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#13 GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-RECIO, petitioner, vs. REDERICK A.

RECIO, respondents

366 SCRA 437 October 2, 2001


FACTS: Rederick Recio, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson an Australian citizen, on March 1, 1987. On May 18, 1989 a decree of divorce dissolving the marriage was issued by the Australian Family Court. On June 26, 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen. Subsequently, respondent entered into marriage with petitioner a Filipina on January 12, 1994. Starting October 22, 1995, petitioner and respondent lived separately without prior judicial dissolution of their marriage. On March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage on the ground of bigamy. Responded contended that his prior marriage had been validly dissolved by a decree of divorce obtained in Australia thus he is legally capacitated to marry petitioner. The trial court rendered the decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent dissolved and both parties can now remarry. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the divorce obtained by respondent in Australia ipso facto capacitated him to remarry. HELD: The SC remanded the case to the court a quo to receive evidence. Based on the records, the court cannot conclude that respondent who was then a naturalized Australian citizen was legally capacitated to marry petitioner. Neither can the court grant petitioners prayer to declare her marriage null and void on the ground of bigamy. After all it may turn out that under Australian law he was really capacitated to marry petitioner as result of the divorce decree. The SC laid down the following basic legal principles; a marriage between two Filipino cannot be dissolved even by a divorce decree obtained abroad because of Articles 15 and 17 of the Civil Code.


vs. HON. LUCIO P. PALAYPAYON, JR., Presiding Judge, and NELIA B. ESMERALDABAROY, Clerk of Court II, both of the Municipal Trial Court of Tinambac, Camarines Sur, respondents. A.M. No. MTJ-92-721 September 30, 1994 PER CURIAM, J.:

FACTS: The following are the complainants: Juvy N. Cosca (Stenographer 1), Edmundo B. Peralta (Interpreter 1), Ramon C. Sambo (ClerkII) and Apollo Villamora (Process Server). Respondents are Judge Lucio Palaypayon Jr., the presiding judge, and Nelia B.Esmeralda-Baroy, clerk of court II. All work in MTC-Tinambac, Camarines Sur.Complainants alleged that Palaypayon solemnized marriages even without the requisite of a marriage license. Hence, the followingcouples were able to get married just by paying the marriage fees to respondent Baroy: Alano P. Abellano & Nelly Edralin; FranciscoSelpo & Julieta Carrido; Eddie Terrobias & Maria Gacer; Renato Gamay & Maricris Belga; Arsenio Sabater & Margarita Nacario;Sammy Bocaya & Gina Bismonte. As a consequence, the marriage contracts of the following couples did not reflect any marriagelicense number. In addition, Palaypayon did not sign the marriage contracts and did not indicate the date of solemnizationreasoning out that he allegedly had to wait for the marriage license to be submitted by the parties which happens usually severaldays after the marriage ceremony.Palaypayon contends that marriage between Abellano & Edralin falls under Article 34 of the Civil Code thus exempted from themarriage license requirement. According to him, he gave strict instructions to complainant Sambo to furnish the couple copy of themarriage contract and to file the same with the civil registrar but the latter failed to do so. In order to solve the problem, the spousessubsequently formalized the marriage by securing a marriage license and executing their marriage contract, a copy of which wasthen filed with the civil registrar. The other five marriages were not illegally solemnized because Palaypayon did not sign their marriage contracts and the date and place of marriage are not included. It was alleged that copies of these marriage contracts arein the custody of complainant Sambo. The alleged marriage of Selpo & Carrido, Terrobias & Gacer, Gamay & Belga, Sabater &Nacario were not celebrated by him since he refused to solemnize them in the absence of a marriage license and that the marriageof Bocaya & Bismonte was celebrated even without the requisite license due to the insistence of the parties to avoid embarrassmentwith the guests which he again did not sign the marriage contract. An illegal solemnization of marriage was charged against the respondents. ISSUE: Whether the marriage solemnized by Judge Palaypayon were valid. HELD:

Bocaya & Besmonte's marriage was solemnized without a marriage license along with the other couples. The testimonies of Bocayand Pompeo Ariola including the photographs taken showed that it was really Judge Palaypayon who solemnized their marriage.Bocaya declared that they were advised by judge to return after 10 days after the solemnization and bring with them their marriagelicense. They already started living together as husband and wife even without the formal requisite. With respect to thephotographs, judge explained that it was a simulated solemnization of marriage and not a real one. However, considering that therewere pictures from the start of the wedding ceremony up to the signing of the marriage certificates in front of him. The court heldthat it is hard to believe that it was simulated.On the other hand, Judge Palaypayon admitted that he solemnized marriage between Abellano & Edralin and claimed it was under Article 34 of the Civil Code so the marriage license was dispensed with considering that the contracting parties executed a jointaffidavit that they have been living together as husband and wife for almost 6 years already. However, it was shown in the marriagecontract that Abellano was only 18 yrs 2months and 7 days old. If he and Edralin had been living together for 6 years already beforethey got married as what is stated in the joint affidavit, Abellano must have been less than 13 years old when they started livingtogether which is hard to believe. Palaypayon should have been aware, as it is his duty to ascertain the qualification of thecontracting parties who might have executed a false joint affidavit in order to avoid the marriage license requirement. Article 4 of the Family Code pertinently provides that in the absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render themarriage void ab initio whereas an irregularity in the formal requisite shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally, and administratively liable