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G.R. No.

160172 February 13, 2008 marriage contract to save her from embarrassment and possible
REINEL ANTHONY B. DE CASTRO, petitioner, administrative prosecution due to her pregnant state; and that he was not
vs. able to get parental advice from his parents before he got married. He also
ANNABELLE ASSIDAO-DE CASTRO, respondent. averred that they never lived together as husband and wife and that he has
never seen nor acknowledged the child.
D E C I S I O N In its Decision dated 16 October 2000, the trial court ruled that the marriage
TINGA, J.: between petitioner and respondent is not valid because it was solemnized
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA- without a marriage license. However, it declared petitioner as the natural
GR CV. No. 69166, declaring that (1) Reianna Tricia A. De Castro is the father of the child, and thus obliged to give her support. Petitioner elevated
legitimate child of the petitioner; and (2) that the marriage between the case to the Court of Appeals, arguing that the lower court committed
petitioner and respondent is valid until properly nullified by a competent grave abuse of discretion when, on the basis of mere belief and conjecture,
court in a proceeding instituted for that purpose. it ordered him to provide support to the child when the latter is not, and
The facts of the case, as culled from the records, follow. could not have been, his own child.
Petitioner and respondent met and became sweethearts in 1991. They The Court of Appeals denied the appeal. Prompted by the rule that a
planned to get married, thus they applied for a marriage license with the marriage is presumed to be subsisting until a judicial declaration of nullity
Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City in September 1994. They had their has been made, the appellate court declared that the child was born during
first sexual relation sometime in October 1994, and had regularly engaged the subsistence and validity of the parties’ marriage. In addition, the Court
in sex thereafter. When the couple went back to the Office of the Civil of Appeals frowned upon petitioner’s refusal to undergo DNA testing to
Registrar, the marriage license had already expired. Thus, in order to push prove the paternity and filiation, as well as his refusal to state with certainty
through with the plan, in lieu of a marriage license, they executed an the last time he had carnal knowledge with respondent, saying that
affidavit dated 13 March 1995 stating that they had been living together as petitioner’s "forgetfulness should not be used as a vehicle to relieve him of
husband and wife for at least five years. The couple got married on the same his obligation and reward him of his being irresponsible." Moreover, the
date, with Judge Jose C. Bernabe, presiding judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Appeals noted the affidavit dated 7 April 1998 executed by
Court of Pasig City, administering the civil rites. Nevertheless, after the petitioner, wherein he voluntarily admitted that he is the legitimate father
ceremony, petitioner and respondent went back to their respective homes of the child.
and did not live together as husband and wife. The appellate court also ruled that since this case is an action for support, it
On 13 November 1995, respondent gave birth to a child named Reinna Tricia was improper for the trial court to declare the marriage of petitioner and
A. De Castro. Since the child’s birth, respondent has been the one supporting respondent as null and void in the very same case. There was no
her out of her income as a government dentist and from her private participation of the State, through the prosecuting attorney or fiscal, to see
practice. to it that there is no collusion between the parties, as required by the Family
On 4 June 1998, respondent filed a complaint for support against petitioner Code in actions for declaration of nullity of a marriage. The burden of proof
before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City (trial court. In her complaint, to show that the marriage is void rests upon petitioner, but it is a matter
respondent alleged that she is married to petitioner and that the latter has that can be raised in an action for declaration of nullity, and not in the
"reneged on his responsibility/obligation to financially support her "as his instant proceedings. The proceedings before the trial court should have
wife and Reinna Tricia as his child." been limited to the obligation of petitioner to support the child and his wife
Petitioner denied that he is married to respondent, claiming that their on the basis of the marriage apparently and voluntarily entered into by
marriage is void ab initio since the marriage was facilitated by a fake petitioner and respondent. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:
affidavit; and that he was merely prevailed upon by respondent to sign the

she argues that the Reianna Tricia A. Finally. Bayadog. whether the child is presented would entail enormous expenses and anxieties. 9 the Court of Appeals. The refiling of another case for the jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage between petitioner declaration of nullity where the same evidence and parties would be and respondent in an action for support and second. and would increase the burden of the Anent the first issue. settlement of estate. the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even . petitioner claims that a void marriage agrees with the findings of the trial court that the child is an illegitimate child 18 can be the subject of a collateral attack. For other purposes. Thus. the OSG avers that the Court of Appeals erred in holding that it admissions of the parties. appellant and the appellee valid until properly annulled by a competent With regard to the filiation of her child. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. First. Moreover. we held: child. the Court required respondent and necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. and ordinary action for support and not an action for annulment or declaration that their affidavit (of a man and woman who have lived together and of absolute nullity of marriage. National Capital Judicial Region. The validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked. the Court holds that the trial court had jurisdiction to 12 courts. consuming for the parties. Citing several authorities. 70. it states that courts may pass upon the validity of a marriage respondent never lived together as husband and wife. or a criminal case for that matter. Costs against the her candid and straightforward testimony. as the legitimate child of the appellant and the legitimacy of their marriage cannot be attacked collaterally. is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATIONS (1) declaring Echoing the findings and rulings of the appellate court. Citing the case of Niñal 16 license. whether the trial court had the marriage between the parties. In addition. In any case. would be time. petitioner strongly objected to being subjected to DNA testing to prove 15 Before us. Brach dilatory tactic to thwart the finality of the decision of the Court of Appeals. petitioner was uncertain. the evidence presented during 10 marriage license. respondent claims that the instant petition is a mere the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. marriage with respondent because as shown by the evidence and For its part. Moreover. the truth being that he and v. the OSG 11 support. it concludes the trial court correctly held that the marriage 17 was validly invoked as an affirmative defense in the instant action for between petitioner and respondent is not valid. the daughter of petitioner. petitioner claims that in view of the nullity of his marriage determine the validity of the marriage between petitioner and respondent. in Niñal the Court of Appeals gravely erred in declaring the child as his legitimate v. the Decision dated 16 October 2000. since the right to support from petitioner hinges on should never be allowed or admitted as a substitute to fill the absence of a the existence of a valid marriage. other than for purposes of remarriage. Thus. De Castro. but the motion was denied by she adds that despite the challenge from her and from the trial court. in JDRC No. institute another independent proceeding for the declaration of nullity of Two key issues are presented before us. the marriage was celebrated without a marriage was improper for the trial court to declare null and void the marriage of license. of In her Comment. if not 8 appellant. He stresses that the affidavit they executed. petitioner argues that the trial exclusively with each other as husband and wife for at least five years) was court had jurisdiction to determine the invalidity of their marriage since it false. petitioner contends that the trial court properly annulled his paternity and filiation. 19 with respondent and his vigorous denial of the child’s paternity and filiation. there is no necessity to of petitioner and thus entitled to support. legitimacy or illegitimacy of 13 on the petition. no judicial action is In a resolution dated 16 February 2004. However. Petitioner additionally argues that there was no need for the proceedings in the trial court showed that the marriage between the appearance of a prosecuting attorney in this case because it is only an petitioner and respondent was solemnized without a marriage license. in lieu of a marriage petitioner and respondent in the action for support. 4626. but can only be appellee and (2) declaring the marriage on 13 March 1995 between the repudiated or contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that purpose. she pointed out that compared to court in a proceeding instituted for that purpose. dissolution of property regime. Bayadog. such the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file their respective comments as but not limited to determination of heirship. contained a false narration of facts. premises considered. evasive in answering questions about their sexual encounters. The false affidavit in an action for support. a child. Hence this petition. Thus. 14 WHEREFORE.

However. Their clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders their marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment void ab initio." "E. In requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio. DE CASTRO who was born 30 did not have a marriage license when they contracted their a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential cohabitation" to protect. The paper. defendant is seen provision is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation." "D. the absence of any of the essential or formal The Certificate of Live Birth of the child lists petitioner as the father. pregnant which ultimately led to their marriage. as earlier The falsity of the affidavit cannot be considered as a mere irregularity in the ruled." "F-1" and "F-2. Yee Cariño. However." to "B-3. is that correct? motel to have sex. sir. shame and putting the wedding ring on petitioner’s finger and in another picture (Exhs. "D." "B-1. or adduced. outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicant’s name for WHEREFORE." "C-1" and "C-2." "H-1" to unbroken period of at least five years before the marriage. there was no cohabitation at all. 29 Under the Family Code. but also by respondent’s ATTY. Instead. Thus." "D-1" and "D-2. you to visit petitioner at the latter’s house or clinic. In the instant of respondent. though invalid. 20 need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage." exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and "E-1" and "E-2. "B. Reiterating Niñal." "F. testimonial or documentary. one can prove that the Court may pass upon the validity of a marriage even in a suit not illegitimate filiation through the record of birth appearing in the civil register directly instituted to question the validity of said marriage. thus— supported not only by the testimony of the latter. whereas a defect in any addition. respondent herself in effect court: admitted the falsity of the affidavit when she was asked during cross. the Court ruled that it is clothed daughter. Parañaque. with sufficient authority to pass upon the validity of two marriages despite Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way 27 the main case being a claim for death benefits. an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document essential to the determination of the case. it is a mere scrap of of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. 31 embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of persons "E. evidence must be or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. I am the legitimate father of REIANNA TRICIA A. they presented an affidavit stating that they had been living We are likewise inclined to agree with the following findings of the trial 24 together for more than five years." "C. The assailed Decision and 26 a marriage license." "D-1" and "D-2"). to prove the existence of grounds the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. a final judgment of declaration through with the marriage has no value whatsoever. there was no "scandalous Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV No. so long as it is or a final judgment. Anent the second issue. The aim of this "H-3"). we find that the child is petitioner’s illegitimate 21 Likewise. Metro Manila. This is without prejudice to any issue that affidavit which petitioner and respondent executed so they could push may arise in the case. any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. As a result of their sexual dalliances. the pictures taken of the occasion reveal otherwise requirement for a man and a woman who have lived together and (Exhs. the petition is granted in part. on November 3. petitioner. In the instant case. thus stating: case." "G. admitted that he is the father of the child. In one of the pictures (Exhs. he used husband and wife for the last five years on or before March 13. While respondent claims that he was merely forced to undergo the formal requisites of marriage. we held and on the same evidence as legitimate children. in Nicdao Cariño v. 1995. or 22 28 rendering such a marriage an absolute nullity." "E-1" and "E-2") respondent is seen in the act of kissing the petitioner. At times. CARPIO: own admission in the course of his testimony wherein he conceded that Q But despite of (sic) the fact that you have not been living together as petitioner was his former girlfriend. and therefore entitled to support. in an affidavit waiving additional tax exemption in favor 23 of the essential requisites shall render the marriage voidable. That Reinna Tricia is the child of the respondent with the petitioner is examination. it is clear from the evidence presented that petitioner and respondent 1. in fact. they would go to a signed the Affidavit." "G-1" and "G-2" and "H. 1995 at Better Living. The false to the determination of the case. The law dispenses with the marriage license marriage ceremony. When such need arises. While they were sweethearts. petitioner became 25 A Yes. They were not exempt from the marriage license requirement. 69166 are SET ASIDE and .

Resolution dated 1 October 2003. presided by DANTE O. Court of Appeals. HANDBOOK ON THE FAMILY T. 661. 371 Phil. 1 the decision of the Regional Trial Court Branch 70 of Pasig City in JDRC No. Cariño. 14 Id. MORALES Associate Justice 12 Rollo. 1991 Ed. No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and woman Chairperson’s Attestation. p. pp. p. at 15-20. Footnotes . citing Court’s Division. Second Division Cariño v. Bayadog. Complaint. 20 Associate Justice Niñal v. p. 661 (2000). VELASCO. at 119-126. 22 Id. 384 Phil. The solemnizing officer shall also state under Chief Justice oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to the marriage. 673 (2000). 6 Id. 18 I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in Id. 4. 31-41. at 43-44. 17 ATTESTATION Rollo. TOLENTINO. TINGA Judge Pablito M. 34. TOLENTINO. A. pp. 384 Phil. 3 SO ORDERED. Art. 403 Phil. at 40. Captioned Annabelle Assidao–De Castro v. 15 Id. 11 Niñal v. CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 20. 4 Associate Justice Records. 23 Family Code. 25 TSN. I. 24 CERTIFICATION Purportedly complying with Art. Reinel Anthony B. 265. 21 Chairperson. shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized REYNATO S. 861 (2001). J. De Castro. 41. 174-182. 16 384 Phil. at 183-185. 34 of the Family Code. QUISUMBING JURISPRUDENCE. pp. 7 WE CONCUR: Id. Vol. Rollo. 8 Rollo. Bayadog. which provides: Pursuant to Section 13. 1990 Ed. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was without any legal impediment to marry each other. 10 Justice Id. 13 Id. Article VIII of the Constitution. Vol.. 3. 661. 704 (1999). at 135. JR. 675 (2000). at 132. CIVIL CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES:COMMENTARIES AND LEONARDO A. The contracting parties assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. 18 February 2000. 2 4626 dated 16 October 2000 is hereby REINSTATED. I. PUNO by law to administer oaths. The case was eventually raffled to Branch 70 of the Pasig RTC. CARPIO CONCHITA CARPIO CODE. 1987 ed. at 139-144. 92-94. 9 QUISUMBING Id. p. 25-26. pp. Rojas. and SEMPIO-DIY. de Jacob v. 5 Rollo. 693. and the Division Art. at 37. 19 consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Vda.

Sempio-Diy. at 160. 29 Records. (d) common reputation respecting pedigree. 27 Family Code. p. and (g) other kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130. (c) the family bible wherein the name of the child is entered. (b) a judicial admission. the following were given as examples of "other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws:" (a) the baptismal certificate of the child . Bayadog. 175. p. 172. 93-94 . citing THE REPORT OF THE CODE COMMISSION. 384 Phil. In the book Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines by Alicia V. 80. (e) admission by silence. Art. 246 (1988). pp. 31 Rollo. (f) testimonies of witnesses. 669 (2000).26 Niñal v. 30 Id. 661. Art.6. 28 Family Code. p.