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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.R. No.

158298 August 11, 2010

ISIDRO ABLAZA, Petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent. DECISION BERSAMIN, J.: Whether a person may bring an action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the marriage of his deceased brother solemnized under the regime of the old Civil Code is the legal issue to be determined in this appeal brought by the petitioner whose action for that purpose has been dismissed by the lower courts on the ground that he, not being a party in the assailed marriage, had no right to bring the action. Antecedents On October 17, 2000, the petitioner filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cataingan, Masbate a petition for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the marriage contracted on December 26, 1949 between his late brother Cresenciano Ablaza and Leonila Honato.1 The case was docketed as Special Case No. 117 entitled In Re: Petition for Nullification of Marriage Contract between Cresenciano Ablaza and Leonila Honato; Isidro Ablaza, petitioner. The petitioner alleged that the marriage between Cresenciano and Leonila had been celebrated without a marriage license, due to such license being issued only on January 9, 1950, thereby rendering the marriage void ab initio for having been solemnized without a marriage license. He insisted that his being the surviving brother of Cresenciano who had died without any issue entitled him to one-half of the real properties acquired by Cresenciano before his death, thereby making him a real party in interest; and that any person, himself included, could impugn the validity of the marriage between Cresenciano and Leonila at any time, even after the death of Cresenciano, due to the marriage being void ab initio.2 Ruling of the RTC On October 18, 2000, 3 the RTC dismissed the petition, stating: Considering the petition for annulment of marriage filed, the Court hereby resolved to DISMISS the petition for the following reasons: 1) petition is filed out of time (action had long prescribed) and 2) petitioner is not a party to the marriage (contracted between Cresenciano Ablaza and Leonila Nonato on December 26, 1949 and solemnized by Rev. Fr. Eusebio B. Calolot). SO ORDERED. The petitioner seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration, but the RTC denied the motion for reconsideration on November 14, 2000. Ruling of the Court of Appeals The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA), assigning the lone error that: The trial court erred in dismissing the petition for being filed out of time and that the petitioner is not a party to the marriage. In its decision dated January 30, 2003,4 however, the CA affirmed the dismissal order of the RTC, thus:

While an action to declare the nullity of a marriage considered void from the beginning does not prescribe, the law nonetheless requires that the same action must be filed by the proper party, which in this case should be filed by any of the parties to the marriage. In the instant case, the petition was filed by Isidro Ablaza, a brother of the deceased-spouse, who is not a party to the marriage contracted by Cresenciano Ablaza and Leonila Honato. The contention of petitionerappellant that he is considered a real party in interest under Section 2, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as he stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, is simply misplaced. Actions for annulment of marriage will not prosper if persons other than those specified in the law file the case. Certainly, a surviving brother of the deceased spouse is not the proper party to file the subject petition. More so that the surviving wife, who stands to be prejudiced, was not even impleaded as a party to said case. WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error therefrom, the Orders now on appeal are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner-appellant. SO ORDERED.5 Hence, this appeal. Issues The petitioner raises the following issues: I. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF THIS HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN CA-G.R. CV. NO. 69684 AFFIRMING THE ORDER OF DISMISSAL OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 49 AT CATAINGAN, MASBATE IN SPECIAL PROCEEDING NO. 117 IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS AND JURISPRUDENCE; II. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN CA-G.R. CV NO. 69684 (SHOULD) BE REVERSED BASED ON EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 209 AND EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE. The issues, rephrased, boil down to whether the petitioner is a real party in interest in the action to seek the declaration of nullity of the marriage of his deceased brother. Ruling The petition is meritorious. A valid marriage is essential in order to create the relation of husband and wife and to give rise to the mutual rights, duties, and liabilities arising out of such relation. The law prescribes the requisites of a valid marriage. Hence, the validity of a marriage is tested according to the law in force at the time the marriage is contracted.6 As a general rule, the nature of the marriage already celebrated cannot be changed by a subsequent amendment of the governing law.7 To illustrate, a marriage between a stepbrother and a stepsister was void under the Civil Code, but is not anymore prohibited under the Family Code; yet, the intervening effectivity of the Family Code does not affect the void nature of a marriage between a stepbrother and a stepsister solemnized under the regime of the Civil Code. The Civil Code marriage remains void, considering that the validity of a marriage is governed by the law in force at the time of the marriage ceremony.8 Before anything more, the Court has to clarify the impact to the issue posed herein of Administrative Matter (A.M.) No. 0211-10-SC (Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages), which took effect on March 15, 2003. Section 2, paragraph (a), of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC explicitly provides the limitation that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or wife. Such limitation demarcates a line to distinguish between marriages covered by the Family Code and those solemnized under the regime of the Civil Code.9 Specifically, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC extends only to marriages covered by the Family Code, which took effect on August 3,

1988, but, being a procedural rule that is prospective in application, is confined only to proceedings commenced after March 15, 2003.10 Based on Carlos v. Sandoval,11 the following actions for declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage are excepted from the limitation, to wit: 1. Those commenced before March 15, 2003, the effectivity date of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC; and 2. Those filed vis-à-vis marriages celebrated during the effectivity of the Civil Code and, those celebrated under the regime of the Family Code prior to March 15, 2003. Considering that the marriage between Cresenciano and Leonila was contracted on December 26, 1949, the applicable law was the old Civil Code, the law in effect at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Hence, the rule on the exclusivity of the parties to the marriage as having the right to initiate the action for declaration of nullity of the marriage under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC had absolutely no application to the petitioner. The old and new Civil Codes contain no provision on who can file a petition to declare the nullity of a marriage, and when. Accordingly, in Niñal v. Bayadog,12 the children were allowed to file after the death of their father a petition for the declaration of the nullity of their father’s marriage to their stepmother contracted on December 11, 1986 due to lack of a marriage license. There, the Court distinguished between a void marriage and a voidable one, and explained how and when each might be impugned, thuswise: Jurisprudence under the Civil Code states that no judicial decree is necessary in order to establish the nullity of a marriage. "A void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void but though no sentence of avoidance be absolutely necessary, yet as well for the sake of good order of society as for the peace of mind of all concerned, it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage should be ascertained and declared by the decree of a court of competent jurisdiction." "Under ordinary circumstances, the effect of a void marriage, so far as concerns the conferring of legal rights upon the parties, is as though no marriage had ever taken place. And therefore, being good for no legal purpose, its invalidity can be maintained in any proceeding in which the fact of marriage may be material, either direct or collateral, in any civil court between any parties at any time, whether before or after the death of either or both the husband and the wife, and upon mere proof of the facts rendering such marriage void, it will be disregarded or treated as non-existent by the courts." It is not like a voidable marriage which cannot be collaterally attacked except in direct proceeding instituted during the lifetime of the parties so that on the death of either, the marriage cannot be impeached, and is made good ab initio. But Article 40 of the Family Code expressly provides that there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage, though void, before a party can enter into a second marriage and such absolute nullity can be based only on a final judgment to that effect. For the same reason, the law makes either the action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage imprescriptible. Corollarily, if the death of either party would extinguish the cause of action or the ground for defense, then the same cannot be considered imprescriptible. However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage.13 It is clarified, however, that the absence of a provision in the old and new Civil Codes cannot be construed as giving a license to just any person to bring an action to declare the absolute nullity of a marriage. According to Carlos v. Sandoval,14 the plaintiff must still be the party who stands to be benefited by the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit, for it is basic in procedural law that every action must be prosecuted and defended in the name of the real party in interest.15 Thus, only the party who can demonstrate a "proper interest" can file the action.16 Interest within the meaning of the rule means material interest, or an interest in issue to be affected by the decree or judgment of the case, as distinguished from mere curiosity about the question involved or a mere incidental interest. One having no material interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court as plaintiff in an action. When the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, the case is dismissible on the ground of lack of cause of action.17 Here, the petitioner alleged himself to be the late Cresenciano’s brother and surviving heir. Assuming that the petitioner was as he claimed himself to be, then he has a material interest in the estate of Cresenciano that will be adversely

affected by any judgment in the suit. Indeed, a brother like the petitioner, albeit not a compulsory heir under the laws of succession, has the right to succeed to the estate of a deceased brother under the conditions stated in Article 1001 and Article 1003 of the Civil Code, as follows: Article 1001. Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one half of the inheritance and the brothers and sisters or their children to the other half. Article 1003. If there are no descendants, ascendants, illegitimate children, or a surviving spouse, the collateral relatives shall succeed to the entire estate of the deceased in accordance with the following articles. Pursuant to these provisions, the presence of descendants, ascendants, or illegitimate children of the deceased excludes collateral relatives like the petitioner from succeeding to the deceased’s estate.18 Necessarily, therefore, the right of the petitioner to bring the action hinges upon a prior determination of whether Cresenciano had any descendants, ascendants, or children (legitimate or illegitimate), and of whether the petitioner was the late Cresenciano’s surviving heir. Such prior determination must be made by the trial court, for the inquiry thereon involves questions of fact. As can be seen, both the RTC and the CA erroneously resolved the issue presented in this case. We reverse their error, in order that the substantial right of the petitioner, if any, may not be prejudiced. Nevertheless, we note that the petitioner did not implead Leonila, who, as the late Cresenciano’s surviving wife,19 stood to be benefited or prejudiced by the nullification of her own marriage. It is relevant to observe, moreover, that not all marriages celebrated under the old Civil Code required a marriage license for their validity;20 hence, her participation in this action is made all the more necessary in order to shed light on whether the marriage had been celebrated without a marriage license and whether the marriage might have been a marriage excepted from the requirement of a marriage license. She was truly an indispensable party who must be joined herein: xxx under any and all conditions, [her] presence being a sine qua non for the exercise of judicial power.1avvphi1 It is precisely "when an indispensable party is not before the court [that] the action should be dismissed." The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.21 We take note, too, that the petitioner and Leonila were parties in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 91025 entitled Heirs of Cresenciano Ablaza, namely: Leonila G. Ablaza and Leila Ablaza Jasul v. Spouses Isidro and Casilda Ablaza, an action to determine who between the parties were the legal owners of the property involved therein. Apparently, C.A.-G.R. CV No. 91025 was decided on November 26, 2009, and the petitioner’s motion for reconsideration was denied on June 23, 2010. As a defendant in that action, the petitioner is reasonably presumed to have knowledge that the therein plaintiffs, Leonila and Leila, were the wife and daughter, respectively, of the late Cresenciano. As such, Leila was another indispensable party whose substantial right any judgment in this action will definitely affect. The petitioner should likewise implead Leila. The omission to implead Leonila and Leila was not immediately fatal to the present action, however, considering that Section 11,22 Rule 3, Rules of Court, states that neither misjoinder nor non-joinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of an action. The petitioner can still amend his initiatory pleading in order to implead her, for under the same rule, such amendment to implead an indispensable party may be made "on motion of any party or on (the trial court’s) own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just." WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is granted. We reverse and set aside the decision dated January 30, 2003 rendered by the Court of Appeals. Special Case No. 117 entitled In Re: Petition for Nullification of Marriage Contract between Cresenciano Ablaza and Leonila Honato; Isidro Ablaza, petitioner, is reinstated, and its records are returned to the Regional Trial Court, Branch 49, in Cataingan, Masbate, for further proceedings, with instructions to first require the petitioner to amend his initiatory pleading in order to implead Leonila Honato and her daughter Leila Ablaza Jasul as parties-defendants; then to determine whether the late Cresenciano Ablaza had any ascendants, descendants, or children (legitimate or illegitimate) at the time of his death as well as whether the petitioner was the brother and surviving heir of the late Cresenciano Ablaza entitled to succeed to the estate of said deceased; and thereafter to proceed accordingly.

I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.No costs of suit. Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. LUCAS P. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice Chairperson CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. Article VIII of the Constitution. BRION Associate Justice MARTIN S. VILLARAMA. JR. and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation. RENATO C. CORONA Chief Justice ROBERTO A. ABAD* Associate Justice Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila . SO ORDERED. BERSAMIN Associate Justice WE CONCUR: CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice Chairperson ARTURO D.

the RTC denied due course to the appeal for Danilo’s failure to file the required motion for reconsideration or new trial. On July 10. the RTC granted the petition for annulment in a Decision. No. 2006. 2006. J. the RTC issued the order declaring its August 2." docketed as CA-G. 2006 Order which denied due course to Danilo’s appeal. As earlier stated. BOLOS. petitioner Cynthia Bolos (Cynthia) filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to respondent Danilo Bolos (Danilo) under Article 36 of the Family Code. 1980 before the Family Code took effect.M. the CA granted the petition and reversed and set aside the assailed orders of the RTC. 2006. DANILO T. the family home and their children. 2007 Order of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City. 2007. 6211. vs. Petitioner. reversing the January 16. DECISION MENDOZA. a motion to reconsider the denial of Danilo’s appeal was likewise denied. 02-11-10-SC] extends only to those marriages entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code which took effect on August 3. 1980 as null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of both petitioner and respondent under Article 36 of the Family Code with all the legal consequences provided by law. SO ORDERED. 02-11-10-SC did not apply in this case as the marriage between Cynthia and Danilo was solemnized on February 14. in violation of Section 20 of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. to wit: 1) the September 19. 2006 Order which denied the motion to reconsider the September 19. Heirs of Sps. 1988. 2) the November 23. Danilo also prayed that he be declared psychologically capacitated to render the essential marital obligations to Cynthia. 2006 decision as final and executory. Respondent.SECOND DIVISION G. No. 186400 October 20. 97872. No. Branch 69 (RTC). 2007 Order which declared the August 2. judgment is hereby rendered declaring the marriage between petitioner CYNTHIA S. He timely filed the Notice of Appeal on September 11. Bolos. Bolos v. 2006. 2006 Order. After trial on the merits. docketed as JDRC No. On January 16. The appellate court stated that the requirement of a motion for reconsideration as a prerequisite to appeal under A. In an order dated September 19. Hon. declaring its decision pronouncing the nullity of marriage between petitioner and respondent final and executory. 2010 CYNTHIA S. who should be declared guilty of abandoning him. and 3) the January 16. It relied on the ruling of this Court in Enrico v. 2006 decision final and executory and granting the Motion for Entry of Judgment filed by Cynthia. dated August 2.2 A copy of said decision was received by Danilo on August 25. 2003." . Lorifel Lacap Pahimna and Cynthia S. On November 23. Furnish the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan as well as the National Statistics Office (NSO) copy of this decision.R. BOLOS and respondent DANILO T. BOLOS celebrated on February 14. with the following disposition: WHEREFORE. Danilo filed with the CA a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 seeking to annul the orders of the RTC as they were rendered with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction. Medinaceli3 to the effect that the "coverage [of A.M. No. 2008 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in an original action for certiorari under Rule 65 entitled "Danilo T. SP.: This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking a review of the December 10. 2006. Not in conformity.R. BOLOS.

NO. 02-11-10-SC entitled "Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages. Petitioner argues that A. both the marriages sought to be declared null were solemnized. The CA.4 denied the motion for extension of time considering that the 15day reglementary period to file a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible. MEDINACELI IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE CONSIDERING THAT THE FACTS AND THE ISSUE THEREIN ARE NOT SIMILAR TO THE INSTANT CASE. Japson. III THE TENETS OF JUSTICE AND FAIR PLAY.M. In the said case. 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure citing Habaluyas v.Cynthia sought reconsideration of the ruling by filing her Manifestation with Motion for Extension of Time to File Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for Partial Reconsideration [of the Honorable Court’s Decision dated December 10. 2008 CONSIDERING THAT: A. A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS A PRECONDITION FOR AN APPEAL BY HEREIN RESPONDENT.M. 02-11-10-SC in 2003. THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT IN ENRICO V.M. THE INSTANT PETITION IS MERITORIOUS AND NOT INTENDED FOR DELAY. 2008]. A. MOREOVER. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF THE HONORABLE COURT IS APLLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE. which did not even involve a marriage solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code.5 From the arguments advanced by Cynthia. after the effectivity of both the Family Code in 1988 and of A. 2009 CONSIDERING THE FOREGOING AND THE FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE. CONSIDERING THAT HEREIN RESPONDENT REFUSED TO COMPLY WITH A PRECONDITION FOR APPEAL. 02-11-10-SC ENTITLED "RULE ON DECLARATION OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF VOID MARRIAGES AND ANNULMENT OF VOIDABLE MARRIAGES" IS APPLICABLE TO MARRIAGES SOLEMNIZED BEFORE THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE FAMILY CODE. in its February 11. According to Cynthia. however. No. THE NOVELTY AND IMPORTANCE OF THE ISSUE AND THE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE JUSTIFY AND WARRANT A LIBERAL VIEW OF THE RULES IN FAVOR OF THE PETITIONER.M. ITS RULING IN ENRICO V. MEDINACELI IS PATENTLY ERRONEOUS BECAUSE THE PHRASE "UNDER THE FAMILY CODE" IN A. pursuant to Section 2. 02-11-10-SC is also applicable to marriages solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code. B.M. A RELAXATION OF THE RULES ON APPEAL IS NOT PROPER IN HIS CASE. the . D. 2009 Resolution. SPS. NO." C. still the same cannot be applied because of the substantial disparity in the factual milieu of the Enrico case from this case. HENCE. and the action for declaration of nullity was filed. SPS. Rule 40. 142 SCRA 208. The motion for partial reconsideration was likewise denied. FROM THE FOREGOING. No. even assuming arguendo that the pronouncement in the said case constituted a decision on its merits. 02-11-10-SC PERTAINS TO THE WORD "PETITIONS" RATHER THAN TO THE WORD "MARRIAGES. II THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTION DATED FEBRUARY 11." is applicable to the case at bench. She added that. the CA erroneously anchored its decision to an obiter dictum in the aforecited Enrico case. Cynthia interposes the present petition via Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following ISSUES I THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN ISSUING THE QUESTIONED DECISION DATED DECEMBER 10. No. the principal question to be resolved is whether or not A. Hence. In this case.

reads: Section 1.9 As the statute is clear. 02-11-10-SC which the Court promulgated on March 15.M. or "speech is the index of intention. He further stresses the meritorious nature of his appeal from the decision of the RTC declaring their marriage as null and void due to his purported psychological incapacity and citing the mere "failure" of the parties who were supposedly "remiss. v. The Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily. 02-11-10-SC governs this case.6 counters that A. . The Court has made this clear as early as 1986 in Habaluyas Enterprises vs.marriage was solemnized before the effectivity of the Family Code and A.M. these rules are regarded as mandatory.8 The Court finds Itself unable to subscribe to petitioner’s interpretation that the phrase "under the Family Code" in A.M. 02-11-10-SC while the action was filed and decided after the effectivity of both. plain. No. 1988. 2003. 1980. In fine. Her stance is unavailing. 02-11-10-SC is not applicable because his marriage with Cynthia was solemnized on February 14. the CA decision has already attained finality when petitioner filed its motion for reconsideration. it must be given its literal meaning and applied without attempted interpretation. in fact. the Court has consistently and strictly adhered thereto. No. Danilo. The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages as contained in A. is explicit in its scope. There is only room for application. rules prescribing the time for doing specific acts or for taking certain proceedings are considered absolutely indispensable to prevent needless delays and to orderly and promptly discharge judicial business. Section 1 of the Rule. Time and again the Court has stressed that the rules of procedure must be faithfully complied with and should not be discarded with the mere expediency of claiming substantial merit. No. Commissioner of Internal Revenue. index animi sermo. 02-11-10-SC refers to the word "petitions" rather than to the word "marriages. No. and free from ambiguity.M." to render marital obligations as required under Article 36 of the Family Code.1avvphil Given the above. Since then. Inc. Japzon. The Court finds the petition devoid of merit. the CA committed no reversible error in setting aside the RTC decision which denied due course to respondent’s appeal and denying petitioner’s motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration."10 There is no basis for petitioner’s assertion either that the tenets of substantial justice.11 As a corollary. precisely because petitioner’s earlier motion for extension of time did not suspend/toll the running of the 15-day reglementary period for filing a motion for reconsideration. there is no room for construction or interpretation. As pronounced in Apex Mining Co. Petitioner insists that A. there is the maxim verba legis non est recedendum. or "from the words of a statute there should be no departure.M. we rule without hesitation that the appellate court’s denial of petitioner’s motion for reconsideration is justified.7 The rule sets a demarcation line between marriages covered by the Family Code and those solemnized under the Civil Code." A cardinal rule in statutory construction is that when the law is clear and free from any doubt or ambiguity. years before its effectivity.. Scope – This Rule shall govern petitions for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages and annulment of voidable marriages under the Family Code of the Philippines. No. the novelty and importance of the issue and the meritorious nature of this case warrant a relaxation of the Rules in her favor. 13 The rule is and has been that the period for filing a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible. No. By their very nature. in his Comment. It is expressed in the maxim. The coverage extends only to those marriages entered into during the effectivity of the Family Code which took effect on August 3. This is what is known as the plain-meaning rule or verba legis." but not "incapacitated. Under the circumstances. The categorical language of A. It follows that the same decision was already beyond the review jurisdiction of this Court.12 The appellate court was correct in denying petitioner’s motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration considering that the reglementary period for filing the said motion for reconsideration is non-extendible. 02-11-10-SC leaves no room for doubt.M." Furthermore.

CARPIO Associate Justice Chairperson ANTONIO EDUARDO B. CARPIO Associate Justice Chairperson. thus. but a social institution in which the State is vitally interested. 254. . Second Division CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. The courts should. not a natural right. Its purpose is to bring up for review a final judgment of the lower court. PERALTA Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. solid and happy families. their preservation is not the concern alone of the family members.16 Our family law is based on the policy that marriage is not a mere contract. ensure that every party-litigant has the amplest opportunity for the proper and just disposition of his cause. This Court is not unmindful of the constitutional policy to protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. SO ORDERED. consequences.14 In the recent case of Almelor v.15 the Court reiterated: While the right to appeal is a statutory. Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson’s Attestation. Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. Br. No less than the 1987 Constitution recognizes marriage as an inviolable social institution. and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation. the respondent should be given the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of his appeal considering that what is at stake is the sacrosanct institution of marriage. except that marriage settlements may fix the property relations during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code. thus: Article 1. but rather. free from the constraints of technicalities. hence. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO* Associate Justice DIOSDADO M. nonetheless it is an essential part of our judicial system and courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to appeal. The break up of families weakens our social and moral fabric and. The State finds no stronger anchor than on good. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution whose nature. RTC of Las Pinas City. proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of his right to appeal. the petition is DENIED. NACHURA Associate Justice TERESITA J. This constitutional policy is echoed in our Family Code. In the case at bench. JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: ANTONIO T. ANTONIO T. Article 1 thereof emphasizes its permanence and inviolability.Appeal is an essential part of our judicial system.17 WHEREFORE. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

RENATO C. CORONA Chief Justice Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION .

Complainant alleged that his wife.10 In her Investigation Report of February 12. Desiree May Irader Arquero. this Court referred the case to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) for evaluation. 2000. however."6 Attached to the answer were the September 27. No. 1995. ARQUERO.9 Judge Vergara having retired during the pendency of the investigation. 1994. respondent vehemently denied the charge of immorality. J. respondent claimed that complainant himself had been cohabiting with another woman. the case was referred to Executive Judge Nelia Y. Palawan as a result of which a girl. complainant likewise instituted a criminal complaint against him for "adultery" which was. CARPIO MORALES. and such other verifiable matters relevant to the charge.A. and (3) submit her report and recommendation thereon. and for the reason that the same had not been testified to by Dedje Irader who is the informant of the entries contained therein. support his contention that the complaint filed against him is but a malicious scheme concocted by complainant to harass him. Arquero. Fernandez who was. EDDIE P. which documents. and complainant's sworn statement8 dated September 13. and the inadmissibility of the baptismal certificate alleging therein that the father of Desiree Arquero is the respondent herein. by Resolution of August 16. Process Server of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Brooke's Point. 2001.M. By Resolution of February 6. Palawan for investigation. 2003 EDWIN A.4 By his Answer5 of October 6. thusly: xxx xxx xxx Having appeared that the complainant Edwin Acebedo and Dedjie Irader who per reliable information cannot be notified for reason that subject persons are no longer residing in their given address and their whereabouts is unknown as shown by the return of the subpoena dated November 7. P-94-1054 March 11. this Court referred the case to then Executive Judge Filomeno A. 2001. hence. 1987 affidavit of desistance7 executed by complainant in favor of his wife with respect to an administrative complaint he had much earlier filed against her. and respondent unlawfully and scandalously cohabited as husband and wife at Bancudo Pulot.: By letter-complaint1 dated June 1. a former stenographer of the MTC Brooke's Point. report and recommendation. this Court required respondent to file an answer to the complaint. Additionally. ACEBEDO. 2000. 1994. dismissed after preliminary investigation. this Court had not received adequate proof or relevant evidence to support a conclusion that respondent herein could be held liable of the charge imputed against him. 1994. respondent claimed that sometime in 1991. 1979. (2) conduct an investigation as to the information contained in the said baptismal certificate and the circumstances under which it was issued. Judge Fernandez recommends that the complaint be dismissed for failure to adduce adequate evidence to show that respondent is guilty of the charge. respondent. By Resolution of April 25. petitioner. report and recommendation. Edwin A. Palawan for immorality.11 The report focuses on the nonappearance of complainant and Dedje Irader Acebedo. By Resolution of September 7. Also attached to the letter-complaint was a copy of a marriage contract 3 showing that complainant and Dedje Irader contracted marriage on July 10. was born to the two on May 21. vs. Dedje Irader Acebedo. he should be absolved from any liability. claiming that it is "just a (sic) mere harassment and a product of complainant's hatred and extreme jealousy to (sic) his wife. 1994 acknowledging paternity of a child born out of wedlock. Finally. respondent claims. Acebedo charged Eddie P. xxx xxx xxx12 (Quoted verbatim). . Attached to the letter-complaint was the girl's Baptismal Certificate2 reflecting the names of respondent and Dedje Irader as her parents. Vergara of the Regional Trial Court of Puerto Princesa. Brooke's Point. directed by this Court to (1) verify the authenticity of the marriage certificate and baptismal certificate submitted by complainant. 1989.

I joking informed her that she is now being separated. Second. but it does not prove the veracity of the declarations and statements contained therein which concern the relationship of the person baptized. Moreover. 2001. xxx xxx xxx14 (Emphasis supplied. am I correct in my impression? A: During that time that I have heard she and her husband have parted ways already. in conformity with the rites of the Catholic Church by the priest who baptized the child. and the date thereof. disagreeing with the recommendation of the Investigating Judge that the case should be dismissed. the same does not ipso facto warrant its dismissal. 14-15). the records show that an Affidavit of Desistance was executed by herein complainant. a cursory reading of said document reveals that it favors only Dedje Irader Acebedo and not herein respondent. attended with "sexual union" (TSN dated 23 November 2000. [R]espondent admitted the fact that for eight (8) to nine (9) months. It would seem that respondent would want to apply the principle of in pari delicto in the instant case.16 On the merits of the case. . 1994. good morals. his former co-employee and ex-intimate friend. however. It is contrary to the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees which provides that public employees of which respondent is one. public order. the fact of the administration of the sacrament on the date stated. to wit. acknowledging that he bore a woman other than his wife. Acebedo was separated from her husband during their short lived relation. recommends that respondent be held guilty of immorality and that he be suspended from office for a period of one (1) year without pay. "I did not. and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law. and its efforts in the direction may not be derailed by the complainant's desistance from prosecuting the case he initiated. the entry of respondent's name as father in the baptismal certificate of Desiree May I. he answered. cannot be availed of to imply that respondent maintained illicit relations with Dedje Irader Acebedo. So. so we have a short lived relation and after that we parted ways.17 It merely attests to the fact which gave rise to its issue. wife of herein complainant. Being a court employee respondent should have known that said agreement was void despite it having been notarized. good customs. From his answer. consenting to and giving freedom to either of them to seek any partner and to live with him or her. Third. .13 Thus the OCA ratiocinates: . to hold on to said scandalous agreement and enter an immoral relationship with a very much married woman and a co-court employee at that is highly improper. this Court may not be divested of its jurisdiction to investigate and ascertain the truth thereof. Arquero cannot be used to prove for her filiation and.15 For it has an interest in the conduct of those in the service of the Judiciary and in improving the delivery of justice to the people. he a single man maintained relations with Dedje Irader Acebedo. Once administrative charges have been filed. underscoring in the original) While the complainant appears to have lost interest in the prosecution of the present case. Even granting that Dedjie I. she is now single and is free to have some commitment. public policy. pp. Respondent would have it appear that a married man with an extra-marital relation and an illegitimate child is precluded from complaining if his wife enters into a relationship with another man. Q: For how long was this short lived relation you made mention a while ago? . when respondent was asked by the investigating judge if he attended the baptism of the daughter of Dedje Irader Acebedo. we could infer that respondent did not categorically rule out the possibility that said child might be her (sic) daughter. .By Memorandum of December 12. I'm not sure the child is mine". the date of said affidavit is 2 September 1987. Interestingly. I courted her and she accepted me. public safety and public interest. therefore. respondent cannot seek refuge and "sling mud" at complainant for having executed an Affidavit dated September 13. However. we observed that respondent justified his having a relationship with Dedje I. did the Court get it correct that there has been a short lived relation between you and Dedgie Irader.18 By respondent's own admission. "shall at all times (sic) respect the rights of others. but not the truth of the statement therein as to the percentage of the child baptized. Respondent had the temerity to claim it as evidence in his favor when the instant complaint was only filed sometime in 1994. only that he is doubtful of her paternity. . a child. A canonical certificate is conclusive proof only of the baptism administered. he had an illicit relationship with complainant's wife: Q: During the formal offer of the possible nature of your testimony before the Court by your counsel. Based on his testimony. Acebedo solely on the written document purportedly a "Kasunduan" or agreement entered into by complainant and his wife. the OCA. .

yayamang hindi kami magkasundo bilang mag-asawa." It is an institution of public order or policy. a disgraceful and immoral conduct. court employees are also judged by their private morals. xxx xxx xxx20 (Italics supplied) Respondent's justification fails.28 Respondent's act of having illicit relations with complainant's wife is.. among other things. Puno. this Court finds respondent Eddie P. Panganiban. Process Server of the Municipal Trial Court of Brooke's Point. Title I. you mean to tell the Court that you have (sic) a sexual union with this woman? A: Yes ma'am. concur. kami ay malayang nagkasundo ngayon na maghiwalay na bilang mag-asawa. may sapat na taong gulang. Respondent justified his pursuing a relationship with complainant's wife with the spouses having priorly entered into a settlement with respect to their marriage which was embodied in a "Kasunduan". is circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Article 1 of the Family Code provides that marriage is "an inviolable social institution whose nature. Broke's (sic) Point. at magiging miserable lamang ang aming mga buhay kung aming ipagpapatuloy pa ang aming pagsasama bilang mag-asawa. Let a copy of this decision be filed in the personal record of respondent. governed by rules established by law which cannot be made inoperative by the stipulation of the parties. Since the present charge of immorality against respondent constitutes his first offense. otherwise known as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. WHEREFORE. Arquero. and incidents are governed by law and not subject to stipulation. Pilipino. GUILTY of immorality. enunciates the State's policy of promoting a high standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service. Palawan. EDWIN AGUINALDO ACEBEDO at DEDJE IRADER ACEBEDO.21 Republic Act 6713. at kasalukuyang nakatira sa Poblacion.19 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied). not only with respect to their duties in the judicial branch but also to their behaviour outside the court as private individuals. 292. within the purview of Section 46(5) of Subtitle A. the pertinent portions of which are reproduced hereunder: Kami. Sandoval-Gutierrez and Corona. ay malayang nagkasundo ng mga sumusunod: 1.22 Although every office in the government service is a public trust. his suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day is in order. Palawan. Book V of Executive Order No. propriety and decorum so as to earn and keep the public's respect and confidence in the judicial service. no position exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and uprightness from an individual than in the judiciary.24 Their conduct. not to mention behavior.27 There is no dichotomy of morality. respondent ought to have known that the Kasunduan had absolutely no force and effect on the validity of the marriage between complainant and his wife. and dismissal is imposed for the second offense.23 That is why this Court has firmly laid down exacting standards morality and decency expected of those in the service of the judiciary. Q: When you said you have (sic) a short lived relationship from 8 to 9 months. Being an employee of the judiciary.A: May be (sic) about eight (8) to nine (9) months. . SO ORDERED. Under Rule IV. Section 52A(15) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. for which he is hereby SUSPENDED for six (6) months and one (1) day without pay with a STERN WARNING that commission of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with severely.26 It must be free from any whiff of impropriety. otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987. at ang bawat isa sa amin ay may kalayaan na humanap na ng kaniyang makakasama sa buhay bilang asawa at hindi kami maghahabol sa isat isa sa alin pa mang hukuman. consequences. mag-asawa. JJ . Na. an immoral conduct is classified as a grave offense which calls for a penalty of suspension for six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year for the first offense.25 characterized by.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Baguio City THIRD DIVISION G. 136921 April 17. No.R. 2001 .

which has declared the marriage between petitioner and respondent to be null and void ab initio on the ground of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent. Two months later.LORNA GUILLEN PESCA.nêt On 11 January 1995.R. On the morning of 22 March 1994. petitioner said. they decided to rent an apartment. In his answer.: Submitted for review is the decision of the Court of Appeals. No. respondent admitted the fact of his marriage with petitioner and the birth of their children. was served on respondent on 25 April 1994 by personal service by the sheriff. and the same. and she returned home to give him a chance to change. Respondent appealed the above decision to the Court of Appeals. particularly. The children themselves were not spared from physical violence. petitioner and her children left the conjugal abode to live in the house of her sister in Quezon City as they could no longer bear his violent ways. At one time. respondent would beat. As respondent failed to file an answer or to enter his appearance within the reglementary period. It was blissful marriage for the couple during the two months of the year that they could stay together . submitted her report to the effect that she found no evidence to establish that there was collusion between the parties. He also confirmed the veracity of Annex "A" of the complaint which listed the conjugal property. J. 1âwphi1. Pesca and respondent Zosimo A. Initially. He was convicted by the Metropolitan Trial Court of Caloocan City and sentenced to eleven days of imprisonment. Pesca first met sometime in 1975 while on board an inter-island vessel bound for Bacolod City. Respondent vehemently denied. was admitted by the court. Petitioner likewise sought the custody of her minor children and prayed for support pendente lite . about eight o'clock. minimize his drinking. His "true color" of being an emotionally immature and irresponsible husband became apparent. 17-year old Rez. This time. to at least. Finally. which diagnosed her injuries as contusions and abrasions. matters became worse. things did not so turn out as expected. the young couple established their residence in Quezon City until they were able to build their own house in Caloocan City where they finally resided. 11-year old Ryan. But. On 15 November 1995. the allegation that he was psychologically incapacitated. the young couple did not live together as petitioner was still a student in college and respondent. He was a habitual drinker. promulgated on 27 May 1998. contending that the trial court erred. the trial court ordered the city prosecutor to look into a possible collusion between the parties. respondent. petitioner and her children left the conjugal home for good and stayed with her sister. a seaman. 19-year old Ruhem. CV. The union begot four children. It started in 1988. Petitioner sued respondent before the Regional Trial Court for the declaration of nullity of their marriage invoking psychological incapacity. After a whirlwind courtship. together with a copy of the complaint. Reyes. Branch 130. She submitted herself to medical examination at the Quezon City General Hospital. without leave of court. staying with friends daily from 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon until 1:00 o'clock in the morning. VITUG. in C. ZOSIMO A PESCA. however. they got married on 03 March 1975.when respondent was on vacation. Eventually. and a case was filed against respondent for slight physical injuries. She was battered black and blue. although filed late. When cautioned to stop or. reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court ("RTC") of Caloocan City. he chased petitioner with a loaded shotgun and threatened to kill her in the presence of the children. petitioner vs. Petitioner filed a complaint with the barangay authorities. when she noticed that respondent surprisingly showed signs of "psychological incapacity" to perform his marital covenant. Petitioner Lorna G. . following hearings conducted by it.A. Prosecutor Rosa C. Indeed. petitioner decided to forgive respondent. respondent belatedly filed. Six months later. the trial court rendered its decision declaring the marriage between petitioner and respondent to be null and void ab initio on the basis of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent and ordered the liquidation of the conjugal partnership. 52374. and 9-year old Richie. in holding that there was legal basis to declare the marriage null and void and in denying his motion to reopen the case. to her dismay. respondent assaulted petitioner for about half an hour in the presence of the children. on 19 November 1992. He was cruel and violent. G. slap and kick her. Summons. on 03 August 1994. had to leave the country on board an ocean-going vessel barely a month after the marriage. an answer.

and has been proven by an expert. expresses that judicial decisions applying or interpreting the law shall form part of the legal system of the Philippines. looking at all the foregoing disquisitions. the application of the Santos and Molina dicta should warrant only a remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings and not its dismissal. Edward Hudson's 'Handbook II for Marriage Nullity Cases'). in Santos. It is in Santos when. as well as the guidelines set out in Republic vs."doctrine of stare decisis. on the assumption that the Molina ruling could be applied retroactively.3 The interpretation or construction placed by the courts establishes the contemporaneous legislative intent of the law. and. In any case.that the interpretation placed upon the written law by a competent court has the force of law. Article 36 of the Family." The phrase "psychological incapacity . Molina has strengthened. The latter as so interpreted and construed would thus constitute a part of that law as of the date the statute is enacted. The term "psychological incapacity.The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court and declared the marriage between petitioner and respondent valid and subsisting. that the root cause of the incapacity has been identified medically or clinically.' quoting form the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. as so provided for in Article 68 of the Family Code. is an entirely novel provision in our statute books. Code cannot be taken and construed independently of. non respicit. Indeed." borrowed from Canon law. and that the incapacity is permanent and incurable in nature. not overturned. that the new doctrine may have to be applied prospectively in favor of parties who have relied on the old doctrine and have acted in good faith in accordance therewith5 under the familiar rule of "lex prospicit. There is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological incapacity' to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. that the incapacity is grave."1 Petitioner. This psychologic condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated. include their mutual obligations to live together. the appellate court did not err in its assailed decision for there is absolutely no evidence that has been shown to prove psychological incapacity on his part as the term has been so defined in Santos. but must stand in conjunction with. Court of Appeals. The appellate court said: "Definitely the appellee has not established the following: That the appellant showed signs of mental incapacity as would cause him to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenant.3 promulgated on 13 February 1997. "The burden of proof to show the nullity of marriage lies in the plaintiff and any doubt should be resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity. in her plea to this Court. petitioner argues. that his incapacity to meet his marital responsibility is because of a psychological. including. The Court. the concept has escaped jurisprudential attention. Santos. not physical illness. has been explained by the Court. respect and fidelity and render help and support. Court of Appeals and Molina. has preceded the marriage and is incurable. likewise mentioned by some ecclesiastical authorities." The. . that the use of the phrase 'psychological incapacity' under Article 36 of the Code has not been meant to comprehend all such possible cases of psychoses as."legis interpretado legis vim obtinet" . It is only when a prior ruling of this Court finds itself later overruled. existing precepts in our law on marriage. Molina. has additionally provided procedural guidelines to assist the courts and the parties in trying cases for annulment of marriages grounded on psychological incapacity. immaturity. concluded: "It should be obvious. for the first time. and like circumstances (cited in Fr. respondent submits. until the relatively recent enactment of the Family Code. would have the decision of the Court of Appeals reversed on the thesis that the doctrine enunciated in Santos vs. and most importantly. observe love." as a ground for the declaration of nullity of a marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code.2 promulgated on 14 January 1995. there is no merit in the petition. Thus correlated. 'psychological incapacity' should refer to no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which. that followed. the guidelines therein outlined should be taken to be merely advisory and not mandatory in nature." ordained in Article 8 of the Civil Code. Artemio Balumad's 'Void and Voidable Marriages in the Family Code and their Parallels in Canon Law. and a different view is adopted. as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code. in Santos and reiterated in Molina. should have no retroactive application and. The rule follows the settled legal maxim . the Court has given life to the term. extremely low intelligence. the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee itself. Be that as it may.

to make out a case of psychological incapacity on the part of respondent. the herein petition is DENIED. let alone at the time of solemnization of the contract. Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility. WHEREFORE. cannot be equated with psychological incapacity. so as to warrant a declaration of nullity of the marriage. A. may not necessarily be the fitting denouement to it. The Court reiterates its reminder that marriage is an inviolable social institution and the foundation of the family6 that the State cherishes and protects.. Sandoval-Gutierez.C. J..R. No costs. Panganiban. Melo. A. petitioner has utterly failed. totally terminating that relationship.. Vitug..A. the law has not quite given up.At all events. Concur. both in her allegations in the complaint and in her evidence.P. however. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC . In these cases. SO ORDERED.V. neither should we. M. Gonzaga-Reyes. While the Court commisserates with petitioner in her unhappy marital relationship with respondent. J. invoked by her.

former Justice Onofre A. and reached the condominium unit of respondent two hours later at which time. Complainant narrated that on January 7. 1997 PRISCILLA CASTILLO VDA. respondent fetched complainant from her house in Project 8. complainant. They met sometime in 1977. VILLALUZ (Retired). they received their guests at a German restaurant in Makati. On the bases of the evidence adduced by the parties. with gross immorality and grave misconduct. when respondent. yong sumusunod sa bawa't gusto ko". de Mijares charged respondent Onofre A. to a point when respondent called complainant a "nagger". in its Resolution dated February 27. Widowed by the death of her first husband. Pasay City. report and recommendation. 90-54650 and therein obtained a decree declaring the said Primitivo Mijares presumptively dead.C. 14. was trying a murder case involving the death of a son of Judge Mijares. With the reception over. No.A. in light of the foregoing and without prejudice to the outcome of the aforesaid Criminal Case No. be found guilty of gross misconduct. April 10. vs. within the contemplation of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court on removal or suspension of attorneys. Estrada. as Presiding Judge of the Criminal Circuit Court in Pasig. complainant Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. Consternated. J. Cavite and now Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City. the newlywed(s) resumed their usual work and activities. she answered the phone. 1994. 1996). On March 4. after an absence of sixteen (16) years. he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years. JUSTICE ONOFRE A. After the wedding. with the following recommendation: WHEREFORE. Their marriage was the culmination of a long engagement. REGALADO. commencing from the finality of the Decision in this case. respondent. and the unlikely protagonists are an incumbent and a retired member of the Judiciary. 1995. resolved to refer the administrative case to Associate Justice Fidel P. 1 After an answer 2 and a reply 3 were respectively filed by respondent and complainant. Since then. respondent became a close family friend of complainant (TSN. saying "Ayaw ko nang ganyan! Ang gusto ko sa babae. 4431 June 19.: Doubly distressing as the subject of administrative recourse to this Court is the present case where the cause celebre is a star-crossed marriage. 1997. a retired Justice of the Court of Appeals. it is respectfully recommended that the respondent. then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona. Get that marriage contract and have it burned. the Court. What followed was a heated exchange of harsh words. she got married to respondent in a civil wedding before Judge Myrna Lim Verano. Justice Purisima submitted his Report to this Court. At 6:00 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day. one word led to another. complainant confronted respondent on the identity of such caller but respondent simply remarked "it would have been just a call at the wrong number". Metro Manila. 142481 for Bigamy. p. Villaluz is a consultant at the Presidential Anti Crime Commission (PACC) headed by Vice-President Joseph E. Purisima of the Court of Appeals for investigation. while respondent former Justice Onofre A. and therefor(e). Primitivo Mijares. Villaluz. In a sworn complaint for disbarment filed with this Court on June 6. . with a warning that a repetition of the same or any other misconduct will be dealt with more severely. Villaluz." Such unbearable utterances of respondent left complainant no choice but to leave in haste the place of their would-be honeymoon. 1996. Quezon City. DE MIJARES. complainant commenced Special Proceeding No. At the other end of the line was a woman offending her with insulting remarks. Justice Purisima summarized the antecedent facts in his aforestated Report and which we feel should be reproduced hereunder so that his disposition of this case may be duly appreciated: Complainant is the Presiding Judge of Branch 108 of the Regional Trial Court.

Respondent's subterfuge that his marriage to petitioner was just a "sham" marriage will not justify his actuations. 1996. was subsisting because the Decision declaring the annulment of such marriage had not yet become final and executory. in a Bible Study session. Lydia Geraldez. was offered by complainant to prove that respondent immorally and bigamously entered into a marriage. On August 7. Librada Peña. As stated under oath by respondent himself. on January 7. Joseph Gregorio Naval. respondent married another woman. Several months after that fateful encounter of January 7. a defense which amazes and befuddles but does not convince. but a former Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court and. contrary to her expectation respondent never got in touch with her and did not even bother to apologize for what happened (TSN. the decision of the court annulling his marriage to his first wife. According to him. the complainant executed against respondent her "Supplemental Complaint Affidavit for Falsification" (Exhs. and subject Decision was not yet published. p. authority of the solemnizing officer. Jr. 1994 respondent knowingly and voluntarily entered into and signed a Marriage Contract with complainant before Judge Myrna Lim Verano. This. consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer. complainant lost no time in gathering evidence against respondent.Since then. who must be a male and a female. four months after his marriage to petitioner. This is aggravated by the fact that he is not a layman nor even just an ordinary lawyer. a member of the Bible Group. Respondent gave a different version. He explained that he agreed as. the complainant learned from Manila RTC Judge Ramon Makasiar. 1994 was merely but a "sham marriage". 1996. such that. "B"). 1994. "B". in Cavite. and to show that the respondent distorted the truth by stating his civil status as SINGLE. "A"). Herein respondent is undeniably guilty of deceit and grossly immoral conduct. sometime in 1993. April 2. he could not be forced to do anything not of his liking (TSN. a Justice of the Court of Appeals who cannot but have been fully aware of the consequences of a marriage celebrated with all the necessary legal requisites. Primitivo Mijares. and Affidavit of Judge Myrna Lim Verano. a valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of Title I on marriage. and a marriage ceremony with the appearance of . p.e. Acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Exh. the respondent did. legal capacity of the contracting parties. Nelia B. is beyond cavil. "E"). 5 On this score. 1995 she filed the instant Complaint for Disbarment against him (Exh. dated May 10. who solemnized the marriage between her (complainant) and respondent (Exhs. all the essential and formal requisites of a valid marriage under Articles 2 and 3 of the Family Code. Rosario. "D" and "D-1"). 13. after making a false statement in his application for marriage license that his previous marriage had been annulled. his marriage with Librada Peña. the service of summons upon Librada Peña having been made by publication. Atty. To be sure. his first wife. to lead an immoral and indiscreet life. Even if the said marriage was just a caper of levity in bad taste. competent under the law to solemnize a civil marriage.. presumptively dead (Exh. it does not speak well of respondent's sense of social propriety and moral values. April 10. the Court finds itself in full accord with the findings and recommendation of Justice Purisima. marriage contract of respondent and Lydia Geraldez. That what complainant and respondent contracted was a valid marriage is borne out by law and the evidence. in fact. had not yet attained finality. To this effect was the Certification by Mrs. 1995. "F" and "F-1"). Worse. for the reason that said Decision was not yet published as required by the Rules. He has made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution of demanding respect and dignity. Respondent theorized that when his marriage with complainant took place before Judge Myrna Lim Verano. 15a). that he (Judge Makasiar) solemnized the marriage between former Justice Onofre A. the complainant and respondent have been living separately because as complainant rationalized. in an effort to help Judge Mijares in the administrative case for immorality filed against her by her Legal Researcher. i. we rely once again on the perceptive findings and discussion of Investigating Justice Purisima which we quote with approval: That. He resorted to falsification to distort the truth. when her married Lydia Geraldez. Exhibit "C". Cavite. then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona. thereafter. Villaluz and a certain Lydia Geraldez. what he inked with the complainant on January 7. Infuriated and impelled by the disheartening news. 1994. on June 6. After a thorough review of the records. "4"). Also presented for complainant were: Marriage Contract between her and respondent (Exh.. when she discovered another incriminatory document against respondent. complainant lamented. Order declaring her first husband. he voluntarily signed the Marriage Contract marked Exh. Family Code. 4 He himself asserts that at the time of his marriage to herein complainant.

nay sacrilege. that his impulsive conduct during some episodes of the investigation reveal a degree of aberrant reactive behavior probably ascribable to advanced age. he is precluded. His consent thereto was freely given. a suspension of two years. From the foregoing. a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. complained of in said administrative case was without any factual and legal basis. he felt duty bound to help her in ventilating the whole truth and nothing but the truth. alone. finding herein respondent. with the specific WARNING that a more severe penalty shall be imposed should he commit the same or a similar offense hereafter. If he never had any immoral love affair with Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. . Judge Myrna Lim Verano was authorized by law to solemnize the civil marriage. to assure all and sundry that what Atty. 1994 was nothing but a "sham" marriage is unavailing to shield or absolve him from liability for his gross misconduct. its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. To make fun of and take lightly the sacredness of marriage is to court the wrath of the Creator and mankind. from claiming that when he took herein complainant as his wife by a second marriage. respondent stated under oath that his marriage with Librada Pena had been annulled by a decree of annulment. would suffice as a punitive but compassionate disciplinary measure. were satisfied and complied with. Hence. This qualification is not only a condition precedent for admission to the practice of law. Even granting that the immorality charge against herein complainant in the administrative case instituted against her by Atty. and both contracting parties had the legal capacity to contract such marriage. anyway. respondent could have testified in her favor in said administrative case. as he terms it. a crucial issue pending determination in Criminal Case No. and even assuming for the sake of argument that the judgment in Civil Case No. he entered into subject marriage in an effort to save the complainant from the charge of immorality against her.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. as stressed upon by complainant. dishonest. his first marriage with Librada Peña was subsisting and unannulled. 6 Under Rule 1. in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. is unfounded. Jr. the defense of respondent that what was entered into by him and complainant on January 7. immoral or deceitful conduct.. that circumstance. But. as it is not proper to make here a definitive findings as to whether or not respondent can be adjudged guilty of bigamy under the attendant facts and circumstances. Besides. no one can make a mockery thereof and perform a sham marriage with impunity. In this only Christian country of the Far East.the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer. when he (respondent) took Lydia Geraldez as his wife by third marriage. respondent was not justified in resorting to a "sham" marriage to protect her (complainant) from said immorality charge. The commission of grossly immoral conduct and deceit are grounds for suspension or disbarment of lawyers. The theory of respondent that what (was) solemnized with complainant was nothing but a "sham" marriage is too incredible to deserve serious consideration. Jr. and therefore. 1994 was a "sham" marriage. 9367048 decreeing the annulment of the marriage between respondent and Librada Pena had not attained complete finality due to non publication of said judgment in a newspaper of general circulation. Being a lawyer. The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. at that. the Court feels that disbarment would be too harsh a penalty in this peculiar case. de Mijares and therefore. by the principle of estoppel. Villaluz. the respondent is surely conversant with the legal maxim that a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong. 7 However. Without in anyway pre-empting whatever the Regional Trial Court of Manila will find in the criminal case of Bigamy against herein respondent. Joseph Gregorio Naval. WHEREFORE. and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife. Joseph Gregorio Naval. 142481 before Branch 12 of the Manila Regional Trial Court. even assuming arguendo that what respondent contracted with complainant on January 7. But. Therefore. society cherishes and protects the sanctity of marriage and the family as a social institution. only made subject marriage voidable and did not necessarily render the marriage between complainant and respondent void. the ineluctible conclusion is — that what respondent perpetrated was a gross misconduct on his part as a member of the Philippine Bar and as former appellate Justice. and the undeniable fact that he has rendered some years of commendable service in the Judiciary. as recommended. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years effective upon notice hereof. it is evident that respondent dismally fails to meet the standard of moral fitness for continued membership in the legal profession. all ingredients of a valid marriage were present. considering that respondent is in the declining years of his life. Consequently. GUILTY of immoral conduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. According to respondent. former Justice Onofre A. to repeat: regardless of the intention of respondent in saying "I do" with complainant before a competent authority.

Romero. Padilla. are on leave. Jr. Bellosillo and Francisco.J. Vitug.SO ORDERED. took no part. Panganiban and Torres. Davide. Melo. Hermosisima. J.. JJ.. Puno.. Narvasa. Jr..J. Kapunan.. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION . Mendoza. concur.. Jr. C.

In the beginning they claimed that the properties of the estate had been sold to them by their mother when she was still alive. Trazo explained that he knew Gavino and Catalina because they performed at his campaign rallies. In 1968. (This contradicts petitioners' claim made in their answer that Gavino died in the ancestral house at Tag-amakan. Petronilo died after an illness at the age of six. respectively. Father Emiliano Jomao-as officiated and Egmidio Manuel. 3 a family friend of private respondents. Cebu. private respondents Ramonito and Generoso Balogbog brought an action for partition and accounting against petitioners. who died when he was six. and Generoso. Balamban. 4 She testified that after the wedding. Trazo. she stated that after the death of Gavino. but he died in 1935. Jomao-as. petitioners. J. The certificate was prepared by . Catalina as "balitaw" dancer and Gavino Balogbog as her guitarist. but it was burned during the war. then a municipal councilor. Petronilo. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS. The facts are as follows. No. who testified that private respondents are the children of Gavino and Catalina. They alleged that their brother Gavino died single and without issue in their parents' residence at Tag-amakan. Cebu. She obtained a certificate (Exh. MENDOZA. In their answer. in which Rev. for this reason. On crossexamination. Petitioners Leoncia and Gaudioso Balogbog are the children of Basilio Balogbog and Genoveva Arzibal who died intestate in 1951 and 1961. predeceasing their parents. but they later withdrew this allegation. He also made the coffin of the couple's son. another certificate from the Office of the Treasurer (Exh. 1997 LEONCIA BALOGBOG and GAUDIOSO BALOGBOG. the wedding of Gavino and Catalina was solemnized in the Catholic Church of Asturias. Ramonito. Private respondents presented Priscilo Y." presumably the marriage certificate. vs.) Pogoy said he was a carpenter and he was the one who had made the coffin of Gavino. Catalina Ubas testified concerning her marriage to Gavino. 83598 March 7. she was handed a "receipt. She said that she and Gavino lived together in Obogon and begot three children. the records of which were either lost or destroyed during the war.: This is a petition for review of the decision 1 of the Court of Appeals. respondents. and a certificate by the Parish Priest of Asturias that there was likewise no record of birth of Ramonito in the church. she lived in common law relation with a man for a year and then they separated. According to him. declaring private respondents heirs of the deceased Basilio and Genoveva Balogbog entitled to inherit from them. Trazo said he attended the wedding of Gavino and Catalina sometime in 1929. as defendant below. Cebu and that he knew this because he attended their wedding and was in fact asked by Gavino to accompany Catalina and carry her wedding dress from her residence in Camanaol to the poblacion of Asturias before the wedding day. M) On the other hand. in the presence of his wife. He testified that Gavino died in 1935 in his residence at Obogon. 2 then 81 years old. Private respondents produced a certificate from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar (Exh. (Exh. acted as one of the witnesses. L) that there was no record of the birth of Ramonito in that office and. they were entitled to the one-third share of Gavino in the estate of their grandparents. who testified that he knew Gavino and Catalina to be husband and wife and Ramonito to be their first child. by Fr. She denied that her brother had any legitimate children and stated that she did not know private respondents before this case was filed. On crossexamination. Asturias. Petronilo. 10) from the Local Civil Registrar of Asturias to the effect that that office did not have a record of the names of Gavino and Catalina. claiming that they were the legitimate children of Gavino by Catalina Ubas and that. namely. Gavino. petitioner Leoncia Balogbog testified 5 that Gavino died single at the family residence in Asturias. P) that the Register of Marriages did not have a record of the marriage of Gavino and Catalina.R. the record must be presumed to have been lost or destroyed during the war. affirming the decision of the Court of First Instance of Cebu City (Branch IX). They had an older brother. The second witness presented was Matias Pogoy. Asturias. RAMONITO BALOGBOG and GENEROSO BALOGBOG. petitioners denied knowing private respondents.G. as such. mayor of the municipality of Asturias from 1928 to 1934.

42 to 107 of the Civil Code of 1889 of Spain did not take effect. 16 Here. petitioners' claim that the certification presented by private respondents (to the effect that the record of the marriage had been lost or destroyed during the war) was belied by the production of the Book of Marriages by the assistant municipal treasurer of Asturias. contending that the trial court erred in not giving weight to the certification of the Office of the Municipal Treasurer of Asturias (Exh. and that their children. 12 This presumption may be rebutted only by cogent proof to the contrary. was also his bondsman in a criminal case filed by a certain Mr. private respondents herein. were recognized by Gavino's family and by the public as the legitimate children of Gavino. 53 and 54 never came into force. to partition the estate and deliver to private respondents one-third of the estate of Basilio and Genoveva. Indeed. that a child is presumed to be legitimate. through testimonial evidence. This Court noted long ago. the Court of Appeals affirmed. Since this case was brought in the lower court in 1968. Other evidence may be presented to prove marriage. one of whom died in infancy. 10) to the effect that no marriage of Gavino and Catalina was recorded in the Book of Marriages for the years 1925-1935. Ramonito Balogbog was presented 8 to rebut Leoncia Balogbog's testimony. On crossexamination. as was their second motion for new trial and/or reconsideration based on the church records of the parish of Asturias which did not contain the record of the alleged marriage in that church. however. . which repealed the provisions of the former Civil Code. We find no reversible error committed by the Court of Appeals. this petition. provided that the registration of the birth of their children as their legitimate children is also submitted in evidence. First. Petitioners argue that this book does not contain any entry pertaining to the alleged marriage of private respondents' parents. Petitioners filed a motion for new trial and/or reconsideration. and to pay attorney's fees and costs. that Arts. although a marriage contract is considered primary evidence of marriage. the existence of the marriage must be determined in accordance with the present Civil Code. the Court of First Instance of Cebu City rendered judgment for private respondents (plaintiffs below). who questioned the marriage of the plaintiffs. 53 and 54 of the Civil Code of 1889 because this was the law in force at the time the alleged marriage was celebrated. 1973. Petitioners contend that the marriage of Gavino and Catalina should have been proven in accordance with Arts. This contention has no merit. 6 Witness Jose Narvasa testified 7 that Gavino died single in 1935 and that Catalina lived with a certain Eleuterio Keriado after the war. ordering petitioners to render an accounting from 1960 until the finality of its judgment. in which case any other proof. that they had three children. 15 the failure to present it is not proof that no marriage took place. that their marriage subsisted until 1935 when Gavino died. He added. On June 15. although he did not know the names of the children. In Pugeda v. that Gavino and Catalina were married in 1929. who testified that there was no record of the marriage of Gavino and Catalina in the Book of Marriages between 1925 to 1935. private respondents proved. 9 Hence. unless the books thereof have not been kept or have been lost. On appeal. evidence consisting of the testimonies of witnesses was held competent to prove the marriage. such as that of the continuous possession by parents of the status of husband and wife. 11 and the rules on evidence. Cavite for the month of January. Narvasa stated that Leoncia Balogbog. the presumption is that a man and a woman conducting themselves as husband and wife are legally married. produced a photostatic copy of the record of marriages of the Municipality of Rosario. to show that there was no record of the alleged marriage. Trias. 1916. It held that private respondents failed to overcome the legal presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife are in fact married. or unless they are questioned in the courts. 53 provides that marriages celebrated under the Civil Code of 1889 should be proven only by a certified copy of the memorandum in the Civil Registry. Cuyos. 14 the defendants. 13 In this case. Art.Assistant Municipal Treasurer Juan Maranga. Nonetheless. having been suspended by the Governor General of the Philippines shortly after the extension of that code to this country. that Catalina had children by a man she had married before the war. Arts. may be considered. except as they related to vested rights. Under the Rules of Court. Their motion was denied by the trial court. however. and that things happen according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life. 10 Consequently. although he did not know whether they were legally married. who requested him to testify.

and if the parties were not what they thus hold themselves out as being. but it is a new relation. The treasurer of Asturias. every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. But Matias Pogoy testified that Gavino and Catalina begot three children.S. "N-1". No. Villafuerte and Rabano [1905]. the filiation shall be proved by the continuous possession of status of a legitimate child. That private respondents are the children of Gavino and Catalina Balogbog cannot therefore be doubted. in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to the case. by an authentic document or by final judgment. 34 Phil. the filiation of children may be proven by continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child and by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court or special laws. 266 and 267. 267. 633. declared that they were taking each other as husband and wife. Q. an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested. Kiamco — May it please this investigative body. it is appellant Gaudioso himself who supplies the clincher that tips the balance in favor of the appellees. Petronilo. Son Cui vs. 476. since the very purpose for having a wedding is to exchange vows of marital commitment. "N-2". The law favors the validity of marriage. 1968. they would be living in the constant violation of decency and of law. The reason is that such is the common order of society. What is in issue. 1? ." (Sec. is not the marriage of Gavino and Catalina but the filiation of private respondents as their children. 334. 265.) Second. A presumption established by our Code of Civil Procedure is "that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. It would indeed be unusual to have a wedding without an exchange of vows and quite unnatural for people not to notice its absence. the evidence in the record shows that petitioner Gaudioso Balogbog admitted to the police of Balamban. In the absence of the titles indicated in the preceding article. (U. In an investigation before the Police Investigating Committee of Balamban. The marriage of Gavino and Catalina has already been shown in the preceding discussion. 266. Art. Consequently. in the absence of titles indicated in Art. Cebu that Ramonito is his nephew. vs. Moreover. Petitioners contend that private respondents' reliance solely on testimonial evidence to support their claim that private respondents had been in the continuous possession of the status of legitimate children is contrary to Art. because the State is interested in the preservation of the family and the sanctity of the family is a matter of constitutional concern. vs. however. In the absence of a record of birth. Do you know the complainant in this Administrative Case No. legitimate filiation may be proved by any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. "N". L). held on March 8. Gaudioso testified that the complainant in that administrative case is his nephew. 4 Phil. Cebu. Thus the Civil Code provides: Art. conducted for the purpose of inquiring into a complaint filed by Ramonito against a patrolman of the Balamban police force. final judgment or possession of status. 28) Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio — Always presume marriage. Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract. died at the age of six.Neither is there merit in the argument that the existence of the marriage cannot be presumed because there was no evidence showing in particular that Gavino and Catalina. Catalina testified that private respondents Ramonito and Generoso are her children by Gavino Balogbog. Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed.. Cheong Seng Gee: 18 The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage. 265 of the Civil Code which provides that such status shall be proven by the record of birth in the Civil Register. But in accordance with Arts.S. Petitioners contend that there is no justification for presenting testimonies as to the possession by private respondents of the status of legitimate children because the Book of Marriages for the years 1928-1929 is available. Teter vs. Guepangco.. Memoracion and Uri [1916]. Teter [1884]. As the Court of Appeals found: Ironically. 17 An exchange of vows can be presumed to have been made from the testimonies of the witnesses who state that a wedding took place. in the presence of two witnesses. As stated in Adong v. 101 Ind. U. to be in fact married.. Excerpts from the transcript of the proceedings conducted on that date (Exhs. supra. Cebu certified that the records of birth of that municipality for the year 1930 could not be found. 129. "N-3" and "N-4") read: Atty. authentic document. presumably because they were lost or destroyed during the war (Exh. one of whom.

He did not even testify during the trial. Why is Ramonito Balogbog your nephew? A. PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE .R. Why do you know him? A. Q. Q. Section 22). Are you in good terms with your nephew. We are close because aside from the fact that he is my nephew we were also leaving (sic) in the same house in Butuan City. JJ. Significantly. Q. 1992 MA. Because he is the son of my elder brother. No. Yes. when I return to Balamban. Republic of the Philippines . Cebu. COURT OF APPEALS. Q.. I know because he is my nephew. concur. the former being the son of Gavino.00. It is considered as a reliable declaration against interest (Rule 130. ET AL. Do you mean to say that you are close to him? A. and I even barrow (sic) from him money in the amount of P300. We are close.FULL TEXT The Lawphil Project . vs. Why do you say you are close? A. xxx xxx xxx Q.Arellano Law Foundation G. DEL ROSARIO MARIATEGUI. the complainant? A. WHEREFORE. Such silence can only mean that Ramonito is indeed the nephew of Gaudioso.. This admission of relationship is admissible against Gaudioso although made in another case.A. Yes. L-57062 January 24. Jr. Puno and Torres. Yes I know. Romero. Gaudioso did not try to offer any explanation to blunt the effects of that declaration. Regalado. the decision appealed from is AFFIRMED. SO ORDERED. ET AL.

1346 and 156 of the Muntinglupa Estate (Rollo. Virginia and Federico. Annex "A". Albon & Associates for petitioners . 1953 (Brief for respondents. Felipa Velasco Mariategui died in 1941 (Rollo. Flaviana Montellano. Maria. With his first wife. Maria del Rosario. Ireneo also died and left a son named Ruperto. Metro Manila. 1980 in CA-G. 66. Baldomera died and was survived by her children named Antero. 1938.. Urbana and Ireneo. he begot four (4) children. Rufina. JACINTO MARIATEGUI. L-57062 January 24. pp. These properties are described in the complaint as Lots Nos. v. 8).. Fuentes & Tagle Firm for private respondents . Patacsil. Lupo Mariategui contracted three (3) marriages. who died on November 8. 116.R.: This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision * of the Court of Appeals dated December 24. et al. ET AL. 36). 4). born on July 3. entitled "Jacinto Mariategui. Lupo Mariategui and Felipa Velasco (Lupo's third wife) got married sometime in 1930. Montesa. Rollo. Patacsil Twins Law Office for the heirs of the late Maria del Rosario Mariategui . At the time of his death. BIDIN. all surnamed Espina. 1931 and Paulina. Eusebia Montellano. Tinga. . Parmenio B. HON. Ibid). he begot a daughter named Cresenciana who was born on May 8. With his second wife. namely: Baldomera. p. 1992 MARIA DEL ROSARIO MARIATEGUI. petitioners. 1904. namely: Jacinto. 163. born on April 19. J. pp. Lupo Mariategui left certain properties which he acquired when he was still unmarried (Brief for respondents. Julian. During his lifetime. respondents. 116.SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. No. Rollo. vs. 39). No. Branch VIII ** at Pasig. Annex "A". They had three children. Catalino. The undisputed facts are as follows: Lupo Mariategui died without a will on June 26. 1929." reversing the judgment of the then Court of First Instance of Rizal. 61841. JULIAN MARIATEGUI and PAULINA MARIATEGUI.R. COURT OF APPEALS. et al. p. 1910 (Rollo. Maria del Rosario Mariategui. Gerardo. born on February 16.

4). 1346 and 154 were owned by their common father. On April 23. Lupo's descendants by his first and second marriages. of Jacinto. all surnamed Espina. Lot No. directing the adjudicatees in the extrajudicial partition of real properties who eventually acquired transfer certificates of title thereto. in not finding that the parents of the appellants. on April 1. and it is clear that this action cannot be sustained. with the adjudication of Lot No. and that. Julian and Paulina) filed with the lower court an amended complaint claiming that Lot No. . Virginia and Federico. they (children of the third marriage) were deprived of their respective shares in the lots. Rufina. Flaviana Mariategui Cabrera and Isabel Santos were impleaded in the complaint as unwilling defendants as they would not like to join the suit as plaintiffs although they acknowledged the status and rights of the plaintiffs and agreed to the partition of the parcels of land as well as the accounting of their fruits (Ibid. p. to execute deeds of reconveyance in favor. Julian and Paulina (children of the third marriage) as entitled to equal shares in the estate of Lupo Mariategui. in an order the dispositive portion of which reads: It is therefore the opinion of the Court that Articles 278 and 285 of the Civil Code cited by counsel for the defendants are of erroneous application to this case. pp. 163 to their co-heirs. 14-15). Hence. SO ORDERED. The petitioners submit to the Court the following issues: (a) whether or not prescription barred private respondents' right to demand the partition of the estate of Lupo Mariategui. (Ibid. The defendants (now petitioners) filed an answer with counterclaim (Amended Record on Appeal. Plaintiffs pray for partition of the estate of their deceased father and annulment of the deed of extrajudicial partition dated December 2. 1977.e. . Urbana. p. Cresencia. OCT No. however. and for the shares. . including appellants Jacinto. Lupo Mariategui. i. and in holding (that) they (appellants) are not legitimate children of their said parents. 163 of the Muntinglupa Estate. 496. 10). ibid). Lupo Mariategui and Felipa Velasco (were) lawfully married. The evidence fails to sustain either premise. 67-68) The plaintiffs elevated the case to the Court of Appeals on the ground that the trial court committed an error ". they filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of cause of action and prescription. Ruperto. Cresencia Mariategui Abas. Maria del Rosario. thereby divesting them of their inheritance . p. They specifically contended that the complaint was one for recognition of natural children. 1971. for which separate transfer certificates of title were issued to the respective parties (Rollo. who belatedly filed the action for recognition. executed a deed of extrajudicial partition whereby they adjudicated unto themselves Lot No. 13). all surnamed Mariategui and Antero. this petition which was given due course by the court on December 7. the nature of the complaint filed by the private respondents. . (Ibid. the registered owners caused the subdivision of the said lot into Lots Nos. Subsequently. were able to prove their successional rights over said estate. 163-A to 163-H. The motion to dismiss is therefore denied for lack of merit. 1967 (Petition. On August 14. The defendants-appellees filed a motion for reconsideration of said decision but it was denied for lack of merit. and directing all the parties to submit to the lower court a project of partition in the net estate of Lupo Mariategui after payment of taxes. namely. and the land registration court issued a decree ordering the registration of the lot. and (b) whether or not the private respondents. 1973.. Julian and Paulina provided rights of innocent third persons are not prejudiced otherwise the said adjudicatees shall reimburse the said heirs the fair market value of their shares. 37). 1974. Rollo. 1967. the Court of Appeals rendered a decision declaring all the children and descendants of Lupo Mariategui.On December 2. 1981. However. " (Rollo. 8828 was issued in the name of the above-mentioned heirs. on February 16. 1980. Maria. Record on Appeal.. Thereafter. 163 together with Lots Nos. Catalino. the complaint as well as petitioners' counterclaim were dismissed by the trial court. the motion to dismiss was denied by the trial court. 8. 163 was the subject of a voluntary registration proceedings filed by the adjudicatees under Act No. p. 669. in its decision stating thus: The plaintiffs' right to inherit depends upon the acknowledgment or recognition of their continuous enjoyment and possession of status of children of their supposed father. on the resolution of the preliminary matter. Thereafter. Lupo's children by his third marriage with Felipa Velasco (Jacinto. Rollo. Gerardo. The resolution of these issues hinges. pp. other government charges and outstanding legal obligations. p. . Rollo. On December 24. Thus.

Although no marriage certificate was introduced to this effect. 10). an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested. 1989). and that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life (Section 5 (z). Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals. 43 Phil. City Gov't. 127. if the relief demanded is not the proper one which may be granted under the law. under Title VI of the Family Code.R. However. deporting themselves as husband and wife.The complaint alleged. 173 SCRA 656 [1989]). This fact is based on the declaration communicated by Lupo Mariategui to Jacinto who testified that "when (his) father was still living. October 26. of Tacloban. Borromeo. they would be living in the constant violation of decency and of law . to use the popular phrase (Uyguangco vs. Thus. p. (bb). plaintiffs are entitled to inherit shares in the foregoing estate (Record on Appeal. the case at bar must be decided under a new if not entirely dissimilar set of rules because the parties have been overtaken by events. 158 SCRA 282 [1988]). the presumption of their being married must be admitted as a fact (Alavado v. Alavado v. among others. 139 SCRA 230 [1985]. 135 SCRA 439 [1985]). although it is not the relief demanded. the mere fact that no record of the marriage exists does not invalidate the marriage. provided all requisites for its validity are present (People vs. Rizal. that "during his lifetime. Workmen's Compensation. that plaintiffs be declared as children and heirs of Lupo Mariategui and adjudication in favor of plaintiffs their lawful shares in the estate of the decedent (Ibid. he was able to mention to (him) that he and (his) mother were able to get married before a Justice of the Peace of Taguig. Court of Appeals. absolute or from bed and board is legitimate. (cc). to be in fact married. have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. It prayed. every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. . Courts look upon the presumption of marriage with great favor as it is founded on the following rationale: The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage. So much so that once a man and a woman have lived as husband and wife and such relationship is not denied nor contradicted. considering the effectivity of the Family Code of the Philippines. A perusal of the entire allegations of the complaint. 5 & 6). Lupo Mariategui had repeatedly acknowledged and confirmed plaintiffs as his children and the latter. Hence. 133 SCRA 106 [1984]). Barrios. p. No. Reyes v. 77 Phil. City Gov't. Rule 131. 139 SCRA 230 [1985]). however. . that "plaintiffs are the children of the deceased spouses Lupo Mariategui . 85 SCRA 567 [1978]. the Court of Appeals correctly adopted the settled rule that the nature of an action filed in court is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint constituting the cause of action (Republic vs. and the relief to which plaintiff is entitled based on the facts alleged by him in his complaint. but it is a new relation. there being no divorce. Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract.. Saurnaba v. Consequently. pp. G. 56 [1922] quoted in Alavado vs. citing Baguioro vs. there are only two classes of children ? legitimate and illegitimate. Estenzo. 1979 ed. of Tacloban. Rules of Court. the Court of Appeals aptly held that the private respondents are legitimate children of the deceased. . The fine distinctions among various types of illegitimate children have been eliminated (Castro vs. and were known in the community to be such.. have continuously enjoyed such status since their birth". The Civil Code provides for the manner under which legitimate filiation may be proven." The spouses deported themselves as husband and wife. 120). The allegation with respect to the status of the private respondents was raised only collaterally to assert their rights in the estate of the deceased. 43. supra). and Felipa Velasco". Moreover. With respect to the legal basis of private respondents' demand for partition of the estate of Lupo Mariategui. Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed. shows that the action is principally one of partition. . in turn. a marriage may be presumed to have taken place between Lupo and Felipa. 85 SCRA 502 [1978]. (Adong vs. in the absence of any counterpresumption or evidence special to that case. et al. . City Government of Tacloban. Under these circumstances. is what determines the nature of the action (1 Moran. that a child born in lawful wedlock. among other things. Lupo Mariategui and Felipa Velasco were alleged to have been lawfully married in or about 1930. Cheong Seng Gee. 76873. Corpus. It has been held that. it does not characterize or determine the nature of plaintiffs' action. The reason is that such is the common order of society and if the parties were not what they thus hold themselves out as being. The laws presume that a man and a woman. no evidence was likewise offered to controvert these facts. and "on the basis of their relationship to the deceased Lupo Mariategui and in accordance with the law on intestate succession. Corpus v.

In Adille vs. In their complaint. prescription does not run against private respondents with respect to the filing of the action for partition so long as the heirs for whose benefit prescription is invoked. he had been inquiring from petitioner Maria del Rosario about their (respondents) share in the property left by their deceased father and had been assured by the latter (Maria del Rosario) not to worry because they will get some shares. as a mode of terminating a relation of co-ownership.. 20). Otherwise stated. no valid repudiation was made by petitioners to the prejudice of private respondents. in turn. p. though denied by the petitioners in their answer (Ibid. M. failed and refused to acknowledge and convey their lawful shares in the estate of their father (Record on Appeal. (2) such an act of repudiation is clearly made known to the other co-owners. Again. . 16. sometime in 1969. In the case of the two other private respondents. prescription had not yet set in when private respondents filed in 1973 the present action for partition (Ceniza vs. C. these are but minor details. p. one of the petitioners herein. there can be no other conclusion than that private respondents are legitimate children and heirs of Lupo Mariategui and therefore. According to respondent Jacinto. petitioners fraudulently withheld private respondent's share in the estate of Lupo Mariategui. 14). In other words. Petitioners' registration of the properties in their names in 1971 did not operate as a valid repudiation of the co-ownership. pp. Jacinto constructed a house where he now resides on Lot No. except the unwilling defendants in the lower court. 117 SCRA 532 [1982]). they may not have presented in evidence any of the documents required by Article 172 but they continuously enjoyed the status of children of Lupo Mariategui in the same manner as their brother Jacinto. Petitioners contend that they have repudiated the co-ownership when they executed the extrajudicial partition excluding the private respondents and registered the properties in their own names (Petition. It should be noted that even the trial court mentioned in its decision the admission made in the affidavit of Cresenciana Mariategui Abas. continuous. have not expressly or impliedly repudiated the co-ownership. De Vega. . The act of repudiation. 181 SCRA 552 [1990]). Hollasco. IAC. 148 SCRA 342 [1987]).Article 172 of the said Code provides that the filiation of legitimate children may be established by the record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment or by the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child. Rollo. petitioners. prescription of an action for partition does not lie except when the coownership is properly repudiated by the co-owner (Del Banco vs. Corollarily. Julian and Paulina. 461-462 [1988])." (Exh. p. an action to demand partition is imprescriptible and cannot be barred by laches (Del Banco vs. Jacinto's birth certificate is a record of birth referred to in the said article. (3) the evidence thereon is clear and conclusive. Julian and Paulina Mariategui ay pawang mga kapatid ko sa ama . This allegation. Record on Appeal. 156 SCRA 55 [1987]). Evidence on record proves the legitimate filiation of the private respondents. and notorious possession of the property for the period required by law. p. On the other hand. must have been preceded by repudiation (of the coownership). the Court held: Prescription. . Intermediate Appellate Court. However. that " . in spite of petitioners' undisputed knowledge of their relationship to private respondents who are therefore their co-heirs. 65-66). the time limitation prescribed in Article 285 for filing an action for recognition is inapplicable to this case. an action for partition may be seen to be at once an action for declaration of co-ownership and for segregation and conveyance of a determinate portion of the property involved (Roque vs. Assuming petitioners' registration of the subject lot in 1971 was an act of repudiation of the co-ownership. Court of Appeals (157 SCRA 455. . 6). a co-owner cannot acquire by prescription the share of the other co-owners absent a clear repudiation of co-ownership duly communicated to the other co-owners (Mariano vs. was never successfully refuted by them. In view of the foregoing. since 1962. xxx xxx xxx . no evidence which tends to disprove facts contained therein was adduced before the lower court. 163 without any complaint from petitioners. IAC.A. 165 SCRA 118 [1988]). and (4) he has been in possession through open. private respondents averred that in spite of their demands. the private respondents and Lupo lived together until Lupo's death in 1953. is subject to certain conditions: (1) a co-owner repudiates the co-ownership. Furthermore. While the trial court found Jacinto's testimonies to be inconsequential and lacking in substance as to certain dates and names of relatives with whom their family resided. exclusive. Put differently. Jacinto. 156 SCRA 55 [1987] citing Jardin vs. As a matter of fact. The nagging fact is that for a considerable length of time and despite the death of Felipa in 1941.

SO ORDERED. No. supra).. JJ. Jr. Davide. 2007 . 174689 October 22. Jr. WHEREFORE. concur . prescription definitely may not be invoked by petitioners because private respondents commenced the instant action barely two months after learning that petitioners had registered in their names the lots involved.. Gutierrez. notwithstanding the long-standing rule that registration operates as a universal notice of title. and Romero. Feliciano. Court of Appeals.R. 1980 is Affirmed. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. the petition is DENIED and the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated December 24. but it has likewise been our holding that the Torrens title does not furnish shield for fraud. Hence. Inasmuch as petitioners registered the properties in their names in fraud of their co-heirs prescription can only be deemed to have commenced from the time private respondents discovered the petitioners' act of defraudation (Adille vs.It is true that registration under the Torrens system is constructive notice of title. assuming there was one. It is therefore no argument to say that the act of registration is equivalent to notice of repudiation.

3 Copies of the order were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the civil registrar of Manila. "Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!. that is. The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the relief asked for." and his sex from "male" to "female. does the law recognize the changes made by a physician using scalpel. He underwent psychological examination." An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the People’s Journal Tonight. hormone treatment and breast augmentation. vs. Richard P." He further alleged that he is a male transsexual. the trial court rendered a decision4 in favor of petitioner. 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. Thailand. a newspaper of general circulation in Metro Manila. one was a male and the other was a female. he consulted several doctors in the United States. He also presented Dr. On the scheduled initial hearing.ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO. then twice. Reysio-Cruz. J.1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body. The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative. 2003. He was thereafter examined by Dr. (The Legend of Malakas and Maganda) When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In particular. Jr. Jr. The petition. His attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on January 27. (Genesis 5:1-2) Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and she heard voices coming from inside the bamboo. 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. He created them male and female. His sex was registered as "male. No opposition to the petition was made. He then sought to have his name in his birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely. the bamboo cracked and slit open. DECISION CORONA. His name was registered as "Rommel Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth certificate). respondent. a plastic and reconstruction surgeon in the Philippines. She pecked the reed once. petitioner testified for himself. impleaded the civil registrar of Manila as respondent. On June 4. 02-105207. "anatomically male but feels." the voices said. docketed as SP Case No. thinks and acts as a female" and that he had always identified himself with girls since childhood. Out came two human beings. petitioner.. All of a sudden. Edel. 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment surgery2 in Bangkok. petitioner lived as a female and was in fact engaged to be married. . REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. as witnesses. jurisdictional requirements were established. He made him in the likeness of God. 2002. who issued a medical certificate attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure. During trial. 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. Amihan named the man "Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" (Beautiful). Branch 8. and his American fiancé.: When God created man. for three consecutive weeks. From then on. Its relevant portions read: 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. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz.

the Republic of the Philippines (Republic). 2006. the Court of Appeals7 rendered a decision8 in favor of the Republic. Likewise. RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. In particular. set aside the decision of the trial court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. Article 376 of the Civil Code provides: ART. It ruled that the trial court’s decision lacked legal basis. through the [OSG] has not seen fit to interpose any [o]pposition. not a right. On the contrary. On February 23. the [c]ourt believes that no harm. specifically for petitioner’s first name from "Rommel Jacinto" to MELY and petitioner’s gender from "Male" to FEMALE. Finally. 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. 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.9 Hence. the Court of Appeals granted the Republic’s petition. The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and entities for purposes of identification. he became entitled to the civil registry changes sought. – No entry in a civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order.13 In this connection. granting the petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her [fiancé] and the realization of their dreams. Section 1 of RA 9048 provides: SECTION 1. thought and acted like a woman. Even the State. 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. (emphasis supplied) Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical features of a female. petitioner. 2003. 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. filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of Appeals. now possesses the physique of a female. The intent .6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration. 5 On August 18. except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first name or nickname which can be corrected or 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. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name or Nickname. Thus. This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical Error Law). thru the OSG. jurisdiction over applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with the aforementioned administrative officers. who has always felt. 02-105207.11 A change of name is a privilege. Under the law.Firstly.10 The petition lacks merit. therefore. Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. No person can change his name or surname without judicial authority.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. the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition would be more in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. this petition. WHEREFORE. Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA 9048. no evidence was presented to show any cause or ground to deny the present petition despite due notice and publication thereof. 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. injury [or] prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the petition. With his sexual [re-assignment].12 Petitions for change of name are controlled by statutes. We disagree. 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.

he failed to show. In sum. Article 412 of the Civil Code provides: ART. the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name are primarily administrative in nature. For all these reasons. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order. More importantly. – As used in this Act. 412. this provision was amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors are involved. he must present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason justifying such change.23 Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical error" is: SECTION 2. RA 9048 removed from the ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such errors. RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first name may be allowed: SECTION 4. However. He intended to make his first name compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into through surgery. (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. Before a person can legally change his given name.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. such . or even allege. Definition of Terms. any prejudice that he might suffer as a result of using his true and official name. The correction or change of such matters can now be made through administrative proceedings and without the need for a judicial order. transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless and innocuous. tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or pronounce. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was administrative. or (3) The change will avoid confusion. Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was his sex reassignment. copying. 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. not judicial.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. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. the following terms shall mean: xxx xxx xxx (3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed in the performance of clerical work in writing. that provided under RA 9048.21 In this connection. changing petitioner’s first name for his declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil registry and the public interest. Rather than avoiding confusion.19 In addition.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and corrections in entries in the civil register. 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. that is. it had no merit since the use of his true and official name does not prejudice him at all. assuming it could be legally done. In sum. In effect. he must show that he will be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. a change of name does not alter one’s legal capacity or civil status.15 It likewise lays down the corresponding venue.16 form17 and procedure.20 In this case. – 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. Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code. until and unless an administrative petition for change of name is first filed and subsequently denied. the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so far as the change of his first name was concerned. 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.

But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex reassignment and its effects. were all correct. To correct simply means "to make or set aright. judicial determination of filiation and changes of name). The following shall be entered in the civil register: (1) Births. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status. civil interdiction.as misspelled name or misspelled place of birth or the like.28 (emphasis supplied) A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family relations. (4) legal separations.27 The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities and relations. (5) annulments of marriage. In contrast. Acts. age. and sometimes even succession. Moreover. (14) judicial determination of filiation. No correction is necessary. 408. ART. (7) legitimations. annulments of marriage. status and nationality of a person. naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such as legal separations. naturalization. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause. (2) marriages. The comprehensive term status… include such matters as the beginning and end of legal personality. emancipation. more or less permanent in nature. It is a substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. adoptions. 407. These acts. legitimation. capacity to have rights in general. (11) loss. status or sex of the petitioner. including those corresponding to his first name and sex. a correction in the civil registry involving the change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. (9) acknowledgments of natural children. and (16) changes of name. In this connection. adoption. which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the understanding. expressly or impliedly. (8) adoptions. 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. divorce. 413. sex reassignment is not among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. events and judicial decrees produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity. That no correction must involve the change of nationality. events and judicial decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register."26 The birth certificate of petitioner contained no error. Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil registry of certain acts (such as legitimations.25 However. Article 413 of the Civil Code provides: ART. The acts. (10) naturalization. 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. All entries therein. such as birth. marriages. marriage. no reasonable interpretation of the provision can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the ground of sex reassignment. (6) judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws. Their effects are expressly sanctioned by the laws. events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407 of the Civil Code include even those that occur after birth. and its various aspects. or his being married or not. family relations. (3) deaths. acknowledgments of illegitimate children and naturalization). the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person in view of his age. declarations of nullity of marriages. such as his being legitimate or illegitimate. nationality and his family membership. events (such as births. (13) civil interdiction. "Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation (that is. Neither is it recognized nor even mentioned by any law. (emphasis supplied) Under RA 9048. and can be corrected or changed only by reference to other existing record or records: Provided. loss or recovery of citizenship. not ordinarily terminable at his own will. (15) voluntary emancipation of a minor. however. Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law) provides: . or (12) recovery of citizenship.

In our system of government. However. The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-ranging legal and public policy consequences." However. 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."33 Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce spermatozoa for fertilizing ova. Second. is a special contract of permanent union between a man and a woman. The duty of the courts is to apply or interpret the law. even the trial court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. First. 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 not a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. Thus. obscurity or insufficiency of the law. This is wrong." "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. Furthermore.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. should it choose to do so.29 Thus. no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex in the civil registry for that reason. – The declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or. by the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of the newborn child. It believed that allowing the petition would cause no harm. (b) sex and nationality of infant. . while petitioner may have succeeded in altering his body and appearance through the intervention of modern surgery. In such declaration. (e) place where the infant was born.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. in case the father is not known.SEC.41 among others. It will allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone sex reassignment (a male-tofemale post-operative transsexual). In this connection. if not attended by error. 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. xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied) Under the Civil Register Law. of the mother alone. a birth certificate is a historical record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. 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. the words "male" and "female" in everyday understanding do not include persons who have undergone sex reassignment. injury or prejudice to anyone. visually done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of the infant. the declaration of either parent of the newborn child."35 Thus. citizenship and religion of parents or.38 To grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. 5.30 is immutable."36 Since the statutory language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and remains unchanged. to determine what guidelines should govern the recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. in default thereof. (d) civil status of parents. it is for the legislature. one of the most sacred social institutions. marriage.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male and a female. there are various laws which apply particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of women. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing sex reassignment. "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. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted. there is no legal basis for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his birth certificate. 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. the person above mentioned shall certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth. The words "sex. not to make or amend it. there being no legislative intent to the contrary. and (f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to be issued. The need for legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case where the claims asserted are statute-based. the determination of a person’s sex made at the time of his or her birth. the sex of a person is determined at birth. (c) names." For these reasons.

where they may be filed. Azcuna. Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life of happiness. the petition is hereby DENIED. However.. Congress. concur. SO ORDERED.J. this Court has no authority to fashion a law on that matter. 96740 March 25. 1999 . Sandoval-Gutierrez. it has to enact legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of that privilege. It can only apply or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of government. Costs against petitioner. life is indeed an ordeal. No. Puno. at least for them. 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." No argument about that. the statutes define who may file petitions for change of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil registry.R. Chairperson. or on anything else. However.To reiterate. 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. C. WHEREFORE. contentment and [the] realization of their dreams. the remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be addressed solely by the legislature. what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be observed. not by the courts.. what grounds may be invoked. Garcia. 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. JJ. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G.

1986. 926 of the Naic Estate. Francisco Arguelles and Petrona Reyes. their parents being Tiburcio Pangilinan and Leogarda Arguelles. filed a complain for partition of a piece of land. plaintiffs Virginia P. located in Naic. dated May 30. had already prescribed. Catibayan. Francisco Arguelles. Sarmiento and Apolonia P.VIRGINIA P. III. is hereby dismissed. 6 Dissatisfied therewith. But according to private respondent. Leogarda was the daughter of Francisco Arguelles who died on February 18. 1950.. the Court of Appeals handed down its judgment. reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court of origin and disposing as follows: . with Francisco Arguelles as their common father. CATIBAYAN. of the Court of Appeals 3 in CA — G. the lower court came out with a decision ordering the parties herein to partition among themselves subject 1/2 portion of Lot No. in Trece Martires City 5 in Civil Case No. The Lower Court erred in holding that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli were legally married and that Leogardo (sic) Arguelles was their legitimate daughter. Regional Trial Court. for lack of merit. The counterclaim. 1 dated October 26. Private respondent Simon Arguelles is a half brother of Leogarda. an illegitimate child did not have successional rights. The Lower Court erred in not holding that the cause of action of the plaintiffs-appellees if any. CV No. The antecedent facts that matter are as follows: Virginia P. 926.L. in Naic. 11750. seeking to set aside the Decision. 1949 and Emilia Pineli. 1989 and the Resolution. Petitioners are sisters. who died on May 2. 926 of the Naic Estate. COURT OF APPEALS and SIMON ARGUELLES. No pronouncement is made as to cost. NC-75. Leogarda Arguelles. Catibayan and defendant Simon Arguelles are hereby ordered to partition among themselves the one-half portion of Lot No. 926. Sarmiento and Apolonia P. Petitioners claim that as granddaughters of Francisco Arguelles. more particularly described as Lot No. PURISIMA. petitioners are not the legal heirs of Francisco Arguelles because their (petitioners') mother.779 square meters. petitioners. with an area of 1. theorizing that: I. 1941 to co-owners. 7 On October 26. as the only heirs of the late Francisco Arguelles. the petitioners herein. II. covered by TCT No. was allegedly an illegitimate child of his father. reversing the Decision 4. and disposing thus: In view of all the foregoing. 2 dated January 4. The Lower Court erred in ordering the partition of the property involved in this case among the plaintiffs-appellees and the defendant-appellant. Under the old Civil Code. Cavite. of Branch XV. pertaining to the deceased Francisco Arguelles. the private respondent went to the Court of Appeals on a Petition for Review.: At bar is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. SARMIENTO and APOLONIA P.O. 8340. After trial. 21877 issued on September 1. vs. 1989. they and private respondent Simon Arguelles are coowners of the 1/2 portion of Lot No. which should be applied since Francisco Arguelles died in 1949. J. G. 21877. and Emilia Pineli who were not married. Cavite. before the effectivity of the New Civil Code. covered by Transfer Certificate of title No. Record No. respondents. who died in 1946.R.R. 1991. SO ORDERED.

. II. posing as issues: I. no evidence was adduced by defendant Arguelles to rebut this presumption. 3. Disputable presumptions. and as such no certified copy of Marriage could be issued to the parties concerned. 1991. is no longer available due to destruction of the records during the Japanese occupation. SO ORDERED. Sec. 9 The pivotal issue for determination is: whether or not the petitioners offered sufficient evidence to substantiate their submission that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli were legally married. xxx xxx xxx Guided by the aforecited provision of law. 1917 to May 30. WHETHER OR NOT A MAN AND A WOMAN WHO LIVED TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE ARE PRESUMED MARRIED. The presumption is that 'A man and woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage (sic) (Sec. 15 However. the records of marriages of Naic are intact. Rules of Court). without verifying its correctness. 10 Every intendment of law or facts leans toward the validity of marriage and the legitimacy of children (Art. Without pronouncement as to costs. 8 With the denial with their Motion For Reconsideration on January 4. 13 In the case under consideration. Borromeo 12. 5(bb). 1918 at Naic. the presumption of marriage. Rule 131. absent any counter presumption or evidence special to the case. WHETHER THE BORN OUT OF SUCH MARRIAGE IS LEGITIMATE OR NOT. private respondent Simon Arguelles testified that the said cohabitation was without the benefit of marriage. In reality. —The following presumptions are satisfactory if uncontradicted. 3 (aa) of Rule 131 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: Sec. 11 While it is true that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli cohabited as husband and wife. on which the trial court premised its decision. 220. The defendant admitted that his father and Emilia Pineli lived and cohabited together as husband and wife. In People vs. Cavite. Civil Code). 1918 do not reflect the names of Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli.WHEREFORE. petitioners found their way to this court via the present Petition. 14 Records reveal that petitioners tried to justify the non-presentation of the marriage certificate of Francisco and Emilia by submitting a certification issued by Assistant Treasurer Lucila Lucero of Naic. to the effect that: the Marriage Certificate of Francisco Arguelles married to Emilia Pineli on the 18th day of August. Cavite. The said records were brought and examined before the trial court. and its pages 20 to 22 containing entries from July 3. and. Assistant Treasurer Lucila Lucero admitted later 16 on the witness stand that she signed the said certificate prepared by a certain Consuelo Pangilinan. has been sufficiently offset. In this case. to be in fact married. but maybe contradicted or overcome by other evidence xxx xxx xxx (aa) That a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. the trial court ratiocinated: The fact that no marriage certificate of Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli was submitted in evidence does not lead to the conclusion that the said parties were not legally married and that Leogarda was their illegitimate child. this Court held that persons living together in apparent matrimony are presumed. judgment is hereby entered REVERSING the decision appealed from and DISMISSING the complaint for judicial partition. even staying in the same house were he was also residing. Neither did he attempt to show that Francisco and Emilia could not validity marry each other because of some legal impediments to their marriage.

But petitioners. petitioners have theorized for the first time. which may be explained by the fact that Virginia Sarmiento and Apolonia Catibayan where only 6 and 5 years old. petitioners rely heavily on the legal presumption of marriage which. in the first place. 1991. 17 Then too. the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision. . 21877 covering Lot 926 as well as the reconstituted TCT No. In a belated attempt to establish the legitimacy of Leogarda Arguelles. we are of the ineluctable conclusion. the death certificate of Francisco Arguelles contained the word "none" opposite the phrase "surviving spouse". this Court ruled that as proof of marriage may be presented: a) testimony of a witness to the matrimony. the onus probandi of the private respondent shifted to the petitioners. indicating that he died a widower on February 18. Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli. TCT No. 1989. shows the legitimate status of Leogarda Arguelles. and so hold. WHEREFORE. the same could have been easily cured by presenting a petition for correction in the proper court. Pertinent records show that the petitioners failed to substantiate their theory that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli were married. the evidence adduced by one side outweighs that of the adverse party. If it is true. 23 Concededly. in the present Petition. . there is no conceivable reason why Emilia never exerted any effort to correct the mistake in the description of Francisco's status in the certificate of title as 'widower' knowing that she would not be able to transmit any part of the property to her heirs upon her death if the error was not corrected. did not present anybody who witnessed the marriage ceremony of Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli. 20. Tiburcio Pangilinan testified mainly on the fact that he is the father of the plaintiffs and husband of the late Leogarda Arguelles who was the daughter of Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli. 18 On this point. . Catibayan. . Her omission only serves to bolster the proposition that she had no right to protect. 21877. His deceased wife was Petrona Reyes. Premises studiedly considered. of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. c) the birth and baptismal certificate of children born during such union. when Emilia Pineli died and were then too young to perceive the nature of whatever the relationship existed Francisco and Emilia. respectively. . dated January 4. b) the couple's public and open cohabitation as husband and wife after the alleged wedlock. Virginia P. 24 Compared with the evidence introduced by the private respondent. 19 Consequently. as a whole. were legally married. with the presumption of marriage sufficiently overcome. 1949.So also. the available records of marriage contradict the allegation that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli were legally married. to prove that their deceased grandparents. has been effectively rebutted. We are concluded by the factual findings of the Court of Appeals. As aptly reasoned out by the respondent court: . Not one of the three witnesses for plaintiffs ever declared having observed that Francisco and Emilia acted as husband and wife. without introducing any evidence to prove the marriage theorized upon. Emilia would not have allowed Francisco Arguelles to place the property in his name alone as widower if in fact they were legally married to each other. RT-19055. et a1. What is more. show the status of Francisco Arguelles as "widower". that the birth certificate 22 of Leogarda Arguelles which they allegedly presented during the trial below. the respondent court said: . and d) the mention of such nuptial in subsequent documents. Sarmiento and Apolonia P. to whom the burden of proving the fact of marriage shifted. and Resolution. It then became the burden of the petitioners. petitioners relied mainly on the legal presumption that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli were married. as Tiburcio Pangilinan testified. because she was not legally married to Francisco. No pronouncement as to costs. as earlier pointed out. such birth certificate may be used to show the alleged marriage. dated October 26. 21 Evidently. Court of Appeals. In Trinidad vs. that the Court of Appeals erred not in reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court a quo. Plaintiffs on their part did not testify that Francisco Arguelles and Emilia Pineli lived together as husband and wife. the mother of private respondent. But be that as it may. If there was a mistake in indicating in the title Francisco's status as a widower. Preponderant evidence means that. that the certificate of title was the possession of Emilia Pineli and was given to him (Tiburcio) before her death. The rest of his testimony touched on the certificate of tittle covering Lot 926 which Emilia allegedly delivered two weeks before she died but was later on taken from him by defendant. the totality of evidence for the private respondent preponderates over petitioners'.

2000 ENGRACE NIÑAL for Herself and as Guardian ad Litem of the minors BABYLINE NIÑAL.R.SO ORDERED. concur Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION G. No.. petitioners. . JR. NORMA BAYADOG. Panganiban and Gonzaga-Reyes. vs. Romero. INGRID NIÑAL. JJ. Vitug. respondent. ARCHIE NIÑAL & PEPITO NIÑAL.. 133778 March 14.

" and is the foundation of family life which shall be protected by the State. 4 The two marriages involved herein having been solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code (FC). Pepito and Norma executed an affidavit dated December 11. 3 However. Pepito died in a car accident. 1997. After their father's death. 1985. the applicable law to determine their validity is the Civil Code which was the law in effect at the time of their celebration. upon motion of petitioners." 13 However. J." 10 Specifically. with her specially so when at the time of the filing of this instant suit. of the 1997 Rules. one of which is that provided in Article 76. Marcos of the Regional Trial Court of Toledo City. Pepito and respondent Norma Badayog got married without any marriage license. 14 referring to the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before the . the Constitution considers marriage as an "inviolable social institution. this petition for review with this Court grounded on a pure question of law. On February 19. Cebu. One year and 8 months thereafter or on December 11. 9 This interest proceeds from the constitutional mandate that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and of affording protection to the family as a basic "autonomous social institution. Pepito G. there are several instances recognized by the Civil Code wherein a marriage license is dispensed with. Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.: May the heirs of a deceased person file a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage after his death? Pepito Niñal was married to Teodulfa Bellones on September 26. 11 This is why the Family Code considers marriage as "a special contract of permanent union" 12 and case law considers it "not just an adventure but a lifetime commitment. dismissed the petition after finding that the Family Code is "rather silent. 2 Hence. Judge Ferdinand J. obscure. (2) Whether or not the second marriage of plaintiffs' deceased father with defendant is null and void ab initio. this Court reconsidered the dismissal and reinstated the petition for review. 1986 stating that they had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and were thus exempt from securing a marriage license. 5 A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage under Article 53 of the Civil Code. 1 Thus. petitioners filed a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage of Pepito to Norma alleging that the said marriage was void for lack of a marriage license. Rule 7. the lower court ruled that petitioners should have filed the action to declare null and void their father's marriage to respondent before his death. Branch 59. 1974. This petition was originally dismissed for non-compliance with Section 11." It was thus treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no legal effect under Section 3. (3) Whether or not plaintiffs are estopped from assailing the validity of the second marriage after it was dissolved due to their father's death. Teodulfa was shot by Pepito resulting in her death on April 24. 1986. in the maintenance of which the general public is interested. and because "the verification failed to state the basis of petitioner's averment that the allegations in the petition are "true and correct". applying by analogy Article 47 of the Family Code which enumerates the time and the persons who could initiate an action for annulment of marriage. 8 The requirement and issuance of marriage license is the State's demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage. insufficient" to resolve the following issues: (1) Whether or not plaintiffs have a cause of action against defendant in asking for the declaration of the nullity of marriage of their deceased father. The case was filed under the assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second marriage would affect petitioner's successional rights. Norma filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that petitioners have no cause of action since they are not among the persons who could file an action for "annulment of marriage" under Article 47 of the Family Code. their father Pepito G. In lieu thereof. 6 the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3) 7 in relation to Article 58. Out of their marriage were born herein petitioners. Niñal is already dead. Niñal.YNARES-SANTIAGO.

. There is no dispute that the marriage of petitioners' father to respondent Norma was celebrated without any marriage license. . examining persons under oath. absolutely prohibited the concurrence of multiple marriages by the same person during the same period. bigamy and concubinage and adultery. The publicity attending the marriage license may discourage such persons from legitimizing their status. . then the law would be sanctioning immorality and encouraging parties to have common law relationships and placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully with their spouse. the five-year common-law cohabitation period. Marriage being a special relationship must be respected as such and its requirements must be strictly observed. Otherwise. should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of the marriage. shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicant's name for a marriage license. Thus. i.marriage. . 17 The Civil Code provides: Art. The rationale why no license is required in such case is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation. . any marriage subsequently contracted during the lifetime of the first spouse shall be illegal and void. 63: . This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advice the local civil registrar thereof. past or present. The parties should not be afforded any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape ground to nullify their marriage. 18 reads in part: . . 17 provides in part: . avoid the peeping and suspicious eye of public exposure and contain the source of gossip arising from the publication of their names. In lieu thereof. and that we now desire to marry each other. .e. . Should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties are capacitated to marry each other during the entire five-year continuous period or should it be a cohabitation wherein both parties have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife during the entire five-year continuous period regardless of whether there is a legal impediment to their being lawfully married. There should be no exemption from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. . which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage. . 19 The law sanctions monogamy. if that continuous 5-year cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire five years. the law deemed it wise to preserve their privacy and exempt them from that requirement. the local civil registrar shall forthwith make an investigation.. . . . have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years. This notice shall request all persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advise the local civil registrar thereof. . The presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation of the requirements of the law. The Revised Penal Code complements the civil law in that the contracting of two or more marriages and the having of extramarital affairs are considered felonies. In other words." 16 The only issue that needs to be resolved pertains to what nature of cohabitation is contemplated under Article 76 of the Civil Code to warrant the counting of the five year period in order to exempt the future spouses from securing a marriage license. This 5-year period should be the years immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity — meaning no third party was involved at anytime within the 5 years and continuity — that is unbroken. It should be noted that a license is required in order to notify the public that two persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar. This is the same reason why our civil laws. . Art. 64: Upon being advised of any alleged impediment to the marriage. . which impediment may have either disappeared or intervened sometime during the cohabitation period? Working on the assumption that Pepito and Norma have lived together as husband and wife for five years without the benefit of marriage. Art. . This is reiterated in the Family Code thus: Art. and. that five-year period should be computed on the basis of a cohabitation as "husband and wife" where the only missing factor is the special contract of marriage to validate the union. they executed an affidavit stating that "they have attained the age of majority. 18 subject only to the exception in cases of absence or where the prior marriage was dissolved or annulled. he shall note down the particulars thereof and his findings thereon in the application for a marriage license. being unmarried. 15 To preserve peace in the family. In case of any impediment known to the local civil registrar or brought to his attention. . .

regarding co-ownership or ownership through actual joint contribution. it cannot be said that they have lived with each other as husband and wife for at least five years prior to their wedding day. Article 47 of the Family Code 20 cannot be applied even by analogy to petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage. It should be in the nature of a perfect union that is valid under the law but rendered imperfect only by the absence of the marriage contract. Voidable and void marriages are not identical. . periods and persons who can file an annulment suit. which allows "the sane spouse" to file an annulment suit "at anytime before the death of either party" is inapplicable. The first can be generally ratified or confirmed by free cohabitation or prescription while the other can never be ratified. either direct or collateral. Pepito had already been separated in fact from his lawful spouse. It should be noted that their marriage was void hence it is deemed as if it never existed at all and the death of either extinguished nothing. unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. From the time Pepito's first marriage was dissolved to the time of his marriage with respondent. Consequently. Even assuming that Pepito and his first wife had separated in fact. only about twenty months had elapsed. 53 and 54 of the Family Code. the effect of a void marriage. at the time of Pepito and respondent's marriage. Pepito had a subsisting marriage at the time when he started cohabiting with respondent. 24 "A void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void but though no sentence of avoidance be absolutely necessary." 25 "Under ordinary circumstances. is as though no marriage had ever taken place. before a party can enter into a second marriage 27 and such absolute nullity can be based only on a final judgment to that effect. Void marriages have no legal effects except those declared by law concerning the properties of the alleged spouses. A voidable marriage cannot be assailed collaterally except in a direct proceeding while a void marriage can be attacked collaterally. if the death of either party would extinguish the cause of action or the ground for defense. the marriage cannot be impeached. 22 That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible. and upon mere proof of the facts rendering such marriage void. the fact remains that their five-year period cohabitation was not the cohabitation contemplated by law. Jurisprudence under the Civil Code states that no judicial decree is necessary in order to establish the nullity of a marriage. A marriage that is annulable is valid until otherwise declared by the court. On the contrary. in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid. being good for no legal purpose. so far as concerns the conferring of legal rights upon the parties. yet as well for the sake of good order of society as for the peace of mind of all concerned. It is immaterial that when they lived with each other. 28 For the same reason. then the same cannot be considered imprescriptible. and thereafter both Pepito and respondent had started living with each other that has already lasted for five years. the death of petitioner's father extinguished the alleged marital bond between him and respondent. The Code is silent as to who can file a petition to declare the nullity of a marriage. 23 and its effect on the children born to such void marriages as provided in Article 50 in relation to Article 43 and 44 as well as Article 51. Having determined that the second marriage involved in this case is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license.In this case. Contrary to the trial court's ruling. And therefore. not a suit for declaration of nullity of marriage. the law makes either the action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage imprescriptible. it will be disregarded or treated as non-existent by the courts. The conclusion is erroneous and proceeds from a wrong premise that there was a marriage bond that was dissolved between the two. it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage should be ascertained and declared by the decree of a court of competent jurisdiction. and is made good ab initio. void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either. it is void ab initio because of the absence of such element. whether before or after the death of either or both the husband and the wife. 26 But Article 40 of the Family Code expressly provides that there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a previous marriage. The subsistence of the marriage even where there was actual severance of the filial companionship between the spouses cannot make any cohabitation by either spouse with any third party as being one as "husband and wife"." It is not like a voidable marriage which cannot be collaterally attacked except in direct proceeding instituted during the lifetime of the parties so that on the death of either. in any civil court between any parties at any time. 29 Corollarily. The next issue to be resolved is: do petitioners have the personality to file a petition to declare their father's marriage void after his death? Contrary to respondent judge's ruling. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage. though void. whereas a marriage that is void ab initio is considered as having never to have taken place 21 and cannot be the source of rights. the property regime governing voidable marriages is generally conjugal partnership and the children conceived before its annulment are legitimate. its invalidity can be maintained in any proceeding in which the fact of marriage may be material. Article 47 pertains to the grounds. The second ground for annulment of marriage relied upon by the trial court.

Toledo City. settlement of estate. such as but not limited to determination of heirship. on official business abroad. dissolution of property regime. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case.. other than for purposes of remarriage. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry.However. . Cebu. For other purposes. Branch 59. or a criminal case for that matter. J.1âwphi1.nêt SO ORDERED. Davide. JJ. the petition is GRANTED. Puno and Kapunan. legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child. WHEREFORE. dismissing Civil Case No.. The said case is ordered REINSTATED. When such need arises. concur. The clause "on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void" in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage. The assailed Order of the Regional Trial Court.J. T-639. Jr. C... the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. Pardo.