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Maria Concepcion N. Singson a.k.a. Concepcion N. Singson vs. Benjamin L.

Singson
G.R. No. 210766 | January 8, 2018
Del Castillo (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for declaration of nullity of marriage (Ground: Article 36)

Facts: On February 27, 2007, Maria Concepcion N. Singson (petitioner) filed a Petition for declaration of
nullity of marriage based on Art. 36, Family Code. Petitioner and Bejamin L. Singson (respondent) were
allegedly married on July 6, 1974 and later on had four children. After living together, petitioner noticed
that respondent was dishonest, unreasonably extravagant at the expense of the family’s welfare, extremely
vain physically and spiritually. He was also a compulsive gambler, unable to perform his paternal duties
and render help or assistance to petitioner. She averred that respondent was confined at a rehabilitation
institute and that his attending psychiatrist diagnosed to be suffering from Pathological Gambling. In
response, respondent claimed that psychological incapacity must be characterized by gravity, judicial
antecedence, and incurability, which are not present in this case.
RTC granted the Petition and declared the marriage void ab initio. The RTC denied respondent’s
Motion for Reconsideration reiterating that the expert witness had adequately established that respondent
is suffering from “Pathological Gambling Personality Disorder” which is grave, permanent, and has
juridical antecedence. The CA, however, overturned the Ruling of the RTC holding that the totality of
evidence presented by petitioner failed to establish respondent’s alleged psychological incapacity to
perform the essential marital obligations. The CA ruled that mere difficulty, refusal or neglect in the
performance of marital obligations, or ill will on the part of a spouse, is different from incapacity rooted
from a psychological condition.

Issues:
General – Whether or not the petitioner failed to establish that such incapacity was grave and serious, and
that it existed at the time of the marriage, and that it is incurable. – YES.
Controlling – Whether or not respondent’s gambling condition is proof that respondent is psychologically
incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. – NO.

Rulings:
(As to the general issue) Due to the conflicting findings of the RTC and the CA, the Court is constrained
to peruse the records. The evidence on record does not establish that respondent’s psychological
incapacity was grave and serious as denied by jurisprudential parameters since he had a job; provided
money for the family from the sale of his property; provided the land where the family home was built on;
and lived in the family home with petitioner and their children. To support her Article 36 petition,
petitioner ought to have adduced convincing, competent and trustworthy evidence to establish the cause
of respondent’s alleged psychological incapacity and that the same antedated their marriage. If anything,
petitioner failed to successfully dispute the CA’s finding that she was not aware of any gambling by
respondent before they got married and that respondent was a kind and caring person when he was
courting her.

(As to the controlling issue) Neither does petitioner’s bare claim that respondent is a pathological
gambler, is irresponsible, and is unable to keep a job, necessarily translate into unassailable proof that
respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations. It is settled that
“[p]sychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family Code contemplates an incapacity or inability
to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations and is not merely the difficulty, refusal, or
neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. “[I]t is not enough to prove that a spouse
failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is essential that he or she must be shown
to be incapable of doing so because of some psychological, not physical, illness.”

[W]ell-entrenched is the rule that “there must be proof of a natal or supervening disabling factor
that effectively incapacitated the respondent spouse from complying with the basic marital obligations.”
“A cause has to be shown and linked with the manifestations of the psychological incapacity.” To be sure,
this Court cannot take judicial notice of petitioner’s assertion that “personality disorders are generally
incurable” as this is not a matter that courts are mandated to take judicial notice [of] under Section 1, Rule
129 of the Rules of Court.

“Unless the evidence presented clearly reveals a situation where the parties or one of them, by
reason of a grave and incurable psychological illness existing at the time the marriage was celebrated, was
incapacitated to fulfill the obligations of marital life (and thus could not then have validly entered into a
marriage), then we are compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the marital tie.”

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED.


2. Teodoro C. Tortona, et. al vs. Julian C. Gregorio et. al
G.R. No. 202612 | January 17, 2018
Leonen (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Recovery of real property (Rule 45 Petition)

Facts:
Rufina Casimiro allegedly entered into a Deed of Absolute Sale with her sister Rafaela Casimiro as the
buyer. Petitioners are the heirs of Rufina; the respondents, that of Rafaela. During their lifetime, Rufina
and Rafaela co-owned (with their siblings) two parcels of land. In 1997, petitioners (Rufina’s heirs) filed
a complaint for recovery of real property with damages as they were told that the two properties had
already been sold by Rufina to Rafaela. Petitioners proceeded to the Office of the Registry of Deeds to
verify the supposed sale. They learned that the OCT covering the first parcel had already been cancelled
on account of a Deed of Absolute Sale allegedly executed by Rufina and Rafaela. A Declaration of
Heirship and Extrajudicial Partition was also executed, consequently adding Rufina’s shares of to that of
Rafaela’s. Petitioners underscored that their mother was illiterate. They alleged that she only affixed her
thumbmarks on documents, wherein she was always assisted by at least one of her children. The RTC
concluded that the Deed of Absolute Sale was a forgery, the questioned thumbmarks therein were not
Rufina’s. The CA, however, reversed the ruling of the RTC holding that the said Deed was a notarized
document and had in its favor the presumption of regularity. It held that petitioners failed to prove “by
clear and convincing evidence” that the thumbmarks were forged.

Issue: Whether or not the Deed of Absolute Sale allegedly executed by Rufina as a seller is void, as she
never consented to it, the thumbmarks therein being fake. – YES.

Rulings:
The petition is GRANTED. Petitioners successfully discharged this burden [of proving the thumbmarks
are forged]. With the aid of an expert witness, they contrasted Rufina’s apparent thumbmarks on the Deed
of Absolute Sale with specimen thumbmarks on authentic documents. They demonstrated disparities that
lead to no other conclusion than that the thumbmarks on the contentious Deed of Absolute Sale are
forged. In contrast, respondents merely harped on a disputable presumption.

Documents acknowledged before a notary public are presumed to have been duly executed. This
presumption may be contradicted by clear and convincing evidence. A notarized Deed of Absolute Sale
where the thumbmark of a party is shown to be a forgery is void.
3. Rosalinda M. Keuppers vs. Judge Virgilio G. Murcia
A.M. No. MTJ-15-1860 | April 3, 2018
Bersamin (En Banc)
Nature of the action: Administrative case against Judge Murcia

Facts:
Rosalinda Maningo Keuppers averred that she and her husband, Peter Keuppers, went to the Local
Civil Registrar’s Office (LCRO) of Davao City to apply for a marriage license as they wanted to get married
before Peter’s departure so that he could bring the marriage certificate with him back to Germany. Given
the time frame, it was explained to them by an employee of LCRO that it was impossible to solemnize their
marriage before his departure because of the requirement of the mandatory 10-day posting of the
application. They were directed to a travel agency and were told assured that they would immediately get
the original as well as the NSO copies of the marriage certificate. They were required to fill out some forms
but were instructed to leave the spaces provided for the address and other information blank. They paid
15,750 pesos to purportedly cover the fees of the solemnizing Judge as well as other fees. According to
Rosalinda, respondent Judge solemnized their marriage in the premises of the travel agency office and were
later on handed the copy of the marriage certificate for their signatures. They were supposed to pick up the
documents in the travel agency office the following day but were surprised to find erroneous entries in the
marriage certificate as well as in the application. The place where the marriage was solemnized was not the
same as stated in the certificate nor was the place where they applied for the same. Respondent Judge denied
having knowledge of how Rosalinda had processed and secured the documents pertinent to her marriage
and having received any amount for solemnizing the marriage.
Upon investigation, an overwhelming set of evidence pointed towards the conclusion that
respondent Judge indeed solemnized a wedding within the premises of the travel agency. It is of note, that
respondent admitted that he indeed solemnized the subject marriage outside of his jurisdiction. The Office
of the Court Administrator is of the opinion that notwithstanding that Respondent had no hand in
preparation and processing of the subject marriage, he indeed solemnized a marriage outside of his
territorial jurisdiction.

Issue: Was the respondent Judge guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
the service? – YES.

Rulings:

1. We hold and find respondent Judge guilty of grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the best
interest of the service for solemnizing the marriage of the complainant and her husband outside
his territorial jurisdiction, and in the office premises of the DLS Tour and Travel in Davao City.

Such place of solemnization was a blatant violation of Article 7 of the Family Code, which pertinently
provides:

Art. 7 Marriage may be solemnized by:

(1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s jurisdiction;
xxxx

2. Furthermore, in solemnizing the marriage of the complainant and her husband in the office
premises of the DLS Tour and Travel in Davao City despite the foregoing provision of the Family
Code, respondent Judge flagrantly violated the spirit of the law. Article 8 of the Family Code
disallows solemnizing the marriage in a venue other than the judge’s courtroom or chambers.

3. Dismissal from the service can no longer be imposed in view of the intervening retirement from
the service of respondent Judge. Instead, the Court forfeits all his retirement benefits except his
accrued leaves.

A municipal trial judge who solemnizes a marriage outside of his territorial jurisdiction violates Article 7
of the Family Code, and is guilty of grave misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. He
should be properly sanctioned.
4. Redante Sarto y Misalucha vs. People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 206284 | April 26, 2018
Martires (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Criminal – Bigamy

Facts:

Redante Sarto was charged with the crime of bigamy filed by his second wife. He interposed the defense
that his first marriage had been legally dissolved by divorce obtained in a foreign country. Redante and his
first wife testified that they were married in Angono, Rizal and sometimes thereafter, she (Maria Socorro)
left the country to work as a nurse in Canada where she acquired citizenship. Maria Socorro then filed for
divorce which was later on granted. Redante then met Fe Penafrancia whom he married later on.
Meanwhile, Maria Socorro already married a foreigner.
The RTC found Redante guilty of the crime of bribery, as did the CA. The CA ratiocinated that
assuming the authenticity and due execution of the Certificate of Divorce, since the order of divorce or the
divorce decree was not presented, it could not ascertain whether said divorce capacitated Maria Socorro,
and consequently, Redante, to remarry. Furthermore, Redante has failed to present evidence that he had
filed and had secured a judicial declaration that his first marriage had been dissolved in accordance with
Philippine laws prior to the celebration of his subsequent marriage to Fe. Redante’s motion for
reconsideration having been denied, he has brought the case before the Supreme Court. Upon the Court’s
requirement, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its Manifestation advocating Redante’s
acquittal. It argued that the RTC had convicted him solely because of his failure to provide evidence
concerning the date when Maria Socorro acquired Canadian citizenship. However, the OSG claimed that
he was able to submit (albeit belatedly) a photocopy of Maria Socorro’s Canadian citizenship certificate
which stated that she was already a Canadian citizen as early as 1 April 1988 (the divorce decree took effect
on 1 November 1988).

Issue/s:
General – Whether or not Redante is guilty of bigamy. – YES.
Controlling – Whether or not Redante was able to discharge the burden of proving the termination of the
first marriage. – NO.

Holding:

1. Since the divorce was a defense raised by Redante, it is incumbent upon him to show that it was
validly obtained in accordance with Maria Socorro’s country’s national law. Stated differently,
Redante has the burden of proving the termination of the first marriage prior to the celebration of
the second.
2. As in any other foreign judgment, a divorce decree does not have an automatic effect in the
Philippines. Consequently, recognition by Philippine courts may be required before the effects of
a divorce decree could be extended in this jurisdiction. Recognition of the divorce decree, however,
need not be obtained in a separate petition filed solely for that purpose. Philippine courts may
recognize the foreign divorce decree when such was invoked by a party as an integral aspect of his
claim or defense.
For the purpose of establishing divorce as a fact, a copy of the divorce decree itself must
be presented and admitted in evidence.
3. First, the certificate of divorce, however, is not the divorce decree required by the rules and
jurisprudence. Second, assuming the certificate of divorce may be considered as the divorce decree,
it was not accompanied by a certification issued by the proper Philippine diplomatic or consular
office stationed in Canada, as required under Section 24 of Rule 132. Lastly, no copy of the alleged
Canadian law was presented by the defense. Thus, it could not be reasonably determined whether
the subject divorce decree was in accord with Maria Socorro’s national law.

Petition is DENIED for lack of merit.


Benjamin A. Ko v. Virginia Dy Aramburo
G.R. No. 190995 | 9 August 2017
Tijam (Third Division)
Nature of the case: Complaint for Recovery of Ownership with Declaration of Nullity

Facts:
Virginia Dy Aramburo (Virginia) is the wife of Simeon Aramburo (Simeon), which makes her the
sister-in-law of Corazon Aramburo (Corazon). Virginia’s co-respondents are the heirs of Augusto, while
petitioners are the heirs of Corazon. Respondents filed a Complaint for Recovery of Ownership with
Declaration of Nullity (alternatively, Reconveyance and Damages with Preliminary Injunction) against
Corazon, over seven parcels of land in Albay. Respondents alleged that Virginia and Simeon together with
Corazon and her husband Felix acquired the subject properties from Spouses Casaul. A Deed of Cession
was executed in favor of Augusto’s heirs (brother of Simeon and Corazon who predeceased them). Using
falsified documents, Corazon was able to have the entire subject properties transferred exclusively to her
name. Corazon alleged that Simeon sold and conveyed his entire one-half share in the co-owned properties
in her favor.
It was established during the trial that Simeon and Virginia’s marriage had been on bad terms, and
the spouses have in fact been living separately since 1973. From this fact, the trial court deduced that it is
highly suspicious that Virginia would sign a deed of sale, consenting to her husband’s decision to sell their
conjugal assets to Corazon. Virginia vehemently disowned the signature on the Deed of Absolute Sale,
which the NBI concluded as being forged. According to the trial court, Simeon cannot alienate or encumber
nay real property of the conjugal partnership. Thus, the questioned deed is not a valid instrument to transfer
the 1/3 share of the subject properties. On appeal, Corazon averred that the properties are not part of Spouses
Simeon and Virginia’s conjugal properties; that they are not included in the case for dissolution of conjugal
partnership and in the separation of properties between them. She claims that Felix (her husband) and
Virginia’s names on the Deed of Cession was merely descriptive of her and her brother’s status. Thus, the
property ceded were exclusive hers and Simeon’s. On the contrary, Virginia claimed that only a third
portion of the subject properties is owned by Simeon and that the same is conjugally-owned since it was
acquired during their marriage. Therefore, the disposition by Simeon of the ½ portion of the subject
properties in favor of Corazon is not only void but also fictitious. This not only because Simeon does not
own the said one-half portion, but also because Virginia's signature was a forgery. The CA affirmed the
trial court’s findings.

Issue:
General: Did the CA correctly sustain the trial court’s decision, declaring the parties as co-owners of the
subject properties? YES.
Controlling: Whether or not petitioners were able to adduce proof to overthrow the presumption of
conjugality. – NO (in deference to the trial court’s findings)

Held:
The petition is partly meritorious.

1. The law that governs the case at hand is the Civil Code and not the Family Code. Proceeding
to the issue of ownership, the Court finds that there is no reason to depart from the ruling of
the trial court as affirmed by the CA. The Deed of Cession giving rights to Augusto’s children
over the 1/3 portion of the subject property is existing and effective. The Court further rules
that Simeon’s heirs, which include Virginia, also own 1/3 pro-indiviso share in the subject
properties. Article 160 of the Civil Code is the applicable provision which states that “all
property of the marriage is presumed to belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it is proved
that it pertains exclusively to the husband or to the wife.” Thus, in this case, the subject
properties having been acquired during the marriage are still presumed to belong to Simeon
and Virginia’s conjugal properties. Corazon or the petitioners failed to adduce ample evidence
that would convince the Court of the exclusive character of the properties.

2. Petitioners' argument that Virginia's name was merely descriptive of Simeon's civil status is
untenable. It bears stressing that if proof obtains on the acquisition of the property during the
existence of the marriage, as in this case, then the presumption of conjugal ownership remains
unless a strong, clear and convincing proof was presented to prove otherwise. In fact, even the
registration of a property in the name of one spouse does not destroy its conjugal nature. What
is material is the time when the property was acquired.

3. Likewise, the fact that the subject properties were not included in the cases for separation of
properties between Simeon and Virginia does not, in any way, prove that the same are not part
of Simeon and Virginia's conjugal properties. Such fact cannot be considered as a strong, clear
and convincing proof that the said properties exclusively belong to Simeon.

4. At any rate, the question of whether petitioners were able to adduce proof to overthrow the
presumption of conjugality is a factual issue best addressed by the trial court. It cannot be over-
emphasized that factual determinations of the trial courts, especially when confirmed by the
appellate court, are accorded great weight by the Court

5. Simeon could not have validly sold to Corazon the 1/3 share of Augusto’s heirs, as well as
1/3 portion of his and Virginia’s conjugal share without the latter’s consent.
6. Republic of the Philippines vs. Martin Nikolai Z. Javier and Michelle K. Mercado-Javier
G.R. No. 210518 | 18 April 2018
Reyes, Jr. (Second Division)
Nature of the case: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Joint Custody under Art. 36

Facts:
Martin and Michelle were married on February 8, 2002. In 2008, Martin filed a Petition for
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage and Joint Custody of Common Minor Children under Article 36 of the
Family Code. Martin alleged that both he and Michelle were psychologically incapacitated to comply with
the essential obligations of marriage. To bolster his claim, Martin testified on his behalf and presented the
psychological findings of Dr. Elias D. Adamos. Dr. Adamos concluded in the Psychological Evaluation
Report that Martin and Michelle both suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The RTC dismissed
the petition for failure to establish a sufficient basis for the declaration of nullity of the respondents’
marriage. Appealing to the CA, Martin argued that it is not necessary for the psychologist to personally
examine the incapacitated spouse before the court may rule on the petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage. The CA granted Martin’s appeal finding that there was sufficient evidence to support Martin’s
claim that he is psychologically incapacitated. It also negated the RTC’s ruling by referring to Martin’s
own testimony, in which he narrated his tendency to impose his own unrealistic standards on Michelle. The
Republic is now before the Court, arguing that there was no basis for the CA’s ruling granting the petition
for declaration of nullity of marriage.

Issue/s:
General: Whether or not the totality of evidence supports the finding that Martin is psychologically
incapacitated to perform the essential obligations of marriage.
Controlling: Whether or not the findings of Dr. Adamos were based solely on the interview with Martin,
Michelle not having been examined personally.

Held:
1) Yes. The psychological incapacity of a spouse must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical
antecedence; and (c) incurability, which the Court discussed in Santos vs. CA. The Court later clarified
in Marcos vs. Marcos that for purposes of establishing the psychological incapacity of a spouse, it is
not required that a physician conduct an actual medication of the person concerned. It is enough that
the totality of evidence is strong enough to sustain the finding of psychological incapacity. In such case,
however, the petitioner bears a greater burden in proving the gravity, juridical antecedence, and
incurability of other spouse’s psychological incapacity. While the Court has consistently followed the
parameters in Republic vs. Molina, these guidelines are not meant to straightjacket all petitions for
declaration of nullity of marriage. The merits of each case are determined on a case-to-case basis, as no
case is on all fours with another.

 Martin submitted several pieces of evidence to support his petition for declaration of nullity of
marriage. He testified as to his own psychological incapacity and that of his spouse, Michelle. In
particular, he stated that Michelle was confrontational even before their marriage. He alleged that
Michelle always challenged his opinions on what he thinks is proper, which he insisted on because
he witnessed the abuse that his mother wen through with his biological father. He also thought
Michelle was highly impressionable and easily influenced by friends, as a result of which, Martin
alleged that Michelle acted recklessly and without consideration of his feelings.
 The psychological findings of Dr. Adamos were also presented in the trial court to corroborate his
claim. This disorder was supposedly aggravated by her marriage with Martin, who she constantly
lied to. The basis of Dr. Adamos’ findings on the psychological incapacity of Michelle was the
information provided by Martin and Jose Vicente. Jose Vicente was a close friend of the
respondents, having introduced them to each other before their marriage. Jose Vicente was also
allegedly a regular confidante of Michelle.

2) No. While it is true that Michelle was not personally examined or evaluated for purposes of the
psychological report, the trial court was incorrect in ruling that dr. Adamos’ findings were based solely
on the interview with Martin. Even if that were the case, the findings of the psychologist are not
immediately invalidated for this reason alone. Because a marriage necessarily involves only two
persons, the spouse who witnessed the other spouse’s behavior may “vividly relay” the pattern of
behavior to the psychologist. This notwithstanding, the Court disagrees with the CA’s findings that
Michelle was psychologically incapacitated. There were no independent evidence establishing the
root cause of juridical antecedence of Michelle’s alleged psychological incapacity. Without a credible
source of her supposed childhood trauma, Dr. Adamos was not equipped with enough information from
which he may reasonably conclude that Michelle is suffering from a chronic and persistent disorder
that is grave and incurable.
 Insofar as the psychological incapacity of Martin is concerned, the CA did not commit a
reversible error in declaring the marriage of the respondents null and void under Article 36
of the Family Code. The petition is partially granted insofar as the psychological incapacity of
Michelle is concerned.
7. Spouses Julieta B. Carlos and Fernando P. Carlos vs. Juan Cruz Tolentino
G.R. No. 234533 | 11 July 2018
Velasco, Jr. (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Annulment of Title with Damages

Facts:
Respondent Juan Cruz Tolentino (Juan) filed a complaint for annulment of title with damages
against his wife, Mercedes, his grandson, Kristoff, herein petitioners Spouses Carlos, and the Register of
Deeds of Quezon City. He alleged that without his knowledge and consent, Mercedes and Kristoff forged
a Deed of Donation, making it appear that he and his wife donated the subject property to his grandson,
Kristoff. By virtue of the alleged forged Deed of Donation, Kristoff caused the cancellation of the TCT
issued in the name of Jose and had one issued in his name. Kristoff offered the sale of the property to
petitioner Julieta’s brother (Felix). After conducting an ocular inspection of the premises, Kristoff
surrendered to Felix copies of the title and tax declaration covering the said property. Kristoff then sold the
property to Julieta, as evidenced by a MOA, and subsequently a Deed of Absolute Sale. Upon learning of
the foregoing events, Juan executed an Affidavit of Adverse Claim. He also filed a criminal complaint for
Falsification of Public Document against Kristoff. Meanwhile, Kristoff and Julieta executed another Deed
of Absolute Sale over the property. Juan the abovementioned complaint. The RTC found that Juan’s
signature in the Deed of Donation was a forgery. Despite such finding, however, it dismissed Juan’s
complaint stating that at the time Spouses Carlos fully paid the agreed price, Kristoff was the registered
owner of the subject property. Further, when the MOA and the Deed of Absolute Sale were executed,
nothing was annotated on the said title to indicate the adverse claim of Juan. It was only a month later when
Juan’s adverse claim was annotated on Kristoff’s title. On appeal, the CA found that Spouses Carlos were
negligent in not taking the necessary steps to determine the status of the subject property prior to the
purchase thereof. Thus, Juan has a better right over the subject property. The Spouses’ MR being denied,
the case was elevated to the Supreme Court.

Issues:
1. What is the extent of the right of Kristoff as donee?
2. Who between Juan and Spouses Carlos has the better right to claim ownership over the
subject property?
Held:

1. Juan and Mercedes were married before the effectivity of the Family Code. There is no indication
that they have adopted a different property regime, the presumption is that their property relation
is governed by the regime of conjugal partnership of gains. Since the property was acquired during
the marriage of Juan and Mercedes, it formed part of their conjugal partnership. It follows then that
they are the absolute owners of their undivided one-half interest, respectively, over the subject
property. As absolute owners, Juan and Mercedes may validly exercise rights of ownership by
executing deeds which transfer title thereto (such as the Deed of Donation in favor of their
grandson, Kristoff).
2. In his Comment, Juan stated that he was already a widower. Hence, the Court takes due notice of
the fact of Mercedes’ death which inevitably results in the dissolution of the conjugal partnership.
In retrospect, as absolute owners of the subject property, Juan and Mercedes may validly exercise
rights of ownership by executing deeds which transfer title thereto such as, in this case, the Deed
of Donation in favor of their grandson, Kristoff.
3. While it has been settled that the congruence of the wills of the spouses is essential for the valid
disposition of conjugal property, it cannot be ignored that Mercedes’ consent to the disposition of
her interest in the subject property remained undisputed. It is apparent that Mercedes, during her
lifetime, relinquished all her rights thereon in favor of her grandson, Kristoff.
4. Given the foregoing, the Court is disinclined to rule that the Deed of Donation is wholly void ab
initio and that the Spouses Carlos should be totally stripped of their right over the subject property.
[We] deem it proper to uphold the validity of the Deed of Donation but only to the extent of
Mercedes’ one-half share in the subject property. Why invalidate Mercedes’ disposition of her one-
half portion of the conjugal property that will eventually be her share after the termination of the
conjugal partnership? It will practically be absurd, especially in the instant case, since the conjugal
partnership had already been terminated upon Mercedes’ death.
5. Accordingly, the right of Kristoff, as donee, is limited only to the one-half undivided portion that
Mercedes owned. The Deed of Donation insofar as it covered the remaining one-half undivided
portion of the subject property is null and void, Juan not having consented to the donation of his
undivided half.
6. Lastly, as a matter of fairness and in line with the principle that no person should unjustly enrich
himself at the expense of another, Kristoff should be liable to reimburse Spouses Carlos of the
amount corresponding to one-half of the purchase price of the subject property.
The petition is partially GRANTED. The donation and subsequent sale of the subject property is declared
null and void with respect to the undivided ½ portion owned by Juan Cruz Tolentino, but valid with respect
to the other undivided ½ portion belonging to Mercedes Tolentino.
Araceli Mayuga substituted by Marilyn Mayuga Santillan for and on behalf of all the heirs vs.
Antonio Atienza, representing the Heirs of Armando Atienza; Benjamin Atienza, Jr. representing
the Heirs of Benjamin A. Atienza, Jr.
G.R. No. 208197 | 10 January 2018
Caguioa (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Cancellation and Recall of Free Patent Application

Facts:
In 2000, Araceli Mayuga (Araceli) instituted a petition for Cancellation and Recall of Free Patent
Application against Antonio Atienza, Benjamin Atienza, Jr., and Community Environment and Natural
Resource Officer and Register of Deeds of Romblon. Araceli alleged that she, along with Armando Atienza
and Benjamin Atienza, Jr. (as represented by the defendants), are the surviving legitimate, legal and forced
heirs of the late Perfecto Atienza who died intestate leaving several properties. She further alleged that
through manipulation and misrepresentation with intent to defraud a co-heir, respondent Antonio and
Benjamin were able to secure Free Patents over the same. She was allegedly not notified of the application
filed with public respondent Community Environment & Natural Resource Officer nor any notice of
hearings of proceedings as required by law, being a co-heir and party-in-interest. Thus, she prayed for the
recall and cancellation of the said Free Patents issued in favor of her co-heirs as well as the division of the
two lots into three (3) equal parts among the three (3) forced heirs (i.e., Benjamin, Antonio, and herself).
The defendants denied the material allegations, stating that the Free Patent Titles have become indefeasible
after the lapse of one year from its issuance. They further stated that fraud as a ground for review of title
under Sec. 38, Act 496 is not applicable to a case where a certificate of title was issued in pursuance of a
patent application; that they and their predecessors-in-interest have been in open, public, continuous
possession of the subject property for over 30 years; the basis for their application is a Confirmation
Affidavit of Distribution of Real Estate executed by their father, Perfecto Atienza, confirming partition.
The RTC ruled in favor of the Plaintiff Araceli. It ruled that the application by the defendants is
tainted with fraud because said application was processed without the plaintiff’s knowledge nor a notice of
hearing of any proceedings was sent to her. In fact, the defendants took advantage while the latter was in
the US. Moreover, the titling of the fraudulently registered real property will not bar the action for
reconveyance. The CA granted the defendants’ appeal and reversed the RTC. It ruled that the free patents
issued in favor of the respondents can no longer be assailed under the rule of indefeasibility and
incontrovertibility of the certificate of title upon the expiration of one year from and after the date of entry
of the decree of registration (per Sec. 32, PD 1529). The application was not attended with fraud and
misrepresentation because the basis thereof was a document freely executed by their father. Tax
declarations would also show that they have possessed and occupied the same land. Hence, this case.

Issue/s:
Whether or not the CA erred in reversing the RTC Decision and dismissing the amended complaint
of the petitioner for cancellation of free patent and reconveyance.

Held:
1. No. An action for reconveyance and an action for declaration of nullity of the free patent
cannot be pursued simultaneously. The former recognizes the certificate of title pursuant to the free
patent as indefeasible while the latter does not. They may, however, be pursued alternatively
pursuant to Sec. 2, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court on alternative causes of action or defenses.
2. The action for declaration of nullity of the free patents issued in favor of the respondents
must fail. The respondents satisfactorily complied with the requirements for the issuance of a free
patent. Regarding the petitioner’s allegation of fraud, the CA correctly dismissed the same as it is
bare and self-serving, and the records negate such claim.
3. Proceeding now to the determination of whether the petitioner has succeeded in proving
her cause of action for reconveyance, the petitioner also failed in this respect. An action for
reconveyance involving land that is titled pursuant to a free patent is one that seeks to transfer
property, wrongfully registered by another, to its rightful and legal owner or to one with a better
title. As such, two facts must be alleged in the complaint and proved during the trial, namely: (1)
the plaintiff was the owner of the land or possessed it in the concept of owner, and (2) the defendant
illegally divested him of ownership and dispossessed him of the land. Such facts were not only not
alleged in the amended complaint, the petitioner Araceli also failed to prove that she was entitled
to 1/3 of the two lots in dispute by succession.
4. Araceli overlooked the fact that Perfecto executed the Confirmation Affidavit almost 5
years prior to his death. Assuming that Perfecto owned the disputed lots and the Confirmation
Affidavit was a deed of partition, Perfecto could have legally partitioned his estate during his
lifetime. Under Article 1080 of the Civil Code, “[s]hould a person make a partition of his estate by
an act inter vivos, or by will, such partition shall be respected, insofar as it does not prejudice the
legitime of the compulsory heirs.” Since the Civil Code allows partition inter vivos, it is incumbent
upon the compulsory heir questioning its validity to show that his legitime is impaired.
Unfortunately, Araceli has not shown to what extent the Confirmation prejudiced her legitime.
5. Araceli could not also claim preterition by virtue of the Confirmation Affidavit on the
assumption that the disputed two lots pertained to Perfecto’s inheritance, he had only three legal
heirs and he left Araceli with no share in the two lots. Although Araceli was a compulsory heir in
the direct descending line, she could not have been preterited. Firstly, Perfecto left no will.
Secondly, before his death, Perfecto had properties which was almost 50 hectares, part of which
was developed for residential and agricultural purposes. Araceli could not have been totally
excluded in the inheritance of Perfect even if she was not allegedly given any share in the disputed
two lots.
6. If Araceli’s share in the inheritance of Perfecto as claimed by her was indeed impaired, she
could have instituted an action for partition or a settlement of estate proceedings instead of her
complaint for cancellation of free patent and reconveyance.

Petition is DENIED.
9. Abigael An Espina-dan vs. Marco Dan
G.R. No. 209031 | 16 April 2018
Del Castillo (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
Abigael An Espina-Dan (“Abigael”) and Marco Dan (“Marco”), an Italian national, met in a
“chatroom” on the internet. Through their exchange of letters, they eventually became emotionally closer
to each other. In the same year that they “met”, Marco proposed marriage and later on flew in from Italy
and tied the know with Abigael in 2006. Soon after, Marco returned to Italy and Abigael followed thereafter;
the couple lived together in Italy. In 2007, Abigael left Marco and flew back into the Philippines. Abigael
filed a Petition for declaration of nullity of her marriage. The RTC dismissed the petition on the ground that
Abigael’s evidence failed to adequately prove Dan’s alleged psychological incapacity. Upon petitioner’s
appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC Decision.

Issue/s:
Whether or not the totality of petitioner’s evidence established the psychological incapacity of respondent
and satisfied the standards of Republic vs. Court of Appeals and Molina and other prevailing jurisprudence
in point.

Held: NO.
Petitioner’s Arguments:
 The root cause of respondent’s psychological incapacity was clinically identified, sufficiently
alleged in the petition, and proved by adequate evidence.
 His psychological incapacity was shown to be existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage,
and that the same is medically permanent, incurable, and grave enough as to bring about his
inability to assume his obligations in marriage
 As a consequence, he is incapable of fulfilling his duties as a husband under the obligation to live
together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support her.
 Her allegations in the petition are specifically linked to medical and clinical causes as diagnosed
by Dr. Tayag, which diagnosis is contained in the latter’s report which forms part of the evidence
in the case.
 Such diagnosis is backed by scientific tests and expert determination.
 Respondent has been suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder with Underlying Anti-Social
Trait which deterred him from appropriately discharging his duties and responsibilities as a married
man
 Despite petitioner’s efforts, respondent remained true to his propensities and even defiant, to the
point of exhibiting violence
 No amount of therapy can possibly change respondent, but rather he would always be in denial of
his own condition and resist any form of treatment
 Respondent’s condition is deep-rooted and stems from his formative years—a product of faulty
child-rearing practices and unhealthy familial constellation that altered his emotional and moral
development.
 It is not necessary that personal examination of respondent be conducted in order that he may be
diagnosed or declared as psychologically incapacitated.

The State’s Arguments:


 Petitioner failed to prove the elements of gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability
 Petitioner even admitted that incipiently, respondent was romantic, funny, responsible, working,
and giving money to her
 Petitioner’s allegations of video game and drug addiction are uncorroborated and her failure to seek
medical treatment therefor in behalf of her husband must be considered against her
 Irresponsibility, immaturity, and over-dependence on his mother do not automatically justify a
conclusion of psychological incapacity
 Psychological evaluation of respondent was based on one-sided information supplied by petitioner
and her mother
 While personal examination of respondent is indeed not mandatory, there are instances where it is
required—such as in this case, where the information supplied to the psychologist unilaterally
comes from the side of the petitioner
1. Petitioner’s evidence consists mainly of her judicial affidavit and testimony; the judicial affidavits
and testimonies of her mother and Dr. Tayag, and Dr. Tayag’s psychological report
2. Petitioner admitted that before and during their marriage, respondent was working and giving
money to her, that he was sweet, thoughtful, responsible, and caring
3. The couple simply drifted apart as a result of irreconcilable differences and basic incompatibility
owing to differences in culture and upbringing, and the very short period that they spent together
4. Addiction to video games and cannabis is not an incurable condition; she didn’t help overcome it
Petition is DENIED.
Knights of Rizal vs. DMCI Homes, Inc. DMCI Project Developers, Inc., City of Manila, National
Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Museum, and National Historical Commission of
the Philippines
G.R. No. 213948 | May 26, 2017
Carpio (En Banc)
Nature of the action: Petition for Injunction

Facts:
This is a Petition for Injunction to stop the construction of respondent DMCI Homes, Inc.’s
condominium development project known as Torre de Manila. In 2011, DMCI Project Developers, Inc.
(DMCI-PDI) acquired a 7,716.60-square meter lot in the Manila, located near Taft Avenue. The lot was
earmarked for construction of Torre de Manila condominium project. In 2012, DMCI-PDI secured its
Barangay Clearance to start the construction of its project. It subsequently obtained a building permit to
build a 49-storey condominium in its property. The City Council of Manila issued a Resolution enjoining
the Office of the Building Official to temporarily suspend the said building permit as it will rise high above
the back of the national monument of Jose Rizal. The approval of the permit was nevertheless confirmed.
The Knight of Rizal (KOR) filed a Petition for Injunction seeking a TRO and later a permanent injunction
against the construction of the DMCI-PDI’s Torre de Manila condominium project. The KOR asserts that
the Torre de Manila structure will stick out like a sore thumb and will forever ruin the sightline of the Rizal
Monument, which it argues is entitled to the full protection of the law and that national government must
abate the act or activity that endangers the nation’s cultural heritage “even against the wishes of the local
government hosting it.” The KOR contends that the project is a nuisance per se because “the despoliation
of the sight view of the Rizal Monument is a situation that ‘annoys or offends the senses’ of every Filipino
who honors the memory of the National Hero Jose Rizal.” KOR states that it is a present, continuing,
worsening, and aggravating status or condition, hence, it is a nuisance per se. It deserves to be abated
summarily. On the other hand, the DMCI-PDI argues that the Torre de Manila is not a nuisance per se
stating that it obtained all the necessary permits, licenses, clearances, and certificates for its construction. It
also refutes KOR’s claim that the Torre de Manila would dwarf all other structures around it, considering
that there are other tall building even closer to the Rizal Monument itself. In its Comment, the City of
Manila argued that the writ of mandamus cannot issue “considering that no property or substantive right
whatsoever in favor of the [KOR] is being affected” and that the construction of the Torre de Manila did
not violate any existing law.

Issue:
General: Can the Court issue a writ of mandamus against the officials of the City of Manila to stop the
construction of DMCI-PDI’s Torre de Manila project?
Controlling: Is the Torre de Manila a nuisance per se?

Held:
1. No, the Court cannot issue a writ of mandamus herein prayed for. There is no law prohibiting the
construction of the Torre de Manila. In Manila Electric Company v. Public Service Commission,
the Court held that “what is not expressly or impliedly prohibited by law may be done, except when
the act is contrary to morals, customs and public order.” In this case, there is no allegation or proof
that the Torre de Manila project is “contrary to morals, customs, and public order” or that it brings
harm, danger, or hazard to the community. The City of Manila has determined that DMCI-PDI
complied with the standards set under the pertinent laws and local ordinances to construct its Torre
de Manila project. Mandamus does not lie against the City of Manila. Mandamus only issues when
there is a clear legal duty imposed upon the office or the officer sought to be compelled to perform
an act, and when the party seeking mandamus has a clear legal right ot the performance of such act.

2. Torre de Manila is not a nuisance per se. KOR claims that the Torre de Manila is a nuisance per se
that deserves to be summarily abated even without judicial proceedings. However, during the Oral
Arguments, counsel for the KOR argued that the KOR now believes that the Torre de Manila is a
nuisance per accidens and not a nuisance per se. It can easily be gleaned that the Torre de Manila
is not a nuisance per se. The Torre de Manila project cannot be considered as a “direct menace to
public health or safety.” Not only is a condominium project commonplace in the City of Manila,
DMCI-PDI has, according to the proper government agencies, complied with health and safety
standards set by law. On the other hand, the KOR now claims that the Torre de Manila is a nuisance
per accidens. By definition, a nuisance per accidens is determined based on its surrounding
conditions and circumstances. These conditions and circumstances must be well established, not
merely alleged. The Court cannot simply accept these conditions and circumstances as established
facts as the KOR would have us do in this case. The KOR itself concedes that the question of
whether the Torre de Manila is a nuisance per accidens is a question of fact. The authority to decide
when a nuisance exists is an authority to find facts, to estimate their force, and to apply rules of law
to the case thus made. This Court is not such authority. It is not a trier of facts. The task to receive
and evaluate evidence is lodged with the trial courts. The question, then, of whether the Torre de
Manila project is a nuisance per accidens must be settled after due proceedings brought before the
proper Regional Trial Court. The KOR cannot circumvent the process in the guise of protecting
national culture and heritage. WHEREFORE, the petition for mandamus is DISMISSED.
Spouses Larry and Rosarita Williams vs. Rainero A. Zerda
G.R. No. 207146 | March 15, 2017
Mendoza (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Easement of Right of Way

Facts:

Rainero A. Zerda (Zerda) was the owner of a parcel of land in Surigao City. Immediately behind
the dominant estate was a lot, a swampy mangrove area owned by the government. On both sides were a
lot under the name of Woodridge Properties, Inc. and another under the name of Luis G. Dilag. In front was
a lot owned by petitioner-spouses Larry and Rosarita Williams (Spouses Williams), where the national
highway ran along. In 2004, Zerda filed a complaint against Spouses Williams for easement of right of way,
alleging that Zerda’s lot was without adequate outlet to a public highway, that it could not be accessed
except by passing through Spouses Williams’ property; that the isolation of his property was due to the
natural consequences of his location; that the right of way he was claiming was at a point least prejudicial
to Spouses Williams’ property; and that he wrote to Spouses Williams formally asking them to provide him
with right of way but Spouses Williams refused. Spouses Williams countered that the complaint should be
dismissed for lack of cause of action because Zerda failed to establish the requisites for the existence of
right of way. In 2006, the RTC ruled in favor of Spouses Williams finding that the isolation of Zerda’s lot
was due to his own acts because when he bought the property, he was aware that Spouses Williams had
already started introducing improvements on their own property. While Spouses Williams were negotiating
with the original owner of the dominant estate for the purchase thereof, Zerdea intervened and bought the
land himself, knowing fully well that the land was surrounded by other immovables. It also noted that the
right of way requested by Zerda was not the shortest distance from the dominant estate to the public
highway. Upon appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the ruling of the RTC stating that deny the right of
way to a purchaser of an enclosed estate simply because of his prior knowledge that the same was
surrounded by immovables would render the law on easements nugatory. It further noted that Zerda was
not in bad faith when he intervened in the negotiation of the sale of the dominant estate. Lastly, the CA
found that the right of way proposed by Zerda was the shortest distance to the national highway and the
least prejudicial to the servient estate.

Issue: Whether or not Respondent Zerda is entitled to an easement of right of way.

Held: Yes.
 In summary, an entitlement to the easement of right of way requires that the following requisites
must be met: 1) The dominant estate is surrounded by other immovables and has no adequate outlet
to a public highway; 2) There is payment of proper indemnity; 3) The isolation is not due to the
acts of the proprietor of the dominant estate; and 4) the right of way claimed is at the point least
prejudicial to the servient estate; and insofar as consistent with this rule, where the distance from
the dominant estate to a public highway may be the shortest. All the above requisites are present in
this case.
 (There is no dispute as to the first requisite). The second requisite of payment of indemnity was
also complied with by [Zerda] when he wrote Spouses Williams formally asking them to provide
him with a right of way, for which he was willing to pay a reasonable value or to swap a portion to
his property.
 Anent the third requisite, the isolation of the dominant estate was not due to [Zerda’s] own acts.
The property he purchased was already surrounded by other immovables leaving him no adequate
ingress or egress to a public highway. [Spouses Williams] pointed out that when the respondent
purchased the dominant estate, he knew that Sierra was in negotiation with them for the sale of the
dominant estate, thus, he was in bad faith. Nonetheless, it cannot be used to defeat the respondent's
claim for a right of way. Sierra had every right to sell his property to anybody. Further, when the
respondent bought the dominant estate there could have been no existing contract of sale yet
considering that Spouses Williams and Sierra were still in negotiation.
 As to the fourth requisite, the Court finds that the right of way sought by [Zerda] is at the point
least prejudicial to the servient estate and it is the shortest distance to the national highway. This is
evident in the Sketch Plan showing that the requested right of way was alongside the perimeter of
Spouses Williams' property. Moreover, during the ocular inspection, the RTC observed that the
right of way, which the respondent was seeking was alongside a precipice.
 Even assuming that the right of way being claimed by [Zerda] is not the shortest distance from the
dominant estate to the public highway, it is well-settled that "[t]he criterion of least prejudice to
the servient estate must prevail over the criterion of shortest distance although this is a matter of
judicial appreciation. xxx In other words, where the easement may be established on any of several
tenements surrounding the dominant estate, the one where the way is shortest and will cause
the least damage should be chosen. If having these two (2) circumstances do not concur in a single
tenement, the way which will cause the least damage should be used, even if it will not be the
shortest."
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.
Rachel A. Del Rosario vs. Jose O. Del Rosario and Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 222541 | February 15, 2017
Perlas-Bernabe (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:

In 1983, Rachel, then 15 years old, met Jose, then 17 years old, at a party in Nueva Vizcaya.
Very soon, they became romantically involved. Sometime in 1988, Rachel went to Hong Kong to
work as a domestic helper. During this period, Rachel allegedly provided for Jose’s tuition for his
college education. Rachel and Jose eventually decided to get married and were blessed with a son.
Rachel then returned to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper/caregiver and has been working
there since, only returning to the Philippines every year for a vacation. In 2011, Rachel filed a
petition for declaration of nullity of marriage alleging that Jose was psychologically incapacitated
to fulfill his essential marital obligations. Rachel claimed that during their marriage, Jose
conspicuously tried to avoid discharging his duties as husband and father. Jose was allegedly hot
tempered and violent; he punched her in the shoulder a few days before their church wedding when
she refused to pay for the transportation expenses of his parents. He also hit his own father with a
pipe, which forced them [Rachel and Jose] to leave the latter’s parents’ house where they were
staying. He even locked her out of their house in the middle of the night when she fetched her
relatives from the bus terminal, which he refused to perform. Rachel added that Jose would
represent himself as single, would openly flirt, and had an extra-marital affair which she discovered
through a text mistakenly sent to her sister. On one occasion, she caught Jose and the other woman
with their child inside their conjugal dwelling. Finally, she claimed that Jose would refuse any
chance of sexual intimacy between them as they slowly drifted apart. Rachel also presented the
testimonies of her son and sisters, which corroborated her allegations, as well as the testimony of
one Dr. Nedy Tayag who prepared the psychological report on Rachel. According to Dr. Tayag’s
Report, Jose suffered from Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) characterized by: (a) his lack of
empathy and concern for Rachel; (b) his irresponsibility and his pleasure-seeking attitude that
catered only to his own fancies and comfort; (c) his selfishness marked by his lack of depth when
it comes to his marital commitments; and (d) his lack of remorse for his shortcomings. The RTC
declared their marriage void on the ground of psychological incapacity. It relied on the findings of
and testimony of Dr. Tayag, declaring that Jose’s APD interferes with his capacity to perform his
martial and paternal duties. Jose appealed to the CA, arguing that his alleged refusal to seek
employment, squandering of their money on vices, violent nature, and infidelity are not the serious,
grave, and permanent psychological condition that incapacitates him to perform his marital
obligations required by Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended. At most, they are personality
defects, i.e., immaturity, irresponsibility, and unfaithfulness, which may be considered as grounds
for legal separation under Article 55 of the same code. The CA reversed the ruling of the RTC
holding that the totality of the evidence Rachel presented was not enough to sustain a finding that
Jose is psychologically incapacitated. The CA pointed out that the root cause of the alleged
psychological incapacity, its incapacitating nature, and the incapacity itself were not sufficiently
explained as Dr. Tayag’s Report failed to show the relation between Jose’s “deprived childhood”
and “poor home condition”, on one hand, and grave and permanent psychological malady, on the
other.

Issue:
General: Whether or not Jose is psychologically incapacitated.
Controlling: Whether Dr. Tayag’s Report and testimony has sufficiently explained in detail how
Jose’s APD could be characterized as grave, deeply rooted in his childhood, and incurable.

Held:
1. No. Psychological incapacity as a ground to nullify the marriage under Article 36 should refer
to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity
or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. It should refer to no less than a
mental - not merely physical - incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic
marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the
marriage, which, as provided under Article 68, among others, include their mutual obligations
to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity, and render help and support. In other words,
it must be a malady that is so grave and permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties
and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume. Based on the totality of
the evidence presented, there exists insufficient factual or legal basis to conclude that Jose's
immaturity, irresponsibility, or infidelity amount to psychological incapacity.

2. Dr. Tayag's Report does not explain in detail how Jose's APD could be characterized as grave,
deeply rooted in his childhood, and incurable within the jurisprudential parameters for
establishing psychological incapacity. Particularly, the Report did not discuss the concept of
APD which Jose allegedly suffers from, i.e., its classification, cause, symptoms, and cure, or
show how and to what extent Jose exhibited this disorder or how and to what extent his alleged
actions and behavior correlate with his APD, sufficiently clear to conclude that Jose's condition
has no definite treatment, making it incurable within the law's conception. Neither did the
Report specify the reasons why and to what extent Jose's APD is serious and grave, and how it
incapacitated him to understand and comply with his marital obligations. Lastly, the Report
hastily concluded that Jose had a "deprived childhood" and "poor home condition" that
automatically resulted in his APD equivalent to psychological incapacity without, however,
specifically identifying the history of Jose's condition antedating the marriage, i.e., specific
behavior or habits during his adolescent years that could explain his behavior during the
marriage.

3. Moreover, Dr. Tayag did not personally assess or interview Jose to determine, at the very least,
his background that could have given her a more accurate basis for concluding that his APD is
rooted in his childhood or was already existing at the inception of the marriage. To be sure,
established parameters do not require that the expert witness personally examine the party
alleged to be suffering from psychological incapacity provided corroborating evidence are
presented sufficiently establishing the required legal parameters.

4. In sum, Dr. Tayag's assessment, even when taken together with the various testimonies, failed
to show that Jose's immaturity, irresponsibility, and infidelity rise to the level of psychological
incapacity that would justify the nullification of the parties' marriage.

Doctrine: It is well to reiterate that Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, is not a divorce law that
cuts the marital bond at the time the grounds for divorce manifest themselves; a marriage, no matter how
unsatisfactory, is not a null and void marriage. Thus, absent sufficient evidence establishing psychological
incapacity within the context of Article 36, the Court is compelled to uphold the indissolubility of the
marital tie.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.


13. Heirs of Gilberto Roldan vs. Heirs of Silvela Roldan
G.R. No. 202578 | 27 September 2017
Sereno (First Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Partition and Damages

Facts:

Natalia Magtulis owned an agricultural land in Kalibo, Aklan. Her heirs included Gilberto and
Silvela Roldan, her two children by her first marriage, and allegedly, Leopoldo Magtulis—her child with
another man (Juan Aguirre). After her death, Natalia left the lot to her children. However, Gilberto and his
heirs (petitioners) took possession of the property to the exclusion of the heirs of Silvela (respondents).
Respondents filed a Complaint for Partition and Damages against petitioners. The latter refused to yield the
property on the ground that respondents already sold Silvela’s share to Gilberto and Leopoldo, on the other
hand, has no cause of action as he was not a child of Natalia. The RTC ruled that respondents remained co-
owners with petitioners given that the petitioners failed to show a document evidencing the alleged sale. As
for Leopoldo, the RTC concluded he was a son of Natalia based on his records. Thus, the three parties were
declared to be entitled to 1/3 each of the property. Upon appeal, the CA affirmed the ruling of the RTC.
Before the SC, the petitioners reiterated their arguments and additionally contended that respondents lost
their rights over the property, since the action for partition was lodged before the RTC only in 2003, or 42
years since Gilberto occupied the property in 1961. Thus, petitioners aver that prescription already preclude
the respondents from claiming co-ownership over the property. Respondents assert that, as regards the issue
of prescription and laches, petitioners cannot invoke a new theory for the first time on appeal.

Issues:
Whether or not prescription and laches bar respondents from claiming co-ownership.

Held:
No. According to petitioners, prescription and laches have clearly set in given their continued
occupation of the property in the last 42 years. Prescription cannot be appreciated against the co-owners of
a property, absent any conclusive act of repudiation made clearly known to the other co-owners. Here,
petitioners merely allege that the purported co-ownership "was already repudiated by one of the parties"
without supporting evidence. Aside from the mere passage of time, there was failure on the part of
petitioners to substantiate their allegation of laches by proving that respondents slept on their rights.
Nevertheless, had they done so, two grounds deter them from successfully claiming the existence of
prescription and laches.
1. As demanded by the repudiation requisite for prescription to be appreciated, there is a need to
determine the veracity of factual matters such as the date when the period to bring the action
commenced to run. In Macababbad, Jr. v. Masirag, 34 we considered that determination as
factual in nature. The same is true in relation to finding the existence of laches. We held in
Crisostomo v. Garcia, Jr. that matters like estoppel, laches, and fraud require the presentation
of evidence and the determination of facts. Since petitions for review on certiorari under Rule
45 of the Rules of Court, as in this case, entertain questions of law, petitioners’ claim of
prescription and laches fail.
2. Petitioners alleged prescription and laches only before this Court. Raising a new ground for the
first time on appeal contravenes due process, as that act deprives the adverse party of the
opportunity to contest the assertion of the claimant. Since respondents were not able to refute
the issue of prescription and laches, this Court denies the new raised contention of the
petitioners.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is partially granted.


Heirs of Gilberto Roldan vs. Heirs of Silvela Roldan
G.R. No. 202578 | 27 September 2017
Sereno (First Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Partition and Damages

Facts:

Natalia Magtulis owned an agricultural land in Kalibo, Aklan. Her heirs inlucded Gilberto and
Silvela Roldan, her two children by her first marriage, and allegedly, Leopoldo Magtulis—her child with
another man (Juan Aguirre). After her death, Natalia left the lot to her children. However, Gilberto and his
heirs (petitioners) took possession of the property to the exclusion of the heirs of Silvela (respondents).
Respondents filed a Complaint for Partition and Damages against petitioners. The latter refused to yield the
property on the ground that respondents already sold Silvela’s share to Gilberto and Leopoldo, on the other
hand, has no cause of action as he was not a child of Natalia. The RTC ruled that respondents remained co-
owners with petitioners given that the petitioners failed to show a document evidencing the alleged sale. As
for Leopoldo, the RTC concluded he was a son of Natalia based on his Certificate of Baptism and Marriage
Contract. Thus, the three parties were declared to be entitled to 1/3 each of the property. Upon appeal,
petitioners asserted that the RTC could not have considered Leopoldo the son of Natalia on the mere basis
of his Certificate of Baptism; that filiation required a high standard of proof. They argued that the baptismal
certificate of Leopoldo served only as evidence of the administration of the sacrament. The CA affirmed
the ruling of the RTC stating that his Certificate of Baptism and Marriage Contract indicated her as his
mother. In their Motion for Reconsideration, they emphasized that the certificates of baptism and marriage
do not prove Natalia to be the mother of Leopoldo since these documents were executed without her
participation. Before the SC, the petitioners reiterated their arguments and additionally contended that
respondents lost their rights over the property, since the action for partition was lodged before the RTC
only in 2003, or 42 years since Gilberto occupied the property in 1961. Thus, petitioners aver that
prescription already preclude the respondents from claiming co-ownership over the property. Respondents
assert that, as regards the issue of prescription and laches, petitioners cannot invoke a new theory for the
first time on appeal.

Issue:
General: Whether the courts a quo correctly appreciated Leopoldo to be the son of Natalia based on his
baptismal and marriage certificates. – No.
Controlling: Whether the Baptismal Certificate and the Marriage Contract of Leopoldo, which merely stated
that Natalia is his mother, are inadequate to prove his filiation with the property owner. – Yes.

Held:
The parties concede that there is no record of Leopoldo’s birth in either the NSO or in the Municipal
Register of Kalibo, Aklan. The RTC and CA then referred to other means to prove his status: his Certificate
of Baptism and his Marriage Contract. Since both documents indicate Natalia as the mother of Leopoldo,
the courts a quo concluded that respondent heirs of Leopoldo had sufficiently proven the filiation of their
ancestor to Natalia. [The SC] disagrees. Jurisprudence has already assessed the probative value of baptismal
certificates. In Fernandez v. Court of Appeals, the Court explained that because the putative parent has no
hand in the preparation of a baptismal certificate, that document has scant evidentiary value. The canonical
certificate is simply a proof of the act to which the priest may certify, i.e., the administration of the
sacrament. In other words, a baptismal certificate is "no proof of the declarations in the record with respect
to the parentage of the child baptized, or of prior and distinct facts which require separate and concrete
evidence.” In cases that followed Fernandez, we reiterated that a baptismal certificate is insufficient to
prove filiation. But in Makati Shangri-La Hotel and Resort, Inc. v. llarper, this Court clarified that a
baptismal certificate has evidentiary value to prove kinship “if considered alongside other evidence of
filiation.” Therefore, to resolve one's lineage, courts must peruse other pieces of evidence instead of relying
only on a canonical record (e.g., family pictures, family books or charts). In this case, the courts below did
not appreciate any other material proof related to the baptismal certificate of Leopoldo that would establish
his filiation with Natalia. The only other document considered by the RTC and CA was the Marriage
Contract of Leopoldo. But, like his baptismal certificate, his Marriage Contract also lacks probative value
as the latter was prepared without the pariticpation of Natalia.
All told, the Baptismal Certificate and the Marriage Contract of Leopoldo, which merely stated that
Natalia is his mother, are inadequate to prove his filiation with the property owner. Moreover, by virtue of
these documents alone, RTC and the CA could not have justly concluded that Leopoldo and his successors-
in-interest were entitled to a one-third share of the property left by Natalia, equal to that of each of her
undisputed legitimate children. As held in Board of Commissioners v. Dela Rosa, a baptismal certificate is
certainly not proof of the status of legitimacy or illegitimacy of the claimant. Therefore, the CA erred in
presuming the hereditary rights of Leopoldo to be equal to those of the legitimate heirs of Natalia.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is Partially Granted. Only the heirs of Gilberto Roldan and Silvela Roldan are
declared co-owners of the land.
14. Republic of the Philippines vs. Marelyn Tanedo Manalo
G.R. No. 221029 | 24 April 2018
Peralta (En Banc)
Nature of the action: Petition for Cancellation of Entry of Marriage

Facts:
In 2012, Marelyn Tanedo Manalo (Manalo) filed a petition for cancellation of entry of marriage in
the Civil Registry of San Juan by virtue of a judgment of divorce rendered by a Japanese court. RTC of
Dagupan City found the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, so it set the case for initial hearing.
The OSG questioned the title and/or caption of the petition considering that, based on the allegations therein,
the proper action should be a petition for recognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment. Manalo then
submitted an Amended Petition (captioned that it is also a petition for recognition and enforcement of
foreign judgment), which the Court granted. The Petition stated that Manalo is previously married in the
Philippines to a Japanese national named Yoshino Minoro and that recently, Manalo herself filed a case for
divorce in Japan for which a divorce decree was rendered by the Japanese Court. Further, that this petition
is filed principally for the purpose of causing the cancellation of entry of the marriage between Manalo and
Minoro, pursuant to Rule 108, and that together with the cancellation of said entry of er marriage, that she
be allowed to return and use her maiden surname. The trial court denied the petition ruling that the divorce
obtained by Manalo in Japan should not be recognized. Based on Art. 15 of the New Civil Code “does not
afford Filipinos the right to file for a divorce”, whether they’re in the country or living abroad, if they’re
married to Filipinos or to foreigners, or if they celebrated their marriage in the Philippines or in another
country and that unless Filipinos “are naturalized as citizens of another country, Philippine laws shall have
control over issues related to Filipinos’ family rights and duties.” On appeal, the CA overturned the RTC
decision. It held that Art. 26 of the Family Code is applicable even if it was Manalo who filed for divorce
against her Japanese husband because the decree they obtained makes the latter no longer married to the
former, capacitating him to remarry. Conformably with Navarro, et al. v. Exec. Secretary Ermita et al.
ruling that the meaning of the law should be based on the intent of the lawmakers and in view of the
legislative intent behind Art. 26 it would be the height of injustice to consider Manalo as still married to
Minoro, who, in turn, is no longer married to her. The fact that it was Manalo who filed the divorce case is
inconsequential. The CA cited Van Dorn v. Judge Romillo, Jr. where the marriage between a foreigner and
a Filipino was dissolved through a divorce filed abroad by the latter. The OSG filed a motion for
reconsideration, which was denied. Hence, this Petition before the SC.

Issue:
Controlling: Whether, under Art. 26 (2), a Filipino citizen has the capacity to remarry under Philippine law
after initiating a divorce proceeding abroad and obtaining a favorable judgment against his or her alien
spouse who is capacitated to remarry.
General: Whether or not Manalo’s petition for cancellation of entry of marriage should be granted.

Held:
1. Yes.
a. Both Dacasin v. Dacasino and Van Dorn already recognized a foreign divorce decree that
was initiated and obtained by the Filipino spouse and extended its legal effects on the issues
of child custody and property relation, respectively.
b. In addition, the fact that a validly obtained foreign divorce initiated by the Filipino spouse
can be recognized and given legal effects in the Philippines is implied from Our rulings in
Fujiki v. Marinay, et al. and Medina v. Koike.
c. There is no compelling reason to deviate from the above-mentioned rulings. When this
Court recognized a foreign divorce decree that was initiated and obtained by the Filipino
spouse and extended its legal effects on the issues of child custody and property relation,
it should not stop short in likewise acknowledging that one of the usual and necessary
consequences of absolute divorce is the right to remarry.
d. Based on a clear and plain reading of the provision (Art. 26(2), FC), it only requires that
there be a divorce validly obtained abroad. The letter of the law does not demand that he
alien spouse should be the one who initiated the proceeding wherein the divorce was
granted. It does not distinguish whether the Filipino spouse is the petitioner or the
respondent in the foreign divorce proceeding. The legislature is presumed to know the
meaning of the words, to have used words advisedly, and to have expressed its intent by
the use of such words as are found in the statute. Verbal egis non est recedendum, or from
the words of a statute there should be no departure.
e. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that the word “obtained” should be interpreted to
mean that the divorce proceeding must be actually initiated by the alien spouse, still, the
Court will not follow the letter of the statute when to do so would depart form the true
intent of the legislature or would otherwise yield conclusions inconsistent with the general
purpose of the act.
f. Whether the Filipino spouse initiated the foreign divorce proceeding or not, a favorable
decree dissolving the marriage bond and capacitating his or her alien spouse to remarry
will have the same result: the Filipino spouse will effectively be without a husband or wife.
g. Conveniently invoking the nationality principle is erroneous. Such principle, found under
Article 15 of the Civil Code, is not an absolute and unbending rule. In fact, the mere
existence of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 is a testament that the State may provide for an
exception thereto. Moreover, blind adherence to the nationality principle must be
disallowed if it would cause unjust discrimination and oppression to certain classes of
individuals whose rights are equally protected by law.
h. In this case, We find that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 violates one of the essential requisites
of the equal protection clause. Particularly, the limitation of the provision only to a foreign
divorce decree initiated by the alien spouse is unreasonable as it is based on superficial,
arbitrary, and whimsical classification.
i. Further, the differentiation in Paragraph 2 of Article 26 is arbitrary. There is inequality in
treatment because a foreign divorce decree that was initiated and obtained by a Filipino
citizen against his or her alien spouse would not be recognized even if based on grounds
similar to Articles 35, 36, 37, and 38 of the Family Code. In filing for divorce based on
these grounds, the Filipino spouse cannot be accused of invoking foreign law at whim,
tantamount to insisting that he or she should be governed with whatever law he or she
chooses.
j. San Luis v, San Luis reiterated that he Filipino spouse should not be discriminated against
in his or her own country if the ends of the justice are to be served.

2. No resolution yet.
a. The foregoing notwithstanding, We cannot yet write finis to this controversy by granting
Manalo’s petition to recognize and enforce the divorce decree rendered by the Japanese
court and to cancel the entry of marriage in the Civil Registry of San Juan.
b. Jurisprudence has set guidelines before Philippine courts recognize a foreign judgment
relating to the state of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a foreign country.
Presentation solely of the divorce decree will not suffice. The fact of divorce must still first
be proven. Before a foreign divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party
pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign
law allowing it.
c. As it appears, the existence of the divorce decree was not denied by the OSG; neither was
the jurisdiction of the divorce court impeached nor the validity of its proceedings
challenged on the ground of collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of fact or law, albeit an
opportunity to do so. Nonetheless, the Japanese law on divorce must still be proved.
d. Since the divorce was raised by Manalo, the burden of proving the pertinent Japanese law
validating it, as well as her former husband’s capacity to remarry, fall squarely upon her.
Japanese laws on persons and family relations are not among those matters that Filipino
judges are supposes to know by reason of their judicial function.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED. The case is REMANDED on the court of
origin for further proceedings and reception of evidence as to the relevant Japanese law on divorce.
15. Jose Sanico and Vicente Castro v. Werherlina P. Colipano
G.R. No. 209969 | 27 September 2017
Caguioa (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Breach of Contract of Carriage and Damages

Facts:
On Christmas Day of 1993, at around 4:00 in the afternoon, Colipano and her daughter rode a
jeepney operated by Sanico and driven by Castro (petitioners). Colipano claimed that she was made to sit
on an empty beer case at the endge of the rear entrance/exit of the jeepney with her sleeping child on her
lap. At an uphill incline, the jeepney slid backwards because it lost power. Colipano pushed both her feet
against the step board to prevent herself and her child from being thrown out of the exit, but because the
step board was wet, her left foot slipped and got crushed between the step board and a coconut tree which
the jeepney bumped. Her leg was badly injured and was eventually amputated. In 1997, Colipano filed a
complaint for breach of contract of carriage and damages against Sanico and Castro who admitted that
Colipano’s leg was crushed and amputated but claimed that it was her fault. They admitted that the jeepney
slid backwards because the jeepney lost power. The constructed then instructed everyone not to panic but
Colipano tried to disembark and her foot got caught in between the step board and the coconut tree. Sanico
claimed that he paid for all the hospital and medical expenses of Colipano, and that Colipano eventually
freely and voluntarily executed an Affidavit of Desistance and Release of Claim. The RTC found both
petitioners breached the contract of carriage between them and Colipano but only awarded actual and
compensatory damages in favor of Colipano. On appeal, the CA affirmed with modification the RTC
Decision. Hence, this Petition before the SC.

Issue/s:
a. Whether or not Sanico and Castro breached the contract of carriage with Colipano.
b. Whether or not the amount of damages awarded were correct.

Held:
1. Only Sanico breached the contract of carriage
a. Here it is beyond dispute that Colipano was injured while she was a passenger in the
jeepney owned and operated by Sanico that was being driven by Castro. Both the CA
and RTC found Sanico and Castro jointly and severally liable. This, however, is
erroneous because only Sanico was the party to the contract of carriage with Colipaco.

b. Since the cause of action is based on a breach of a contract of carriage, the liability of
Sanico is direct as the contract is between him and Colipano. Castro, being merely the
driver of Sanico's jeepney, cannot be made liable as he is not a party to the contract of
carriage.

c. Sanico is liable as operator and owner of a common carrier. Specific to a contract of


carriage, the Civil Code requires common carriers to observe extraordinary diligence
in safely transporting their passengers.

 This extraordinary diligence, following Article 1755 of the Civil Code, means that common carriers have
the obligation to carry passengers safely as far as human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost
diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard for all the circumstances.
 In case of death of or injury to their passengers, Article 1756 of the Civil Code provides that common carriers
are presumed to have been at fault or negligent, and this presumption can be overcome only by proof of the
extraordinary diligence exercised to ensure the safety of the passengers.
 Being an operator and owner of a common carrier, Sanico was required to observe extraordinary diligence
in safely transporting Colipano. When Colipano's leg was injured while she was a passenger in Sanico's
jeepney, the presumption of fault or negligence on Sanico's part arose and he had the burden to prove that
he exercised the extraordinary diligence required of him. He failed to do this.
d. Art. 1170 also applies. There is no question here that making Colipano sit on the empty beer
case was a clear showing of how Sanico contravened the tenor of his obligation to safely
transport Colipano from the place of departure to the place of destination as far as human care
and foresight can provide, using utmost diligence of very cautious persons, and with due regard
for all circumstances.

2. The Affidavit of Desistance and Release of Claim is void. The RTC ruled that the Affidavit of Desistance
and Release of Claim is not binding on plaintiff [Colipano] in the absence of proof that the contents
thereof were sufficiently translated and explained to her.
3. Amount of compensatory damages granted is incorrect.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTLY GRANTED.


16. Maria Victoria Socorro Lontoc-Cruz v. Nilo Santos Cruz
G.R. No. 201988 | 11 October 2017
Del Castillo (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:

Marivi, then 22, met Nilo, then 28, sometime in 1986. Thy got married in the same year and had
two sons. In 2005, Marivi filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage based on
psychological incapacity. She averred that it has been medically claimed that Nilo was suffering
from a “personality disorder of the mixed type”. Nilo, on the other hand, believed that they were
both suffering from psychological incapacity, and that he was not singularly responsible for the
breakdown of their marriage. He stressed that Marivi also contributed to it. Marivi, in addition to
her claims of Nilo’s behavior, also narrated that Nilo would engage in extramarital affairs. Nilo
acknowledged his contribution to the breakdown of the marriage because his job required him to
come home late, his inability to sexually perform adequately, etc. At the same time he insisted that
Marivi also contributed to the collapse of their union due to her jealousy and prima donna attitude.
To support her claim, Marivi presented Dr. Cecilia Villegas, a psychiatrist and Dr. Ruben
Encarnacion, a clinical psychologist. Dr. Villegas diagnosed both of them of having personality
disorders. The RTC denied the Petition. Petitioner appealed to the CA. The CA upheld the RTC
and rejected the alleged existence of psychological incapacity pointed out by Dr. Villegas and Dr.
Encarnacion.

Issue: Whether the psychological conditions of the parties fall under Art. 36, of the Family Court to warrant
the declaration of nullity of marriage.

Held:
No. Notably, mere showing of irreconcilable differences and conflicting personalities in no wise
constitutes psychological incapacity. Nor does failure of the parties to meet their responsibilities and duties
as married persons amount to psychological incapacity. With specific reference to the case before us, even
granting that both parties did suffer from personality disorders as evaluated by the expert witnesses. What
can be inferred from the totality of evidence, at most, is a case of incompatibility. For personality disorder
to be declared clinically or medically incurable or permanent is one thing; for a spouse to refuse or to be
reluctant to perform his/her material duties is another. Upon the view we take of this case, thus, this Court
believes that protagonists in this case are in reality simply unwilling to work out a solution for each other’s
personality differences, and have thus become overwhelmed by feelings of disappointment or
disillusionment toward one another. Sadly, a marriage, even if unsatisfactory, is not a null and void
marriage.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED.


17. Yolanda E. Garlet vs. Vencidor T. Garlet
G.R. No. 193544 | 2 August 2017
Leonardo-De Castro (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
Yolanda and Vencidor met each other sometime in 1988 through a common friend. They became
intimately involved and a as a result, Yolanda became pregnant due to intoxication in a party they both
attended. They eventually got married in 1994 afterwhich they begot a second child. They, however, starte
to having marital problems. After seven years of marriage, Yolanda and Vencidor separated in 2001.
Yoland now has custody over their two children. In 2005, Yoland filed a petition for Declaration of Nullity
of Marriage on the ground of Vencidor’s alleged psychological incapacity to fulfill his essential marital
obligations to Yoland and their children. During trial, Yolanda testified for herself, along with her sister,
their children’s nanny, and a clinical psychologist (Dr. De Guzman). Yolanda alleged that when she got
pregnant out of wedlock, Vencidor refused to support her and even urged to have an abortion. She had to
support her son by going to Japan to work as a cultural dancer for six months. She maintained her
relationship with Vencidor solely for the sake of their son. He continued to be jobless and had no money to
contribute for any of the real estate purchases that Yolanda made. And never bothered to look for a stable
job even after they got married and had a second child. After going back and forth to Japan to work, Yolanda
discovered that Vencidor had squandered her hard-earned money. Dr. De Guzman attempted to personally
interview Vencidor but failed to do so. Nevertheless, she explained that her failure to do so would not affect
her findings because what is being observed is the subsconscious which can be correlated to manifest
behavior. She cleared Yolanda of any psychological disorder, and found Vencirdor to be suffering from
narcissistic type of personality disorder. The RTC gave weight to Dr. De Guzman’s conclusion that
Vencidor was suffering from a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The RTC awarded the custody of the
children to Yolanda, but granted weekly visitation rights to Vencidor and ordered the same to give support.
Vencidor appealed before the CA. The CA reversed the ruling of the RTC. The CA found that the totality
of evidence adduced by Yolanda was not enough to sustain a finding that Vencidor was psychologically
incapacitated. At best, her evidence showed that Vencidor was irresponsible, insensitive, or emotionally
immature but it did not show that he suffered from psychological malady as to deprive him of awareness
of his duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond. Hence, this case before the SC.

Issue:
Whether or not Yolanda’s evidence is no different from hearsay.
Whether or not the root cause of Vencidor’s psychological incapacity was not sufficiently
explained.

Held:
1. Yes. The totality of Yolanda’s evidence is insufficient to establish Vencidor’s psychological
incapacity. She imputes almost every imaginable negative character train against Vencidor, but
not only do they not satisfactorily constitute manifestations of his psychological incapacity, her
averments are riddled with inconsistencies that are sometimes contradicted by her own
evidence. Even assuming Vencidor initially reacted adversely to her pregnancy with their first
child, it would appear from his subsequent actions that he had come to accept the child.
Contrary to petitioner’s assertion, it appears that respondent took on several jobs. More
importantly, it is settled in jurisprudence that refusal to look for a job per se is not indicative
of a psychological defect. As for respondent’s alleged drinking and gambling vices, petitioner
herself had no personal knowledge of the same, relying only on what relatives relayed to her
while she was in Japan. Being hearsay evidence, petitioner’s testimony on the matter had no
probative value even if allowed by the Court as part of her narration.
2. While the Court does not hold respondent totally without blame or free of shortcomings, but
his failings are husband and father are not tantamount to psychological incapacity. Finally, the
Court is not bound by Ms. De Guzman’s Psychological Report. While the Court previously
held that “there is no requirement that the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated
be personally examined by a physician,” yet, this is qualified by the phrase, “if the totality of
evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of psychological incapacity.” The
psychologist’s findings must still be subjected to a careful and serious scrutiny as to the bases
of the same, particularly, the source/s of information, as well as the methodology employed.

WHEREFORE, petition is DENIED.


18. Manuel R. Bakunawa III vs. Nora Reyes Bakunawa
G.R. No. 217993 | 9 August 2017
Reyes, Jr. (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
Manuel and Nora met in 1974 at the University of the Philippines and became sweethearts. When
Nora became pregnant, they got married in 1975. Nora was able to graduate while Manuel had to stop his
studies to help his father in the family’s construction business. Manuel was assigned to provincial projects
and came home only during weekends. Whenever he came back from his provincial assignments, he chose
to spend his limited time with friends and girlfriends instead of family. Manuel and Nora lived separately
from Manuel’s parents. It was during this period that Manuel first observed Nora’s passiveness and laziness.
Their house was often dirty and disorderly. Thus, Manuel became more irritated with Nora and their verbal
quarrels escalated to physical violence. Nora gave birth to their second child. However, nothing changed in
their relationship. Manuel even had extramarital affairs until he eventually left Nora to cohabit with his
girlfriend. Nora became pregnant again and thereafter gave birth to their third child. Manuel filed a petition
for Declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground that he and Nora are psychologically incapacitated to
comply with the essential obligations of marriage. Manuel presented a psychiatrist, Dr. Villegas, who
testified that Manuel has Intermittent Explosive Disorder, characterized by irritability and aggressive
behavior that is not proportionate to the cause. Dr. Villegas diagnosed Nora with Passive Aggressive
Personality Disorder, marked by a display of negative attitude and passive resistance in her relationship
with Manuel. Her findings were based on her interview with Manuel and the parties’ eldest son, Moncho,
because Nora did not participate in the psychological assessment. The RTC granted the petition. Nora
appealed to the CA, arguing inter alia that the RTC erred in finding that the testimony of the psychiatrist is
sufficient to prove the parties’ psychological incapacity. The CA granted Nora’s appeal and reversed the
RTC. Manuel’s motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this case before the SC.

Issue:
Whether or not the totality of evidence presented by Manuel is insufficient to prove that he and
Nora are psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential obligations of marriage.

Held.
Yes. As the CA correctly ruled, the totality of evidence presented by Manuel comprising of his
testimony and that of Dr. Villegas, as well as the latter’s psychological incapacitated to perform the essential
obligations of marriage. Dr. Villegas’ conclusion that Manuel is afflicted with Intermittent Explosive
Disorder and that Nora has Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder which render them psychologically
incapacitated under Art. 36 is solely based on her interviews with Manuel and the parties’ eldest child,
Moncho. Consequently, the CA did not err in not according probative value to her psychological evaluation
report and testimony. In Republic vs. Galang, the Court held that “[if] the incapacity can be proven by
independent means, no reason exists why such independent proof cannot be admitted to support a
conclusion of psychological incapacity, independently of a psychologist’s examination and report.” In this
case, the only person interview by Dr. Villegas aside from Manuel for the spouses’ psychological evaluation
was Moncho, who could not be considered as a reliable witness to establish the psychological incapacity of
his parents in relation to Art. 36, since he could not have been there at the time his parents were married.
The Court also notes that Dr. Villegas did not administer any psychological tests on Manuel despite having
had the opportunity to do so. The supposed personality disorder of Manuel could have been established by
means of psychometric and neurological tests which are objective means designated to measure specific
aspects of people’s intelligence, thinking, or personality.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.


19. Dolores Alejo vs. Spouses Ernesto Cortez and Priscilla San Pedro, Spouses Jorge Leonardo and
Jacinta Leonardo and the Register of Deeds of Bulacan
G.R. No. 206114 | 19 June 2017
Tijam (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Annulment of Deed of Sale

Facts:
Spouses Jorge and Jacinta Leonardo owned a parcel of land belonging to their conjugal/community
property. Sometime in 1996, Jorge’s father, Ricardo, approached his sister, herein petitioner Dolores Alejo,
to negotiate the sale of the subject property. Jacinta executed a Kasuduan with Dolores for the sale of the
property. Jorge did not sign the Kasunduan. Dolores paid the agreed downpayment and thereafter allowed
to possess the property and introduce improvements. Jorge wrote a letter to Dolores denying knowledge
and consent to the Kasunduan due to Dolores’ failure to comply with her obligations. Jorge sent another
letter demanding Dolores to pay the balance, otherwise the purchase price shall be increased. Dolores claims
that was being compelled by Jorge to sign the agreement but that she refused to do so. Jorge allegedly
refused to accept the balance that she tendered. Instead, he filed cases for ejectment and annulment of sale.
However, during the pendency of the said cases, the subject property was sold by Jorge and Jacinta to
respondents Spouses Cortez under a Deed of Absolute Sale. Consequently, Dolores filed the case a quo for
annulment of deed of sale and damages against Spouses Cortez and Spouses Leonardo. In its Decision, the
RTC noted that while the Kasunduan patently lacks the written consent of Jorge, the latter’s acts reveal that
he later on acquiesced and accepted the same. The RTC declared the Kasunduan as a perfected contract and
Dolores as the rightful owner of the property. The CA granted the appeal. The CA held that Jorge, by
imposing a new period within which Dolores was to pay the remaining balance and by increasing the
purchase price, only qualifiedly accepted the Kasunduan. Being a qualified acceptance, the same partakes
of a counter-offer and is a rejection of the original offer. The CA declared the Kasunduan as void absent
Jorge’s consent and acceptance. Nevertheless, the CA found Dolores to be a possessor in good faith who is
entitled to reimbursement for the useful improvements introduced on the land or to the increase in the value
thereof, at the option of the Spouses Leonardo.

Issue:
General: Whether or not the Kasunduan is a perfected and binding contract as it was accepted by Jorge
through his over acts.
Controlling: Whether or not sale by one spouse of conjugal real property is void without the written consent
of the other spouse.

Held:

1. No.
2. Yes. Sale by one spouse of conjugal real property is void without the written consent of the other
spouse.
a. Any alienation or encumbrance of conjugal property made during the effectivity of the
Family Code is governed by Article 124. The law is therefore unequivocal when it states
that the disposition of conjugal property of one spouse sans the written consent of the other
is void. Here, it is an established fact that the Kasunduan was entered into solely by Jacinta
and signed by her alone. By plain terms of the law therefore, the Kasunduan is void.
b. Nevertheless, We agree with the RTC and the CA when it held that the void Kasunduan
constitutes a continuing offer from Jacinta and Dolores and that Jorge had the option of
either accepting or rejecting the offer before it was withdrawn by either, or both, Jacinta
and Dolores.
c. The point of contention is whether Jorge accepted such continuing offer. If so, then the
Kasunduan is perfected as a binding contract; otherwise, the Kasunduan remains void.
Clearly, Jorge’s first letter was an outright and express repudiation of the Kasunduan. The
second letter, while ostensibly a demand for compliance with Dolores’ obligation under
the Kasunduan, varied its terms on material points, i.e., the date of payment of the balance
and the purchase price. Consequently, such counter-offer cannot be construed as
evidencing Jorge’s consent to or acceptance of the Kasunduan for it is settled that where
the other spouse’s putative consent to the sale of the conjugal property appears in a separate
document which does not contain the same terms and conditions as the first document
signed by the other spouse, a valid transaction could not have arisen.
d. Neither can Jorge’s subsequent letters to Dolores be treated as a ratification of the
Kasunduan for the basic reason that a void contract is not susceptible to ratification.
20. Bank of the Philippines Islands [Formerly Far East Bank and Trust Company] vs. Violeta Pesons,
et al.,
G.R. No. 196213 | 27 March 2017
(Third Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of REM, Annulment of extrajudicial foreclosure,
and Reconveyance of property

Facts:
Benjamin Pesos (Benjamin), the husband of herein respondent Violeta Pesons (Violeta), was the
registered owner of a parcel of land in Cebu. Benjamin obtained several loans from Far East Bank and Trust
Company (FEBTC, now BPI). The loans were evidenced by three promissory notes (PN), which were
signed by the Spouses Pesons. They constituted a real estate mortgage (REM) over the subject property,
including all improvements thereon in favor of FEBTC. The spouses failed to pay their loan, thus the
FEBTC instituted extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings. During the auction sale, FEBTC emerged as the
highest bidder and was consequently issued a certificate of sale. The spouses did not redeem the subject
property after one year following the issuance of certificate of sale, so the FEBTC consolidated its title to
the same. Since the Spouses Pesons were still in possession of the subject property, FEBTC led a petition
for the issuance of a writ of possession of the subject property. Violeta filed a complaint for declaration of
Nullity of REM, annulment of extrajudicial foreclosure, reconveyance of property. Violeta claimed that the
subject property was their family home and the REM was executed without her consent. She claimed that
she only came to know of the mortgage when she received an order from the RTC, directing them to vacate
the subject property since its title had already been transferred in FEBTC's name. FEBTC maintained that
Violeta knowingly and voluntarily participated in the execution of the REM over the subject property and
that she personally signed the contract therefor. FEBTC claimed that the subject property is not a family
home and, assuming that it is, it is not exempt from execution. Violeta testified that Benjamin was no longer
staying in their house; that she neither saw nor signed any REM. A handwriting expert testified that the
signature in the REM was indeed forged. The RTC ruled in favor of respondents giving credence to the
testimony of the handwriting expert and, accordingly, declared the REM a nullity. On appeal, the CA
affirmed in toto the RTC’s Decision. Hence, the instant petition.

Issue:
General: Whether the REM constituted on the subject property is null and void.
Controlling: Whether the respondents were able to properly set up the defense that the subject property is
a family home and prove such claim.

1. Yes.
a. Spouses Pesons were married prior to the effectivity of the Family Code and their property
relations, in the absence of a marriage settlement, is governed by the system of conjugal partnership
of gains under the Civil Code.

b. Pursuant to the system of conjugal partnership of gains, all property of the marriage is presumed to
belong to the conjugal partnership, unless it be proved that it pertains exclusively to the husband or
to the wife.

c. Further, any alienation or encumbrance of any real property belonging to the conjugal partnership
by the husband without the wife's consent, express or implied, is voidable.

Thus, considering that Violeta did not give her consent to the encumbrance of the subject property, which
presumably belongs to the conjugal partnership in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the lower courts
correctly ordered the nullification of the REM.

2. Immaterial.

The issue of whether the subject property is a family home and whether such fact was properly claimed and
set up by the respondents is immaterial; the REM constituted thereon, in the first place, was void since
Violeta did not give her consent thereto. Accordingly, the Court sees no reason to further discuss the parties'
respective contentions on this issue.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.


21. Romeo F. Ara and William A. Garcia vs. Dra. Fely S. Pizarro and Henry Rossi
G.R. No. 187273 | 15 February 2017
Leonen (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Partition of Properties

Facts:
Romeo F. Ara and William A. Garcia (petitioners), and Dra. Fely S. Pizarro and Henry A. Rossi
(respondents) all claimed to be children of the late Josefa A. Ara (Josefa). Petitioners assert that Fely S.
Pizarro (Pizarro) was born to Josefa and her then husband, Vicente Salgado (Salgado), who died during
World War II. At some point after WWII, Josefa lived with an American soldier (Darwin Gray). Romeo F.
Ara (Ara) was born from this relationship. Josefa later met a certain Alfredo Garcia, and from this
relationship, gave birth to sons Ramon Garcia (Ramon) and William A. Garcia (Garcia). Josefa and Alfredo
got married in 1952. After Alfredo passed away, Josefa met an Italian missionary named Frank Rossi, who
allegedly fathered Henry Rossi (Rossi). Respondent Pizarro claims that, to her knowledge, she is the only
child of Josefa. Further, Garcia’s Certificate of Live Birth reflects a different name for the mother. The
same is true for petitioner Ara. Petitioners, together with Ramon and herein respondent Rossi, verbally
sought partition of the properties left by the deceased Josefa, which were in the possession of respondent
Pizarro. Respondent Pizarro refused to partition these properties. The Trial Court found that Ara and Garcia
are children of Josefa, and including them in the partition of properties. On appeal, the CA ruled that only
Respondents Pizarro and Rossi, as well as Ramon were the children of the late Josefa. It found that the Trial
Court erred in allowing petitioners to prove their status as illegitimate sons of Josefa. Hence, this Petition
before the Court. Petitioners assert that during Josefa's lifetime, Josefa acknowledged all of them as her
children directly, continuously, spontaneously, and without concealment. Petitioners assert that during
Josefa's lifetime, Josefa acknowledged all of them as her children directly, continuously, spontaneously,
and without concealment. On respondent Rossi, petitioners claim that there is no direct evidence to prove
his filiation to Josefa, except for his Baptismal Certificate, which was testified to only by respondent Rossi.

Issue: Whether petitioners may prove their filiation to Josefa through their open and continuous possession
of the status of illegitimate children, found in Art. 172 (2) of the Family Code.

Held: “For a claim of filiation to succeed, it must be made within the period allowed, and supported by
the evidence required under the Family Code.”

No. In Art. 175, the Family Code provides that illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate
filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. In Art. 172, it stated that filiation
of legitimate children is established by the record of birth/an admission of legitimate filiation in a public
document or a private handwritten instrument, or open and continuous possession of the status of a
legitimate child/any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. The action to claim
legitimacy may be brought by the child during his or her lifetime and shall be transmitted to the heirs should
the child die during minority or in a state of insanity. In these cases, the heirs shall have a period of five
years within which to institute the action (Art. 173). While the private respondent has admitted that he has
none of the documents mentioned in the first paragraph (which are practically the same documents
mentioned in Article 278 of the Civil Code except for the "private handwritten instrument signed by the
parent himself"), he insists that he has nevertheless been "in open and continuous possession of the status
of an illegitimate child," which is now also admissible as evidence of filiation. The problem of the private
respondent, however, is that, since he seeks to prove his filiation under the second paragraph of Art.172
(i.e., open and continuous possession of the status of an illegitimate child), his action is now barred because
of his alleged father's death in 1975. Petitioners did not present evidence that would prove their illegitimate
filiation to their putative parent, Josefa, after her death as provided under Articles 172 and 175 of the Family
Code. None of the documents they submitted fall under the first paragraph of Art. 172. True, birth
certificates offer prima facie evidence of filiation. To overthrow the presumption of truth contained in a
birth certificate, a high degree of proof is needed. However, the circumstances surrounding the delayed
registration prevent us from according it the same weight as any other birth certificate. A delayed
registration of birth, made after the death of the putative parent, is tenuous proof of filiation. Thus, we are
unable to accord petitioner Garcia's delayed registration of birth the same evidentiary weight as regular
birth certificates.

The evidence presented by petitioners such as group pictures with Josefa and petitioners' relatives, and
testimonies do not show that Josefa is their mother. They do not contain any acts, declarations, or omissions
attributable directly to Josefa, much less ones pertaining to her filiation with petitioners. Josefa passed
away in 2002. After her death, petitioners could no longer be allowed to introduce evidence of open and
continuous illegitimate filiation to Josefa. The only evidence allowed under the law would be a record of
birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, or an admission of legitimate filiation in a public
document or a private signed, handwritten instruction by Josefa. Respondent Pizarro has submitted
petitioners' certificates of live birth to further disprove petitioners' filiation with Josefa. On the other hand,
petitioners themselves admitted in their Complaint that respondents were Josefa’s children.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is DENIED.


22. Mirasol Castillo vs. Republic of the Philippines and Felipe Impas
G.R. No. 214064 | 6 February 2017
Peralta (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
Mirasol and Felipe started as friends (as their parents were good friends and business partners) and
became sweethearts. During their courtship, Mirasol discovered that Felipe sustained his affair with his
former girlfriend, thus, their relationship turned tumultuous. With the intervention of their parents, they
reconciled, got married, and begot two children. Mirasol filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of
marriage alleging that at the beginning their union was harmonious but after 13 years of marriage, Felipe
resumed philandering. Their relatives and friends saw him with different women and she herself even
caught him in a compromising act with another woman. He did not bother to explain or apologize. Tired of
her husband's infidelity, she left the conjugal dwelling and stopped any communication with him. Felipe's
irresponsible acts like cohabiting with another woman, not communicating with her, and not supporting
their children for a period of not less than ten (10) years without any reason, constitute a severe
psychological disorder. Mirasol presented a clinical psychologist who, in her Psychological Evaluation
Report, concluded that Felipe is psychologically in capacitated to fulfill the essential marital obligations.
The RTC declared their marriage null and void. On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of
the RTC ruling that Mirasol failed to present sufficient evidence to prove that Felipe was suffering from
psychological incapacity, thus, incapable of performing marital obligations due to some psychological
illness existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Upon denial of her motion for reconsideration,
Mirasol elevated the case before this Court.

Issue:
General: Whether or not the totality of evidence presented warrants the declaration of nullity of the marriage
of Mirasol and Felipe on the ground of that latter’s psychological incapacity under Art. 36.
Controlling: Whether or not the expert witness’ failure to interview Felipe personally lends her findings
with less probative value.

Held:
1. No. The OSG argues that Mirasol failed to establish from the totality of evidence the gravity,
juridical antecedence and incurability of Felipe's alleged Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The
conclusions of the clinical psychologist that he was psychologically incapacitated and that such
incapacity was present at the inception of the marriage were not supported by evidence. At
most, the psychologist merely proved his refusal to perform his marital obligations. Moreover,
she has no personal knowledge of the facts from which she based her findings and was working
on pure assumptions and secondhand information related to her by one side. A perusal of the
RTC's decision would reveal that there was no assessment of the veracity of such allegations,
the credibility of the witnesses, and the weight of the pieces of evidence presented. Also, there
were no factual findings which can serve as bases for its conclusion of Felipe's psychological
incapacity. It was admitted by the expert witness that she evaluated Felipe’s psychological
condition indirectly from the information gathered from Mirasol and her witness. Felipe's
dysfunctional family portrait which brought about his personality disorder as painted in the
evaluation was based solely on the assumed truthful knowledge of petitioner. There was no
independent witness knowledgeable of respondent's upbringing interviewed by the
psychologist or presented before the trial court. The spouses’ common friend who confirmed
the information given by Mirasol by alleging that she knew Felipe as a “chick boy” or
“playboy” did not even testify in court. Aside from the psychologist, petitioner did not present
other witnesses to substantiate her allegations on Felipe's infidelity notwithstanding the fact
that she claimed that their relatives saw him with other women. Her testimony, therefore, is
considered self- serving and had no serious evidentiary value.

2. Yes. The findings on Felipe's personality pro􏰇le did not emanate from a personal interview
with the subject himself. Apart from the psychologist's opinion and petitioner's allegations, no
other reliable evidence was cited to prove that Felipe's sexual infidelity was a manifestation of
his alleged personality disorder, which is grave, deeply rooted, and incurable

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition.


22. Erlinda Dinglasan Delos Santos and her daughters vs. Alberto Abejon and the estate of Teresita
Dinglasan Abejon
G.R. No. 215820 | 20 March 2017
Perlas-Bernabe (First Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Cancellation of Title

Facts:
Herein respondents filed a Complaint for Cancellation of Title with collection of money against
petitioners alleging that Erlinda and her late husband Pedro Delos Santos (Pedro) borrowed 100,000 from
the former’s sister, Teresita, as evidenced by a Promissory Note. As security for the loan, Erlinda and Pedro
mortgaged their property in Makati. After Pedro died, Erlinda ended up being unable to pay the loan, and
as such, agreed to sell the subject land to Teresita for which they executed a Deed of Sale and a Release of
Mortgage. Thereafter, respondents constructed a 3-storey building on the subject land. Despite the
foregoing, petitioners refused to acknowledge the sale, pointing out that since Pedro died in 1989, his
signature in the Deed of Sale executed in 1992 was definitely forged. As such, respondents demanded from
petitioners consideration for the sale of the subject land and the construction cost of the 3-store building,
but to no avail. Thus, respondents filed the instant case. The RTC declared the Deed of Sale null and void
ruling that respondents should be reimbursed for the amount of the loan, as well as the expenses incurred
for the construction of the three (3)-story building in view of petitioners' categorical admission of their
indebtedness to her, as well as the construction of the building from which they derived benefit being the
actual occupants of the property. The CA affirmed the RTC ruling that since petitioners admitted their
indebtedness to Teresita during the pre-trial proceedings, respondents should be allowed to recover the
amount representing the same, including the appropriate interest.

Issue: Whether or not respondents were builders in good faith.

Held: No.
 It is more accurate to apply the rules on accession with respect to immovable property, specifically
with regard to builders, planters, and sowers, as this case involves a situation where the landowner
(petitioners) is different from the owner of the improvement built therein, i.e., the three (3)-story
building (respondents). Thus, there is a need to determine whether petitioners as landowners on
the one hand, and respondents on the other, are in good or bad faith.
 The terms builder, planter, or sower in good faith as used in reference to Article 448 of the Civil
Code, refers to one who, not being the owner of the land, builds, plants, or sows on that land
believing himself to be its owner and unaware of the defect in his title or mode of acquisition.
 "The essence of good faith lies in an honest belief in the validity of one's right, ignorance of a
superior claim, and absence of intention to overreach another."
 On the other hand, bad faith may only be attributed to a landowner when the act of building,
planting, or sowing was done with his knowledge and without opposition on his part.
 The Deed of Sale was executed in 1992. Teresita was apprised of Pedro's death as early as 1990
when she went on a vacation in the Philippines.
 As such, she knew all along that the aforesaid Deed of Sale — which contained a signature
purportedly belonging to Pedro, who died in 1989, or three (3) years prior to its execution — was
void and would not have operated to transfer any rights over the subject land to her name. Despite
such awareness of the defect in their title to the subject land, respondents still proceeded in
constructing a three (3)-story building thereon. Indubitably, they should be deemed as builders in
bad faith.
 On the other hand, petitioners knew of the defect in the execution of the Deed of Sale from the
start, but nonetheless, still acquiesced to the construction of the three (3)-story building thereon.
Hence, they should likewise be considered as landowners in bad faith.
 Whenever both the landowner and the builder/planter/sower are in good faith (or in bad faith,
pursuant to the afore-cited provision), the landowner is given two (2) options under Article 44836
of the Civil Code, namely:(a) he may appropriate the improvements for himself after reimbursing
the buyer (the builder in good faith) the necessary and useful expenses under Articles 546 37 and
548 38 of the Civil Code; or (b) he may sell the land to the buyer, unless its value is considerably
more than that of the improvements, in which case, the buyer shall pay reasonable rent.
 Applying the aforesaid rule in this case, under the first option, petitioner may appropriate for
themselves the three (3)-story building on the subject land after payment of the indemnity provided
for in Articles 546 and 548 of the Civil Code, as applied in existing jurisprudence. Under this
option, respondents would have a right of retention over the three (3)-story building as well as the
subject land until petitioners complete the reimbursement. Under the second option, petitioners
may sell the subject land to respondents at a price equivalent to the current market value thereof.
However, if the value of the subject land is considerably more than the value of the three (3)- story
building, respondents cannot be compelled to purchase the subject land. Rather, they can only be
obliged to pay petitioners reasonable rent
Thus, following prevailing jurisprudence, the instant case is remanded to the court a quo for the purpose of
determining matters necessary for the proper application of Articles 448 and 453, in relation to Articles 546
and 548 of the Civil Code, 41 as applied in existing jurisprudence.

The case is REMANDED.


23. In the Matter of Petition for Cancellation of Certificates of Live Birth of Yuhares Jan Barcelote
Tinitigan and Avee Kynna Noelle Barcelote Tinitigan Jonna Karla Baguio Barcelote vs. Republic of
the Philippines, Ricky O. Tinitigan, and Local Civil Registrar, Davao City
G.R. No. 222095 | 7 August 2017
Carpio (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Cancellation of Birth Certificates

Facts:
Jonna Karla Baguio Barcelote (Barcelote) alleged that she bore a child out of wedlock with a
married man named Ricky O. Tinitigan (Tinitigan) in her relative’s residence in Davao. She was not able
to register the birth of their child, whom she named Yohan Grace Barcelote, because she did not give birth
in a hospital. She bore another child with Tinitigan, whom she named as Joshua Miguel Barcelote. Again,
she did not register his birth to avoid humiliation, ridicule, and possible criminal charges. Thereafter, she
lost contact with Tinitigan. When her first child needed a certificate of live birth for school admission,
Barcelote finally decided to register the births of both children. However, upon submission of the copies of
the late registration of the births to the NSO, Barcelote was informed that there were two certificates of live
birth with the same name of the mother and the years of birth of the children in their office. Thus, Barcelote
filed a petition with the RTC for the cancellation of the subject birth certificates registered by Tinitigan
which she alleged were registered without her knowledge and participation, and containing erroneous
entries (but she did not present any other evidence). The RTC ruled in favor of Barcelote and ordered the
cancellation of the birth certificates, ruling that the certificates were legally infirm because they were
registered unilaterally by Tinitigan without the knowledge and signature of Barcelote in violation of Sec.
5, Act No. 3753. The RTC also held that the subject birth certificates contain void and illegal entries,
because the children use the surname of Tinitigan, contrary to the mandate of Article 176 of the Family
Code stating that illegitimate children shall use the surname of their mother. Moreover, the RTC found that
it is not for the best interest of the children to use the surname of their father, for there is always a possibility
that the legitimate children or wife may ask the illegitimate children to refrain from using the surname of
their father. On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the decision of the RTC, and ruled that the birth
certificates registered by Tinitigan were valid and such did not require the consent of Barcelote. The CA
further ruled that the children can legally and validly use the surname of Tinitigan, since Republic Act No.
(RA) 9255, amending Article 176, allows illegitimate children to use the surname of their father if the latter
had expressly recognized them through the record of birth appearing in the civil register, such as in this
case where Barcelote admitted that Tinitigan personally registered the children's births and a fixed his
surname on the subject birth certificates.

Issues:
Whether or not Petitioner’s children should use their mother’s last name
Whether the mother’s choice of names for her children should prevail, being the one with parental
authority.

Held:
Yes. According to Art. 176, illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall be under the
parental authority of their mother. The law is clear that illegitimate children shall use the surname and shall
be under the parental authority of their mother. Thus, it is mandatory that the mother of an illegitimate child
signs the birth certificate of her child in all cases, irrespective of whether the father recognizes the child as
his or not. The only legally known parent of an illegitimate child, by the fact of illegitimacy, is the mother
of the child who conclusively carries the blood of the mother. 21 Thus, this provision ensures that
individuals are not falsely named as parents. he mother must sign and agree to the information entered in
the birth certificate because she has the parental authority and custody of the illegitimate child. Clearly, the
subject birth certificates were not executed consistent with the provisions of the law respecting the
registration of birth of illegitimate children. Aside from the fact that the entry in the subject birth certificates
as to the surname of the children is incorrect since it should have been that of the mother, the subject birth
certificates are also incomplete as they lacked the signature of the mother. Accordingly, we declare the
subject birth certificates void and order their cancellation for being registered against the mandatory
provisions of the Family Code requiring the use of the mother's surname for her illegitimate children and
Act No. 3753 requiring the signature of the mother in her children's birth certificates. In all actions
concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law,
administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be the primary
consideration.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition.


24. Samson R. Pacasum, Sr. vs. Atty. Marietta D. Zamoranos
G.R. No. 193719 | 21 March 2017
Jardeleza (En Banc)
Nature of the action: Administrative Complaint for Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct

Facts:
Samson R. Pacasum (Pacasum) and Atty. Marietta D. Zamoranos (Zamoranos) were married.
However, Pacasum discovered that Zamoranos was previously married to one Jesus De Guzman (De
Guzman). Pacasum filed an administrative complaint for disgraceful and immoral conduct against
Zamoranos on the ground that she had contracted a bigamous marriage, Zamoranos raised as a defense the
dissolution of her previous marriage under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws. Prior to her marriage with
De Guzman, she had converted to Islam. In 1983, however, she and De Guzman got divorced. The CSC
dismissed the complaint because Pacasum failed to assail the existence, much less validity of the Decree of
Divorce. On appeal, the CA initially granted the petition. On reconsideration, however, the CA corrected
itself and admitted error in applying the admissions made in 1999 to the previous marriage contracted in
1982. The pleadings showed that the admissions were made "during and after [Zamoranos'] marriage to
Pacasum." It recognized as undisputed the fact that the previous marriage between Zamoranos and De
Guzman was solemnized and entered into under Muslim rites. The CA held that "a collateral attack against
[the Decree of Divorce], much less one embedded merely as an incident to an administrative complaint
lodged before a mere quasi-judicial tribunal such as the [CSC], cannot be countenanced x x x."

Issues:
General: Whether or not the Shari’a court had jurisdiction to dissolve Zamoranos’ first marriage.
Consequently, her marriage to Pacasum was bigamous.
Controlling: Whether or not the Decree of Divorce must be recognized.

1. Jurisdiction over actions for divorce is vested upon the Shari'a Circuit Courts, whose decisions
may be appealed to the Shari’a District Courts. As a rule, a judgment could not be collaterally
impeached or called in question if rendered in a court of competent jurisdiction, but must be
properly attacked in a direct action. As no appeal was taken with respect to the divorce decree, it
must be conceded to have full force and effect.
2. Finally, we have already passed upon the same Decree of Divorce in the earlier consolidated
cases also involving Pacasum and Zamoranos. In Zamoranos v. People, which involved a
criminal charge for bigamy 􏰇led by Pacasum against Zamoranos based on her earlier marriage to
De Guzman, we granted Zamoranos' motion to quash the criminal information for bigamy. We
held that, based on the case records, "[i]t stands to reason therefore that Zamoranos' divorce from
De Guzman, as confirmed by a n Ustadz and Judge Jainul of the [Shari'a] Circuit Court, and
attested to by Judge Usman, was valid, and, thus, entitled her to remarry Pacasum x x x."
3. Here, Pacasum's administrative complaint is wholly dependent on the continuing validity of the
marriage between Zamoranos and De Guzman. However, we have already recognized that this
marriage was dissolved in accordance with the Muslim Code in the case of Zamoranos v. People,
which also involved the herein parties. Following the doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment, the
parties are already bound by our previous ruling on that speci􏰇c issue, that is, Zamoranos'
divorce from De Guzman was valid which enabled her to contract the subsequent marriage with
Pacasum. As a result, Pacasum's complaint for immorality based on Zamoranos' alleged bigamy
has no leg to stand on.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED.


25. Dina Marie Lomongo Paterno vs. Judge Evelyn Arcaya-Chua, Presiding Judge of the RTC
Makati, Branch 144, and Simon Paterno
G.R. No. 180226 | 26 April 2017
Nature of the action: Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
The spouses Simon Paterno and Dina Marie Lomongo had been living together for more or less ten
years until Mr. Paterno left the family home in 1998, Mrs. Lomongo alleging that he abandoned her for
another woman. Two years later, Simon filed a case for the declaration of absolute nullity of his marriage
and this was granted, adjudging both the spouses as psychologically incapacitated to fulfill their marital
obligations to each other. The decision attained finality, leaving the issue regarding the liquidation,
partition, and distribution of the properties of the union as well as the delivery of their daughters’
presumptive legitime to be tackled. While Ms. Lomongo testified on the assets she and Mr. Paterno had
accumulated during the 10 years that they were together. she wanted her ex-husband to testify on his other
alleged possessions and earnings since 1998 until the formal severance of their marital ties. Thus, she
requested the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum and subpoena ad testificandum for him to appear as
hostile witness so that he may testify and present the documents that mostly reflect his salaries and acquired
properties during the years of their de facto separation. As regards the latter defense, he mainly posited that
the wages/properties he gained subsequent to his separation from his former spouse are not part of the
common properties for liquidation. The RTC ruled in favor of Simon holding that Article 147 is only limited
to the couple’s period of cohabitation. Finding that Article 147 applies in the case at bar (the couple being
capacitated to marry at the time they lived together). The CA dismissed the petition for certiorari and the
petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Hence, this appeal.

Issue:
General: Whether or not all properties acquired by the spouses prior to the judicial declaration of the nullity
of the marriage under Art. 36 of the Family Code were co-owned by them pursuant to Article 147.
Controlling: Whether or not properties acquired by the spouses in a void marriage under Art. 36 after their
separation de facto were solely owned by the earning spouse.

Held:
 The parties do not argue that co-ownership of properties acquired during the union governs them
under Article 147. This was declared in the Valides case.
 Petitioner’s argument implies that despite already being separated de facto, as long as a couple
remains married (in paper), pending a court declaration of nullity of their union, all the properties
gained by each in the meantime before the judicial declaration will be included in the co-ownership
regime.
 Petitioner however should be reminded of the legal effect of a confirmation of a void ab initio
marriage: it is retroactive to the time when the marriage ceremony transpired. In short, after the
trial court declared her marriage to Mr. Paterno void in 2005 because of both parties’ psychological
incapacity, the marriage ceremony was invalidated as if no marriage took place.
 This means then that during their ten-year cohabitation, Ms. Lomongo and Mr. Paterno lived
together merely as common-law spouses. This is where Article 147 comes in, dealing with those
“properties acquired while they lived together…obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry…”
 Her insistence of the common ownership of the moneys and properties accumulated subsequent to
the de facto separation would have been correct if the properties had to be liquidated (such as in a
spouse's death) and an official declaration of nullity of marriage was never secured.
 Petitioner and Private respondent's relationship has relegated to a common-law marriage, and their
cohabitation, i.e., living together exclusively as husband and wife, was only for a period of ten
years.
 Obviously, the 'cohabitation' of the parties will definitely not include the years since Mr. Paterno
left Mrs. Lomongo and the family home.
 Finally, [We] see no error on the part of the court a quo when it cited the cases of Fehr,
Buenaventura, and Gonzales to justify its assailed Orders, for all these cases exemplify the
application of Article 147 to all properties that have been acquired during the period of
cohabitation of couples whose marriages have been declared void under Article 36.

WHEREFORE, the Court DENIES the petition for review on certiorari.


26. Maria Teresa B. Tani-de la Fuente vs. Rodolfo de la Fuente, Jr.
G.R. No. 188400 | 8 March 2017
Leonen (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:

Maria Teresa and Rodolfo De La Fuente, Jr. (Rodolfo) first met when they were students at UST.
Soon after, they became sweethearts. While they were still sweethearts, Maria Teresa already noticed that
Rodolfo was an introvert and was prone to jealousy. She also observed that Rodolfo appeared to have no
ambition in life and felt insecure of his siblings. They got married in 1984 and thereafter had two children.
Rodolfo’s attitude worsened as they went on in their marital life. He was very jealous and would sometimes
even stalk her. He also treated Maria Teresa like a sex slave, having sex with her four or five times a day.
During sexual intercourse, Rodolfo would tie her to the bed or poke her with things. He even suggested
inviting a third person to join them while having sex or for Maria Teresa to have sex with another man in
his presence. Whenever Maria Teresa would refuse his advances or suggestions, he would get angry and
they would quarrel. At one time, they had an argument as Rodolfo suspected that Maria Teresa had a lover.
In the heat of the argument, Rodolfo pointed a gun to her head. It is at this juncture that Maria Teresa left
their conjugal home taking her children with her. Thirteen years after the gun-poking incident, Maria Teresa
filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage. Aside from Maria Teresa, Dr. Arnulfo V. Lopez (Dr.
Lopez), a clinical psychologist, was presented as an expert witness. After subjecting Maria Teresa to
interviews and tests, Dr. Lopez concluded that Maria Teresa was not suffering from any severe mental
disorder and had no indication of any organic or functional impairment. Although Dr. Lopez found that
Maria Teresa had an emotionally disturbed personality, he opined that this was not severe enough to
constitute psychological incapacity. Dr. Lopez diagnosed Rodolfo with "paranoid personality disorder
manifested by [Rodolfo's] damaging behavior like reckless driving and extreme jealousy; his being
distrustful and suspicious; his severe doubts and distrust of friends and relatives of [Maria Teresa]; his being
irresponsible and lack of remorse; his resistance to treatment; and his emotional coldness and severe
immaturity." The trial court held that the marriage between Maria Teresa and Rodolfo should be declared
null and void because Rodolfo’s psychological incapacity was grave, serious, and incurable. The CA
granted the OSG’s appeal ruling that the testimony of Dr. Lopez was unreliable for being hearsay. The OSG
insisted that the finding of Rodolfo's psychological incapacity should be dismissed as hearsay as it was
based solely on information given by petitioner to Dr. Lopez.

Issues:
General: Whether or not Petitioner’s evidence was insufficient to prove that Rodolfo was psychologically
incapacitated to fulfill his marital obligations.
Controlling: Whether or not Dr. Lopez’s findings established Rodolfo’s psychological incapacity.

Held: Yes.
Dr. Lopez's testimony, as corroborated by petitioner, sufficiently proved that respondent suffered
from psychological incapacity. Respondent's paranoid personality disorder made him distrustful and prone
to extreme jealousy and acts of depravity, incapacitating him to fully comprehend and assume the essential
obligations of marriage. By the very nature of Article 36, courts, despite having the ultimate task of
decision-making, must give due regard to expert opinion on the psychological and mental disposition of the
parties. The root cause of respondent's paranoid personality disorder was hereditary in nature as his own
father suffered from a similar disorder. Dr. Lopez stated that respondent's own psychological disorder
probably started during his late childhood years and developed in his early adolescent years. Dr. Lopez
explained that respondent's psychological incapacity to perform his marital obligations was likely caused
by growing up with a pathogenic parental model. The incurability and severity of respondent's
psychological incapacity were likewise discussed by Dr. Lopez. He vouched that a person with paranoid
personality disorder would refuse to admit that there was something wrong and that there was a need for
treatment. This was corroborated by petitioner when she stated that respondent repeatedly refused
treatment. This Court also noticed respondent's repeated acts of harassment towards petitioner, which show
his need to intimidate and dominate her, a classic case of coercive control—a form of psychological abuse,
which refers to a pattern of behavior meant to dominate a partner through different tactics such as physical
and sexual violence, threats, emotional insults, and economic deprivation. Lastly, this Court takes note of
Ngo Te v. Gutierrez Yu Te's observation that a straitjacket application of the Molina guidelines "has taken
its toll on people who have to live with deviant behavior, moral insanity and sociopathic personality
anomaly, which, like termites, consume little by little the very foundation of their families, our basic social
institutions." Ironically, the ultimate effect of such stringent application of the Molina guidelines is the
perversion of the family unit, the very institution that our laws are meant to protect.

“Psychological incapacity is a mental illness that leads to an inability to comply with or comprehend
essential marital obligations.”

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED.


27. Jerrysus L. Tilar vs. Elizabeth A. Tilar and the Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 214529 | 12 July 2017
Peralta (Second Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
In 2010, petitioner Jerrysus filed for declaration of nullity of marriage on the ground of Elizabeth’s
psychological incapacity. He alleged that they were married in a Catholic Church in Cebu. He claims that
their marriage went well in the first few months but Elizabeth later became an extremely jealous, violent
person which resulted in frequent quarrels; that she is a happy-go-lucky and extravagant type of person and
a gambler; that they eventually separated in 2002; and, that respondent is now living with another man in
Cebu City. Petitioner consulted a clinical psychologist and respondent was said to be suffering from
"aggressive personality disorder as well as histrionic personality disorder". The RTC dismissed the case for
lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. It held that the State cannot encroach into the domain of the
Church, thus, resolving the validity of the church marriage is outside the province of its authority. The RTC
denied Jerrysus’s motion for reconsideration saying that marriages solemnized and celebrated by the
Church are [per se] governed by its Canon Law. Although the Family Code provides for some regulations,
the same does not follow that the State is authorized to inquire to its validity, The Constitution is supreme
to the Family Code. Under the doctrine of constitutional supremacy, the Constitution is written in all laws,
acts and transactions, hence, the same must be upheld. Jerrysus filed the instant petition for review on the
sole ground that the RTC erred in dismissing the case on the ground that he validity of church marriage is
outside the province of its authority. However, it is the civil law, particularly the Family Code, which
principally governs the marriage of the contracting parties.

Issue: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction to question the validity of a church marriage.

Held: Yes.
Our law on marriage, particularly the Family Code, restates the constitutional provision to protect
the inviolability of marriage and the family relations. As marriage is a special contract, their terms and
conditions are not merely subject to the stipulations of the contracting parties but are governed by law. The
Family Code also provides on who may solemnize and how marriage may be solemnized. Thus, the contract
of marriage is entered into by complying with the requirements and formalities prescribed by law. Although,
marriage is considered a sacrament in the Catholic church, it has civil and legal consequences which are
governed by the Family Code. As petitioner correctly pointed out, the instant petition only seeks to nullify
the marriage contract between the parties as postulated in the Family Code of the Philippines; and the
declaration of nullity of the parties' marriage in the religious and ecclesiastical aspect is another matter.
Notably, the proceedings for church annulment which is in accordance with the norms of Canon Law is not
binding upon the State as the couple is still considered married to each other in the eyes of the civil law.
Thus, the principle of separation of the church and state finds no application in this case.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.


28 Rafael C. Uy (Cabangbang Store) vs. Estate of Vipa Fernandez
G.R. No. 200612 | 5 April 2017
Reyes (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Complaint for Unlawful Detainer

Facts:
Vipa Fernandez Lahaylahay (Vipa) is the registered owner of a parcel of land in Iloilo. Vipa and
her husband, Levi Lahaylahay (Levi) have two children. Vipa and Rafael executed a lease over the subject
property and the improvements thereon. In 1994, Vipa died leaving no will or testament whatsoever. Grace
Joy became the de facto administrator of the estate of Vipa. In 1998, Rafael stopped paying the monthly
rents. Consequently, the Estate of Vipa, through Grace Joy, filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against
Rafael. The MTCC rendered judgment in favor of the Estate of Vipa. On appeal, the RTC reversed the
MTCC’s Decision and, thus, dismissed the complaint for unlawful detainer. The RTC explained that the
subject property was acquired by Vipa during the subsistence of her marriage with Levi and, as such, is part
of their conjugal properties. That after Vipa’s death, the conjugal partnership was terminated, entitling Levi
to ½ of the property. The RTC then pointed out that Levi sold his share in the subject property to Rafael,
as evidenced by a Deed of Sale. Accordingly, the RTC ruled that Rafael, as co-owner of the subject
property, having bought Levi’s ½ share thereof, had the right to possess the same. The CA held that Rafael
raised the issue of ownership of the subject property, i.e., Levi’s sale of his ½ share in the subject property
to Rafael, only for the first time in his appeal with the RTC.

Issue: Whether or not petitioner had the right to possess the subject property.

Held: Rafael bought Levi’s ½ share in the subject property as evidenced by a Deed of Sale. At that time,
the conjugal partnership properties of Levi and Vipa were not yet liquidated. However, such disposition,
notwithstanding the absence of liquidation of the conjugal partnership properties, is not necessarily void. It
bears stressing that under the regime of conjugal partnership of gains, the husband and wife are co-owners
of all the property of the conjugal partnership. Thus, upon the termination of the conjugal partnership of
gains due to the death of either spouse, the surviving spouse has an actual and vested one-half undivided
share of the properties, which does not consist of determinate and segregated properties until liquidation
and partition of the conjugal partnership. With respect, however, to the deceased spouse's share in the
conjugal partnership properties, an implied ordinary co- ownership ensues among the surviving spouse and
the other heirs of the deceased. Thus, upon Vipa's death, one-half of the subject property was automatically
reserved in favor of the surviving spouse, Levi, as his share in the conjugal partnership. The other half,
which is Vipa's share, was transmitted to Vipa's heirs — Grace Joy, Jill Frances, and her husband Levi,
who is entitled to the same share as that of a legitimate child. Nevertheless, a co-owner could sell his
undivided share; hence, Levi had the right to freely sell and dispose of his undivided interest. Thus, the sale
by Levi of his one-half undivided share in the subject property was not necessarily void, for his right as a
co- owner thereof was effectively transferred, making the buyer, Rafael, a co-owner of the subject property.
Accordingly, he could no longer be directed to vacate the subject property. Certainly, because of Rafael's
unjustified refusal to pay the rents due on the lease of the subject property, the Estate of Vipa was put to
unnecessary expense and trouble to protect its interest under paragraph (2), Article 2208 of the Civil Code.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is PARTIALLY GRANTED.


29. Republic of the Philippines vs. Katrina S. Tabora-Tionglico
G.R. No. 218630 | 11 January 2018
Tijam (First Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36

Facts:
Respondent Katrina S. Tabora-Tionglico (“Katrina”) filed a petition for declaration of nullity of
her marriage with Lawrence C. Tionglico (“Lawrence”) on the ground of psychological incapacity. Katrina
and Lawrence met sometime in 1997 through a group of mutual friends and after a brief courtship, they
entered into a relationship. When she got pregnant, Lawrence did not take the news well. Nevertheless, they
got married. Even during the early stage of their marriage, it was marred by bickering and quarrels.
Lawrence was distant and did not help in rearing their child, saying he knew nothing about children and
how to run a family. Katrina noticed that Lawrence was alarmingly dependent on his mother and suffered
from a very high degree of immaturity. Lawrence refused to yield to and questioned any and all of Katrina's
decisions. They have been separated in fact since 2003. Katrina consulted with a psychiatrist, Dr. Juan
Arellano (Dr. Arellano). Based on the narrations of Katrina, Dr. Arellano diagnosed Lawrence with
Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The RTC granted the petition. The CA affirmed the RTC decision. Hence,
this petition for review on certiorari.

Issue:
Whether the totality of evidence presented by Katrina supports the findings of both the RTC and
the CA that Lawrence is psychologically incapacitated.

Held:
No. Katrina failed to sufficiently prove that Lawrence is psychologically incapacitated to discharge
the duties expected of a husband.
Time and again, it has been held that "psychological incapacity" has been intended by law to be
confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. Indeed, and We have oft-repeated that the trial
courts, as in all the other cases they try, must always base their judgments not solely on the expert opinions
presented by the parties but on the totality of evidence adduced in the course of their proceedings. Here,
[We] find the totality of evidence clearly wanting. First, Dr. Arellano's findings that Lawrence is
psychologically incapacitated were based solely on Katrina's statements. It bears to stress that Lawrence,
despite notice, did not participate in the proceedings below, nor was he interviewed by Dr. Arellano despite
being invited to do so. To make conclusions and generalizations on a spouse's psychological condition
based on the information fed by only one side, as in the case at bar, is, to the Court's mind, not different
from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of the truthfulness of the content of such evidence. The behavior
of Lawrence hardly depicts the picture of a psychologically incapacitated husband. Their frequent fights,
his insensitivity, immaturity and frequent night-outs can hardly be said to be a psychological illness. These
acts, in our view, do not rise to the level of the "psychological incapacity" that the law requires, and should
be distinguished from the "difficulty," if not outright "refusal" or "neglect" in the performance of some
marital obligations that characterize some marriages.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is GRANTED.


30. Redante Sarto Misalucha vs. People of the Philippines
G.R. No. 206284 | 28 February 2018
Martires (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Criminal – Bigamy

Facts:
Redante was charged with the crime of bigamy for allegedly contracting two marriages: the first,
with Maria Socorro G. Negrete (Maria Socorro), and the second, without having the first one legally
terminated, with private complainant Fe R. Aguila (Fe). During pre-trial, Redante admitted that he had
contracted two marriages but interposed the defense that his first marriage had been legally dissolved by
divorce obtained in a foreign country. The defense presented Redante and Maria Socorro as witnesses.
Together, their testimonies tended to establish that they were married in 1984. Sometimes thereafter, Maria
Socorro left for Canada to work as a nurse. While in Canada, she applied for Canadian citizenship which
was eventually granted in April 1988. Maria Socorro then filed for divorce in Canada in November 1988.
When Maria Socorro came back to the Philippines, he and Redante gave their marriage a second chance
upon prodding of the latter’s relatives. Their attempts to rekindle their romance resulted in the birth of their
daughter. In spite of this, Redante and Maria Socorro's efforts to save their marriage were futile. Sometime
in February 1998, Redante met Fe to whom he admitted that he was previously married to Maria Socorro
who, however, divorced him. Despite this admission, their romance blossomed and culminated in their
marriage in 1998 and had two children. Their relationship, however, turned sour when Ma. Socorro returned
to the Philippines and met with Redante to persuade him to allow their daughter to apply for Canadian
citizenship. After learning of Redante and Maria Socorro's meeting and believing that they had reconciled,
Fe decided to leave their conjugal home in 2007. Fe then filed a complaint for bigamy against Redante.
Meanwhile, Maria Socorro married a certain Douglas Alexander Campbell in Canada in 2000. The defense
presented a Certificate of Divorce to prove the fact of evidence. The prosecution waived the presentation
of testimonial evidence and presented instead, the Marriage Contract between Redante and Maria Socorro
to prove the solemnization of their marriage. It also presented the Marriage contract of Redante and Fe to
prove the solemnization of Redante’s second marriage. The prosecution also adopted the Certificate of
Divorce 21 as its own exhibit for the purpose of proving that the same was secured only on 14 January
2008. The RTC found Redante guilty of bigamy. It ratiocinated that Redante's conviction is the only
reasonable conclusion for the case because of his failure to present competent evidence proving the alleged
divorce decree; his failure to establish the naturalization of Maria Socorro; and his admission that he did
not seek judicial recognition of the alleged divorce decree. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC’s judgment.
It ratiocinated that assuming the authenticity and due execution of the Certificate of Divorce, since the order
of divorce or the divorce decree was not presented, it could not ascertain whether said divorce capacitated
Maria Socorro, and consequently Redante to remarry. Redante failed to present evidence that he had filed
and had secured a judicial declaration that his first marriage had been dissolved in accordance with
Philippine laws prior to the celebration of his subsequent marriage to Fe. Hence, this case before the
Supreme Court.

ISSUE:
General: Whether or not Redante Sarto is guilty of bigamy.
Controlling: Whether or not Redante failed to prove his capacity to contract a subsequent marriage.

1. Yes.
The following are elements of bigamy: (1) offender has been legally married; (1) first
marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case of an absentee spouse, the absent spouse
could not yet be presumed dead according to the provisions of the Civil Code; (3) offender
contracts a second or subsequent marriage; (4) second or subsequent marriage has all the
essential requisites for validity. Redante admitted that he had contracted two marriages.
Since the divorce was a defense raised by Redante, it is incumbent upon him to show that
it was validly obtained in accordance with Maria Socorro's country's national law.
2. Yes.
Before the divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party pleading it must prove
it as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it. Like when a copy
of the divorce decree itself must be presented and admitted in evidence. Aside from the
testimonies of Redante and Maria Socorro, the only piece of evidence presented by the
defense to prove the divorce, is the certificate of divorce allegedly issued by the registrar
of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

This certificate of divorce, however, is utterly insufficient to rebut the charge against
Redante. First, the certificate of divorce is not the divorce decree required by the rules and
jurisprudence. As discussed previously, the divorce decree required to prove the fact of
divorce is the judgment itself as rendered by the foreign court and not a mere certification.
Second, assuming the certificate of divorce may be considered as the divorce decree, it was
not accompanied by a certification􏰇cation issued by the proper Philippine diplomatic or
consular officer stationed in Canada, as required under Section 24 of Rule 132. Lastly, no
copy of the alleged Canadian law was presented by the defense. Thus, it could not be
reasonably determined whether the subject divorce decree was in accord with Maria
Socorro's national law.

WHEREFORE, the present petition is DENIED.


31. Estrellita Tadeo-Matias vs. Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. 230751 | 25 April 2018
Velasco, Jr. (Third Division)
Nature of the action: Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death

Facts:
In 2012, petitioner Estrellita Tadeo-Matias filed a petition for the declaration of presumptive death
of her husband, Wilfredo N. Matias (Wilfredo) to whom she was married in 1968. Wilfredo was a member
of the Philippine Constabulary and continued to serve the country until his assignment in Pampanga 1979.
He has not returned home since nor made contact or communicated with the petitioner. Petitioner constantly
inquired before the Philippine Constabulary for any news regarding Wilfredo but the latter had no answer
as to his whereabouts, all they know was he was assigned to a place frequented by the New People’s Army.
Weeks became years and years became decades. Petitioner never gave up hope, but after three decades,
especially with a meager income, it is now necessary for her to request for the benefits that rightfully belong
to her in order to survive. This petition is being filed not for any other purpose but solely to claim for the
benefit under PD No. 1638. Subsequently, the OSG filed its notice of appearance on behalf of herein
respondent Republic of the Philippines (Republic). The RTC granted the petition declaring Wilfredo absent
or presumptively dead under Art. 41 of the Family Code for purposes of claiming benefits due to him as
former military officer. The CA granted the Republic’s petitioner for certiorari setting aside the decision of
the RTC. It stated that the RTC erred when it declared Wilfredo presumptively dead on the basis of Art. 41
(FC). Article 41 of the FC does not apply to the instant petition as it was clear that petitioner does not seek
to remarry. If anything, the petition was invoking the presumption of death established under Articles 390
and 391 of the Civil Code, and not that provided for under Article 41 of the FC. As been held by
jurisprudence, Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code merely express rules of evidence that allow a court
or a tribunal to presume that a person is dead — which presumption may be invoked in any action or
proceeding, but itself cannot be the subject of an independent action or proceeding. Petitioner moved for
reconsideration, but the CA remained steadfast. Hence, this appeal.

Issue:
General: Whether the petition for declaration of presumptive death filed by petitioner is not an authorized
suit and should have been dismissed by the RTC.
Controlling: Whether the petition for the declaration of presumptive death in this case is based on Art. 41.

Held:
1. Yes. A petition whose sole objective is to declare a person presumptively dead under the Civil Code,
like that filed by the Petitioner before the RTC, is not a viable suit in our jurisdiction and no court has
any authority to take cognizance of the same. Articles 390 and 391 of the Civil Code merely express
rules of evidence that only allow a court or a tribunal to presume that a person is dead upon the
establishment of certain facts. An action brought exclusively to declare a person presumptively dead
under either of the said articles actually presents no actual controversy that a court could decide; the
presumption is the said articles is already established by law.
2. Yes. The petition for the declaration of presumptive death filed by petitioner is not an action that
would have warranted the application of Article 41 of the FC because petitioner was not seeking to
remarry. Given that her petition for the declaration of presumptive death was not filed for the purpose
of remarriage, petitioner was clearly relying on the presumption of death under either Article 390 or
Article 391 of the Civil Code as the basis of her petition.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED.


32. Luzviminda Dela Cruz Morisono v. Ryoji Morisono and Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City
G.R. No. 226013 | 2 July 2018
Perlas-Bernabe (Second Division)
Nature of the case: Petition for Recognition of Foreign Divorce

Facts:
Luzviminda was married to Ryoji Morisono (Ryoji) in 2009. Thereafter, they lived together in
Japan but were not blessed with a child. During their married life, they would constantly quarrel mainly
due to Ryoji’s philandering ways. As such, she and Ryoji submitted a “Divorce by Agreement”, which was
approved and eventually recorded. In view of the foregoing, she filed a petition for recognition of the
foreign divorce decree before the RTC so she could cancel the surname of her former husband in her
passport and for her to be able to marry again. The RTC denied Luzviminda’s petition and held that while
a divorce obtained abroad by an alien spouse may be recognized in the Philippines—provided that such
decree is valid according to the national law of the alien—the same does not find application when it was
the Filipino spouse who procured the same. Invoking the nationality principle under Art. 15, in relation to
Art. 26 (2), the RTC opined that since petitioner is a Filipino citizen whose national law does not allow
divorce, the foreign decree she herself obtained in Japan is not binding in the Philippines. Thus, petitioner
sought direct recourse to this Court through a petition for review on certiorari.

Issue:
Whether or not it was proper to deny Luzviminda’s petition for recognition of the foreign divorce decree
she procured with Ryoji.

Held:
No. Article 26 (2) of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine courts to extend the effect
of a foreign divorce decree to a Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity of the
dissolution of the marriage. Pursuant to Republic vs. Manalo, foreign divorce decrees obtained to nullify
marriages between a Filipino and an alien citizen may already be recognized in this jurisdiction, regardless
of who between the spouses initiated the divorce; provided, of course, that the party petitioning for the
recognition of such foreign divorce decree – presumably the Filipino citizen – must prove the divorce as a
fact and demonstrate its conformity to the foreign law allowing it.

In this case, a plain reading of the RTC ruling shows that the denial of Luzviminda's petition to
have her foreign divorce decree recognized in this jurisdiction was anchored on the sole ground that she
admittedly initiated the divorce proceedings which she, as a Filipino citizen, was not allowed to do. In light
of the doctrine laid down in Manalo, such ground relied upon by the RTC had been rendered nugatory.
However, the Court cannot just order the grant of Luzviminda's petition for recognition of the foreign
divorce decree, as Luzviminda has yet to prove the fact of her. "Divorce by Agreement" obtained, in Nagoya
City, Japan and its conformity with prevailing Japanese laws on divorce. Notably, the RTC did not rule on
such issues. Since these are questions which require an examination of various factual matters, a remand to
the court a quo is warranted.

WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED.


33. Stephen I. Juego-Sakai v. Republic
G.R. No. 224015 | 23 July 2018
Peralta (Second Division)
Nature of the case: Petition for Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment

Facts:
Petitioner Stephen I. Juego-Sakai and Toshiharu got married in Japan pursuant to the wedding rites
therein. After two years, the parties, by agreement, obtained a divorce decree in Japan. Thereafter, Stephen
filed a Petition for Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment. The RTC granted the petition and recognized
the divorce between the parties as valid and effective. The CA confirmed the decision of the RTC. However,
the CA revisited its findings and recalled and set aside its previous decision. According to the appellate
court, the second requisite of Article 26 is missing: that a divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse
capacitating him or her to remarry. This is because the divorce herein was consensual in nature, obtained
by agreement by the parties, and not by Sakai alone. Thus, since Stephen, a Filipino citizen, also obtained
the divorce herein, said divorce cannot be recognized in the Philippines. In addition, the CA ruled that
petitioner's failure to present authenticated copies of the Civil Code of Japan was fatal to her cause. Divorce
by Agreement in Japan, as opposed to Judicial Divorce, is the more practical and common type of divorce.
Petitioner asserts that the mere fact that she consented to the divorce does not prevent the application of
Article 26 for said provision does not state that where the consent of the Filipino spouse was obtained in
the divorce, the same no longer finds application. As to the issue of evidence presented, petitioner explains
that the reason why she was unable to present authenticated copies of the provisions of the Civil Code of
Japan relative to divorce is because she was unable to go to Japan due to the fact that she was pregnant.
Instead, she went to the library of the Japanese Embassy to photocopy the Civil Code.

Issue:

1. Whether or not the second requisite for the application of Art. 26 (2) is missing due to the fact that
petitioner gave consent to the divorce obtained by her husband.
2. Whether or not there is substantial compliant with the requirement on the submission of
authenticated copies of the Civil Code of Japan relative to divorce.

Held:

1. No. Pursuant to Republic vs. Manalo, the Court held that the fact that petitioner participated in the
divorce proceedings in Japan, and even if it is assumed that she initiated the same, she must still be
allowed to benefit from the exception provided under Paragraph 2 of Article 26. Consequently,
since her marriage to Toshiharu Sakai had already been dissolved by virtue of the divorce decree
they obtained in Japan, thereby capacitating Toshiharu to remarry, petitioner shall likewise have
capacity to remarry under Philippine law.

2. No. As similarly held in Manalo, [We] cannot yet grant petitioner's Petition for Judicial Recognition
of Foreign Judgment for she has yet to comply with certain guidelines before our courts may
recognize the subject divorce decree and the effects thereof. Time and again, the Court has held
that the starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce judgment is the acknowledgment that
our courts do not take judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. This means that the foreign
judgment and its authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence, together with
the alien's applicable national law to show the effect of the judgment on the alien himself or herself.
What is required is proof, either by (1) official publications or (2) copies attested by the officer
having legal custody of the documents. If the copies of official records are not kept in the
Philippines, these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or
consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record
is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The case is REMANDED to the court of origin for further
proceedings and reception of evidence as to the relevant Japanese law on divorce.
34. (Division)