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TOPIC: Subsequent marriage, upon reappearance of absent spouse

GR No.: G.R. No. L-43701

March 6, 1937

TITLE: ANGELITA JONES v. FELIX HORTIGUELA (administrator, widower and heir)


PONENTE: Concepcion, J.
NATURE OF ACTION: An appeal taken from the order issued by the CFI of Cebu
FACTS:
1. December 1914 Marciana Escano married Arthur Jones. On 1918, Jones secured a
passport, left and never came back.
2. In 1919 Escano filed for a proceeding to judicially declare Arthur missing.
3. October 25, 1919 - Court declared Arthur as an absentee with the proviso:
a. That said judicial declaration of absence would not take effect until six months after its
publication in the official newspapers pursuant to Art. 186 of the Old Civil Code.
b. April 23, 1921 - Court issued another order for the taking effect of the declaration of absence,
publication thereof having been made in the Official Gazette and in "El Ideal."
4. May 6, 1927 Escano contracted a 2nd marriage with Hortiguela.
5. May 9, 1932 Escano died intestate leaving Hortiguela as judicial administrator of her entire
estate. Only Hortiguela (Husband) and Angelita Jones (daughter from first marriage)
were her heirs.
- Angelita was represented by Paz Corominas since she was a minor.
7. May 3, 1934 Angelita Jones filed a case and declared that:
a. she was the only heir of her mother.
b. her mothers marriage to Felix was null and void on the ground that from April 23, 1921 (when
the court issued an order for the taking effect of declaration of absence & publication thereof) to
May 6, 1927 (her mother and Felixs marriage) was below the 7-year prescriptive period.
c. was a minor and had been assisted by Hortiguelas same lawyers thus, her rights were
impaired.
8. May 14 1935 - Cebu CFI denies:
a. Motion to appoint new Admin.
b. Setting aside original declaration of heirs
c. Holding unwarranted declaring properties as paraphernal [control of wife]
d. reserving option for parties todetermine which are paraphernal and which are conjugal
e. Setting aside order granting Admin. Fees = P10,000
f. Ordering presentation of another project of partition
9. Hence, this case.
ISSUE/S:
WON Escano and Hortiguelas marriage was valid?
HELD:
YES. Rules on judicially declaring a person as absentee are different from estate and marriage.
In Estate, there is a need to declare someone as absent for precautions for administration of
estate of absentee. This is not necessary in marriage. The only need is for someone to be absent for 7
years which in this case, he was absent for 9 years before 2nd marriage was made. The validity of the
marriage makes him a legitimate heir.
Hortiguela has right to be administrator and heir to part of estate.