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A.M. No.

MTJ-92-721 September 30, 1994

HON. LUCIO P. PALAYPAYON, JR., Presiding Judge, and NELIA B. ESMERALDA-BAROY, respondents


On the 5th of October in 1992, an administrative complaint was filed with the Office of the Court
Administrator, charging Judge Lucio Palaypon, Jr. and Clerk of Court Nelia B. Baroy with the following

1. Illegal solemnization of marriages;

2. Falsification of monthly reports of cases;
3. Bribery in consideration of an appointment in court;
4. Non-issuance of receipts for cash bond received;
5. Infidelity in the custody of detained prisoners; and
6. Requiring payment of filing fees from exempted entities.

The pertinent facts of this case regarding the formal requisites of a valid marriage shall now follow.
Respondent judge is charged with the illegal solemnization of six (6) marriages, namely that of (1) Alano
P. Abellano and Nelly Edralin, (2) Francisco Selpo and Julieta Carrido, (3) Eddie Terrobias and Maria
Gacer, (4) Renato Gamay and Maricris Belga, (5) Arsenio Sabater and Margarita Nacario, and (6) Sammy
Bocaya and Gina Bismonte.

Respondent judge solemnized all these marriages without the required marriage license. Respondent
judge contends, in his defense, that he did not in fact affix his signature on the marriage certificates; the
certificates did not bear a date; and the parties and the Local Civil Registrar did not receive copies of the
marriage certificates.

Furthermore, respondent judge, as the solemnizing officer in did not furnish the parties and the Local
Civil Registrar with copies of the marriage contracts. This is contrary to Article 23 of the Family code,
providing that it is the duty of the solemnizing officer to furnish both parties with the marriage
certificate and to provide a duplicate of the same to the Local Civil Registrar.

Moreover, respondent judge alleged that his solemnization of the marriage of Abellano and Edralin
without a marriage license was because the parties have been living together as husband and wife for
six (6) years. This, he contends is pursuant to Article 34 of the Family Code which provides that no
marriage license shall be required of a couple who have been living as husband and wife for five (5)
years. However, in his affidavit, Abellano stated that he was of 18 years, surmising that the two had
been living together since they were under 13 years of age, which is difficult to believe.

In the marriage of Bocaya and Besmonte, respondent judge denied having solemnized their marriage for
not having a marriage license. However, photographs showed that he truly did solemnize the marriage
in his office. He denied the allegation and claimed that it was merely a “simulated solemnization”
because of the plea of the mother of one of the parties to simply show that the parties were married.
However, the seventeen (17) photos that were taken, displaying the events beginning with the
ceremony and the signing of the contract on respondent judge’s table could not just be for a “simulated

With regard to the marriages of Selpo and Carrido and Sabater and Nacario, both couples executed
affidavits that stated that respondent judge did not solemnize their marriage as they did not have
marriage licenses. Under cross-examination, however, it was revealed that both couples did not in fact
write said affidavits but were asked to sign already-prepared affidavits.

Next, on the marriage of Gamay and Belga, respondent judge again denied having solemnized their
marriage. However, respondent Baroy signed as a witness to the marriage. She admitted that she
thought the marriage had been solemnized.

Finally, the solemnization of the marriage of Terrobias and Gaor was likewise denied by respondent
judge in the same manner as the aforementioned marriage. He presented the affidavit of Mayor Medina
to corroborate this testimony but the latter did not testify, therefore his affidavit had no value.


Whether or not respondent judge is liable for illegally solemnizing the aforementioned marriages


YES. Respondent judge, as the solemnizing officer of these marriages, proceeded to solemnize the
essential requirements for marriages, contrary to Article 4 par. 2 of the Civil Code. The mere fact that he
did not affix his signature on the certificates, that the certificates did not bear dates of solemnization,
and that the parties and the Local Civil Registrar did not receive copies thereof are untenable defenses
that he did not solemnize said marriages.

Ong’s Note: The non-pertinent charges mentioned above this brief were also satisfactorily proven
though we need not concern ourselves with them.

Respondent judge received a fine of P20,000 and a stern warning that a similar offense would be met
with severe punishment. Respondent Baroy was ordered to be dismissed for the falsification, bribery,
non-issuance of receipts, and the requirement of filing fees charged against her.



Article 3 – Formal requisites of a marriage are: (1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; (2) valid marriage
license; (3) a marriage ceremony taking place with the appearance of the contracting parties before the
solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that they take one another in the presence of not less
than two witnesses of legal age.

Article 4 – The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab
initio, except as stated in Article 35 (2).

A defect in any of the essential requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or
parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally, and administratively liable.

Article 9 – A marriage license shall be issued by the local civil registrar of the city or municipality where
the contracting party habitually resides, except in marriages where no license is required in accordance
with chapter 2 of this Title.

Article 11 - Where a marriage license is required, each of the contracting parties shall file separately a
sworn application for such license with the proper local civil registrar which shall specify the following:
(1) Full name of the contracting party; (2) Place of birth; (3) Age and date of birth; (4) Civil status; (5) If
previously married, how, when and where the previous marriage was dissolved or annulled; (6) Present
residence and citizenship; (7) Degree of relationship of the contracting parties; (8) Full name, residence
and citizenship of the father; (9) Full name, residence and citizenship of the mother; and (10) Full name,
residence and citizenship of the guardian or person having charge, in case the contracting party has
neither father nor mother and is under the age of twenty-one years.

The applicants, their parents or guardians shall not be required to exhibit their residence certificates in
any formality in connection with the securing of the marriage license.

Article 23 - It shall be the duty of the person solemnizing the marriage to furnish either of the
contracting parties the original of the marriage certificate referred to in Article 6 and to send the
duplicate and triplicate copies of the certificate not later than fifteen days after the marriage, to the
local civil registrar of the place where the marriage was solemnized. Proper receipts shall be issued by
the local civil registrar to the solemnizing officer transmitting copies of the marriage certificate. The
solemnizing officer shall retain in his file the quadruplicate copy of the marriage certificate, the copy of
the marriage certificate, the original of the marriage license and, in proper cases, the affidavit of the
contracting party regarding the solemnization of the marriage in place other than those mentioned in
Article 8.

Article 34 – No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived
together as husband and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each
other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized
by law to administer oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the
qualifications of the contracting parties are found no legal impediment to the marriage.