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ROMERO, J.: The complainant in this administrative case is the Municipal Mayor of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, Rodolfo G. Navarro. He has submitted evidence in relation to two specific acts committed by respondent Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge Hernando Domagtoy, which, lie contends, exhibits gross misconduct as well as inefficiency in office and ignorance of the law. First, on September 27, 1994, respondent judge solemnized the wedding between Gaspar A. Tagadan and Arlyn F. Borga, despite the knowledge that the groom is merely separated from his first wife. Second, it is alleged that he performed a marriage ceremony between Floriano Dador Sumaylo and Gemma G. del Rosario outside his court's Jurisdiction on October 27, 1994. Respondent judge holds office and has jurisdiction in the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sta. Monica-Burgos, Surigao del Norte. The wedding was solemnized at the respondent judge's residence in the municipality of Dapa, which does not fall within his jurisdictional area of the municipalities of Sta, Monica and Burgos, located some 40 to 45 kilometers away from the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, In his letter-comment to the Office of the Court Administrator, respondent judge avers that the office and name of the Municipal Mayor of Dapa have been used by someone else, who, as the mayor's "lackey," is overly concerned with his actuations both as judge and as a private person. The same person had earlier filed Administrative Matter No. 94-980-MTC, which was dismissed for lack of merit on September 15, 1994, and Administrative Matter No. OCA-IPI-95-16, "Antonio Adapon v. Judge Hernando C Domagtoy," which is still pending. In relation to the charges against him, respondent judge seeks exculpation from his act of having solemnized the marriage between Gaspar Tagadan, a married man separated from his wife, and Arlyn F. Borga by stating that he merely relied on the Affidavit issued by the Municipal Trial Judge of Basey, Samar, confirming the fact that Mr. Tagadan and his first wife have not seen each other for almost seven years.1 With respect to the second charge, he maintains that in solemnizing the marriage between Sumaylo and del Rosario, he did not violate Article 7, paragraph I of the Family Code which states that: "Marriage may be solemnized by: (1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction"; and that Article 8 thereof applies to the case in question. The complaint was not referred, as is usual. for investigation, since the pleadings submitted were considered sufficient for a resolution of the case.2 Since the countercharges of sinister motives and fraud on the part of complainant have not been sufficiently proven, they will not be dwelt upon. The acts complained of and respondent judge's answer thereto will
suffice and can be objectively assessed by themselves to prove the latter's malfeasance. The certified true copy of the marriage contract between Gaspar Tagadan and Arlyn Borga states that Tagadan's civil status is "separated." Despite this declaration, the wedding ceremony was solemnized by respondent judge. He presented in evidence a joint affidavit by Maurecio A. Labado, Sr. and Eugenio Bullecer, subscribed and sworn to before Judge Demosthenes C. Duquilla, Municipal Trial Judge of Basey, Samar.3 The affidavit was not issued by the latter judge, as claimed by respondent judge, but merely acknowledged before him. In their affidavit, the affiants stated that they knew Gaspar Tagadan to have been civilly married to Ida D. Peñaranda in September 1983; that after thirteen years of cohabitation and having borne five children, Ida Peñaranda left the conjugal dwelling in Valencia, Bukidnon and that she has not returned nor been heard of for almost seven years, thereby giving rise to the presumption that she is already dead. In effect, Judge Domagtoy maintains that the aforementioned joint affidavit is sufficient proof of Ida Peñaranda's presumptive death, and ample reason for him to proceed with the marriage ceremony. We do not agree. Article 41 of the Family Code expressly provides: "A marriage contracted by any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Articles 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of reappearance of the absent spouse." (Italics added.) There is nothing ambiguous or difficult to comprehend in this provision. In fact, the law is clear and simple. Even if the spouse present has a wellfounded belief that the absent spouse was already dead, a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death is necessary in order to contract a subsequent marriage, a mandatory requirement which has been precisely incorporated into the Family Code to discourage subsequent marriages where it is not proven that the previous marriage has been dissolved or a missing spouse is factually or presumptively dead, in accordance with pertinent provisions of law. In the case at bar, Gaspar Tagadan did not institute a summary proceeding for the declaration of his first wife's presumptive death. Absent this judicial declaration, he remains married to Ida Peñaranda. Whether wittingly, or unwittingly, it was manifest error on the part of respondent judge to have accepted the joint affidavit submitted by the groom. Such neglect or ignorance of the law has resulted in a bigamous, and therefore
void, marriage. Under Article 35 of the Family Code, "The following marriage shall be void from the beginning (4) Those bigamous x x x marriages not failing under Article 41." The second issue involves the solemnization of a marriage ceremony outside the court's jurisdiction, covered by Articles 7 and 8 of the Family Code, thus: "Art. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by: (1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction; xxxxxx xxx. (Emphasis supplied.) Art. 8. The marriage shall be solemnized publicly in the chambers of the judge or in open court, in the church, chapel or temple, or in the office of the consul-general, consul or vice-consul, as the case may be, and not elsewhere, except in cases of marriages contracted on the point of death or in remote places in accordance with Article 29 of this Code, or where both parties request the solemnizing officer in writing in which case the marriage may be solemnized at a house or place designated by them in a sworn statement to that effect." Respondent Judge points to Article 8 and its exceptions as the justification for his having solemnized the marriage between Floriano Sumaylo and Gemma del Rosario outside of his court's jurisdiction. As the aforequoted provision states, a marriage can be held outside of the judge's chambers or courtroom only in the following instances: (1) at the point of death, (2) in remote places in accordance with Article 29 or (3) upon request of both parties in writing in a sworn statement to this effect. There is no pretense that either Sumaylo or del Rosario was at the point of death or in a remote place. Moreover, the written request presented addressed to the respondent judge was made by only one party, Gemma del Rosario.4 More importantly, the elementary principle underlying this provision is the authority of the solemnizing judge. Under Article 3, one of the formal requisites of marriage is the "authority of the solemnizing officer." Under Article 7, marriage may be solemnized by, among others, "any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court's jurisdiction." Article 8, which is a directory provision, refers only to the venue of the marriage ceremony and does not alter or qualify the authority of the solemnizing officer as provided in the preceding provision. Noncompliance herewith will not invalidate the marriage. A priest who is commissioned and allowed by his local ordinary to marry the faithful, is authorized to do so only within the area of the diocese or place allowed by his Bishop. An appellate court Justice or a Justice of this Court has jurisdiction over the entire Philippines to solemnize marriages, regardless of the venue, as long as the requisites of the law are complied with. However, judges who are appointed to specific jurisdictions, may officiate in weddings only within said areas and not beyond. Where a judge solemnizes a marriage outside his court's jurisdiction, there is a resultant irregularity in the formal requisite laid down in Article 3, which while it may not affect the validity of the marriage, may subject the officiating official to administrative liability.5 Inasmuch as respondent judge's jurisdiction covers the municipalities of Sta. Monica and Burgos, he was not clothed with authority to solemnize a
marriage in the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del Norte. By citing Article 8 and the exceptions therein as grounds for the exercise of his misplaced authority, respondent judge again demonstrated a lack of understanding of the basic principles of civil law. Accordingly, the Court finds respondent to have acted in gross ignorance of the law. The legal principles applicable in the cases brought to our attention are elementary and uncomplicated, prompting us to conclude that respondent's failure to apply them is due to a lack of comprehension of the law. The judiciary should be composed of persons who, if not experts, are at least, proficient in the law they are sworn to apply, more than the ordinary laymen. They should be skilled and competent in understanding and applying the law. It is imperative that they be conversant with basic legal principles like the ones involved in instant case.6 It is not too much to expect them to know and apply the law intelligently.7 Otherwise, the system of justice rests on a shaky foundation indeed, compounded by the errors committed by those not learned in the law. While magistrates may at times make mistakes in judgment, for which they are not penalized, the respondent judge exhibited ignorance of elementary provisions of law, in an area which has greatly prejudiced the status of married persons. The marriage between Gaspar Tagadan and Arlyn Borga is considered bigamous and void, there being a subsisting marriage between Gaspar Tagadan and Ida Peñaranda. The Office of the Court Administrator recommends, in its Memorandum to the Court, a six-month suspension and a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Considering that one of the marriages in question resulted in a bigamous union and therefore void, and the other lacked the necessary authority of respondent judge, the Court adopts said recommendation. Respondent is advised to be more circumspect in applying the law and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the law. Molina vs. People IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, respondent Judge Hernando C. Domagtoy is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of six (6) months and given a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. Regalado, (Chairman), Puno, Mendoza, and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Arañes vs. Occiano Republic vs. CA Moreno vs. Moreno
[GRN 61873 October 31, 1984] THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee, vs. ELIAS BORROMEO, defendant-appellant.
DECISION EN BANC APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Fil C. Veloso for defendant-appellant RELOVA, J.: Appeal from the decision of the then Circuit Criminal Court, Fourteenth Judicial District, Cebu-Bohol (now Regional Trial Court), finding accused Elias Borromeo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime parricide and sentencing him to suffer The penalty of reclusion perpetua, with the accessory penalties of the law; to indemnify the heirs of the deceased Susana Taborada-Borromeo, in the sum of P12,000. 00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency; and to pay the costs. Records show that at high noon of July 3, 1981, the four-year old niece of Elias and Susana Borromeo reported to Matilde Taborada, mother of Susana, that Susana was shouting frantically for help because Elias was killing her. The 71-year old Matilde Taborada told the child to go to Geronimo Taborda, her son. who was then working in their mango plantation. Upon hearing the report of the child. Geronimo informed his father and together they went to Susana's hut. The windows and the door were closed and Geronimo could only peep through the bamboo slats at the wall where he saw Susana lying down, motionless, apparently dead beside her onemonth old child who was crying. Elias Borromeo was lying near Susana still holding on to a bloody kitchen bolo. Susana's father called for the Mabolo police and, after a few minutes, police officer Fernando C. Abella and three policemen arrived. The peace officers shouted and ordered Elias to open the door. Elias answered calmly that he would smoke first before he would open the door. When he did, the peace officers found Susana already dead, her intestine having spilled out of her abdomen. A small kitchen bolo was at her side. When questioned, the accused Elias Borromeo could only mumble incoherent words. Dr. Jesus Serna, police medico-legal officer. submitted his necropsy report (Exhibits "A" & "B") which states that the cause of death was "stab wounds, multiple, chest, abdomen, left supraclavicular region and left shoulder. " There were five (5) incised wounds and six (6) stab wounds on the deceased. In his brief, accused-appellant contends that the trial court erred (1) in holding as it did that appellant and Susana Taborada. (the deceased) were legally and validly married in a church wedding ceremony, when the officiating priest testified otherwise and there was no marriage contract executed on the occasion or later on-, hence, the accused could only be liable for homicide.- (2) in failing to appreciate in favor of appellant the
mitigating circumstances of provocation or obfuscation and voluntary surrender, without any aggravating circumstance to offset the same; and, (3) in convicting appellant of the crime of parricide and in imposing upon him the penultimate penalty of reclusion perpetua. Appellant in his brief, page 9, concurs with -the trial court's finding to the effect that he killed Susana Taborada (the deceased) without legal justification." The main issue raised by him is that he and Susana were not legally married and therefore the crime committed is not parricide, but homicide. Other than the stand of appellant's counsel against the existence of marriage in order to lessen or mitigate the penalty imposable upon his client, accused Elias Borromeo himself admitted that the deceased victim was his legitimate wife. Hereunder is his testimony on this point: "Q Please state your name, age and other personal circumstances? A ELIAS BORROMEO. 40 years old, married, fanner, resident of Putingbato, Babag. Cebu City. THE COURT: Q You say you are married, who is your wife? A Susana Taborada. Q When did you get married with Susana Taborada? A I forgot. Q Where did you get married? A Near the RCPI station in Babag. Q There is a church there? A There is a chapel. Q Were you married by a priest or a minister'? A By a priest. Q Who is this priest? A Father Binghay of Guadalupe. Q Do you have any children with Susana Taborada" A We have one. Q How old is the child? A I already forgot, I have been here for quite a long time already." (pp. 45, tsn., December 12, 1981 hearing) There is no better proof of marriage than the admission of the accused of the existence of such marriage (Tolentino vs. Paras, 122 SCRA 525). Persons living together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter presumption or evidence special to the case, to be in fact married. 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, they would be living in constant violation of decency and law. (Son Cui vs. Guepangco, 22 Phil. 216) The presumption in favor of matrimony is one of the strongest known in law. The law presumes morality, and not immorality; marriage, and not concubinage; legitimacy, and not bastardy. There is the presumption that persons living together as husband and wife are married to each other. The reason for this presumption of marriage is well stated in Perido vs. Perido, 63 SCRA 97, thus: "The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage. Marriage is not only a civil contract, but it is a new relation, an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested. Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. x x x"
And, the mere fact that no record of the marriage exists in the registry of marriage does not invalidate said marriage, as long as in the celebration thereof, all requisites for its validity are present. The forwarding of a copy of the marriage certificate to the registry is not one of said requisites. (Pugeda vs. Trias, 4 SCRA 849) Anent the second and third assigned errors, suffice it to say that the penalty for parricide is reclusion perpetua to death. (Article 246, Revised Penal Code) Paragraph 3, Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code, provides that where the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible penalties and the commission of the act is attended by some mitigating circumstances, with no aggravating circumstance, the lesser penalty shall be applied. Thus, assuming the presence of the mitigating circumstances of provocation or obfuscation and voluntary surrender, without any aggravating circumstance to offset the same, the penalty is still reclusion perpetua WHEREFORE, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, with the modification that the indemnity of P12,000.00 is increased to P30,000.00. With costs. SO ORDERED. Teehankee (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Gutierrez, Jr., and de La Fuente, JJ, concur.
[Adm. Matter No. 2209-CTJ. August 27, 1981] ABDON SEGUISABAL, complainant, vs. HON. JOSE R. CABRERA, City Judge of Toledo City, respondent.
EN BANC D E C I S I O N MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: In his verified Complaint filed on 18 June 1979, Abdon Seguisabal has charged City. Judge Jose R. Cabrera of Toledo City with gross misconduct in office and gross ignorance of the law for having solemnized, on 14 April 1978, the marriage of Jaime Sayson and Marlyn Jagonoy without the requisite marriage license pursuant to Article 53 of the Civil Code, and for having failed to transmit a copy of the marriage contract, signed by him and the parties, to the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Toledo City within fifteen (15) days from the date of solemnization as mandatorily required by Article 68 of the same Code. That respondent actually solemnized said marriage without the requisite license, is shown by the marriage contract issued to the contracting parties (Annexes "C", "C-1"). The failure to transmit a copy of the marriage contract to the Local Civil Registrar is substantiated by the Certifications, both issued on 5 June 1979, by the Local Civil Registrar of Toledo City (Annex "A" and "B ). Required to comment, respondent Judge explained: "On April 14, 1978 at around 12:00 o'clock noon, Jaime Sayson and Marlyn Jagonoy accompanied by the mother of Jaime Sayson, the father of
Marlyn Jagonoy and several others appeared before my Office bringing with them a Marriage Contract to be solemnized in marriage. I asked them for their Marriage License but they told me that the Local Civil Registrar of Toledo City cannot issue the same because the one in-charge was not in his Office, it being already 12:00 o'clock noon. The bride-to-be was three months pregnant. Presuming that the papers were in order inasmuch as the parents were present, I solemnized the marriage but told the parties to come back in the afternoon together with the Marriage License. The parties did not come in the afternoon and the papers left in my office were lost in the mass of paper works attendant in the Office of the City Judge, in fact, I have virtually forgotten about it myself. Sometime in May 1979, about a year after, a crying girl bringing with her a child appeared before me in my office and I identified her as Marlyn Jagonoy. She informed me that her husband, Jaime Sayson, who was a draftee in the Philippine Army died in an encounter with the Muslim rebels in Maguindanao and subsequently died. The army authorities win give her the benefits if and when she can prove that she was actually married to the said Jaime Sayson. In sympathy and fairness to Marlyn Jagonoy whose marriage I actually solemnized, I searched for the papers and found them. I told the father of Marlyn to go to the Local Civil Registrar's Office in order that Marriage License be issued to her which he did but came back and told me that the Local Civil Registrar will not receive the papers and will not issue the Marriage License for the reason that the parties have not attended the Family Planning Seminar required by law before Marriage License may be issued. Believing that Family Planning was no longer necessary inasmuch as Jaime Sayson was already dead, I issued to them the Marriage Contract in order that they can enjoy the benefits accruing Jaime Sayson who died a hero's death in the service of the flag of the Republic. In issuing the Marriage Contract, I had done it in good faith and in sympathy and in fairness to the widow, Marlyn Jagonoy, whom I believe is entitled to the benefits she could not enjoy it simply because of the technicality of the law. The issuance of the Marriage Contract made everybody happy. The parents of the boy and the parents of the girl were satisfied and are not even a party to this Complaint" (Rollo, pp. 9-10). Respondent Judge further averred that the complainant herein was obviously ill-motivated and resorted to this administrative action out of spite because he had, on 24 November 1978, dismissed Criminal Case No. A-1712 for Alarm and Scandal filed by complainant against a certain Marcelo Rizal, and that complainant is the accused in Criminal Case No. A1907 for Qualified Theft pending before respondent's Court. Considering the admissions made by respondent, and as observed in the Memorandum Report dated 22 October 1980 submitted by Deputy Court Administrator, Leo D. Medialdea, concurred in by Court Administrator, Justice Lorenzo Relova, there was no more need for a formal investigation to determine the administrative liability of respondent Judge. Respondent must be held guilty of the charge filed for in solemnizing the marriage of Jaime Sayson and Marlyn Jagonoy on 14 April 1978 without requiring the essential pre-requisite of a marriage license, respondent had undoubtedly
transgressed Article 53(4) of the Civil Code in the absence of any showing that the subject marriage falls under marriages of an exceptional character wherein a license is not mandatorily required. Respondent was likewise remiss in his duty under Article 68 of the Civil Code to transmit to the Local Civil Registrar of Toledo City, within fifteen (15) days from the date of solemnization of the marriage in question, a copy of the marriage contract duly signed by him as the solemnizing officer and by the contracting parties. The defense of good faith interposed by respondent is unavailing. As a judicial officer, he is expected to know the law on the solemnization of marriages. His feeling of "sympathy and fairness to the widow, Marlyn Jagonoy" cannot serve as a license for him to deliberately transgress or dispense with legal requisites. In view, however, of respondent's twenty-seven (27) years and seven (7) months of service in the Judiciary, and considering that he has applied for retirement under Republic Act No. 5095 due to schemic heart ailment, we have mitigated the corresponding administrative sanction. WHEREFORE, finding respondent Judge to be guilty of gross neglect of duty, he shall pay a fine equivalent to three (3) months salary, the same to be deducted from his gratuity upon his retirement from the service. A copy of this Decision should be attached to his personal record. SO ORDERED. Teehankee (Chairman), Makasiar, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
[GRN 4904 February 5, 1909.] ROSALIA MARTINEZ, plaintiff and appellant, vs. ANGEL TAN, defendant and appellants.
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE; MARRIAGE BY JUSTICE OF THE PEACE.A man and woman appeared before a justice of the peace and the signed a statement setting forth and asked the justice to solemnize the marriage. Another document that they had agreed to marry each other was then signed by them, by the justice and by two witnesses, stating that the man and woman appeared before the justice and ratified all that was contained in the preceding instrument and insisted the Marriage. After the signing of these documents the justice announced to the man and woman that they were marriage: Held, That, under the circumstances in this case, there was a sufficient compliance with section 6 of General Orders, No. 68, to constitute a valid marriage. 2. PLEADING AND PRACTICE; ANSWER; AMENDMENT DURING TRIAL.-Held, That the court did not err in allowing the defendant to amend his answer during the progress of the trial. APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Leyte. Ross, J. The facts are stated in the opinion of the court. Domingo Franco, for appellant. Doroteo Karagdag, for appellee. 1.
WILLARD, J. : The only question in this case is whether or not the plaintiff and the defendant were married on the 25th day of September, 1907, before the justice of the peace, Jose Ballori, in the town of Palompon in the Province of Leyte. There was received in evidence at the trial what is called in expediente de matrimonio civil. It is written in Spanish and consists, first of a petition directed to the justice of the peace, dated on the 25th of September, 1907, signed by the plaintiff and the defendant, in which they state that they have mutually agreed to enter into a contract of marriage before the justice of the peace, and ask that the justice solemnize the marriage. Following this is a document dated oil the same day, signed by the justice of the peace, in the plaintiff, by the defendant, and by Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori. It states the presentation of the petition above mentioned; that the persons who it were present in the office of the justice on the day named; that they ratified under oath the contents of the petition, and that they insisted in what they had there asked for. It also stated that being required to produce witnesses of the marriage, they presented Zacarias Esmero as a witness for the husband and Pacita Ballori as a witness for the wife Following this is a certificate of marriage signed by the justice of the peace and the witnesses Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori, dated the 25th day of September, 1907, in which it is stated that the plaintiff and the defendant were legally married by the justice of the peace in the presence of the witnesses on that day. The court below decided the case in favor of the defendant, holding that the parties were legally married on the day named. The evidence in support of that decision is: First. The document itself, which the plaintiff admits that she signed. Second. The evidence of the defendant, who testifies that he and the plaintiff appeared before the justice of the peace at the time named, together with the witnesses Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori, and that they all signed the document above mentioned. Third. The evidence of Zacarias Esmero, one of the above-named witnesses, who testifies that the plaintiff, the defendant, and Pacita Ballori appeared before the justice at the time named and did sign the document referred to. Fourth. The evidence of Pacita Ballori, who testified to the same effect Fifth. The evidence of Jose Santiago, the bailiff of the court of the Justice of the peace, who testified that the plaintiff, the defendant, the two witnesses above-named, and the justice of the peace were all present in the office of the justice of the peace at the time mentioned. The only direct evidence in favor of the plaintiff is her own testimony that she never appeared before the justice of the peace and never was married to the defendant. She admits that she signed the document in question, but says that she signed it in her own home without reading it, and at the request of the defendant, who told that it was a paper authorizing him to ask the consent of her parents to the marriage. There is, some indirect evidence which the plaintiff claim supports her case, but which we think, when properly considered, is not entitled to much weight. The plaintiff at the time was visiting, in the town of Palompon, her married brother and was there for anout two weeks. The
wife of her brother, Rosario Bayot, testified that the plaintiff never left the house except in her company. But she admitted on cross-examination that she herself went to school every morning, and that on one occasion the plaintiff had gone to church unaccompanied. The testimony of this witness loses its force when the testimony of Pacita Ballori is considered. She says that at the request of the defendant on the day named, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, she went to the store of a Chinese named Veles; that there she met the plaintiff and her mother; that she asked the mother of the plaintiff to allow the plaintiff to accompany her, the witness, to her own house for the purpose of examining, some dress, patterns; that the mother gave her consent and the two girls left the store, but instead of going to the house of the witness they went directly to the office of the justice of the peace, where the ceremony took place; that after the ceromony had taken place, one came advising them that the mother was approaching, and that they thereupon hurriedly left the office of the justice are went to the Muse of Pacita Ballori, where the mother later found them. The other testimony of the plaintiff relating to certain statements made by the justice of the peace, who died after the ceremony was performed and before the trial, and certain statements made by Pacita Ballori, is not sufficient to overcome the positive testimony of the witnesses for the defendant. The testimony of Pacita Ballori, is severely criticised by counsel for the appellant in his brief. It appears that during her first examination she was seized with all hysterical attack and practically collapsed at the trial. Her examination was adjourned to a future day and was completed in her house where she was sick in bed. It is claimed by counsel that her collapse was due to the fact that she recognized that she testified falsely in starting that the office of the justice of the Peace was at the time in the municipal building, when in fact it was in a private house. We do not think that the record justifies the claim of the appellant. The statement as to the location of the office of the justice of the peace was afterwards corrected by the witness and we are satisfied that she told the facts substantially as they occurred. There is , moreover, in the case written evidence which satisfies its that the plaintitf was not telling the truth when she said she did not appear before the justice of the peace. This evidence consists of eight letters, which the defendant claims were all written by the plaintiff. The plaintiff admits that she wrote letters numbered 2 and 9. The authenticity of the others was proven. No. 9 is its follows "ANGEL: Up to this time, I did not see my father; but I know that he is very angry and if he be informed that we have been married civilly, I am sure that he will turn me out of the house. "Do what you may deem convenient, as, I don't know what to do. "Should I be aide to go tomorrow to Merida, shall do so, because I can not remain here. "Yours, ROSAL." Letter No. 6, which hears no date, but which undoubtedly was written on the morning of the 25th of September, is as follows
"Sr. D. ANGEL TAN. It is impossible for me to go to the house of Veles this morning because my sister-in-law will not let me go there; if it suits you, I believe that this afternoon, about 5 or 6 o'clock, is the best hour. "Arrange everything its shall go there only for the purpose of signing and have Pacita wait for me at the Chinese store, because I don't like to go without Pacita. "The house must be one belonging to prudent people, and no one should know anything about it. "Yours, ROSAL." It will be noticed that this corroborate completely the testimony of Pacita Ballori as to her meeting the plaintiff in the afternoon at the store of the Chinese, Veles. Letter No. 7 is also undated, but was evidently written after the marriage before the justice of the peace. It is as follows: "Sr. D. ANGEL TAN. "ANGEL: If you want to speak to my mother, who is, also yours, come here by and by, at about 9 or 10, when you see that the tide is high because my brother will have to go to the boat for the purpose of loading lumber. Don't tell her that we have been civilly married, but tell her at first that you are willing to Celebrate the marriage at this time, because I don't like her to know today that we have been at the court-house, inasmuch as she told me this morning that she heard that we would go to the court, and that we must not cause her to be ashamed, and that if I insist on being married I must do it right "Tell her also that you have asked me to marry you. "I send you herewith the letter of your brother, in order that you may do what he wishes. "Yours, Letter No. 8 was also evidently written after the marriage and is in part as follows: "Sr. D. ANGEL TAN. "ANGEL: I believe it is better for on to go to Ormoc on Sunday on the steamer Rosa. for the purpose of asking my father's permission for our marriage, and in case, fails to give it, then we shall do what he we deem proper, and if he does not wish its to marry without his permission, you must request his consent. "Tell me who said that my sister-in-law knows that we are civilly married; my brother's in treatment is it matter of no importance, as every thing may be carried out with patience." It was proven at the trial that the defendant did go to Ormoc on the steamer Rosa its indicated in this letter, and that the plaintiff was on the same boat. The plaintiff testified', however, that she had no communication with the defendant during the voyage. The plaintiff and the defendant never lived together as husband and wife and upon her arrival in Ormoc, after consulting with her family, she went to Cebu and commenced this action, which was brought for the purpose of procuring the cancellation of the certificate of marriage and for damages. The evidence strongly preponderate in favor of the decision of the court below
to the effect that the plaintiff appeared before the justice of the peace at the time named. It is claimed by the plaintiffs that what to? place before the justice of the peace, even admitting all that the witnesses for the defendant testified to, did not constitute a legal marriage. General Orders, No. 68, section 6, is as follows: "No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required, but the parties must declare, in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage, that they take each other as husband and wife." Zacarias Esmero, one of the witnesses, testified that, upon the occasion in question the justice of the peace said nothing until after the document was signed and then addressing himself to the plaintiff and the defendant said, "You are married." The petition signed by the plaintiff and defendant contained a positive statement that they had mutually agreed to be married and they asked the justice of the peace to solemnize the marriage. The document signed by the plaintiff, the defendant, and the justice of the peace, stated that they ratified under oath, before the justice, the contents of the petition and that witnesses of the marriage were produced. A marriage took place as shown by the certificate of the justice of the peace, signed by both contracting parties, which certificate gives rise to the presumption that the officer authorized the marriage in due form, the parties before the justice of the peace declaring that they took each other as husband and wife, unless the contrary is proved, such presumption being corroborated in this case by the admission of the woman to the effect that she had contracted the marriage certified to in the document signed by her which admission call only mean that the parties mutually agreed to unite in marriage when the appeared and signed the said document which so states before the justice of the peace who authorized the same. It was proven that both the plaintiff and the defendant were able to read and write the Spanish language and that they knew the contents of the document which they signed; and under the circumstances in this particular case we are satisfied, and so hold, that what took place before the justice of the peace on this, occasion amounted to a legal marriage. The defendant's original answer was a general denial of the allegations contained in the complaint. Among these allegations was a statement that the parties had agreed to be married on condition that the defendant obtain previously the consent of the plaintiffs parents. The defendant was afterwards allowed to amend his answer so that it was a denial of all the allegations of the complaint except that relating to the condition hi regard to the consent of the parents. The plaintiff objected to the allowance of this amendment. After the trial had commenced the defendant was again allowed to amend his answer so that it should be all admission of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the complaint, except that part which related to the consent of the parents, it will be seen that this second amendment destroyed completely the first amendment and the defendant's lawyer stated that what he had alleged in his second amendment was what he intended to allege in his first amendment, but by reason of the haste with which the first amendment was drawn he had unintentionally made it
exactly the opposite of what he had intended to state. After argument the court allowed the second amendment. We are satisfied that in this allowance there was no abuse of discretion and we do not see how the plaintiff was in any way prejudiced. She proceeded with the trial of the case without asking for a continuance. The judgment of the court below acquitting the defendant of the complaint is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant. Arellano, C. J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur. Judgment affirmed.
[GRN 32473 October 6, 1930] MELECIO MADRIDEJO, assisted by his guardian ad litem, Pedro Madridejo, plaintiff and appellee, vs. GONZALO DE LEON ET AL., defendants and appellants.
NATURAL CHILDREN; LEGITIMATION BY SUBSEQUENT MARRIAGE.-To the Civil Code, in order that a natural child may be legitimated by subsequent marriage, the natural child born before the celebration of marriage must have been acknowledged by the parents either before or after its celebration. 2. MARRIAGE; FORWARDING OF CERTIFICATE TO MUNICIPAL SECRETARY.-The mere fact that the parish priest who married the plaintiffs natural father and mother, while the latter was in articulo mortis, failed to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the municipal secretary, does not invalidate said marriage, since it does not appear that in the celebration thereof all requisites for its validity were not present, and the forwarding of a copy of the marriage certificate not being one of said requisites. APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Laguna. Jugo, J. The facts are stated in the opinion of the court. L. D. Abuya and S. C. Pamatmat for appellants. Aurelio Palileo for appellee. This is a rehearing of the appeal taken by the defendants, Gonzalo de Leon et al. from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Laguna holding as follows: Wherefore, the court finds that Melecio Madridejo is Domingo de Leon's next of kin, and hereby orders the defendants in case No. 5258 to restore and deliver the ownership and possession of the property described in the complaint filed in the aforesaid case, to Melecio Madridejo, without costs. So ordered. In support of their appeal the defendants assign the following. alleged errors as committed by the trial court, to wit: "1. The lower court erred in holding that the marriage between Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez is valid. 1.
"2. The lower court also erred in declaring that solely because of the subsequent marriage of his parents, the appellee Melecio Madridejo, a natural child, was legitimated. "3. The lower court lastly erred in not rendering judgment in favor of the defendants and appellants." With regard to the first assignment of error, the mere Ifact that the parish priest of Siniloan, Laguna, who married Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, failed to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the municipal secretary does not invalidate the marriage in articulo mortis, it not appearing that the essential requisites required by law, for its validity were lacking in the ceremony, and the forwarding of a copy of the marriage certificate is not one of said essential requisites. Touching the second assignment of error, there has been no attempt to deny that Melecio Madridejo, the plaintiff-appellee, is the natural son of Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez. The only question to be decided is whether the subsequent marriage of his parents legitimated him. Article 121 of the Civil Code provides: "ART. 121. Children shall be considered as legitimated by a subsequent marriage only when they have been acknowledged by the parents before or after the celebration thereof." According to this legal provision, in order that a subsequent marriage I may be effective as a legitimation, the natural children born out of wedlock must have been acknowledged by the parents either before or after its celebration. The Civil Code has established two kinds of acknowledgment: voluntary and compulsory. Article 131 provides, for the voluntary acknowledgment by the father or mother as follows: "ART. 131. The acknowledgment of a natural child must be made in the record of birth, in a will, or in some other public document." Article 135 provides for the compulsory acknowledgment, by the father, thus: "ART. 135. The father may, be compelled to acknowledge his natural, child in the following cases: "2. When the child has been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child of the defendant faher, justified by the conduct of the father himself or that of his family. "In cases of rape, seduction, or abduction, the provisions of the Penal Code with regard to the acknowledgment, of the issue, shall be observed." Article 136 providing for the compulsory acknowledgment by the mother, reads: "ART. 136. The mother may be compelled to acknowledge her natural child: "1. When the child is, with respect to the mother, included in any of the cases mentioned in the next preceding article. "2. When the fact of the birth and the identity, of the child are fully proven." Let us see whether the plaintiff-appellee, Melecio Madridejo, has been acknowledged by his parents Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, under any of the provisions above qouted.
To begin with the father, no document has been adduced to show that he has voluntarily acknowledged Melecio Madridejo as his son, except the registry certificate of birth, Exhibit B. This, of course, is not the record of birth mentioned in the law, for it lacks the requisites of article 48 of the Law of Civil Registry. It, no doubt, is a public instrument, but it has neither been executed nor signed by Pedro Madridejo, and contains no statement by which he acknowledges Melecio Madridejo to be his son. Although as Pedro Madeidejo testified, he furnished the municipal secretary of Siniloan with the necessary data for recording tha birth of Melecio Madridejo, and although said official inscribed the data thus given in the civil registry of births this is not sufficient to bring it under the legal provision regarding acknowledgrnent by a public document. Exhibit. B, or in the baptismal register, whereof Exhibit 2 is a certificate, and which constitutes final proof only of the baptism, and not of the kinship or parentage of the person baptized (Adriano vs. De Jesus, 23 Phil., 350). Furthermore, church registers of baptism are no, longer considered public documents (United States vs. Evangelista, 29 Phil., 215). Melecio Madridejo, then, was not voluntarily acknowledged by Pedro Madridejo or Flaviana Perez, either before or after their marriage. Did Pedro Madridejo acknowledge Melecio Madridejo as his son, by compulsion? The compulsory acknowledgment by the father established in article 135 of the Civil Code, and by the mother according to article 136, requires that the natural child take judicial action against the father or mother, or against the persons setting themselves up as the heirs of both, for the purpose of compelling them to acknowledge him as a natural son through a judgment of the court. In the instant action brought by Melecio Madridejo not only has he not demanded to be acknowledged as a natural child, which is the condition precedent to establishing his legitimation by the subsequent marriage and his right to the estate of his uterine brother, Domingo de Leon, but he has not even impleaded either his father, Pedro Madridejo, or the heirs of his mother, Flaviana Perez, in order that the court might have authority to make a valid and effective pronouncement of his being a natural child, and to compel them to acknowledge him as such. In view of the foregoing, it is evident that Melecio Madridejo, has not been acknowledged by Pedro Madridejo, and Flaviana Perez, either voluntarily or by compulsion, before or after their marriage, and therefore said marriage did not legitimate him. Wherefore, the judgment is reversed, the complaint dismissed, and the defendants absolved with costs against the appellee without prejudice to any right he may have to establish or compel his acknowledgment as the natural son of Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez. So ordered. Avanceña, C. J., Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand, and Romualdez, JJ., concur. JOHNS, J., dissenting: I dissent and the judgment of the lower court should be affirmed. Judgment reversed.
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