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G.R. No.

L-63915 April 24, 1985 1742, 1744, 1746-1751, 1752, 1754, 1762,
1764-1787, 1789-1795, 1797, 1800, 1802-
LORENZO M. TAADA, ABRAHAM F. SARMIENTO, and 1804, 1806-1807, 1812-1814, 1816, 1825-
MOVEMENT OF ATTORNEYS FOR BROTHERHOOD, 1826, 1829, 1831-1832, 1835-1836, 1839-
INTEGRITY AND NATIONALISM, INC. 1840, 1843-1844, 1846-1847, 1849, 1853-
[MABINI], petitioners, 1858, 1860, 1866, 1868, 1870, 1876-1889,
vs. 1892, 1900, 1918, 1923, 1933, 1952, 1963,
HON. JUAN C. TUVERA, in his capacity as Executive 1965-1966, 1968-1984, 1986-2028, 2030-
Assistant to the President, HON. JOAQUIN VENUS, in his 2044, 2046-2145, 2147-2161, 2163-2244.
capacity as Deputy Executive Assistant to the President ,
MELQUIADES P. DE LA CRUZ, in his capacity as Director, e] Executive Orders Nos.: 411, 413, 414, 427,
Malacaang Records Office, and FLORENDO S. PABLO, in 429-454, 457- 471, 474-492, 494-507, 509-
his capacity as Director, Bureau of Printing, respondents. 510, 522, 524-528, 531-532, 536, 538, 543-
544, 549, 551-553, 560, 563, 567-568, 570,
574, 593, 594, 598-604, 609, 611- 647, 649-
ESCOLIN, J.: 677, 679-703, 705-707, 712-786, 788-852,
Invoking the people's right to be informed on matters of public
concern, a right recognized in Section 6, Article IV of the 1973 f] Letters of Implementation Nos.: 7, 8, 9, 10,
Philippine Constitution, 1 as well as the principle that laws to be 11-22, 25-27, 39, 50, 51, 59, 76, 80-81, 92,
valid and enforceable must be published in the Official Gazette 94, 95, 107, 120, 122, 123.
or otherwise effectively promulgated, petitioners seek a writ of g] Administrative Orders Nos.: 347, 348,
mandamus to compel respondent public officials to publish, 352-354, 360- 378, 380-433, 436-439.
and/or cause the publication in the Official Gazette of various
presidential decrees, letters of instructions, general orders, The respondents, through the Solicitor General, would have this
proclamations, executive orders, letter of implementation and case dismissed outright on the ground that petitioners have no
administrative orders. legal personality or standing to bring the instant petition. The
view is submitted that in the absence of any showing that
Specifically, the publication of the following presidential petitioners are personally and directly affected or prejudiced by
issuances is sought: the alleged non-publication of the presidential issuances in
a] Presidential Decrees Nos. 12, 22, 37, 38, question 2 said petitioners are without the requisite legal
59, 64, 103, 171, 179, 184, 197, 200, 234, personality to institute this mandamus proceeding, they are not
265, 286, 298, 303, 312, 324, 325, 326, 337, being "aggrieved parties" within the meaning of Section 3, Rule
355, 358, 359, 360, 361, 368, 404, 406, 415, 65 of the Rules of Court, which we quote:
427, 429, 445, 447, 473, 486, 491, 503, 504, SEC. 3. Petition for Mandamus.When any
521, 528, 551, 566, 573, 574, 594, 599, 644, tribunal, corporation, board or person
658, 661, 718, 731, 733, 793, 800, 802, 835, unlawfully neglects the performance of an act
836, 923, 935, 961, 1017-1030, 1050, 1060- which the law specifically enjoins as a duty
1061, 1085, 1143, 1165, 1166, 1242, 1246, resulting from an office, trust, or station, or
1250, 1278, 1279, 1300, 1644, 1772, 1808, unlawfully excludes another from the use a rd
1810, 1813-1817, 1819-1826, 1829-1840, enjoyment of a right or office to which such
1842-1847. other is entitled, and there is no other plain,
b] Letter of Instructions Nos.: 10, 39, 49, 72, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary
107, 108, 116, 130, 136, 141, 150, 153, 155, course of law, the person aggrieved thereby
161, 173, 180, 187, 188, 192, 193, 199, 202, may file a verified petition in the proper court
204, 205, 209, 211-213, 215-224, 226-228, alleging the facts with certainty and praying
231-239, 241-245, 248, 251, 253-261, 263- that judgment be rendered commanding the
269, 271-273, 275-283, 285-289, 291, 293, defendant, immediately or at some other
297-299, 301-303, 309, 312-315, 325, 327, specified time, to do the act required to be
343, 346, 349, 357, 358, 362, 367, 370, 382, done to Protect the rights of the petitioner,
385, 386, 396-397, 405, 438-440, 444- 445, and to pay the damages sustained by the
473, 486, 488, 498, 501, 399, 527, 561, 576, petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of
587, 594, 599, 600, 602, 609, 610, 611, 612, the defendant.
615, 641, 642, 665, 702, 712-713, 726, 837- Upon the other hand, petitioners maintain that since the subject
839, 878-879, 881, 882, 939-940, of the petition concerns a public right and its object is to compel
964,997,1149-1178,1180-1278. the performance of a public duty, they need not show any
c] General Orders Nos.: 14, 52, 58, 59, 60, specific interest for their petition to be given due course.
62, 63, 64 & 65. The issue posed is not one of first impression. As early as the
d] Proclamation Nos.: 1126, 1144, 1147, 1910 case of Severino vs. Governor General, 3 this Court held
1151, 1196, 1270, 1281, 1319-1526, 1529, that while the general rule is that "a writ of mandamus would be
1532, 1535, 1538, 1540-1547, 1550-1558, granted to a private individual only in those cases where he has
1561-1588, 1590-1595, 1594-1600, 1606- some private or particular interest to be subserved, or some
1609, 1612-1628, 1630-1649, 1694-1695, particular right to be protected, independent of that which he
1697-1701, 1705-1723, 1731-1734, 1737- holds with the public at large," and "it is for the public officers
exclusively to apply for the writ when public rights are to be publication in the Official Gazette, unless it is
subserved [Mithchell vs. Boardmen, 79 M.e., 469]," otherwise provided, ...
nevertheless, "when the question is one of public right and the
object of the mandamus is to procure the enforcement of a public The interpretation given by respondent is in accord with this
duty, the people are regarded as the real party in interest and the Court's construction of said article. In a long line of
relator at whose instigation the proceedings are instituted need decisions, 4 this Court has ruled that publication in the Official
not show that he has any legal or special interest in the result, it Gazette is necessary in those cases where the legislation itself
being sufficient to show that he is a citizen and as such interested does not provide for its effectivity date-for then the date of
in the execution of the laws [High, Extraordinary Legal publication is material for determining its date of effectivity,
Remedies, 3rd ed., sec. 431]. which is the fifteenth day following its publication-but not when
the law itself provides for the date when it goes into effect.
Thus, in said case, this Court recognized the relator Lope
Severino, a private individual, as a proper party to the mandamus Respondents' argument, however, is logically correct only insofar
proceedings brought to compel the Governor General to call a as it equates the effectivity of laws with the fact of publication.
special election for the position of municipal president in the Considered in the light of other statutes applicable to the issue at
town of Silay, Negros Occidental. Speaking for this Court, Mr. hand, the conclusion is easily reached that said Article 2 does not
Justice Grant T. Trent said: preclude the requirement of publication in the Official Gazette,
even if the law itself provides for the date of its effectivity. Thus,
We are therefore of the opinion that the Section 1 of Commonwealth Act 638 provides as follows:
weight of authority supports the proposition
that the relator is a proper party to Section 1. There shall be published in the
proceedings of this character when a public Official Gazette [1] all important legisiative
right is sought to be enforced. If the general acts and resolutions of a public nature of the,
rule in America were otherwise, we think that Congress of the Philippines; [2] all executive
it would not be applicable to the case at bar and administrative orders and proclamations,
for the reason 'that it is always dangerous to except such as have no general applicability;
apply a general rule to a particular case [3] decisions or abstracts of decisions of the
without keeping in mind the reason for the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals as
rule, because, if under the particular may be deemed by said courts of sufficient
circumstances the reason for the rule does not importance to be so published; [4] such
exist, the rule itself is not applicable and documents or classes of documents as may be
reliance upon the rule may well lead to error' required so to be published by law; and [5]
such documents or classes of documents as
No reason exists in the case at bar for the President of the Philippines shall
applying the general rule insisted upon by determine from time to time to have general
counsel for the respondent. The applicability and legal effect, or which he
circumstances which surround this case are may authorize so to be published. ...
different from those in the United States,
inasmuch as if the relator is not a proper party The clear object of the above-quoted provision is to give the
to these proceedings no other person could general public adequate notice of the various laws which are to
be, as we have seen that it is not the duty of regulate their actions and conduct as citizens. Without such
the law officer of the Government to appear notice and publication, there would be no basis for the
and represent the people in cases of this application of the maxim "ignorantia legis non excusat." It would
character. be the height of injustice to punish or otherwise burden a citizen
for the transgression of a law of which he had no notice
The reasons given by the Court in recognizing a private citizen's whatsoever, not even a constructive one.
legal personality in the aforementioned case apply squarely to the
present petition. Clearly, the right sought to be enforced by Perhaps at no time since the establishment of the Philippine
petitioners herein is a public right recognized by no less than the Republic has the publication of laws taken so vital significance
fundamental law of the land. If petitioners were not allowed to that at this time when the people have bestowed upon the
institute this proceeding, it would indeed be difficult to conceive President a power heretofore enjoyed solely by the legislature.
of any other person to initiate the same, considering that the While the people are kept abreast by the mass media of the
Solicitor General, the government officer generally empowered debates and deliberations in the Batasan Pambansaand for the
to represent the people, has entered his appearance for diligent ones, ready access to the legislative recordsno such
respondents in this case. publicity accompanies the law-making process of the President.
Thus, without publication, the people have no means of knowing
Respondents further contend that publication in the Official what presidential decrees have actually been promulgated, much
Gazette is not a sine qua non requirement for the effectivity of less a definite way of informing themselves of the specific
laws where the laws themselves provide for their own effectivity contents and texts of such decrees. As the Supreme Court of
dates. It is thus submitted that since the presidential issuances in Spain ruled: "Bajo la denominacion generica de leyes, se
question contain special provisions as to the date they are to take comprenden tambien los reglamentos, Reales decretos,
effect, publication in the Official Gazette is not indispensable for Instrucciones, Circulares y Reales ordines dictadas de
their effectivity. The point stressed is anchored on Article 2 of the conformidad con las mismas por el Gobierno en uso de su
Civil Code: potestad. 5
Art. 2. Laws shall take effect after fifteen The very first clause of Section I of Commonwealth Act 638
days following the completion of their reads: "There shall be published in the Official Gazette ... ." The
word "shall" used therein imposes upon respondent officials an
imperative duty. That duty must be enforced if the Constitutional Questions of rights claimed to have become
right of the people to be informed on matters of public concern is vested, of status, of prior determinations
to be given substance and reality. The law itself makes a list of deemed to have finality and acted upon
what should be published in the Official Gazette. Such listing, to accordingly, of public policy in the light of
our mind, leaves respondents with no discretion whatsoever as to the nature both of the statute and of its
what must be included or excluded from such publication. previous application, demand examination.
These questions are among the most difficult
The publication of all presidential issuances "of a public nature" of those which have engaged the attention of
or "of general applicability" is mandated by law. Obviously, courts, state and federal and it is manifest
presidential decrees that provide for fines, forfeitures or penalties from numerous decisions that an all-inclusive
for their violation or otherwise impose a burden or. the people, statement of a principle of absolute
such as tax and revenue measures, fall within this category. Other retroactive invalidity cannot be justified.
presidential issuances which apply only to particular persons or
class of persons such as administrative and executive orders need Consistently with the above principle, this Court in Rutter vs.
not be published on the assumption that they have been Esteban 9 sustained the right of a party under the Moratorium
circularized to all concerned. 6 Law, albeit said right had accrued in his favor before said law
was declared unconstitutional by this Court.
It is needless to add that the publication of presidential issuances
"of a public nature" or "of general applicability" is a requirement Similarly, the implementation/enforcement of presidential
of due process. It is a rule of law that before a person may be decrees prior to their publication in the Official Gazette is "an
bound by law, he must first be officially and specifically operative fact which may have consequences which cannot be
informed of its contents. As Justice Claudio Teehankee said justly ignored. The past cannot always be erased by a new
in Peralta vs. COMELEC 7: judicial declaration ... that an all-inclusive statement of a
principle of absolute retroactive invalidity cannot be justified."
In a time of proliferating decrees, orders and
letters of instructions which all form part of From the report submitted to the Court by the Clerk of Court, it
the law of the land, the requirement of due appears that of the presidential decrees sought by petitioners to
process and the Rule of Law demand that the be published in the Official Gazette, only Presidential Decrees
Official Gazette as the official government Nos. 1019 to 1030, inclusive, 1278, and 1937 to 1939, inclusive,
repository promulgate and publish the texts have not been so published. 10 Neither the subject matters nor
of all such decrees, orders and instructions so the texts of these PDs can be ascertained since no copies thereof
that the people may know where to obtain are available. But whatever their subject matter may be, it is
their official and specific contents. undisputed that none of these unpublished PDs has ever been
implemented or enforced by the government. In Pesigan vs.
The Court therefore declares that presidential issuances of Angeles, 11 the Court, through Justice Ramon Aquino, ruled that
general application, which have not been published, shall have "publication is necessary to apprise the public of the contents of
no force and effect. Some members of the Court, quite [penal] regulations and make the said penalties binding on the
apprehensive about the possible unsettling effect this decision persons affected thereby. " The cogency of this holding is
might have on acts done in reliance of the validity of those apparently recognized by respondent officials considering the
presidential decrees which were published only during the manifestation in their comment that "the government, as a matter
pendency of this petition, have put the question as to whether the of policy, refrains from prosecuting violations of criminal laws
Court's declaration of invalidity apply to P.D.s which had been until the same shall have been published in the Official Gazette
enforced or implemented prior to their publication. The answer is or in some other publication, even though some criminal laws
all too familiar. In similar situations in the past this Court had provide that they shall take effect immediately.
taken the pragmatic and realistic course set forth in Chicot
County Drainage District vs. Baxter Bank 8 to wit: WHEREFORE, the Court hereby orders respondents to publish
in the Official Gazette all unpublished presidential issuances
The courts below have proceeded on the which are of general application, and unless so published, they
theory that the Act of Congress, having been shall have no binding force and effect.
found to be unconstitutional, was not a law;
that it was inoperative, conferring no rights SO ORDERED.
and imposing no duties, and hence affording
no basis for the challenged decree. Norton v.
Shelby County, 118 U.S. 425, 442; Chicago,
1. & L. Ry. Co. v. Hackett, 228 U.S. 559,
566. It is quite clear, however, that such
broad statements as to the effect of a
determination of unconstitutionality must be
taken with qualifications. The actual
existence of a statute, prior to such a
determination, is an operative fact and may
have consequences which cannot justly be
ignored. The past cannot always be erased by
a new judicial declaration. The effect of the
subsequent ruling as to invalidity may have to
be considered in various aspects-with respect
to particular conduct, private and official.
G.R. No. 137873 April 20, 2001 SO ORDERED.2
D. M. CONSUNJI, INC., petitioner, On appeal by D. M. Consunji, the Court of Appeals (CA)
vs. affirmed the decision of the RTC in toto.
D. M. Consunji now seeks the reversal of the CA decision on the
KAPUNAN, J.: following grounds:
At around 1:30 p.m., November 2, 1990, Jose Juego, a THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
construction worker of D. M. Consunji, Inc., fell 14 floors from HOLDING THAT THE POLICE REPORT
the Renaissance Tower, Pasig City to his death. WAS ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE OF THE
PO3 Rogelio Villanueva of the Eastern Police District
investigated the tragedy and filed a report dated November 25,
1990, stating that: THE APPELLATE COURT ERRED IN
x x x. [The] [v]ictim was rushed to [the] Rizal Medical HOLDING THAT THE DOCTRINE OF RES
Center in Pasig, Metro Manila where he was IPSA LOQUITOR [sic] IS APPLICABLE TO
pronounced dead on arrival (DOA) by the attending PROVE NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF
physician, Dr. Errol de Yzo[,] at around 2:15 p.m. of PETITIONER.
Investigation disclosed that at the given time, date and HOLDING THAT PETITIONER IS
place, while victim Jose A. Juego together with Jessie PRESUMED NEGLIGENT UNDER
Jaluag and Delso Destajo [were] performing their work ARTICLE 2180 OF THE CIVIL CODE,
as carpenter[s] at the elevator core of the 14th floor of AND
the Tower D, Renaissance Tower Building on board a
[p]latform made of channel beam (steel) measuring 4.8
meters by 2 meters wide with pinulid plywood flooring HOLDING THAT RESPONDENT IS NOT
and cable wires attached to its four corners and hooked PRECLUDED FROM RECOVERING
at the 5 ton chain block, when suddenly, the bolt or pin DAMAGES UNDER THE CIVIL CODE.3
which was merely inserted to connect the chain block Petitioner maintains that the police report reproduced above is
with the [p]latform, got loose xxx causing the whole hearsay and, therefore, inadmissible. The CA ruled otherwise. It
[p]latform assembly and the victim to fall down to the held that said report, being an entry in official records, is an
basement of the elevator core, Tower D of the building exception to the hearsay rule.
under construction thereby crushing the victim of
death, save his two (2) companions who luckily jumped The Rules of Court provide that a witness can testify only to
out for safety. those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge, that is,
which are derived from his perception.4 A witness, therefore,
It is thus manifest that Jose A. Juego was crushed to may not testify as what he merely learned from others either
death when the [p]latform he was then on board and because he was told or read or heard the same. Such testimony is
performing work, fell. And the falling of the [p]latform considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth
was due to the removal or getting loose of the pin of what he has learned.5 This is known as the hearsay rule.
which was merely inserted to the connecting points of
the chain block and [p]latform but without a safety Hearsay is not limited to oral testimony or statements; the
lock.1 general rule that excludes hearsay as evidence applies to written,
as well as oral statements.6
On May 9, 1991, Jose Juegos widow, Maria, filed in the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig a complaint for damages The theory of the hearsay rule is that the many possible
against the deceaseds employer, D.M. Consunji, Inc. The deficiencies, suppressions, sources of error and
employer raised, among other defenses, the widows prior untrustworthiness, which lie underneath the bare untested
availment of the benefits from the State Insurance Fund. assertion of a witness, may be best brought to light and exposed
by the test of cross-examiantion.7 The hearsay rule, therefore,
After trial, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of the widow excludes evidence that cannot be tested by cross-examination.8
Maria Juego. The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
The Rules of Court allow several exceptions to the rule,9 among
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering which are entries in official records. Section 44, Rule 130
defendant to pay plaintiff, as follows: provides:
1. P50,000.00 for the death of Jose A. Juego. Entries in official records made in the performance of
2. P10,000.00 as actual and compensatory his duty made in the performance of his duty by a
damages. public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the
performance of a duty specially enjoined by law
3. P464,000.00 for the loss of Jose A. Juegos are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.
earning capacity.
In Africa, et al. vs. Caltex (Phil.), Inc., et al.,10 this Court, citing
4. P100,000.00 as moral damages. the work of Chief Justice Moran, enumerated the requisites for
admissibility under the above rule:
5. P20,000.00 as attorneys fees, plus the
costs of suit.
(a) that the entry was made by a public officer or by which the officials would be summoned from
another person specially enjoined by law to do so; his ordinary duties to declare as a witness are
numberless. The public officers are few in
(b) that it was made by the public officer in the whose daily work something is not done in
performance of his duties, or by such other person in which testimony is not needed from official
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; sources. Were there no exception for official
and statements, hosts of officials would be found
(c) that the public officer or other person had sufficient devoting the greater part of their time to
knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have attending as witnesses in court or delivering
been acquired by him personally or through official deposition before an officer. The work of
information. administration of government and the interest
of the public having business with officials
The CA held that the police report meets all these requisites. would alike suffer in consequence. For these
Petitioner contends that the last requisite is not present. reasons, and for many others, a certain verity
The Court notes that PO3 Villanueva, who signed the report in is accorded such documents, which is not
question, also testified before the trial court. In Rodriguez vs. extended to private documents. (3 Wigmore
Court of Appeals,11 which involved a Fire Investigation Report, on Evidence, Sec. 1631).
the officer who signed the fire report also testified before the trial The law reposes a particular confidence in
court. This Court held that the report was inadmissible for the public officers that it presumes they will
purpose of proving the truth of the statements contained in the discharge their several trusts with accuracy
report but admissible insofar as it constitutes part of the and fidelity; and, therefore, whatever acts
testimony of the officer who executed the report. they do in discharge of their duty may be
x x x. Since Major Enriquez himself took the witness given in evidence and shall be taken to be
stand and was available for cross-examination, the true under such a degree of caution as to the
portions of the report which were of his personal nature and circumstances of each case may
knowledge or which consisted of his perceptions and appear to require.
conclusions were not hearsay. The rest of the report, It would have been an entirely different matter if Major
such as the summary of the statements of the parties Enriquez was not presented to testify on his report. In
based on their sworn statements (which were annexed that case the applicability of Section 44 of Rule 143
to the Report) as well as the latter, having been would have been ripe for determination, and this Court
included in the first purpose of the offer [as part of the would have agreed with the Court of Appeals that said
testimony of Major Enriquez], may then be considered report was inadmissible since the aforementioned third
as independently relevant statements which were requisite was not satisfied. The statements given by the
gathered in the course of the investigation and may thus sources of information of Major Enriquez failed to
be admitted as such, but not necessarily to prove the qualify as "official information," there being no
truth thereof. It has been said that: showing that, at the very least, they were under a duty
"Where regardless of the truth or falsity of a to give the statements for record.
statement, the fact that it has been made is Similarly, the police report in this case is inadmissible for the
relevant, the hearsay rule does not apply, but purpose of proving the truth of the statements contained therein
the statement may be shown. Evidence as to but is admissible insofar as it constitutes part of the testimony of
the making of such statement is not PO3 Villanueva.
secondary but primary, for the statement itself
may constitute a fact in issue, or be In any case, the Court holds that portions of PO3 Villanuevas
circumstantially relevant as to the existence testimony which were of his personal knowledge suffice to prove
of such a fact." that Jose Juego indeed died as a result of the elevator crash. PO3
Villanueva had seen Juegos remains at the morgue,12 making
When Major Enriquez took the witness stand, testified the latters death beyond dispute. PO3 Villanueva also conducted
for petitioners on his Report and made himself an ocular inspection of the premises of the building the day after
available for cross-examination by the adverse party, the incident13 and saw the platform for himself.14 He observed
the Report, insofar as it proved that certain utterances that the platform was crushed15 and that it was totally
were made (but not their truth), was effectively damaged.16 PO3 Villanueva also required Garcia and Fabro to
removed from the ambit of the aforementioned Section bring the chain block to the police headquarters. Upon
44 of Rule 130. Properly understood, this section does inspection, he noticed that the chain was detached from the
away with the testimony in open court of the officer lifting machine, without any pin or bolt.17
who made the official record, considers the matter as
an exception to the hearsay rule and makes the entries What petitioner takes particular exception to is PO3 Villanuevas
in said official record admissible in evidence as prima testimony that the cause of the fall of the platform was the
facie evidence of the facts therein stated. The loosening of the bolt from the chain block. It is claimed that such
underlying reasons for this exceptionary rule are portion of the testimony is mere opinion. Subject to certain
necessity and trustworthiness, as explained in Antillon exceptions,18 the opinion of a witness is generally not
v. Barcelon. admissible.19

The litigation is unlimited in which testimony Petitioners contention, however, loses relevance in the face of
by officials is daily needed; the occasions in the application of res ipsa loquitur by the CA. The effect of the
doctrine is to warrant a presumption or inference that the mere
fall of the elevator was a result of the person having charge of the charged with negligence has superior knowledge or
instrumentality was negligent. As a rule of evidence, the doctrine opportunity for explanation of the accident.23
of res ipsa loquitur is peculiar to the law of negligence which
recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established The CA held that all the requisites of res ipsa loquitur are present
without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof in the case at bar:
of negligence.20 There is no dispute that appellees husband fell down
The concept of res ipsa loquitur has been explained in this wise: from the 14th floor of a building to the basement while
he was working with appellants construction project,
While negligence is not ordinarily inferred or resulting to his death. The construction site is within
presumed, and while the mere happening of an accident the exclusive control and management of appellant. It
or injury will not generally give rise to an inference or has a safety engineer, a project superintendent, a
presumption that it was due to negligence on carpenter leadman and others who are in complete
defendants part, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, control of the situation therein. The circumstances of
which means, literally, the thing or transaction speaks any accident that would occur therein are peculiarly
for itself, or in one jurisdiction, that the thing or within the knowledge of the appellant or its employees.
instrumentality speaks for itself, the facts or On the other hand, the appellee is not in a position to
circumstances accompanying an injury may be such as know what caused the accident. Res ipsa loquitur is a
to raise a presumption, or at least permit an inference of rule of necessity and it applies where evidence is absent
negligence on the part of the defendant, or some other or not readily available, provided the following
person who is charged with negligence. requisites are present: (1) the accident was of a kind
which does not ordinarily occur unless someone is
x x x where it is shown that the thing or instrumentality negligent; (2) the instrumentality or agency which
which caused the injury complained of was under the caused the injury was under the exclusive control of the
control or management of the defendant, and that the person charged with negligence; and (3) the injury
occurrence resulting in the injury was such as in the suffered must not have been due to any voluntary
ordinary course of things would not happen if those action or contribution on the part of the person injured.
who had its control or management used proper care, x x x.
there is sufficient evidence, or, as sometimes stated,
reasonable evidence, in the absence of explanation by No worker is going to fall from the 14th floor of a
the defendant, that the injury arose from or was caused building to the basement while performing work in a
by the defendants want of care.21 construction site unless someone is negligent[;] thus,
the first requisite for the application of the rule of res
One of the theoretical based for the doctrine is its necessity, i.e., ipsa loquitur is present. As explained earlier, the
that necessary evidence is absent or not available.22 construction site with all its paraphernalia and human
The res ipsa loquitur doctrine is based in part upon the resources that likely caused the injury is under the
theory that the defendant in charge of the exclusive control and management of appellant[;]
instrumentality which causes the injury either knows thus[,] the second requisite is also present. No
the cause of the accident or has the best opportunity of contributory negligence was attributed to the appellees
ascertaining it and that the plaintiff has no such deceased husband[;] thus[,] the last requisite is also
knowledge, and therefore is compelled to allege present. All the requisites for the application of the rule
negligence in general terms and to rely upon the proof of res ipsa loquitur are present, thus a reasonable
of the happening of the accident in order to establish presumption or inference of appellants negligence
negligence. The inference which the doctrine permits is arises. x x x.24
grounded upon the fact that the chief evidence of the Petitioner does not dispute the existence of the requisites for the
true cause, whether culpable or innocent, is practically application of res ipsa loquitur, but argues that the presumption
accessible to the defendant but inaccessible to the or inference that it was negligent did not arise since it "proved
injured person. that it exercised due care to avoid the accident which befell
It has been said that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur respondents husband."
furnishes a bridge by which a plaintiff, without Petitioner apparently misapprehends the procedural effect of the
knowledge of the cause, reaches over to defendant who doctrine. As stated earlier, the defendants negligence is
knows or should know the cause, for any explanation presumed or inferred25 when the plaintiff establishes the
of care exercised by the defendant in respect of the requisites for the application of res ipsa loquitur. Once the
matter of which the plaintiff complains. The res ipsa plaintiff makes out a prima facie case of all the elements, the
loquitur doctrine, another court has said, is a rule of burden then shifts to defendant to explain.26 The presumption or
necessity, in that it proceeds on the theory that under inference may be rebutted or overcome by other evidence and,
the peculiar circumstances in which the doctrine is under appropriate circumstances disputable presumption, such as
applicable, it is within the power of the defendant to that of due care or innocence, may outweigh the inference.27 It is
show that there was no negligence on his part, and not for the defendant to explain or prove its defense to prevent
direct proof of defendants negligence is beyond the presumption or inference from arising. Evidence by the
plaintiffs power. Accordingly, some court add to the defendant of say, due care, comes into play only after the
three prerequisites for the application of the res ipsa circumstances for the application of the doctrine has been
loquitur doctrine the further requirement that for the res established.1wphi1.nt
ipsa loquitur doctrine to apply, it must appear that the
injured party had no knowledge or means of knowledge In any case, petitioner cites the sworn statement of its leadman
as to the cause of the accident, or that the party to be Ferdinand Fabro executed before the police investigator as
evidence of its due care. According to Fabros sworn statement, in violation of government rules and regulations, failed to take
the company enacted rules and regulations for the safety and the required precautions for the protection of the employees, the
security of its workers. Moreover, the leadman and heirs of the deceased employees filed a complaint against Philex
the bodegero inspect the chain block before allowing its use. Mining in the Court of First Instance (CFI). Upon motion of
Philex Mining, the CFI dismissed the complaint for lack of
It is ironic that petitioner relies on Fabros sworn statement as jurisdiction. The heirs sought relief from this Court.
proof of its due care but, in arguing that private respondent failed
to prove negligence on the part of petitioners employees, also Addressing the issue of whether the heirs had a choice of
assails the same statement for being hearsay. remedies, majority of the Court En Banc,31 following the rule
in Pacaa vs. Cebu Autobus Company, held in the affirmative.
Petitioner is correct. Fabros sworn statement is hearsay and
inadmissible. Affidavits are inadmissible as evidence under the WE now come to the query as to whether or not the
hearsay rule, unless the affiant is placed on the witness stand to injured employee or his heirs in case of death have a
testify thereon.28 The inadmissibility of this sort of evidence is right of selection or choice of action between availing
based not only on the lack of opportunity on the part of the themselves of the workers right under the Workmens
adverse party to cross-examine the affiant, but also on the Compensation Act and suing in the regular courts under
commonly known fact that, generally, an affidavit is not prepared the Civil Code for higher damages (actual, moral and
by the affiant himself but by another who uses his own language exemplary) from the employers by virtue of the
in writing the affiants statements which may either be omitted or negligence or fault of the employers or whether they
misunderstood by the one writing them.29 Petitioner, therefore, may avail themselves cumulatively of both actions, i.e.,
cannot use said statement as proof of its due care any more than collect the limited compensation under the Workmens
private respondent can use it to prove the cause of her husbands Compensation Act and sue in addition for damages in
death. Regrettably, petitioner does not cite any other evidence to the regular courts.
rebut the inference or presumption of negligence arising from the
application of res ipsa loquitur, or to establish any defense In disposing of a similar issue, this Court in Pacaa vs.
relating to the incident. Cebu Autobus Company, 32 SCRA 442, ruled that an
injured worker has a choice of either to recover from
Next, petitioner argues that private respondent had previously the employer the fixed amounts set by the Workmens
availed of the death benefits provided under the Labor Code and Compensation Act or to prosecute an ordinary civil
is, therefore, precluded from claiming from the deceaseds action against the tortfeasor for higher damages but he
employer damages under the Civil Code. cannot pursue both courses of action simultaneously.
[Underscoring supplied.]
Article 173 of the Labor Code states:
Nevertheless, the Court allowed some of the petitioners in said
Article 173. Extent of liability. Unless otherwise case to proceed with their suit under the Civil Code despite
provided, the liability of the State Insurance Fund having availed of the benefits provided under the Workmens
under this Title shall be exclusive and in place of all Compensation Act. The Court reasoned:
other liabilities of the employer to the employee, his
dependents or anyone otherwise entitled to receive With regard to the other petitioners, it was alleged by
damages on behalf of the employee or his dependents. Philex in its motion to dismiss dated May 14, 1968
The payment of compensation under this Title shall not before the court a quo, that the heirs of the deceased
bar the recovery of benefits as provided for in Section employees, namely Emerito Obra, Larry Villar, Jr.,
699 of the Revised Administrative Code, Republic Act Aurelio Lanuza, Lorenzo Isla and Saturnino submitted
Numbered Eleven hundred sixty-one, as amended, notices and claims for compensation to the Regional
Republic Act Numbered Six hundred ten, as amended, Office No. 1 of the then Department of Labor and all of
Republic Act Numbered Forty-eight hundred sixty-four them have been paid in full as of August 25, 1967,
as amended, and other laws whose benefits are except Saturnino Martinez whose heirs decided that
administered by the System or by other agencies of the they be paid in installments x x x. Such allegation was
government. admitted by herein petitioners in their opposition to the
motion to dismiss dated may 27, 1968 x x x in the
The precursor of Article 173 of the Labor Code, Section 5 of the lower court, but they set up the defense that the claims
Workmens Compensation Act, provided that: were filed under the Workmens Compensation Act
Section 5. Exclusive right to compensation. The before they learned of the official report of the
rights and remedies granted by this Act to an employee committee created to investigate the accident which
by reason of a personal injury entitling him to established the criminal negligence and violation of law
compensation shall exclude all other rights and by Philex, and which report was forwarded by the
remedies accruing to the employee, his personal Director of Mines to then Executive Secretary Rafael
representatives, dependents or nearest of kin against the Salas in a letter dated October 19, 1967 only x x x.
employer under the Civil Code and other laws because WE hold that although the other petitioners had
of said injury x x x. received the benefits under the Workmens
Whether Section 5 of the Workmens Compensation Act allowed Compensation Act, such my not preclude them from
recovery under said Act as well as under the Civil Code used to bringing an action before the regular court because they
be the subject of conflicting decisions. The Court finally settled became cognizant of the fact that Philex has been
the matter in Floresca vs.Philex Mining Corporation,30 which remiss in its contractual obligations with the deceased
involved a cave-in resulting in the death of the employees of the miners only after receiving compensation under the
Philex Mining Corporation. Alleging that the mining corporation, Act. Had petitioners been aware of said violation of
government rules and regulations by Philex, and of its
negligence, they would not have sought redress under February 6, 1991, to wit: "Respondent Ferdinand Fabro
the Workmens Compensation Commission which x x x are being charged by complainant of "Simple
awarded a lesser amount for compensation. The choice Negligence Resulting to Homicide." It is also possible
of the first remedy was based on ignorance or a mistake that the appellee did not have a chance to appear before
of fact, which nullifies the choice as it was not an the public prosecutor as can be inferred from the
intelligent choice. The case should therefore be following statement in said memorandum:
remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. "Respondents who were notified pursuant to Law
However, should the petitioners be successful in their waived their rights to present controverting evidence,"
bid before the lower court, the payments made under thus there was no reason for the public prosecutor to
the Workmens Compensation Act should be deducted summon the appellee. Hence, notice of appellants
from the damages that may be decreed in their favor. negligence cannot be imputed on appellee before she
[Underscoring supplied.] applied for death benefits under ECC or before she
received the first payment therefrom. Her using the
The ruling in Floresca providing the claimant a choice of police investigation report to support her complaint
remedies was reiterated in Ysmael Maritime Corporation vs. filed on May 9, 1991 may just be an afterthought after
Avelino,32 Vda. De Severo vs. Feliciano-Go,33 and Marcopper receiving a copy of the February 6, 1991 Memorandum
Mining Corp. vs. Abeleda.34 In the last case, the Court again of the Prosecutors Office dismissing the criminal
recognized that a claimant who had been paid under the Act complaint for insufficiency of evidence, stating therein
could still sue under the Civil Code. The Court said: that: "The death of the victim is not attributable to any
In the Robles case, it was held that claims for damages negligence on the part of the respondents. If at all and
sustained by workers in the course of their employment as shown by the records this case is civil in nature."
could be filed only under the Workmens (Underscoring supplied.) Considering the foregoing,
Compensation Law, to the exclusion of all further We are more inclined to believe appellees allegation
claims under other laws. In Floresca, this doctrine was that she learned about appellants negligence only after
abrogated in favor of the new rule that the claimants she applied for and received the benefits under ECC.
may invoke either the Workmens Compensation Act or This is a mistake of fact that will make this case fall
the provisions of the Civil Code, subject to the under the exception held in the Floresca ruling.35
consequence that the choice of one remedy will The CA further held that not only was private respondent
exclude the other and that the acceptance of ignorant of the facts, but of her rights as well:
compensation under the remedy chosen will preclude a
claim for additional benefits under the other x x x. Appellee [Maria Juego] testified that she has
remedy. The exception is where a claimant who has reached only elementary school for her educational
already been paid under the Workmens Compensation attainment; that she did not know what damages could
Act may still sue for damages under the Civil Code on be recovered from the death of her husband; and that
the basis of supervening facts or developments she did not know that she may also recover more from
occurring after he opted for the first remedy. the Civil Code than from the ECC. x x x.36
(Underscoring supplied.)
Petitioner impugns the foregoing rulings. It contends that private
Here, the CA held that private respondents case came under the respondent "failed to allege in her complaint that her application
exception because private respondent was unaware of petitioners and receipt of benefits from the ECC were attended by ignorance
negligence when she filed her claim for death benefits from the or mistake of fact. Not being an issue submitted during the trial,
State Insurance Fund. Private respondent filed the civil complaint the trial court had no authority to hear or adjudicate that issue."
for damages after she received a copy of the police investigation
report and the Prosecutors Memorandum dismissing the criminal Petitioner also claims that private respondent could not have
complaint against petitioners personnel. While stating that there been ignorant of the facts because as early as November 28,
was no negligence attributable to the respondents in the 1990, private respondent was the complainant in a criminal
complaint, the prosecutor nevertheless noted in the Memorandum complaint for "Simple Negligence Resulting to Homicide"
that, "if at all," the "case is civil in nature." The CA thus applied against petitioners employees. On February 6, 1991, two months
the exception in Floresca: before the filing of the action in the lower court, Prosecutor
Lorna Lee issued a resolution finding that, although there was
x x x We do not agree that appellee has knowledge of insufficient evidence against petitioners employees, the case was
the alleged negligence of appellant as early as "civil in nature." These purportedly show that prior to her receipt
November 25, 1990, the date of the police of death benefits from the ECC on January 2, 1991 and every
investigators report. The appellee merely executed her month thereafter, private respondent also knew of the two
sworn statement before the police investigator choices of remedies available to her and yet she chose to claim
concerning her personal circumstances, her relation to and receive the benefits from the ECC.
the victim, and her knowledge of the accident. She did
not file the complaint for "Simple Negligence When a party having knowledge of the facts makes an election
Resulting to Homicide" against appellants employees. between inconsistent remedies, the election is final and bars any
It was the investigator who recommended the filing of action, suit, or proceeding inconsistent with the elected remedy,
said case and his supervisor referred the same to the in the absence of fraud by the other party. The first act of election
prosecutors office. This is a standard operating acts as a bar.37 Equitable in nature, the doctrine of election of
procedure for police investigators which appellee may remedies is designed to mitigate possible unfairness to both
not have even known. This may explain why no parties. It rests on the moral premise that it is fair to hold people
complainant is mentioned in the preliminary statement responsible for their choices. The purpose of the doctrine is not
of the public prosecutor in her memorandum dated
to prevent any recourse to any remedy, but to prevent a double mistake of fact nullifies a waiver has been misapplied
redress for a single wrong.38 in Floresca and in the case at bar.
The choice of a party between inconsistent remedies results in In any event, there is no proof that private respondent knew that
a waiver by election. Hence, the rule in Floresca that a claimant her husband died in the elevator crash when on November 15,
cannot simultaneously pursue recovery under the Labor Code 1990 she accomplished her application for benefits from the
and prosecute an ordinary course of action under the Civil Code. ECC. The police investigation report is dated November 25,
The claimant, by his choice of one remedy, is deemed to have 1990, 10 days after the accomplishment of the form. Petitioner
waived the other. filed the application in her behalf on November 27, 1990.
Waiver is the intentional relinquishment of a known right.39 There is also no showing that private respondent knew of the
remedies available to her when the claim before the ECC was
[It] is an act of understanding that presupposes that a filed. On the contrary, private respondent testified that she was
party has knowledge of its rights, but chooses not to not aware of her rights.
assert them. It must be generally shown by the party
claiming a waiver that the person against whom the Petitioner, though, argues that under Article 3 of the Civil Code,
waiver is asserted had at the time knowledge, actual or ignorance of the law excuses no one from compliance therewith.
constructive, of the existence of the partys rights or of As judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws or the
all material facts upon which they depended. Where Constitution form part of the Philippine legal system (Article 8,
one lacks knowledge of a right, there is no basis upon Civil Code), private respondent cannot claim ignorance of this
which waiver of it can rest. Ignorance of a material fact Courts ruling in Floresca allowing a choice of remedies.
negates waiver, and waiver cannot be established by a
consent given under a mistake or misapprehension of The argument has no merit. The application of Article 3 is
fact. limited to mandatory and prohibitory laws.42 This may be
deduced from the language of the provision, which,
A person makes a knowing and intelligent waiver when notwithstanding a persons ignorance, does not excuse his or
that person knows that a right exists and has adequate her compliance with the laws. The rule in Floresca allowing
knowledge upon which to make an intelligent decision. private respondent a choice of remedies is neither mandatory nor
prohibitory. Accordingly, her ignorance thereof cannot be held
Waiver requires a knowledge of the facts basic to the against her.
exercise of the right waived, with an awareness of its
consequences. That a waiver is made knowingly and Finally, the Court modifies the affirmance of the award of
intelligently must be illustrated on the record or by the damages. The records do not indicate the total amount private
evidence.40 respondent ought to receive from the ECC, although it appears
from Exhibit "K"43 that she received P3,581.85 as initial
That lack of knowledge of a fact that nullifies the election of a payment representing the accrued pension from November 1990
remedy is the basis for the exception in Floresca. to March 1991. Her initial monthly pension, according to the
It is in light of the foregoing principles that we address same Exhibit "K," was P596.97 and present total monthly
petitioners contentions. pension was P716.40. Whether the total amount she will
eventually receive from the ECC is less than the sum of
Waiver is a defense, and it was not incumbent upon private P644,000.00 in total damages awarded by the trial court is
respondent, as plaintiff, to allege in her complaint that she had subject to speculation, and the case is remanded to the trial court
availed of benefits from the ECC. It is, thus, erroneous for for such determination. Should the trial court find that its award
petitioner to burden private respondent with raising waiver as an is greater than that of the ECC, payments already received by
issue. On the contrary, it is the defendant who ought to plead private respondent under the Labor Code shall be deducted from
waiver, as petitioner did in pages 2-3 of its Answer;41 otherwise, the trial court' award of damages. Consistent with our ruling
the defense is waived. It is, therefore, perplexing for petitioner to in Floresca, this adjudication aims to prevent double
now contend that the trial court had no jurisdiction over the issue compensation.
when petitioner itself pleaded waiver in the proceedings before
the trial court. WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial
Court of Pasig City to determine whether the award decreed in its
Does the evidence show that private respondent knew of the facts decision is more than that of the ECC. Should the award decreed
that led to her husbands death and the rights pertaining to a by the trial court be greater than that awarded by the ECC,
choice of remedies? payments already made to private respondent pursuant to the
It bears stressing that what negates waiver is lack of knowledge Labor Code shall be deducted therefrom. In all other respects, the
or a mistake of fact. In this case, the "fact" that served as a basis Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.
for nullifying the waiver is the negligence of petitioners SO ORDERED.
employees, of which private respondent purportedly learned only
after the prosecutor issued a resolution stating that there may be Davide, Jr., Puno, Pardo, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
civil liability. In Floresca, it was the negligence of the mining
corporation and its violation of government rules and
regulations. Negligence, or violation of government rules and
regulations, for that matter, however, is not a fact, but
a conclusion of law, over which only the courts have the final
say. Such a conclusion binds no one until the courts have decreed
so. It appears, therefore, that the principle that ignorance or
G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013 Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void
vs. (a) Who may file. A petition for declaration of absolute nullity
MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA, of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife.
GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL STATISTICS Sec. 4. Venue. The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of
OFFICE, RESPONDENTS. the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has
DECISION been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or
in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found
CARPIO, J.: in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner. x x x
The Case The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was
in "gross violation" of the above provisions. The trial court based
This is a direct recourse to this Court from the Regional Trial its dismissal on Section 5(4) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which
Court (RTC), Branch 107, Quezon City, through a petition for provides that "[f]ailure to comply with any of the preceding
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on a requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of the
pure question of law. The petition assails the Order1 dated 31 petition."8 Apparently, the RTC took the view that only "the
January 2011 of the RTC in Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 and its husband or the wife," in this case either Maekara or Marinay, can
Resolution dated 2 March 2011 denying petitioners Motion for file the petition to declare their marriage void, and not Fujiki.
Reconsideration. The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial
Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. He argued that
of Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC contemplated ordinary civil actions for
personality of petitioner, Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition. declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage. Thus, A.M. No.
02-11-10-SC does not apply. A petition for recognition of foreign
The Facts judgment is a special proceeding, which "seeks to establish a
Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who status, a right or a particular fact,"9 and not a civil action which
married respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the is "for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention
Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. The marriage did not sit well or redress of a wrong."10 In other words, the petition in the RTC
with petitioners parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to sought to establish (1) the status and concomitant rights of Fujiki
Japan where he resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each and Marinay as husband and wife and (2) the fact of the rendition
other. of the Japanese Family Court judgment declaring the marriage
between Marinay and Maekara as void on the ground of bigamy.
In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara The petitioner contended that the Japanese judgment was
(Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay consistent with Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the
and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City, Philippines11on bigamy and was therefore entitled to recognition
Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However, by Philippine courts.12
Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She
left Maekara and started to contact Fujiki.3 In any case, it was also Fujikis view that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
applied only to void marriages under Article 36 of the Family
Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to Code on the ground of psychological incapacity.13 Thus, Section
reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC provides that "a petition for
obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages may be filed
the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground solely by the husband or the wife." To apply Section 2(a) in
of bigamy.4 On 14 January 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the bigamy would be absurd because only the guilty parties would be
RTC entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or permitted to sue. In the words of Fujiki, "[i]t is not, of course,
Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) difficult to realize that the party interested in having a bigamous
the Japanese Family Court judgment be recognized; (2) that the marriage declared a nullity would be the husband in the prior,
bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared pre-existing marriage."14 Fujiki had material interest and
void ab initio under Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of therefore the personality to nullify a bigamous marriage.
the Philippines;5 and (3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil
Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court Fujiki argued that Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of
judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court is applicable.
Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the Rule 108 is the "procedural implementation" of the Civil Register
Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National Law (Act No. 3753)15 in relation to Article 413 of the Civil
Statistics Office (NSO).6 Code.16 The Civil Register Law imposes a duty on the
"successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of marriage to
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court send a copy of the final decree of the court to the local registrar
A few days after the filing of the petition, the RTC immediately of the municipality where the dissolved or annulled marriage was
issued an Order dismissing the petition and withdrawing the case solemnized."17 Section 2 of Rule 108 provides that entries in the
from its active civil docket.7 The RTC cited the following civil registry relating to "marriages," "judgments of annulments
provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void of marriage" and "judgments declaring marriages void from the
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02- beginning" are subject to cancellation or correction.18 The
11-10-SC): petition in the RTC sought (among others) to annotate the
judgment of the Japanese Family Court on the certificate of
marriage between Marinay and Maekara.
Fujikis motion for reconsideration in the RTC also asserted that General cited Juliano-Llave v. Republic33 which held that
the trial court "gravely erred" when, on its own, it dismissed the Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of
petition based on improper venue. Fujiki stated that the RTC may bigamy. In Juliano-Llave, this Court explained:
be confusing the concept of venue with the concept of
jurisdiction, because it is lack of jurisdiction which allows a [t]he subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if he
court to dismiss a case on its own. Fujiki cited Dacoycoy v. or she had only discovered during the connubial period that the
Intermediate Appellate Court19 which held that the "trial court marriage was bigamous, and especially if the conjugal bliss had
cannot pre-empt the defendants prerogative to object to the already vanished. Should parties in a subsequent marriage benefit
improper laying of the venue by motu proprio dismissing the from the bigamous marriage, it would not be expected that they
case."20Moreover, petitioner alleged that the trial court should would file an action to declare the marriage void and thus, in
not have "immediately dismissed" the petition under Section 5 of such circumstance, the "injured spouse" who should be given a
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC because he substantially complied with legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous marriage. The
the provision. latter is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage not
only threatens the financial and the property ownership aspect of
On 2 March 2011, the RTC resolved to deny petitioners motion the prior marriage but most of all, it causes an emotional burden
for reconsideration. In its Resolution, the RTC stated that A.M. to the prior spouse. The subsequent marriage will always be a
No. 02-11-10-SC applies because the petitioner, in effect, prays reminder of the infidelity of the spouse and the disregard of the
for a decree of absolute nullity of marriage.21 The trial court prior marriage which sanctity is protected by the Constitution.34
reiterated its two grounds for dismissal, i.e. lack of personality to
sue and improper venue under Sections 2(a) and 4 of A.M. No. The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the
02-11-10-SC. The RTC considered Fujiki as a "third person"22 in Japanese Family Court judgment may be made in a Rule 108
the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of proceeding.35 In Corpuz v. Santo Tomas,36 this Court held that
divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court, which he now "[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a
seeks to be judicially recognized, x x x."23 On the other hand, Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings
the RTC did not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. It (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to
only said that "[a]lthough the Court cited Sec. 4 (Venue) x x x as establish the status or right of a party or a particular
a ground for dismissal of this case[,] it should be taken together fact."37 While Corpuz concerned a foreign divorce decree, in the
with the other ground cited by the Court x x x which is Sec. 2(a) present case the Japanese Family Court judgment also affected
x x x."24 the civil status of the parties, especially Marinay, who is a
Filipino citizen.
The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the
petition based on Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of
Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.25 The Court in Braza Court is the procedure to record "[a]cts, events and judicial
ruled that "[i]n a special proceeding for correction of entry under decrees concerning the civil status of persons" in the civil
Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries in the Original registry as required by Article 407 of the Civil Code. In other
Registry), the trial court has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages x words, "[t]he law requires the entry in the civil registry of
x x."26 Braza emphasized that the "validity of marriages as well judicial decrees that produce legal consequences upon a persons
as legitimacy and filiation can be questioned only in a direct legal capacity and status x x x."38 The Japanese Family Court
action seasonably filed by the proper party, and not through a judgment directly bears on the civil status of a Filipino citizen
collateral attack such as [a] petition [for correction of entry] x x and should therefore be proven as a fact in a Rule 108
x."27 proceeding.

The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the Moreover, the Solicitor General argued that there is no
validity of marriage between Marinay and Maekara. The trial jurisdictional infirmity in assailing a void marriage under Rule
court held that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the 108, citing De Castro v. De Castro39 and Nial v.
petition.28 Moreover, the verification and certification against Bayadog40 which declared that "[t]he validity of a void marriage
forum shopping of the petition was not authenticated as required may be collaterally attacked."41
under Section 529 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. Hence, this also Marinay and Maekara individually sent letters to the Court to
warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition under the comply with the directive for them to comment on the
same provision. petition.42 Maekara wrote that Marinay concealed from him the
The Manifestation and Motion of the Office of the Solicitor fact that she was previously married to Fujiki.43Maekara also
General and the Letters of Marinay and Maekara denied that he inflicted any form of violence on Marinay.44 On
the other hand, Marinay wrote that she had no reason to oppose
On 30 May 2011, the Court required respondents to file their the petition.45 She would like to maintain her silence for fear
comment on the petition for review.30 The public respondents, that anything she say might cause misunderstanding between her
the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Administrator and Fujiki.46
and Civil Registrar General of the NSO, participated through the
Office of the Solicitor General. Instead of a comment, the The Issues
Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion.31 Petitioner raises the following legal issues:
The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. He prayed that the (1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute
RTCs "pronouncement that the petitioner failed to comply with Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
x x x A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC x x x be set aside" and that the case Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) is applicable.
be reinstated in the trial court for further proceedings.32 The
Solicitor General argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first (2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can
marriage, is an injured party who can sue to declare the bigamous file a petition to recognize a foreign judgment
marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The Solicitor
nullifying the subsequent marriage between his or her personal jurisdiction relating to the status, condition and legal
spouse and a foreign citizen on the ground of bigamy. capacity of such citizen.
(3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage
foreign judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the
correction of entries in the Civil Registry under Rule case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of
108 of the Rules of Court. marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign
laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They
The Ruling of the Court cannot substitute their judgment on the status, condition and legal
We grant the petition. capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction of
another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the
The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence.
and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC)
does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a
relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a foreign judgment or final order against a person creates a
citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v. "presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their
Republic,47 this Court held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10- successors in interest by a subsequent title." Moreover, Section
SC that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity 48 of the Rules of Court states that "the judgment or final order
or annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of
the petition is bigamy."48 notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or
fact." Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign
I. judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a
For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and
the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds
foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign external to its merits, i.e. , "want of jurisdiction, want of notice to
judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific, the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact." The
a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the
proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation protection of party expectations,61 as well as respecting the
to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.49 Petitioner may jurisdiction of other states.62
prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,63 Philippine courts
publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer have recognized foreign divorce decrees between a Filipino and a
who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody foreign citizen if they are successfully proven under the rules of
is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be evidence.64 Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage, but
made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the the recognition of a foreign divorce decree does not involve the
Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the seal extended procedure under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or the rules of
of office.50 ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not have a divorce law,
To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce
recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
and the parties should follow its provisions, including the form Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her
and contents of the petition,51 the service of summons,52 the foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.65
investigation of the public prosecutor,53 the setting of pre- There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as
trial,54 the trial55 and the judgment of the trial court.56 This is a fact the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the
absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of
purpose of recognizing foreign judgments, which is "to limit bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese
repetitive litigation on claims and issues."57 The interpretation of Family Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public
the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits. policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from the
In Mijares v. Raada,58 this Court explained that "[i]f every beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a
judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits, the crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki
plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action, can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment
rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation."59 in accordance with Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to
A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.
civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However, II.
the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the
effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof
must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with of fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding
domestic public policy and other mandatory laws.60 Article 15 for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under
of the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights Rule 108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of
and duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of Court provides that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which
persons are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact."
living abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a persons life which
international law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or
effectivity in the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as
a foreign judgment affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises birth, death or marriage,66 which the State has an interest in
recording. As noted by the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto.
Tomas this Court declared that "[t]he recognition of the foreign
divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as and prevention of crimes.77If anyone can file a criminal action
the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous
Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a marriage,78 there is more reason to confer personality to sue on
party or a particular fact."67 the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The prior
spouse does not only share in the public interest of prosecuting
Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: and preventing crimes, he is also personally interested in the
Sec. 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested in purely civil aspect of protecting his marriage.
any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated,
persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may file the spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested
a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any entry in the judgment of the suit.79 Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior
relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the province spouse "is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage
where the corresponding civil registry is located. (Emphasis not only threatens the financial and the property ownership
supplied) aspect of the prior marriage but most of all, it causes an
Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the emotional burden to the prior spouse."80 Being a real party in
Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between interest, the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare a
Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, he can petition a court
judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For the to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous
same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule marriage and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is
108 to cancel the entry of marriage between Marinay and effective in the Philippines. Once established, there should be no
Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the more impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage in
Japanese Family Court. the civil registry.

There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and III.
material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros
contracted and the property relations arising from it. There is also Occidental, this Court held that a "trial court has no jurisdiction
no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a to nullify marriages" in a special proceeding for cancellation or
bigamous marriage in the civil registry, which compromises the correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of
public record of his marriage. The interest derives from the Court.81 Thus, the "validity of marriage[] x x x can be
substantive right of the spouse not only to preserve (or dissolve, questioned only in a direct action" to nullify the marriage.82 The
in limited instances68) his most intimate human relation, but also RTC relied on Braza in dismissing the petition for recognition of
to protect his property interests that arise by operation of law the foreign judgment as a collateral attack on the marriage between
moment he contracts marriage.69 These property interests in Marinay and Maekara.
marriage include the right to be supported "in keeping with the
financial capacity of the family"70 and preserving the property Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a
regime of the marriage.71 recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign
Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the country.
Constitution,72 but a spouses right in a marriage extends further
to relational rights recognized under Title III ("Rights and To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in
Obligations between Husband and Wife") of the Family the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a
Code.73 A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC cannot "diminish, increase, or marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention
modify" the substantive right of the spouse to maintain the of the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under
integrity of his marriage.74 In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M. No. the Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws.
02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the Among these safeguards are the requirement of proving the
personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the union limited grounds for the dissolution of
recognized by law. marriage,83 support pendente lite of the spouses and
children,84 the liquidation, partition and distribution of the
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a properties of the spouses,85 and the investigation of the public
spouse of a subsisting marriage to question the validity of a prosecutor to determine collusion.86 A direct action for
subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the contrary, declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage is also necessary
when Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of to prevent circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts
absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the under the Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369), as
husband or the wife"75it refers to the husband or the wife of a petition for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil
the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code, registry may be filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the
bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the corresponding civil registry is located."87 In other words, a
parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the Filipino citizen cannot dissolve his marriage by the mere
wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the prior expedient of changing his entry of marriage in the civil registry.
subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a
petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. cancellation of a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a
foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the parties is
Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of
marriages void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under
349 of the Revised Penal Code,76 which penalizes bigamy. Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under
Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution R.A. No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an
for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution action to nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts
to recognize the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which Penal Code. The Filipino spouse has the option to undergo full
presupposes a case which was already tried and decided trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage
under foreign law. The procedure in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy
does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment available to him or her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to
annulling a bigamous marriage where one of the parties is a recognize a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage,
citizen of the foreign country. Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define without prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy.
the jurisdiction of the foreign court.
In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are
Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was
courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a decided under foreign law. They cannot decide on the "family
Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity"
of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph of of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment.
Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here a marriage Thus, Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to
between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a
and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a
spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse citizen of a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide
shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." In Republic whether to extend its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule
v. Orbecido,88 this Court recognized the legislative intent of the of lex nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code.
second paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd
situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1)
spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the whether the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding
Filipino spouse"89 under the laws of his or her country. The public policy in the Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging
second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only party is able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign
authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign judgment, i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party,
divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If there is neither
divorce. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the
because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the
foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b),
The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is
to address the anomaly that results from a marriage between a already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties."
Filipino, whose laws do not allow divorce, and a foreign citizen, Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes
whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the Filipino conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the correction
spouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The recognition of
to marry under the laws of his or her country. The correction is the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is a
made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the foreign subsequent event that establishes a new status, right and
divorce decree, which is already effective in the country where it fact92 that needs to be reflected in the civil registry. Otherwise,
was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family there will be an inconsistency between the recognition of the
Code is based on this Courts decision in Van Dorn v. effectivity of the foreign judgment and the public records in the
Romillo90 which declared that the Filipino spouse "should not be Philippines.1wphi1
discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are
to be served."91 However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a
bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for
The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code.93 The
marriage between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of marriage is not a ground for extinction of criminal liability under
bigamy. The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to declare Articles 89 and 94 of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, under
the marriage void on the ground of bigamy. The principle in the Article 91 of the Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription
second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code applies [of the crime of bigamy] shall not run when the offender is
because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying absent from the Philippine archipelago."
the marriage, is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or
her country. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the Since A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable, the Court no longer
Philippines, the Filipino spouse will be discriminatedthe sees the need to address the questions on venue and the contents
foreign spouse can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot and form of the petition under Sections 4 and 5, respectively, of
remarry. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.

Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Order dated 31
Philippine courts are empowered to correct a situation where the January 2011 and the Resolution dated 2 March 2011 of the
Filipino spouse is still tied to the marriage while the foreign Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City, in Civil Case
spouse is free to marry. Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of No. Q-11-68582 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
the Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to Regional Trial Court is ORDERED to REINSTATE the petition
extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the for further proceedings in accordance with this Decision.
extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic SO ORDERED.
public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign
divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous Brion, Del Castillo, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur.
marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage,
is fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in G.R. No. 171845 October 10, 2012
Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised
SPOUSES GODFREY and GERARDINA action; attached to the letter was a copy of the complaint filed as
SERFINO, Petitioners, Civil Case No. 95-9344.
FAR EAST BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, INC., now During the pendency of Civil Case No. 95-9344, the spouses
BANK OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, Respondent. Cortez manifested that they were turning over the balance of the
deposit in FEBTC (amounting to P 54,534.00) to the spouses
DECISION Serfino as partial payment of their obligation under the
compromise judgment. The RTC issued an order dated July 30,
BRION, J.: 1997, authorizing FEBTC to turn over the balance of the deposit
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari, 1 filed to the spouses Serfino.
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the On February 23, 2006, the RTC issued the assailed decision (a)
decision2 dated February 23, 2006 of the Regional Trial finding the spouses Cortez, Grace and Dante liable for
Court (RTC) of Bacolod City, Branch 41, in Civil Case No. 95- fraudulently diverting the amount due the spouses Serfino, but
9344. (b) absolving FEBTC from any liability for allowing Grace to
FACTUAL ANTECEDENTS withdraw the deposit. The RTC declared that FEBTC was not a
party to the compromise judgment; FEBTC was thus not
The present case traces its roots to the compromise chargeable with notice of the parties agreement, as there was no
judgment dated October 24, 19953 of the RTC of Bacolod City, valid court order or processes requiring it to withhold payment of
Branch 47, in Civil Case No. 95-9880. Civil Case No. 95-9880 the deposit. Given the nature of bank deposits, FEBTC was
was an action for collection of sum of money instituted by the primarily bound by its contract of loan with Grace. There was,
petitioner spouses Godfrey and Gerardina Serfino therefore, no legal justification for the bank to refuse payment of
(collectively, spouses Serfino) against the spouses Domingo and the account, notwithstanding the claim of the spouses Serfino as
Magdalena Cortez (collectively, spouses Cortez). By way of stated in their three letters.
settlement, the spouses Serfino and the spouses Cortez executed
a compromise agreement on October 20, 1995, in which the THE PARTIES ARGUMENTS
spouses Cortez acknowledged their indebtedness to the spouses The spouses Serfino appealed the RTCs ruling absolving
Serfino in the amount of P 108,245.71. To satisfy the debt, FEBTC from liability for allowing the withdrawal of the
Magdalena bound herself "to pay in full the judgment debt out deposit. They allege that the RTC cited no legal basis for
of her retirement benefits[.]"4 Payment of the debt shall be declaring that only a court order or process can justify the
made one (1) week after Magdalena has received her retirement withholding of the deposit in Graces name. Since FEBTC was
benefits from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). informed of their adverse claim after they sent three letters, they
In case of default, the debt may be executed against any of the claim that:
properties of the spouses Cortez that is subject to execution, upon
motion of the spouses Serfino.5 After finding that the Upon receipt of a notice of adverse claim in proper form, it
compromise agreement was not contrary to law, morals, good becomes the duty of the bank to: 1. Withhold payment of the
custom, public order or public policy, the RTC approved the deposit until there is a reasonable opportunity to institute legal
entirety of the parties agreement and issued a compromise proceedings to contest ownership; and 2) give prompt notice of
judgment based thereon.6 The debt was later reduced the adverse claim to the depositor. The bank may be held liable to
to P 155,000.00 from P 197,000.00 (including interest), with the the adverse claimant if it disregards the notice of adverse claim
promise that the spouses Cortez would pay in full the judgment and pays the depositor.
debt not later than April 23, 1996.7
No payment was made as promised. Instead, Godfrey discovered When the bank has reasonable
that Magdalena deposited her retirement benefits in the savings notice of a bona fide claim that
account of her daughter-in-law, Grace Cortez, with the money deposited with it is the
respondent, Far East Bank and Trust Company, Inc. (FEBTC). As property of another than the
of April 23, 1996, Graces savings account with FEBTC depositor, it should withhold
amounted to P 245,830.37, the entire deposit coming from payment until there is reasonable
Magdalenas retirement benefits.8 That same day, the spouses opportunity to institute legal
Serfinos counsel sent two letters to FEBTC informing the proceedings to contest the
bank that the deposit in Graces name was owned by the ownership.9(emphases and
spouses Serfino by virtue of an assignment made in their underscoring supplied)
favor by the spouses Cortez. The letter requested FEBTC to
prevent the delivery of the deposit to either Grace or the spouses Aside from the three letters, FEBTC should be deemed bound by
Cortez until its actual ownership has been resolved in court. the compromise judgment, since Article 1625 of the Civil Code
On April 25, 1996, the spouses Serfino instituted Civil Case No. states that an assignment of credit binds third persons if it
95- 9344 against the spouses Cortez, Grace and her husband, appears in a public instrument.10 They conclude that FEBTC,
Dante Cortez, and FEBTC for the recovery of money on deposit having been notified of their adverse claim, should not have
and the payment of damages, with a prayer for preliminary allowed Grace to withdraw the deposit.
attachment. While they acknowledged that bank deposits are governed by the
On April 26, 1996, Grace withdrew P 150,000.00 from her Civil Code provisions on loan, the spouses Serfino allege that the
savings account with FEBTC. On the same day, the spouses provisions on voluntary deposits should apply by analogy in this
Serfino sent another letter to FEBTC informing it of the pending case, particularly Article 1988 of the Civil Code, which states:
Article 1988. The thing deposited must be returned to the against the debtor. It may be in the form of sale, but at times it
depositor upon demand, even though a specified period or time may constitute a dation in payment, such as when a debtor, in
for such return may have been fixed. order to obtain a release from his debt, assigns to his creditor a
credit he has against a third person."12 As a dation in
This provision shall not apply when the thing is payment, the assignment of credit operates as a mode of
judicially attached while in the depositarys extinguishing the obligation;13 the delivery and transmission of
possession, or should he have been notified of ownership of a thing (in this case, the credit due from a third
the opposition of a third person to the return person) by the debtor to the creditor is accepted as the equivalent
or the removal of the thing deposited. In these of the performance of the obligation.14
cases, the depositary must immediately inform The terms of the compromise judgment, however, did not convey
the depositor of the attachment or opposition. an intent to equate the assignment of Magdalenas retirement
benefits (the credit) as the equivalent of the payment of the debt
Based on Article 1988 of the Civil Code, the depository is not due the spouses Serfino (the obligation). There was actually no
obliged to return the thing to the depositor if notified of a third assignment of credit; if at all, the compromise judgment
partys adverse claim. merely identified the fund from which payment for the
judgment debt would be sourced:
By allowing Grace to withdraw the deposit that is due them
under the compromise judgment, the spouses Serfino claim that (c) That before the plaintiffs file a motion for execution of the
FEBTC committed an actionable wrong that entitles them to decision or order based [on this] Compromise Agreement, the
the payment of actual and moral damages. defendant, Magdalena Cortez undertake[s] and bind[s]
herself to pay in full the judgment debt out of her retirement
FEBTC, on the other hand, insists on the correctness of the RTC benefits as Local [T]reasury Operation Officer in the City of
ruling. It claims that it is not bound by the compromise Bacolod, Philippines, upon which full payment, the plaintiffs
judgment, but only by its contract of loan with its depositor. As a waive, abandon and relinquish absolutely any of their claims for
loan, the bank deposit is owned by the bank; hence, the spouses attorneys fees stipulated in the Promissory Note (Annex "A" to
Serfinos claim of ownership over it is erroneous. the Complaint).15 [emphasis ours]
Based on these arguments, the case essentially involves a
determination of the obligation of banks to a third party who Only when Magdalena has received and turned over to the
claims rights over a bank deposit standing in the name of spouses Serfino the portion of her retirement benefits
another. corresponding to the debt due would the debt be deemed paid.
THE COURTS RULING In Aquitey v. Tibong,16 the issue raised was whether the
obligation to pay the loan was extinguished by the execution of
We find the petition unmeritorious and see no reason to reverse
the deeds of assignment. The Court ruled in the affirmative,
the RTCs ruling.
given that, in the deeds involved, the respondent (the debtor)
Claim for actual damages not assigned to the petitioner (the creditor) her credits "to make
meritorious because there could be good" the balance of her obligation; the parties agreed to relieve
no pecuniary loss that should be the respondent of her obligation to pay the balance of her
compensated if there was no account, and for the petitioner to collect the same from the
assignment of credit respondents debtors.17 The Court concluded that the
respondents obligation to pay the balance of her accounts with
The spouses Serfinos claim for damages against FEBTC is the petitioner was extinguished, pro tanto, by the deeds of
premised on their claim of ownership of the deposit with assignment of credit executed by the respondent in favor of the
FEBTC. The deposit consists of Magdalenas retirement benefits, petitioner.18
which the spouses Serfino claim to have been assigned to them
under the compromise judgment. That the retirement benefits In the present case, the judgment debt was not extinguished by
were deposited in Graces savings account with FEBTC the mere designation in the compromise judgment of
supposedly did not divest them of ownership of the amount, as Magdalenas retirement benefits as the fund from which payment
"the money already belongs to the [spouses Serfino] having been shall be sourced. That the compromise agreement authorizes
absolutely assigned to them and constructively delivered by recourse in case of default on other executable properties of the
virtue of the x x x public instrument[.]"11 By virtue of spouses Cortez, to satisfy the judgment debt, further supports our
the assignment of credit, the spouses Serfino claim ownership conclusion that there was no assignment of Magdalenas credit
of the deposit, and they posit that FEBTC was duty bound to with the GSIS that would have extinguished the obligation.
protect their right by preventing the withdrawal of the deposit
The compromise judgment in this case also did not give the
since the bank had been notified of the assignment and of their
supposed assignees, the spouses Serfino, the power to enforce
Magdalenas credit against the GSIS. In fact, the spouses Serfino
We find no basis to support the spouses Serfinos claim of are prohibited from enforcing their claim until after the lapse of
ownership of the deposit. one (1) week from Magdalenas receipt of her retirement
"An assignment of credit is an agreement by virtue of which the
owner of a credit, known as the assignor, by a legal cause, such (d) That the plaintiffs shall refrain from having the judgment
as sale, dation in payment, exchange or donation, and without the based upon this Compromise Agreement executed until after one
consent of the debtor, transfers his credit and accessory rights to (1) week from receipt by the defendant, Magdalena Cortez of her
another, known as the assignee, who acquires the power to retirement benefits from the [GSIS] but fails to pay within the
enforce it to the same extent as the assignor could enforce it said period the defendants judgment debt in this case, in which
case [this] Compromise Agreement [may be] executed upon any deposit. As current laws provide, the banks contractual relations
property of the defendants that are subject to execution upon are with its depositor, not with the third party;28 "a bank is under
motion by the plaintiffs.19 obligation to treat the accounts of its depositors with meticulous
care and always to have in mind the fiduciary nature of its
An assignment of credit not only entitles the assignee to the relationship with them."29 In the absence of any positive duty of
credit itself, but also gives him the power to enforce it as against the bank to an adverse claimant, there could be no breach that
the debtor of the assignor. entitles the latter to moral damages.

Since no valid assignment of credit took place, the spouses WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the petition for review
Serfino cannot validly claim ownership of the retirement benefits on certiorari is DENIED, and the decision dated February 23,
that were deposited with FEBTC. Without ownership rights 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 41, in
over the amount, they suffered no pecuniary loss that has to Civil Case No. 95-9344 is AFFIRMED. Costs against the
be compensated by actual damages. The grant of actual petitioners.
damages presupposes that the claimant suffered a duly proven SO ORDERED.
pecuniary loss.20
Claim for moral damages not G.R. No. 150157 January 25, 2007
meritorious because no duty exists
on the part of the bank to protect MAURICIO MANLICLIC and PHILIPPINE RABBIT BUS
interest of third person claiming LINES, INC., Petitioners,
deposit in the name of another vs.
Under Article 2219 of the Civil Code, moral damages are
recoverable for acts referred to in Article 21 of the Civil DECISION
Code.21 Article 21 of the Civil Code, in conjunction with Article CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
19 of the Civil Code, is part of the cause of action known in this
jurisdiction as "abuse of rights." The elements of abuse of rights Assailed before Us is the decision1 of the Court of Appeals in
are: (a) there is a legal right or duty; (b) exercised in bad faith; CA-G.R. CV No. 55909 which affirmed in toto the decision2 of
and (c) for the sole intent of prejudicing or injuring the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Dagupan City, Branch 42, in
another.1wphi1 Civil Case No. D-10086, finding petitioners Mauricio Manliclic
and Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. (PRBLI) solidarily liable
The spouses Serfino invoke American common law that imposes to pay damages and attorneys fees to respondent Modesto
a duty upon a bank receiving a notice of adverse claim to the Calaunan.
fund in a depositors account to freeze the account for a
reasonable length of time, sufficient to allow the adverse The factual antecedents are as follows:
claimant to institute legal proceedings to enforce his right to
The vehicles involved in this case are: (1) Philippine Rabbit Bus
the fund.22In other words, the bank has a duty not to release the
No. 353 with plate number CVD-478, owned by petitioner
deposits unreasonably early after a third party makes known his
PRBLI and driven by petitioner Mauricio Manliclic; and (2)
adverse claim to the bank deposit. Acknowledging that no such
owner-type jeep with plate number PER-290, owned by
duty is imposed by law in this jurisdiction, the spouses Serfino
respondent Modesto Calaunan and driven by Marcelo Mendoza.
ask the Court to adopt this foreign rule.23
At around 6:00 to 7:00 oclock in the morning of 12 July 1988,
To adopt the foreign rule, however, goes beyond the power of
respondent Calaunan, together with Marcelo Mendoza, was on
this Court to promulgate rules governing pleading, practice and
his way to Manila from Pangasinan on board his owner-type
procedure in all courts.24 The rule reflects a matter of policy
jeep. The Philippine Rabbit Bus was likewise bound for Manila
that is better addressed by the other branches of government,
from Concepcion, Tarlac. At approximately Kilometer 40 of the
particularly, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, which is the agency
North Luzon Expressway in Barangay Lalangan, Plaridel,
that supervises the operations and activities of banks, and which
Bulacan, the two vehicles collided. The front right side of the
has the power to issue "rules of conduct or the establishment of
Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear left side of the jeep causing the
standards of operation for uniform application to all institutions
latter to move to the shoulder on the right and then fall on a ditch
or functions covered[.]"25 To adopt this rule will have significant
with water resulting to further extensive damage. The bus veered
implications on the banking industry and practices, as the
to the left and stopped 7 to 8 meters from point of collision.
American experience has shown. Recognizing that the rule
imposing duty on banks to freeze the deposit upon notice of Respondent suffered minor injuries while his driver was unhurt.
adverse claim adopts a policy adverse to the bank and its He was first brought for treatment to the Manila Central
functions, and opens it to liability to both the depositor and the University Hospital in Kalookan City by Oscar Buan, the
adverse claimant,26 many American states have since adopted conductor of the Philippine Rabbit Bus, and was later transferred
adverse claim statutes that shifted or, at least, equalized the to the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
burden. Essentially, these statutes do not impose a duty on banks
to freeze the deposit upon a mere notice of adverse claim; they By reason of such collision, a criminal case was filed before the
first require either a court order or an indemnity bond.27 RTC of Malolos, Bulacan, charging petitioner Manliclic with
Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Damage to Property with
In the absence of a law or a rule binding on the Court, it has no Physical Injuries, docketed as Crim. Case No. 684-M-89.
option but to uphold the existing policy that recognizes the Subsequently on 2 December 1991, respondent filed a complaint
fiduciary nature of banking. It likewise rejects the adoption of a for damages against petitioners Manliclic and PRBLI before the
judicially-imposed rule giving third parties with unverified RTC of Dagupan City, docketed as Civil Case No. D-10086. The
claims against the deposit of another a better right over the criminal case was tried ahead of the civil case. Among those who
testified in the criminal case were respondent Calaunan, Marcelo The disagreement arises from the question: Who is to be held
Mendoza and Fernando Ramos. liable for the collision?
In the civil case (now before this Court), the parties admitted the Respondent insists it was petitioner Manliclic who should be
following: liable while the latter is resolute in saying it was the former who
caused the smash up.
1. The parties agreed on the capacity of the parties to
sue and be sued as well as the venue and the identities The versions of the parties are summarized by the trial court as
of the vehicles involved; follows:
2. The identity of the drivers and the fact that they are The parties differed only on the manner the collision between the
duly licensed; two (2) vehicles took place. According to the plaintiff and his
driver, the jeep was cruising at the speed of 60 to 70 kilometers
3. The date and place of the vehicular collision; per hour on the slow lane of the expressway when the Philippine
4. The extent of the injuries suffered by plaintiff Rabbit Bus overtook the jeep and in the process of overtaking the
Modesto Calaunan and the existence of the medical jeep, the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the rear of the jeep on the left
certificate; side. At the time the Philippine Rabbit Bus hit the jeep, it was
about to overtake the jeep. In other words, the Philippine Rabbit
5. That both vehicles were going towards the south; the Bus was still at the back of the jeep when the jeep was hit.
private jeep being ahead of the bus; Fernando Ramos corroborated the testimony of the plaintiff and
6. That the weather was fair and the road was well Marcelo Mendoza. He said that he was on another jeep following
paved and straight, although there was a ditch on the the Philippine Rabbit Bus and the jeep of plaintiff when the
right side where the jeep fell into.3 incident took place. He said, the jeep of the plaintiff overtook
them and the said jeep of the plaintiff was followed by the
When the civil case was heard, counsel for respondent prayed Philippine Rabbit Bus which was running very fast. The bus also
that the transcripts of stenographic notes (TSNs)4of the overtook the jeep in which he was riding. After that, he heard a
testimonies of respondent Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and loud sound. He saw the jeep of the plaintiff swerved to the right
Fernando Ramos in the criminal case be received in evidence in on a grassy portion of the road. The Philippine Rabbit Bus
the civil case in as much as these witnesses are not available to stopped and they overtook the Philippine Rabbit Bus so that it
testify in the civil case. could not moved (sic), meaning they stopped in front of the
Philippine Rabbit Bus. He testified that the jeep of plaintiff
Francisco Tuliao testified that his brother-in-law, respondent
swerved to the right because it was bumped by the Philippine
Calaunan, left for abroad sometime in November, 1989 and has
Rabbit bus from behind.
not returned since then. Rogelio Ramos took the stand and said
that his brother, Fernando Ramos, left for Amman, Jordan, to Both Mauricio Manliclic and his driver, Oscar Buan admitted
work. Rosalia Mendoza testified that her husband, Marcelo that the Philippine Rabbit Bus bumped the jeep in question.
Mendoza, left their residence to look for a job. She narrated that However, they explained that when the Philippine Rabbit bus
she thought her husband went to his hometown in Panique, was about to go to the left lane to overtake the jeep, the latter
Tarlac, when he did not return after one month. She went to her jeep swerved to the left because it was to overtake another jeep in
husbands hometown to look for him but she was informed that front of it. Such was their testimony before the RTC in Malolos
he did not go in the criminal case and before this Court in the instant case.
[Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the collision
The trial court subpoenaed the Clerk of Court of Branch 8, RTC,
took place was correct, would be determinative of who between
Malolos, Bulacan, the court where Criminal Case No. 684-M-89
the two drivers was negligent in the operation of their respective
was tried, to bring the TSNs of the testimonies of respondent
Calaunan,5 Marcelo Mendoza6 and Fernando Ramos7 in said
case, together with other documentary evidence marked therein. Petitioner PRBLI maintained that it observed and exercised the
Instead of the Branch Clerk of Court, it was Enrique Santos diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and
Guevara, Court Interpreter, who appeared before the court and supervision of its employee, specifically petitioner Manliclic.
identified the TSNs of the three afore-named witnesses and other
pertinent documents he had brought.8 Counsel for respondent On 22 July 1996, the trial court rendered its decision in favor of
wanted to mark other TSNs and documents from the said respondent Calaunan and against petitioners Manliclic and
criminal case to be adopted in the instant case, but since the same PRBLI. The dispositive portion of its decision reads:
were not brought to the trial court, counsel for petitioners WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
compromised that said TSNs and documents could be offered by against the defendants ordering the said defendants to pay
counsel for respondent as rebuttal evidence. plaintiff jointly and solidarily the amount of P40,838.00 as actual
For the defendants, petitioner Manliclic and bus conductor Oscar damages for the towing as well as the repair and the materials
Buan testified. The TSN9 of the testimony of Donato Ganiban, used for the repair of the jeep in question; P100,000.00 as moral
investigator of the PRBLI, in Criminal Case No. 684-M-89 was damages and another P100,000.00 as exemplary damages
marked and allowed to be adopted in the civil case on the ground and P15,000.00 as attorneys fees, including appearance fees of
that he was already dead. the lawyer. In addition, the defendants are also to pay costs.12

Respondent further marked, among other documents, as rebuttal Petitioners appealed the decision via Notice of Appeal to the
evidence, the TSNs10 of the testimonies of Donato Ganiban, Court of Appeals.13
Oscar Buan and petitioner Manliclic in Criminal Case No. 684- In a decision dated 28 September 2001, the Court of Appeals,
M-89. finding no reversible error in the decision of the trial court,
affirmed it in all respects.14
Petitioners are now before us by way of petition for review in the former trial is the same issue involved in the present case;
assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals. They assign as and (e) the adverse party had an opportunity to cross-examine the
errors the following: witness in the former case.22
I Admittedly, respondent failed to show the concurrence of all the
requisites set forth by the Rules for a testimony given in a former
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A case or proceeding to be admissible as an exception to the
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE hearsay rule. Petitioner PRBLI, not being a party in Criminal
TRIAL COURTS QUESTIONABLE Case No. 684-M-89, had no opportunity to cross-examine the
ADMISSION IN EVIDENCE OF THE TSNs three witnesses in said case. The criminal case was filed
AND OTHER DOCUMENTS PRESENTED IN exclusively against petitioner Manliclic, petitioner PRBLIs
THE CRIMINAL CASE. employee. The cases dealing with the subsidiary liability of
employers uniformly declare that, strictly speaking, they are not
parties to the criminal cases instituted against their employees.23
Notwithstanding the fact that petitioner PRBLI was not a party in
said criminal case, the testimonies of the three witnesses are still
admissible on the ground that petitioner PRBLI failed to object
on their admissibility.
VERSION OF THE RESPONDENT ON HOW It is elementary that an objection shall be made at the time when
THE ACCIDENT SUPPOSEDLY OCCURRED. an alleged inadmissible document is offered in evidence;
otherwise, the objection shall be treated as waived, since the right
III to object is merely a privilege which the party may waive. Thus,
a failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform to
the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law. Even
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A assuming ex gratia argumenti that these documents are
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE inadmissible for being hearsay, but on account of failure to object
TRIAL COURTS UNFAIR DISREGARD OF thereto, the same may be admitted and considered as sufficient to
HEREIN PETITIONER PRBLs DEFENSE OF prove the facts therein asserted.24 Hearsay evidence alone may
EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE IN THE be insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no objection
SELECTION AND SUPERVISION OF ITS is made thereto, it is, like any other evidence, to be considered
EMPLOYEES. and given the importance it deserves.25
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI did not object to the TSNs
containing the testimonies of respondent Calaunan, Marcelo
Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the criminal case when the
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A same were offered in evidence in the trial court. In fact, the TSNs
QUESTION OF LAW IN AFFIRMING THE of the testimonies of Calaunan and Mendoza were admitted by
TRIAL COURTS QUESTIONABLE AWARD both petitioners.26Moreover, petitioner PRBLI even offered in
OF DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEE. evidence the TSN containing the testimony of Donato Ganiban in
the criminal case. If petitioner PRBLI argues that the TSNs of the
With the passing away of respondent Calaunan during the testimonies of plaintiffs witnesses in the criminal case should
pendency of this appeal with this Court, we granted the Motion not be admitted in the instant case, why then did it offer the TSN
for the Substitution of Respondent filed by his wife, Mrs. Precila of the testimony of Ganiban which was given in the criminal
Zarate Vda. De Calaunan, and children, Virgilio Calaunan, case? It appears that petitioner PRBLI wants to have its cake and
Carmelita Honeycomb, Evelyn Calaunan, Marko Calaunan and eat it too. It cannot argue that the TSNs of the testimonies of the
Liwayway Calaunan.15 witnesses of the adverse party in the criminal case should not be
admitted and at the same time insist that the TSN of the
In their Reply to respondents Comment, petitioners informed testimony of the witness for the accused be admitted in its favor.
this Court of a Decision16 of the Court of Appeals acquitting To disallow admission in evidence of the TSNs of the testimonies
petitioner Manliclic of the charge17 of Reckless Imprudence of Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the
Resulting in Damage to Property with Physical Injuries attaching criminal case and to admit the TSN of the testimony of Ganiban
thereto a photocopy thereof. would be unfair.
On the first assigned error, petitioners argue that the TSNs We do not subscribe to petitioner PRBLIs argument that it will
containing the testimonies of respondent Calaunan,18Marcelo be denied due process when the TSNs of the testimonies of
Mendoza19 and Fernando Ramos20 should not be admitted in Calaunan, Marcelo Mendoza and Fernando Ramos in the
evidence for failure of respondent to comply with the requisites criminal case are to be admitted in the civil case. It is too late for
of Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. petitioner PRBLI to raise denial of due process in relation to
For Section 47, Rule 13021 to apply, the following requisites Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a ground for
must be satisfied: (a) the witness is dead or unable to testify; (b) objecting to the admissibility of the TSNs. For failure to object at
his testimony or deposition was given in a former case or the proper time, it waived its right to object that the TSNs did not
proceeding, judicial or administrative, between the same parties comply with Section 47.
or those representing the same interests; (c) the former case In Mangio v. Court of Appeals,27 this Court, through Associate
involved the same subject as that in the present case, although on Justice Reynato S. Puno,28 admitted in evidence a TSN of the
different causes of action; (d) the issue testified to by the witness testimony of a witness in another case despite therein petitioners
assertion that he would be denied due process. In admitting the "8. That the vehicular collision resulting in the total
TSN, the Court ruled that the raising of denial of due process in wreckage of the above-described motor vehicle as well
relation to Section 47, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, as a as bodily (sic) sustained by plaintiff, was solely due to
ground for objecting to the admissibility of the TSN was the reckless imprudence of the defendant driver
belatedly done. In so doing, therein petitioner waived his right to Mauricio Manliclic who drove his Philippine Rabbit
object based on said ground. Bus No. 353 at a fast speed without due regard or
observance of existing traffic rules and regulations;
Petitioners contend that the documents in the criminal case
should not have been admitted in the instant civil case because "9. That defendant Philippine Rabbit Bus Line
Section 47 of Rule 130 refers only to "testimony or deposition." Corporation failed to exercise the diligence of a good
We find such contention to be untenable. Though said section father of (sic) family in the selection and supervision of
speaks only of testimony and deposition, it does not mean that its drivers; x x x"31
documents from a former case or proceeding cannot be admitted.
Said documents can be admitted they being part of the Can Manliclic still be held liable for the collision and be found
testimonies of witnesses that have been admitted. Accordingly, negligent notwithstanding the declaration of the Court of Appeals
they shall be given the same weight as that to which the that there was an absence of negligence on his part?
testimony may be entitled.29 In exonerating petitioner Manliclic in the criminal case, the Court
On the second assigned error, petitioners contend that the version of Appeals said:
of petitioner Manliclic as to how the accident occurred is more To the following findings of the court a quo, to wit: that accused-
credible than respondents version. They anchor their contention appellant was negligent "when the bus he was driving bumped
on the fact that petitioner Manliclic was acquitted by the Court of the jeep from behind"; that "the proximate cause of the accident
Appeals of the charge of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in was his having driven the bus at a great speed while closely
Damage to Property with Physical Injuries. following the jeep"; x x x
To be resolved by the Court is the effect of petitioner Manliclics We do not agree.
acquittal in the civil case.
The swerving of Calaunans jeep when it tried to overtake the
From the complaint, it can be gathered that the civil case for vehicle in front of it was beyond the control of accused-
damages was one arising from, or based on, quasi- appellant.
delict.30 Petitioner Manliclic was sued for his negligence or
reckless imprudence in causing the collision, while petitioner xxxx
PRBLI was sued for its failure to exercise the diligence of a good Absent evidence of negligence, therefore, accused-appellant
father in the selection and supervision of its employees, cannot be held liable for Reckless Imprudence Resulting in
particularly petitioner Manliclic. The allegations read: Damage to Property with Physical Injuries as defined in Article
"4. That sometime on July 12, 1988 at around 6:20 365 of the Revised Penal Code.32
A.M. plaintiff was on board the above-described motor From the foregoing declaration of the Court of Appeals, it
vehicle travelling at a moderate speed along the North appears that petitioner Manliclic was acquitted not on reasonable
Luzon Expressway heading South towards Manila doubt, but on the ground that he is not the author of the act
together with MARCELO MENDOZA, who was then complained of which is based on Section 2(b) of Rule 111 of the
driving the same; Rules of Criminal Procedure which reads:
"5. That approximately at kilometer 40 of the North (b) Extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction
Luzon Express Way, the above-described motor vehicle of the civil, unless the extinction proceeds from a declaration in a
was suddenly bumped from behind by a Philippine final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did
Rabbit Bus with Body No. 353 and with plate No. not exist.
CVD 478 then being driven by one Mauricio Manliclic
of San Jose, Concepcion, Tarlac, who was then In spite of said ruling, petitioner Manliclic can still be held liable
travelling recklessly at a very fast speed and had for the mishap. The afore-quoted section applies only to a civil
apparently lost control of his vehicle; action arising from crime or ex delicto and not to a civil action
arising from quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana. The extinction of
"6. That as a result of the impact of the collision the civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111 [now
above-described motor vehicle was forced off the Section 2 (b) of Rule 111], refers exclusively to civil liability
North Luzon Express Way towards the rightside where founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the
it fell on its drivers side on a ditch, and that as a civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only
consequence, the above-described motor vehicle which and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in
maybe valued at EIGHTY THOUSAND PESOS the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened
(P80,000) was rendered a total wreck as shown by or has not been committed by the accused.33
pictures to be presented during the pre-trial and trial of
this case; A quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution
under the Civil Code with a substantivity all its own, and
"7. That also as a result of said incident, plaintiff individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict
sustained bodily injuries which compounded plaintiffs or crime a distinction exists between the civil liability arising
frail physical condition and required his hospitalization from a crime and the responsibility for quasi-delicts or culpa
from July 12, 1988 up to and until July 22, 1988, copy extra-contractual. The same negligence causing damages may
of the medical certificate is hereto attached as Annex produce civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code,
"A" and made an integral part hereof; or create an action for quasi-delicts or culpa extra-contractual
under the Civil Code.34 It is now settled that acquittal of the between the two drivers was negligent in the operation of their
accused, even if based on a finding that he is not guilty, does not respective vehicle.
carry with it the extinction of the civil liability based on quasi
delict.35 In this regard, it should be noted that in the statement of
Mauricio Manliclic (Exh. 15) given to the Philippine Rabbit
In other words, if an accused is acquitted based on reasonable Investigator CV Cabading no mention was made by him about
doubt on his guilt, his civil liability arising from the crime may the fact that the driver of the jeep was overtaking another jeep
be proved by preponderance of evidence only. However, if an when the collision took place. The allegation that another jeep
accused is acquitted on the basis that he was not the author of the was being overtaken by the jeep of Calaunan was testified to by
act or omission complained of (or that there is declaration in a him only in Crim. Case No. 684-M-89 before the Regional Trial
final judgment that the fact from which the civil might arise did Court in Malolos, Bulacan and before this Court. Evidently, it
not exist), said acquittal closes the door to civil liability based on was a product of an afterthought on the part of Mauricio
the crime or ex delicto. In this second instance, there being no Manliclic so that he could explain why he should not be held
crime or delict to speak of, civil liability based thereon or ex responsible for the incident. His attempt to veer away from the
delicto is not possible. In this case, a civil action, if any, may be truth was also apparent when it would be considered that in his
instituted on grounds other than the delict complained of. statement given to the Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV
Cabading (Exh. 15), he alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus
As regards civil liability arising from quasi-delict or culpa bumped the jeep of Calaunan while the Philippine Rabbit Bus
aquiliana, same will not be extinguished by an acquittal, whether was behind the said jeep. In his testimony before the Regional
it be on ground of reasonable doubt or that accused was not the Trial Court in Malolos, Bulacan as well as in this Court, he
author of the act or omission complained of (or that there is alleged that the Philippine Rabbit Bus was already on the left
declaration in a final judgment that the fact from which the civil side of the jeep when the collision took place. For this
liability might arise did not exist). The responsibility arising from inconsistency between his statement and testimony, his
fault or negligence in a quasi-delict is entirely separate and explanation regarding the manner of how the collision between
distinct from the civil liability arising from negligence under the the jeep and the bus took place should be taken with caution. It
Penal Code.36 An acquittal or conviction in the criminal case is might be true that in the statement of Oscar Buan given to the
entirely irrelevant in the civil case37 based on quasi-delict or Philippine Rabbit Investigator CV Cabading, it was mentioned
culpa aquiliana. by the former that the jeep of plaintiff was in the act of
Petitioners ask us to give credence to their version of how the overtaking another jeep when the collision between the latter
collision occurred and to disregard that of respondents. jeep and the Philippine Rabbit Bus took place. But the fact,
Petitioners insist that while the PRBLI bus was in the process of however, that his statement was given on July 15, 1988, one day
overtaking respondents jeep, the latter, without warning, after Mauricio Manliclic gave his statement should not escape
suddenly swerved to the left (fast) lane in order to overtake attention. The one-day difference between the giving of the two
another jeep ahead of it, thus causing the collision. statements would be significant enough to entertain the
possibility of Oscar Buan having received legal advise before
As a general rule, questions of fact may not be raised in a petition giving his statement. Apart from that, as between his statement
for review. The factual findings of the trial court, especially when and the statement of Manliclic himself, the statement of the latter
affirmed by the appellate court, are binding and conclusive on the should prevail. Besides, in his Affidavit of March 10, 1989, (Exh.
Supreme Court.38 Not being a trier of facts, this Court will not 14), the unreliability of the statement of Oscar Buan (Exh. 13)
allow a review thereof unless: given to CV Cabading rear its "ugly head" when he did not
(1) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, mention in said affidavit that the jeep of Calaunan was trying to
surmise and conjecture; (2) the inference made is manifestly overtake another jeep when the collision between the jeep in
mistaken; (3) there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) the judgment question and the Philippine Rabbit bus took place.
is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) the findings of fact xxxx
are conflicting; (6) the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues
of the case and its findings are contrary to the admissions of both If one would believe the testimony of the defendant, Mauricio
appellant and appellees; (7) the findings of fact of the Court of Manliclic, and his conductor, Oscar Buan, that the Philippine
Appeals are contrary to those of the trial court; (8) said findings Rabbit Bus was already somewhat parallel to the jeep when the
of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on collision took place, the point of collision on the jeep should
which they are based; (9) the facts set forth in the petition as well have been somewhat on the left side thereof rather than on its
as in the petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the rear. Furthermore, the jeep should have fallen on the road itself
respondents; and (10) the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals rather than having been forced off the road. Useless, likewise to
are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and emphasize that the Philippine Rabbit was running very fast as
contradicted by the evidence on record.39 testified to by Ramos which was not controverted by the
After going over the evidence on record, we do not find any of
the exceptions that would warrant our departure from the general Having ruled that it was petitioner Manliclics negligence that
rule. We fully agree in the finding of the trial court, as affirmed caused the smash up, there arises the juris tantum presumption
by the Court of Appeals, that it was petitioner Manliclic who was that the employer is negligent, rebuttable only by proof of
negligent in driving the PRBLI bus which was the cause of the observance of the diligence of a good father of a family.41 Under
collision. In giving credence to the version of the respondent, the Article 218042 of the New Civil Code, when an injury is caused
trial court has this say: by the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a
presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the
x x x Thus, which of the two versions of the manner how the master or employer either in the selection of the servant or
collision took place was correct, would be determinative of who employee, or in supervision over him after selection or both. The
liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and
immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the From the evidence of the defendants, it seems that the Philippine
negligent employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of Rabbit Bus Lines has a very good procedure of recruiting its
such employee. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private driver as well as in the maintenance of its vehicles. There is no
respondents to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good evidence though that it is as good in the supervision of its
father of a family in the selection and supervision of their personnel. There has been no iota of evidence introduced by it
employee.43 that there are rules promulgated by the bus company regarding
the safe operation of its vehicle and in the way its driver should
In the case at bar, petitioner PRBLI maintains that it had shown manage and operate the vehicles assigned to them. There is no
that it exercised the required diligence in the selection and showing that somebody in the bus company has been employed
supervision of its employees, particularly petitioner Manliclic. In to oversee how its driver should behave while operating their
the matter of selection, it showed the screening process that vehicles without courting incidents similar to the herein case. In
petitioner Manliclic underwent before he became a regular regard to supervision, it is not difficult to observe that the
driver. As to the exercise of due diligence in the supervision of its Philippine Rabbit Bus Lines, Inc. has been negligent as an
employees, it argues that presence of ready investigators employer and it should be made responsible for the acts of its
(Ganiban and Cabading) is sufficient proof that it exercised the employees, particularly the driver involved in this case.
required due diligence in the supervision of its employees.
We agree. The presence of ready investigators after the
In the selection of prospective employees, employers are occurrence of the accident is not enough to exempt petitioner
required to examine them as to their qualifications, experience PRBLI from liability arising from the negligence of petitioner
and service records. In the supervision of employees, the Manliclic. Same does not comply with the guidelines set forth in
employer must formulate standard operating procedures, monitor the cases above-mentioned. The presence of the investigators
their implementation and impose disciplinary measures for the after the accident is not enough supervision. Regular supervision
breach thereof. To fend off vicarious liability, employers must of employees, that is, prior to any accident, should have been
submit concrete proof, including documentary evidence, that shown and established. This, petitioner failed to do. The lack of
they complied with everything that was incumbent on them.44 supervision can further be seen by the fact that there is only one
In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,45 it set of manual containing the rules and regulations for all the
was explained that: drivers of PRBLI. 46 How then can all the drivers of petitioner
PRBLI know and be continually informed of the rules and
Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the other hand, regulations when only one manual is being lent to all the drivers?
includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the
guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions For failure to adduce proof that it exercised the diligence of a
intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its
the employer has relations through his or its employees and the employees, petitioner PRBLI is held solidarily responsible for
imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in the damages caused by petitioner Manliclics negligence.
case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the performance We now go to the award of damages. The trial court correctly
of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their awarded the amount of P40,838.00 as actual damages
employer. To this, we add that actual implementation and representing the amount paid by respondent for the towing and
monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules should be repair of his jeep.47 As regards the awards for moral and
the constant concern of the employer, acting through dependable exemplary damages, same, under the circumstances, must be
supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory modified. The P100,000.00 awarded by the trial court as moral
functions. damages must be reduced to P50,000.00.48 Exemplary damages
In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and are imposed by way of example or correction for the public
supervision of employees may be deemed sufficient and good.49 The amount awarded by the trial court must, likewise,
plausible, it is not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said be lowered to P50,000.00.50 The award of P15,000.00 for
company guidelines and policies on hiring and supervision. As attorneys fees and expenses of litigation is in order and
the negligence of the employee gives rise to the presumption of authorized by law.51
negligence on the part of the employer, the latter has the burden WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for
of proving that it has been diligent not only in the selection of review is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
employees but also in the actual supervision of their work. The G.R. CV No. 55909 is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION
mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures and that (1) the award of moral damages shall be reduced
supervisory policies, without anything more, is decidedly not to P50,000.00; and (2) the award of exemplary damages shall be
sufficient to overcome such presumption. lowered to P50,000.00. Costs against petitioners.
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all SO ORDERED.
employers, that "the formulation of various company policies on
safety without showing that they were being complied with is not
sufficient to exempt petitioner from liability arising from
negligence of its employees. It is incumbent upon petitioner to
show that in recruiting and employing the erring driver the
recruitment procedures and company policies on efficiency and
safety were followed." x x x.
The trial court found that petitioner PRBLI exercised the
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection but not in
the supervision of its employees. It expounded as follows:
G.R. No. 119976 September 18, 1995 word "seven" in her original Certificate of Candidacy was the
result of an "honest misinterpretation" 10 which she sought to
IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS, petitioner, rectify by adding the words "since childhood" in her
vs. Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy and that "she has
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and CIRILO ROY always maintained Tacloban City as her domicile or
MONTEJO, respondents. residence. 11 Impugning respondent's motive in filing the
petition seeking her disqualification, she noted that:

KAPUNAN, J.: When respondent (petitioner herein)

announced that she was intending to register
A constitutional provision should be construed as to give it as a voter in Tacloban City and run for
effective operation and suppress the mischief at which it is Congress in the First District of Leyte,
aimed. 1 The 1987 Constitution mandates that an aspirant for petitioner immediately opposed her intended
election to the House of Representatives be "a registered voter in registration by writing a letter stating that
the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for "she is not a resident of said city but of
a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the Barangay Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. After
election." 2 The mischief which this provision reproduced respondent had registered as a voter in Tolosa
verbatim from the 1973 Constitution seeks to prevent is the following completion of her six month actual
possibility of a "stranger or newcomer unacquainted with the residence therein, petitioner filed a petition
conditions and needs of a community and not identified with the with the COMELEC to transfer the town of
latter, from an elective office to serve that community." 3 Tolosa from the First District to the Second
Petitioner Imelda Romualdez-Marcos filed her Certificate of District and pursued such a move up to the
Candidacy for the position of Representative of the First District Supreme Court, his purpose being to remove
of Leyte with the Provincial Election Supervisor on March 8, respondent as petitioner's opponent in the
1995, providing the following information in item no. 8: 4 congressional election in the First District. He
also filed a bill, along with other Leyte
RESIDENCE IN THE CONSTITUENCY Congressmen, seeking the creation of another
WHERE I SEEK TO BE ELECTED legislative district to remove the town of
IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE Tolosa out of the First District, to achieve his
ELECTION: __________ Years purpose. However, such bill did not pass the
and seven Months. Senate. Having failed on such moves,
petitioner now filed the instant petition for
On March 23, 1995, private respondent Cirilo Roy Montejo, the
the same objective, as it is obvious that he is
incumbent Representative of the First District of Leyte and a
afraid to submit along with respondent for the
candidate for the same position, filed a "Petition for Cancellation
judgment and verdict of the electorate of the
and Disqualification" 5 with the Commission on Elections
First District of Leyte in an honest, orderly,
alleging that petitioner did not meet the constitutional
peaceful, free and clean elections on May 8,
requirement for residency. In his petition, private respondent
1995. 12
contended that Mrs. Marcos lacked the Constitution's one year
residency requirement for candidates for the House of On April 24, 1995, the Second Division of the Commission on
Representatives on the evidence of declarations made by her in Elections (COMELEC), by a vote of 2 to 1, 13 came up with a
Voter Registration Record 94-No. 3349772 6and in her Resolution 1) finding private respondent's Petition for
Certificate of Candidacy. He prayed that "an order be issued Disqualification in SPA 95-009 meritorious; 2) striking off
declaring (petitioner) disqualified and canceling the certificate of petitioner's Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy of
candidacy." 7 March 31, 1995; and 3) canceling her original Certificate of
Candidacy. 14 Dealing with two primary issues, namely, the
On March 29, 1995, petitioner filed an Amended/Corrected
validity of amending the original Certificate of Candidacy after
Certificate of Candidacy, changing the entry "seven" months to
the lapse of the deadline for filing certificates of candidacy, and
"since childhood" in item no. 8 of the amended certificate. 8 On
petitioner's compliance with the one year residency requirement,
the same day, the Provincial Election Supervisor of Leyte
the Second Division held:
informed petitioner that:
Respondent raised the affirmative defense in
[T]his office cannot receive or accept the
her Answer that the printed word "Seven"
aforementioned Certificate of Candidacy on
(months) was a result of an "honest
the ground that it is filed out of time, the
misinterpretation or honest mistake" on her
deadline for the filing of the same having
part and, therefore, an amendment should
already lapsed on March 20, 1995. The
subsequently be allowed. She averred that she
Corrected/Amended Certificate of Candidacy
thought that what was asked was her "actual
should have been filed on or before the
and physical" presence in Tolosa and not
March 20, 1995 deadline. 9
residence of origin or domicile in the First
Consequently, petitioner filed the Amended/Corrected Certificate Legislative District, to which she could have
of Candidacy with the COMELEC's Head Office in Intramuros, responded "since childhood." In an
Manila on accompanying affidavit, she stated that her
March 31, 1995. Her Answer to private respondent's petition in domicile is Tacloban City, a component of the
SPA No. 95-009 was likewise filed with the head office on the First District, to which she always intended to
same day. In said Answer, petitioner averred that the entry of the return whenever absent and which she has
never abandoned. Furthermore, in her which adversely affects the filer. To admit the
memorandum, she tried to discredit amended certificate is to condone the evils
petitioner's theory of disqualification by brought by the shifting minds of
alleging that she has been a resident of the manipulating candidate, of the detriment of
First Legislative District of Leyte since the integrity of the election.
childhood, although she only became a
resident of the Municipality of Tolosa for Moreover, to allow respondent to change the
seven months. She asserts that she has always seven (7) month period of her residency in
been a resident of Tacloban City, a order to prolong it by claiming it was "since
component of the First District, before childhood" is to allow an untruthfulness to be
coming to the Municipality of Tolosa. committed before this Commission. The
arithmetical accuracy of the 7 months
Along this point, it is interesting to note that residency the respondent indicated in her
prior to her registration in Tolosa, respondent certificate of candidacy can be gleaned from
announced that she would be registering in her entry in her Voter's Registration Record
Tacloban City so that she can be a candidate accomplished on January 28, 1995 which
for the District. However, this intention was reflects that she is a resident of Brgy. Olot,
rebuffed when petitioner wrote the Election Tolosa, Leyte for 6 months at the time of the
Officer of Tacloban not to allow respondent said registration (Annex A, Petition). Said
since she is a resident of Tolosa and not accuracy is further buttressed by her letter to
Tacloban. She never disputed this claim and the election officer of San Juan, Metro
instead implicitly acceded to it by registering Manila, dated August 24, 1994, requesting for
in Tolosa. the cancellation of her registration in the
Permanent List of Voters thereat so that she
This incident belies respondent's claim of can be re-registered or transferred to Brgy.
"honest misinterpretation or honest mistake." Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. The dates of these three
Besides, the Certificate of Candidacy only (3) different documents show the
asks for RESIDENCE. Since on the basis of respondent's consistent conviction that she
her Answer, she was quite aware of has transferred her residence to Olot, Tolosa,
"residence of origin" which she interprets to Leyte from Metro Manila only for such
be Tacloban City, it is curious why she did limited period of time, starting in the last
not cite Tacloban City in her Certificate of week of August 1994 which on March 8,
Candidacy. Her explanation that she thought 1995 will only sum up to 7 months. The
what was asked was her actual and physical Commission, therefore, cannot be persuaded
presence in Tolosa is not easy to believe to believe in the respondent's contention that
because there is none in the question that it was an error.
insinuates about Tolosa. In fact, item no. 8 in
the Certificate of Candidacy speaks clearly of xxx xxx xxx
"Residency in the CONSTITUENCY where I
seek to be elected immediately preceding the Based on these reasons the
election." Thus, the explanation of respondent Amended/Corrected Certificate of Candidacy
fails to be persuasive. cannot be admitted by this Commission.

From the foregoing, respondent's defense of xxx xxx xxx

an honest mistake or misinterpretation, Anent the second issue, and based on the
therefore, is devoid of merit. foregoing discussion, it is clear that
To further buttress respondent's contention respondent has not complied with the one
that an amendment may be made, she cited year residency requirement of the
the case of Alialy v. COMELEC (2 SCRA Constitution.
957). The reliance of respondent on the case In election cases, the term "residence" has
of Alialy is misplaced. The case only applies always been considered as synonymous with
to the "inconsequential deviations which "domicile" which imports not only the
cannot affect the result of the election, or intention to reside in a fixed place but also
deviations from provisions intended primarily personal presence in-that place, coupled with
to secure timely and orderly conduct of conduct indicative of such intention.
elections." The Supreme Court in that case Domicile denotes a fixed permanent
considered the amendment only as a matter of residence to which when absent for business
form. But in the instant case, the amendment or pleasure, or for like reasons, one intends to
cannot be considered as a matter of form or return. (Perfecto Faypon vs. Eliseo Quirino,
an inconsequential deviation. The change in 96 Phil 294; Romualdez vs. RTC-Tacloban,
the number of years of residence in the place 226 SCRA 408). In respondent's case, when
where respondent seeks to be elected is a she returned to the Philippines in 1991, the
substantial matter which determines her residence she chose was not Tacloban but San
qualification as a candidacy, specially those Juan, Metro Manila. Thus, her animus
intended to suppress, accurate material revertendi is pointed to Metro Manila and not
representation in the original certificate Tacloban.
This Division is aware that her claim that she Pure intention to reside in that place is not
has been a resident of the First District since sufficient, there must likewise be conduct
childhood is nothing more than to give her a indicative of such intention. Respondent's
color of qualification where she is otherwise statements to the effect that she has always
constitutionally disqualified. It cannot hold intended to return to Tacloban, without the
ground in the face of the facts admitted by the accompanying conduct to prove that
respondent in her affidavit. Except for the intention, is not conclusive of her choice of
time that she studied and worked for some residence. Respondent has not presented any
years after graduation in Tacloban City, she evidence to show that her conduct, one year
continuously lived in Manila. In 1959, after prior the election, showed intention to reside
her husband was elected Senator, she lived in Tacloban. Worse, what was evident was
and resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where that prior to her residence in Tolosa, she had
she was a registered voter. In 1965, she lived been a resident of Manila.
in San Miguel, Manila where she was again a
registered voter. In 1978, she served as It is evident from these circumstances that
member of the Batasang Pambansa as the she was not a resident of the First District of
representative of the City of Manila and later Leyte "since childhood."
on served as the Governor of Metro Manila. To further support the assertion that she could
She could not have served these positions if have not been a resident of the First District
she had not been a resident of the City of of Leyte for more than one year, petitioner
Manila. Furthermore, when she filed her correctly pointed out that on January 28,
certificate of candidacy for the office of the 1995 respondent registered as a voter at
President in 1992, she claimed to be a precinct No. 18-A of Olot, Tolosa, Leyte. In
resident of San Juan, Metro Manila. As a doing so, she placed in her Voter Registration
matter of fact on August 24, 1994, respondent Record that she resided in the municipality of
wrote a letter with the election officer of San Tolosa for a period of six months. This may
Juan, Metro Manila requesting for the be inconsequential as argued by the
cancellation of her registration in the respondent since it refers only to her
permanent list of voters that she may be re- residence in Tolosa, Leyte. But her failure to
registered or transferred to Barangay Olot, prove that she was a resident of the First
Tolosa, Leyte. These facts manifest that she District of Leyte prior to her residence in
could not have been a resident of Tacloban Tolosa leaves nothing but a convincing proof
City since childhood up to the time she filed that she had been a resident of the district for
her certificate of candidacy because she six months only. 15
became a resident of many places, including
Metro Manila. This debunks her claim that In a Resolution promulgated a day before the May 8, 1995
prior to her residence in Tolosa, Leyte, she elections, the COMELEC en banc denied petitioner's Motion for
was a resident of the First Legislative District Reconsideration 16 of the April 24, 1995 Resolution declaring
of Leyte since childhood. her not qualified to run for the position of Member of the House
of Representatives for the First Legislative District of
In this case, respondent's conduct reveals her Leyte. 17 The Resolution tersely stated:
lack of intention to make Tacloban her
domicile. She registered as a voter in After deliberating on the Motion for
different places and on several occasions Reconsideration, the Commission
declared that she was a resident of Manila. RESOLVED to DENY it, no new substantial
Although she spent her school days in matters having been raised therein to warrant
Tacloban, she is considered to have re-examination of the resolution granting the
abandoned such place when she chose to stay petition for disqualification. 18
and reside in other different places. In the On May 11, 1995, the COMELEC issued a Resolution allowing
case of Romualdez vs. RTC (226 SCRA 408) petitioner's proclamation should the results of the canvass show
the Court explained how one acquires a new that she obtained the highest number of votes in the
domicile by choice. There must concur: (1) congressional elections in the First District of Leyte. On the same
residence or bodily presence in the new day, however, the COMELEC reversed itself and issued a second
locality; (2) intention to remain there; and (3) Resolution directing that the proclamation of petitioner be
intention to abandon the old domicile. In suspended in the event that she obtains the highest number of
other words there must basically be animus votes. 19
manendi with animus non revertendi. When
respondent chose to stay in Ilocos and later In a Supplemental Petition dated 25 May 1995, petitioner averred
on in Manila, coupled with her intention to that she was the overwhelming winner of the elections for the
stay there by registering as a voter there and congressional seat in the First District of Leyte held May 8, 1995
expressly declaring that she is a resident of based on the canvass completed by the Provincial Board of
that place, she is deemed to have abandoned Canvassers on May 14, 1995. Petitioner alleged that the canvass
Tacloban City, where she spent her childhood showed that she obtained a total of 70,471 votes compared to the
and school days, as her place of domicile. 36,833 votes received by Respondent Montejo. A copy of said
Certificate of Canvass was annexed to the Supplemental Petition.
On account of the Resolutions disqualifying petitioner from to have different residences in various places. However, a person
running for the congressional seat of the First District of Leyte can only have a single domicile, unless, for various reasons, he
and the public respondent's Resolution suspending her successfully abandons his domicile in favor of another domicile
proclamation, petitioner comes to this court for relief. of choice. In Uytengsu vs. Republic, 23 we laid this distinction
quite clearly:
Petitioner raises several issues in her Original and Supplemental
Petitions. The principal issues may be classified into two general There is a difference between domicile and
areas: residence. "Residence" is used to indicate a
place of abode, whether permanent or
I. The issue of Petitioner's qualifications temporary; "domicile" denotes a fixed
Whether or not petitioner was a resident, for permanent residence to which, when absent,
election purposes, of the First District of one has the intention of returning. A man may
Leyte for a period of one year at the time of have a residence in one place and a domicile
the May 9, 1995 elections. in another. Residence is not domicile, but
domicile is residence coupled with the
II. The Jurisdictional Issue intention to remain for an unlimited time. A
a) Prior to the elections man can have but one domicile for the same
purpose at any time, but he may have
Whether or not the COMELEC properly numerous places of residence. His place of
exercised its jurisdiction in disqualifying residence is generally his place of domicile,
petitioner outside the period mandated by the but it is not by any means necessarily so since
Omnibus Election Code for disqualification no length of residence without intention of
cases under Article 78 of the said Code. remaining will constitute domicile.
b) After the Elections For political purposes the concepts of residence and domicile are
dictated by the peculiar criteria of political laws. As these
Whether or not the House of Representatives
concepts have evolved in our election law, what has clearly and
Electoral Tribunal assumed exclusive
unequivocally emerged is the fact that residence for election
jurisdiction over the question of petitioner's
purposes is used synonymously with domicile.
qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections.
In Nuval vs. Guray, 24 the Court held that "the term residence. . .
I. Petitioner's qualification
is synonymous with domicile which imports not only intention to
A perusal of the Resolution of the COMELEC's Second Division reside in a fixed place, but also personal presence in that place,
reveals a startling confusion in the application of settled concepts coupled with conduct indicative of such intention." 25 Larena
of "Domicile" and "Residence" in election law. While the vs. Teves 26 reiterated the same doctrine in a case involving the
COMELEC seems to be in agreement with the general qualifications of the respondent therein to the post of Municipal
proposition that for the purposes of election law, residence is President of Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. Faypon
synonymous with domicile, the Resolution reveals a tendency to vs. Quirino, 27 held that the absence from residence to pursue
substitute or mistake the concept of domicile for actual residence, studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other
a conception not intended for the purpose of determining a than in the place where one is elected does not constitute loss of
candidate's qualifications for election to the House of residence. 28 So settled is the concept (of domicile) in our
Representatives as required by the 1987 Constitution. As it were, election law that in these and other election law cases, this Court
residence, for the purpose of meeting the qualification for an has stated that the mere absence of an individual from his
elective position, has a settled meaning in our jurisdiction. permanent residence without the intention to abandon it does not
result in a loss or change of domicile.
Article 50 of the Civil Code decrees that "[f]or the exercise of
civil rights and the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile The deliberations of the 1987 Constitution on the residence
of natural persons is their place of habitual residence." In Ong qualification for certain elective positions have placed beyond
vs. Republic 20 this court took the concept of domicile to mean doubt the principle that when the Constitution speaks of
an individual's "permanent home", "a place to which, whenever "residence" in election law, it actually means only "domicile" to
absent for business or for pleasure, one intends to return, and wit:
depends on facts and circumstances in the sense that they
Mr. Nolledo: With respect to Section 5, I
disclose intent." 21 Based on the foregoing, domicile includes the
remember that in the 1971 Constitutional
twin elements of "the fact of residing or physical presence in a
Convention, there was an attempt to require
fixed place" and animus manendi, or the intention of returning
residence in the place not less than one year
there permanently.
immediately preceding the day of the
Residence, in its ordinary conception, implies the factual elections. So my question is: What is the
relationship of an individual to a certain place. It is the physical Committee's concept of residence of a
presence of a person in a given area, community or country. The candidate for the legislature? Is it actual
essential distinction between residence and domicile in law is residence or is it the concept of domicile or
that residence involves the intent to leave when the purpose for constructive residence?
which the resident has taken up his abode ends. One may seek a
Mr. Davide: Madame President, insofar as the
place for purposes such as pleasure, business, or health. If a
regular members of the National Assembly
person's intent be to remain, it becomes his domicile; if his intent
are concerned, the proposed section merely
is to leave as soon as his purpose is established it is
provides, among others, "and a resident
residence. 22 It is thus, quite perfectly normal for an individual
thereof", that is, in the district for a period of
not less than one year preceding the day of subsequently noted down in her Certificate of Candidacy. A close
the election. This was in effect lifted from the look at said certificate would reveal the possible source of the
1973 Constitution, the interpretation given to confusion: the entry for residence (Item No. 7) is followed
it was domicile. 29 immediately by the entry for residence in the constituency where
a candidate seeks election thus:
xxx xxx xxx
7. RESIDENCE (complete Address): Brgy.
Mrs. Rosario Braid: The next question is on Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
Section 7, page 2. I think Commissioner
Nolledo has raised the same point that POST OFFICE ADDRESS FOR ELECTION
"resident" has been interpreted at times as a PURPOSES: Brgy. Olot, Tolosa, Leyte
matter of intention rather than actual
Mr. De los Reyes: Domicile. BE ELECTED IMMEDIATELY
Ms. Rosario Braid: Yes, So, would the Years and Seven Months.
gentleman consider at the proper time to go
back to actual residence rather than mere Having been forced by private respondent to register in her place
intention to reside? of actual residence in Leyte instead of petitioner's claimed
domicile, it appears that petitioner had jotted down her period of
Mr. De los Reyes: But we might encounter stay in her legal residence or domicile. The juxtaposition of
some difficulty especially considering that a entries in Item 7 and Item 8 the first requiring actual residence
provision in the Constitution in the Article on and the second requiring domicile coupled with the
Suffrage says that Filipinos living abroad circumstances surrounding petitioner's registration as a voter in
may vote as enacted by law. So, we have to Tolosa obviously led to her writing down an unintended entry for
stick to the original concept that it should be which she could be disqualified. This honest mistake should not,
by domicile and not physical residence. 30 however, be allowed to negate the fact of residence in the First
In Co vs. Electoral Tribunal of the House of District if such fact were established by means more convincing
Representatives, 31 this Court concluded that the framers of the than a mere entry on a piece of paper.
1987 Constitution obviously adhered to the definition given to We now proceed to the matter of petitioner's domicile.
the term residence in election law, regarding it as having the
same meaning as domicile. 32 In support of its asseveration that petitioner's domicile could not
possibly be in the First District of Leyte, the Second Division of
In the light of the principles just discussed, has petitioner Imelda the COMELEC, in its assailed Resolution of April 24,1995
Romualdez Marcos satisfied the residency requirement mandated maintains that "except for the time when (petitioner) studied and
by Article VI, Sec. 6 of the 1987 Constitution? Of what worked for some years after graduation in Tacloban City, she
significance is the questioned entry in petitioner's Certificate of continuously lived in Manila." The Resolution additionally cites
Candidacy stating her residence in the First Legislative District certain facts as indicative of the fact that petitioner's domicile
of Leyte as seven (7) months? ought to be any place where she lived in the last few decades
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of except Tacloban, Leyte. First, according to the Resolution,
candidacy which ought to be decisive in determining whether or petitioner, in 1959, resided in San Juan, Metro Manila where she
not and individual has satisfied the constitution's residency was also registered voter. Then, in 1965, following the election of
qualification requirement. The said statement becomes material her husband to the Philippine presidency, she lived in San
only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to Miguel, Manila where she as a voter. In 1978 and thereafter, she
mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render served as a member of the Batasang Pambansa and Governor of
a candidate ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a Metro Manila. "She could not, have served these positions if she
candidate to deliberately and knowingly make a statement in a had not been a resident of Metro Manila," the COMELEC
certificate of candidacy which would lead to his or her stressed. Here is where the confusion lies.
disqualification. We have stated, many times in the past, that an individual does
It stands to reason therefore, that petitioner merely committed an not lose his domicile even if he has lived and maintained
honest mistake in jotting the word "seven" in the space provided residences in different places. Residence, it bears repeating,
for the residency qualification requirement. The circumstances implies a factual relationship to a given place for various
leading to her filing the questioned entry obviously resulted in purposes. The absence from legal residence or domicile to pursue
the subsequent confusion which prompted petitioner to write a profession, to study or to do other things of a temporary or
down the period of her actual stay in Tolosa, Leyte instead of her semi-permanent nature does not constitute loss of residence.
period of residence in the First district, which was "since Thus, the assertion by the COMELEC that "she could not have
childhood" in the space provided. These circumstances and been a resident of Tacloban City since childhood up to the time
events are amply detailed in the COMELEC's Second Division's she filed her certificate of candidacy because she became a
questioned resolution, albeit with a different interpretation. For resident of many places" flies in the face of settled jurisprudence
instance, when herein petitioner announced that she would be in which this Court carefully made distinctions between (actual)
registering in Tacloban City to make her eligible to run in the residence and domicile for election law purposes. In Larena
First District, private respondent Montejo opposed the same, vs. Teves, 33 supra, we stressed:
claiming that petitioner was a resident of Tolosa, not Tacloban [T]his court is of the opinion and so holds
City. Petitioner then registered in her place of actual residence in that a person who has his own house wherein
the First District, which is Tolosa, Leyte, a fact which she
he lives with his family in a municipality Thereafter, she taught in the Leyte Chinese
without having ever had the intention of School, still in Tacloban City. In 1952 she
abandoning it, and without having lived went to Manila to work with her cousin, the
either alone or with his family in another late speaker Daniel Z. Romualdez in his
municipality, has his residence in the former office in the House of Representatives. In
municipality, notwithstanding his having 1954, she married ex-President Ferdinand E.
registered as an elector in the other Marcos when he was still a congressman of
municipality in question and having been a Ilocos Norte and registered there as a voter.
candidate for various insular and provincial When her husband was elected Senator of the
positions, stating every time that he is a Republic in 1959, she and her husband lived
resident of the latter municipality. together in San Juan, Rizal where she
registered as a voter. In 1965, when her
More significantly, in Faypon vs. Quirino, 34 We explained that: husband was elected President of the
A citizen may leave the place of his birth to Republic of the Philippines, she lived with
look for "greener pastures," as the saying him in Malacanang Palace and registered as a
goes, to improve his lot, and that, of course voter in San Miguel, Manila.
includes study in other places, practice of his [I]n February 1986 (she claimed that) she and
avocation, or engaging in business. When an her family were abducted and kidnapped to
election is to be held, the citizen who left his Honolulu, Hawaii. In November 1991, she
birthplace to improve his lot may desire to came home to Manila. In 1992, respondent
return to his native town to cast his ballot but ran for election as President of the
for professional or business reasons, or for Philippines and filed her Certificate of
any other reason, he may not absent himself Candidacy wherein she indicated that she is a
from his professional or business activities; resident and registered voter of San Juan,
so there he registers himself as voter as he Metro Manila.
has the qualifications to be one and is not
willing to give up or lose the opportunity to Applying the principles discussed to the facts found by
choose the officials who are to run the COMELEC, what is inescapable is that petitioner held various
government especially in national elections. residences for different purposes during the last four decades.
Despite such registration, the animus None of these purposes unequivocally point to an intention to
revertendi to his home, to his domicile or abandon her domicile of origin in Tacloban, Leyte. Moreover,
residence of origin has not forsaken him. This while petitioner was born in Manila, as a minor she naturally
may be the explanation why the registration followed the domicile of her parents. She grew up in Tacloban,
of a voter in a place other than his residence reached her adulthood there and eventually established residence
of origin has not been deemed sufficient to in different parts of the country for various reasons. Even during
constitute abandonment or loss of such her husband's presidency, at the height of the Marcos Regime's
residence. It finds justification in the natural powers, petitioner kept her close ties to her domicile of origin by
desire and longing of every person to return establishing residences in Tacloban, celebrating her birthdays and
to his place of birth. This strong feeling of other important personal milestones in her home province,
attachment to the place of one's birth must be instituting well-publicized projects for the benefit of her province
overcome by positive proof of abandonment and hometown, and establishing a political power base where her
for another. siblings and close relatives held positions of power either
through the ballot or by appointment, always with either her
From the foregoing, it can be concluded that in its above-cited influence or consent. These well-publicized ties to her domicile
statements supporting its proposition that petitioner was of origin are part of the history and lore of the quarter century of
ineligible to run for the position of Representative of the First Marcos power in our country. Either they were entirely ignored
District of Leyte, the COMELEC was obviously referring to in the COMELEC'S Resolutions, or the majority of the
petitioner's various places of (actual) residence, not her domicile. COMELEC did not know what the rest of the country always
In doing so, it not only ignored settled jurisprudence on residence knew: the fact of petitioner's domicile in Tacloban, Leyte.
in election law and the deliberations of the constitutional
commission but also the provisions of the Omnibus Election Private respondent in his Comment, contends that Tacloban was
Code (B.P. 881). 35 not petitioner's domicile of origin because she did not live there
until she was eight years old. He avers that after leaving the place
What is undeniable, however, are the following set of facts which in 1952, she "abandoned her residency (sic) therein for many
establish the fact of petitioner's domicile, which we lift verbatim years and . . . (could not) re-establish her domicile in said place
from the COMELEC's Second Division's assailed Resolution: 36 by merely expressing her intention to live there again." We do
In or about 1938 when respondent was a little not agree.
over 8 years old, she established her domicile First, minor follows the domicile of his parents. As domicile,
in Tacloban, Leyte (Tacloban City). She once acquired is retained until a new one is gained, it follows that
studied in the Holy Infant Academy in in spite of the fact of petitioner's being born in Manila, Tacloban,
Tacloban from 1938 to 1949 when she Leyte was her domicile of origin by operation of law. This
graduated from high school. She pursued her domicile was not established only when her father brought his
college studies in St. Paul's College, now family back to Leyte contrary to private respondent's averments.
Divine Word University in Tacloban, where
she earned her degree in Education.
Second, domicile of origin is not easily lost. To successfully Note the use of the phrase "donde quiera su fije de residencia" in
effect a change of domicile, one must demonstrate: 37 the aforequoted article, which means wherever (the
husband) wishes to establish residence. This part of the article
1. An actual removal or an actual change of clearly contemplates only actual residence because it refers to a
domicile; positive act of fixing a family home or residence. Moreover, this
2. A bona fide intention of abandoning the interpretation is further strengthened by the phrase "cuando el
former place of residence and establishing a marido translade su residencia" in the same provision which
new one; and means, "when the husband shall transfer his residence," referring
to another positive act of relocating the family to another home
3. Acts which correspond with the purpose. or place of actual residence. The article obviously cannot be
In the absence of clear and positive proof based on these criteria, understood to refer to domicile which is a fixed,
the residence of origin should be deemed to continue. Only with fairly-permanent concept when it plainly connotes the possibility
evidence showing concurrence of all three requirements can the of transferring from one place to another not only once, but as
presumption of continuity or residence be rebutted, for a change often as the husband may deem fit to move his family, a
of residence requires an actual and deliberate abandonment, and circumstance more consistent with the concept of actual
one cannot have two legal residences at the same time. 38 In the residence.
case at bench, the evidence adduced by private respondent The right of the husband to fix the actual residence is in harmony
plainly lacks the degree of persuasiveness required to convince with the intention of the law to strengthen and unify the family,
this court that an abandonment of domicile of origin in favor of a recognizing the fact that the husband and the wife bring into the
domicile of choice indeed occurred. To effect an abandonment marriage different domiciles (of origin). This difference could,
requires the voluntary act of relinquishing petitioner's former for the sake of family unity, be reconciled only by allowing the
domicile with an intent to supplant the former domicile with one husband to fix a single place of actual residence.
of her own choosing (domicilium voluntarium).
Very significantly, Article 110 of the Civil Code is found under
In this connection, it cannot be correctly argued that petitioner Title V under the heading: RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
lost her domicile of origin by operation of law as a result of her BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE. Immediately preceding
marriage to the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1952. For Article 110 is Article 109 which obliges the husband and wife to
there is a clearly established distinction between the Civil Code live together, thus:
concepts of "domicile" and "residence." 39 The presumption that
the wife automatically gains the husband's domicile by operation Art. 109. The husband and wife are
of law upon marriage cannot be inferred from the use of the term obligated to live together, observe mutual
"residence" in Article 110 of the Civil Code because the Civil respect and fidelity and render mutual help
Code is one area where the two concepts are well delineated. Dr. and support.
Arturo Tolentino, writing on this specific area explains: The duty to live together can only be fulfilled if the husband and
In the Civil Code, there is an obvious wife are physically together. This takes into account the
difference between domicile and residence. situations where the couple has many residences (as in the case
Both terms imply relations between a person of the petitioner). If the husband has to stay in or transfer to any
and a place; but in residence, the relation is one of their residences, the wife should necessarily be with him
one of fact while in domicile it is legal or in order that they may "live together." Hence, it is illogical to
juridical, independent of the necessity of conclude that Art. 110 refers to "domicile" and not to
physical presence. 40 "residence." Otherwise, we shall be faced with a situation where
the wife is left in the domicile while the husband, for
Article 110 of the Civil Code provides: professional or other reasons, stays in one of their (various)
Art. 110. The husband shall fix the residences. As Dr. Tolentino further explains:
residence of the family. But the court may Residence and Domicile Whether the
exempt the wife from living with the husband word "residence" as used with reference to
if he should live abroad unless in the service particular matters is synonymous with
of the Republic. "domicile" is a question of some difficulty,
A survey of jurisprudence relating to Article 110 or to the and the ultimate decision must be made from
concepts of domicile or residence as they affect the female a consideration of the purpose and intent with
spouse upon marriage yields nothing which would suggest that which the word is used. Sometimes they are
the female spouse automatically loses her domicile of origin in used synonymously, at other times they are
favor of the husband's choice of residence upon marriage. distinguished from one another.

Article 110 is a virtual restatement of Article 58 of the Spanish xxx xxx xxx
Civil Code of 1889 which states: Residence in the civil law is a material fact,
La mujer esta obligada a seguir a su marido referring to the physical presence of a person
donde quiera que fije su residencia. Los in a place. A person can have two or more
Tribunales, sin embargo, podran con justa residences, such as a country residence and a
causa eximirla de esta obligacion cuando el city residence. Residence is acquired by
marido transende su residencia a ultramar o' a living in place; on the other hand, domicile
pais extranjero. can exist without actually living in the place.
The important thing for domicile is that, once
residence has been established in one place,
there be an intention to stay there enforced by imprisonment. Accordingly, in
permanently, even if residence is also obedience to the growing sentiment against
established in some other the practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act
place. 41 (1884) abolished the remedy of
imprisonment; though a decree for the
In fact, even the matter of a common residence between the restitution of conjugal rights can still be
husband and the wife during the marriage is not an iron-clad procured, and in case of disobedience may
principle; In cases applying the Civil Code on the question of a serve in appropriate cases as the basis of an
common matrimonial residence, our jurisprudence has order for the periodical payment of a stipend
recognized certain situations 42 where the spouses could not be in the character of alimony.
compelled to live with each other such that the wife is either
allowed to maintain a residence different from that of her In the voluminous jurisprudence of the
husband or, for obviously practical reasons, revert to her original United States, only one court, so far as we
domicile (apart from being allowed to opt for a new one). In De can discover, has ever attempted to make a
la Vina vs. Villareal 43 this Court held that "[a] married woman preemptory order requiring one of the
may acquire a residence or domicile separate from that of her spouses to live with the other; and that was in
husband during the existence of the marriage where the husband a case where a wife was ordered to follow
has given cause for divorce." 44 Note that the Court allowed the and live with her husband, who had changed
wife either to obtain new residence or to choose a new domicile his domicile to the City of New Orleans. The
in such an event. In instances where the wife actually opts, .under decision referred to (Bahn v. Darby, 36 La.
the Civil Code, to live separately from her husband either by Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the
taking new residence or reverting to her domicile of origin, the Civil Code of Louisiana similar to article 56
Court has held that the wife could not be compelled to live with of the Spanish Civil Code. It was decided
her husband on pain of contempt. In Arroyo vs. Vasques de many years ago, and the doctrine evidently
Arroyo 45 the Court held that: has not been fruitful even in the State of
Louisiana. In other states of the American
Upon examination of the authorities, we are Union the idea of enforcing cohabitation by
convinced that it is not within the province of process of contempt is rejected. (21 Cyc.,
the courts of this country to attempt to 1148).
compel one of the spouses to cohabit with,
and render conjugal rights to, the other. Of In a decision of January 2, 1909, the Supreme
course where the property rights of one of the Court of Spain appears to have affirmed an
pair are invaded, an action for restitution of order of the Audiencia Territorial de
such rights can be maintained. But we are Valladolid requiring a wife to return to the
disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon
order, enforcible (sic) by process of her failure to do so, to make a particular
contempt, may be entered to compel the disposition of certain money and effects then
restitution of the purely personal right of in her possession and to deliver to her
consortium. At best such an order can be husband, as administrator of the ganancial
effective for no other purpose than to compel property, all income, rents, and interest which
the spouses to live under the same roof; and might accrue to her from the property which
he experience of those countries where the she had brought to the marriage. (113 Jur.
courts of justice have assumed to compel the Civ., pp. 1, 11) But it does not appear that this
cohabitation of married people shows that the order for the return of the wife to the marital
policy of the practice is extremely domicile was sanctioned by any other penalty
questionable. Thus in England, formerly the than the consequences that would be visited
Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the upon her in respect to the use and control of
restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of her property; and it does not appear that her
either husband or wife; and if the facts were disobedience to that order would necessarily
found to warrant it, that court would make a have been followed by imprisonment for
mandatory decree, enforceable by process of contempt.
contempt in case of disobedience, requiring
the delinquent party to live with the other and Parenthetically when Petitioner was married to then
render conjugal rights. Yet this practice was Congressman Marcos, in 1954, petitioner was obliged by
sometimes criticized even by the judges who virtue of Article 110 of the Civil Code to follow her husband's
felt bound to enforce such orders, and actual place of residence fixed by him. The problem here is that
in Weldon v. Weldon (9 P.D. 52), decided in at that time, Mr. Marcos had several places of residence, among
1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the which were San Juan, Rizal and Batac, Ilocos Norte. There is no
Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division of showing which of these places Mr. Marcos did fix as his family's
the High Court of Justice, expressed his residence. But assuming that Mr. Marcos had fixed any of these
regret that the English law on the subject was places as the conjugal residence, what petitioner gained upon
not the same as that which prevailed in marriage was actual residence. She did not lose her domicile of
Scotland, where a decree of adherence, origin.
equivalent to the decree for the restitution of On the other hand, the common law concept of "matrimonial
conjugal rights in England, could be obtained domicile" appears to have been incorporated, as a result of our
by the injured spouse, but could not be jurisprudential experiences after the drafting of the Civil Code of
1950, into the New Family Code. To underscore the difference merely directory, 49 "so that non-compliance with them does not
between the intentions of the Civil Code and the Family Code invalidate the judgment on the theory that if the statute had
drafters, the term residence has been supplanted by the term intended such result it would have clearly indicated it." 50 The
domicile in an entirely new provision (Art. 69) distinctly difference between a mandatory and a directory provision is
different in meaning and spirit from that found in Article 110. often made on grounds of necessity. Adopting the same view
The provision recognizes revolutionary changes in the concept of held by several American authorities, this court in Marcelino
women's rights in the intervening years by making the choice of vs. Cruz held that: 51
domicile a product of mutual agreement between the spouses. 46
The difference between a mandatory and
Without as much belaboring the point, the term residence may directory provision is often determined on
mean one thing in civil law (or under the Civil Code) and quite grounds of expediency, the reason being that
another thing in political law. What stands clear is that insofar as less injury results to the general public by
the Civil Code is concerned-affecting the rights and obligations disregarding than enforcing the letter of the
of husband and wife the term residence should only be law.
interpreted to mean "actual residence." The inescapable
conclusion derived from this unambiguous civil law delineation In Trapp v. Mc Cormick, a case calling for the
therefore, is that when petitioner married the former President in interpretation of a statute containing a
1954, she kept her domicile of origin and merely gained a new limitation of thirty (30) days within which a
home, not a domicilium necessarium. decree may be entered without the consent of
counsel, it was held that "the statutory
Even assuming for the sake of argument that petitioner gained a provisions which may be thus departed from
new "domicile" after her marriage and only acquired a right to with impunity, without affecting the validity
choose a new one after her husband died, petitioner's acts of statutory proceedings, are usually those
following her return to the country clearly indicate that she not which relate to the mode or time of doing that
only impliedly but expressly chose her domicile of origin which is essential to effect the aim and
(assuming this was lost by operation of law) as her domicile. purpose of the Legislature or some incident
This "choice" was unequivocally expressed in her letters to the of the essential act." Thus, in said case, the
Chairman of the PCGG when petitioner sought the PCGG's statute under examination was construed
permission to "rehabilitate (our) ancestral house in Tacloban and merely to be directory.
Farm in Olot, Leyte. . . to make them livable for the Marcos
family to have a home in our homeland." 47 Furthermore, The mischief in petitioner's contending that the COMELEC
petitioner obtained her residence certificate in 1992 in Tacloban, should have abstained from rendering a decision after the period
Leyte, while living in her brother's house, an act which supports stated in the Omnibus Election Code because it lacked
the domiciliary intention clearly manifested in her letters to the jurisdiction, lies in the fact that our courts and other quasi-
PCGG Chairman. She could not have gone straight to her home judicial bodies would then refuse to render judgments merely on
in San Juan, as it was in a state of disrepair, having been the ground of having failed to reach a decision within a given or
previously looted by vandals. Her "homes" and "residences" prescribed period.
following her arrival in various parts of Metro Manila merely In any event, with the enactment of Sections 6 and 7 of R.A.
qualified as temporary or "actual residences," not domicile. 6646 in relation to Section 78 of B.P. 881, 52 it is evident that the
Moreover, and proceeding from our discussion pointing out respondent Commission does not lose jurisdiction to hear and
specific situations where the female spouse either reverts to her decide a pending disqualification case under Section 78 of B.P.
domicile of origin or chooses a new one during the subsistence of 881 even after the elections.
the marriage, it would be highly illogical for us to assume that
she cannot regain her original domicile upon the death of her As to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal's supposed
husband absent a positive act of selecting a new one where assumption of jurisdiction over the issue of petitioner's
situations exist within the subsistence of the marriage itself qualifications after the May 8, 1995 elections, suffice it to say
where the wife gains a domicile different from her husband. that HRET's jurisdiction as the sole judge of all contests relating
to the elections, returns and qualifications of members of
In the light of all the principles relating to residence and domicile Congress begins only after a candidate has become a member of
enunciated by this court up to this point, we are persuaded that the House of Representatives. 53 Petitioner not being a member
the facts established by the parties weigh heavily in favor of a of the House of Representatives, it is obvious that the HRET at
conclusion supporting petitioner's claim of legal residence or this point has no jurisdiction over the question.
domicile in the First District of Leyte.
It would be an abdication of many of the ideals enshrined in the
II. The jurisdictional issue 1987 Constitution for us to either to ignore or deliberately make
Petitioner alleges that the jurisdiction of the COMELEC had distinctions in law solely on the basis of the personality of a
already lapsed considering that the assailed resolutions were petitioner in a case. Obviously a distinction was made on such a
rendered on April 24, 1995, fourteen (14) days before the ground here. Surely, many established principles of law, even of
election in violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election election laws were flouted for the sake perpetuating power
Code. 48 Moreover, petitioner contends that it is the House of during the pre-EDSA regime. We renege on these sacred ideals,
Representatives Electoral Tribunal and not the COMELEC which including the meaning and spirit of EDSA ourselves bending
has jurisdiction over the election of members of the House of established principles of principles of law to deny an individual
Representatives in accordance with Article VI Sec. 17 of the what he or she justly deserves in law. Moreover, in doing so, we
Constitution. This is untenable. condemn ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the past.

It is a settled doctrine that a statute requiring rendition of WHEREFORE, having determined that petitioner possesses the
judgment within a specified time is generally construed to be necessary residence qualifications to run for a seat in the House
of Representatives in the First District of Leyte, the COMELEC's An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the
questioned Resolutions dated April 24, May 7, May 11, and May Peoples Journal Tonight, a newspaper of general circulation in
25, 1995 are hereby SET ASIDE. Respondent COMELEC is Metro Manila, for three consecutive weeks.3 Copies of the order
hereby directed to order the Provincial Board of Canvassers to were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the
proclaim petitioner as the duly elected Representative of the First civil registrar of Manila.
District of Leyte.
On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were
SO ORDERED. established. No opposition to the petition was made.
During trial, petitioner testified for himself. He also presented Dr.
G.R. No. 174689 October 22, 2007 Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and his American fianc, Richard P. Edel, as
vs. On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision4 in favor of
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent. petitioner. Its relevant portions read:
DECISION Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any
law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any
CORONA, J.: unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making
When God created man, He made him in the likeness of his birth records compatible with his present sex.
God; He created them male and female. (Genesis 5:1- The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is
2) entitled to the relief asked for.
Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative.
Bathala and she heard voices coming from inside the
bamboo. "Oh North Wind! North Wind! Please let us Firstly, the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the
out!," the voices said. She pecked the reed once, then petition would be more in consonance with the
twice. All of a sudden, the bamboo cracked and slit principles of justice and equity. With his sexual [re-
open. Out came two human beings; one was a male assignment], petitioner, who has always felt, thought
and the other was a female. Amihan named the man and acted like a woman, now possesses the physique of
"Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" a female. Petitioners misfortune to be trapped in a
(Beautiful). (The Legend of Malakas and Maganda) mans body is not his own doing and should not be in
any way taken against him.
When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In
particular, does the law recognize the changes made by a Likewise, the [c]ourt believes that no harm, injury [or]
physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with regard to a prejudice will be caused to anybody or the community
persons sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of in granting the petition. On the contrary, granting the
name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the petition would bring the much-awaited happiness on
result of a sex reassignment surgery? the part of the petitioner and her [fianc] and the
realization of their dreams.
On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes
Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex Finally, no evidence was presented to show any cause
in his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, or ground to deny the present petition despite due
Branch 8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207, notice and publication thereof. Even the State, through
impleaded the civil registrar of Manila as respondent. the [OSG] has not seen fit to interpose any
Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of
Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered
Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was registered as "Rommel GRANTING the petition and ordering the Civil
Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth Registrar of Manila to change the entries appearing in
certificate). His sex was registered as "male." the Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner, specifically for
petitioners first name from "Rommel Jacinto"
He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, to MELY and petitioners gender from "Male"
"anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female" and to FEMALE. 5
that he had always identified himself with girls since
childhood.1 Feeling trapped in a mans body, he consulted On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic),
several doctors in the United States. He underwent psychological thru the OSG, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of
examination, hormone treatment and breast augmentation. His Appeals.6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of
attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration.
January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment
surgery2 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was thereafter examined by On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals7 rendered a
Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and reconstruction decision8 in favor of the Republic. It ruled that the trial courts
surgeon in the Philippines, who issued a medical certificate decision lacked legal basis. There is no law allowing the change
attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure. of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of
sex reassignment through surgery. Thus, the Court of Appeals
From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact granted the Republics petition, set aside the decision of the trial
engaged to be married. He then sought to have his name in his court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. 02-105207.
birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely," and Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied.9 Hence,
his sex from "male" to "female." this petition.
Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex (2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually
in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the and continuously used by the petitioner and he has been
Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA publicly known by that first name or nickname in the
9048.10 community; or
The petition lacks merit. (3) The change will avoid confusion.
A Persons First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground Petitioners basis in praying for the change of his first name was
of Sex Reassignment his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name
compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into
Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter ones
petition for change of name and sex. As found by the trial court: legal capacity or civil status.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a
Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather
law or judgment or any infraction thereof or for any than avoiding confusion, changing petitioners first name for his
unlawful motive but solely for the purpose of making declared purpose may only create grave complications in the
his birth records compatible with his present sex. civil registry and the public interest.
(emphasis supplied) Before a person can legally change his given name, he must
Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason
features of a female, he became entitled to the civil registry justifying such change.19 In addition, he must show that he will
changes sought. We disagree. be prejudiced by the use of his true and official name.20 In this
case, he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he
The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and might suffer as a result of using his true and official name.
entities for purposes of identification.11 A change of name is a
privilege, not a right.12 Petitions for change of name are In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the
controlled by statutes.13 In this connection, Article 376 of the change of petitioners first name was not within that courts
Civil Code provides: primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with
the local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally
ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname done. It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was
without judicial authority. administrative, that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also
This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of
Error Law). In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides: the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept.
More importantly, it had no merit since the use of his true and
SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons,
Typographical Error and Change of First Name or the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioners petition in
Nickname. No entry in a civil register shall be so far as the change of his first name was concerned.
changed or corrected without a judicial order, except
for clerical or typographical errors and change of first No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate
name or nickname which can be corrected or changed As To Sex On the Ground of Sex Reassignment
by the concerned city or municipal civil registrar or The determination of a persons sex appearing in his birth
consul general in accordance with the provisions of this certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the
Act and its implementing rules and regulations. statutes.21 In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code
RA 9048 now governs the change of first name.14 It vests the provides:
power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be
name to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general changed or corrected without a judicial order.
concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over
applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was
with the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent and amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors
effect of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the are involved. The correction or change of such matters can now
coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation be made through administrative proceedings and without the
or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the
Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such
name is first filed and subsequently denied.15 It likewise lays errors.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and
down the corresponding venue,16 form17 and procedure. In sum, corrections in entries in the civil register.23
the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical
are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial. error" is:
RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. As used in this Act,
name may be allowed: the following terms shall mean:
SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or xxx xxx xxx
Nickname. The petition for change of first name or
nickname may be allowed in any of the following (3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to
cases: a mistake committed in the performance of
clerical work in writing, copying, transcribing
(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to or typing an entry in the civil register that is
be ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely harmless and innocuous, such as misspelled
difficult to write or pronounce;
name or misspelled place of birth or the like, nature, not ordinarily terminable at his own will,
which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the such as his being legitimate or illegitimate, or his being
understanding, and can be corrected or married or not. The comprehensive term status
changed only by reference to other existing include such matters as the beginning and end of legal
record or records: Provided, however, That personality, capacity to have rights in general, family
no correction must involve the change relations, and its various aspects, such as birth,
of nationality, age, status or sex of the legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage,
petitioner. (emphasis supplied) divorce, and sometimes even succession.28 (emphasis
Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the
change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a A persons sex is an essential factor in marriage and family
substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule relations. It is a part of a persons legal capacity and civil status.
108 of the Rules of Court. In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code provides:
The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the
correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those registration of civil status shall be governed by special
provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:24 laws.
ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex
the civil status of persons shall be recorded in the civil reassignment and its effects. This is fatal to petitioners cause.
Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law)
ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil provides:
SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. The
(1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal declaration of the physician or midwife in attendance at
separations; (5) annulments of marriage; (6) judgments the birth or, in default thereof, the declaration of either
declaring marriages void from the beginning; (7) parent of the newborn child, shall be sufficient for the
legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9) acknowledgments of registration of a birth in the civil register. Such
natural children; (10) naturalization; (11) loss, or (12) declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp
recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14) tax and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later
judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary than thirty days after the birth, by the physician or
emancipation of a minor; and (16) changes of name. midwife in attendance at the birth or by either parent of
the newborn child.
The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407
of the Civil Code include even those that occur after In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall
birth.25 However, no reasonable interpretation of the provision certify to the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth;
can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the (b) sex and nationality of infant; (c) names, citizenship
ground of sex reassignment. and religion of parents or, in case the father is not
known, of the mother alone; (d) civil status of parents;
To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the (e) place where the infant was born; and (f) such other
faults or error from" while to change means "to replace data as may be required in the regulations to be issued.
something with something else of the same kind or with
something that serves as a substitute."26 The birth certificate of xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied)
petitioner contained no error. All entries therein, including those
corresponding to his first name and sex, were all correct. No Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical
correction is necessary. record of the facts as they existed at the time of
birth.29 Thus, the sex of a person is determined at birth, visually
Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil done by the birth attendant (the physician or midwife) by
registry of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments examining the genitals of the infant. Considering that there is no
of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as births, law legally recognizing sex reassignment, the determination of a
marriages, naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such persons sex made at the time of his or her birth, if not attended
as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of by error,30is immutable.31
nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of
citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their
and changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary
produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity, legislative intent. The words "sex," "male" and "female" as used
status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry
sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not (and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their
among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it common and ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to
recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or the contrary. In this connection, sex is defined as "the sum of
impliedly. peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male
from a female"32 or "the distinction between male and
"Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation female."33 Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears
(that is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce
in view of his age, nationality and his family membership.27 spermatozoa for fertilizing ova."35 Thus, the words "male" and
"female" in everyday understanding do not include persons who
The status of a person in law includes all his personal have undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, "words that are
qualities and relations, more or less permanent in employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known
meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless the It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a
context compels to the contrary."36 Since the statutory language protocol on when a person may be recognized as having
of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early 1900s and successfully changed his sex. However, this Court has no
remains unchanged, it cannot be argued that the term "sex" as authority to fashion a law on that matter, or on anything else. The
used then is something alterable through surgery or something Court cannot enact a law where no law exists. It can only apply
that allows a post-operative male-to-female transsexual to be or interpret the written word of its co-equal branch of
included in the category "female." government, Congress.
For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life
altering his body and appearance through the intervention of of happiness, contentment and [the] realization of their dreams."
modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex No argument about that. The Court recognizes that there are
in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into
for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and
birth certificate. that, at least for them, life is indeed an ordeal. However, the
remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be
Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.
or Sex Be Changed on the Ground of Equity
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in
consonance with the principles of justice and equity. It believed Costs against petitioner.
that allowing the petition would cause no harm, injury or
prejudice to anyone. This is wrong.
G.R. No. 183896 January 30, 2013
The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-
ranging legal and public policy consequences. First, even the trial SYED AZHAR ABBAS, Petitioner,
court itself found that the petition was but petitioners first step vs.
towards his eventual marriage to his male fianc. However, GLORIA GOO ABBAS, Respondent.
marriage, one of the most sacred social institutions, is a special DECISION
contract of permanent union between a man and a
woman.37 One of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of VELASCO, JR., J.:
the contracting parties who must be a male and a female.38 To This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
grant the changes sought by petitioner will substantially 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the Decision1 of the
reconfigure and greatly alter the laws on marriage and family Court of Appeals (CA) dated March 11, 2008 in CA-G.R. CV
relations. It will allow the union of a man with another man who No. 86760, which reversed the Decision2 in Civil Case No. 03-
has undergone sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative 0382-CFM dated October 5, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court
transsexual). Second, there are various laws which apply (RTC), Branch 109, Pasay City, and the CA Resolution dated
particularly to women such as the provisions of the Labor Code July 24, 2008, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of
on employment of women,39 certain felonies under the Revised the CA Decision.
Penal Code40 and the presumption of survivorship in case of
calamities under Rule 131 of the Rules of Court,41 among The present case stems from a petition filed by petitioner Syed
others. These laws underscore the public policy in relation to Azhar Abbas (Syed) for the declaration of nullity of his marriage
women which could be substantially affected if petitioners to Gloria Goo-Abbas (Gloria) with the RTC of Pasay City,
petition were to be granted. docketed as Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM, and raffled to RTC
Branch 109. Syed alleged the absence of a marriage license, as
It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that "[n]o provided for in Article 4, Chapter I, Title 1 of Executive Order
judge or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the No. 269, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines,
silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the law." However, it is not as a ground for the annulment of his marriage to Gloria.
a license for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The duty of
the courts is to apply or interpret the law, not to make or amend In the Marriage Contract3 of Gloria and Syed, it is stated that
it. Marriage License No. 9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on
January 8, 1993, was presented to the solemnizing officer. It is
In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it this information that is crucial to the resolution of this case.
choose to do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the
recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need for At the trial court, Syed, a Pakistani citizen, testified that he met
legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case Gloria, a Filipino citizen, in Taiwan in 1991, and they were
where the claims asserted are statute-based. married on August 9, 1992 at the Taipei Mosque in Taiwan.4 He
arrived in the Philippines in December of 1992. On January 9,
To reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change 1993, at around 5 oclock in the afternoon, he was at his mother-
of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil in-laws residence, located at 2676 F. Muoz St., Malate, Manila,
registry, where they may be filed, what grounds may be invoked, when his mother-in-law arrived with two men. He testified that
what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be he was told that he was going to undergo some ceremony, one of
observed. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has the requirements for his stay in the Philippines, but was not told
undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name and of the nature of said ceremony. During the ceremony he and
sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact legislation Gloria signed a document. He claimed that he did not know that
laying down the guidelines in turn governing the conferment of the ceremony was a marriage until Gloria told him later. He
that privilege. further testified that he did not go to Carmona, Cavite to apply
for a marriage license, and that he had never resided in that area.
In July of 2003, he went to the Office of the Civil Registrar of
Carmona, Cavite, to check on their marriage license, and was Dauz submitted the marriage contract and copy of the marriage
asked to show a copy of their marriage contract wherein the license with that office.17
marriage license number could be found.5 The Municipal Civil
Registrar, Leodivinia C. Encarnacion, issued a certification on Atty. Sanchez testified that he was asked to be the sponsor of the
July 11, 2003 to the effect that the marriage license number wedding of Syed Abbas and Gloria Goo by the mother of the
appearing in the marriage contract he submitted, Marriage bride, Felicitas Goo.18 He testified that he requested a certain
License No. 9969967, was the number of another marriage Qualin to secure the marriage license for the couple, and that this
license issued to a certain Arlindo Getalado and Myra Qualin secured the license and gave the same to him on January
Mabilangan.6 Said certification reads as follows: 8, 1993.19He further testified that he did not know where the
marriage license was obtained.20 He attended the wedding
11 July 2003 ceremony on January 9, 1993, signed the marriage contract as
sponsor, and witnessed the signing of the marriage contract by
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: the couple, the solemnizing officer and the other witness, Mary
Ann Ceriola.21

This is to certify as per Registry Records of Felicitas Goo testified that Gloria Goo is her daughter and Syed
Marriage License filed in this office, Marriage Azhar Abbas is her son-in-law, and that she was present at the
License No. 9969967 was issued in favor of MR. wedding ceremony held on January 9, 1993 at her house.22 She
ARLINDO GETALADO and MISS MYRA testified that she sought the help of Atty. Sanchez at the Manila
MABILANGAN on January 19, 1993. City Hall in securing the marriage license, and that a week before
the marriage was to take place, a male person went to their house
with the application for marriage license.23 Three days later, the
No Marriage License appear [sic] to have been issued to MR.
same person went back to their house, showed her the marriage
license before returning it to Atty. Sanchez who then gave it to
8, 1993.
Rev. Dauz, the solemnizing officer.24 She further testified that
This certification is being issued to Mr. Syed Azhar Abbas for she did not read all of the contents of the marriage license, and
whatever legal purpose or intents it may serve.7 that she was told that the marriage license was obtained from
Carmona.25 She also testified that a bigamy case had been filed
On cross-examination, Syed testified that Gloria had filed by Gloria against Syed at the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
bigamy cases against him in 2001 and 2002, and that he had gone evidenced by an information for Bigamy dated January 10, 2003,
to the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite to get pending before Branch 47 of the Regional Trial Court of
certification on whether or not there was a marriage license on Manila.26
advice of his counsel.8
As to Mary Ann Ceriolas testimony, the counsels for both parties
Petitioner also presented Norberto Bagsic (Bagsic), an employee stipulated that: (a) she is one of the sponsors at the wedding of
of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite. Bagsic Gloria Goo and Syed Abbas on January 9, 1993; (b) she was seen
appeared under a letter of authority from the Municipal Civil in the wedding photos and she could identify all the persons
Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, and brought documents pertaining depicted in said photos; and (c) her testimony corroborates that
to Marriage License No. 9969967, which was issued to Arlindo of Felicitas Goo and Atty. Sanchez.
Getalado and Myra Mabilangan on January 20, 1993.9
The respondent, Gloria, testified that Syed is her husband, and
Bagsic testified that their office issues serial numbers for presented the marriage contract bearing their signatures as
marriage licenses and that the numbers are issued proof.27 She and her mother sought the help of Atty. Sanchez in
chronologically.10 He testified that the certification dated July securing a marriage license, and asked him to be one of the
11, 2003, was issued and signed by Leodivina Encarnacion, sponsors. A certain Qualin went to their house and said that he
Registrar of the Municipality of Carmona, Cavite, certifying that will get the marriage license for them, and after several days
Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued for Arlindo Getalado returned with an application for marriage license for them to
and Myra Mabilangan on January 19, 1993, and that their office sign, which she and Syed did. After Qualin returned with the
had not issued any other license of the same serial number, marriage license, they gave the license to Atty. Sanchez who
namely 9969967, to any other person.11 gave it to Rev. Dauz, the solemnizing officer. Gloria testified that
For her part, Gloria testified on her own behalf, and presented she and Syed were married on January 9, 1993 at their
Reverend Mario Dauz, Atty. Lorenzo Sanchez, Felicitas Goo and residence.28
May Ann Ceriola. Gloria further testified that she has a daughter with Syed, born on
Reverend Mario Dauz (Rev. Dauz) testified that he was a June 15, 1993.29
minister of the Gospel and a barangay captain, and that he is Gloria also testified that she filed a bigamy case against Syed,
authorized to solemnize marriages within the Philippines.12 He who had married a certain Maria Corazon Buenaventura during
testified that he solemnized the marriage of Syed Azhar Abbas the existence of the previous marriage, and that the case was
and Gloria Goo at the residence of the bride on January 9, docketed as Criminal Case No. 02A-03408, with the RTC of
1993.13 He stated that the witnesses were Atty. Lorenzo Sanchez Manila.30
(Atty. Sanchez) and Mary Ann Ceriola.14 He testified that he had
been solemnizing marriages since 1982, and that he is familiar Gloria stated that she and Syed had already been married on
with the requirements.15 Rev. Dauz further testified that Atty. August 9, 1992 in Taiwan, but that she did not know if said
Sanchez gave him the marriage license the day before the actual marriage had been celebrated under Muslim rites, because the
wedding, and that the marriage contract was prepared by his one who celebrated their marriage was Chinese, and those around
secretary.16 After the solemnization of the marriage, it was them at the time were Chinese.31
registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Manila, and Rev.
The Ruling of the RTC III
In its October 5, 2005 Decision, the Pasay City RTC held that no THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING ON
valid marriage license was issued by the Municipal Civil THE ISSUE OF ESTOPPEL BY LACHES ON THE
Registrar of Carmona, Cavite in favor of Gloria and Syed, as PART OF THE PETITIONER, AN ISSUE TIMELY
Marriage License No. 9969967 had been issued to Arlindo RAISED IN THE COURT BELOW.35
Getalado and Myra Mabilangan, and the Municipal Civil
Registrar of Carmona, Cavite had certified that no marriage The CA gave credence to Glorias arguments, and granted her
license had been issued for Gloria and Syed.32 It also took into appeal. It held that the certification of the Municipal Civil
account the fact that neither party was a resident of Carmona, Registrar failed to categorically state that a diligent search for the
Cavite, the place where Marriage License No. 9969967 was marriage license of Gloria and Syed was conducted, and thus
issued, in violation of Article 9 of the Family Code.33 As the held that said certification could not be accorded probative
marriage was not one of those exempt from the license value.36 The CA ruled that there was sufficient testimonial and
requirement, and that the lack of a valid marriage license is an documentary evidence that Gloria and Syed had been validly
absence of a formal requisite, the marriage of Gloria and Syed on married and that there was compliance with all the requisites laid
January 9, 1993 was void ab initio. down by law.37

The dispositive portion of the Decision reads as follows: It gave weight to the fact that Syed had admitted to having signed
the marriage contract. The CA also considered that the parties
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the had comported themselves as husband and wife, and that Syed
petitioner, and against the respondent declaring as follows: only instituted his petition after Gloria had filed a case against
him for bigamy.38
1. The marriage on January 9, 1993 between petitioner
Syed Azhar Abbas and respondent Gloria Goo-Abbas is The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads as follows:
hereby annulled;
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is GRANTED.
2. Terminating the community of property relations The Decision dated 05 October 2005 and Order dated 27 January
between the petitioner and the respondent even if no 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 109, in
property was acquired during their cohabitation by Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM are REVERSED and SET ASIDE
reason of the nullity of the marriage of the parties. and the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is
DISMISSED. The marriage between Shed [sic] Azhar Abbas and
3. The Local Civil Registrar of Manila and the Civil Gloria Goo Abbas contracted on 09 January 1993 remains valid
Registrar General, National Statistics Office, are and subsisting. No costs.
hereby ordered to cancel from their respective civil
registries the marriage contracted by petitioner Syed SO ORDERED.39
Azhar Abbas and respondent Gloria Goo-Abbas on
January 9, 1993 in Manila. Syed then filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated April 1,
200840 but the same was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated
SO ORDERED.34 July 24, 2008.41
Gloria filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated November 7, Hence, this petition.
2005, but the RTC denied the same, prompting her to appeal the
questioned decision to the Court of Appeals. Grounds in Support of Petition

The Ruling of the CA I

In her appeal to the CA, Gloria submitted the following THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS
TOOK PLACE WITH THE APPEARANCE OF THE The petition is meritorious.
CONTRACTING PARTIES BEFORE THE As the marriage of Gloria and Syed was solemnized on January
SOLEMNIZING OFFICER AND THEIR PERSONAL 9, 1993, Executive Order No. 209, or the Family Code of the
DECLARATION THAT THEY TOOK EACH OTHER Philippines, is the applicable law. The pertinent provisions that
AS HUSBAND AND WIFE IN THE PRESENCE OF would apply to this particular case are Articles 3, 4 and 35(3),
Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are: documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the
duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are
(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including
(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was
provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and issued and such other relevant data.44

(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the
appearance of the contracting parties before the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to
solemnizing officer and their personal declaration that maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage
they take each other as husband and wife in the license.
presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. The Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the
Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites marriage license of Gloria and Syed was allegedly issued, issued
shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in a certification to the effect that no such marriage license for
Article 35(2). Gloria and Syed was issued, and that the serial number of the
marriage license pertained to another couple, Arlindo Getalado
A defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the and Myra Mabilangan. A certified machine copy of Marriage
marriage voidable as provided in Article 45. License No. 9969967 was presented, which was issued in
An irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the Carmona, Cavite, and indeed, the names of Gloria and Syed do
validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for not appear in the document.
the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively In reversing the RTC, the CA focused on the wording of the
liable. certification, stating that it did not comply with Section 28, Rule
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the 132 of the Rules of Court.
beginning: The CA deduced that from the absence of the words "despite
xxxx diligent search" in the certification, and since the certification
used stated that no marriage license appears to have been issued,
(3) Those solemnized without a license, except those covered by no diligent search had been conducted and thus the certification
the preceding Chapter. could not be given probative value.
There is no issue with the essential requisites under Art. 2 of the To justify that deduction, the CA cited the case of Republic v.
Family Code, nor with the formal requisites of the authority of Court of Appeals.45 It is worth noting that in that particular case,
the solemnizing officer and the conduct of the marriage the Court, in sustaining the finding of the lower court that a
ceremony. Nor is the marriage one that is exempt from the marriage license was lacking, relied on the Certification issued
requirement of a valid marriage license under Chapter 2, Title I by the Civil Registrar of Pasig, which merely stated that the
of the Family Code. The resolution of this case, thus, hinges on alleged marriage license could not be located as the same did not
whether or not a valid marriage license had been issued for the appear in their records. Nowhere in the Certification was it
couple. The RTC held that no valid marriage license had been categorically stated that the officer involved conducted a diligent
issued. The CA held that there was a valid marriage license. search, nor is a categorical declaration absolutely necessary for
Sec. 28, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court to apply.
We find the RTC to be correct in this instance.
Under Sec. 3(m), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is a
Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license,
disputable presumption that an official duty has been regularly
or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as well as
performed, absent contradiction or other evidence to the contrary.
the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said
We held, "The presumption of regularity of official acts may be
license. To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned to
rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to
the office of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite
perform a duty."46 No such affirmative evidence was shown that
which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he
the Municipal Civil Registrar was lax in performing her duty of
requested certification that no such license was issued. In the
checking the records of their office, thus the presumption must
case of Republic v. Court of Appeals43 such certification was
stand. In fact, proof does exist of a diligent search having been
allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court,
conducted, as Marriage License No. 996967 was indeed located
which reads:
and submitted to the court. The fact that the names in said license
SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by do not correspond to those of Gloria and Syed does not overturn
an officer having the custody of an official record or by his the presumption that the registrar conducted a diligent search of
deputy that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified the records of her office.
tenor is found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied
It is telling that Gloria failed to present their marriage license or a
by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that
copy thereof to the court. She failed to explain why the marriage
the records of his office contain no such record or entry.
license was secured in Carmona, Cavite, a location where,
In the case of Republic, in allowing the certification of the Civil admittedly, neither party resided. She took no pains to apply for
Registrar of Pasig to prove the non-issuance of a marriage the license, so she is not the best witness to testify to the validity
license, the Court held: and existence of said license. Neither could the other witnesses
she presented prove the existence of the marriage license, as
The above Rule authorized the custodian of the documents to none of them applied for the license in Carmona, Cavite. Her
certify that despite diligent search, a particular document does mother, Felicitas Goo, could not even testify as to the contents of
not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor the license, having admitted to not reading all of its contents.
was not to be found in a register. As custodians of public Atty. Sanchez, one of the sponsors, whom Gloria and Felicitas
Goo approached for assistance in securing the license, admitted and in the process allow him to profit from his own deceit and
not knowing where the license came from. The task of applying perfidy.50
for the license was delegated to a certain Qualin, who could have
testified as to how the license was secured and thus impeached All the evidence cited by the CA to show that a wedding
the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar as well as the ceremony was conducted and a marriage contract was signed
testimony of her representative. As Gloria failed to present this does not operate to cure the absence of a valid marriage license.
Qualin, the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar still Article 4 of the Family Code is clear when it says, "The absence
enjoys probative value. of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the
marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2)." Article
It is also noted that the solemnizing officer testified that the 35(3) of the Family Code also provides that a marriage
marriage contract and a copy of the marriage license were solemnized without a license is void from the beginning, except
submitted to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. Thus, a copy of those exempt from the license requirement under Articles 27 to
the marriage license could have simply been secured from that 34, Chapter 2, Title I of the same Code.51 Again, this marriage
office and submitted to the court. However, Gloria inexplicably cannot be characterized as among the exemptions, and thus,
failed to do so, further weakening her claim that there was a valid having been solemnized without a marriage license, is void ab
marriage license issued for her and Syed. initio.1wphi1
In the case of Cario v. Cario,47 following the case of As to the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to
Republic,48 it was held that the certification of the Local Civil Gloria, it may well be that his motives are less than pure, that he
Registrar that their office had no record of a marriage license was seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that as it may, the same does not
adequate to prove the non-issuance of said license. The case of make up for the failure of the respondent to prove that they had a
Cario further held that the presumed validity of the marriage of valid marriage license, given the weight of evidence presented by
the parties had been overcome, and that it became the burden of petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage license cannot be
the party alleging a valid marriage to prove that the marriage was attributed to him, as it was Gloria who took steps to procure the
valid, and that the required marriage license had been same. The law must be applied. As the marriage license, a formal
secured.49 Gloria has failed to discharge that burden, and the requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is
only conclusion that can be reached is that no valid marriage void ab initio.
license was issued. It cannot be said that there was a simple
irregularity in the marriage license that would not affect the WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the petition is hereby
validity of the marriage, as no license was presented by the GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated March 11, 2008 and
respondent. No marriage license was proven to have been issued Resolution dated July 24, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
to Gloria and Syed, based on the certification of the Municipal G.R. CV No. 86760 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite and Glorias failure to The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay
produce a copy of the alleged marriage license. City dated October 5, 2005 in Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM
annulling the marriage of petitioner with respondent on January
To bolster its ruling, the CA cited other evidence to support its 9, 1993 is hereby REINSTATED.
conclusion that Gloria and Syed were validly married. To quote
the CA: No costs.

Moreover, the record is replete with evidence, testimonial and SO ORDERED.

documentary, that appellant and appellee have been validly
married and there was compliance with all the requisites laid A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329 March 8, 2001
down by law. Both parties are legally capacitated to marry. A (Formerly A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 99-706-MTJ)
certificate of legal capacity was even issued by the Embassy of
Pakistan in favor of appellee. The parties herein gave their HERMINIA BORJA-MANZANO, petitioner,
consent freely. Appellee admitted that the signature above his vs.
name in the marriage contract was his. Several pictures were JUDGE ROQUE R. SANCHEZ, MTC, Infanta,
presented showing appellant and appellee, before the Pangasinan, respondent.
solemnizing officer, the witnesses and other members of RESOLUTION
appellants family, taken during the marriage ceremony, as well
as in the restaurant where the lunch was held after the marriage DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:
ceremony. Most telling of all is Exhibit "5-C" which shows
The solemnization of a marriage between two contracting parties
appellee signing the Marriage Contract.
who were both bound by a prior existing marriage is the bone of
xxxx contention of the instant complaint against respondent Judge
Roque R. Sanchez, Municipal Trial Court, Infanta, Pangasinan.
The parties have comported themselves as husband and wife and For this act, complainant Herminia Borja-Manzano charges
has [sic] one offspring, Aliea Fatima Goo Abbas, who was born respondent Judge with gross ignorance of the law in a sworn
on 15 June 1993. It took appellee more than ten (10) years before Complaint-Affidavit filed with the Office of the Court
he filed on 01 August 2003 his Petition for Declaration of Nullity Administrator on 12 May 1999.
of Marriage under Article 4 of the Family Code. We take serious
note that said Petition appears to have been instituted by him Complainant avers that she was the lawful wife of the late David
only after an Information for Bigamy (Exhibit "1") dated 10 Manzano, having been married to him on 21 May 1966 in San
January 2003 was filed against him for contracting a second or Gabriel Archangel Parish, Araneta Avenue, Caloocan City.1 Four
subsequent marriage with one Ma. Corazon (Maryam) T. children were born out of that marriage.2 On 22 March 1993,
Buenaventura. We are not ready to reward (appellee) by however, her husband contracted another marriage with one
declaring the nullity of his marriage and give him his freedom Luzviminda Payao before respondent Judge.3 When respondent
Judge solemnized said marriage, he knew or ought to know that
the same was void and bigamous, as the marriage contract clearly 4. The parties must execute an affidavit stating that
stated that both contracting parties were "separated." they have lived together for at least five years [and are
without legal impediment to marry each other]; and
Respondent Judge, on the other hand, claims in his Comment that
when he officiated the marriage between Manzano and Payao he 5. The solemnizing officer must execute a sworn
did not know that Manzano was legally married. What he knew statement that he had ascertained the qualifications of
was that the two had been living together as husband and wife for the parties and that he had found no legal impediment
seven years already without the benefit of marriage, as to their marriage.6
manifested in their joint affidavit.4 According to him, had he
known that the late Manzano was married, he would have Not all of these requirements are present in the case at bar. It is
advised the latter not to marry again; otherwise, he (Manzano) significant to note that in their separate affidavits executed on 22
could be charged with bigamy. He then prayed that the complaint March 1993 and sworn to before respondent Judge himself,
be dismissed for lack of merit and for being designed merely to David Manzano and Luzviminda Payao expressly stated the fact
harass him. of their prior existing marriage. Also, in their marriage contract,
it was indicated that both were "separated."
After an evaluation of the Complaint and the Comment, the
Court Administrator recommended that respondent Judge be Respondent Judge knew or ought to know that a subsisting
found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and be ordered to pay previous marriage is a diriment impediment, which would make
a fine of P2,000, with a warning that a repetition of the same or the subsequent marriage null and void.7 In fact, in his Comment,
similar act would be dealt with more severely. he stated that had he known that the late Manzano was married
he would have discouraged him from contracting another
On 25 October 2000, this Court required the parties to manifest marriage. And respondent Judge cannot deny knowledge of
whether they were willing to submit the case for resolution on Manzanos and Payaos subsisting previous marriage, as the
the basis of the pleadings thus filed. Complainant answered in same was clearly stated in their separate affidavits which were
the affirmative. subscribed and sworn to before him.
For his part, respondent Judge filed a Manifestation reiterating The fact that Manzano and Payao had been living apart from
his plea for the dismissal of the complaint and setting aside his their respective spouses for a long time already is immaterial.
earlier Comment. He therein invites the attention of the Court to Article 63(1) of the Family Code allows spouses who have
two separate affidavits5 of the late Manzano and of Payao, which obtained a decree of legal separation to live separately from each
were allegedly unearthed by a member of his staff upon his other, but in such a case the marriage bonds are not severed.
instruction. In those affidavits, both David Manzano and Elsewise stated, legal separation does not dissolve the marriage
Luzviminda Payao expressly stated that they were married to tie, much less authorize the parties to remarry. This holds true all
Herminia Borja and Domingo Relos, respectively; and that since the more when the separation is merely de facto, as in the case at
their respective marriages had been marked by constant quarrels, bar.
they had both left their families and had never cohabited or
communicated with their spouses anymore. Respondent Judge Neither can respondent Judge take refuge on the Joint Affidavit
alleges that on the basis of those affidavits, he agreed to of David Manzano and Luzviminda Payao stating that they had
solemnize the marriage in question in accordance with Article 34 been cohabiting as husband and wife for seven years. Just like
of the Family Code. separation, free and voluntary cohabitation with another person
for at least five years does not severe the tie of a subsisting
We find merit in the complaint. previous marriage. Marital cohabitation for a long period of time
between two individuals who are legally capacitated to marry
Article 34 of the Family Code provides: each other is merely a ground for exemption from marriage
No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man license. It could not serve as a justification for respondent Judge
and a woman who have lived together as husband and to solemnize a subsequent marriage vitiated by the impediment
wife for at least five years and without any legal of a prior existing marriage.
impediment to marry each other. The contracting Clearly, respondent Judge demonstrated gross ignorance of the
parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit law when he solemnized a void and bigamous marriage. The
before any person authorized by law to administer maxim "ignorance of the law excuses no one" has special
oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under application to judges,8 who, under Rule 1.01 of the Code of
oath that he ascertained the qualifications of the Judicial Conduct, should be the embodiment of competence,
contracting parties and found no legal impediment to integrity, and independence. It is highly imperative that judges be
the marriage. conversant with the law and basic legal principles.9 And when
For this provision on legal ratification of marital cohabitation to the law transgressed is simple and elementary, the failure to
apply, the following requisites must concur: know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.10

1. The man and woman must have been living together ACCORDINGLY, the recommendation of the Court
as husband and wife for at least five years before the Administrator is hereby ADOPTED, with the MODIFICATION
marriage; that the amount of fine to be imposed upon respondent Judge
Roque Sanchez is increased to P20,000.
2. The parties must have no legal impediment to marry
each other; SO ORDERED.

3. The fact of absence of legal impediment between the

parties must be present at the time of marriage;
G.R. No. 154380 October 5, 2005 governs respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a
matter of legislation and not of judicial determination.6
vs. For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly
CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III, Respondent. applicable to his case but insists that when his naturalized alien
wife obtained a divorce decree which capacitated her to remarry,
DECISION he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section
QUISUMBING, J.: 12, Article II of the Constitution.7

Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry
party is later naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid filed before the trial court actually constituted a petition for
divorce decree capacitating him or her to remarry, can the declaratory relief. In this connection, Section 1, Rule 63 of the
Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law? Rules of Court provides:

Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to RULE 63

make a definite ruling on this apparently novel question, DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES
presented as a pure question of law.
Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a
In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails deed, will, contract or other written instrument, or whose rights
the Decision1 dated May 15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance,
Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and or other governmental regulation may, before breach or violation
its Resolution2 dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional Trial Court to
reconsideration. The court a quo had declared that herein determine any question of construction or validity arising, and
respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry. for a declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder.
The fallo of the impugned Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second
paragraph of Art. 26 of the Family Code and by reason of the The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there
divorce decree obtained against him by his American wife, the must be a justiciable controversy; (2) the controversy must be
petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine between persons whose interests are adverse; (3) that the party
Law. seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; and (4)
that the issue is ripe for judicial determination.8
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26
The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as to a marriage between two Filipino citizens where one later
follows. acquired alien citizenship, obtained a divorce decree, and
On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also
Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in adverse, as petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to
Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was blessed with a son and protect the institution of marriage while respondent, a private
a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity to remarry.
V. Orbecido. Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the
controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial
In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along determination inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation
their son Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that ensues and puts into question the validity of his second marriage.
his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.
Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article
Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife 26 of the Family Code apply to the case of respondent?
had obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain Necessarily, we must dwell on how this provision had come
Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him currently about in the first place, and what was the intent of the legislators
live at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California. in its enactment?
Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for Brief Historical Background
authority to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the
Family Code. No opposition was filed. Finding merit in the On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law
petition, the court granted the same. The Republic, herein Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the "Family
petitioner, through the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Code," which took effect on August 3, 1988. Article 26 thereof
sought reconsideration but it was denied. states:

In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law: All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance
with the laws in force in the country where they were
WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this
UNDER ARTICLE 26 OF THE FAMILY CODE4 country, except those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38.
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family
Code is not applicable to the instant case because it only applies Code, Executive Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law,
to a valid mixed marriage; that is, a marriage celebrated between amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the Family Code. A second
a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper remedy, according to paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it now
the OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal provides:
separation.5 Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law that
ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time
accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later
solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and
country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be
(6), 36, 37 and 38. allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the
time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. Where the
validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, would lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear
the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its
Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied) spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of the
On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern the law. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within the
situation presented by the case at hand. It seems to apply only to literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its spirit
cases where at the time of the celebration of the marriage, the or intent.12
parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The instant case is If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the
one where at the time the marriage was solemnized, the parties absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the
were two Filipino citizens, but later on, the wife was naturalized alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce is no longer married
as an American citizen and subsequently obtained a divorce to the Filipino spouse, then the instant case must be deemed as
granting her capacity to remarry, and indeed she remarried an coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.
American citizen while residing in the U.S.A.
In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the
Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings9 on the Family application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:
Code, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines
(CBCP) registered the following objections to Paragraph 2 of 1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated between a
Article 26: Filipino citizen and a foreigner; and
1. The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against those 2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse
whose spouses are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. These capacitating him or her to remarry.
spouses who are divorced will not be able to re-marry, while the
spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad can. The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the
time of the celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at
2. This is the beginning of the recognition of the validity of the time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse
divorce even for Filipino citizens. For those whose foreign capacitating the latter to remarry.
spouses validly divorce them abroad will also be considered to be
validly divorced here and can re-marry. We propose that this be In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an
deleted and made into law only after more widespread American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that has been
consultation. (Emphasis supplied.) celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the
naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce
Legislative Intent capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the
application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this
Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations case. Thus Cipriano, the "divorced" Filipino spouse, should be
showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to allowed to remarry.
Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of the Civil Code Revision
Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper
spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for
divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. annulment or a petition for legal separation. Annulment would be
a long and tedious process, and in this particular case, not even
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to
1985 case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.10 The Van Dorn case have all the badges of validity. On the other hand, legal
involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not
The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by sever the marriage tie; hence, the legally separated Filipino
the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the spouse would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.
Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law.
However, we note that the records are bereft of competent
Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the evidence duly submitted by respondent concerning the divorce
celebration of the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but decree and the naturalization of respondents wife. It is settled
later on, one of them obtains a foreign citizenship by rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and
naturalization? mere allegation is not evidence.13
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must
Court of Appeals.11 In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, prove his allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American
Filipino citizens when they got married. The wife became a citizen. Likewise, before a foreign divorce decree can be
naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove
the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum, the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the
that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no foreign law allowing it.14 Such foreign law must also be proved
longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry. as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any
Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying other fact, such laws must be alleged and proved.15 Furthermore,
the rule of reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should respondent must also show that the divorce decree allows his
former wife to remarry as specifically required in Article 26. Consequently, the arraignment and pre-trial were reset by the
Otherwise, there would be no evidence sufficient to declare that RTC of Pasig City, in view of the filing of the Motion to Suspend
he is capacitated to enter into another marriage. Proceedings filed by petitioner.
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 In the interim, the RTC of Antipolo City rendered a decision
of Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by declaring the voidness or incipient invalidity of the second
E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen, marriage between petitioner and private respondent on the
who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign ground that a subsequent marriage contracted by the husband
citizenship and remarried, also to remarry. However, considering during the lifetime of the legal wife is void from the beginning.
that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence
submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on Thereafter, the petitioner accused filed his Manifestation and
respondents bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized Motion (to Dismiss) praying for the dismissal of the criminal
as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had case for bigamy filed against him on the ground that the second
remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to marriage between him and private respondent had already been
remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon declared void by the RTC.
respondents submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor. In an Order4 dated July 7, 2006, the RTC of Pasig City granted
ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the petitioners Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss, to wit:
Philippines is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated May 15, The motion is anchored on the allegation that this case should be
2002, and Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the Regional Trial dismissed as a decision dated December 1, 2004 had already
Court of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, are been rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City,
hereby SET ASIDE. Branch 72 in Civil Case No. 01-6043 (entitled: "Karla Medina-
No pronouncement as to costs. Capili versus James Walter P. Capili and Shirley G. Tismo," a
case for declaration of nullity of marriage) nullifying the second
SO ORDERED. marriage between James Walter P. Capili and Shirley G. Tismo
and said decision is already final.
G.R. No. 183805 July 3, 2013 In the opposition filed by the private prosecutor to the motion, it
was stated, among others, that the issues raised in the civil case
JAMES WALTER P. CAPILI, PETITIONER, are not similar or intimately related to the issue in this above-
vs. captioned case and that the resolution of the issues in said civil
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES AND SHIRLEY TISMO- case would not determine whether or not the criminal action may
DECISION WHEREFORE, after a judicious evaluation of the issue and
PERALTA, J.: arguments of the parties, this Court is of the humble opinion that
there is merit on the Motion to dismiss filed by the accused as it
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of appears that the second marriage between James Walter P. Capili
the Rules of Court seeking the reversal of the Decision1 dated and Shirley G. Tismo had already been nullified by the Regional
February 1, 2008 and Resolution2 dated July 24, 2008 of the Trial Court, Branch 72 of Antipolo City which has declared "the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 30444. voidness, non-existent or incipient invalidity" of the said second
The factual antecedents are as follows: marriage. As such, this Court submits that there is no more
bigamy to speak of.
On June 28, 2004, petitioner was charged with the crime of
bigamy before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasig City in SO ORDERED.
an Information which reads: Aggrieved, private respondent filed an appeal before the CA.
On or about December 8, 1999, in Pasig City, and within the Thus, in a Decision5 dated February 1, 2008, the CA reversed
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the accused being and set aside the RTCs decision. The fallo reads:
previously united in lawful marriage with Karla Y. Medina-Capili
and without said marriage having been legally dissolved or WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Order dated 07 July
annulled, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 152 in
contract a second marriage with Shirley G. Tismo, to the damage Crim. Case No. 128370 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
and prejudice of the latter. case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. No
Contrary to law.3
Petitioner thereafter filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings
alleging that: (1) there is a pending civil case for declaration of Petitioner then filed a Motion for Reconsideration against said
nullity of the second marriage before the RTC of Antipolo City decision, but the same was denied in a Resolution[7] dated July
filed by Karla Y. Medina-Capili; (2) in the event that the 24, 2008.
marriage is declared null and void, it would exculpate him from Accordingly, petitioner filed the present petition for review on
the charge of bigamy; and (3) the pendency of the civil case for certiorari alleging that:
the declaration of nullity of the second marriage serves as a
prejudicial question in the instant criminal case. THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE COURT OF
OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO In essence, the issue is whether or not the subsequent declaration
CITY, BRANCH 72, IN CIVIL CASE NO. 01-6043 of nullity of the second marriage is a ground for dismissal of the
AND THE CONCLUDING AND DISPOSITIVE criminal case for bigamy.
EVIDENCE ON RECORD AND THE TESTIMONIES Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code defines and penalizes the
OF WITNESSES X X X, THE MARRIAGE crime of bigamy as follows:
BETWEEN PETITIONER JAMES WALTER P. Art. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be
CAPILI AND PRIVATE RESPONDENT SHIRLEY G. imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or
TISMO, IS HEREBY NULL AND VOID. subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been legally
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED AND dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared
ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the
DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE The elements of the crime of bigamy, therefore, are: (1) the
BETWEEN PETITIONER JAMES WALTER P. offender has been legally married; (2) the marriage has not been
CAPILI AND SHIRLEY G. TISMO BY THE legally dissolved or, in case his or her spouse is absent, the absent
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO CITY, spouse could not yet be presumed dead according to the Civil
BRANCH 72 IN ITS DECISION IN CIVIL CASE NO. Code; (3) that he contracts a second or subsequent marriage; and
01-6043, IS ON THE GROUND THAT IT IS (4) that the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential
IT IS BASED IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE VIII, In the present case, it appears that all the elements of the crime of
SECTION 14 OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, AND bigamy were present when the Information was filed on June 28,
It is undisputed that a second marriage between petitioner and
private respondent was contracted on December 8, 1999 during
the subsistence of a valid first marriage between petitioner and
Karla Y. Medina-Capili contracted on September 3, 1999.
Notably, the RTC of Antipolo City itself declared the bigamous
nature of the second marriage between petitioner and private
respondent. Thus, the subsequent judicial declaration of the
second marriage for being bigamous in nature does not bar the
THE CASE OF TENEBRO V. COURT OF APPEALS prosecution of petitioner for the crime of bigamy.
Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that the accused may
still be charged with the crime of bigamy, even if there is a
subsequent declaration of the nullity of the second marriage, so
long as the first marriage was still subsisting when the second
marriage was celebrated.
MARRIAGE IS PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY, In Jarillo v. People,10 the Court affirmed the accuseds
HENCE, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR conviction for bigamy ruling that the crime of bigamy is
ABANDONING EXISTING JURISPRUDENCE AS consummated on the celebration of the subsequent marriage
WHERE IN THE INSTANT CASE THE GROUND without the previous one having been judicially declared null and
RELATION TO ARTICLE 4 OF THE FAMILY CODE. The subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first
marriage was immaterial because prior to the declaration of
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN nullity, the crime had already been consummated. Moreover,
NOT HOLDING THAT THE USE BY RESPONDENT petitioners assertion would only delay the prosecution of bigamy
SHIRLEY G. TISMO OF THE SURNAME "CAPILI" cases considering that an accused could simply file a petition to
IS ILLEGAL INASMUCH AS THE DECISION OF declare his previous marriage void and invoke the pendency of
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF ANTIPOLO that action as a prejudicial question in the criminal case. We
CITY, BRANCH 72 IN CIVIL CASE NO. 01-6043 cannot allow that.
BETWEEN JAMES WALTER P. CAPILI AND The outcome of the civil case for annulment of petitioners
SHIRLEY G. TISMO HAD LONG BECOME FINAL marriage to [private complainant] had no bearing upon the
determination of petitioners innocence or guilt in the criminal
case for bigamy, because all that is required for the charge of Before us is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
bigamy to prosper is that the first marriage be subsisting at the challenging the January 25, 1993 Decision 1of the Court of
time the second marriage is contracted. Appeals 2 in CA-G.R. CV No. 34858 affirming in toto the May
14, 1991 decision of the Regional Trial Court of La
Thus, under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or Trinidad, 3 Benguet, which declared the marriage of respondent
voidable, shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a Roridel Olaviano Molina to Reynaldo Molina void ab initio, on
judicial proceeding. In this case, even if petitioner eventually the ground of "psychological incapacity" under Article 36 of the
obtained a declaration that his first marriage was void ab initio, Family Code.
the point is, both the first and the second marriage were
subsisting before the first marriage was annulled.11 The Facts
In like manner, the Court recently upheld the ruling in the This case was commenced on August 16, 1990 with the filing by
aforementioned case and ruled that what makes a person respondent Roridel O. Molina of a verified petition for
criminally liable for bigamy is when he contracts a second or declaration of nullity of her marriage to Reynaldo Molina.
subsequent marriage during the subsistence of a valid first Essentially, the petition alleged that Roridel and Reynaldo were
marriage. It further held that the parties to the marriage should married on April 14, 1985 at the San Agustin Church 4 in
not be permitted to judge for themselves its nullity, for the same Manila; that a son, Andre O. Molina was born; that after a year of
must be submitted to the judgment of competent courts and only marriage, Reynaldo showed signs of "immaturity and
when the nullity of the marriage is so declared can it be held as irresponsibility" as a husband and a father since he preferred to
void, and so long as there is no such declaration the presumption spend more time with his peers and friends on whom he
is that the marriage exists. Therefore, he who contracts a second squandered his money; that he depended on his parents for aid
marriage before the judicial declaration of the first marriage and assistance, and was never honest with his wife in regard to
assumes the risk of being prosecuted for bigamy.12 their finances, resulting in frequent quarrels between them; that
sometime in February 1986, Reynaldo was relieved of his job in
Finally, it is a settled rule that the criminal culpability attaches to Manila, and since then Roridel had been the sole breadwinner of
the offender upon the commission of the offense, and from that the family; that in October 1986 the couple had a very intense
instant, liability appends to him until extinguished as provided by quarrel, as a result of which their relationship was estranged; that
law.13 It is clear then that the crime of bigamy was committed by in March 1987, Roridel resigned from her job in Manila and went
petitioner from the time he contracted the second marriage with to live with her parents in Baguio City; that a few weeks later,
private respondent. Thus, the finality of the judicial declaration Reynaldo left Roridel and their child, and had since then
of nullity of petitioners second marriage does not impede the abandoned them; that Reynaldo had thus shown that he was
filing of a criminal charge for bigamy against him. psychologically incapable of complying with essential marital
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. obligations and was a highly immature and habitually quarrel
The Decision dated February 1, 2008 and Resolution dated July some individual who thought of himself as a king to be served;
24, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 30444 are and that it would be to the couple's best interest to have their
hereby AFFIRMED. marriage declared null and void in order to free them from what
appeared to be an incompatible marriage from the start.
In his Answer filed on August 28, 1989, Reynaldo admitted that
he and Roridel could no longer live together as husband and
G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997 wife, but contended that their misunderstandings and frequent
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, quarrels were due to (1) Roridel's strange behavior of insisting on
vs. maintaining her group of friends even after their marriage; (2)
COURT OF APPEALS and RORIDEL OLAVIANO Roridel's refusal to perform some of her marital duties such as
MOLINA, respondents. cooking meals; and (3) Roridel's failure to run the household and
handle their finances.
During the pre-trial on October 17, 1990, the following were
PANGANIBAN, J.: stipulated:
The Family Code of the Philippines provides an entirely new 1. That the parties herein were legally
ground (in addition to those enumerated in the Civil Code) to married on April 14, 1985 at the Church of
assail the validity of a marriage, namely, "psychological St. Augustine, Manila;
incapacity." Since the Code's effectivity, our courts have been
swamped with various petitions to declare marriages void based 2. That out of their marriage, a child named
on this ground. Although this Court had interpreted the meaning Albert Andre Olaviano Molina was born on
of psychological incapacity in the recent case of Santos vs. Court July 29, 1986;
of Appeals, still many judges and lawyers find difficulty in 3. That the parties are separated-in-fact for
applying said novel provision in specific cases. In the present more than three years;
case and in the context of the herein assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals, the Solicitor General has labelled 4. That petitioner is not asking support for her
exaggerated to be sure but nonetheless expressive of his and her child;
frustration Article 36 as the "most liberal divorce procedure in 5. That the respondent is not asking for
the world." Hence, this Court in addition to resolving the present damages;
case, finds the need to lay down specific guidelines in the
interpretation and application of Article 36 of the Family Code. 6. That the common child of the parties is in
the custody of the petitioner wife.
Evidence for herein respondent wife consisted of her own should refer to no less than a mental (nor physical) incapacity . . .
testimony and that of her friends Rosemarie Ventura and Maria and that (t)here is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law
Leonora Padilla as well as of Ruth G. Lalas, a social worker, and has been to confine the meaning of 'psychological incapacity' to
of Dr. Teresita Hidalgo-Sison, a psychiatrist of the Baguio the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly
General Hospital and Medical Center. She also submitted demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give
documents marked as Exhibits "A" to "E-1." Reynaldo did not meaning and significance to the marriage. This psychologic
present any evidence as he appeared only during the pre-trial condition must exist at the time the marriage is celebrated."
conference. Citing Dr. Gerardo Veloso, a former presiding judge of the
Metropolitan Marriage Tribunal of the Catholic Archdiocese of
On May 14, 1991, the trial court rendered judgment declaring the Manila, 7 Justice Vitug wrote that "the psychological incapacity
marriage void. The appeal of petitioner was denied by the Court must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence,
of Appeals which affirmed in toto the RTC's decision. Hence, the and (c) incurability."
present recourse.
On the other hand, in the present case, there is no clear showing
The Issue to us that the psychological defect spoken of is an incapacity. It
In his petition, the Solicitor General insists that "the Court of appears to us to be more of a "difficulty," if not outright "refusal"
Appeals made an erroneous and incorrect interpretation of the or "neglect" in the performance of some marital obligations.
phrase 'psychological incapacity' (as provided under Art. 36 of Mere showing of "irreconciliable differences" and "conflicting
the Family Code) and made an incorrect application thereof to personalities" in no wise constitutes psychological incapacity. It
the facts of the case," adding that the appealed Decision tended is not enough to prove that the parties failed to meet their
"to establish in effect the most liberal divorce procedure in the responsibilities and duties as married persons; it is essential that
world which is anathema to our culture." they must be shown to be incapable of doing so, due to some
psychological (nor physical) illness.
In denying the Solicitor General's appeal, the respondent Court
relied 5 heavily on the trial court's findings "that the marriage The evidence adduced by respondent merely showed that she and
between the parties broke up because of their opposing and her husband could nor get along with each other. There had been
conflicting personalities." Then, it added it sown opinion that no showing of the gravity of the problem; neither its juridical
"the Civil Code Revision Committee (hereinafter referred to as antecedence nor its incurability. The expert testimony of Dr.
Committee) intended to liberalize the application of our civil Sison showed no incurable psychiatric disorder but only
laws on personal and family rights. . . ." It concluded that: incompatibility, not psychological incapacity. Dr. Sison
testified: 8
As ground for annulment of marriage, We
view psychologically incapacity as a broad COURT
range of mental and behavioral conduct on Q It is therefore the
the part of one spouse indicative of how he or recommendation of the
she regards the marital union, his or her psychiatrist based on your
personal relationship with the other spouse, findings that it is better
as well as his or her conduct in the long haul for the Court to annul
for the attainment of the principal objectives (sic) the marriage?
of marriage. If said conduct, observed and
considered as a whole, tends to cause the A Yes, Your Honor.
union to self-destruct because it defeats the
very objectives of marriage, then there is Q There is no hope for the
enough reason to leave the spouses to their marriage?
individual fates. A There is no hope, the
In the case at bar, We find that the trial judge man is also living with
committed no indiscretion in analyzing and another woman.
deciding the instant case, as it did, hence, We Q Is it also the stand of
find no cogent reason to disturb the findings the psychiatrist that the
and conclusions thus made. parties are
Respondent, in her Memorandum, adopts these discussions of the psychologically unfit for
Court of Appeals. each other but they are
psychologically fit with
The petitioner, on the other hand, argues that "opposing and other parties?
conflicting personalities" is not equivalent to psychological
incapacity, explaining that such ground "is not simply A Yes, Your Honor.
the neglect by the parties to the marriage of their responsibilities Q Neither are they
and duties, but a defect in their psychological nature which psychologically unfit for
renders them incapable of performing such marital their professions?
responsibilities and duties."
A Yes, Your Honor.
The Court's Ruling
The petition is meritorious. Court
In Leouel Santos vs. Court of Appeals 6 this Court, speaking thru has no
Mr. Justice Jose C. Vitug, ruled that "psychological incapacity more
questi The manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such
ons. time, but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or
prior thereto.
In the case of Reynaldo, there is no showing that his alleged
personality traits were constitutive of psychological incapacity (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or
existing at the time of marriage celebration. While some effort clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be
was made to prove that there was a failure to fulfill pre-nuptial absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not
impressions of "thoughtfulness and gentleness" on Reynaldo's necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
part of being "conservative, homely and intelligent" on the part Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption
of Roridel, such failure of expectation is nor indicative of of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
antecedent psychological incapacity. If at all, it merely shows marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a
love's temporary blindness to the faults and blemishes of the job. Hence, a pediatrician may be effective in diagnosing
beloved. illnesses of children and prescribing medicine to cure them but
may not be psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and
During its deliberations, the Court decided to go beyond merely raise his/her own children as an essential obligation of marriage.
ruling on the facts of this case vis-a-vis existing law and
jurisprudence. In view of the novelty of Art. 36 of the Family (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the
Code and the difficulty experienced by many trial courts disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
interpreting and applying it, the Court decided to invite marriage. Thus, "mild characteriological peculiarities, mood
two amici curiae, namely, the Most Reverend Oscar V. changes, occasional emotional outbursts" cannot be accepted
Cruz, 9 Vicar Judicial (Presiding Judge) of the National as root causes. The illness must be shown as downright
Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the incapacity or inability, nor a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much
Philippines, and Justice Ricardo C. Puno, 10 a member of the less ill will. In other words, there is a natal or supervening
Family Code Revision Committee. The Court takes this occasion disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the
to thank these friends of the Court for their informative and personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person
interesting discussions during the oral argument on December 3, from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
1996, which they followed up with written memoranda. essential to marriage.
From their submissions and the Court's own deliberations, the (6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by
following guidelines in the interpretation and application of Art. Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband
36 of the Family Code are hereby handed down for the guidance and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code
of the bench and the bar: in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied
marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage by evidence and included in the text of the decision.
belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of
the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial
dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not
Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our
unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire courts. It is clear that Article 36 was taken by the Family Code
Article on the Family, 11 recognizing it "as the foundation of the Revision Committee from Canon 1095 of the New Code of
nation." It decrees marriage as legally "inviolable," thereby Canon Law, which became effective in 1983 and which provides:
protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the
family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state. The following are incapable of contracting
marriage: Those who are unable to assume
The Family Code 12 echoes this constitutional edict on marriage the essential obligations of marriage due to
and the family and emphasizes the permanence, causes of psychological nature. 14
inviolability and solidarity
Since the purpose of including such provision in our Family
(2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a) Code is to harmonize our civil laws with the religious faith of our
medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c) people, it stands to reason that to achieve such harmonization,
sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the great persuasive weight should be given to decision of such
decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the appellate tribunal. Ideally subject to our law on evidence
incapacity must be psychological not physical. although its what is decreed as canonically invalid should also be decreed
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence civilly void.
must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was
mentally or physically ill to such an extent that the person could This is one instance where, in view of the evident source and
not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing purpose of the Family Code provision, contemporaneous
them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although religious interpretation is to be given persuasive effect. Here, the
no example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to State and the Church while remaining independent, separate
limit the application of the provision under the principle and apart from each other shall walk together in synodal
of ejusdem generis, 13 nevertheless such root cause must be cadence towards the same goal of protecting and cherishing
identified as a psychological illness and its incapacitating nature marriage and the family as the inviolable base of the nation.
explained. Expert evidence may be given qualified psychiatrist (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
and clinical psychologists. and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of decision shall he handed down unless the Solicitor General issues
the celebration" of the marriage. The evidence must show that a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly
the illness was existing when the parties exchanged their "I do's." staring therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the
case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with "It was established during the trial that the parties were married
the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such twice: (1) on September 6, 1982 which was solemnized by Judge
certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is Eriberto H. Espiritu at the Municipal Court of Pasig (Exh. A);
deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor and (2) on May 8, 1983 which was solemnized by Rev. Eduardo
General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor L. Eleazar, Command Chaplain, at the Presidential Security
vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. Command Chapel in Malacaang Park, Manila (Exh. A-1). Out
of their marriage, five (5) children were born (Exhs. B, C, D, E
In the instant case and applying Leouel Santos, we have already and F).
ruled to grant the petition. Such ruling becomes even more
cogent with the use of the foregoing guidelines. "Appellant Wilson G. Marcos joined the Armed Forces of the
Philippines in 1973. Later on, he was transferred to the
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Presidential Security Command in Malacaang during the
Decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The marriage of Marcos Regime. Appellee Brenda B. Marcos, on the other hand,
Roridel Olaviano to Reynaldo Molina subsists and remains valid. joined the Women's Auxilliary Corps under the Philippine Air
SO ORDERED. Force in 1978. After the Edsa Revolution, both of them sought a
discharge from the military service.

G.R. No. 136490 October 19, 2000 "They first met sometime in 1980 when both of them were
assigned at the Malacaang Palace, she as an escort of Imee
BRENDA B. MARCOS, petitioner, Marcos and he as a Presidential Guard of President Ferdinand
vs. Marcos. Through telephone conversations, they became
WILSON G. MARCOS, respondent. acquainted and eventually became sweethearts.
DECISION "After their marriage on September 6, 1982, they resided at No.
PANGANIBAN, J.: 1702 Daisy Street, Hulo Bliss, Mandaluyong, a housing unit
which she acquired from the Bliss Development Corporation
Psychological incapacity, as a ground for declaring the nullity of when she was still single.
a marriage, may be established by the totality of evidence
presented. There is no requirement, however, that the respondent "After the downfall of President Marcos, he left the military
should be examined by a physician or a psychologist as service in 1987 and then engaged in different business ventures
a conditio sine qua non for such declaration. that did not however prosper. As a wife, she always urged him to
look for work so that their children would see him, instead of her,
The Case as the head of the family and a good provider. Due to his failure
to engage in any gainful employment, they would often quarrel
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of
and as a consequence, he would hit and beat her. He would even
the Rules of Court, assailing the July 24, 1998 Decision1 of the
force her to have sex with him despite her weariness. He would
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-GR CV No. 55588, which
also inflict physical harm on their children for a slight mistake
disposed as follows:
and was so severe in the way he chastised them. Thus, for several
"WHEREFORE, the contested decision is set aside and the times during their cohabitation, he would leave their house. In
marriage between the parties is hereby declared valid."2 1992, they were already living separately.
Also challenged by petitioner is the December 3, 1998 CA "All the while, she was engrossed in the business of selling
Resolution denying her Motion for Reconsideration. "magic uling" and chickens. While she was still in the military,
she would first make deliveries early in the morning before going
Earlier, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had ruled thus: to Malacaang. When she was discharged from the military
"WHEREFORE, the marriage between petitioner Brenda B. service, she concentrated on her business. Then, she became a
Marcos and respondent Wilson G. Marcos, solemnized on supplier in the Armed Forces of the Philippines until she was
September 6, 1982 in Pasig City is declared null and void ab able to put up a trading and construction company, NS Ness
initio pursuant to Art. 36 of the Family Code. The conjugal Trading and Construction Development Corporation.
properties, if any, is dissolved [sic] in accordance with Articles "The 'straw that broke the camel's back' took place on October
126 and 129 of the same Code in relation to Articles 50, 51 and 16, 1994, when they had a bitter quarrel. As they were already
52 relative to the delivery of the legitime of [the] parties' living separately, she did not want him to stay in their house
children. In the best interest and welfare of the minor children, anymore. On that day, when she saw him in their house, she was
their custody is granted to petitioner subject to the visitation so angry that she lambasted him. He then turned violent,
rights of respondent. inflicting physical harm on her and even on her mother who
"Upon finality of this Decision, furnish copy each to the Office came to her aid. The following day, October 17, 1994, she and
of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City where the marriage was their children left the house and sought refuge in her sister's
solemnized, the National Census and Statistics Office, Manila house.
and the Register of Deeds of Mandaluyong City for their "On October 19, 1994, she submitted herself [to] medical
appropriate action consistent with this Decision. examination at the Mandaluyong Medical Center where her
"SO ORDERED." injuries were diagnosed as contusions (Exh. G, Records, 153).

The Facts "Sometime in August 1995, she together with her two sisters and
driver, went to him at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong to look for
The facts as found by the Court of Appeals are as follows: their missing child, Niko. Upon seeing them, he got mad. After
knowing the reason for their unexpected presence, he ran after because the respondent did not subject himself to
them with a samurai and even [beat] her driver. psychological evaluation.
"At the time of the filing of this case, she and their children were II. Whether or not the totality of evidence presented
renting a house in Camella, Paraaque, while the appellant was and the demeanor of all the witnesses should be the
residing at the Bliss unit in Mandaluyong. basis of the determination of the merits of the
"In the case study conducted by Social Worker Sonia C. Millan,
the children described their father as cruel and physically abusive The Court's Ruling
to them (Exh. UU, Records, pp. 85-100).
We agree with petitioner that the personal medical or
"The appellee submitted herself to psychologist Natividad A. psychological examination of respondent is not a requirement for
Dayan, Ph.D., for psychological evaluation (Exh. YY, Records, a declaration of psychological incapacity. Nevertheless, the
pp. 207-216), while the appellant on the other hand, did not. totality of the evidence she presented does not show such
"The court a quo found the appellant to be psychologically
incapacitated to perform his marital obligations mainly because Preliminary Issue: Need for Personal Medical Examination
of his failure to find work to support his family and his violent
attitude towards appellee and their children, x x x."3 Petitioner contends that the testimonies and the results of various
tests that were submitted to determine respondent's psychological
Ruling of the Court of Appeals incapacity to perform the obligations of marriage should not have
been brushed aside by the Court of Appeals, simply because
Reversing the RTC, the CA held that psychological incapacity respondent had not taken those tests himself. Petitioner adds that
had not been established by the totality of the evidence the CA should have realized that under the circumstances, she
presented. It ratiocinated in this wise: had no choice but to rely on other sources of information in order
"Essential in a petition for annulment is the allegation of the root to determine the psychological capacity of respondent, who had
cause of the spouse's psychological incapacity which should also refused to submit himself to such tests.
be medically or clinically identified, sufficiently proven by In Republic v. CA and Molina,8 the guidelines governing the
experts and clearly explained in the decision. The incapacity application and the interpretation of psychological
must be proven to be existing at the time of the celebration of the incapacity referred to in Article 36 of the Family Code9 were
marriage and shown to be medically or clinically permanent or laid down by this Court as follows:
incurable. It must also be grave enough to bring about the
disability of the parties to assume the essential obligations of "1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the
marriage as set forth in Articles 68 to 71 and Articles 220 to 225 marriage belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be
of the Family Code and such non-complied marital obligations resolved in favor of the existence and continuation of
must similarly be alleged in the petition, established by evidence the marriage and against its dissolution and nullity.
and explained in the decision. This is rooted in the fact that both our Constitution and
our laws cherish the validity of marriage and unity of
"In the case before us, the appellant was not subjected to any the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
psychological or psychiatric evaluation. The psychological Article on the Family, recognizing it 'as the foundation
findings about the appellant by psychiatrist Natividad Dayan of the nation.' It decrees marriage as legally 'inviolable,'
were based only on the interviews conducted with the appellee. thereby protecting it from dissolution at the whim of
Expert evidence by qualified psychiatrists and clinical the parties. Both the family and marriage are to be
psychologists is essential if only to prove that the parties were or 'protected' by the state.
any one of them was mentally or psychically ill to be truly
incognitive of the marital obligations he or she was assuming, or xxx xxx xxx
as would make him or her x x x unable to assume them. In fact,
he offered testimonial evidence to show that he [was] not 2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must
psychologically incapacitated. The root cause of his supposed be: (a) medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in
incapacity was not alleged in the petition, nor medically or the complaint, (c) sufficiently proven by experts and
clinically identified as a psychological illness or sufficiently (d) clearly explained in the decision. Article 36 of the
proven by an expert. Similarly, there is no evidence at all that Family Code requires that the incapacity must be
would show that the appellant was suffering from an incapacity psychological - not physical, although its
which [was] psychological or mental - not physical to the extent manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The
that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming: evidence must convince the court that the parties, or
that the incapacity [was] grave, ha[d] preceded the marriage and one of them, was mentally or psychically ill to such an
[was] incurable."4 extent that the person could not have known the
obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could
Hence, this Petition.5 not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no
example of such incapacity need be given here so as
Issues not to limit the application of the provision under the
In her Memorandum,6 petitioner presents for this Court's principle of ejusdem generis, nevertheless such root
consideration the following issues: cause must be identified as a psychological illness and
its incapacitating nature fully explained. Expert
"I. Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
could set aside the findings by the Regional Trial Court clinical psychologists.
of psychological incapacity of a respondent in a
Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage simply
3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at 'the (a) gravity (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The
time of the celebration' of the marriage. The evidence foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the
must show that the illness was existing when the parties person to be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the
exchanged their 'I do's.' The manifestation of the illness root cause may be "medically or clinically identified." What is
need not be perceivable at such time, but the illness important is the presence of evidence that can adequately
itself must have attached at such moment, or prior establish the party's psychological condition. For indeed, if the
thereto. totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of
psychological incapacity, then actual medical examination of the
4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically person concerned need not be resorted to.
or clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability
may be absolute or even relative only in regard to the Main Issue: Totality of Evidence Presented
other spouse, not necessarily absolutely against
everyone of the same sex. Furthermore, such incapacity The main question, then, is whether the totality of the evidence
must be relevant to the assumption of marriage presented in the present case -- including the testimonies of
obligations, not necessarily to those not related to petitioner, the common children, petitioner's sister and the social
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or worker -- was enough to sustain a finding that respondent was
employment in a job. Hence, a pediatrician may be psychologically incapacitated.
effective in diagnosing illnesses of children and We rule in the negative. Although this Court is sufficiently
prescribing medicine to cure them but not be convinced that respondent failed to provide material support to
psychologically capacitated to procreate, bear and raise the family and may have resorted to physical abuse and
his/her own children as an essential obligation of abandonment, the totality of his acts does not lead to a
marriage. conclusion of psychological incapacity on his part. There is
5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the absolutely no showing that his "defects" were already present at
disability of the party to assume the essential the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable.
obligations of marriage. Thus, 'mild characteriological Verily, the behavior of respondent can be attributed to the fact
peculiarities, mood changes, occasional emotional that he had lost his job and was not gainfully employed for a
outbursts cannot be accepted as root causes. The illness period of more than six years. It was during this period that he
must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not became intermittently drunk, failed to give material and moral
a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In support, and even left the family home.
other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling
factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the Thus, his alleged psychological illness was traced only to said
personality structure that effectively incapacitates the period and not to the inception of the marriage. Equally
person from really accepting and thereby complying important, there is no evidence showing that his condition is
with the obligations essential to marriage. incurable, especially now that he is gainfully employed as a taxi
6) The essential marital obligations must be those
embraced by Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as Article 36 of the Family Code, we stress, is not to be confused
regards the husband and wife as well as Articles 220, with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the
221 and 225 of the same Code in regard to parents and causes therefor manifest themselves. It refers to a serious
their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) psychological illness afflicting a party even before the
must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so
and included in the text of the decision. permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and
responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume.
7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate These marital obligations are those provided under Articles 68 to
Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the 71, 220, 221 and 225 of the Family Code.
Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be
given great respect by our courts. Neither is Article 36 to be equated with legal separation, in which
the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but
xxx xxx xxx on physical violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism, sexual
or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel infidelity, abandonment and the like.12 At best, the evidence
for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless presented by petitioner refers only to grounds for legal
the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will separation, not for declaring a marriage void.
be quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his Because Article 36 has been abused as a convenient divorce law,
reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case this Court laid down the procedural requirements for its
may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along invocation in Molina. Petitioner, however, has not faithfully
with the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court observed them.
such certification within fifteen (15) days from the date
the case is deemed submitted for resolution of the In sum, this Court cannot declare the dissolution of the marriage
court. The Solicitor General shall discharge the for failure of petitioner to show that the alleged psychological
equivalent function of the defensor incapacity is characterized by gravity, juridical antecedence and
vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095."10 incurability; and for her failure to observe the guidelines outlined
in Molina.
The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier
mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED and assailed
Appeals:11 "psychological incapacity must be characterized by Decision AFFIRMED, except that portion requiring personal
medical examination as a conditio sine qua non to a finding of she also found out that he did not pay for the car itself, forcing
psychological incapacity. No costs. her to rely on her father-in-law to pay part of the cost of the car,
leaving her to bear the balance of P120,000.00.
To make matters worse, Dominic was fired from his employment
after he ran away with P164,000.00 belonging to his employer.
G.R. No. 157649 November 12, 2012 He was criminally charged with violation of Batas Pambansa
ARABELLE J. MENDOZA, Petitioner, Blg. 22 and estafa, for which he was arrested and incarcerated.
vs. After petitioner and her mother bailed him out of jail, petitioner
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and DOMINIC C. discovered that he had also swindled many clients some of whom
MENDOZA, Respondents. were even threatening petitioner, her mother and her sister
On October 15, 1997, Dominic abandoned the conjugal abode
BERSAMIN, J.: because petitioner asked him for "time and space to think things
To entitle petitioner spouse to a declaration of the nullity of his or over." A month later, she refused his attempt at reconciliation,
her marriage, the totality of the evidence must sufficiently prove causing him to threaten to commit suicide. At that, she and her
that respondent spouse's psychological incapacity was grave, family immediately left the house to live in another place
incurable and existing prior to the time of the marriage. concealed from him.

Petitioner wife appeals the decision promulgated on March 19, On August 5, 1998, petitioner filed in the RTC her petition for
2003,1 whereby the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the the declaration of the nullity of her marriage with Dominic based
judgment of the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong City on his psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family
(RTC) declaring her marriage with respondent Dominic C. Code. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) opposed the
Mendoza (Dominic) as null and void. petition.

Antecedents Ruling of the RTC

Petitioner and Dominic met in 1989 upon his return to the In the RTC, petitioner presented herself as a witness, together
country from his employment in Papua New Guinea. They had with a psychiatrist, Dr. Rocheflume Samson, and Professor
been next-door neighbors in the appartelle they were renting Marites Jimenez. On his part, Dominic did not appear during trial
while they were still in college she, at Assumption College and presented no evidence.
while he, at San Beda College taking a business management On August 18, 2000, the RTC declared the marriage between
course. After a month of courtship, they became intimate and petitioner and Dominic an absolute nullity,6 holding in part:
their intimacy ultimately led to her pregnancy with their daughter
whom they named Allysa Bianca. They got married on her eighth xxx. The result of Dr. Samsons clinical evaluation as testified to
month of pregnancy in civil rites solemnized in Pasay City on by her and per Psychiatric Report she issued together with one
June 24, 1991,2 after which they moved to her place, although Dr. Doris Primero showed that petitioner appears to be mature,
remaining dependent on their parents for support. strong and responsible individual. Godly, childlike trust however,
makes her vulnerable and easy to forgive and forget. Petitioner
When petitioner delivered Alyssa Bianca, Dominic had to borrow also believes that marriage was a partnership "for better and for
funds from petitioners best friend to settle the hospital bills. He worse", she gave all of herself unconditionally to respondent.
remained jobless and dependent upon his father for support until Unfortunately, respondent cannot reciprocate. On the one hand,
he finished his college course in October 1993. She took on respondent was found to have a personality that can be
various jobs to meet the familys needs, first as a part-time characterized as inadequate, immature and irresponsible. His
aerobics instructor in 1992 and later, in 1993, as a full-time criminal acts in the present time are mere extensions of his
employee in Sanofi, a pharmaceutical company. Being the one misconduct established in childhood. His childhood experiences
with the fixed income, she shouldered all of the familys of separations and emotional deprivation largely contributed to
expenses (i.e., rental, food, other bills and their childs this antisocial (sociopathic) attitude and lifestyle.
educational needs).
She concluded that respondent had evidently failed to comply
On his part, Dominic sold Colliers Encyclopedia for three with what is required of him as a husband and father. Besides
months after his graduation from college before he started from his adulterous relationship and irresponsibility, his
working as a car salesman for Toyota Motors in Bel-Air, Makati malevolent conduct and lack of true remorse indicate that he is
in 1994.3 Ironically, he spent his first sales commission on a psychologically incapacitated to fulfill the role of a married
celebratory bash with his friends inasmuch as she shouldered all man.7
the household expenses and their childs schooling because his
irregular income could not be depended upon. In September The RTC found that all the characteristics of psychological
1994, she discovered his illicit relationship with Zaida, his co- incapacity, i.e., gravity, antecedence and incurability, as set forth
employee at Toyota Motors. Eventually, communication between in Republic v. Court of Appeals (Molina),8 were attendant,
them became rare until they started to sleep in separate rooms, establishing Dominics psychological incapacity, viz:
thereby affecting their sexual relationship.4 Gravity from the evidence adduced it can be said that
In November 1995, Dominic gave her a Daihatsu Charade car as respondent cannot carry out the normal and ordinary duties of
a birthday present. Later on, he asked her to issue two blank marriage and family shouldered by any average couple existing
checks that he claimed would be for the cars insurance coverage. under ordinary circumstances of life and work. Respondent is
She soon found out, however, that the checks were not paid for totally incapable of observing mutual love, respect and fidelity as
the cars insurance coverage but for his personal needs. Worse, well as to provide support to his wife and child. Ever since the
start of the marriage respondent had left all the household Relying on the pronouncements in Republic v.
concerns and the care of their child to petitioner while he studied Dagdag,13 Hernandez v. Court of Appeals14 and Pesca v.
and indulged in night outs with friends. This continued even Pesca,15 the CA observed:
when he finished his studies and landed a job. He concealed his
salary from the petitioner and worse, had the gall to engage in In her testimony, petitioner described her husband as immature,
sexual infidelity. Likewise worthy of serious consideration is deceitful and without remorse for his dishonesty, and lack of
respondents propensity to borrow money, his deceitfulness and affection. Such characteristics, however, do not necessarily
habitual and continuous evasion of his obligations which (sic) constitute a case of psychological incapacity. A persons inability
more often than not had led to the filing of criminal cases against to share or take responsibility, or to feel remorse for his
him. misbehavior, or even to share his earnings with family members,
are indicative of an immature mind, but not necessarily a
Antecedence Before the marriage petitioner was not aware of medically rooted psychological affliction that cannot be cured.
respondents personality disorder and it was only after marriage
that it begun to surface. Dr. Samson declared that respondents Even the respondents alleged sexual infidelity is not necessarily
behavioral equilibrium started at a very early age of fifteen. His equivalent to psychological incapacity, although it may constitute
dishonesty and lack of remorse are mere extensions of his adequate ground for an action for legal separation under Article
misconduct in childhood which generally attributable to 55 of the Family Code. Nor does the fact that the respondent is a
respondents childhood experiences of separation and emotional criminal suspect for estafa or violation of the B.P. Blg. 22
deprivations. In fine, his psychological incapacity is but a constitutes a ground for the nullification of his marriage to
product of some genetic causes, faulty parenting and influence of petitioner. Again, it may constitute ground for legal separation
the environment although its over manifestation appear only after provided the respondent is convicted by final judgment and
the wedding. sentenced to imprisonment of more than six (6) years.16

Incurability Respondents personality disorder having existed Hence, this appeal by petitioner.
in him long before he contracted marriage with petitioner, there Issues
appears no chance for respondent to recover any (sic) ordinary
means from such incapacity. Petitioner assails the CAs refusal to be bound by the expert
testimony and psychiatric evaluation she had presented in the
All told, the callous and irresponsible ways of respondent show trial of the case, and the CAs reliance on the pronouncements in
that he does not possess the proper outlook, disposition and Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca, supra. She contends that the
temperament necessary for marriage. Indeed, this ultimate report on the psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. Samson
recourse of nullity is the only way by which petitioner can be more than complied with the requirements prescribed in Santos v.
delivered from the bondage of a union that only proved to be a Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995, 240 SCRA
mockery and brought pain and dishonor to petitioner.9 20) and Molina. She insists that the CA should have applied the
Ruling of the CA ruling in Marcos v. Marcos (G.R. No. 136490, October 19, 2000,
343 SCRA 755) to the effect that personal medical or
The Republic appealed to the CA, arguing that there was no psychological examination was not a requirement for a
showing that Dominics personality traits either constituted declaration of psychological incapacity.
psychological incapacity existing at the time of the marriage or
were of the nature contemplated by Article 36 of the Family Ruling
Code; that the testimony of the expert witness, while persuasive, The appeal has no merit.
was not conclusive upon the court; and that the real reason for
the parties separation had been their frequent quarrels over We consider the CAs refusal to accord credence and weight to
financial matters and the criminal cases brought against the psychiatric report to be well taken and warranted. The CA
Dominic.10 correctly indicated that the ill-feelings that she harbored towards
Dominic, which she admitted during her consultation with Dr.
On March 19, 2003 the CA promulgated its assailed decision Samson, furnished the basis to doubt the findings of her expert
reversing the judgment of the RTC.11 Specifically, it refused to witness; that such findings were one-sided, because Dominic was
be bound by the findings and conclusions of petitioners expert not himself subjected to an actual psychiatric evaluation by
witness, holding: petitioners expert; and that he also did not participate in the
It has not been established to our satisfaction as well that proceedings; and that the findings and conclusions on his
respondents condition, assuming it is serious enough, was psychological profile by her expert were solely based on the self-
present before or during the celebration of the marriage. serving testimonial descriptions and characterizations of him
Although petitioners expert witness concluded that petitioner rendered by petitioner and her witnesses.
was psychologically incapacitated even before the parties Moreover, Dr. Samson conceded that there was the need for her
marriage, the Court refuses to be bound by such finding, in view to resort to other people in order to verify the facts derived from
of the fact that the witness findings, admittedly, were concluded petitioner about Dominics psychological profile considering the
only on the basis of information given by the petitioner herself, ill-feelings she harbored towards him. It turned out, however, that
who, at the time of the examination, interview, was already head the only people she interviewed about Dominic were those whom
strong in her resolve to have her marriage with the respondent petitioner herself referred, as the following testimony indicated:
nullified, and harbored ill-feelings against respondent throughout
her consultation with Dr. Samson.12 Fiscal Zalameda

The CA held the testimonies of petitioners witnesses insufficient Q: So youre saying that the petitioner have an ill-feeling towards
to establish Dominics psychological affliction to be of such a the respondent? At the time you interviewed?
grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically rooted. A: Yes, Sir, during the first interview.
Q: How about during the subsequent interview? Apparent from the aforecited pronouncements is that it was not
the absence of the medical experts testimony alone that was
A: During the subsequent interview more or less the petitioner crucial but rather petitioners failure to satisfactorily discharge
was able to talk regarding her marital problems which is the burden of showing the existence of psychological incapacity
uncomfort(able), so she was able to adapt, she was able to at the inception of the marriage. In other words, the totality of the
condition herself regarding her problems, Sir. evidence proving such incapacity at and prior to the time of the
Q: But the ill-feeling was still there? marriage was the crucial consideration, as the Court has
reminded in Ting v. Velez-Ting:21
A: But the feeling was still there, Sir.
By the very nature of cases involving the application of Article
Q: Now, considering that this ill feeling of the petitioner insofar 36, it is logical and understandable to give weight to the expert
as the respondent is concerned, would you say that the petitioner opinions furnished by psychologists regarding the psychological
would only tell you information negative against the respondent? temperament of parties in order to determine the root cause,
A: Yes, may be Sir. But I do try to conduct or verify other people juridical antecedence, gravity and incurability of the
the facts given to me by the petitioner, Sir. psychological incapacity. However, such opinions, while highly
advisable, are not conditions sine qua non in granting petitions
Q: And these other people were also people given to you or the for declaration of nullity of marriage. At best, courts must treat
name are given to you by the petitioner, Madame Witness? such opinions as decisive but not indispensable evidence in
determining the merits of a given case. In fact, if the totality of
A: Yes, Sir.17
evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of
In fine, the failure to examine and interview Dominic himself psychological incapacity, then actual medical or psychological
naturally cast serious doubt on Dr. Samsons findings. The CA examination of the person concerned need not be resorted to. The
rightly refused to accord probative value to the testimony of such trial court, as in any other given case presented before it, must
expert for being avowedly given to show compliance with the always base its decision not solely on the expert opinions
requirements set in Santos and Molina for the establishment of furnished by the parties but also on the totality of evidence
Dominics psychological incapacity. adduced in the course of the proceedings.
The CAs reliance on Dagdag, Hernandez and Pesca was not Petitioners view that the Court in Marcos stated that the personal
misplaced. It is easy to see why. medical or psychological examination of respondent spouse
therein was not a requirement for the declaration of his
In Dagdag, we ruled that "Erlinda failed to comply with psychological incapacity22 is not entirely accurate. To be clear,
guideline No. 2 which requires that the root cause of the statement in Marcos ran as follows:
psychological incapacity must be medically or clinically
identified and sufficiently proven by experts, since no The guidelines incorporate the three basic requirements earlier
psychiatrist or medical doctor testified as to the alleged mandated by the Court in Santos v. Court of Appeals:
psychological incapacity of her husband."18 But here, the "psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity
experts testimony on Dominics psychological profile did not (b) juridical antecedence, and (c) incurability." The foregoing
identify, much less prove, the root cause of his psychological guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to
incapacity because said expert did not examine Dominic in be declared psychologically incapacitated. In fact, the root cause
person before completing her report but simply relied on other may be "medically or clinically identified." What is important is
peoples recollection and opinion for that purpose. the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the partys
psychological condition. For indeed, if the totality of evidence
In Hernandez, we ruminated that: presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological
xxx expert testimony should have been presented to establish the incapacity, then actual medical examination of the person
precise cause of private respondents psychological incapacity, if concerned need not be resorted to.
any, in order to show that it existed at the inception of the In light of the foregoing, even if the expert opinions of
marriage. The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage psychologists are not conditions sine qua non in the granting of
rests upon petitioner. The Court is mindful of the policy of the petitions for declaration of nullity of marriage, the actual medical
1987 Constitution to protect and strengthen the family as the examination of Dominic was to be dispensed with only if the
basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the totality of evidence presented was enough to support a finding of
foundation of the family. Thus, any doubt should be resolved in his psychological incapacity. This did not mean that the
favor of the validity of the marriage.19 presentation of any form of medical or psychological evidence to
but the expert evidence submitted here did not establish the show the psychological incapacity would have automatically
precise cause of the supposed psychological incapacity of ensured the granting of the petition for declaration of nullity of
Dominic, much less show that the psychological incapacity marriage. What was essential, we should emphasize herein, was
existed at the inception of the marriage. the "presence of evidence that can adequately establish the
partys psychological condition," as the Court said in Marcos.
The Court in Pesca observed that:
But where, like here, the parties had the full opportunity to
At all events, petitioner has utterly failed, both in her allegations present the professional and expert opinions of psychiatrists
in the complaint and in her evidence, to make out a case of tracing the root cause, gravity and incurability of the alleged
psychological incapacity on the part of respondent, let alone at psychological incapacity, then the opinions should be presented
the time of solemnization of the contract, so as to warrant a and be weighed by the trial courts in order to determine and
declaration of nullity of the marriage. decide whether or not to declare the nullity of the marriages.
Emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, invoked by her, It bears repeating that the trial courts, as in all the other cases
cannot be equated with psychological incapacity.20 they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the
expert opinions presented by the parties but on the totality of support of their claims within fifteen days from the date
evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings.23 the trial is terminated. It may require the Office of the
Solicitor General to file its own memorandum if the
We find the totality of the evidence adduced by petitioner case is of significant interest to the State. No other
insufficient to prove that Dominic was psychologically unfit to pleadings or papers may be submitted without leave of
discharge the duties expected of him as a husband, and that he court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the
suffered from such psychological incapacity as of the date of the case will be considered submitted for decision, with or
marriage. Accordingly, the CA did not err in dismissing the without the memoranda.27
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage.
c) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the
We have time and again held that psychological incapacity public prosecutor, shall be served with copies of the
should refer to no less than a mental, not physical, incapacity that decision personally or by registered mail. If the
causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital respondent summoned by publication failed to appear
covenants that must concomitantly be assumed and discharged in the action, the dispositive part of the decision shall
by the parties to the marriage that, as so expressed by Article 68 be published once in a newspaper of general
of the Family Code, include their mutual obligations to live circulation.28
together, to observe love, respect and fidelity, and to render help
and support. We have also held that the intendment of the law has d) The decision becomes final upon the expiration of
been to confine the meaning of psychological incapacity to the fifteen days from notice to the parties.1wphi1 Entry of
most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative judgment shall be made if no motion for
of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and reconsideration or new trial, or appeal is filed by any of
significance to the marriage. To qualify as psychological the parties, the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor
incapacity as a ground for nullification of marriage, a persons General.29
psychological affliction must be grave and serious as to indicate
an utter incapacity to comprehend and comply with the essential e) An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General may
objects of marriage, including the rights and obligations between appeal from the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal
husband and wife. The affliction must be shown to exist at the within fifteen days from notice of denial of the motion
time of marriage, and must be incurable. for reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall
serve a copy of the notice of appeal on the adverse
Accordingly, the RTCs findings that Dominics psychological parties.30
incapacity was characterized by gravity, antecedence and
incurability could not stand scrutiny. The medical report failed to The obvious intent of the Resolution was to require the
show that his actions indicated a psychological affliction of such OSG to appear as counsel for the State in the capacity of a
a grave or serious nature that it was medically or clinically defensor vinculi (i.e., defender of the marital bond) to oppose
rooted. His alleged immaturity, deceitfulness and lack of remorse petitions for, and to appeal judgments in favor of declarations of
for his dishonesty and lack of affection did not necessarily nullity of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code, thereby
constitute psychological incapacity. His inability to share or to ensuring that only the meritorious cases for the declaration of
take responsibility or to feel remorse over his misbehavior or to nullity of marriages based on psychological incapacity-those
share his earnings with family members, albeit indicative of sufficiently evidenced by gravity, incurability and juridical
immaturity, was not necessarily a medically rooted psychological antecedence-would succeed.
affliction that was incurable. Emotional immaturity and WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on
irresponsibility did not equate with psychological certiorari; and AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on March 19,
incapacity.24 Nor were his supposed sexual infidelity and 2003 in CA-G.R. CV No. 68615.
criminal offenses manifestations of psychological incapacity. If
at all, they would constitute a ground only for an action for legal The petitioner shall pay the costs of suit.
separation under Article 55 of the Family Code. SO ORDERED.
Finally, petitioner contends that the Courts Resolution in A.M.
No. 02-11-10 rendered appeals by the OSG no longer required,
and that the appeal by the OSG was a mere superfluity that could
be deemed to have become functus officio if not totally
The contention is grossly erroneous and unfounded. The
Resolution nowhere stated that appeals by the OSG were no
longer required. On the contrary, the Resolution explicitly
required the OSG to actively participate in all stages of the
proceedings, to wit:
a) The petitioner shall serve a copy of the petition on
the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office of the
City or Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the
date of its filing and submit to the court proof of such
service within the same period.26
b) The court may require the parties and the public G.R. No. 178044 January 19, 2011
prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the
Solicitor General, to file their respective memoranda
ALAIN M. DIO , Petitioner, required of her under Article 68 of the Family Code. The trial
vs. court also ruled that respondent abandoned petitioner when she
MA. CARIDAD L. DIO, Respondent. obtained a divorce abroad and married another man.
DECISION The dispositive portion of the trial courts decision reads:
CARPIO, J.: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby
The Case
1. Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M.
Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 18 DIO and defendant MA. CARIDAD L. DIO on
October 2006 Decision2 and the 12 March 2007 Order3of the January 14, 1998, and all its effects under the law, as
Regional Trial Court of Las Pias City, Branch 254 (trial court) NULL and VOID from the beginning; and
in Civil Case No. LP-01-0149.
2. Dissolving the regime of absolute community of
The Antecedent Facts property.
Alain M. Dio (petitioner) and Ma. Caridad L. Dio (respondent) A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall
were childhood friends and sweethearts. They started living only be issued upon compliance with Article[s] 50 and 51 of the
together in 1984 until they decided to separate in 1994. In 1996, Family Code.
petitioner and respondent decided to live together again. On 14
January 1998, they were married before Mayor Vergel Aguilar of Let copies of this Decision be furnished the parties, the Office of
Las Pias City. the Solicitor General, Office of the City Prosecutor, Las Pias
City and the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of Las Pias City,
On 30 May 2001, petitioner filed an action for Declaration of for their information and guidance.
Nullity of Marriage against respondent, citing psychological
incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code. Petitioner SO ORDERED.4
alleged that respondent failed in her marital obligation to give
love and support to him, and had abandoned her responsibility to Petitioner filed a motion for partial reconsideration questioning
the family, choosing instead to go on shopping sprees and the dissolution of the absolute community of property and the
gallivanting with her friends that depleted the family assets. ruling that the decree of annulment shall only be issued upon
Petitioner further alleged that respondent was not faithful, and compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code.
would at times become violent and hurt him. In its 12 March 2007 Order, the trial court partially granted the
Extrajudicial service of summons was effected upon respondent motion and modified its 18 October 2006 Decision as follows:
who, at the time of the filing of the petition, was already living in WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, judgment is hereby
the United States of America. Despite receipt of the summons, rendered:
respondent did not file an answer to the petition within the
reglementary period. Petitioner later learned that respondent filed 1) Declaring the marriage between plaintiff ALAIN M.
a petition for divorce/dissolution of her marriage with petitioner, DIO and defendant MA. CARIDAD L. DIO on
which was granted by the Superior Court of California on 25 January 14, 1998, and all its effects under the law, as
May 2001. Petitioner also learned that on 5 October 2001, NULL and VOID from the beginning; and
respondent married a certain Manuel V. Alcantara. 2) Dissolving the regime of absolute community of
On 30 April 2002, the Office of the Las Pias prosecutor found property.
that there were no indicative facts of collusion between the A DECREE OF ABSOLUTE NULLITY OF MARRIAGE shall
parties and the case was set for trial on the merits. be issued after liquidation, partition and distribution of the
Dr. Nedy L. Tayag (Dr. Tayag), a clinical psychologist, submitted parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code.
a psychological report establishing that respondent was suffering Let copies of this Order be furnished the parties, the Office of the
from Narcissistic Personality Disorder which was deeply Solicitor General, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Las Pias
ingrained in her system since her early formative years. Dr. City and the Local Civil Registrar of Las Pias City, for their
Tayag found that respondents disorder was long-lasting and by information and guidance.5
nature, incurable.
Hence, the petition before this Court.
In its 18 October 2006 Decision, the trial court granted the
petition on the ground that respondent was psychologically The Issue
incapacited to comply with the essential marital obligations at the
The sole issue in this case is whether the trial court erred when it
time of the celebration of the marriage.
ordered that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be
The Decision of the Trial Court issued after liquidation, partition, and distribution of the parties
properties under Article 147 of the Family Code.
The trial court ruled that based on the evidence presented,
petitioner was able to establish respondents psychological The Ruling of this Court
incapacity. The trial court ruled that even without Dr. Tayags
The petition has merit.
psychological report, the allegations in the complaint,
substantiated in the witness stand, clearly made out a case of Petitioner assails the ruling of the trial court ordering that a
psychological incapacity against respondent. The trial court decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued after
found that respondent committed acts which hurt and liquidation, partition, and distribution of the parties properties
embarrassed petitioner and the rest of the family, and that under Article 147 of the Family Code. Petitioner argues that
respondent failed to observe mutual love, respect and fidelity
Section 19(1) of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Sec. 19. Decision. - (1) If the court renders a decision granting
Null Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages6 (the the petition, it shall declare therein that the decree of absolute
Rule) does not apply to Article 147 of the Family Code. nullity or decree of annulment shall be issued by the court only
after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code as
We agree with petitioner. implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition and
The Court has ruled in Valdes v. RTC, Branch 102, Quezon Distribution of Properties.
City that in a void marriage, regardless of its cause, the property The pertinent provisions of the Family Code cited in Section
relations of the parties during the period of cohabitation is 19(1) of the Rule are:
governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family
Code.7 Article 147 of the Family Code applies to union of parties Article 50. The effects provided for in paragraphs (2), (3), (4)
who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to and (5) of Article 43 and in Article 44 shall also apply in proper
contract marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless void,8 such cases to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled
as petitioner and respondent in the case before the Court. by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45.10
Article 147 of the Family Code provides: The final judgment in such cases shall provide for the
liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the
Article 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to spouses, the custody and support of the common children, and
marry each other, live exclusively with each other as husband the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, unless such matters
and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void had been adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings.
marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in
equal shares and the property acquired by both of them through All creditors of the spouses as well as of the absolute community
their work or industry shall be governed by the rules on co- of the conjugal partnership shall be notified of the proceedings
ownership. for liquidation.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while In the partition, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is
they lived together shall be presumed to have been obtained by situated, shall be adjudicated in accordance with the provisions
their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be owned by them of Articles 102 and 129.
in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not
participate in the acquisition by the other party of any property Article 51. In said partition, the value of the presumptive
shall be deemed to have contributed jointly in the acquisition legitimes of all common children, computed as of the date of the
thereof if the formers efforts consisted in the care and final judgment of the trial court, shall be delivered in cash,
maintenance of the family and of the household. property or sound securities, unless the parties, by mutual
agreement judicially approved, had already provided for such
Neither party can encumber or dispose by acts inter vivos of his matters.
or her share in the property acquired during cohabitation and
owned in common, without the consent of the other, until after The children of their guardian, or the trustee of their property,
the termination of their cohabitation. may ask for the enforcement of the judgment.

When only one of the parties to a void marriage is in good faith, The delivery of the presumptive legitimes herein prescribed shall
the share of the party in bad faith in the co-ownership shall be in no way prejudice the ultimate successional rights of the
forfeited in favor of their common children. In case of default of children accruing upon the death of either or both of the parents;
or waiver by any or all of the common children or their but the value of the properties already received under the decree
descendants, each vacant share shall belong to the respective of annulment or absolute nullity shall be considered as advances
surviving descendants. In the absence of descendants, such share on their legitime.
shall belong to the innocent party. In all cases, the forfeiture shall It is clear from Article 50 of the Family Code that Section 19(1)
take place upon termination of the cohabitation. of the Rule applies only to marriages which are declared void ab
For Article 147 of the Family Code to apply, the following initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45 of
elements must be present: the Family Code. In short, Article 50 of the Family Code does
not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under
1. The man and the woman must be capacitated to Article 36 of the Family Code, which should be declared void
marry each other; without waiting for the liquidation of the properties of the
2. They live exclusively with each other as husband
and wife; and Article 40 of the Family Code contemplates a situation where a
second or bigamous marriage was contracted.1avvphil Under
3. Their union is without the benefit of marriage, or Article 40, "[t]he absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be
their marriage is void.9 invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final
All these elements are present in this case and there is no judgment declaring such previous marriage void." Thus we ruled:
question that Article 147 of the Family Code applies to the x x x where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought
property relations between petitioner and respondent. to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage, the
We agree with petitioner that the trial court erred in ordering that sole basis acceptable in law, for said projected marriage to be
a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall be issued only after free from legal infirmity, is a final judgment declaring a previous
liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties properties marriage void.11
under Article 147 of the Family Code. The ruling has no basis Article 45 of the Family Code, on the other hand, refers to
because Section 19(1) of the Rule does not apply to cases voidable marriages, meaning, marriages which are valid until
governed under Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code. they are set aside by final judgment of a competent court in an
Section 19(1) of the Rule provides:
action for annulment.12 In both instances under Articles 40 and
45, the marriages are governed either by absolute community of
property13 or conjugal partnership of gains14 unless the parties
agree to a complete separation of property in a marriage
settlement entered into before the marriage. Since the property
relations of the parties is governed by absolute community of
property or conjugal partnership of gains, there is a need to
liquidate, partition and distribute the properties before a decree of
annulment could be issued. That is not the case for annulment of
marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code because the
marriage is governed by the ordinary rules on co-ownership.
In this case, petitioners marriage to respondent was declared
void under Article 3615 of the Family Code and not under Article
40 or 45. Thus, what governs the liquidation of properties owned
in common by petitioner and respondent are the rules on co-
ownership. In Valdes, the Court ruled that the property relations
of parties in a void marriage during the period of cohabitation is
governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family
Code.16 The rules on co-ownership apply and the properties of
the spouses should be liquidated in accordance with the Civil
Code provisions on co-ownership. Under Article 496 of the Civil
Code, "[p]artition may be made by agreement between the parties
or by judicial proceedings. x x x." It is not necessary to liquidate
the properties of the spouses in the same proceeding for
declaration of nullity of marriage.
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the Decision of the trial court
with the MODIFICATION that the decree of absolute nullity of
the marriage shall be issued upon finality of the trial courts
decision without waiting for the liquidation, partition, and
distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the
Family Code.