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Republic v. Dayot G.R. No.

175581 March 28, 2008 550 SCRA 435



Facts:
1. Jose Dayot and Felisa Tecson-Dayot got married at the Pasay City Hall on November 24, 1986.
2. In lieu of a marriage license, they executed a sworn affidavit attesting that both of them are
legally capacitated and that they cohabited for at least five years even though theyve only
known each other since February 1986 and only started living together on June 1986, around
five months before they got married.
3. On 1993, Jose filed a complaint for annulment and/or declaration of nullity of marriage
contending that their marriage was sham and false, as to no ceremony was celebrated between
them; that he did not execute the sworn statement that he and Felisa had cohabited for at least
five years; and that his consent was secured through fraud. [Inasmuch as the fraud was allegedly
discovered by Jose in February, 1987 then he had only until February, 1991 within which to file
an action for annulment of marriage. However, it was only on July 7, 1993 that Jose filed the
complaint for annulment of his marriage to Felisa.]
4. The complaint was dismissed on Regional Trial Court stating that Jose is deemed estopped from
assailing the legality of his marriage for lack of marriage license.
5. Jose appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered a decision declaring their marriage void
ab initio for absence of marriage license.
6. It ruled as fact by the CA that Jose and Felisa did not cohabit for more than five years.
7. The Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), and Felisa,
filed a Petition for Review hoping that the Court of Appeals amended decision be reversed and
set aside, and that the marriage between Jose and Felisa be declared valid and subsisting.

Issue(s):
1. Whether or not the action for nullity of marriage due to fraud is subject to prescription.
2. Whether or not Joses marriage with Felisa is valid considering that they executed a sworn
affidavit in lieu of the marriage license requirement.

Ruling:
1. It was alleged that the respondent is estopped from filing a nullity of marriage claim. The
Supreme Court ruled that the allegation is erroneous. As stated in Article 39 of the Family Code,
the action or defense for the declaration of absolute nullity of a marriage shall not prescribe.
2. The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and
invalidates a marriage. Furthermore, the falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating
to the period of Jose and Felisas cohabitation, which would have qualified their marriage as an
exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers
to a quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the
parties under oath. Hence, Jose and Felisas marriage is void ab initio.