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Petitioner: Borja-Manzano

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Respondent: Sanchez
Facts of the Case:
Petitioner Herminia is the lawful wife of David Manzano, who
married her on May 21 1966 (4 chi, 33yrs). On March 22, 1993, her
husband contracted another marriage with Luzviminda Payao (also married)
before the respondent Judge Roque Sanchez (MTC judge in Pangasinan).
On May 12 1999, petitioner filed suit against the respondent for gross
ignorance of the law with the Office of the Court Administrator (complaintaffidavit). Petitioner alleged that when respondent judge solemnized the
marriage, he knew such marriage was void as the marriage contract clearly
stated that both contracting parties were separated. Respondent, however,
alleged that when he officiated the marriage, he did not know that Manzano
was legally married, that Manzano and Payao had been living together as
husband and wife for seven years without the benefit of marriage, as
manifested in their joint affidavit. According to him, had he known that the
late Manzano was married, he would have advised the latter not to marry
again; otherwise, he (Manzano) could be charged with bigamy. He then
prayed that the complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and for being
designed merely to harass him.
-Office of the Court AdministratorIt was recommended that respondent be found guilty of gross
ignorance of the law and be ordered to pay a fine of P2,000, with a warning
that a repetition of the same or similar act would be dealt with more
severely.
-SCPetitioner accepted to submit the case for resolution based on the pleading
filed. Respondent filed a manifestation reiterating his plea for dismissal of
the complaint and setting aside his earlier Comment. He showed two
separate affidavits of Manzano and Payao where it was expressely stated
that both already had subsisting marriages, that they both left their families
and had never communicated nor cohabitated with their spouses anymore.
Based on such, respondent agreed to solemnize the marriage in accordance
with art 34 of the FC.
Issue:
Whether or not respondent judge is guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
Held:
Yes, he is. One of the requisites for ratification for marital cohabitation is
that both parties must have no legal impediment to marry each other. Both
the separate affidavits executed and sworn before the respondent judge on
March 22, 1993 stated the fact that they had prior existing marriages and

that they had separated with their spouses. A prior subsisting marriage is a
diriment impediment, which would make the subsequent marriage null and
void. The fact that Manzano and Payao had been living apart from their
respective spouses for a long time is immaterial. Article 63(1) of the Family
Code allows spouses who have obtained a decree of legal separation to live
separately from each other, but in such a case the marriage bonds are not
severed. Elsewise stated, legal separation does not dissolve the marriage tie,
much less authorize the parties to remarry. This holds true all the more
when the separation is merely de facto, as in the case at bar. Neither can
respondent Judge take refuge on the Joint Affidavit of David Manzano and
Luzviminda Payao stating that they had been cohabiting as husband and
wife for seven years. Just like separation, free and voluntary cohabitation
with another person for at least five years does not severe the tie of a
subsisting previous marriage. Marital cohabitation for a long period of time
between two individuals who are legally capacitated to marry each other is
merely a ground for exemption from marriage license. It could not serve as
a justification for respondent Judge to solemnize a subsequent marriage
vitiated by the impediment of a prior existing marriage.
ACCORDINGLY, the recommendation of the Court Administrator is
hereby ADOPTED, with the MODIFICATION that the amount of fine to be
imposed upon respondent Judge Roque Sanchez is increased to P20,000.
Article 34 of the Family Code provides: No license shall be necessary for
the marriage of a man and a woman who have lived together as husband
and wife for at least five years and without any legal impediment to marry
each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an
affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths. The
solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he ascertained the
qualifications of the contracting parties and found no legal impediment to
the marriage. For this provision on legal ratification of marital cohabitation
to apply, the following requisites must concur: 1) The man and woman must
have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years before
the marriage; 2) The parties must have no legal impediment to marry each
other; 3) The fact of absence of legal impediment between the parties must
be present at the time of marriage; 4) The parties must execute an affidavit
stating that they have lived together for at least five years [and are without
legal impediment to marry each other]; and 5) The solemnizing officer must
execute a sworn statement that he had ascertained the qualifications of the
parties and that he had found no legal impediment to their marriage

Petitioners: ENGRACE NIAL for Herself and as Guardian ad Litem of the minors
BABYLINE NIAL, INGRID NIAL, ARCHIE NIAL & PEPITO NIAL, JR
Respondent: NORMA BAYADOG,
Facts of the Case:
Pepito Nial was married to Teodulfa Bellones on September 26, 1974 and
had 4 kids who are the herein petitioners. Pepito shot Teodulfa, who died on April
24, 1985. On Dec 11, 1986 (1yr,8mo), Pepito married the respondent without a
marriage license. They also executed an affidavit stating that they had lived together
as husband and wife for at least 5 years and were thus exempt from securing a
marriage license. On February 19, 1997, Pepito died in a car accident. After such
death, 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. The
case was filed under the assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second
marriage would affect petitioners 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.
-RTCThe judge dismissed the petition after finding that the Family Code is "rather silent,
obscure, insufficient" to resolve the following issues:(1) w/n petitioners had a cause
of action against defendant in asking for the declaration of the nullity of marriage of
their deceased father and the respondent, now that the father is dead, (2) Whether or
not the second marriage of plaintiffs deceased father with defendant is null and void
ab initio;(3) Whether or not plaintiffs are estopped from assailing the validity of the
second marriage after it was dissolved due to their fathers death. The RTC ruled
that petitioners should have filed the action to declare null and void their fathers
marriage to respondent before his death, 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.
-SCHence, this petition for review with this Court grounded on a pure question of law.
Issue:
w/n the marriage of Pepito Nial to Norma Bayadog is null and void.
Held:
Yes, it is. The two marriages involved herein having been solemnized
prior to the effectivity of the Family Code (FC), the applicable law to determine
their validity is the Civil Code which was the law in effect at the time of their
celebration. There are several instances recognized by the Civil Code wherein a
marriage license is dispensed with, one of which is that provided in Article

76, 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 marriage. There is no dispute that the
marriage of petitioners father to respondent Norma was celebrated without any
marriage license. In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit stating that "they have
attained the age of majority, and, being unmarried, have lived together as husband
and wife for at least five years, and that we now desire to marry each other."
Working on the assumption that Pepito and Norma have lived together as husband
and wife for five years without the benefit of marriage, 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. In other
words, the five-year common-law cohabitation period, which is counted back from
the date of celebration of marriage, should be a period of legal union had it not been
for the absence of the marriage. 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 any time within
the 5 years and continuity that is unbroken. Otherwise, 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, 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. In this case, at the time of Pepito and respondents marriage, 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. From the time Pepitos first marriage was dissolved to the time
of his marriage with respondent, only about 20 months had elapsed. Even assuming
that Pepito and his first wife had separated in fact, and thereafter both Pepito and
respondent had started living with each other that has already lasted for five years,
the fact remains that their five-year period cohabitation was not the cohabitation
contemplated by law. 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. Pepito
had a subsisting marriage at the time when he started cohabiting with respondent. It
is immaterial that when they lived with each other, Pepito had already been
separated in fact from his lawful spouse. 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". Having determined that the second marriage involved in this
case is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage license, it is
void ab initio because of the absence of such element.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Order of the Regional
Trial Court, Toledo City, Cebu, Branch 59, dismissing Civil Case No. T-639, is
REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The said case is ordered REINSTATED.