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G.R. No.

103047 September 2, 1994
Parungao, Abesamis, Eleazar & Pulgar Law Offices for private respondent


Angelina M. Castro and Edwin F. Cardenas were married in a civil ceremony. The marriage was
celebrated without the knowledge of Castro's parents. The marriage contract itself states that
marriage license no. 3196182 was issued in the name of the contracting parties on June 24, 1970
in Pasig, Metro Manila.
The couple did not immediately live together as husband and wife since the marriage was
unknown to Castro's parents. Thus, it was only in March 1971, when Castro discovered she was
pregnant, that the couple decided to live together. However, their cohabitation lasted only for
four (4) months. Thereafter, the couple parted ways. On October 19, 1971, Castro gave birth. The
baby was adopted by Castro's brother, with the consent of Cardenas.

Desiring to follow her daughter in the US, Castro wanted to put in order her marital status before
leaving for the States. Through her lawyer's efforts, they discovered that there was no marriage
license issued to Cardenas prior to the celebration of their marriage.

RTC Ruling
The trial court denied the petition. 2 It held that the above certification was inadequate to establish
the alleged non-issuance of a marriage license. It ruled that the "inability of the certifying official
to locate the marriage license is not conclusive to show that there was no marriage license issued."

CA Ruling
Respondent appellate court reversed the Decision of the trial court. 3 It declared the marriage
between the contracting parties null and void and directed the Civil Registrar of Pasig to cancel
the subject marriage contract.

Whether or not the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private respondent are
sufficient to establish that no marriage license was issued by the Civil Registrar of Pasig prior to
the celebration of the marriage of private respondent to Edwin F. Cardenas.



The law 4 provides that no marriage shall be solemnized without a marriage license first issued by
a local civil registrar. Absence of a license would render the marriage void ab initio. The
presentation of certification in court is sanctioned by Section 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court
which authorized the custodian of documents to certify that despite diligent search, a particular
document does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not to be
found in a register.

Unaccompanied by any circumstance of suspicion and pursuant to Section 29, Rule 132 of the
Rules of Court, a certificate of "due search and inability to find" sufficiently proved that his office
did not issue marriage license no. 3196182 to the contracting parties. The fact that private
respondent Castro offered only her testimony in support of her petition is, in itself, not a ground
to deny her petition. The subject marriage is one of those commonly known as a "secret marriage"
— a legally non-existent phrase but ordinarily used to refer to a civil marriage celebrated without
the knowledge of the relatives and/or friends of either or both of the contracting parties.

Surely, the fact that only private respondent Castro testified during the trial cannot be held against
her. Private respondent cannot be faulted for her husband's lack of interest to participate in the
proceedings. There was absolutely no evidence on record to show that there was collusion
between private respondent and her husband Cardenas.
Under the circumstances of the case, the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by
private respondent Castro sufficiently established the absence of the subject marriage license.
VALERIO E. KALAW, Petitioner vs MA. ELENA FERNANDEZ, Respondent
G.R. No. 166357

Petitioner Valerio E. Kalaw (Tyrone) and respondent Ma. Elena Fernandez (Malyn) married in Hong Kong
on November 4, 1976.They had four children. Shortly after the birth of their youngest son, Tyrone had an
extramarital affair with Jocelyn Quejano (Jocelyn), who gave birth to a son in March 1983.

When Malyn left the conjugal home, Tyrone started living with Jocelyn, who bore him three more children.
Tyrone went to the United States with Jocelyn and their children. He left his four children from his marriage
with Malyn.

Nine years since the de facto separation from his wife, Tyrone filed a petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage. He alleged that Malyn was psychologically incapacitated to perform and comply with the
essential marital obligations at the time of the celebration of their marriage.

Tyrone presented a psychologist, Dr. Cristina Gates (Dr. Gates), and a Catholic canon law expert, Fr. Gerard
Healy, S.J. (Fr. Healy), to testify on Malyns psychological incapacity.

Dr. Gates explained on the stand that the factual allegations regarding Malyns behavior her sexual infidelity,
habitual mahjong playing, and her frequent nights-out with friends may reflect a narcissistic personality
disorder (NPD). Fr. Healy corroborated Dr. Gates assessment. He concluded that Malyn was psychologically
incapacitated to perform her marital duties. Fr. Healy characterized Malyns psychological incapacity as
grave and incurable.

Malyn denied being psychologically incapacitated. She maintained that she did not neglect her duties as
mother and wife. She admitted leaving the conjugal home in May 1985. She, however, explained that she
did so only to escape her physically abusive husband. Malyn denied the allegation of adultery and insisted
that she wrote the letter relinquishing all her spousal and parental rights under duress.

Malyn maintained that it was Tyrone who was suffering from psychological incapacity, as manifested by
his drug dependence, habitual drinking, womanizing, and physical violence. Malyn presented Dr. Dayan a
clinical psychologist, as her expert witness.

Dr. Dayan determined that both Tyrone and Malyn were behaviorally immature. They encountered
problems because of their personality differences, which ultimately led to the demise of their marriage.

The children all stated that both their parents took care of them, provided for their needs, and loved them.
None of them reported being neglected or feeling abandoned. The two elder kids remembered the fights
between their parents but it was only Ria who admitted actually witnessing physical abuse inflicted on her
The trial court ordered the court social worker, Jocelyn V. Arre (Arre), to conduct a social case study on the
parties as well as the minor children. Based on the interviews of family members themselves, Malyn was
shown to be more available to the children and to exercise better supervision and care. The social worker
found that Tyrone tended to prioritize his second family to the detriment of his children with Malyn. Given
this history during the formative years of the children, the social worker did not find Tyrone a reliable parent
to whom custody of adolescents may be awarded.

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court

The trial court concluded that both parties are psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential
marital obligations under the Family Code. It declared the parties marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article
36 of the Family Code.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals

The CA reversed the trial courts ruling because it is not supported by the facts on record. Both parties
allegations and incriminations against each other do not support a finding of psychological incapacity.


Whether petitioner has sufficiently proved that respondent suffers from psychological incapacity

The petition has no merit. The CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the trial courts Decision
for lack of legal and factual basis.

A petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is governed by Article 36 of the Family Code which provides:

ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration,
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

The burden of proving psychological incapacity is on the plaintiff. The psychological problem must be
grave, must have existed at the time of marriage, and must be incurable. In the case at bar, petitioner failed
to prove that his wife (respondent) suffers from psychological incapacity. The conclusions of the witnesses
were premised on the alleged acts or behavior of respondent which had not been sufficiently proven.
The Court finds no factual basis for the conclusion of psychological incapacity. There is no error in the CAs
reversal of the trial courts ruling that there was psychological incapacity. The trial court did not make factual
findings which can serve as bases for its legal conclusion of psychological incapacity.

What transpired between the parties is acrimony and, perhaps, infidelity, which may have constrained them
from dedicating the best of themselves to each other and to their children. There may be grounds for legal
separation, but certainly not psychological incapacity that voids a marriage.
TAN, respondent.

The Facts

Dr. Vincent Mercado and complainant Ma. Consuelo Tan got married on June 27, 1991. As entered
in said document, the status of accused was single. There is no dispute either that at the time of
the celebration of the wedding with complainant, accused was actually a married man, having
been in lawful wedlock with Ma. Thelma Oliva in a marriage ceremony solemnized on April 10,
In the same manner, the civil marriage between accused and complainant was confirmed in a
church ceremony on June 29, 1991. Both marriages were consummated.

On October 5, 1992, a letter-complaint for bigamy was filed by complainant which eventually
resulted [in] the institution of the present case before this Court against said accused, Dr. Vincent
G. Mercado. More than a month after the bigamy case was lodged in the Prosecutors Office,
accused filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage against Ma. Thelma V. Oliva. And in
a Decision dated May 6, 1993 the marriage between Vincent G. Mercado and Ma. Thelma V. Oliva
was declared null and void.

Accused is charged [with] bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code for having
contracted a second marriage with herein complainant Ma. Consuelo Tan when at that time he
was previously united in lawful marriage with Ma. Thelma V. Oliva, without said first marriage
having been legally dissolved.
As shown by the evidence and admitted by accused, all the essential elements of the crime are
present, namely:
(1) that the offender has been previously legally married;
(2) that the first marriage has not been legally dissolved or in case the spouse is absent, the absent
spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil Code;
(3) that he contract[ed] a second or subsequent marriage; and (
4) that the second or subsequent marriage ha[d] all the essential requisites for validity.
While acknowledging the existence of the two marriage[s], accused posited the defense that his
previous marriage ha[d] been judicially declared null and void and that the private complainant
had knowledge of the first marriage of accused.

Ruling of the Court of Appeals
Agreeing with the lower court, the Court of Appeals stated:
Under Article 40 of the Family Code, the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked
for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous
marriage void. But here, the final judgment declaring null and void accused’s previous marriage
came not before the celebration of the second marriage, but after, when the case for bigamy
against accused was already tried in court. And what constitutes the crime of bigamy is the act of
any person who shall contract a second subsequent marriage before the former marriage has
been legally dissolved.


Whether Mercado committed bigamy in spite of filing the declaration of nullity of the former


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. This principle applies even if the earlier union is
characterized by statute as “void.”

In the case at bar, Mercado only filed the declaration of nullity of his marriage with Oliva right
after Tan filed bigamy case. Hence, by then, the crime had already been consummated. He
contracted second marriage without the judicial declaration of the nullity. The fact that the first
marriage is void from the beginning is not a defense in a bigamy charge.