infant. "words that are employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the context compels to the contrary. and (f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to be issued. This is wrong." For these reasons. the words "male" and "female" in everyday understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex reassignment. The duty of the courts is to apply or interpret the law."35 Thus. It will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post- operative transsexual)."33Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova. Such declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty days after the birth. xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied) Under the Civil Register Law. the declaration of either parent of the newborn child. obscurity or insufficiency of the law. – The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or. (e) place where the infant was born.30 is immutable. visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. not to make or amend it. it cannot be argued that the term "sex" as used then is something alterable through surgery or something that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be included in the category "female. it is not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. SEC. It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that "[n]o judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence. Registration and certification of births. it is for the legislature."36 Since the statutory language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged. in case the father is not known. even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. marriage. Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name or Sex Be Changed on the Ground of Equity The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery. sex is defined as "the sum of peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from a female"32 or "the distinction between male and female. shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are statute-based. (d) civil status of parents. Furthermore. one of the most sacred social institutions. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment. Second. In this connection. the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth. there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. First. no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. of the mother alone. The words "sex. However. . in default thereof. In such declaration.

the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature. the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil registry. contentment and [the] realization of their dreams. However. not by the courts. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and sex to conform with his reassigned sex.To reiterate. where they may be filed. The Court recognizes that there are people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and that. Costs against petitioner. or on anything else." No argument about that. It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol on when a person may be recognized as having successfully changed his sex. The Court cannot enact a law where no law exists. this Court has no authority to fashion a law on that matter. what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of government. what grounds may be invoked. Congress. Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness. SO ORDERED. life is indeed an ordeal. . WHEREFORE. the petition is hereby DENIED. it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege. However. at least for them.

J. Chairperson. BERSAMIN. Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila THIRD DIVISION GERBERT R.R.- x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION BRION. J.. JJ. TOMAS and The SOLICITOR GENERAL. Present: CARPIO MORALES.: Before the Court is a direct appeal from the decision[1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City. Branch 11. G. No. JR.. 2010 DAISYLYN TIROL STO. . elevated via a petition for review on certiorari[2] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court (present petition). Respondents. -. Promulgated: August 11. CORPUZ. and VILLARAMA. versus . *ABAD. . 186571 Petitioner. BRION.

Hurt and disappointed. Tomas. He returned to the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). 2000. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization on November 29.[5] Two years after the divorce. 2008 decision. Ontario.It ruled that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy. shall also be valid in this country. in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized.[3] On January 18. and valid there as such. but was shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with another man. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines. 26. (5) and (6). Gerbert went to the Pasig City Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree on his and Daisylyns marriage certificate. Petitioner Gerbert R. under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. In its October 30. the foreign divorce decree must first be judicially recognized by a competent Philippine court. 37 and 38. Gerbert married respondent Daisylyn T. Daisylyn did not file any responsive pleading but submitted instead a notarized letter/manifestation to the trial court. in Pasig City. Gerbert has moved on and has found another Filipina to love. Sto. 36.[9] Article 26 of the Family Code reads: Art.[4] Due to work and other professional commitments. alleged her desire to file a similar case herself but was prevented by financial and personal circumstances. 2006. Windsor. 2005.[8] in order for him or her to be able to remarry under Philippine law. an official of the National Statistics Office (NSO) informed Gerbert that the marriage between him and Daisylyn still subsists under Philippine law. requested that she be considered as a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to Gerberts. She. a Filipina. 2005. 4. Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien . She offered no opposition to Gerberts petition and. on January 8. Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as dissolved (petition) with the RTC. 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.[7] the RTC denied Gerberts petition. Although summoned. Canada granted Gerberts petition for divorce on December 8. thus. Despite the registration of the divorce decree. Desirous of marrying his new Filipina fiance in the Philippines. The Superior Court of Justice.[6] Accordingly. in fact. pursuant to NSO Circular No. Gerbert left for Canada soon after the wedding. to be enforceable. The divorce decree took effect a month later. (4). series of 1982.

similar to that filed in Orbecido. involving him. to institute the case. This conclusion. the RTC stated. The Office of the Solicitor General and Daisylyn. spouse capacitating him or her to remarry. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. he contends that the provision applies as well to the benefit of the alien spouse. vested with sufficient legal interest. he. THE COURTS 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.[12] Gerbert filed the present petition. Orbecido III. 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. He considers himself as a proper party. Taking into account the rationale behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code.[13] Gerbert asserts that his petition before the RTC is essentially for declaratory relief. Essentially. 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.[11] THE PETITION From the RTCs ruling. . similarly asks for a determination of his rights under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. as there is a possibility that he might be prosecuted for bigamy if he marries his Filipina fiance in the Philippines since two marriage certificates. would be on file with the Civil Registry Office. thus.[14] both support Gerberts position.[10] the provision was enacted to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. is consistent with the legislative intent behind the enactment of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. after obtaining a divorce. in their respective Comments. as determined by the Court in Republic v. the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

Aquino.[19] enacted Executive Order No. as follows: Art. shall also be valid in this country. in the exercise of her legislative powers under the Freedom Constitution. amending Article 26 of the Family Code to its present wording. the basis for the judicial declaration of absolute nullity or annulment of the marriage exists before or at the time of the marriage.The Family Code recognizes only two types of defective marriages void[15] and voidable[16] marriages. (5) and (6).Divorce. She should not be discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are to be served. In both cases. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs with possible rights to conjugal property. 37 and 38.[20] and Pilapil v.[18] Recognizing the reality that divorce is a possibility in marriages between a Filipino and an alien. and valid there as such. [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. recognized that the foreign divorce had already severed the marital bond between the spouses. under our laws. after obtaining a divorce. the Court refused to acknowledge the alien spouses assertion of marital rights after a foreign courts divorce decree between the alien and the Filipino. except those prohibited under Articles 35(1). the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under Philippine law. in accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized. Through the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. The Court reasoned in Van Dorn v.[17] Our family laws do not recognize absolute divorce between Filipino citizens. Romillo that: To maintain x x x that. and render support to [the alien spouse]. The Court. on the other hand. President Corazon C.[22] As the RTC correctly stated. Romillo. [The Filipino spouse] should not be obliged to live together with. is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. observe respect and fidelity. EO 227 effectively incorporated into the law this Courts holding in Van Dorn v. Ibay-Somera.[21] In both cases. contemplates the dissolution of the lawful union for cause arising after the marriage.[23] The legislative intent is for the benefit of the Filipino spouse. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines. by clarifying his or her marital status. settling the . 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. (4). 26. the provision was included in the law to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien spouse who. 36. thus. Jr. (EO) 227.

and the purpose of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. 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. 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. 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 Gerberts petition before the RTC. In other words. the judicial recognition of the foreign decree of divorce. pursuant to . No court in this jurisdiction. Essentially. however. whose status and legal capacity are generally governed by his national law.[25]Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that the policy against absolute divorces cannot be subverted by judgments promulgated in a foreign country.. 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. 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. capacitating him or her to remarry.[26] Given the rationale and intent behind the enactment.doubts created by the divorce decree. only the Filipino spouse can invoke the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. If the court finds that the decree capacitated the alien spouse to remarry. after its authenticity and conformity with the aliens national law have been duly proven according to our rules of evidence. whether in a proceeding instituted precisely for that purpose or as a related issue in another proceeding. can make a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than that already established by the decree). the RTC was correct in limiting the applicability of the provision for the benefit of the Filipino spouse.[24] Without the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. 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. The foreign divorce decree itself. the courts can declare that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract another marriage. the alien spouse can claim no right under this provision. In other words. serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert.e. would be of no significance to the Filipino spouse since our laws do not recognize divorce as a mode of severing the marital bond. Additionally.

the judgment or final order may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction. purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority.[28] This means that the foreign judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence. 48. 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. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court comes into play. This Section requires proof. provided the divorce is valid according to his or her national law. collusion. no less.[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. that the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be recognized in the Philippines. or clear mistake of law or fact. recognizing his or her capacity to obtain a divorce. In a divorce situation. To our mind. and (b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person. since both the foreign divorce decree and the national law of the alien.[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. either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the . 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. In Gerberts case. Section 24. want of notice to the party. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign judgments. 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 effect of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country. This Section states: SEC. as a rule. together with the aliens applicable national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders. we have declared. In either case.Section 48. Justice Herrera explained that. fraud. the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title of the thing.

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. as discussed above. shall have the effect of res judicata[32] between the parties. want of notice to a party. as well as the required certificates proving its authenticity.[33] In fact. 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.officer having legal custody of the documents. we note that the Pasig City Civil Registry Office has already recorded the divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns marriage certificate based on the mere presentation of the decree.. This same effect. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register. every precaution must be taken to ensure conformity with our laws before a recognition is made. Considerations beyond the recognition of the foreign divorce decree As a matter of housekeeping concern. The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of the divorce decree. 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. at this point. the need to draw attention of the bench and the bar to what had been done. as the foreign judgment. The law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences touching upon a persons legal capacity and status. If the copies of official records are not kept in the Philippines. or clear mistake of law or fact.e. Needless to state.[31] Under this situation. 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. fraud. collusion.[30] but failed to include a copy of the Canadian law on divorce. A remand. Article 407 of the Civil Code states that [a]cts. i. We deem it more appropriate to take this latter course of action. will allow other interested parties to oppose the foreign judgment and overcome a petitioners presumptive evidence of a right by proving want of jurisdiction. hence. once recognized. given the Article 26 interests that will be served and the Filipina wifes (Daisylyns) obvious conformity with the petition.[34] We consider the recording to be legally improper. as provided in Section 48. Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. at the same time. we can. more than the principle of comity that is served by the practice of reciprocal recognition of foreign judgments between nations. those affecting all his personal qualities and . simply dismiss the petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence.

such as his being legitimate or illegitimate. (d) annulments of marriages. Act No. A civil register is established for recording the civil status of persons. 4. (b) deaths. (c) marriages. (2) Marriage register.relations. in which they shall. (e) divorces. in which shall be entered: (a) births. (3) Legitimation. (h) acknowledgment of natural children. xxxx Sec. not ordinarily terminable at his own will. and (j) changes of name. adoption. or his being married or not.[35] A judgment of divorce is a judicial decree. although a foreign one. The local registrars shall keep and preserve in their offices the following books. change of name and naturalization register. Civil Register. acknowledgment. more or less permanent in nature. 1. (g) adoptions. in which shall be entered not only the marriages solemnized but also divorces and dissolved marriages. Civil Register Books. affecting a persons legal capacity and status that must be recorded. In fact. . (f) legitimations. 3753 or the Law on Registry of Civil Status specifically requires the registration of divorce decrees in the civil registry: Sec. (i) naturalization. respectively make the proper entries concerning the civil status of persons: (1) Birth and death register.

181. 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 Daisylyns marriage certificate. authorizing the cancellation or correction. no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the foreign divorce decree. dissolving a marriage. can be registered in the civil registry. 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.[38] that the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest must be made parties to the proceedings. the registration of the foreign divorce decree without the requisite judicial recognition is patently void and cannot produce any legal effect. the law and the submission of the decree by themselves do not ipso facto authorize the decrees registration. Another point we wish to draw attention to is that the recognition that the RTC may extend to the Canadian divorce decree does not. Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that no entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected. It also requires. may be annotated in the civil registry.[39] and that the time and place for hearing must be published in a newspaper of general circulation. nonetheless. We hasten to point out. by itself. allowed the registration of the decree. however. A petition for recognition of a foreign judgment is not the proper proceeding. 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 .[36] and Department of Justice Opinion No. among others. Thus. authorize the cancellation of the entry in the civil registry. Evidently. For being contrary to law. 4. that the verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the province where the corresponding civil registry is located.[40] As these basic jurisdictional requirements have not been met in the present case. series of 1982[37] both of which required a final order from a competent Philippine court before a foreign judgment. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied with before a judgment. we cannot consider the petition Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. series of 1982. but it. on the strength alone of the foreign decree presented by Gerbert. 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. without judicial order. for the cancellation of entries in the civil registry. In the context of the present case.But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the civil registry. the Pasig City Civil Registry Office was aware of the requirement of a court recognition. contemplated under the Rules of Court. as it cited NSO Circular No.

WHEREFORE. The recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself. 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. Branch 11. . Moreover. collusion. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Civil Registrar General. want of notice to the party. 2008 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City. SO ORDERED. as well as its February 17. No costs. fraud. and REVERSE the October 30. We order the REMAND of the case to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with our ruling above. 2009 order. or clear mistake of law or fact. we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari.of the entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. 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.

. Marcelino Marc and private respondent.. RT-30731 (175992) of the Quezon City Registry of Deeds.x DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. Thereafter.J. He was survived by his wife. CV No. private respondent and Marcelino Marc.R. 170829 Petitioner. Q-01-44038 and raffled to Branch 78. more or less. Dario III. Dario died intestate. Patricio and their two sons. Quezon City. C. MARCELINO G. 1987.Ynares-Santiago. Austria-Martinez. Present: Panganiban. FIRST DIVISION PERLA G. .versus . petitioner Perla G. covering an area of seven hundred fifty five (755) square meters. TCT No. Respondents. R-213963 was issued in the names of petitioner. DARIO III and THE HONORABLE COURT OF Promulgated: APPEALS. 80680.[2] On August 10. RT-30731 (175992) was cancelled and TCT No. petitioner. extrajudicially settled the estate of Marcelino V. as evidenced by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. Marcelino V. PATRICIO. No. J. 2006 x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------. (Chairperson). 2005[1] in CA-G. November 20. Marcelino Marc Dario and private respondent Marcelino G. 1987. which dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner for being contrary to law and evidence. Among the properties he left was a parcel of land with a residential house and a pre-school building built thereon situated at 91 Oxford corner Ermin Garcia Streets in Cubao. Callejo. Dario. G. and Chico-Nazario. On July 5. petitioner and Marcelino Marc formally advised private respondent of their intention to partition the subject property and terminate the co-ownership. Private respondent refused to partition the property hence petitioner and Marcelino Marc instituted an action for partition before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which was docketed as Civil Case No. Sr.: This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to annul and set aside the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 9. Accordingly. Second Division. JJ.R.

Marcelino Marc G. COROLLARILY. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN APPLYING ARTICLE 159 IN RELATION TO ARTICLE 154 OF THE FAMILY CODE ON FAMILY HOME INSTEAD OF ARTICLE 494 IN RELATION TO ARTICLES 495 AND 498 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE ON CO-OWNERSHIP. who is a grandson of spouses Marcelino V. which denied the same on October 19. The appellate court also held that the minor son of private respondent.. Marcelino Lorenzo R. 2005 WHICH AFFIRMED IN TOTO THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT DATED 03 OCTOBER 2002 GRANTING THE PARTITION AND SALE BY PUBLIC AUCTION OF THE SUBJECT PROPERTY. However. the appellate court partially reconsidered the October 19. 2005. 4/6. 2005. In case of failure. The trial court also ordered the sale of the property by public auction wherein all parties concerned may put up their bids.[5] hence he appealed before the Court of Appeals. . It held that the family home should continue despite the death of one or both spouses as long as there is a minor beneficiary thereof. 2003. 1/6. Dario. He argues that as long as the minor is living in the family home. On October 3.e. the same continues as such until the beneficiary becomes of age. In the now assailed Resolution.[6] Hence.[7] The sole issue is whether partition of the family home is proper where one of the co- owners refuse to accede to such partition on the ground that a minor beneficiary still resides in the said home. Private respondent claims that the subject property which is the family home duly constituted by spouses Marcelino and Perla Dario cannot be partitioned while a minor beneficiary is still living therein namely. was a minor beneficiary of the family home. who is the grandson of the decedent. Patricio. Dario and Perla G. Dario IV. Patricio. upon a motion for reconsideration filed by private respondent on December 9. 1987. who is a beneficiary of the said family home. the subject property should be distributed accordingly in the aforestated manner. even after July 1997. The heirs could not partition the property unless the court found compelling reasons to rule otherwise. the Court of Appeals dismissed the complaint for partition filed by petitioner and Marcelino Marc for lack of merit. Private respondent insists that even after the expiration of ten years from the date of death of Marcelino on July 5. Dario III. the subject property continues to be considered as the family home considering that his minor son.[4] Private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the trial court on August 11. and Marcelino G.[3] the trial court ordered the partition of the subject property in the following manner: Perla G. his 12-year-old son. 2005 Decision. 1/6. still resides in the premises. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS PATENTLY ERRED IN REVERSING ITS EARLIER DECISION OF OCTOBER 19. the instant petition on the following issues: I. II. 2002. i.

ascendants. brothers and sisters. That which is actual is something real. and (2) Their parents. Dr. To be a beneficiary of the family home. need not be by the owner of the house specifically. From the time of its constitution and so long as any of its beneficiaries actually resides therein. three requisites must concur: (1) they must be among the relationships enumerated in Art. which may include the in-laws where the family home is constituted jointly by the husband and wife.[8] hence there is no more minor beneficiary to speak of. as opposed to something merely possible. But the law definitely excludes maids and overseers.[12] The law explicitly provides that occupancy of the family home either by the owner thereof or by any of its beneficiaries must be actual. Arturo M. On the other hand. They are not the beneficiaries contemplated by the Code. Actual occupancy. 1997.[9] It is the dwelling house where husband and wife. The family home is a sacred symbol of family love and is the repository of cherished memories that last during ones lifetime. which was the 10th year from the date of death of the decedent. however. 154 of the Family Code. or to something which is presumptive or constructive. including the land on which it is situated. Dario only up to July 5. reside. or actually existing. whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. who are living in the family home and who depend upon the head of the family for legal support. Tolentino comments on the effect of death of one or both spouses or the unmarried head of a family on the continuing existence of the family home: . Moreover. Article 159 of the Family Code applies in situations where death occurs to persons who constituted the family home. and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. Rather.[11] The family home is deemed constituted from the time it is occupied as a family residence. Petitioner argues that the brothers Marcelino Marc and private respondent Marcelino III were already of age at the time of the death of their father. petitioner alleges that the subject property remained as a family home of the surviving heirs of the late Marcelino V. the property may be occupied by the beneficiaries enumerated in Article 154 of the Family Code. or an unmarried person who is the head of a family. (2) they live in the family home. descendants. the family home continues to be such and is exempt from execution. forced sale or attachment except as hereinafter provided and to the extent of the value allowed by law. This rule shall apply regardless of whoever owns the property or constituted the family home.[13] Article 154 of the Family Code enumerates who are the beneficiaries of a family home: (1) The husband and wife. and the heirs cannot partition the same unless the court finds compelling reasons therefor. or by an unmarried head of a family. Article 159 of the Family Code provides that the family home shall continue despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family for a period of 10 years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary.[10] It is constituted jointly by the husband and the wife or by an unmarried head of a family.

unless at the expiration of the ten years. the property may be partitioned by the heirs. because there is no more reason for its existence. there is still a minor beneficiary. the heirs cannot partition the same except when there are compelling reasons which will justify the partition. If there is no more beneficiary left at the time of death. After 10 years and a minor beneficiary still lives therein. the minor son of private respondent. . the beneficiaries of the family home are: (1) The husband and wife. can be considered as a beneficiary under Article 154 of the Family Code. it will cease to be a family home. unless at the expiration of 10 years. This rule applies regardless of whoever owns the property or who constituted the family home. (2) they live in the family home. 159). However. If there is no minor-beneficiary. it will subsist until 10 years and within this period. If there are beneficiaries who survive living in the family home. Thereafter. 153. For as long as there is one beneficiary even if the head of the family or both spouses are already dead. May the heirs who are beneficiaries of the family home keep it intact by not partitioning the property after the period provided by this article? We believe that although the heirs will continue in ownership by not partitioning the property. As to the first requisite. 159: (1) the relationship enumerated in Art. in which case the family home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. 159 in this manner: The family home shall continue to exist despite the death of one or both spouses or of the unmarried head of the family. the property will remain as family home for ten years or for as long as there is a minor beneficiary living in it. and (3) they are dependent for legal support upon the head of the family. Tolentino that as a general rule. the issue for resolution now is whether Marcelino Lorenzo R. Upon the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who constituted the family home. three requisites must concur before a minor beneficiary is entitled to the benefits of Art.[14] (Emphasis supplied) Prof. or of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home. it will continue for ten years. or an unmarried person who is the head of a family. the family home will continue to exist (Arts.[15] (Emphasis supplied) The rule in Article 159 of the Family Code may thus be expressed in this wise: If there are beneficiaries who survive and are living in the family home. or of the spouse who consented to the constitution of his or her separate property as family home. there is still a minor beneficiary. the family home may be preserved for a minimum of 10 years following the death of the spouses or the unmarried family head who constituted the family home. 154 of the Family Code. Thus. Pineda further explains the import of Art. The intention of the law is to safeguard and protect the interests of the minor beneficiary until he reaches legal age and would now be capable of supporting himself. Dario IV. and (2) Their parents. in which case the family home continues until that beneficiary becomes of age. It may be deduced from the view of Dr. the length of its continued existence is dependent upon whether there is still a minor-beneficiary residing therein. it will continue for 10 years. the family home shall be preserved only until that minor beneficiary reaches the age of majority. After these periods lapse. Ernesto L. we believe the family home will be dissolved or cease.

Legal support. Marcelino Lorenzo R. Thus. in keeping with the financial capacity of the family. (5) It is free from attachment or execution. This is so because we have to follow the order of support under Art.ascendants. hence. the stronger the tie that binds them. the obligation to support under Art. being of legal age. The term descendants contemplates all descendants of the person or persons who constituted the family home without distinction. The law first imposes the obligation of legal support upon the shoulders of the parents. Marcelino Lorenzo R. As to the second requisite. and who must now establish his own family home separate and distinct from that of his parents. Where the law does not distinguish. (3) It cannot be renounced. (4) It cannot be compromised. (6) It is reciprocal. Dario IV. or within 10 years from the death of the decedent. The liability for legal support falls primarily on Marcelino Lorenzo R.[16] Legal support has the following characteristics: (1) It is personal.[17] Professor Pineda is of the view that grandchildren cannot demand support directly from their grandparents if they have parents (ascendants of nearest degree) who are capable of supporting them. 159. especially the father. comprising everything indispensable for sustenance. also known as family support. Marcelino Lorenzo R. (7) It is variable in amount. 199. who is also the grandchild of deceased Marcelino V. Dario IV cannot demand support from his paternal grandmother if he has parents who are capable of supporting him. whether the relationship be legitimate or illegitimate. Dario IVs parents. However. Thus. and only in their default is the obligation imposed on the grandparents. dwelling. we should not distinguish. It is his father whom he is dependent on legal support. Dario. Dario IV cannot be considered as beneficiary contemplated under Article 154 because he did not fulfill the third requisite of being dependent on his grandmother for legal support. private respondents minor son. Dario. Thus. is that which is provided by law.[18] We agree with this view. minor beneficiaries must be actually living in the family home to avail of the benefits derived from Art. 199 which outlines the order of liability for support is imposed first . but from his father. medical attendance. clothing. 199 as explained by Pineda and Tolentino: the closer the relationship of the relatives. The reasons behind Art. the son of private respondent and grandson of the decedent Marcelino V. based on family ties which bind the obligor and the obligee. brothers and sisters. Marcelino Lorenzo R. herein private respondent who is the head of his immediate family. Dario IV is dependent on legal support not from his grandmother. especially his father. despite residing in the family home and his being a descendant of Marcelino V. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguire debemos. it must necessarily include the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the spouses who constitute a family home. education and transportation. (2) It is intransmissible. he satisfies the second requisite. as to the third requisite. descendants. hence. also known as Ino. Dario satisfies the first requisite. has been living in the family home since 1994.

the court a quo should have ordered a partition by commissioners pursuant to Section 3. (2) Marcelino Marc G. Not more than three competent and disinterested persons should be appointed as commissioners to make the partition.[23] we held that an action for partition is at once an action for declaration of co-ownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the properties involved. since there is no more reason for its existence after the 10-year period ended in 1997. When it is made to appear to the commissioners that the real estate.[21] The partition of the subject property should be made in accordance with the rule embodied in Art. provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable. unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned. With this finding. herein petitioner filed for the partition of the property which shows an intention to dissolve the family home. There is no showing that private respondent is without means to support his son. neither is there any evidence to prove that petitioner. An action to demand partition is imprescriptible or cannot be barred by laches. if the widow and legitimate children survive. The law does not encourage co-ownerships among individuals as oftentimes it results in inequitable situations such as in the instant case. Santos. there is no legal impediment to partition the subject property. Dario II. Dario III. de Daffon v. Co-owners should be afforded every available opportunity to divide their co-owned property to prevent these situations from arising. 996 of the Civil Code.[20] Since the parties were unable to agree on a partition. commanding them to set off to the plaintiff and to each party in interest such part and proportion of the property as the court shall direct.upon the shoulders of the closer relatives and only in their default is the obligation moved to the next nearer relatives and so on. If the court after trial should find the existence of co- . the court may order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same. As we ruled in Santos v. Each co-owner may demand at any time the partition of the common property. in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale. 1/6 and (3) Marcelino G.[19] no co-owner ought to be compelled to stay in a co- ownership indefinitely. the widow will have the same share as each of her two surviving children. or a portion thereof. Hence. the respective shares of the subject property. cannot be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties. In Vda. On the contrary. and may insist on partition on the common property at any time. based on the law on intestate succession are: (1) Perla Generosa Dario. 4/6. the widow has the same share as that of each of the children. 1/6. However. Court of Appeals. Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly. as the paternal grandmother. was willing to voluntarily provide for her grandsons legal support. since only one-half of the conjugal property which is owned by the decedent is to be allocated to the legal and compulsory heirs (the other half to be given exclusively to the surviving spouse as her conjugal share of the property).[22] Under the law of intestate succession.

1/6. as well as the improvements that lie therein. in accordance with Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. the court a quo may order it assigned to one of the parties willing to take the same. 4/6. Dario III. and thereafter distribute the proceeds of the sale appertaining to the just share of each heir. in which case the court shall order the commissioners to sell the real estate at public sale. the petition is GRANTED. who is directed to conduct a PARTITION BY COMMISSIONERS and effect the actual physical partition of the subject property. 80680 dated December 9. Marcelino Marc G. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Dario. or a portion thereof.[24] WHEREFORE. The Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. unless one of the parties interested ask that the property be sold instead of being so assigned. provided he pays to the other parties such sum or sums of money as the commissioners deem equitable. . CV No. cannot be divided without great prejudice to the interest of the parties. and the commissioners shall sell the same accordingly. No pronouncement as to costs. The trial court is DIRECTED to appoint not more than three (3) competent and disinterested persons. including the improvements. 2005. who should determine the technical metes and bounds of the property and the proper share appertaining to each heir.ownership among the parties. SO ORDERED. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Dario. When it is made to the commissioners that the real estate. in the following manner: Perla G. Branch 78. the court may and should order the partition of the properties in the same action.R. 1/6 and Marcelino G.

It was then that he discovered that improvements had been introduced on Lot 9 by respondent Wilson Kee. No. J. DECISION PANGANIBAN. 1974. 1987. The Facts The facts. the exclusive real estate agent of petitioner. 11040. a store. 1975. Bacolod City. vs. 79688. SP No. a builder in good faith? This is the main issue resolved in this petition for review on certiorari to reverse the Decision of the Court of [1] Appeals in CA-G. an auto repair shop and other improvements on the lot. are as follows: Edith Robillo purchased from petitioner a parcel of land designated as Lot 9. CTTEI through its employee. respondent Eldred Jardinico bought the rights to the lot from Robillo.R. 106367 in his name. After the preparation of the lot plan and a copy thereof given to Kee. After due deliberation and consultation. Upon completing all payments. [2] By resolution dated November 13. C. Kee bought on installment Lot 8 of the same subdivision from C. Unfortunately. 1995. accompanied Kees wife. . COURT OF APPEALS. It appears that on March 26. Zenaida Octaviano. TORRES ENTERPRISES. The parties tried to reach an amicable settlement. but failed. 1996] PLEASANTVILLE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.00 and another P50. When Kee refused to vacate Lot 9. for the preparation of the lot plan. Lot 9 was vacant. Kee could possess the lot even before the completion of all installment payments. and ELDRED JARDINICO. Jardinico secured from the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City on December 19. Kee paid CTTEI the relocation fee of P50. 1981. After discovering that Lot 9 was occupied by Kee. Inc. demanding that the latter remove all improvements and vacate Lot 9. Jardinicos lawyer wrote Kee.00 on January 27.T. THIRD DIVISION [G. In 1975. Phase II and located at Taculing Road.: Is a lot buyer who constructs improvements on the wrong property erroneously delivered by the owners agent. the parcel of land pointed by Octaviano was Lot 9. to inspect Lot 8. the First Division of this Court resolved to transfer this case (along with several others) to the Third Division. WILSON KEE. 1978 Transfer Certificate of Title No. Donabelle Kee. as found by respondent Court. Thereafter. At that time. promulgated on August 20. INC. respondents. Kee proceeded to construct his residence. These amounts were paid prior to Kees taking actual possession of Lot 8. Under the Contract to Sell on Installment. (CTTEI).R. the Court assigned the writing of this Decision to the undersigned ponente. On January 20. Jardinico confronted him. Pleasantville Subdivision. Torres Enterprises. petitioner. who had taken possession thereof. On January 30. February 1.T. 1975.

[4] On appeal. Branch 3. It further ruled that petitioner and CTTEI could not successfully invoke as a defense the failure of Kee to give notice of his intention to begin construction required under paragraph 22 of the Contract to Sell on Installment and his having built a sari- sari store without. and thus was liable for rental. nonetheless.000. filed a third-party complaint against petitioner and CTTEI.Jardinico filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities. and that Kee had not contested the rescission. 1981 until he actually vacates the premises. 106367 and to remove all structures and improvements he introduced thereon. covered by TCT No. Defendant Wilson Kee is ordered to vacate tithe premises of Lot 9. It found Kee a builder in bad faith. until he had vacated (sic) the premises. and not from the date of the filing of the complaint. saying that the purpose of these requirements was merely to regulate the type of improvements to be constructed on the lot . the prior approval of petitioner required under paragraph 26 of said contract. The MTCC held that the erroneous delivery of Lot 9 to Kee was attributable to CTTEI.00 as cost and litigation expenses. Torres Enterprises. the decision appealed from is affirmed with respect to the order against the defendant to vacate the premises of Lot No. Kee must pay reasonable rentals for the use of Lot 9. there being no preponderant evidence to show that they directly participated in the delivery of Lot 9 to Kee. in turn. . and Pleasantville Subdivision are ordered to pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P3. The rescission was effected in 1979. and. the removal of all structures and improvements introduced thereon at his expense and the payment to plaintiff (sic) the sum of Fifteen (P 15. 2. 9 covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. [3] However. Kee. This Court further renders judgment against the defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of Three Thousand (P3. The MTCC concluded that Kee no longer had any right over the lot subject of the contract between him and petitioner. guilty of unlawfully usurping the possessory right of Jardinico over Lot 9 from the time he was served with notice to vacate said lot. The MTCC thus disposed: IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. the MTCC found that petitioner had already rescinded its contract with Kee over Lot 8 for the latters failure to pay the installments due.00 as attorneys fees and P700. the Regional Trial Court.00) Pesos as attorneys fees. Branch 48. the date of the demand. 3. furthermore. with interest thereon at 12% per annum.00 a day computed from the time this suit was filed on March 12. before the complaint was instituted.000. Consequently. he was. 1981. plus costs of litigation. The RTC thus disposed: WHEREFORE. he cannot claim reimbursement for the improvements he introduced on said lot. a complaint for ejectment with damages against Kee.00) Pesos a day as reasonable rental to be computed from January 30. Bacolod City (RTC) ruled that petitioner and CTTEI were not at fault or were not negligent. This amount shall bear interests (sic) at the rate of 12 per cent (sic) per annum. Third-Party Defendant CT. Defendant Wilson Kee is ordered to pay to the plaintiff rentals at the rate of P 15. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. Bacolod City (MTCC). It further ruled that even [5] assuming arguendo that Kee was acting in good faith. Inc. T- 106367 of the land records of Bacolod City.

the appealed decision is REVERSED. The order against Third-Party Defendants to pay attorneys fees to plaintiff and costs of litigation is reversed. Wilson Kee is declared a builder in good faith with respect to the improvements he introduced on Lot 9. the petition is GRANTED. as follows: 1. Torres Enterprises. The appellate court also ruled that the award of rentals was without basis. remove these structures. Third-party defendants C. Kee appealed directly to the Supreme Court. 2. and that such wrong delivery was likewise imputable to its principal. The award of rentals to Jardinico is dispensed with. and Pleasantville Development Corporation are solidarily liable under the following circumstances: a. The appellate court ruled that Kee was a builder in good faith. 1986. the Court of Appeals disposed: WHEREFORE. Third-party defendants C. by granting to private respondent-Kee the rights of a builder in good faith in . 4. If Eldred Jardinico decides to appropriate the improvements and. 3. Torres Enterprises. If Jardinico prefers that Kee buy the land. the third-party defendants shall answer for all demolition expenses and the value of the improvements thus destroyed or rendered useless. The Court of Appeals has decided the case in a way probably not in accord with law or the the (sic) applicable decisions of the Supreme Court on third-party complaints. Thus. Inc. Inc. and is entitled to the rights granted him under Articles 448. [7] Petitioner then filed the instant petition against Kee. 546 and 548 of the New Civil Code. as well as for further proceedings in conformity with Article 448 of the New Civil Code.000. as well as litigation expenses.T. and Pleasantville Development Corporation are ordered to pay in solidum the amount of P3. Jardinico and CTTEI. 2. Inc. [6] Following the denial of his motion for reconsideration on October 20. is dismissed. which referred the matter to the Court of Appeals. It further ruled that the erroneous delivery was due to the negligence of CTTEI. the case is REMANDED to the court of origin for the determination of the actual value of the improvements and the property (Lot 9). petitioner herein. the third-party defendants shall answer for the amount representing the value of Lot 9 that Kee should pay to Jardinico. thereafter. Furthermore. The Court of Appeals has so far departed from the accepted course of judicial proceedings.T. as he was unaware of the mix-up when he began construction of the improvements on Lot 8. b.00 to Jardinico as attorneys fees. by ordering third-party defendants to pay the demolition expenses and/or price of the land. and judgment is rendered as follows: 1. Torres Enterprises. The Issues The petition submitted the following grounds to justify a review of the respondent Courts Decision.T.The third-party complaint against Third-Party Defendants Pleasantville Development Corporation and C.

Torres Enterprises. Hence. 5. he went to the subdivision developers agent and applied and paid for the relocation of the lot. if any. Kee is presumed to have knowledge of the metes and bounds of the property with which he is dealing. The award of attorneys fees is clearly without basis and is equivalent to putting a premium in (sic) court litigation.? and (3) Is the award of attorneys fees proper? The First Issue: Good Faith Petitioner contends that the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the RTCs ruling that Kee was a builder in bad faith. Lot 8 is covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Pleasantville Development Corporation (liable) for the acts made by the agent in excess of its authority is clearly in violation of the provision of the law. x x x xxx xxx xxx But as Kee is a layman not versed in the technical description of his property. he had to find a way to ascertain that what was described in TCT No.excess of what the law provides. It is highly improbable that a purchaser of a lot would knowingly and willingly build his residence on a lot owned by another. Private respondent-Kee in accordance with the findings of facts of the lower court is clearly a builder in bad faith. it becomes imperative to set aside or at least modify the judgment of the Court of Appeals to harmonize with justice and the facts. the issues could be re-stated as follows: (1) Was Kee a builder in good faith? (2) What is the liability. having violated several provisions of the contract to sell on installments. while Lot 9 is identified in Transfer Certificate of Title No. The decision of the Court of Appeals. under the Torrens system of land registration. of petitioner and its agent. 4. C.T. Petitioner fails to persuade this Court to abandon the findings and conclusions of the Court of Appeals that Kee was a builder in good faith. From these grounds. 6. as well as for the production of a lot plan by CTTEIs geodetic engineer. deliberately exposing himself and his family to the risk of being ejected from the land and losing all improvements thereon. Kee had acted in the manner of a prudent man in ascertaining the identity of his property. holding the principal. Upon Kees receipt of the . In the light of the subsequent events or circumstances which changed the rights of the parties. Inc. 3. thus enriching private respondent Kee at the expense of the petitioner. not to mention the social humiliation that would follow. Under the circumstances. We agree with the following observation of the Court of Appeals: The roots of the controversy can be traced directly to the errors committed by CTTEI. T-69561. T-106367. Thus. when it pointed the wrong property to Wilson Kee and his wife. 69561 matched Lot 8.

as to its location. To demonstrate Kees bad faith. And as good faith is presumed. Kee saw no reason to suspect that there had been a misdelivery. Petitioner next contends that Kee cannot claim that another lot was erroneously pointed out to him because the latter agreed to the following provision in the Contract of Sale on Installment. contours.map. contour and condition of the lot due to erosion. the Contract of Sale on Installment covering Lot 8 between it and Kee was rescinded long before the present action was instituted. Petitioner also points out that. as such fact does not negate the negligence of its agent in pointing out the wrong lot to Kee. agrees to shoulder the expenses resulting from such change. when the same is so desired by him/her. who authoritatively declared that the land she was pointing to was indeed Lot 8. public order. We disagree. [12] . Because of CTTEIs blunder. [9] petitioner has the burden of proving bad faith on the part of Kee. Rights may be waived. unless the waiver is contrary to law. The steps Kee had taken to protect his interests were reasonable. Petitioner failed to prove otherwise. He was not aware that the lot delivered to him was not Lot 8.[8] Good faith consists in the belief of the builder that the land he is building on is his and his ignorance of any defect or flaw in his title. morals. what Kee had hoped to forestall did in fact transpire. Such violations have no bearing whatsoever on whether Kee was a builder in good faith. Octaviano. Kees good faith. Having full faith and confidence in the reputation of CTTEI. Kee believed that said lot was what he bought from petitioner. petitioner points to Kees violation of paragraphs 22 and 26 of the Contract of Sale on Installment. [10] At the time he built improvements on Lot 8. public policy. but may not be bases to negate the presumption that Kee was a builder in good faith. Such waiver would be contrary to public policy and cannot be allowed. Kees efforts all went to naught. This has no relevance on the liability of petitioner. to wit: 13. for the final delivery of subdivision lots to their owners is part of the regular course of everyday business of CTTEI. Thus. It merely provides that the vendee. the said Vendee shall bear the expenses of the necessary fillings. or prejudicial to a third person with a right recognized by law. Such circumstance is relevant only as it gives Jardinico a cause of action for unlawful detainer against Kee. having examined the property prior to the execution of the contract. that is. [11] The subject matter of this provision of the contract is the change of the location. We do not agree with the interpretation of petitioner that Kee contracted away his right to recover damages resulting from petitioners negligence. and because of the companys positive identification of the property. as well as the natural condition of the lots and from the date hereof whatever consequential change therein made due to erosion. his wife went to the subdivision site accompanied by CTTEIs employee. These alleged violations may give rise to petitioners cause of action against Kee under the said contract (contractual breach). The Vendee hereby declares that prior to the execution of his contract he/she has personally examined or inspected the property made subject-matter hereof. There was no need for him to have acted ex-abundantia cautela. as found by the trial court. or good customs. such as being present during the geodetic engineers relocation survey or hiring an independent geodetic engineer to countercheck for errors. on his state of mind at the time he built the improvements on Lot 9.

[17] Obviously. which was dismissed by the RTC after ruling that there was no evidence from which fault or negligence on the part of petitioner and CTTEI can be inferred. Jardinico and Kee did not inform the Court of Appeals of such deal. On [14] the other hand. negligent. it was never authorized to deliver the wrong lot to Kee. as principal of CTTEI. wherein the former sold Lot 9 to Kee. CTTEI alone should be liable. however. done within the scope of his authority. Petitioner does not dispute the fact that CTTEI was its agent. and should bear the damage caused to third persons. its employee. That Civil Case No. But it contends that the erroneous delivery of Lot 9 to Kee was an act which was clearly outside the scope of its authority. Petitioner further assails the following holding of the Court of Appeals: 2. Third-party defendants C. what the deed of sale regulates are the reciprocal rights of Kee and Jardinico. As we have earlier stated. the third-party defendants shall answer for all . Inc. it stressed that they had reached an agreement independent of the outcome of the case. Pending resolution of the case before the Court of Appeals. Kee which is now pending appeal with the Court of Appeals. Jardinico and Kee on July 24. the agent who exceeds his authority is personally liable for the damage. and Pleasantville Development Corporation are solidarily liable under the following circumstances: a. 3815 entitled Jardinico vs. In acting within its scope of authority. The deed of sale contained the following provision: 1. per Articles 1909 and 1910 of the Civil Code. remove these structures. It is this negligence that is the basis of petitioners liability. The Court of Appeals disagreed and found CTTEI negligent for the erroneous delivery of the lot by Octaviano. Torres Enterprises. regardless of the outcome of the decision shall be mutually disregarded and shall not be pursued by the parties herein and shall be considered dismissed and without effect whatsoever. The Second Issue: Petitioners Liability Kee filed a third-party complaint against petitioner and CTTEI.T.T. the deed of sale can have no effect on the liability of petitioner. it was.[16] Kee asserts though that the terms and conditions in said deed of sale are strictly for the parties thereto and that (t)here is no waiver made by either of the parties in said deed of whatever favorable judgment or award the honorable respondent Court of Appeals may make in their favor against herein petitioner Pleasantville Development Corporation and/or private respondent C. thereafter. 1987 entered into a deed of sale. [13] Petitioners contention is without merit. [15] CTTEI was acting within its authority as the sole real estate representative of petitioner when it made the delivery to Kee. It asserts that while [CTTEI] was authorized to sell the lot belonging to the herein petitioner. Inc. and consequently. If Eldred Jardinico decides to appropriate the improvements and. The rule is that the principal is responsible for the acts of the agent. On the other hand. Torres Enterprises. petitioners liability is grounded on the negligence of its agent.

there is no showing that such evidence was actually presented in the trial court. as ruled by the appellate Court. we delete items 2 (a) and (b) of the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision [as reproduced above] holding petitioner and CTTEI solidarily liable. consistent with its ruling that petitioner was without fault or negligence.00 and P700. the extent and/or amount of damages to be awarded is a factual issue which should be determined after evidence is adduced. which deed now governs the rights of Jardinico and Kee as to each other. It was error for the Court of Appeals to make a slight modification in the application of such law. Petitioners liability lies in the negligence of its agent CTTEI. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby MODIFIED as follows: (1) Wilson Kee is declared a builder in good faith. hence no damages could now be awarded. without having to pay anything on it. reinstated the award of attorneys fees after ruling that petitioner was liable for its agents negligence. respectively. the petitioner should be held liable for damages. as prayed for in his complaint. The rights of Kee and Jardinico vis-a-vis each other. the petition is partially GRANTED. as well as for further proceedings in conformity with Article 448 of the New Civil Code. For such negligence. in view of the deed of sale entered into by Kee and Jardinico.000. WHEREFORE. In other words.e. 448. The RTC deleted the award. . demolition expenses and the value of the improvements thus destroyed or rendered useless. The Court of Appeals. There is also no further need.00. [20] In sum. because the aforequoted portion of respondent Courts Decision would require petitioner and CTTEI jointly and solidarily to answer or reimburse Kee there for.However. Now. Thus. The award of attorneys fees lies within the discretion of the court and depends upon the circumstances of each case. Jardinico was compelled to litigate for the protection of his interests and for the recovery of damages sustained as a result of the negligence of petitioners agent. are regulated by law (i. b. however. the third-party defendants shall answer for the amount representing the value of Lot 9 that Kee should pay to Jardinico. Kee would be unjustly enriched at its expense. to remand the case to the court of origin for determination of the actual value of the improvements and the property (Lot 9). on the ground of equity. Arts. We shall not interfere with the discretion of [19] the Court of Appeals. The Third Issue: Attorneys Fees The MTCC awarded Jardinico attorneys fees and costs in the amount of P3. respectively. Kee would be -able to own the lot. We agree with petitioner. as it stands now. Kee and Jardinico have amicably settled through their deed of sale their rights and obligations with regards to Lot 9. If Jardinico prefers that Kee buy the land. The disposition of the Court of Appeals that Kee is entitled to the rights granted him under Articles 448. 546 and 548 of the Civil Code). 546 and 548 of the New Civil Code is deleted.. we rule that Kee is a builder in good faith. as builder in good faith and owner in good faith. At any rate.[18] Petitioner contends that if the above holding would be carried out. as buyer.

SO ORDERED.000. however. . Inc. are ordered to pay in solidum the amount of P3.T. and (4) The award of rentals to Jardinico is dispensed with. (3) Petitioner Pleasantville Develpment Corporation and respondent C. Tones Enterprises.T. are declared solidarily liable for damages due to negligence. the same cannot now be quantified and awarded.(2) Petitioner Pleasantville Development Corporation and respondent C. Torres Enterprises. since the amount and/or extent of such damages was not proven during the trial.00 to Jardinico as attorneys fees. as well as litigation expenses. Inc.

however."[2] Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3. which disposed as follows: "WHEREFORE. J. respondent. WILSON G. furnish copy each to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City where the marriage was solemnized. HIRD DIVISION [G." The Facts The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows: "It was established during the trial that the parties were married twice: (1) on September 6. MARCOS. 136490. 2000] BRENDA B. Manila and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City for their appropriate action consistent with this Decision. MARCOS. petitioner. The conjugal properties. assailing the July 24. 1998 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. may be established by the totality of evidence presented. DECISION PANGANIBAN. solemnized on September 6. Marcos and respondent Wilson G. Espiritu at the Municipal Court of Pasig . vs. No. the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus: "WHEREFORE. October 19. There is no requirement. The Case Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. as a ground for declaring the nullity of a marriage. 36 of the Family Code. the National Census and Statistics Office. the contested decision is set aside and the marriage between the parties is hereby declared valid. Earlier. "Upon finality of this Decision. 1982 in Pasig City is declared null and void ab initio pursuant to Art. 55588. if any. Marcos. "SO ORDERED.R. the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. 1998 CA Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration.: Psychological incapacity. 51 and 52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the] parties' children. is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles 126 and 129 of the same Code in relation to Articles 50. their custody is granted to petitioner subject to the visitation rights of respondent. In the best interest and welfare of the minor children. 1982 which was solemnized by Judge Eriberto H. that the respondent should be examined by a physician or a psychologist as a conditio sine qua non for such declaration.

1994. went to him at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong to look for their missing child. "At the time of the filing of this case. A-1). they would often quarrel and as a consequence. he would leave their house. they resided at No. on the other hand. a housing unit which she acquired from the Bliss Development Corporation when she was still single. "After their marriage on September 6.Then. Upon seeing them. he left the military service in 1987 and then engaged in different business ventures that did not however prosper. five (5) children were born (Exhs. A). and (2) on May 8. they became acquainted and eventually became sweethearts. Out of their marriage. when they had a bitter quarrel. NS Ness Trading and Construction Development Corporation. Due to his failure to engage in any gainful employment. he would hit and beat her. "Appellant Wilson G. Eleazar. Paraaque. As a wife. When she was discharged from the military service. Manila (Exh. In 1992. He would also inflict physical harm on their children for a slight mistake and was so severe in the way he chastised them. The following day. she and their children were renting a house in Camella. G. Marcos. "Sometime in August 1995. As they were already living separately. Eduardo L. for several times during their cohabitation. Later on. she always urged him to look for work so that their children would see him. 1702 Daisy Street. Hulo Bliss. while the appellant was residing at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1973. E and F). she was so angry that she lambasted him. . she would first make deliveries early in the morning before going to Malacaang. 1994. 153). he was transferred to the Presidential Security Command in Malacaang during the Marcos Regime. D. she did not want him to stay in their house anymore. October 17. she concentrated on her business. 1994. "The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October 16. Command Chaplain. "All the while. she and their children left the house and sought refuge in her sister's house. "After the downfall of President Marcos. "On October 19. After the Edsa Revolution. Mandaluyong. he got mad. After knowing the reason for their unexpected presence. she was engrossed in the business of selling "magic uling" and chickens. He would even force her to have sex with him despite her weariness.(Exh. On that day. Records. He then turned violent. inflicting physical harm on her and even on her mother who came to her aid. Appellee Brenda B. they were already living separately. as the head of the family and a good provider. she submitted herself [to] medical examination at the Mandaluyong Medical Center where her injuries were diagnosed as contusions (Exh. she as an escort of Imee Marcos and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand Marcos. While she was still in the military. Thus. Through telephone conversations. C. when she saw him in their house. 1983 which was solemnized by Rev. B. at the Presidential Security Command Chapel in Malacaang Park. he ran after them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver. 1982. both of them sought a discharge from the military service. she became a supplier in the Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was able to put up a trading and construction company. "They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were assigned at the Malacaang Palace. instead of her. joined the Women's Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air Force in 1978. Niko. she together with her two sisters and driver.

established by evidence and explained in the decision. there is no evidence at all that would show that the appellant was suffering from an incapacity which [was] psychological or mental . "The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. Millan. Ph. this Petition. 85-100). sufficiently proven by experts and clearly explained in the decision. In fact. did not. 207-216). or as would make him or her x x x unable to assume them. ha[d] preceded the marriage and [was] incurable..[5] Issues In her Memorandum. Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists is essential if only to prove that the parties were or any one of them was mentally or psychically ill to be truly incognitive of the marital obligations he or she was assuming. pp. "In the case before us. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals could set aside the findings by the Regional Trial Court of psychological incapacity of a respondent in a Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply because the respondent did not subject himself to psychological evaluation. he offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not psychologically incapacitated. the children described their father as cruel and physically abusive to them (Exh.D. Records. Similarly. YY. UU. Whether or not the totality of evidence presented and the demeanor of all the witnesses should be the basis of the determination of the merits of the Petition. The root cause of his supposed incapacity was not alleged in the petition. It ratiocinated in this wise: "Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root cause of the spouse's psychological incapacity which should also be medically or clinically identified. The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. "The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations mainly because of his failure to find work to support his family and his violent attitude towards appellee and their children."In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C.[6] petitioner presents for this Court's consideration the following issues: "I. pp."[4] Hence. Dayan. for psychological evaluation (Exh. nor medically or clinically identified as a psychological illness or sufficiently proven by an expert. x x x. the CA held that psychological incapacity had not been established by the totality of the evidence presented. the appellant was not subjected to any psychological or psychiatric evaluation."[7] . It must also be grave enough to bring about the disability of the parties to assume the essential obligations of marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to 71 and Articles 220 to 225 of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations must similarly be alleged in the petition."[3] Ruling of the Court of Appeals Reversing the RTC.not physical to the extent that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming: that the incapacity [was] grave. while the appellant on the other hand. Records. II. The psychological findings about the appellant by psychiatrist Natividad Dayan were based only on the interviews conducted with the appellee.

The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability. The Court's Ruling We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or psychological examination of respondent is not a requirement for a declaration of psychological incapacity. 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. 4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable. not necessarily to those not related to marriage. Such incurability may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse. a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but not be psychologically capacitated to procreate. bear and raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.' The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time. not necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex. the totality of the evidence she presented does not show such incapacity. In Republic v. much less ill will. Thus. Both the family and marriage are to be 'protected' by the state. Nevertheless. but the illness itself must have attached at such moment. our Constitution devotes an entire Article on the Family. or one of them.' It decrees marriage as legally 'inviolable. like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job. who had refused to submit himself to such tests. In other words. 'mild characteriological peculiarities. could not have given valid assumption thereof. The evidence must show that the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their 'I do's. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of the family. such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption of marriage obligations. an adverse . 5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. mood changes. Petitioner adds that the CA should have realized that under the circumstances. or knowing them. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the incapacity must be psychological - not physical. recognizing it 'as the foundation of the nation. there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person. was mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could not have known the obligations he was assuming. or prior thereto.' thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties.[8] the guidelines governing the application and the interpretation of psychological incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family Code[9] were laid down by this Court as follows: "1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff. not a refusal. Thus. although its manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. CA and Molina. neglect or difficulty. Hence. she had no choice but to rely on other sources of information in order to determine the psychological capacity of respondent. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. Preliminary Issue: Need for Personal Medical Examination Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various tests that were submitted to determine respondent's psychological incapacity to perform the obligations of marriage should not have been brushed aside by the Court of Appeals. (c) sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the decision. occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. simply because respondent had not taken those tests himself. (b) alleged in the complaint. nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained. The evidence must convince the court that the parties. Furthermore. 3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at 'the time of the celebration' of the marriage. xxxxxxxxx 2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be: (a) medically or clinically identified.

especially now that he is gainfully employed as a taxi driver. the root cause may be "medically or clinically identified. which will be quoted in the decision. and even left the family home.For indeed. failed to give material and moral support. Court of Appeals:[11] "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence." What is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party's psychological condition. the totality of his acts does not lead to a conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said period and not to the inception of the marriage. xxxxxxxxx (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state."[10] The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier mandated by the Court in Santos v. there is no evidence showing that his condition is incurable. Equally important. then. Although this Court is sufficiently convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to the family and may have resorted to physical abuse and abandonment. In fact. Article 36 of the Family Code. The Solicitor General. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. There is absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable. integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage. Thus. the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a period of more than six years. is whether the totality of the evidence presented in the present case -. Verily. the common children. The Solicitor General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. petitioner's sister and the social worker -. if the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity. briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification. as the case may be. 221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and their children.including the testimonies of petitioner. shall submit to the court such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the court. is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves." The foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. should be given great respect by our courts. along with the prosecuting attorney. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition. we stress. It was during this period that he became intermittently drunk. then actual medical examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. 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. and (c) incurability. proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision.It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to . while not controlling or decisive. Main Issue: Totality of Evidence Presented The main question. 7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines. We rule in the negative.was enough to sustain a finding that respondent was psychologically incapacitated. to the petition.

abandonment and the like. Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation. sexual infidelity. 221 and 225 of the Family Code. drug addiction.[12] At best. this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage for failure of petitioner to show that the alleged psychological incapacity is characterized by gravity. SO ORDERED. not for declaring a marriage void. habitual alcoholism. has not faithfully observed them. WHEREFORE. this Court laid down the procedural requirements for its invocation in Molina. Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law. except that portion requiring personal medical examination as a conditio sine qua non to a finding of psychological incapacity. In sum. and for her failure to observe the guidelines outlined in Molina. No costs. the evidence presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal separation. These marital obligations are those provided under Articles 68 to 71. the Petition is DENIED and assailed Decision AFFIRMED. moral pressure. in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical violence. juridical antecedence and incurability. Petitioner. . 220. moral corruption. civil interdiction.assume. however.

and that her surname Garcia be changed to Catindig. He alleged therein. upon adoption by her natural father. that the grant of this petition would redound to the best interest and welfare of the minor Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. HIRD DIVISION [G. 2000. and in the absence of any opposition to the petition. Upon finality of this Decision. the minor shall be known as STEPHANIE NATHY CATINDIG. care for and educate the child to be adopted. Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia is hereby freed from all obligations of obedience and maintenance with respect to her natural mother. her mothers surname. March 31. 148311. among others. and that as such he is qualified to maintain. 603. The facts are undisputed.[2] that her mother is Gemma Astorga Garcia. On March 23.R. and that he is now a widower and qualified to be her adopting parent. shall henceforth be the petitioners legitimate child and legal heir. herein petitioner. On August 31. thus: After a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the petitioner. Henceforth. Honorato B. 1994. that Stephanie was born on June 26. Pursuant to Article 189 of the Family Code of the Philippines.[3] the trial court rendered the assailed Decision granting the adoption.: May an illegitimate child. Let copy of this Decision be furnished the National Statistics Office for record purposes. He prayed that Stephanies middle name Astorga be changed to Garcia. WHEREFORE.[4] . J. No. 2005] IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF STEPHANIE NATHY ASTORGA GARCIA HONORATO B. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. filed a petition[1] to adopt his minor illegitimate child Stephanie Nathy Astorga Garcia. and for civil purposes. Catindig. let the same be entered in the Local Civil Registrar concerned pursuant to Rule 99 of the Rules of Court. 2001. this Court finds that the petitioner possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualification provided for by law as an adoptive parent. the same is GRANTED. that Stephanie has been using her mothers middle name and surname. The Court further holds that the petitioners care and custody of the child since her birth up to the present constitute more than enough compliance with the requirement of Article 35 of Presidential Decree No. finding the petition to be meritorious. use the surname of her natural mother as her middle name? This is the issue raised in the instant case. CATINDIG. SO ORDERED. petitioner. his surname.

as her middle name. Thus. On April 20. through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). a man's name is the designation by which he is known and called in the community in which he lives and is best known. This custom has been recognized by the Civil Code and Family Code. 2001. the Family Law Committees agreed that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second name. her relationship or proof of that relationship with her natural mother should be maintained. to distinguish him from other individuals. petitioner filed a motion for clarification and/or reconsideration[5] praying that Stephanie should be allowed to use the surname of her natural mother (GARCIA) as her middle name. (4) adoption is for the benefit and best interest of the adopted child. It is defined as the word or combination of words by which a person is distinguished from other individuals and. (6) her continued use of Garcia as her middle name is not opposed by either the Catindig or Garcia families. and. to prevent any confusion and needless hardship in the future. In fact. it is customary for every Filipino to have a middle name. agrees with petitioner that Stephanie should be permitted to use. the surname of her natural mother for the following reasons: First. as the label or appellation which he bears for the convenience of the world at large addressing him. Second. 2001.[6] the trial court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration holding that there is no law or jurisprudence allowing an adopted child to use the surname of his biological mother as his middle name. also. it is necessary to preserve and maintain Stephanies filiation with her natural mother because under Article 189 of the Family Code. hence. there is no law expressly prohibiting Stephanie to use the surname of her natural mother as her middle name. The name of an individual has two parts: (1) the given or proper name and (2) the surname or family name. which is ordinarily the surname of the mother. (3) the middle name or initial is a part of the name of a person. if any. The Republic.[7] We find merit in the petition. On May 28. her right to bear a proper name should not be violated.[8] It is both of personal as well as public interest that every person must have a name. (5) permitting Stephanie to use the middle name Garcia (her mothers surname) avoids the stigma of her illegitimacy. What the law does not prohibit. The given or proper name is that which is given to the individual at birth or at baptism. Hence. Use Of Surname Is Fixed By Law For all practical and legal purposes. she remains to be an intestate heir of the latter. Last. The surname or family name is that which identifies the family to which he belongs and is continued . or in speaking of or dealing with him. Petitioner submits that the trial court erred in depriving Stephanie of a middle name as a consequence of adoption because: (1) there is no law prohibiting an adopted child from having a middle name in case there is only one adopting parent. the present petition raising the issue of whether an illegitimate child may use the surname of her mother as her middle name when she is subsequently adopted by her natural father. (2) it is customary for every Filipino to have as middle name the surname of the mother. will be before the surname of the mother. it allows.

in accordance with Article 370. In case of annulment of marriage. A widow may use the deceased husband's surname as though he were still living. However. 374. or (2) She or the former husband is married again to another person. In case of identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants. the word Junior can be used only by a son. or (2) Her maiden first name and her husband's surname or (3) Her husband's full name. 375. In case of identity of names and surnames. and the wife is the guilty party. The given name may be freely selected by the parents for the child. she shall resume her maiden name and surname. Art. (2) Add the Roman numerals II. 372. 371. the younger person shall be obliged to use such additional name or surname as will avoid confusion. 373.e. i. but prefixing a word indicating that she is his wife. the wife shall continue using her name and surname employed before the legal separation. 364. Art. Art. she may resume her maiden name and surname. Children conceived before the decree annulling a voidable marriage shall principally use the surname of the father.. 370. Art. Articles 364 to 380 of the Civil Code provides the substantive rules which regulate the use of surname[10] of an individual whatever may be his status in life. and so on. Art. such as Mrs. thus: Art. 365. A married woman may use: (1) Her maiden first name and surname and add her husband's surname. Art. or a widow. When legal separation has been granted. xxx Law Is Silent As To The Use Of Middle Name . Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. a married woman or a previously married woman.from parent to child. III. If she is the innocent spouse. whether he may be legitimate or illegitimate.[9] Thus. she may choose to continue employing her former husband's surname. Art. an adopted child. Grandsons and other direct male descendants shall either: (1) Add a middle name or the mother's surname. but the surname to which the child is entitled is fixed by law. An adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. xxx Art. unless: (1) The court decrees otherwise. 369.

the middle name or the mothers surname shall be added. if he wants to. Justice Puno pointed out that many names change through no choice of the person himself precisely because of this misunderstanding. He then cited the following example: Alfonso Ponce Enriles correct surname is Ponce since the mothers surname is Enrile but everybody calls him Atty. the child may also use the surname of the mother. Also. is likewise silent on the matter. The middle name or the mothers surname is only considered in Article 375(1). quoted above. Justice Jose Gutierrez Davids family name is Gutierrez and his mothers surname is David but they all call him Justice David. in which case. Article 189 of the Family Code. Justice Puno posed the question: If the child chooses to use the surname of the mother. otherwise known as An Act Allowing Illegitimate Children To Use The Surname Of Their Father. thus Justice Caguioa commented that there is a difference between the use by the wife of the surname and that of the child because the fathers surname indicates the family to which he belongs. as amended by Republic Act No. Baviera remarked that Justice Caguioas point is covered by the present Article 364. is silent as to what middle name a child may use. the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child. enumerating the legal effects of adoption. Enrile. Balane stated that they take note of this for inclusion in the Chapter on Use of Surnames since in the proposed . Even Article 176[11] of the Family Code. In the Minutes of the Joint Meeting of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees. Justice Caguioa suggested that the proposed Article (12) be modified to the effect that it shall be mandatory on the child to use the surname of the father but he may use the surname of the mother by way of an initial or a middle name. for which reason he would insist on the use of the fathers surname by the child but that. the members approved the suggestion that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father. the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees that drafted the Family Code recognized the Filipino custom of adding the surname of the childs mother as his middle name. thus: "(1) For civil purposes. Article 365 of the Civil Code merely provides that an adopted child shall bear the surname of the adopter. in case there is identity of names and surnames between ascendants and descendants. As correctly submitted by both parties. Prof. including the right of the adopted to use the surname of the adopters. how will his name be written? Justice Caguioa replied that it is up to him but that his point is that it should be mandatory that the child uses the surname of the father and permissive in the case of the surname of the mother. 9255. there is no law regulating the use of a middle name. Prof. as correctly pointed out by the OSG. xxx However. Notably. which reads: Legitimate and legitimated children shall principally use the surname of the father. the law is likewise silent as to what middle name an adoptee may use.

the rights accorded to a legitimate child. is for the adoptee to bear the surname of the adopter. Balane added that this is really the Filipino way. confirmed in 1989. whether related or not to the adopter.Article (10) they are just enumerating the rights of legitimate children so that the details can be covered in the appropriate chapter. accepted the principle that adoption is impressed with social and moral responsibility. but also as an act which endows the child with a legitimate status. possess in general. it follows that Stephanie is entitled to all the rights provided by law to a legitimate child without discrimination of any kind.[20] One of the effects of adoption is that the adopted is deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopter for all intents and purposes pursuant to Article 189[21] of the Family Code and Section 17[22] Article V of RA 8552. What it only expressly allows. as discussed above. they should say that initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father so that the second name. as aptly stated by both parties. when the Philippines. xxx Justice Puno suggested that they agree in principle that in the Chapter on the Use of Surnames.[23] Being a legitimate child by virtue of her adoption. Article V of RA 8552 (law on adoption) provide that the adoptee remains an intestate heir of his/her . Stephanies continued use of her mothers surname (Garcia) as her middle name will maintain her maternal lineage.[13] Again.[17] This was. as a matter of right and obligation. and that its underlying intent is geared to favor the adopted child.[12] (Emphasis supplied) In the case of an adopted child.[16] The modern trend is to consider adoption not merely as an act to establish a relationship of paternity and filiation. will be before the surname of the mother. it is a Filipino custom that the initial or surname of the mother should immediately precede the surname of the father.[15] It is a juridical act. the law provides that the adopted shall bear the surname of the adopters. including the right to bear the surname of her father and her mother.[18] Republic Act No. In fact. This is consistent with the intention of the members of the Civil Code and Family Law Committees as earlier discussed. a proceeding in rem which creates between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. as a State Party to the Convention of the Rights of the Child initiated by the United Nations. it is silent whether he can use a middle name. Prof. Additionally. It is to be noted that Article 189(3) of the Family Code and Section 18[24]. xxx Justice Puno remarked that there is logic in the simplification suggested by Justice Caguioa that the surname of the father should always be last because there are so many traditions like the American tradition where they like to use their second given name and the Latin tradition. indeed. which is also followed by the Chinese wherein they even include the Clan name. The Committee approved the suggestion. upon issuance of the decree of adoption. 8552. if any. otherwise known as the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998.[14] The Underlying Intent of Adoption Is In Favor of the Adopted Child Adoption is defined as the process of making a child.[19] secures these rights and privileges for the adopted.

they are one normal happy family. This provision.[25] The interests and welfare of the adopted child are of primary and paramount consideration. Baliuag. like Stephanie. 10 of the New Civil Code provides that: In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws. Art. should be liberally construed to carry out the beneficent purposes of adoption. Moreover. records show that Stephanie and her mother are living together in the house built by petitioner for them at 390 Tumana. Stephanie can well assert or claim her hereditary rights from her natural mother in the future. to allow Stephanie to use her mothers surname as her middle name will not only sustain her continued loving relationship with her mother but will also eliminate the stigma of her illegitimacy. Hence. is necessary so that it may tip the scales in favor of right and justice when the law is doubtful or obscure. San Jose. The assailed Decision is partly MODIFIED in the sense that Stephanie should be allowed to use her mothers surname GARCIA as her middle name. . Indeed. since there is no law prohibiting an illegitimate child adopted by her natural father. Let the corresponding entry of her correct and complete name be entered in the decree of adoption. WHEREFORE. Hence. She calls them Mama and Papa.biological parent. Stephanie is closely attached to both her mother and father. it is presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail. Petitioner provides for all their needs. we find no reason why she should not be allowed to do so.[27] Lastly.[26] hence. to use. every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. being humane and salutary. as middle name her mothers surname. Bulacan. SO ORDERED. according to the Code Commission.[28] Hence. the petition is GRANTED. It will strengthen the determination of the courts to avoid an injustice which may apparently be authorized by some way of interpreting the law. Liberal Construction of Adoption Statutes In Favor Of Adoption It is a settled rule that adoption statutes.

......-x DECISION CARPIO.. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.. Present: MONINA P.. which dismissed .... May 21.. JJ... LIM.: The Case This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Monina P. and IN RE: PETITION FOR BERSAMIN.... J... ADOPTION OF MICHAEL JUDE P. C.x CORONA.. 1258 and 1259... General Santos City.. LIM.... in SPL.... Case Nos...... PROC...J. FIRST DIVISION IN RE: PETITION FOR G..... LIM.. Promulgated: MONINA P. 168992-93 ADOPTION OF MICHELLE P.. Chairperson. CARPIO.......... Petitioner.. 2009 x .R........ Lim (petitioner) seeking to set aside the Decision[1] dated 15 September 2004 of the Regional Trial Court.... Petitioner... LIM. Nos... PUNO. Branch 22 (trial court)... x ...

without prejudice the consolidated petitions for adoption of Michelle P. Lim and Michael
Jude P. Lim.

The Facts

The following facts are undisputed. Petitioner is an optometrist by profession. On 23 June
1974, she married Primo Lim (Lim). They were childless. Minor children, whose parents
were unknown, were entrusted to them by a certain Lucia Ayuban (Ayuban). Being so
eager to have a child of their own, petitioner and Lim registered the children to make it
appear that they were the childrens parents. The children[2] were named Michelle P. Lim
(Michelle) and Michael Jude P. Lim (Michael). Michelle was barely eleven days old when
brought to the clinic of petitioner. She was born on 15 March 1977.[3] Michael was 11 days
old when Ayuban brought him to petitioners clinic. His date of birth is 1 August 1983. [4]

The spouses reared and cared for the children as if they were their own. They sent the
children to exclusive schools. They used the surname Lim in all their school records and
documents. Unfortunately, on 28 November 1998, Lim died. On 27 December 2000,
petitioner married Angel Olario (Olario), an American citizen.

Thereafter, petitioner decided to adopt the children by availing of the amnesty[5] given
under Republic Act No. 8552[6] (RA 8552) to those individuals who simulated the birth of
a child. Thus, on 24 April 2002, petitioner filed separate petitions for the adoption of
Michelle and Michael before the trial court docketed as SPL PROC. Case Nos. 1258 and
1259, respectively. At the time of the filing of the petitions for adoption, Michelle was 25
years old and already married, while Michael was 18 years and seven months old.

Michelle and her husband gave their consent to the adoption as evidenced by their
Affidavits of Consent.[7] Michael also gave his consent to his adoption as shown in his
Affidavit of Consent.[8] Petitioners husband Olario likewise executed an Affidavit of
Consent[9] for the adoption of Michelle and Michael.

In the Certification issued by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),
Michelle was considered as an abandoned child and the whereabouts of her natural
parents were unknown.[10] The DSWD issued a similar Certification for Michael.[11]

The Ruling of the Trial Court
On 15 September 2004, the trial court rendered judgment dismissing the petitions. The
trial court ruled that since petitioner had remarried, petitioner should have filed the

petition jointly with her new husband. The trial court ruled that joint adoption by the
husband and the wife is mandatory citing Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552 and Article
185 of the Family Code.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the decision but the motion was denied
in the Order dated 16 June 2005. In denying the motion, the trial court ruled that
petitioner did not fall under any of the exceptions under Section 7(c), Article III of RA 8552.
Petitioners argument that mere consent of her husband would suffice was untenable
because, under the law, there are additional requirements, such as residency and
certification of his qualification, which the husband, who was not even made a party in
this case, must comply.

As to the argument that the adoptees are already emancipated and joint adoption is
merely for the joint exercise of parental authority, the trial court ruled that joint adoption
is not only for the purpose of exercising parental authority because an emancipated child
acquires certain rights from his parents and assumes certain obligations and
responsibilities.

Hence, the present petition.

Issue

Petitioner appealed directly to this Court raising the sole issue of whether or not
petitioner, who has remarried, can singly adopt.

The Courts Ruling

Petitioner contends that the rule on joint adoption must be relaxed because it is the duty
of the court and the State to protect the paramount interest and welfare of the child to
be adopted. Petitioner argues that the legal maxim dura lex sed lex is not applicable to
adoption cases. She argues that joint parental authority is not necessary in this case since,
at the time the petitions were filed, Michelle was 25 years old and already married, while
Michael was already 18 years of age. Parental authority is not anymore necessary since
they have been emancipated having attained the age of majority.

We deny the petition.

Joint Adoption by Husband and Wife

It is undisputed that, at the time the petitions for adoption were filed, petitioner had
already remarried. She filed the petitions by herself, without being joined by her husband
Olario. We have no other recourse but to affirm the trial courts decision denying the
petitions for adoption. Dura lex sed lex. The law is explicit. Section 7, Article III of RA 8552
reads:

SEC. 7. Who May Adopt. - The following may adopt:

(a) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal
rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving
moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children,
at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to
support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family.
The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter
and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the
adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptees parent;
(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino
nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the
Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at
least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption
and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she
has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate
government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her
country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her
country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, further, That the
requirements on residency and certification of the aliens qualification to adopt
in his/her country may be waived for the following:

(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth
(4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or

(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino
spouse; or

(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with
his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity
or affinity of the Filipino spouses; or

Second. without joining her husband.[12] The law is clear. As the child to be adopted is elevated to the level of a legitimate child. the children to be adopted are not the legitimate children of petitioner or of her husband Olario. or (iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other. or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other. the trial court was correct in denying the petitions for adoption on this ground. That the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto. The fact that Olario gave his consent to the adoption as shown in his Affidavit of Consent does not suffice. There are certain requirements that Olario must comply being an . Petitioner. The rule also insures harmony between the spouses. however. or (ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided. joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses. (Emphasis supplied) The use of the word shall in the above-quoted provision means that joint adoption by the husband and the wife is mandatory. In case husband and wife jointly adopt. Husband and wife shall jointly adopt. the children are not the illegitimate children ofpetitioner. This is in consonance with the concept of joint parental authority over the child which is the ideal situation. must jointly adopt. having remarried at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. There is no room for ambiguity. except in the following cases: (i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other. petitioner and Olario are not legally separated from each other. Neither does petitioner fall under any of the three exceptions enumerated in Section 7. Olario. Since the petitions for adoption were filed only by petitioner herself. First. it is but natural to require the spouses to adopt jointly. (c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities. And third.

None of these qualifications were shown and proved during the trial.The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate son/daughter of the adopter(s) for all intents and purposes and as such is . Neither are the adoptees the legitimate children of petitioner. These requirements on residency and certification of the aliens qualification to adopt cannot likewise be waived pursuant to Section 7. thus: ARTICLE V EFFECTS OF ADOPTION SEC. (3) he must maintain such residency until the adoption decree is entered. .[14] Even the remarriage of the surviving parent shall not affect the parental authority over the children.American citizen. (4) he has legal capacity to adopt in his own country.[13] The father and the mother shall jointly exercise parental authority over the persons of their common children. 16. Article V of RA 8552 enumerates the effects of adoption. This is untenable. He must meet the qualifications set forth in Section 7 of RA 8552 such as: (1) he must prove that his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines.[15] It is true that when the child reaches the age of emancipation that is. . (2) he must have been living in the Philippines for at least three continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption. unless the court appoints another person to be the guardian of the person or property of the children. Parental authority includes caring for and rearing the children for civic consciousness and efficiency and the development of their moral. and (5) the adoptee is allowed to enter the adopters country as the latters adopted child. The children or adoptees are not relatives within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of petitioner or of Olario. SEC. parental authority is merely just one of the effects of legal adoption. who shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life. when he attains the age of majority or 18 years of age[16] emancipation terminates parental authority over the person and property of the child. 17. all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee shall be severed and the same shall then be vested on the adopter(s). Legitimacy. Parental Authority. mental and physical character and well- being.Except in cases where the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter. Effects of Adoption Petitioner contends that joint parental authority is not anymore necessary since the children have been emancipated having reached the age of majority.[17] However.

needy or orphaned children and give them the protection of society and family. Vergara:[24] We are not unmindful of the main purpose of adoption statutes.[23] But. (Emphasis supplied) . Succession. the adoptive parents shall. and (3) to be entitled to the legitime and other successional rights. the adoptee is entitled to love. care and education for less fortunate children. Conversely. love. the law on testamentary succession shall govern. and (ii) the right of the adopter and adoptee to be legal and compulsory heirs of each other. parental care and education for unfortunate. the law should be construed liberally. and (3) give adopter and adoptee reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child. enjoy all the benefits to which biological parents are entitled[20] such as support[21] and successional rights. as we have ruled in Republic v. in a manner that will sustain rather than defeat said purpose. that the law on the matter is amended. for the law is clear and it cannot be modified without violating the proscription against judicial legislation. which is the promotion of the welfare of the children. and support in keeping with the means of the family. with respect to the adopted child. guidance. the adopter(s) and the adoptee shall have reciprocal rights of succession without distinction from legitimate filiation. if the adoptee and his/her biological parent(s) had left a will. (2) to receive support from their parents. being humane and salutary. Every reasonable intendment should be sustained to promote and fulfill these noble and compassionate objectives of the law. hold the interests and welfare of the child to be of paramount consideration. Accordingly. we cannot sustain the respondent-spouses petition for adoption.In legal and intestate succession. 18. Adoption has. (2) deem the adoptee as a legitimate child of the adopter. except when the biological parent is the spouse of the adopter. understanding and less severity in view of the fact that it is intended to provide homes. including but not limited to: (i) the right of the adopter to choose the name the child is to be known. thus. entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters born to them without discrimination of any kind. SEC. Until such time however. To this end. the Court is not in a position to affirm the trial courts decision favoring adoption in the case at bar. even if emancipation terminates parental authority. . Regrettably.[18] Therefore. the adoptee is still considered a legitimate child of the adopter with all the rights[19] of a legitimate child such as: (1) to bear the surname of the father and the mother. as well as to allow childless couples or persons to experience the joys of parenthood and give them legally a child in the person of the adopted for the manifestation of their natural parental instincts. the following effects: (1) sever all legal ties between the biological parent(s) and the adoptee. However.[22] We are mindful of the fact that adoption statutes. The law must also be applied with compassion. They are designed to provide homes.

Until and unless there is a judicial decree for the dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Olario. We cannot make our own legislation to suit petitioner.Petitioner. 1258 and 1259. being married at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. That being the case. insists that subsequent events would show that joint adoption could no longer be possible because Olario has filed a case for dissolution of his marriage to petitioner in the Los Angeles Superior Court. . Petitioner. joint adoption by the husband and the wife is required. WHEREFORE. General Santos City. The filing of a case for dissolution of the marriage between petitioner and Olario is of no moment. should have jointly filed the petitions with her husband. It is not equivalent to a decree of dissolution of marriage. the marriage still subsists. We AFFIRM the Decision dated 15 September 2004 of the Regional Trial Court. in her Memorandum. at the time the petitions for adoption were filed. Case Nos. SO ORDERED. joint adoption is mandatory. Branch 22 in SPL. petitioner was married to Olario. PROC. We disagree. We reiterate our ruling above that since. we DENY the petition. Costs against petitioner.

respondent. 1991. Bohol. 1990. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 1993. February 06. The former replied and after an exchange of letters.R. J.R. In 1986. In 1984. which affirmed the judgment dated August 5.: This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse the decision dated October [1] 21. 1990 at the Iglesia de Filipina Nacional at Catagdaan. 6020. Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete lost contact with each other. CR No. Lucia filed with the Ontario Court (General Division) a petition for divorce against appellant which was granted by the court on January 17. 2004] LUCIO MORIGO y CACHO. 2000. While in Canada. 20700. Lucia returned to the Philippines but left again for Canada to work there. for a period of four (4) years (from 1974-1978). 1992 and to take effect on February 17. the declaration of nullity of accuseds marriage with Lucia. denying Morigos motion for reconsideration. 145226. as found by the court a quo. On October 4. . Lucio Morigo was surprised to receive a card from Lucia Barrete from Singapore. SECOND DIVISION [G. vs. 8688. No. Pilar. Both agreed to get married. The complaint seek (sic) among others. accused filed a complaint for judicial declaration of nullity of marriage in the Regional Trial Court of Bohol. The facts of this case. 1992. Lucia reported back to her work in Canada leaving appellant Lucio behind. docketed as Civil Case No. Branch [2] 4. 1996 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol. Province of Bohol. After school year 1977-78. On September 21. Bohol. Tagbilaran City. they maintained constant communication. in Criminal Case No. appellant Lucio Morigo married Maria Jececha Lumbago at the Virgen [4] sa Barangay Parish. they became sweethearts. dated September 25. DECISION QUISUMBING. are as follows: Appellant Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates at the house of Catalina Tortor at Tagbilaran City. Lucia came back to the Philippines and proposed to petition appellant to join her in Canada. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. petitioner. On August 19. 1992. on the ground that no marriage ceremony actually took place. 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. In 1990. Also assailed in this petition is the resolution of [3] the appellate court. thus they were married on August 30. On September 8.

Meanwhile. On August 5. but subsequently denied upon motion for reconsideration by the prosecution. Trial thereafter ensued. 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 October 19. which was docketed as Criminal Case No.R. 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. a divorce granted by said court is not entitled to recognition anywhere. Debunking Lucios defense of good faith in contracting the second marriage. docketed as CA- G. CR No. the trial court stressed that following People v. as follows: WHEREFORE. which then became final and executory. foregoing premises considered. SO ORDERED. Court of Appeals. the trial court ruled that want of a valid marriage ceremony is not a defense [8] in a charge of bigamy. the trial court cited Ramirez v. the appellate court decided CA-G. 1993. Gmur. Bitdu. [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. No appeal was taken from this decision. appellant was charged with Bigamy in an Information filed by the [5] City Prosecutor of Tagbilaran [City]. 6020 could not acquit Lucio. SO ORDERED. the trial court discounted petitioners claim that his first marriage to Lucia was null and void ab initio. [7] In convicting herein petitioner. Seasonably. on October 23. [11] In affirming the assailed judgment of conviction. 6020 declaring the marriage between Lucio and Lucia void ab initio since no marriage ceremony actually took place. When arraigned in the bigamy case. CR No. Anent the Canadian divorce obtained by Lucia. On October 21. has no jurisdiction to determine the matrimonial status of the parties. the trial court rendered a decision in Civil Case No. 20700 as follows: WHEREFORE. everyone is [10] presumed to know the law. herein petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. 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. The reason is that what is sought to be punished by . As such. 8688. 1999. with the Regional Trial Court of Bohol. the RTC of Bohol handed down its judgment in Criminal Case No. His motion was granted. finding no error in the appealed decision. the same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. CR No. Following Domingo v. 20700.R. 20700 was pending before the appellate court.R. which held that the court of a country in which neither of the spouses is [9] domiciled and in which one or both spouses may resort merely for the purpose of obtaining a divorce. or while CA-G. 1997. 8688. the appellate court stressed that the subsequent declaration of nullity of Lucios marriage to Lucia in Civil Case No. petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals.

Justice Eugenio S. The ponente of the appellate courts [16] original decision in CA-G. The petitioner submits that he should not be faulted for relying in good faith upon the divorce decree of the Ontario court. COROLLARILY. which a person intent upon bigamy would not . he cannot be convicted beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS.Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code is the act of contracting a second marriage [12] before the first marriage had been dissolved. the denial was by a split vote. B. CRIMINAL INTENT IS AN INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE.R. Since the date of the nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage and since herein petitioner was. 20700. CR No. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT IN CRIMES PENALIZED UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE. Under Article 17 of the Civil Code. never married. Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the appellate courts decision. C. the appellate court denied the motion for lack of merit. However. a declaration of public policy cannot [14] be rendered ineffectual by a judgment promulgated in a foreign jurisdiction. the primordial issue should be whether or not petitioner committed bigamy and if so. whether his defense of good faith is valid. then there was no first marriage to speak of. BITDU (58 PHIL. allows mistake upon a difficult question of [15] law (such as the effect of a foreign divorce decree) to be a basis for good faith. Abesamis. contending that the doctrine in Mendiola v. Hence. 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. Labitoria. He highlights the fact that he contracted the second marriage openly and publicly. 2000. The dissent observed that as the first marriage was validly declared void ab initio. the CA held. pursuant to Article 15 of the Civil Code and given the fact that it is contrary to public policy in this [13] jurisdiction. On September 25. in the eyes of the law. the fact that the first marriage was void from the beginning is not a valid defense in a bigamy case. 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. [17] To our mind. joined in the opinion prepared by Justice Bernardo P. The present petition raises the following issues for our resolution: A. 817) IS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO APPRECIATE [THE] PETITIONERS LACK OF CRIMINAL INTENT WHEN HE CONTRACTED THE SECOND MARRIAGE. People.

Applying the foregoing test to the instant case. the absent spouse has not been judicially declared presumptively dead. the accused was. we must first determine whether all the elements of bigamy are present in this case. Bobis. The crime of bigamy. to wit: WHEREFORE. Bobis. 6020.be doing. it does not necessarily follow that his intention to contract a second marriage is tantamount to an intent to commit bigamy. 6020. 20700. the RTC of Bohol Branch 1. a judicial declaration of nullity is a must before a party may [19] re-marry. (2) the first marriage has not been legally dissolved. (3) he contracts a subsequent marriage.R. never married. we note that during the pendency of CA-G. 6020. seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lucia. 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. what transpired was a mere signing of the marriage contract by the two. .R. SO ORDERED. As the dissenting opinion in [22] [23] CA-G. without the presence of a solemnizing officer. judgment is hereby rendered decreeing the annulment of the marriage entered into by petitioner Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete on August 23. premises considered. is mala in se. 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. 1990 in Pilar. The [24] records show that no appeal was taken from the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. under the eyes of the law. The Solicitor General relies upon our ruling in Marbella-Bobis v. The trial court thus held that the marriage is void ab initio. correctly puts it. and hence. and that such declaration of nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage. which held that bigamy can be [18] successfully prosecuted provided all the elements concur. Hence. The petitioner further argues that his lack of criminal intent is material to a conviction or acquittal in the instant case. for all intents and purposes. For the respondent. in accordance with Articles 3 and 4 of the Family Code. Bohol to effect the cancellation of the marriage contract. we laid down the elements of bigamy thus: [20] (1) the offender has been legally married. or in case his or her spouse is absent. Before we delve into petitioners defense of good faith and lack of criminal intent. good faith and lack of criminal intent are allowed as a complete defense. just like other felonies punished under the Revised Penal Code. handed down the following decision in Civil Case No. CR No. 20700. In other words. He stresses that there is a difference between the intent to commit the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. In Marbella-Bobis v. hence. CR No. This simply means that there was no marriage to begin with. [21] The trial court found that there was no actual marriage ceremony performed between Lucio and Lucia by a solemnizing officer. Whether or not the petitioner was aware of said Article 40 is of no account as everyone is presumed to know the law. the decision had long become final and executory. and (4) the subsequent marriage would have been valid had it not been for the existence of the first. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) submits that good faith in the instant case is a convenient but flimsy excuse. Instead. stressing that under Article 40 of the Family Code. Bohol and further directing the Local Civil Registrar of Pilar.

This principle applies even if the earlier union is characterized by statutes as void. The mere private act of signing a marriage contract bears no semblance to a valid marriage and thus. it is but logical that a conviction for said offense cannot be sustained where there is no first marriage to speak of. at least. Taking this argument to its logical conclusion. although later declared void ab initio. Under the circumstances of the present case. The petitioner. [26] It bears stressing though that in Mercado. 2000. 20700. Ostensibly. Thus. perforce be acquitted of the instant charge. Under the principle of retroactivity of a marriage being declared void ab initio. In the latter case. there is no first marriage to speak of. 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. dated October 21. legally speaking. it bears no legal effect. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The existence and the validity of the first marriage being an essential element of the crime of bigamy. the first marriage was actually solemnized not just once. CR No. 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. but must be distinguished from Mercado v. the judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage was [25] likewise obtained after the second marriage was already celebrated. the two were never married from the beginning. WHEREFORE. 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. must. The assailed decision. We held therein that: A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is necessary before a subsequent one can be legally contracted. One who enters into a subsequent marriage without first obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. The first element of bigamy as a crime requires that the accused must have been legally married. the petitioner was never married to Lucia Barrete. 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.R. SO ORDERED . denying herein petitioners motion for reconsideration. however. The contract of marriage is null. 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. The present case is analogous to. as well as the resolution of the appellate court dated September 25. which is now moot and academic. In the instant case. the first marriage appeared to have transpired. the instant petition is GRANTED. we held that petitioner has not committed bigamy. for legal purposes. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Further. Such act alone. Tan. Petitioner and Lucia Barrete merely signed a marriage contract on their own. needs no judicial declaration of nullity. petitioner was not married to Lucia at the time he contracted the marriage with Maria Jececha. without more. no marriage ceremony at all was performed by a duly authorized solemnizing officer. But in this case.

filed Civil Case No. On November 29. as the illegitimate (spurious) son of the deceased William Liyao and ordering Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao. 2002] WILLIAM LIYAO. had never been in touch with him despite the necessity to meet him. Branch 167 in declaring William Liyao. . 45394 which reversed the decision [1] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig. 24943 before the RTC of Pasig. JR.R. Tan and Linda Christina Liyao to recognize and acknowledge William Liyao. JUANITA TANHOTI-LIYAO. as a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao and entitled to all successional rights as such and to pay the costs of the suit.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the decision dated June 4.V. Corazon cohabited with the late William Liyao from 1965 up to the time of Williams untimely demise on December 2. Garcia is legally married to but living separately from Ramon M. PEARL MARGARET L. J. Branch 167 which is an action for compulsory recognition as the illegitimate (spurious) child of the late William Liyao against herein respondents. Tita Rose L.R. The complaint was later amended to include [2] the allegation that petitioner was in continuous possession and enjoyment of the status of the child of said William Liyao. vs.. ECOND DIVISION [G. Tan. Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao. 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. They lived together in the company of Corazons two (2) children from her subsisting marriage. represented by his mother Corazon G. Metro Manila. Ramon Yulo. Pearl Margaret L. Sometime in 1974. from his subsisting marriage with Juanita Tanhoti Liyao. Tita Rose L. Tan. to show his consent to the aforesaid sale. March 7.. represented by his mother Corazon Garcia." [3] The facts as alleged by petitioner are as follows: Corazon G. No. Jr. 138961. C. respectively. Jr. the sale of the parcel of land located at the Valle Verde Subdivision was registered under the name of Far East Realty Investment. Corazon bought a lot from Ortigas and Co. William Liyao. of which Corazon and William were then vice president and president. Tan and Linda Christina Liyao. TITA ROSE L. Tita Rose L. Jr. JR.. TAN AND LINDA CHRISTINA LIYAO. in a succession of rented houses in Quezon City and Manila. Garcia. Tita Rose and Christina were both employed at the Far East Realty Investment. Inc. namely: Enrique and Bernadette. This was with the knowledge of William Liyaos legitimate children. Pearl Margaret L. Inc. respondents. petitioner. which required the signature of her husband. 1975. She failed to secure his signature and. No. both surnamed Yulo. Yulo for more than ten (10) years at the time of the institution of the said civil case.1976. Tan and Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga. DECISION DE LEON. Upon the advice of William Liyao. petitioner having been recognized and acknowledged as such child by the decedent during his lifetime. TAN.

money for household expenses and matriculation fees for the two (2) older children. this did not happen since William Liyao [11] passed away on December 2. Maurita knew that Corazon is still . (Billy). Maurita Pasion declared that she knew both Corazon G. During these occasions. Bernadette and Enrique (Ike). William Liyao supported Billy and paid for his food. Corazon gave birth to William Liyao. He likewise instructed Corazon to open a bank account for Billy with the Consolidated Bank and Trust Company and gave weekly [4] amounts to be deposited therein. She even recognized a short sleeved shirt of blue and gray which Mr. She continuously visited them at White Plains and knew that William Liyao. Being a close friend of Corazon. All the medical and hospital expenses. Maurita attended Mr." Since birth. During William Liyaos birthday on November 22. among others. [5] introduce him as his good looking son and had their pictures taken together. Jr. Liyaos funeral and helped Corazon pack his clothes. When Corazon. was pregnant with her child Billy. William Liyao and Corazon together with Billys godfather. Ruiz. several pictures were taken showing. On June 9. including his two (2) daughters from his legal marriage. he was carrying Billy and told everybody present. very guapo and healthy. William Liyao would bring Billy to the office. Corazon also [7] presented pictures in court to prove that that she usually accompanied William Liyao while attending various social gatherings and other important meetings. food and clothing were paid under the account of William Liyao. 1975. William Liyaos legal staff and their wives while on vacation in Baguio. she was at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital during the birth of Billy. The two children of Corazon from her marriage to Ramon Yulo. William Liyao left his personal belongings. A note was also presented with the following [14] inscriptions: To Cora. He intended to make it engrande and make the bells of San Sebastian Church ring. During the[8] occasion of William Liyaos last birthday on November 22. Look. Testifying for the petitioner. Maurita often visited her three (3) to four (4) times a week in Greenhills and later on in White Plains where she would often see William Liyao. William Liyao expressly acknowledged Billy as his son in the presence of Fr. she would usually see William Liyao in sleeping clothes. while living with her friend Corazon. gave support by way of grocery supplies. during the latter part of 1974. Billy had been in continuous [9] possession and enjoyment of the status of a recognized and/or acknowledged child of William Liyao by the latters direct and overt acts. Bernadette and Enrique. it was Corazon who provided sole support to Billy and took care of his tuition fees at La Salle. William. clothing. namely. However. William Liyao visited and stayed with her and the new born baby. at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital. old newspaper clippings and laminations at the house in White Plains where he shared his last moments with Corazon. Fr. Garcia and William Liyao who were godparents to her children. this is my son. collections. Maurita would sleep in the couples residence and cook for the family. Virginia Rodriguez. [6] During the lifetime of William Liyao. Unfortunately. 1975 held at the Republic Supermarket Office. Jr. During her three (3) day stay at the hospital. 1975 held at the Republic Supermarket. Liyao wore in a photograph as well as another shirt of lime [12] [13] green as belonging to the deceased. look I am still young. He then talked about his plan for the baptism of [10] Billy before Christmas. She used to visit Corazon and William Liyao from 1965-1975. together with some housemaids lived with Corazon and William Liyao as one family. William Liyao even asked his confidential secretary. Julian Ruiz. Maurita remembered having invited the [15] couple during her mothers birthday where the couple had their pictures taken while exhibiting affectionate poses with one another. Maurita Pasion and other friends and said. to secure a copy of Billys birth certificate. I can still make a good looking son. On some occasions like birthdays or some other celebrations. 1975. Mrs. Greenhills. clothing and other material needs. Hey. Love From William. after William Liyaos death.

1975. ran the office. Linda grew up and lived with her parents at San [16] Lorenzo Village. He stayed home for two (2) to three (3) days and went back to work. Santiago Co. painted a different picture of the story. that her parents were not separated legally or in fact and that there was no reason why any of her parents would institute legal separation proceedings in court. Gloria Panopio testified that she is the owner of a beauty parlor and that she knew that Billy is the son of her neighbors. her father would change his clothes at home because of his personal hygiene and habits. were legally married. As a businessman. Liyao was worried that Corazon might have another miscarriage so he insisted that she just stay in the house. Her father reportedly had trouble sleeping in other peoples homes. Linda and her sister. Billy. Her father lived at their house in San Lorenzo Village and came home regularly. strong. Yulo with Corazon in the house where Mr. Liyao and Corazon lived. Liyao at Corazons house in Scout Delgado.married to Ramon Yulo since her marriage has not been annulled nor is Corazon legally separated from her said husband. Quezon City in the Christmas of 1965. He suffered two strokes before the fatal attack which led to his death on December 2. Mr. She handled the collection of rents while her sister referred legal matters to their lawyers. Metro Manila until she got married. He believed that no amount of success would compensate for failure of a home. In the meantime. he was very tough. had mahjong sessions among themselves. He suffered a stroke at the office sometime in April-May 1974 and was attended by Dr. move. from the time that the latter abandoned and separated from his family. 1975. William Liyao and Juanita Tanhoti-Liyao. Mr. Respondents. Even during out of town business trips or for conferences with the lawyers at the office. Linda described him as very conservative and a strict disciplinarian. He did not put in long hours in the office unlike before and tried to spend more time with his family. write or sign his name. He also gave Corazon financial support. Enrique Garcia Yulo testified that he had not heard from his father. However. fought for what he believed in and did not give up easily. Liyao from 1966 to 1974 and even more so when the couple transferred to White Plains. At the time Corazon was conceiving. Ramon Yulo. He identified several pictures showing Mr. Gloria knew that Mr. Gloria taught Corazon how to play mahjong and together with Atty. Makati. William Liyao and Corazon Garcia. Maurita had not seen Ramon Yulo or any other man in the house when she usually visited Corazon. Mr. Liyao was very supportive and fond of Enriques half brother. walk. Gloria knew that Corazon is married but is separated from Ramon Yulo although Gloria never had any occasion to see Mr. Liyao provided Corazon with a rented house. paid the salary of the maids and food for Billy. . He then stayed in the house for two (2) to three (3) months for his therapy and acupuncture treatment. Tita Rose Liyao-Tan. the latter being one of her customers. Brillantes wife and sister-in-law. Liyao carrying Billy could not have been superimposed and that the negatives were in the possession of her mother. Linda Christina Liyao-Ortiga stated that her parents. He was not active in business and had dietary restrictions. who testified that the various pictures showing Mr. and was easily bored. Bernadette Yulo. play mahjong and not be bored. however. He felt depressed. William Liyao was bedridden and had personally changed. during the entire cohabitation of William Liyao with Corazon Garcia. Quezon City from 1974-1975. Enriques testimony was corroborated by his sister. Liyao also suffered a milder stroke during the latter part of September to October 1974. on the other hand. Gloria had numerous occasions to see Mr. Gloria met Mr. He could not talk. Corazon Garcia. Enrique was about six (6) years old when William Liyao started to live with them up to the time of the latters death on December 2. Liyao carrying Billy at the house as well as in the office.

Yulo who was also asking about cars for sale. taking aldomet. his speech and hands were affected and he had to stay home for two (2) to three (3) months under strict medication. Linda did not recognize any article of clothing which belonged to her father after having been shown three (3) large suit cases full of mens clothes. Tita Rose also stated that her family never received any formal demand that they recognize a certain William Liyao. sweaters. Makati to pick up his boss at 8:00 oclock in the morning. Mr. including a parcel of land sold by Ortigas and Company. Linda then instructed the guards to bring Mrs. Corazon Garcia was paid the amount of One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100. in 1974. Tita Rose. Mr. who said that he usually reported for work at San Lorenzo Village. Linda added that Corazon. They resided at No. Mr. Liyao. Her husband. Once in 1973. Corazon was not legally separated from her husband and the records from the Local Civil Registrar do not indicate that the couple obtained any annulment of their [17] marriage. Corazon went to Lindas office for the return of the formers alleged investments with the Far East Realty Investment. People in the office knew that she was married. Liyao was not able to report to the office regularly. Liyaos breast and decided later to carry and bring him to the hospital but Mr. would sometimes go to the office. represented himself as car dealer. as an illegitimate son of her father. while still a Vice-President of the company. Mr. clothes and several laminated pictures of William Liyao from the office. underwear. decided to let Corazon Garcia go. shorts and pajamas. Linda chanced upon Ramon Yulo picking up Corazon Garcia at the company garage. After assuming the position of President of the company. Linda testified that she knew Corazon Garcia is still married to Ramon Yulo. Yulo to the [18] office upstairs but her sister. Pineda was called inside the office of Mr. he ran errands for the latter among which was buying medicine for him like capasid and aldomet. 21 Hernandez Street. Mr. The last witness who testified for the respondents was Ramon Pineda. Tita Rose Liyao-Tan testified that her parents were legally married and had never been separated. Mr. At past 7:00 oclock in the evening. One time. Mr. Tita Rose testified that after the [20] death of Mr. Liyao died upon arrival thereat. William Liyao. Liyao. Thereafter. Tita Rose did not come across any check signed by her late father representing payment to lessors as rentals for the house occupied by Corazon Garcia. serpadil and cifromet which were prescribed by Dr. 1975. Bonifacio Yap. 1975. Pineda also declared that he knew Corazon Garcia to be one of the employees of the Republic Supermarket. Immediately after the death of Lindas father. Linda Liyao- Ortiga were the first to arrive at the hospital. Jr. Ramon Yulo. either Carlos Palamigan or Serafin Villacillo took over as night shift driver. Her father suffered [19] two (2) minor cardio-vascular arrests (CVA) prior to his death.00) representing her investment in the Far East Realty Investment Inc. . Liyao got sick. Sometime in September 1974. Pineda saw his employer leaning on the table. During the first heart attack sometime between April and May 1974.000. Liyao. San Lorenzo Village. driver and bodyguard of William Liyao from 1962 to 1974. was able to take out documents. for high blood pressure and cholesterol level control. Sometime between April and May 1974. Liyao suffered from another heart attack. Mr. Mrs. He tried to massage Mr. Tita Rose added that the laminated photographs presented by Corazon Garcia are the personal collection of the deceased which were displayed at the latters office. Pineda saw Ramon Yulo at the office garage as if to fetch Corazon Garcia. Makati up to the time of her fathers death on December 2. Liyao and her daughter. Mrs. Inc. It was only after a month that he was able to report to the office. Mr. On December 2. Yulo is leaving and taking out things again. There was one instance when she was told by the guards. Pineda added that as a driver and bodyguard of Mr.

Magno and Atty. and (d) Costs of suit. he does not remember driving for Corazon Garcia on a trip to Baguio or for activities like shopping. Tita Rose L. Jr. had a hand in the preparation of said certificates and considering that his signature does not appear thereon. Yulo in the garage of Republic Supermarket once in 1973 and then in 1974 to Atty. The appellate court gave weight to the testimonies of some witnesses for the respondents that Corazon Garcia and Ramon Yulo who were still legally married and have not secured legal separation.[21] In ruling for herein petitioner. Virginia Rodriguez. Pineda said that he remembered having driven the group of Mr. Atty. The trial court observed that herein petitioner had been in continuous possession and enjoyment of the status of a child of the deceased by direct and overt acts of the latter such as securing the birth certificate of petitioner through his confidential secretary. Pearl Margaret L. as driver of Mr. were seen in each others company during the supposed time that Corazon cohabited with the deceased William Liyao. Laguio to Baguio for a vacation together with the lawyers wives. Mrs. reversed the ruling of the trial court saying that the law favors the legitimacy rather than the illegitimacy of the child and the presumption of legitimacy is thwarted only on ethnic ground and by proof that marital intimacy between husband and wife was physically impossible at the period cited in Article 257 in relation to Article 255 of the Civil Code. Brillantes. (b) Declaring the minor William Liyao. He freely relayed the information that he saw Mr. since the latter was conceived at the time when Corazon Garcia cohabited with the deceased. 1993. Witness Pineda declared that he did not know anything about the claim of Corazon. the trial court rendered a decision. (c) Ordering the defendants Juanita Tanhoti Liyao. Tan and Christian Liyao. Quisumbing when he went to the latters law office. the appellate court observed that there was nothing in it to prove that the same was . openly and publicly acknowledging petitioner as his son. With regard to the passbook which was presented as evidence for petitioner. Garcia as the guardian ad litem of the minor William Liyao. On August 31. Liyao for a number of years. entitled to all succesional rights as such. as the illegitimate (spurious) son of the deceased William Liyao. Liyao. Jr. the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Atty. The appellate court further noted that the birth certificate and the baptismal certificate of William Liyao. The Court of Appeals stated that neither do family pictures constitute competent proof of filiation. William Liyao. providing sustenance and even introducing herein petitioner to his legitimate children. which were presented by petitioner are not sufficient to establish proof of paternity in the absence of any evidence that the deceased. as a compulsory heir of the deceased William Liyao. Jr. Jr. The Court of Appeals. the trial court said it was convinced by preponderance of evidence that the deceased William Liyao sired William Liyao. Tan. Being the driver of Mr. Astraquillo. and acknowledge the minor William Liyao. During his employment. Jr. to recognize. Atty. however. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants as follows: (a) Confirming the appointment of Corazon G.. Liyao.

executed and [25] signed by Ramon Yulo indicating a waiver of rights to any and all claims on any property that Corazon Garcia might acquire in the future. [26] The fact that Corazon Garcia had been living separately from her husband. Petitioner insists that his mother. His motion for reconsideration having been denied. [23] The presumption of legitimacy of the child. Ramon Yulo. a child born and conceived during a valid marriage is presumed to be legitimate. Article 255 of the New Civil Code provides: [24] Article 255. The presumption is grounded in a policy to protect innocent offspring from the odium of illegitimacy. While physical impossibility for the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife is one of the grounds for impugning the legitimacy of the child. William Liyao? We deny the present petition. at the time petitioner was conceived and born is of no moment. Against this presumption no evidence shall be admitted other than that of the physical impossibility of the husband having access to his wife within the first one hundred and twenty days of the three hundred which preceded the birth of the child. It must be stated at the outset that both petitioner and respondents have raised a number of issues which relate solely to the sufficiency of evidence presented by petitioner to establish his claim of filiation with the late William Liyao. at the time that she cohabited with the late William Liyao and it was physically impossible for her to have sexual relations with Ramon Yulo when petitioner was conceived and born. Children born after one hundred and eighty days following the celebration of the marriage. and before three hundred days following its dissolution or the separation of the spouses shall be presumed to be legitimate. or in proper cases. Contract of Separation.opened by William Liyao for either petitioner or Corazon Garcia since William Liyaos signature and name do not appear thereon. The presumption of legitimacy of children does not only [22] flow out from a declaration contained in the statute but is based on the broad principles of natural justice and the supposed virtue of the mother. both parties have consistently overlooked the real crux of this litigation: May petitioner impugn his own legitimacy to be able to claim from the estate of his supposed father. This physical impossibility may be caused: 1) By the impotence of the husband. To bolster his claim. however. may be overthrown by evidence to the contrary. Hence. Under the New Civil Code. petitioner filed the present petition. Unfortunately. 2) By the fact that husband and wife were living separately in such a way that access was not possible. his heirs under the conditions set forth under Article 262 of the Civil Code. petitioner presented a document entitled. Impugning the legitimacy of [27] . Ramon Yulo. is not conclusive and consequently. Corazon Garcia. 3) By the serious illness of the husband. had been living separately for ten (10) years from her husband. it bears emphasis that the grounds for impugning the legitimacy of the child mentioned in Article 255 of the Civil Code may only be invoked by the husband.

presumed to be the father does not impugn the legitimacy of the child. . and the latter cannot choose to be the child of his mothers alleged paramour. Jr. or in exceptional cases. his heirs. could impugn the legitimacy of a child born in a valid and subsisting marriage. in testifying for herein petitioner amount to impugnation of the legitimacy of the latter? We think not. Outside of these cases. as the illegitimate son of the late William Liyao cannot prosper. It is only in exceptional cases that his heirs are allowed to contest [28] such legitimacy.the child is a strictly personal right of the husband. herein petitioner.can impugn legitimacy. In any event.R. that would amount o an insult to his memory. the undisputed children of Corazon Garcia with Ramon Yulo. Notably. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. by the proper parties and within the period limited by law. It is settled that a child born within a valid marriage is presumed legitimate even though the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as an adulteress. the case at bar was initiated by petitioner himself through his mother. Garcia as guardian ad litem of the then minor. As earlier stated. If the husband. if the presumption of legitimacy is overthrown. [29] It is therefor clear that the present petition initiated by Corazon G. No costs. SO ORDERED. his heirs for the simple reason that he is the one directly confronted with the scandal and ridicule which the infidelity of his wife produces and he should be the one to decide whether to conceal that infidelity or expose it in view of the moral and economic interest involved. [31] Do the acts of Enrique and Bernadette Yulo. the child cannot elect the paternity of the husband who successfully defeated the presumption. We cannot allow petitioner to maintain his [30] present petition and subvert the clear mandate of the law that only the husband. the instant petition is DENIED. 45394 is hereby AFFIRMED. It is settled that the legitimacy of the child can be impugned only in a direct action brought for that purpose. to compel recognition by respondents of petitioner William Liyao. and not through Enrique and Bernadette Yulo. CV No. There is nothing on the records to indicate that Ramon Yulo has already passed away at the time of the birth of the petitioner nor at the time of the initiation of this proceedings.even his heirs . none . The child himself cannot choose his own filiation. WHEREFORE. there is no clear. On the other hand. we find no reason to discuss the sufficiency of the evidence presented by both parties on the petitioners claim of alleged filiation with the late William Liyao. it is only in exceptional cases that the heirs of the husband are allowed to contest the legitimacy of the child. or in exceptional circumstances. Corazon Garcia. Considering the foregoing. then the status of the child is fixed. competent and positive evidence presented by the petitioner that his alleged father had admitted or recognized his paternity.

pre-trial brief and several other motions. due to lack of merit. In a notarized document. No.. Dizon. DE JESUS and JACQUELINE A. represented by their mother. made to compel the recognition of petitioners as being the illegitimate children of decedent Juan G. and MARYLIN DIZON and as proper parties: FORMS MEDIA CORP. leaving behind considerable assets consisting of shares of stock in various corporations and some real property. an issue that could only be taken up in an independent suit or proceeding. herein petitioners. de Jesus. the trial court. long after submitting their answer. respectively. respondents. de Jesus and Carolina Aves de Jesus got married on 23 August 1964. Juan G. minors. that an action for partition was not an appropriate forum to likewise ascertain the question of paternity and filiation. arguing that the complaint. INC. Dizon and that the partition sought was merely an ulterior relief once petitioners would have been able to establish their status as such heirs. It was contended. Finding credence in the argument of respondents. JR. FELIPE DIZON. the motion to dismiss and the subsequent motion for reconsideration on. QUAD MANAGEMENT CORP. INC.. Respondents assailed the denial of said motions before the Court of Appeals. DECISION VITUG. It was on the strength of his notarized acknowledgment that petitioners filed a complaint on 01 July 1993 for Partition with Inventory and Accounting of the Dizon estate with the Regional Trial Court. were born. On 03 January 2000.R. J. THE ESTATE OF DECEDENT JUAN GAMBOA DIZON. 142877. the former on 01 March 1979 and the latter on 06 July 1982. the appellate court upheld the decision of the lower court and ordered the case to be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. .[1] It decreed that the declaration of heirship could only be made in a special proceeding inasmuch as petitioners were seeking the establishment of a status or right. dated 07 June 1991.. Juan G. DIZON. 2001] JINKIE CHRISTIE A. dismissed the complaint of petitioners for lack of cause of action and for being improper. CAROLINA A. JUAN DIZON. petitioners. claim to be the illegitimate scions of the decedent in order to enforce their respective shares in the latters estate under the rules on succession. Branch 88. THIRD DIVISION [G. de Jesus and Jinkie Christie A. Respondents. ANGELINA V. DE JESUS. would nevertheless call for altering the status of petitioners from being the legitimate children of the spouses Danilo de Jesus and Carolina de Jesus to instead be the illegitimate children of Carolina de Jesus and deceased Juan Dizon. The trial court denied.: The petition involves the case of two illegitimate children who. On 20 May 1994. Dizon acknowledged Jacqueline and Jinkie de Jesus as being his own illegitimate children by Carolina Aves de Jesus. including the corporations of which the deceased was a stockholder. in fact. 13 September 1993 and 15 February 1994. It ruled that the veracity of the conflicting assertions should be threshed out at the trial considering that the birth certificates presented by respondents appeared to have effectively contradicted petitioners allegation of illegitimacy. and AMITY CONSTRUCTION & INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES.. vs. having been born in lawful wedlock. DE JESUS. respondents filed an omnibus motion. in fine. the surviving spouse and legitimate children of the decedent Juan G. CARLOS DIZON. of Quezon City. again praying for the dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the action instituted was. sought the dismissal of the case. even while denominated as being one for partition. Danilo B. Dizon died intestate on 12 March 1992. ultimately. October 2. FILIPINAS PAPER SALES CO. It was during this marriage that Jacqueline A.

The certificates of live birth would also identify Danilo de Jesus as being their father.[13] or in exceptional instances the latters heirs.[10] and in proper cases Article 171. Basically. [6] Where. The controversy between the parties has been pending for much too long. (b) the fact that the husband and wife are living separately in such a way that sexual intercourse is not possible.[2] In their comment. whether petitioners are indeed the acknowledged illegitimate offsprings of the . filiation shall be proved by (1) the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. would impugn their legitimate status as being children of Danilo de Jesus and Carolina Aves de Jesus. it is in itself a voluntary recognition that does not require a separate action for judicial approval.[5] In fact. or (2) any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws.e. is established by (1) the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment. petitioners maintain that their recognition as being illegitimate children of the decedent. i. In praying for the affirmance of dismissal of the complaint.. in an attempt to establish their illegitimate filiation to the late Juan G. is in itself sufficient to establish their status as such and does not require a separate action for judicial approval following the doctrine enunciated in Divinagracia vs. instead. Respondents correctly argued that petitioners hardly could find succor in Divinagracia.[8] This presumption indeed becomes conclusive in the absence of proof that there is physical impossibility of access between the spouses during the first 120 days of the 300 days which immediately precedes the birth of the child due to (a) the physical incapacity of the husband to have sexual intercourse with his wife. or (2) an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. which absolutely prevents sexual intercourse. and it is time that this matter draws to a close.[12] Succinctly. in effect. a statement before a court of record. embodied in an authentic writing. Dizon establishes petitioners alleged illegitimate filiation to the decedent cannot be validly invoked to be of any relevance in this instance. The presumption of legitimacy fixes a civil status for the child born in wedlock. [9] Quite remarkably. petitioners. a claim for recognition is predicated on other evidence merely tending to prove paternity. and only the father. or (c) serious illness of the husband. it is only when the legitimacy of a child has been successfully impugned that the paternity of the husband can be rejected.[7] A scrutiny of the records would show that petitioners were born during the marriage of their parents.[3] which has ruled that the issue of legitimacy cannot be questioned in a complaint for partition and accounting but must be seasonably brought up in a direct action frontally addressing the issue. a will. of Danilo and Carolina de Jesus. a statement before a court of record or an authentic writing. upon the expiration of the periods set forth in Article 170. Petitioners assail the foregoing order of the trial court in the instant petition for review on certiorari. signed by the acknowledging parent. any authentic writing is treated not just a ground for compulsory recognition. the action to impugn the legitimacy of a child would no longer be legally feasible and the status conferred by the presumption becomes fixed and unassailable. This issue. like legitimate children. a consummated act of acknowledgment of the child. a will. respondents count on the case of Sayson vs. in itself. or in any authentic writing is. Court of Appeals.. i. judicial action within the applicable statute of limitations is essential in order to establish the childs acknowledgment. Thus. The filiation of illegitimate children. outside of a record of birth.[11] of the Family Code (which took effect on 03 August 1988). respondents submit that the rule in Divinagracia being relied by petitioners is inapplicable to the case because there has been no attempt to impugn legitimate filiation in Divinagracia. evidencing such recognition.[4] The due recognition of an illegitimate child in a record of birth.e. given the attendant circumstances particularly. There is perhaps no presumption of the law more firmly established and founded on sounder morality and more convincing reason than the presumption that children born in wedlock are legitimate. In said case. to declare that they could not have been the legitimate children. Bellosillo. clearly opposed to the entries in their respective birth certificates. This step cannot be aptly done because the law itself establishes the legitimacy of children conceived or born during the marriage of the parents. In the absence thereof. the Supreme Court remanded to the trial court for further proceedings the action for partition filed by an illegitimate child who had claimed to be an acknowledged spurious child by virtue of a private document. and no further court action is required.[14] can contest in an appropriate action the legitimacy of a child born to his wife. The rule that the written acknowledgment made by the deceased Juan G. Dizon. Petitioners totally ignored the fact that it was not for them. It was not a case of legitimate children asserting to be somebody elses illegitimate children.

de Jesus and Carolina Aves de Jesus born in lawful wedlock.[16] Indeed.decedent. Jurisprudence is strongly settled that the paramount declaration of legitimacy by law cannot be attacked collaterally. No costs. cannot be aptly adjudicated without an action having been first been instituted to impugn their legitimacy as being the children of Danilo B.[17] WHEREFORE. a child so born in such wedlock shall be considered legitimate although the mother may have declared against its legitimacy or may have been sentenced as having been an adulteress. SO ORDERED . the foregoing disquisitions considered. the instant petition is DENIED.[15] one that can only be repudiated or contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that purpose.

CALLEJO. No. 168557 Petitioner. ANDAYA. Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO. -versus- THE PROVINCE OF BATANGAS and THE OFFICE OF THE PROVINCIAL ASSESSOR OF BATANGAS. 2007 Respondents. LAURO C. G. x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION . in his capacity as the Assessor of the Province of Batangas. SR.versus . APPEALS OF BATANGAS. J.R. and LOCAL BOARD OF ASSESSMENT CHICO-NAZARIO. No. Respondents.. 170628 Petitioner. and the Promulgated: PROVINCE OF BATANGAS represented by its Provincial Assessor. x----------------------------------------------------x NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION.R. . INC. February 16. THIRD DIVISION FELS ENERGY. JJ.Chairperson.. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. G.

SP No. The assessed tax. citing paragraph 17. assigned its rights under the Agreement to FELS. challenges the February 9. 168557 and G. Inc.[6] Subsequently.. Andaya of Batangas City.088. denominated as an Energy Conversion Agreement[5] (Agreement). environmental permit fees and other similar fees and charges) and (b) all real estate taxes and assessments. fees. The contract. over 3x30 MW diesel engine power barges moored at Balayan Bay in Calaca. 2005 Resolution[4] of the CA in CA-G.1 RESPONSIBILITY. SR. Batangas. On August 7. 2004 Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. Polar Energy.R.: Before us are two consolidated cases docketed as G. 1995. the second. rates and other charges in respect of the Power Barges. reminding it of its obligation under the Agreement to pay all real estate taxes. Inc.2 of Article 17 of the Agreement. charges and other levies imposed by the National Government of the Republic of the Philippines or any agency or instrumentality thereof to which POLAR may be or become subject to or in relation to the performance of their obligations under this agreement (other than (i) taxes imposed or calculated on the basis of the net income of POLAR and Personal Income Taxes of its employees and (ii) construction permit fees. No.184. FELS received an assessment of real property taxes on the power barges from Provincial Assessor Lauro C. Both petitions were dismissed on the ground of prescription. The pertinent facts are as follows: On January 18. Article 10 reads: 10. 2005 Decision[3] and November 23. 1993.R. FELS referred the matter to NPC.40 per annum. was for a period of five years. import duties. NAPOCOR shall be responsible for the payment of (a) all taxes. 67490 and its Resolution[2] dated June 20. . amounted to P56. SP No. which likewise covered those due for 1994.CALLEJO.R. Inc. also a petition for review on certiorari. The first is a petition for review on certiorariassailing the August 25. which were filed by petitioners FELS Energy. J. It then gave NPC the full power and authority to represent it in any conference regarding the real property assessment of the Provincial Assessor. respectively. NPC entered into a lease contract with Polar Energy. 2005. No. The NPC initially opposed the assignment of rights. 67491. 170628. (FELS) and National Power Corporation (NPC).

a private corporationis the one being taxed. the Provincial Assessor averred that the barges were real property for purposes of taxation under Section 199(c) of Republic Act (R. such a privilege can only be granted to NPC and cannot be extended to FELS. are nevertheless considered real property for taxation purposes because they are installed at a specific location with a character of permanency. 1996. 7160.) No. FELS appealed the LBAAs ruling to the Central Board of Assessment Appeals (CBAA).[9] In its Answer to the petition. 1996. 1996. Finally. However. the Provincial Assessor be directed to make the necessary corrections. FELS is hereby ordered to pay the real estate tax in the amount of P56. A mere agreement making NPC responsible for the payment of all real estate taxes and assessments will not justify the exemption of FELS.In a letter[7] dated September 7. the motion was denied on September 22. 1995. and the Provincial Assessor advised NPC to pay the assessment. for the year 1994.602. NPC filed a Manifestation. while they may be classified as movable or personal property.A.91 as of July 31. On August 26. 1996. informing the LBAA that the Department of Finance (DOF) had rendered an opinion[10] dated May 20. the LBAA also ruled that the petition was filed out of time. The LBAA also pointed out that the owner of the bargesFELS.[12] The LBAA ruled that the power plant facilities. Before the case was decided by the LBAA.088. . Aggrieved. the LBAA rendered a Resolution[11] denying the petition. On August 28. where it is clearly stated that power barges are not real property subject to real property assessment.125.40. NPC sought reconsideration of the Provincial Assessors decision to assess real property taxes on the power barges. the Petition is DENIED. seeking to collect real property taxes amounting to P232. The fallo reads: WHEREFORE. 1995. SO ORDERED. 1996.184. It then filed a Motion to Lift Levy dated November 14. it also prayed that should LBAA find the barges to be taxable. praying that the Provincial Assessor be further restrained by the CBAA from enforcing the disputed assessment during the pendency of the appeal. not NPC. The notice and warrant was officially served to FELS on November 8. 1996.[8] This prompted NPC to file a petition with the Local Board of Assessment Appeals (LBAA) for the setting aside of the assessment and the declaration of the barges as non-taxable items. the Provincial Treasurer of Batangas City issued a Notice of Levy and Warrant by Distraint[13] over the power barges.

018-00958 from the List of Taxable Properties in the Assessment Roll. Meantime. the CBAA ruled that prescription did not preclude the NPC from pursuing its claim for tax exemption in accordance with Section 206 of R. During the pendency of the case.[18] Ruling in favor of FELS and NPC. the CBAA issued an Order[14] lifting the levy and distraint on the properties of FELS in order not to preempt and render ineffectual. the Resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of the Province of Batangas is hereby reversed. 1998. the CBAA reasoned that the power barges belong to NPC. the power barges are covered by the exemptions under Section 234(c) of R. 1998 in the proceedings before the CBAA. the NPC filed a Motion for Intervention[15] dated August 7. . The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. is dismissed. No. The fallo of the resolution reads: WHEREFORE. premises considered. (d) The real property tax assessment on FELS by the Provincial Assessor of Batangas is likewise hereby affirmed. This was approved by the CBAA in an Order[16] dated September 22. Respondent-appellee Provincial Assessor of the Province of Batangas is hereby ordered to drop subject property under ARP/Tax Declaration No. it is the resolution of this Board that: (a) The decision of the Board dated 6 April 2000 is hereby reversed. nugatory and illusory any resolution or judgment which the Board would issue. 1996. 7160. directly and exclusively used by it. 2000.On November 15. 2001 reversing its earlier decision. (b) The petition of FELS. No.[19] As to the other jurisdictional issue. which was opposed by FELS and NPC. the CBAA rendered a Decision[17] finding the power barges exempt from real property tax. In a complete volte face. both FELS and NPC filed several motions to admit bond to guarantee the payment of real property taxes assessed by the Provincial Assessor (in the event that the judgment be unfavorable to them).A.A. since they are actually. The Provincial Assessor filed a motion for reconsideration. The Provincial Treasurer of Batangas is hereby directed to act accordingly. On April 6. (c) The resolution of the Local Board of Assessment Appeals of Batangas is hereby affirmed. the CBAA issued a Resolution[20] on July 31. SO ORDERED. as well as the intervention of NPC. The bonds were duly approved by the CBAA. 7160.

SO ORDERED.[21]

FELS and NPC filed separate motions for reconsideration, which were timely
opposed by the Provincial Assessor. The CBAA denied the said motions in a
Resolution[22] dated October 19, 2001.

Dissatisfied, FELS filed a petition for review before the CA docketed as CA-G.R. SP
No. 67490. Meanwhile, NPC filed a separate petition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 67491.

On January 17, 2002, NPC filed a Manifestation/Motion for Consolidation in CA-
G.R. SP No. 67490 praying for the consolidation of its petition with CA-G.R. SP No. 67491.
In a Resolution[23] dated February 12, 2002, the appellate court directed NPC to re-file its
motion for consolidation with CA-G.R. SP No. 67491, since it is the ponente of the latter
petition who should resolve the request for reconsideration.

NPC failed to comply with the aforesaid resolution. On August 25, 2004, the Twelfth
Division of the appellate court rendered judgment in CA-G.R. SP No. 67490 denying the
petition on the ground of prescription. The decretal portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED for lack of merit and the assailed
Resolutions dated July 31, 2001 and October 19, 2001 of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals
are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.[24]

On September 20, 2004, FELS timely filed a motion for reconsideration seeking the
reversal of the appellate courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 67490.

Thereafter, NPC filed a petition for review dated October 19, 2004 before this Court,
docketed as G.R. No. 165113, assailing the appellate courts decision in CA-G.R. SP No.
67490. The petition was, however, denied in this Courts Resolution[25] of November 8,
2004, for NPCs failure to sufficiently show that the CA committed any reversible error in
the challenged decision. NPC filed a motion for reconsideration, which the Court denied
with finality in a Resolution[26] dated January 19, 2005.

Meantime, the appellate court dismissed the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 67491. It held that
the right to question the assessment of the Provincial Assessor had already prescribed
upon the failure of FELS to appeal the disputed assessment to the LBAA within the period
prescribed by law. Since FELS had lost the right to question the assessment, the right of
the Provincial Government to collect the tax was already absolute.

NPC filed a motion for reconsideration dated March 8, 2005, seeking reconsideration of
the February 5, 2005 ruling of the CA in CA-G.R. SP No. 67491. The motion was denied in
a Resolution[27] dated November 23, 2005.

The motion for reconsideration filed by FELS in CA-G.R. SP No. 67490 had been earlier
denied for lack of merit in a Resolution[28] dated June 20, 2005.

On August 3, 2005, FELS filed the petition docketed as G.R. No. 168557 before this
Court, raising the following issues:

A.
Whether power barges, which are floating and movable, are personal properties and therefore,
not subject to real property tax.

B.
Assuming that the subject power barges are real properties, whether they are exempt from real
estate tax under Section 234 of the Local Government Code (LGC).

C.
Assuming arguendo that the subject power barges are subject to real estate tax, whether or not
it should be NPC which should be made to pay the same under the law.

D.
Assuming arguendo that the subject power barges are real properties, whether or not the same
is subject to depreciation just like any other personal properties.

E.
Whether the right of the petitioner to question the patently null and void real property tax
assessment on the petitioners personal properties is imprescriptible.[29]

On January 13, 2006, NPC filed its own petition for review before this Court (G.R.
No. 170628), indicating the following errors committed by the CA:

I
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE APPEAL TO THE LBAA WAS FILED
OUT OF TIME.

II
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE POWER BARGES ARE NOT
SUBJECT TO REAL PROPERTY TAXES.

III
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE ASSESSMENT ON THE
POWER BARGES WAS NOT MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW.[30]

Considering that the factual antecedents of both cases are similar, the Court ordered the
consolidation of the two cases in a Resolution[31] dated March 8, 2006.

In an earlier Resolution dated February 1, 2006, the Court had required the parties to
submit their respective Memoranda within 30 days from notice. Almost a year passed but
the parties had not submitted their respective memoranda. Considering that taxesthe
lifeblood of our economyare involved in the present controversy, the Court was prompted
to dispense with the said pleadings, with the end view of advancing the interests of justice
and avoiding further delay.

In both petitions, FELS and NPC maintain that the appeal before the LBAA was not time-
barred. FELS argues that when NPC moved to have the assessment reconsidered
on September 7, 1995, the running of the period to file an appeal with the LBAA was
tolled. For its part, NPC posits that the 60-day period for appealing to the LBAA should be
reckoned from its receipt of the denial of its motion for reconsideration.

Petitioners contentions are bereft of merit.

Section 226 of R.A. No. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of
1991, provides:

SECTION 226. Local Board of Assessment Appeals. Any owner or person having legal
interest in the property who is not satisfied with the action of the provincial, city or municipal
assessor in the assessment of his property may, within sixty (60) days from the date of receipt of
the written notice of assessment, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province or
city by filing a petition under oath in the form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of
the tax declarations and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.

We note that the notice of assessment which the Provincial Assessor sent to FELS
on August 7, 1995, contained the following statement:

If you are not satisfied with this assessment, you may, within sixty (60) days from the date of
receipt hereof, appeal to the Board of Assessment Appeals of the province by filing a petition
under oath on the form prescribed for the purpose, together with copies of ARP/Tax Declaration
and such affidavits or documents submitted in support of the appeal.[32]

Instead of appealing to the Board of Assessment Appeals (as stated in the notice),
NPC opted to file a motion for reconsideration of the Provincial Assessors decision, a
remedy not sanctioned by law.

the owners chose to bring their requests for a review/readjustment before the city assessor. and in fact can conveniently take place. [38] It also bears stressing that the taxpayers failure to question the assessment in the LBAA renders the assessment of the local assessor final. allusions of a possible covert. SP No. No 7160. 67491: x x x.[34] where we ruled that under Section 226 of R. the right of the local government to collect the taxes due with respect to the taxpayers property becomes absolute upon the expiration of the period to appeal. a remedy not sanctioned by the law. The remedy of appeal to the LBAA is available from an adverse ruling or action of the provincial. if the taxpayer fails to appeal in due course. The procedure likewise does not permit the property owner the remedy of filing a motion for reconsideration before the local assessor. thus. In the latter instance. It follows then that the determination made by the respondent Provincial Assessor with regard to the taxability of the subject real properties falls within its power to assess properties for taxation purposes subject to appeal before the LBAA. This is what We held in SP 67490 and reaffirm today in SP 67491. executory and demandable. The pertinent holding of the Court in Callanta is as follows: x x x [T]he same Code is equally clear that the aggrieved owners should have brought their appeals before the LBAA. or from invoking any defense that would reopen the question of its liability on the merits.R.[33] We fully agree with the rationalization of the CA in both CA-G.[35] the last action of the local assessor on a particular assessment shall be the notice of assessment. It follows ineluctably that the 60-day period for making the appeal to the LBAA runs without interruption. SP No. city or municipal assessor in the assessment of the property. illicit trade-off cannot be avoided. the appellate court declared in CA-G.[36] For its part. Unfortunately. the former shall no longer have any jurisdiction to entertain any request for a review or readjustment. The two divisions of the appellate court cited the case of Callanta v.A. it is this last action which gives the owner of the property the right to appeal to the LBAA. despite the advice to this effect contained in their respective notices of assessment.R.[39] . Such occasion for mischief must be prevented and excised from our system. To allow this procedure would indeed invite corruption in the system of appraisal and assessment. and then subsequently reduced upon the request of a property owner. The Court announces: Henceforth. whenever the local assessor sends a notice to the owner or lawful possessor of real property of its revised assessed value. 67491. SP No. Office of the Ombudsman.[37] To reiterate.R. 67490 and CA-G. It conveniently courts a graft-prone situation where values of real property may be initially set unreasonably high. precluding the taxpayer from questioning the correctness of the assessment. The appropriate forum where the aggrieved party may bring his appeal is the LBAA as provided by law.

In fine. FELS maintains that the argument of the Provincial Assessor is completely misplaced since it was not a party to the erroneous petition which the NPC filed in G. 165113. touching on the points or matters in issue in the first suit. 165113 (where there was a final determination on the issue of prescription). the LBAA acted correctly when it dismissed the petitioners appeal for having been filed out of time. No.R. and failure in this regard renders the decision final and executory. and the Supreme Court never acquired jurisdiction over it. de Roxas v. No. Res judicata pervades every organized system of jurisprudence and is founded upon two grounds embodied in various maxims of common law.R. It avers that it did not participate in the aforesaid proceeding. by a court of competent jurisdiction acting upon a matter within its authority is conclusive on the rights of the parties and their privies. Court of Appeals:[42] x x x An existing final judgment or decree rendered upon the merits. which makes it to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation republicae ut sit litium. As to the issue of forum shopping. effectively precludes the claims herein.[40] In the Comment filed by the Provincial Assessor. Elementary is the rule that the perfection of an appeal within the period therefor is both mandatory and jurisdictional.[41] As we ruled in Heirs of Trinidad De Leon Vda. 165113 constitutes forum shopping. No. namely: (1) public policy and necessity. without fraud or collusion. They will not allow the same parties or their privies to litigate anew a question once it has been considered and decided with . We do not agree.R. A conflicting doctrine would subject the public peace and quiet to the will and dereliction of individuals and prefer the regalement of the litigious disposition on the part of suitors to the preservation of the public tranquility and happiness. petitioner claims that no forum shopping could have been committed since the elements of litis pendentia or res judicata are not present. in the same or any other judicial tribunal of concurrent jurisdiction. xxx Courts will simply refuse to reopen what has been decided. the CBAA and the appellate court were likewise correct in affirming the dismissal. This ruling holds in all other actions or suits. that the final and executory judgment in G. and (2) the hardship on the individual of being vexed twice for the same cause nemo debet bis vexari et eadem causa. and that the filing of the instant petition after an adverse judgment in G. it is asserted that the instant petition is barred by res judicata.

This is in accordance with the doctrine of res judicata which has the following elements: (1) the former judgment must be final. Therefore. No. 168557 and 170628 after the petition for review in G. Nos. 67490. Thus. petitioners went from one court to another trying to get a favorable decision from one of the tribunals which allowed them to pursue their cases. (3) the judgment must be on the merits.R. SP No. as a result of an adverse judgment in one forum. finality. On the issue of forum shopping. The application of the doctrine of res judicata does not require absolute identity of parties but merely substantial identity of parties. the prevailing party should not be deprived of the fruits of the verdict by subsequent suits on the same issues filed by the same parties. FELSs argument that it is not bound by the erroneous petition filed by NPC is thus unavailing. No. In fine.[44] Petitioner FELS alleges that there is no forum shopping since the elements of res judicata are not present in the cases at bar. the decision in G. and (4) there must be between the first and the second actions. FELS and NPC are substantially identical parties as to warrant the application of res judicata. it did so not only on its behalf but also on behalf of FELS. however.R. FELS gave NPC the full power and authority to represent it in any proceeding regarding real property assessment. (2) the court which rendered it had jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties.R. There is also forum shopping when a party institutes two or more actions or proceedings grounded on the same cause. res judicata may be properly applied herein. There is substantial identity of parties when there is community of interest or privity of interest between a party in the first and a party in the second case even if the first case did not implead the latter. we rule for the Provincial Assessor. when petitioner NPC filed its petition for review docketed as G. Moreover.R.R. It must be stressed that an important factor in determining the existence of forum shopping is the vexation caused to the courts and the parties-litigants by the filing of similar cases to claim substantially the same reliefs. Indeed. as already discussed. in which FELS was the petitioner. the assailed decision in the earlier petition for review filed in this Court was the decision of the appellate court in CA-G. on the gamble that one or the other court would make a favorable disposition. a party seeks another and possibly favorable judgment in another forum other than by appeal or special civil action or certiorari. 165113. identity of parties. 165116. No. The effective and efficient administration of justice requires that once a judgment has become final.[43] To recall. 165116 is binding on petitioner FELS under the principle of privity of interest.[45] The rationale against forum shopping is that a party should not be allowed to pursue simultaneous remedies in two . Forum shopping exists when. Litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. subject matter and causes of action. Petitioners engaged in forum shopping when they filed G.

or coast are considered immovable property. This is also the inevitable conclusion. considering that G. In Consolidated Edison Company of New York. et al. would amount to res judicata in the other.[48] Besides. Thus. (b) identity of rights asserted and relief prayed for. which tends to degrade the administration of justice.different fora. [49] We find no reason to depart from this rule in this case. No. et al. Article 415 (9) of the New Civil Code provides that [d]ocks and structures which. are intended by their nature and object to remain at a fixed place on a river. Tax assessments by tax examiners are presumed correct and made in good faith. wreaks havoc upon orderly judicial procedure. power barges are categorized as immovable property by destination. though floating. or at least such parties as represent the same interests in both actions. and the accessory equipment mounted on the barges were subject to real property taxation. Where the judicial mind is left in doubt. and (c) the identity of the two preceding particulars is such that any judgment rendered in the pending case.[50] a power company brought an action to review property tax assessment. are generally binding and conclusive upon the Court. and adds to the congestion of the heavily burdened dockets of the courts. On the citys motion to dismiss. Nevertheless. the relief being founded on the same facts.. which have acquired expertise in their field. for the peace and contentment of petitioners. we shall shed light on the merits of the case. factual findings of administrative bodies. Inc. there is forum shopping when there exist: (a) identity of parties. a discussion of the other issues is no longer necessary. the Supreme Court of New York held that the barges on which were mounted gas turbine power plants designated to generate electrical power.[47] Having found that the elements of res judicata and forum shopping are present in the consolidated cases.[46] Thus. being in the nature of machinery and . The City of New York. the CBAA and LBAA power barges are real property and are thus subject to real property tax. 165113 was dismissed for failure to sufficiently show any reversible error. lake. Filing multiple petitions or complaints constitutes abuse of court processes. with the taxpayer having the burden of proving otherwise. regardless of which party is successful. it is a sound policy to leave the assessment undisturbed. Moreover. we will not assume to interfere with the sensible exercise of the judgment of men especially trained in appraising property.. As found by the appellate court.R. the fuel oil barges which supplied fuel oil to the power plant barges. v.

11. generation. public order or public policy. Article 5 of the Agreement provides: OPERATION. x x x Indeed. fittings. No. morals. Not being contrary to law. which in fine. The following are exempted from payment of the real property tax: xxx (c) All machineries and equipment that are actually. a government. and transmission of electric power.5. manage and maintain the Power Barges for the purpose of converting Fuel of NAPOCOR into electricity.other implements intended by the owner for an industry or work which may be carried on in a building or on a piece of land and which tend directly to meet the needs of said industry or work.owned and controlled corporation engaged in the supply. We affirm the findings of the LBAA and CBAA that the owner of the taxable properties is petitioner FELS. directly and exclusively used by local water districts and government-owned or controlled corporations engaged in the supply and distribution of water and/or generation and transmission of electric power. subject to the supply of the necessary Fuel pursuant to Article 6 and to the other provisions hereof. Exemptions from Real Property Tax. machinery and equipment on the Site used in connection with the Power Barges which have been supplied by it at its own cost. directly and exclusively used by petitioner NPC. good customs.[54] . No. POLAR shall own the Power Barges and all the fixtures. the law states that the machinery must be actually. it will operate the Power Barges to convert such Fuel into electricity in accordance with Part A of Article 7.A. nevertheless. POLAR shall operate. the parties to the contract are bound by its terms and conditions.A. is the entity being taxed by the local government. Article 2 of the Agreement: OWNERSHIP OF POWER BARGES. petitioner FELS still cannot find solace in this provision because Section 5. directly and exclusively used by the government owned or controlled corporation. POLAR undertakes that until the end of the Lease Period. As stipulated under Section 2. 7160 because they are actually. which reads: SECTION 234. 7160.[52] It follows then that FELS cannot escape liability from the payment of realty taxes by invoking its exemption in Section 234 (c) of R.[53] It is a basic rule that obligations arising from a contract have the force of law between the parties.[51] Petitioners maintain nevertheless that the power barges are exempt from real estate tax under Section 234 (c) of R.

[56] Thus. that it shall be responsible for the payment of all real estate taxes and assessments.[55] The law does not look with favor on tax exemptions and the entity that would seek to be thus privileged must justify it by words too plain to be mistaken and too categorical to be misinterpreted. The power to tax is an incident of sovereignty and is unlimited in its magnitude. SO ORDERED. and the rule that doubts should be resolved in favor of provincial corporations. It must be pointed out that the protracted and circuitous litigation has seriously resulted in the local governments deprivation of revenues. the Petitions are DENIED and the assailed Decisions and Resolutions AFFIRMED. This consideration is consistent with the State policy to guarantee the autonomy of local governments[58] and the objective of the Local Government Code that they enjoy genuine and meaningful local autonomy to empower them to achieve their fullest development as self-reliant communities and make them effective partners in the attainment of national goals. The privilege granted to petitioner NPC cannot be extended to FELS.1 of the Agreement. . we hold that FELS is considered a taxable entity. in this case. we reiterate that the power to tax is the most potent instrument to raise the needed revenues to finance and support myriad activities of the local government units for the delivery of basic services essential to the promotion of the general welfare and the enhancement of peace.[59] In conclusion. and prosperity of the people. does not justify the exemption. The covenant is between FELS and NPC and does not bind a third person not privy thereto. progress. the Supreme Court has stated that taxation is the rule and exemption is the exception. Time and again. applying the rule of strict construction of laws granting tax exemptions. The mere undertaking of petitioner NPC under Section 10.[60] WHEREFORE.[57] The right of local government units to collect taxes due must always be upheld to avoid severe tax erosion. acknowledging in its very nature no perimeter so that security against its abuse is to be found only in the responsibility of the legislature which imposes the tax on the constituency who are to pay for it. the Province of Batangas.