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Republic of the Philippines Castro testified that she did not go to the civil registrar of Pasig

SUPREME COURT on or before June 24, 1970 in order to apply for a license. Neither
Manila did she sign any application therefor. She affixed her signature
only on the marriage contract on June 24, 1970 in Pasay City.
SECOND DIVISION
The trial court denied the petition. 2 It held that the above
certification was inadequate to establish the alleged non-
G.R. No. 103047 September 2, 1994 issuance of a marriage license prior to the celebration of the
marriage between the parties. It ruled that the "inability of the
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, certifying official to locate the marriage license is not conclusive
vs. to show that there was no marriage license issued."
COURT OF APPEALS AND ANGELINA M.
CASTRO, respondents. Unsatisfied with the decision, Castro appealed to respondent
appellate court. She insisted that the certification from the local
Parungao, Abesamis, Eleazar & Pulgar Law Offices for private civil registrar sufficiently established the absence of a marriage
respondent. license.

As stated earlier, respondent appellate court reversed the


Decision of the trial court. 3 It declared the marriage between the
PUNO, J.: contracting parties null and void and directed the Civil Registrar
of Pasig to cancel the subject marriage contract.
The case at bench originated from a petition filed by private
respondent Angelina M. Castro in the Regional Trial Court of Hence this petition for review on certiorari.
Quezon City seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of her
marriage to Edwin F. Cardenas. 1 As ground therefor, Castro Petitioner Republic of the Philippines urges that respondent
claims that no marriage license was ever issued to them prior to appellate court erred when it ruled that the certification issued by
the solemnization of their marriage. the civil registrar that marriage license no. 3196182 was not in
their record adequately proved that no such license was ever
Despite notice, defendant Edwin F. Cardenas failed to file his issued. Petitioner also faults the respondent court for relying on
answer. Consequently, he was declared in default. Trial the self-serving and uncorroborated testimony of private
proceeded in his absence. respondent Castro that she had no part in the procurement of the
subject marriage license. Petitioner thus insists that the
The controlling facts are undisputed:
certification and the uncorroborated testimony of private
On June 24, 1970, Angelina M. Castro and Edwin F. Cardenas respondent are insufficient to overthrow the legal presumption
were married in a civil ceremony performed by Judge Pablo M. regarding the validity of a marriage.
Malvar, City Court Judge of Pasay City. The marriage was
Petitioner also points that in declaring the marriage between the
celebrated without the knowledge of Castro's parents. Defendant
parties as null and void, respondent appellate court disregarded
Cardenas personally attended to the processing of the
the presumption that the solemnizing officer, Judge Pablo M.
documents required for the celebration of the marriage, including
Malvar, regularly performed his duties when he attested in the
the procurement of the marriage, license. In fact, the marriage
marriage contract that marriage license no. 3196182 was duly
contract itself states that marriage license no. 3196182 was
presented to him before the solemnization of the subject
issued in the name of the contracting parties on June 24, 1970 in
marriage.
Pasig, Metro Manila.
The issues, being interrelated, shall be discussed jointly.
The couple did not immediately live together as husband and
wife since the marriage was unknown to Castro's parents. Thus, The core issue presented by the case at bench is whether or not
it was only in March 1971, when Castro discovered she was the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private
pregnant, that the couple decided to live together. However, their respondent are sufficient to establish that no marriage license
cohabitation lasted only for four (4) months. Thereafter, the was issued by the Civil Registrar of Pasig prior to the celebration
couple parted ways. On October 19, 1971, Castro gave birth. The of the marriage of private respondent to Edwin F. Cardenas.
baby was adopted by Castro's brother, with the consent of
Cardenas. We affirm the impugned Decision.

The baby is now in the United States. Desiring to follow her At the time the subject marriage was solemnized on June 24,
daughter, Castro wanted to put in order her marital status before 1970, the law governing marital relations was the New Civil
leaving for the States. She thus consulted a lawyer, Atty. Code. The law 4 provides that no marriage shall be solemnized
Frumencio E. Pulgar, regarding the possible annulment of her without a marriage license first issued by a local civil registrar.
marriage. Through her lawyer's efforts, they discovered that there Being one of the essential requisites of a valid marriage, absence
was no marriage license issued to Cardenas prior to the of a license would render the marriage void ab initio. 5
celebration of their marriage.
Petitioner posits that the certification of the local civil registrar of
As proof, Angelina Castro offered in evidence a certification from due search and inability to find a record or entry to the effect that
the Civil Register of Pasig, Metro Manila. It reads: marriage license no. 3196182 was issued to the parties is not
adequate to prove its non-issuance.
February 20, 1987
We hold otherwise. The presentation of such certification in court
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: is sanctioned by Section 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, viz.:
This is to certify that the names EDWIN F. CARDENAS and Sec. 29. Proof of lack of record. — A written statement signed by
ANGELINA M. CASTRO who were allegedly married in the an officer having custody of an official record or by his deputy,
Pasay City Court on June 21, 1970 under an alleged that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is
(s)upportive marriage license found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a
no. 3196182 allegedly issued in the municipality on June 20, certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the
1970 cannot be located as said license no. 3196182 does not records of his office contain no such record or entry.
appear from our records.
The above Rule authorized the custodian of documents to certify
Issued upon request of Mr. Ed Atanacio. that despite diligent search, a particular document does not exist
in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor was not
(Sgd) CENONA D. QUINTOS
to be found in a register. As custodians of public documents, civil
Senior Civil Registry Officer
registrars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia, of

1
maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all Petitioner Filipina Y. Sy and private respondent Fernando Sy
applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the contracted marriage on November 15, 1973 at the Church of Our
applicants, the date the marriage license was issued and such Lady of Lourdes in Quezon City.[4] Both were then 22 years old.
other relevant data. 6 Their union was blessed with two children, Frederick and Farrah
Sheryll who were born on July 8, 1975 and February 14,
The certification of "due search and inability to find" issued by the 1978,respectively.[5]
civil registrar of Pasig enjoys probative value, he being the officer
charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the The spouses first established their residence in Singalong,
issuance of a marriage license. Unaccompanied by any Manila, then in Apalit, Pampanga, and later at San Matias, Sto.
circumstance of suspicion and pursuant to Section 29, Rule 132 Tomas, Pampanga. They operated a lumber and hardware
of the Rules of Court, a certificate of "due search and inability to business in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga.[6]
find" sufficiently proved that his office did not issue marriage
license no. 3196182 to the contracting parties. On September 15, 1983, Fernando left their conjugal dwelling.
Since then, the spouses lived separately, and their two children
The fact that private respondent Castro offered only her were in the custody of their mother. However, their son Frederick
testimony in support of her petition is, in itself, not a ground to transferred to his father's residence at Masangkay, Tondo,
deny her petition. The failure to offer any other witness to Manila on May 15,1988, and from then on, lived with his father.[7]
corroborate her testimony is mainly due to the peculiar
circumstances of the case. It will be remembered that the subject On February 11, 1987, Filipina filed a petition for legal
marriage was a civil ceremony performed by a judge of a city separation, docketed as Civil Case No. 7900 before the Regional
court. The subject marriage is one of those commonly known as Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga. Later, upon motion of
a "secret marriage" — a legally non-existent phrase but ordinarily petitioner, the action was later amended to a petition for
used to refer to a civil marriage celebrated without the knowledge separation of property on the grounds that her husband
of the relatives and/or friends of either or both of the contracting abandoned her without just cause; that they have been living
parties. The records show that the marriage between Castro and separately for more than one year; and that they voluntarily
Cardenas was initially unknown to the parents of the former. entered into a Memorandum of Agreement dated September 29,
1983, containing the rules that would govern the dissolution of
Surely, the fact that only private respondent Castro testified their conjugal partnership.[8] Judgment was rendered dissolving
during the trial cannot be held against her. Her husband, Edwin their conjugal partnership of gains and approving a regime of
F. Cardenas, was duly served with notice of the proceedings and separation of properties based on the Memorandum of
a copy of the petition. Despite receipt thereof, he chose to ignore Agreement executed by the spouses.[9] The trial court also
the same. For failure to answer, he was properly declared in granted custody of the children to Filipina.[10]
default. Private respondent cannot be faulted for her husband's
lack of interest to participate in the proceedings. There was In May 1988, Filipina filed a criminal action for attempted
absolutely no evidence on record to show that there was parricide against her husband, docketed as Criminal Case No.
collusion between private respondent and her husband 88-68006, before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Filipina
Cardenas. testified that in the afternoon of May 15, 1988, she went to the
dental clinic at Masangkay, Tondo, Manila, owned by her
It is noteworthy to mention that the finding of the appellate court husband but operated by his mistress, to fetch her son and bring
that the marriage between the contracting parties is null and void him to San Fernando, Pampanga. While she was talking to her
for lack of a marriage license does not discount the fact that son, the boy ignored her and continued playing with the family
indeed, a spurious marriage license, purporting to be issued by computer. Filipina got mad, took the computer away from her
the civil registrar of Pasig, may have been presented by son, and started spanking him. At that instance, Fernando pulled
Cardenas to the solemnizing officer. Filipina away from their son, and punched her in the different
parts of her body. Filipina also claimed that her husband started
In fine, we hold that, under the circumstances of the case, the choking her when she fell on the floor, and released her only
documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private when he thought she was dead. Filipina suffered from hematoma
respondent Castro sufficiently established the absence of the and contusions on different parts of her body as a result of the
subject marriage license. blows inflicted by her husband, evidenced by a Medical
Certificate issued by a certain Dr. James Ferraren. She said it
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED there being no
was not the first time Fernando maltreated her.[11]
showing of any reversible error committed by respondent
appellate court. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, however, in its
decision[12] dated April 26, 1990, convicted Fernando only of the
SO ORDERED.
lesser crime of slight physical injuries, and sentenced him to 20
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado and Mendoza, JJ., concur. days imprisonment. Edpmis

Petitioner later filed a new action for legal separation against


private respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 8273,on the
following grounds: (1) repeated physical violence; (2) sexual
infidelity; (3) attempt by respondent against her life; and (4)
SECOND DIVISION
abandonment of her by her husband without justifiable cause for
[G.R. No. 127263. April 12, 2000] more than one year. The Regional Trial Court of San Fernando,
Pampanga, in its decision[13] dated December 4,1991, granted
FILIPINA Y. SY, petitioner, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF the petition on the grounds of repeated physical violence and
APPEALS, THE HONORABLE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, sexual infidelity, and issued a decree of legal separation. It
SAN FERNANDO, PAMPANGA, BRANCH XLI, and awarded custody of their daughter Farrah Sheryll to petitioner,
FERNANDO SY, respondents. and their son Frederick to respondent.

DECISION On August 4, 1992, Filipina filed a petition[14] for the declaration


of absolute nullity of her marriage to Fernando on the ground of
QUISUMBING, J.: psychological incapacity. She points out that the final judgment
rendered by the Regional Trial Court in her favor, in her petitions
For review is the decision[1] dated May 21, 1996 of the Court of
for separation of property and legal separation, and Fernando's
Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 44144, which affirmed the
infliction of physical violence on her which led to the conviction of
decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando,
her husband for slight physical injuries are symptoms of
Pampanga, denying the petition[3] for declaration of absolute
psychological incapacity. She also cites as manifestations of her
nullity of marriage of the spouses Filipina Sy and Fernando Sy.
husband's psychological incapacity the following: (1) habitual
alcoholism; (2) refusal to live with her without fault on her part,

2
choosing to live with his mistress instead; and (3) refusal to have Petitioner, for the first time, raises the issue of the marriage being
sex with her, performing the marital act only to satisfy himself. void for lack of a valid marriage license at the time of its
Moreover, Filipina alleges that such psychological incapacity of celebration. It appears that, according to her, the date of the
her husband existed from the time of the celebration of their actual celebration of their marriage and the date of issuance of
marriage and became manifest thereafter.[15] their marriage certificate and marriage license are different and
incongruous. Jksm
The Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, in its
decision[16] dated December 9, 1993, denied the petition of Although we have repeatedly ruled that litigants cannot raise an
Filipina Sy for the declaration of absolute nullity of her marriage issue for the first time on appeal, as this would contravene the
to Fernando. It stated that the alleged acts of the respondent, as basic rules of fair play and justice,[23] in a number of instances,
cited by petitioner, do not constitute psychological incapacity we have relaxed observance of procedural rules, noting that
which may warrant the declaration of absolute nullity of their technicalities are not ends in themselves but exist to protect and
marriage. Lexjuris promote substantive rights of litigants. We said that certain rules
ought not to be applied with severity and rigidity if by so doing,
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the the very reason for their existence would be defeated. [24] Hence,
decision of the trial court. In the decision [17] of the Court of when substantial justice plainly requires, exempting a particular
Appeals dated May 21, 1996, it ruled that the testimony of case from the operation of technicalities should not be subject to
petitioner concerning respondent's purported psychological cavil.[25] In our view, the case at bar requires that we address the
incapacity falls short of the quantum of evidence required to issue of the validity of the marriage between Fillipina and
nullify a marriage celebrated with all the formal and essential Fernando which petitioner claims is void from the beginning for
requisites of law. Moreover, the Court of Appeals held that lack of a marriage license, in order to arrive at a just resolution of
petitioner failed to show that the alleged psychological incapacity a deeply seated and violent conflict between the parties. Note,
of respondent had existed at the time of the celebration of their however, that here the pertinent facts are not disputed; and what
marriage in 1973. It reiterated the finding of the trial court that the is required now is a declaration of their effects according to
couple's marital problems surfaced only in 1983, or almost ten existing law.
years from the date of the celebration of their marriage. And prior
to their separation in 1983, they were living together Petitioner states that though she did not categorically state in
harmoniously. Thus, the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment her petition for annulment of marriage before the trial court that
of the lower court which it found to be in accordance with law and the incongruity in the dates of the marriage license and the
the evidence on record.[18] celebration of the marriage itself would lead to the conclusion
that her marriage to Fernando was void from the beginning, she
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration,[19] which the Court of points out that these critical dates were contained in the
Appeals denied in its resolution dated November 21, 1996. [20] documents she submitted before the court. The date of issue of
the marriage license and marriage certificate, September 17,
Hence, this appeal by certiorari[21] wherein petitioner now raises
1974, is contained in their marriage contract which was attached
the following issues: Jurismis
as Annex "A" in her petition for declaration of absolute nullity of
1. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF marriage before the trial court, and thereafter marked as Exhibit
APPEALS MANIFESTLY OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT ON "A" in the course of the trial.[26] The date of celebration of their
THE DATE OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE PARTIES' marriage at Our Lady of Lourdes, Sta. Teresita Parish, on
MARRIAGE ON NOVEMBER 15, 1973, NOT DISPUTED BY November 15, 1973, is admitted both by petitioner and private
RESPONDENT FERNANDO, THERE WAS NO MARRIAGE respondent, as stated in paragraph three of petitioner's petition
LICENSE THERETO; for the declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before the trial
court, and private respondent's answer admitting it.[27] This fact
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF was also affirmed by petitioner, in open court, on January 22,
APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS BY 1993, during her direct examination,[28] as follows: Es m
STATING THAT THE GROUNDS RELIED UPON BY
APPELLANT [herein petitioner] DO NOT CONSTITUTE ATTY. RAZON: In the last hearing, you said that you were
PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY AS WOULD JUSTIFY married on November 15,1973?
NULLIFICATION OF HER MARRIAGE TO APPELLEE [herein
FILIPINA SY: Yes, Sir.
respondent];
November 15, 1973, also appears as the date of marriage of the
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF
parents in both their son's and daughter's birth certificates, which
APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF FACTS BY
are also attached as Annexes " B" and "C" in the petition for
STATING THAT APPELLANT FAILED TO SHOW THAT THE
declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before the trial court,
ALLEGED UNDESIRABLE ACTUATIONS OF APPELLEE HAD
and thereafter marked as Exhibits "B" and "C" in the course of
EXISTED OR WERE PRESENT AT THE TIME THEIR
the trial.[29] These pieces of evidence on record plainly and
MARRIAGE WAS CELEBRATED IN 1973; Jjjuris
indubitably show that on the day of the marriage ceremony, there
4. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF was no marriage license. A marriage license is a formal
APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN requirement; its absence renders the marriage void ab initio. In
AFFIRMING THE ERRONEOUS RULING OF THE LOWER addition, the marriage contract shows that the marriage license,
COURT THAT THERE IS A REDEEMING ATTITUDE SHOWN numbered 6237519, was issued in Carmona, Cavite, yet, neither
TO THE COURT BY RESPONDENT FERNANDO WITH petitioner nor private respondent ever resided in Carmona.[30]
RESPECT TO HIS CHILDREN AND ALSO BELIEVES THAT
Carefully reviewing the documents and the pleadings on record,
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES IS NOT A
we find that indeed petitioner did not expressly state in her
REMOTE POSSIBILITY WHICH IS ERRONEOUS; AND
petition before the trial court that there was incongruity between
5.WHETHER OR NOT THE CASE OF SANTOS V.COURT OF the date of the actual celebration of their marriage and the date
APPEALS (240 SCRA 20) IS APPLICABLE HERETO.[22] of the issuance of their marriage license. From the documents
she presented, the marriage license was issued on September
In sum, two issues are to be resolved: justice 17,1974, almost one year after the ceremony took place on
November 15, 1973. The ineluctable conclusion is that the
1. Whether or not the marriage between petitioner and
marriage was indeed contracted without a marriage license.
private respondent is void from the beginning for lack of a
Nowhere do we find private respondent denying these dates on
marriage license at the time of the ceremony; and
record. Article 80 of the Civil Code[31] is clearly applicable in this
2. Whether or not private respondent is psychologically case. There being no claim of an exceptional character, the
incapacitated at the time of said marriage celebration to warrant purported marriage between petitioner and private respondent
a declaration of its absolute nullity. could not be classified among those enumerated in Articles 72-

3
79[32] of the Civil Code. We thus conclude that under Article 80 of partnership of gains, complete separation of property, or any
the Civil Code, the marriage between petitioner and private other regime. In the absence of marriage settlements, or when
respondent is void from the beginning. Es msc the regime agreed upon is void, the system of absolute
community of property as established in this code shall govern.
We note that their marriage certificate and marriage license are
only photocopies. So are the birth certificates of their son ART. 76. In order that any modification in the marriage
Frederick and daughter Farrah Sheryll. Nevertheless, these settlements may be valid, it must be made before the celebration
documents were marked as Exhibits during the course of the trial of the marriage, subject to the provisions of Articles 66, 67, 128,
below, which shows that these have been examined and 135 and 136.
admitted by the trial court, with no objections having been made
as to their authenticity and due execution. Likewise, no objection ART. 77. The marriage settlements and any modification thereof
was interposed to petitioner's testimony in open court when she shall be in writing, signed by the parties and executed before the
affirmed that the date of the actual celebration of their marriage celebration of the marriage. They shall not prejudice third
was on November 15, 1973. We are of the view, therefore, that persons unless they are registered in the local civil registry where
having been admitted in evidence, with the adverse party failing the marriage contract is recorded as well as in the proper
to timely object thereto, these documents are deemed sufficient registries of property.
proof of the facts contained therein.[33]
ART. 78. A minor who according to law may contract marriage
The remaining issue on the psychological incapacity of private may also enter into marriage settlements, but they shall be valid
respondent need no longer detain us. It is mooted by our only if the persons designated in Article 14 to give consent to the
conclusion that the marriage of petitioner to respondent is void ab marriage are made parties to the agreement, subject to the
initio for lack of a marriage license at the time their marriage was provisions of Title IX of this Code.
solemnized. Esmm is
ART. 79. For the validity of any marriage settlements executed
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the by a person upon whom a sentence of civil interdiction has been
Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, dated pronounced or who is subject to any other disability, it shall be
December 9,1993 as well as the Decision promulgated on May indispensable for the guardian appointed by a competent court to
21, 1996 by the Court of Appeals and its Resolution dated be made a party thereto.
November 21, 1996, in CA-G.R. No. 44144 are set aside. The [33]
See also Son vs. Son, 251 SCRA 556 (1995); Tison vs. CA,
marriage celebrated on November 15, 1973 between petitioner
276 SCRA 582 (1997); Quebral vs. CA, 252 SCRA 353 (1996).
Filipina Yap and private respondent Fernando Sy is hereby
declared void ab initio for lack of marriage license at the time of Republic of the Philippines
celebration. No pronouncement as to costs. SUPREME COURT
Manila
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Buena, and De Leon, Jr.,
JJ., concur. G.R. No. 167684 July 31, 2006

JAIME O.SEVILLA, petitioner,


[31]
Art. 80. The following marriages shall be void from the vs.
beginning: CARMELITA N. CARDENAS, respondent.
xxx DECISION
(3) Those solemnized without a marriage license, save marriages CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
of exceptional character;
This Petition for Review on Certiorari seeks the reversal of the
xxx Decision1 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74416
[32]
dated 20 December 2004 which set aside the Decision 2 of the
ART. 72. When one of the spouses neglects his or her duties
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, in Civil Case No. 94-
to the conjugal union or commits acts which tend to bring danger,
1285 dated 25 January 2002.
dishonor or injury to the other or to the family, the aggrieved party
may apply to the court for relief. In a Complaint3 dated 28 March 1994 filed by Jaime O. Sevilla
before the RTC, he claimed that on 19 May 1969, through
ART. 73. Either spouse may exercise any legitimate profession,
machinations, duress and intimidation employed upon him by
occupation, business or activity without the consent of the other.
Carmelita N. Cardenas and the latter's father, retired Colonel
The latter may object only on valid, serious, and moral grounds.
Jose Cardenas of the Armed forces of the Philippines, he and
In case of disagreement, the court shall decide whether or not: Carmelita went to the City Hall of Manila and they were
introduced to a certain Reverend Cirilo D. Gonzales, a supposed
(1) The objection is proper, and Minister of the Gospel. On the said date, the father of Carmelita
caused him and Carmelita to sign a marriage contract before the
(2) Benefit has accrued to the family prior to the objection or said Minister of the Gospel. According to Jaime, he never applied
thereafter. If the benefit accrued prior to the objection, the for a marriage license for his supposed marriage to Carmelita
resulting obligation shall be enforced against the separate and never did they obtain any marriage license from any Civil
property of the spouse who has not obtained consent. Registry, consequently, no marriage license was presented to the
solemnizing officer.
The foregoing provisions shall not prejudice the rights of creditors
who acted in good faith. For her part, Carmelita refuted these allegations of Jaime, and
claims that she and Jaime were married civilly on 19 May
ART. 74. The property relations between husband and wife shall
1969,4 and in a church ceremony thereafter on 31 May 19695 at
be governed in the following order:
the Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Quezon City. Both marriages
(1) By marriage settlements executed before the marriage; were registered with the local civil registry of Manila and the
National Statistics Office. He is estopped from invoking the lack
(2) By the provisions of this Code; and of marriage license after having been married to her for 25 years.
(3) By the local customs. The trial court made the following findings:
ART. 75. The future spouses may, in the marriage settlements, In support of his complaint, plaintiff [Jaime] testified that on May
agree upon the regime of absolute community, conjugal 19, 1969, he and defendant [Carmelita] appeared before a

4
certain Rev. Cirilo D. Gonzales, a Minister of the Gospel, at the 28-98, p. 4) on May 19, 1969, before a minister and where she
city hall in Manila where they executed a Marriage Contract (Exh. was made to sign documents. After the civil wedding, they had
"A") in civil rites. A certain Godofredo Occena who, plaintiff lunch and later each went home separately. On May 31, 1969,
alleged, was an aide of defendant's father accompanied them, they had the church wedding, which the Sevilla family alone
and who, together with another person, stood as witness to the prepared and arranged, since defendant's mother just came from
civil wedding. That although marriage license no. 2770792 hospital. Her family did not participate in the wedding
allegedly issued in San Juan, Rizal on May 19, 1969 was preparations. Defendant further stated that there was no sexual
indicated in the marriage contract, the same was fictitious for he consummation during their honeymoon and that it was after two
never applied for any marriage license, (Ibid., p. 11). Upon months when they finally had sex. She learned from Dr.
verifications made by him through his lawyer, Atty. Jose M. Escudero, plaintiff's physician and one of their wedding sponsors
Abola, with the Civil Registry of San Juan, a Certification dated that plaintiff was undergoing psychiatric therapy since age 12
March 11, 1994 (Exh. "E") was issued by Rafael D. Aliscad, Jr., (TSN, 11-2-98, p. 15) for some traumatic problem compounded
Local Civil Registrar of San Juan, that "no marriage license no. by his drug habit. She found out plaintiff has unusual sexual
2770792 was ever issued by said office." On May 31, 1969, he behavior by his obsession over her knees of which he would take
and defendant were again wed, this time in church rites, before endless pictures of. Moreover, plaintiff preferred to have sex with
Monsignor Juan Velasco at the Most Holy Redeemer Parish her in between the knees which she called "intrafemural sex,"
Church in Brixton Hills, Quezon City, where they executed while real sex between them was far and between like 8 months,
another marriage contract (Exh. "F") with the same marriage hence, abnormal. During their marriage, plaintiff exhibited weird
license no. 2770792 used and indicated. Preparations and sexual behavior which defendant attributed to plaintiff's drug
expenses for the church wedding and reception were jointly addiction (TSN, 11-5-98, pp. 5-8). A compulsive liar, plaintiff has
shared by his and defendant's parents. After the church wedding, a bad temper who breaks things when he had tantrums. Plaintiff
he and defendant resided in his house at Brixton Hills until their took drugs like amphetamines, benzedrine and the like, "speed"
first son, Jose Gabriel, was born in March 1970. As his parents drugs that kept him from sleep and then would take barbiturates
continued to support him financially, he and defendant lived in or downers, like "mogadon." Defendant tried very hard to keep
Spain for some time, for his medical studies. Eventually, their plaintiff away from drugs but failed as it has become a habit to
marital relationship turned bad because it became difficult for him him. They had no fixed home since they often moved and partly
to be married he being a medical student at that time. They lived in Spain for about four and a half years, and during all those
started living apart in 1976, but they underwent family counseling times, her mother-in-law would send some financial support on
before they eventually separated in 1978. It was during this time and off, while defendant worked as an English teacher. Plaintiff,
when defendant's second son was born whose paternity plaintiff who was supposed to be studying, did nothing. Their marriage
questioned. Plaintiff obtained a divorce decree against defendant became unbearable, as plaintiff physically and verbally abused
in the United States in 1981 and later secured a judicial her, and this led to a break up in their marriage. Later, she
separation of their conjugal partnership in 1983. learned that plaintiff married one Angela Garcia in 1991 in the
United States.
Atty. Jose M. Abola, then counsel for the plaintiff, himself
manifested that when his service was engaged by plaintiff, and Jose Cardenas, father of defendant, testified that he was not
after the latter narrated to him the circumstances of his marriage, aware of the civil wedding of his daughter with the plaintiff; that
he made inquiries with the Office of Civil Registry of San Juan his daughter and grandson came to stay with him after they
where the supposed marriage license was obtained and with the returned home from Spain and have lived with him and his wife
Church of the Most Holy Redeemer Parish where the religious ever since. His grandsons practically grew up under his care and
wedding ceremony was celebrated. His request letters dated guidance, and he has supported his daughter's expenses for
March 3, 1994 (Exh. "J"), March 7, 1994 (Exh. "L"), March 9, medicines and hospital confinements (Exhs. "9" and "10").
1994 (Exh. "M") and March 11, 1994 (Exh. "K") were all sent to
and received by the Civil Registrar of San Juan, who in reply Victoria Cardenas Navarro, defendant's sister, testified and
thereto, issued Certifications dated March 4, 1994 (Exh. "I"), and corroborated that it was plaintiff's family that attended to all the
March 11, 1994 (Exh. "E") and September 20, 1994 (Exh. "C"), preparations and arrangements for the church wedding of her
that "no marriage license no. 2770792 was ever issued by that sister with plaintiff, and that she didn't know that the couple wed
office." Upon his inquiry, the Holy Redeemer Parish Church in civil rites some time prior to the church wedding. She also
issued him a certified copy of the marriage contract of plaintiff stated that she and her parents were still civil with the plaintiff
and defendant (Exh. "F") and a Certificate of Marriage dated April inspite of the marital differences between plaintiff and defendant.
11, 1994 (Exh. "G"), wherein it noted that it was a "purely
As adverse witness for the defendant, plaintiff testified that
religious ceremony, having been civilly married on May 19, 1969
because of irreconcilable differences with defendant and in order
at the City Hall, Manila, under Marriage License No. 2770792
for them to live their own lives, they agreed to divorce each other;
issued at San Juan, Rizal on May 19, 1969."
that when he applied for and obtained a divorce decree in the
Perlita Mercader, Registration Officer III of the Local Registry of United States on June 14, 1983 (Exh. "13"), it was with the
San Juan, identified the Certificates dated March 4, 1994, March knowledge and consent of defendant who in fact authorized a
11, 1994 and September 20, 1994 issued by Rafael Aliscad, Jr., certain Atty. Quisumbing to represent her (TSN, 12-7-2000, p.
the Local Civil Registrar, and testified that their office failed to 21). During his adverse testimony, plaintiff identified a recent
locate the book wherein marriage license no. 2770792 may have certification dated July 25, 2000 (Exh. "EE") issued by the Local
been registered (TSN, 8-6-96, p. 5). Civil Registrar of San Juan, that the marriage license no.
2770792, the same marriage license appearing in the marriage
Defendant Carmelita Cardenas testified that she and plaintiff had contract (Exh. "A"), is inexistent, thus appears to be fictitious. 6
a steady romantic relationship after they met and were
introduced to each other in October 1968. A model, she was In its Decision dated 25 January 2002, declaring the nullity of the
compelled by her family to join the Mutya ng Pilipinas beauty marriage of the parties, the trial court made the following
pageant when plaintiff who was afraid to lose her, asked her to justifications:
run away with him to Baguio. Because she loved plaintiff, she
Thus, being one of the essential requisites for the validity of the
turned back on her family and decided to follow plaintiff in
marriage, the lack or absence of a license renders the marriage
Baguio. When they came back to Manila, she and plaintiff
void ab initio. It was shown under the various certifications (Exhs.
proceeded to the latter's home in Brixton Hills where plaintiff's
"I", "E", and "C") earlier issued by the office of the Local Civil
mother, Mrs. Sevilla, told her not to worry. Her parents were
Registrar of the Municipality of San Juan, and the more recent
hostile when they learned of the elopement, but Mrs. Sevilla
one issued on July 25, 2000 (Exh. "EE") that no marriage license
convinced them that she will take care of everything, and
no. 2770792 was ever issued by that office, hence, the marriage
promised to support plaintiff and defendant. As plaintiff was still
license no. 2770792 appearing on the marriage contracts
fearful he may lose her, he asked her to marry him in civil rites,
executed on May 19, 1969 (Exh. "A") and on May 31, 1969 (Exh.
without the knowledge of her family, more so her father (TSN, 5-
"F") was fictitious. Such a certification enjoys probative value

5
under the rules on evidence, particularly Section 28, Rule 132 of the marriage contract of the parties was issued, are sufficient to
the Rules of Court, x x x. declare their marriage as null and void ab initio.

xxxx We agree with the Court of Appeals and rule in the negative.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby declares the civil marriage Pertinent provisions of the Civil Code which was the law in force
between Jaime O. Sevilla and Carmelita N. Cardenas at the time of the marriage of the parties are Articles
solemnized by Rev. Cirilo D. Gonzales at the Manila City Hall on 53,10 5811 and 80.12
May 19, 1969 as well as their contract of marriage solemnized
under religious rites by Rev. Juan B. Velasco at the Holy Based on the foregoing provisions, a marriage license is an
Redeemer Parish on May 31, 1969, NULL and VOID for lack of essential requisite for the validity of marriage. The marriage
the requisite marriage license. Let the marriage contract of the between Carmelita and Jaime is of no exception.
parties under Registry No. 601 (e-69) of the registry book of the
At first glance, this case can very well be easily dismissed as one
Local Civil Registry of Manila be cancelled.
involving a marriage that is null and void on the ground of
Let copies of this Decision be duly recorded in the proper civil absence of a marriage license based on the certifications issued
and property registries in accordance with Article 52 of the Family by the Local Civil Registar of San Juan. As ruled by this Court in
Code. Likewise, let a copy hereof be forwarded the Office of the the case of Cariño v. Cariño13:
Solicitor General for its record and information. 7
[A]s certified by the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan, Metro
Carmelita filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals. In a Decision Manila, their office has no record of such marriage license.
dated 20 December 2004, the Court of Appeals disagreed with In Republic v. Court of Appeals, the Court held that such a
the trial court and held: certification is adequate to prove the non-issuance of a marriage
license. Absent any circumstance of suspicion, as in the present
In People v. De Guzman (G.R. No. 106025, February 9, 1994), case, the certification issued by the local civil registrar enjoys
the Supreme Court explained that: "The presumption of regularity probative value, he being the officer charged under the law to
of official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of keep a record of all date relative to the issuance of a marriage
irregularity or failure to perform a duty. The presumption, license.
however, prevails until it is overcome by no less than clear and
convincing evidence to the contrary. Thus, unless the Such being the case, the presumed validity of the marriage of
presumption is rebutted, it becomes conclusive." petitioner and the deceased has been sufficiently overcome. It
then became the burden of petitioner to prove that their marriage
In this case, We note that a certain Perlita Mercader of the local is valid and that they secured the required marriage license.
civil registry of San Juan testified that they"failed to locate the Although she was declared in default before the trial court,
book wherein marriage license no. 2770792 is registered," petitioner could have squarely met the issue and explained the
for the reason that "the employee handling is already absence of a marriage license in her pleadings before the Court
retired." With said testimony We cannot therefore just presume of Appeals and this Court. But petitioner conveniently avoided the
that the marriage license specified in the parties' marriage issue and chose to refrain from pursuing an argument that will
contract was not issued for in the end the failure of the office of put her case in jeopardy. Hence, the presumed validity of their
the local civil registrar of San Juan to produce a copy of the marriage cannot stand.
marriage license was attributable not to the fact that no such
marriage license was issued but rather, because it "failed to It is beyond cavil, therefore, that the marriage between petitioner
locate the book wherein marriage license no. 2770792 is Susan Nicdao and the deceased, having been solemnized
registered." Simply put, if the pertinent book were available for without the necessary marriage license, and not being one of the
scrutiny, there is a strong possibility that it would have contained marriages exempt from the marriage license requirement, is
an entry on marriage license no. 2720792. undoubtedly void ab initio.

xxxx The foregoing Decision giving probative value to the certifications


issued by the Local Civil Registrar should be read in line with the
Indeed, this Court is not prepared to annul the parties' marriage decision in the earlier case of Republic v. Court of
on the basis of a mere perception of plaintiff that his union with Appeals,14 where it was held that:
defendant is defective with respect to an essential requisite of a
marriage contract, a perception that ultimately was not The above Rule authorized the custodian of documents to
substantiated with facts on record.8 certify that despite diligent search, a particular document
does not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a
Jaime filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated 6 January 2005 specified tenor was not to be found in a register. As
which the Court of Appeals denied in a Resolution dated 6 April custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers
2005. charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book
where they are required to enter all applications for marriage
This denial gave rise to the present Petition filed by Jaime. licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date the
marriage license was issued and such other relevant data.
He raises the following issues for Resolution.
(Emphasis supplied.)
1. Whether or not a valid marriage license was issued in
Thus, the certification to be issued by the Local Civil Registrar
accordance with law to the parties herein prior to the celebration
must categorically state that the document does not exist in his
of the marriages in question;
office or the particular entry could not be found in the register
2. Whether or not the Court of Appeals correctly applied and despite diligent search. Such certification shall be sufficient proof
relied on the presumption of regularity of officials acts, of lack or absence of record as stated in Section 28, Rule 132 of
particularly the issuance of a marriage license, arising solely from the Rules of Court:
the contents of the marriage contracts in question which show on
SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. – a written statement signed by
their face that a marriage license was purportedly issued by the
an officer having the custody of an official record or by his deputy
Local Civil Registry of San Juan, Metro Manila, and
that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is
3. Whether or not respondent could validly invoke/rely upon the found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a
presumption of validity of a marriage arising from the admitted certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the
"fact of marriage."9 records of his office contain no such record or entry.

At the core of this controversy is the determination of whether or We shall now proceed to scrutinize whether the certifications by
not the certifications from the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan in connection with Marriage
stating that no Marriage License No. 2770792 as appearing in

6
License No. 2770792 complied with the foregoing requirements person was not presented in evidence. It does not appear on
and deserved to be accorded probative value. record that the former custodian of the logbook was deceased or
missing, or that his testimony could not be secured. This belies
The first Certification15 issued by the Local Civil Registrar of San the claim that all efforts to locate the logbook or prove the
Juan, Metro Manila, was dated 11 March 1994. It reads: material contents therein, had been exerted.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: As testified to by Perlita Mercader:
No Marriage License Number 2770792 were (sic) ever issued by Q Under the subpoena duces tecum, you were required to bring
this Office. With regards (sic) to Marriage License Number to this Court among other things the register of application of/or
2880792,16 we exert all effort but we cannot find the said number. (sic) for marriage licenses received by the Office of the :Local
Civil Registrar of San Juan, Province of Rizal, from January 19,
Hope and understand our loaded work cannot give you our full
1969 to May 1969. Did you bring with you those records?
force locating the above problem.
A I brought may 19, 1969, sir.
San Juan, Metro Manila
Q Is that the book requested of you under no. 3 of the request for
March 11, 1994
subpoena?

(SGD)RAFAEL D. ALISCAD, JR. A Meron pang January. I forgot, January . . .


Local Civil Registrar
Q Did you bring that with you?
The second certification17 was dated 20 September 1994 and A No, sir.
provides:
Q Why not?
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
A I cannot locate the book. This is the only book.
This is to certify that no marriage license Number 2770792 were
ever issued by this Office with regards to Marriage License Q Will you please state if this is the register of marriage of
Number 2880792, we exert all effort but we cannot find the said marriage applications that your office maintains as required by
number. the manual of the office of the Local Civil Registrar?

Hope and understand our loaded work cannot give you our full COURT
force locating the above problem.
May I see that book and the portion marked by the witness.
San Juan, Metro Manila
xxxx
September 20, 1994
COURT

(SGD)RAFAEL D. ALISCAD, JR. Why don't you ask her direct question whether marriage license
Local Civil Registrar 2880792 is the number issued by their office while with respect to
license no. 2770792 the office of the Local Civil Registrar of San
The third Certification,18 issued on 25 July 2000, states: Juan is very definite about it it was never issued. Then ask him
how about no. 2880792 if the same was ever issued by their
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: office. Did you ask this 2887092, but you could not find the
record? But for the moment you cannot locate the books? Which
This is to certify that according to the records of this office, no
is which now, was this issued or not?
Marriage License Application was filed and no Marriage License
No. 2770792 allegedly dated May 19, 1969 was issued by this A The employee handling it is already retired, sir.19
Office to MR. JAIME O. SEVILLA and MS. CARMELITA
CARDENAS-SEVILLA. Given the documentary and testimonial evidence to the effect
that utmost efforts were not exerted to locate the logbook where
This is to further certify that the said application and license do Marriage License No. 2770792 may have been entered, the
not exist in our Local Civil Registry Index and, therefore, appear presumption of regularity of performance of official function by
to be fictitious. the Local Civil Registrar in issuing the certifications, is effectively
rebutted.
This certification is being issued upon the request of the
interested party for whatever legal intent it may serve. According to Section 3(m),20 Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, the
presumption that official duty has been regularly performed is
San Juan, Metro Manila
among the disputable presumptions.
July 25, 2000
In one case, it was held:

(SGD)RAFAEL D. ALISCAD, JR. A disputable presumption has been defined as a species of


Local Civil Registrar evidence that may be accepted and acted on where there is no
other evidence to uphold the contention for which it stands, or
Note that the first two certifications bear the statement that "hope one which may be overcome by other evidence. One such
and understand our loaded work cannot give you our full force disputable/rebuttable presumption is that an official act or duty
locating the above problem." It could be easily implied from the has been regularly performed. x x x.21
said statement that the Office of the Local Civil Registrar could The presumption of regularity of official acts may be rebutted by
not exert its best efforts to locate and determine the existence of affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a duty.22
Marriage License No. 2770792 due to its "loaded work."
Likewise, both certifications failed to state with absolute certainty The presumption of regularity of performance of official duty is
whether or not such license was issued. disputable and can be overcome by other evidence as in the
case at bar where the presumption has been effectively defeated
This implication is confirmed in the testimony of the by the tenor of the first and second certifications.
representative from the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of San
Juan, Ms. Perlita Mercader, who stated that they cannot locate Moreover, the absence of the logbook is not conclusive proof of
the logbook due to the fact that the person in charge of the said non-issuance of Marriage License No. 2770792. It can also
logbook had already retired. Further, the testimony of the said mean, as we believed true in the case at bar, that the logbook

7
10
just cannot be found. In the absence of showing of diligent efforts ART. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these
to search for the said logbook, we cannot easily accept that requisites are complied with:
absence of the same also means non-existence or falsity of
entries therein. (1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;

Finally, the rule is settled that every intendment of the law or fact (2) Their consent, freely given;
leans toward the validity of the marriage, the indissolubility of the
(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
marriage bonds.23 The courts look upon this presumption with
great favor. It is not to be lightly repelled; on the contrary, the (4) a marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional
presumption is of great weight.24 character.
The Court is mindful of the policy of the 1987 Constitution to 11 ART. 58. Save marriages of an exceptional character
protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social authorized in Chapter 2 of this Title, but not those under Article
institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. Thus, any 75, no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being
doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of the marriage.25 issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either
contracting party habitually resides.
The parties have comported themselves as husband and wife
and lived together for several years producing two 12ART. 80. The following marriages shall be void from the
offsprings,26 now adults themselves. It took Jaime several years beginning:
before he filed the petition for declaration of nullity. Admittedly, he
married another individual sometime in 1991.27 We are not ready xxxx
to reward petitioner by declaring the nullity of his marriage and
(3) Those solemnized without a marriage license, save marriages
give him his freedom and in the process allow him to profit from
of exceptional charater.
his own deceit and perfidy.28
13 G.R. No. 132529, 2 February 2001, 351 SCRA 127, 133-134.
Our Constitution is committed to the policy of strengthening the
family as a basic social institution. Our family law is based on the 14 G.R. No. 103047, 2 September 1994, 236 SCRA 257, 262.
policy that marriage is not a mere contract, but a social institution
in which the State is vitally interested. The State can find no 15 Records, Vol. I, p. 103.
stronger anchor than on good, solid and happy families. The
16
break-up of families weakens our social and moral fabric; hence, Atty. Josa Ma. Abola, counsel for Jaime Sevilla testified before
their preservation is not the concern of the family members the trial court that in his letter requesting for the issuance of a
alone.29 certification, addressed to the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan,
he mistakenly read the Marriage License No. as 2880792 instead
"The basis of human society throughout the civilized world is x x of 2770792. (Records, Vol. II, pp. 725-726.)
x marriage. Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract,
17
but it is a new relation, an institution in the maintenance of which Id. at 228.
the public is deeply interested. Consequently, every intendment 18 Records, Vol. II, p. 888.
of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. Persons dwelling
together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of 19 Id. at 735-737.
any counterpresumption or evidence special to the case, to be in
20
fact married. The reason is that such is the common order of Rule 131. BURDEN OF PROOF AND PRESUMPTIONS
society, and if the parties were not what they thus hold
xxxx
themselves out as being, they would be living in the constant
violation of decency and of law. A presumption established by SEC. 3. Disputable presumptions. – The following presumptions
our Code of Civil Procedure is `that a man and a woman are satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and
deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a overcome by other evidence;
lawful contract of marriage.' Semper praesumitur pro
matrimonio – Always presume marriage."30 xxxx

This jurisprudential attitude towards marriage is based on (m) That official duty has been regularly performed;
the prima facie presumption that a man and a woman deporting
themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful
contract of marriage.31
Republic of the Philippines
By our failure to come to the succor of Jaime, we are not trifling SUPREME COURT
with his emotion or deepest sentiments. As we have said Manila
in Carating-Siayngco v. Siayngco,32 regrettably, there are
FIRST DIVISION
situations like this one, where neither law nor society can provide
the specific answers to every individual problem. G.R. No. 174689 October 22, 2007
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition ROMMEL JACINTO DANTES SILVERIO, petitioner,
is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated 20 vs.
December 2004 and the Resolution dated 6 April 2005 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondent.
are AFFIRMED. Costs against the petitioner.
DECISION
SO ORDERED.
CORONA, J.:
Panganiban, C.J., Ynares-Santiago, Austria-Martinez, Callejo,
Sr., J.J., concur. When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God; He
created them male and female. (Genesis 5:1-2)

Footnotes Amihan gazed upon the bamboo reed planted by Bathala and
she heard voices coming from inside the bamboo. "Oh North
1Docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 74416, penned by Associate Wind! North Wind! Please let us out!," the voices said. She
Justice Vicente S. E. Veloso with Associate Justices Roberto A. pecked the reed once, then twice. All of a sudden, the bamboo
Barrios and Amelita G. Tolentino, concurring; Rollo, pp. 20-31. cracked and slit open. Out came two human beings; one was a
2 male and the other was a female. Amihan named the man
Rollo, p. 46. Penned by Judge Zeus C. Abrogar.
"Malakas" (Strong) and the woman "Maganda" (Beautiful). (The
Legend of Malakas and Maganda)

8
When is a man a man and when is a woman a woman? In WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered GRANTING the
particular, does the law recognize the changes made by a petition and ordering the Civil Registrar of Manila to change the
physician using scalpel, drugs and counseling with regard to a entries appearing in the Certificate of Birth of [p]etitioner,
person’s sex? May a person successfully petition for a change of specifically for petitioner’s first name from "Rommel Jacinto"
name and sex appearing in the birth certificate to reflect the to MELY and petitioner’s gender from "Male" to FEMALE. 5
result of a sex reassignment surgery?
On August 18, 2003, the Republic of the Philippines (Republic),
On November 26, 2002, petitioner Rommel Jacinto Dantes thru the OSG, filed a petition for certiorari in the Court of
Silverio filed a petition for the change of his first name and sex in Appeals.6 It alleged that there is no law allowing the change of
his birth certificate in the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch entries in the birth certificate by reason of sex alteration.
8. The petition, docketed as SP Case No. 02-105207, impleaded
the civil registrar of Manila as respondent. On February 23, 2006, the Court of Appeals7 rendered a
decision8 in favor of the Republic. It ruled that the trial court’s
Petitioner alleged in his petition that he was born in the City of decision lacked legal basis. There is no law allowing the change
Manila to the spouses Melecio Petines Silverio and Anita Aquino of either name or sex in the certificate of birth on the ground of
Dantes on April 4, 1962. His name was registered as "Rommel sex reassignment through surgery. Thus, the Court of Appeals
Jacinto Dantes Silverio" in his certificate of live birth (birth granted the Republic’s petition, set aside the decision of the trial
certificate). His sex was registered as "male." court and ordered the dismissal of SP Case No. 02-105207.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied. 9 Hence,
He further alleged that he is a male transsexual, that is, this petition.
"anatomically male but feels, thinks and acts as a female" and
that he had always identified himself with girls since Petitioner essentially claims that the change of his name and sex
childhood.1 Feeling trapped in a man’s body, he consulted in his birth certificate is allowed under Articles 407 to 413 of the
several doctors in the United States. He underwent psychological Civil Code, Rules 103 and 108 of the Rules of Court and RA
examination, hormone treatment and breast augmentation. His 9048.10
attempts to transform himself to a "woman" culminated on
January 27, 2001 when he underwent sex reassignment The petition lacks merit.
surgery2 in Bangkok, Thailand. He was thereafter examined by
A Person’s First Name Cannot Be Changed On the Ground
Dr. Marcelino Reysio-Cruz, Jr., a plastic and reconstruction of Sex Reassignment
surgeon in the Philippines, who issued a medical certificate
attesting that he (petitioner) had in fact undergone the procedure. Petitioner invoked his sex reassignment as the ground for his
petition for change of name and sex. As found by the trial court:
From then on, petitioner lived as a female and was in fact
engaged to be married. He then sought to have his name in his Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or
birth certificate changed from "Rommel Jacinto" to "Mely," and judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive
his sex from "male" to "female." but solely for the purpose of making his birth records
compatible with his present sex. (emphasis supplied)
An order setting the case for initial hearing was published in the
People’s Journal Tonight, a newspaper of general circulation in Petitioner believes that after having acquired the physical
Metro Manila, for three consecutive weeks. 3 Copies of the order features of a female, he became entitled to the civil registry
were sent to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and the changes sought. We disagree.
civil registrar of Manila.
The State has an interest in the names borne by individuals and
On the scheduled initial hearing, jurisdictional requirements were entities for purposes of identification.11 A change of name is a
established. No opposition to the petition was made. privilege, not a right.12 Petitions for change of name are
controlled by statutes.13 In this connection, Article 376 of the Civil
During trial, petitioner testified for himself. He also presented Dr.
Code provides:
Reysio-Cruz, Jr. and his American fiancé, Richard P. Edel, as
witnesses. ART. 376. No person can change his name or surname without
judicial authority.
On June 4, 2003, the trial court rendered a decision 4 in favor of
petitioner. Its relevant portions read: This Civil Code provision was amended by RA 9048 (Clerical
Error Law). In particular, Section 1 of RA 9048 provides:
Petitioner filed the present petition not to evade any law or
judgment or any infraction thereof or for any unlawful motive but SECTION 1. Authority to Correct Clerical or Typographical Error
solely for the purpose of making his birth records compatible with and Change of First Name or Nickname. – No entry in a civil
his present sex. register shall be changed or corrected without a judicial order,
except for clerical or typographical errors and change of first
The sole issue here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the
name or nickname which can be corrected or changed by the
relief asked for.
concerned city or municipal civil registrar or consul general in
The [c]ourt rules in the affirmative. accordance with the provisions of this Act and its implementing
rules and regulations.
Firstly, the [c]ourt is of the opinion that granting the petition would
be more in consonance with the principles of justice and equity. RA 9048 now governs the change of first name. 14 It vests the
With his sexual [re-assignment], petitioner, who has always felt, power and authority to entertain petitions for change of first name
thought and acted like a woman, now possesses the physique of to the city or municipal civil registrar or consul general
a female. Petitioner’s misfortune to be trapped in a man’s body is concerned. Under the law, therefore, jurisdiction over
not his own doing and should not be in any way taken against applications for change of first name is now primarily lodged with
him. the aforementioned administrative officers. The intent and effect
of the law is to exclude the change of first name from the
Likewise, the [c]ourt believes that no harm, injury [or] prejudice coverage of Rules 103 (Change of Name) and 108 (Cancellation
will be caused to anybody or the community in granting the or Correction of Entries in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of
petition. On the contrary, granting the petition would bring the Court, until and unless an administrative petition for change of
much-awaited happiness on the part of the petitioner and her name is first filed and subsequently denied.15 It likewise lays
[fiancé] and the realization of their dreams. down the corresponding venue,16 form17 and procedure. In sum,
the remedy and the proceedings regulating change of first name
Finally, no evidence was presented to show any cause or ground are primarily administrative in nature, not judicial.
to deny the present petition despite due notice and publication
thereof. Even the State, through the [OSG] has not seen fit to RA 9048 likewise provides the grounds for which change of first
interpose any [o]pposition. name may be allowed:

9
SECTION 4. Grounds for Change of First Name or Nickname. – of nationality, age, status or sex of the petitioner. (emphasis
The petition for change of first name or nickname may be allowed supplied)
in any of the following cases:
Under RA 9048, a correction in the civil registry involving the
(1) The petitioner finds the first name or nickname to be change of sex is not a mere clerical or typographical error. It is a
ridiculous, tainted with dishonor or extremely difficult to write or substantial change for which the applicable procedure is Rule
pronounce; 108 of the Rules of Court.

(2) The new first name or nickname has been habitually and The entries envisaged in Article 412 of the Civil Code and
continuously used by the petitioner and he has been publicly correctable under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court are those
known by that first name or nickname in the community; or provided in Articles 407 and 408 of the Civil Code:24

(3) The change will avoid confusion. ART. 407. Acts, events and judicial decrees concerning the civil
status of persons shall be recorded in the civil register.
Petitioner’s basis in praying for the change of his first name was
his sex reassignment. He intended to make his first name ART. 408. The following shall be entered in the civil register:
compatible with the sex he thought he transformed himself into
through surgery. However, a change of name does not alter (1) Births; (2) marriages; (3) deaths; (4) legal separations; (5)
one’s legal capacity or civil status.18 RA 9048 does not sanction a annulments of marriage; (6) judgments declaring marriages void
change of first name on the ground of sex reassignment. Rather from the beginning; (7) legitimations; (8) adoptions; (9)
than avoiding confusion, changing petitioner’s first name for his acknowledgments of natural children; (10) naturalization; (11)
declared purpose may only create grave complications in the civil loss, or (12) recovery of citizenship; (13) civil interdiction; (14)
registry and the public interest. judicial determination of filiation; (15) voluntary emancipation of a
minor; and (16) changes of name.
Before a person can legally change his given name, he must
present proper or reasonable cause or any compelling reason The acts, events or factual errors contemplated under Article 407
justifying such change.19 In addition, he must show that he will be of the Civil Code include even those that occur after
prejudiced by the use of his true and official name. 20 In this case, birth.25 However, no reasonable interpretation of the provision
he failed to show, or even allege, any prejudice that he might can justify the conclusion that it covers the correction on the
suffer as a result of using his true and official name. ground of sex reassignment.

In sum, the petition in the trial court in so far as it prayed for the To correct simply means "to make or set aright; to remove the
change of petitioner’s first name was not within that court’s faults or error from" while to change means "to replace
primary jurisdiction as the petition should have been filed with the something with something else of the same kind or with
local civil registrar concerned, assuming it could be legally done. something that serves as a substitute." 26 The birth certificate of
It was an improper remedy because the proper remedy was petitioner contained no error. All entries therein, including those
administrative, that is, that provided under RA 9048. It was also corresponding to his first name and sex, were all correct. No
filed in the wrong venue as the proper venue was in the Office of correction is necessary.
the Civil Registrar of Manila where his birth certificate is kept.
Article 407 of the Civil Code authorizes the entry in the civil
More importantly, it had no merit since the use of his true and
registry of certain acts (such as legitimations, acknowledgments
official name does not prejudice him at all. For all these reasons,
of illegitimate children and naturalization), events (such as births,
the Court of Appeals correctly dismissed petitioner’s petition in so
marriages, naturalization and deaths) and judicial decrees (such
far as the change of his first name was concerned.
as legal separations, annulments of marriage, declarations of
No Law Allows The Change of Entry In The Birth Certificate nullity of marriages, adoptions, naturalization, loss or recovery of
As To Sex On the Ground of Sex Reassignment citizenship, civil interdiction, judicial determination of filiation and
changes of name). These acts, events and judicial decrees
The determination of a person’s sex appearing in his birth produce legal consequences that touch upon the legal capacity,
certificate is a legal issue and the court must look to the status and nationality of a person. Their effects are expressly
statutes.21 In this connection, Article 412 of the Civil Code sanctioned by the laws. In contrast, sex reassignment is not
provides: among those acts or events mentioned in Article 407. Neither is it
recognized nor even mentioned by any law, expressly or
ART. 412. No entry in the civil register shall be changed or impliedly.
corrected without a judicial order.
"Status" refers to the circumstances affecting the legal situation
Together with Article 376 of the Civil Code, this provision was (that is, the sum total of capacities and incapacities) of a person
amended by RA 9048 in so far as clerical or typographical errors in view of his age, nationality and his family membership. 27
are involved. The correction or change of such matters can now
be made through administrative proceedings and without the The status of a person in law includes all his personal qualities
need for a judicial order. In effect, RA 9048 removed from the and relations, more or less permanent in nature, not
ambit of Rule 108 of the Rules of Court the correction of such ordinarily terminable at his own will, such as his being
errors.22 Rule 108 now applies only to substantial changes and legitimate or illegitimate, or his being married or not. The
corrections in entries in the civil register.23 comprehensive term status… include such matters as the
beginning and end of legal personality, capacity to have rights in
Section 2(c) of RA 9048 defines what a "clerical or typographical general, family relations, and its various aspects, such as birth,
error" is: legitimation, adoption, emancipation, marriage, divorce, and
sometimes even succession.28 (emphasis supplied)
SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, the
following terms shall mean: A person’s sex is an essential factor in marriage and family
relations. It is a part of a person’s legal capacity and civil status.
xxx xxx xxx
In this connection, Article 413 of the Civil Code provides:
(3) "Clerical or typographical error" refers to a mistake committed
ART. 413. All other matters pertaining to the registration of civil
in the performance of clerical work in writing, copying,
status shall be governed by special laws.
transcribing or typing an entry in the civil register that is harmless
and innocuous, such as misspelled name or misspelled place of But there is no such special law in the Philippines governing sex
birth or the like, which is visible to the eyes or obvious to the reassignment and its effects. This is fatal to petitioner’s cause.
understanding, and can be corrected or changed only by
reference to other existing record or records:Provided, Moreover, Section 5 of Act 3753 (the Civil Register Law)
however, That no correction must involve the change provides:

10
SEC. 5. Registration and certification of births. – The declaration such as the provisions of the Labor Code on employment of
of the physician or midwife in attendance at the birth or, in default women,39 certain felonies under the Revised Penal Code40 and
thereof, the declaration of either parent of the newborn child, the presumption of survivorship in case of calamities under Rule
shall be sufficient for the registration of a birth in the civil register. 131 of the Rules of Court,41 among others. These laws
Such declaration shall be exempt from documentary stamp tax underscore the public policy in relation to women which could be
and shall be sent to the local civil registrar not later than thirty substantially affected if petitioner’s petition were to be granted.
days after the birth, by the physician or midwife in attendance at
the birth or by either parent of the newborn child. It is true that Article 9 of the Civil Code mandates that "[n]o judge
or court shall decline to render judgment by reason of the silence,
In such declaration, the person above mentioned shall certify to obscurity or insufficiency of the law." However, it is not a license
the following facts: (a) date and hour of birth; (b) sex and for courts to engage in judicial legislation. The duty of the courts
nationality of infant; (c) names, citizenship and religion of is to apply or interpret the law, not to make or amend it.
parents or, in case the father is not known, of the mother alone;
(d) civil status of parents; (e) place where the infant was born; In our system of government, it is for the legislature, should it
and (f) such other data as may be required in the regulations to choose to do so, to determine what guidelines should govern the
be issued. recognition of the effects of sex reassignment. The need for
legislative guidelines becomes particularly important in this case
xxx xxx xxx (emphasis supplied) where the claims asserted are statute-based.

Under the Civil Register Law, a birth certificate is a historical To reiterate, the statutes define who may file petitions for change
record of the facts as they existed at the time of birth. 29Thus, the of first name and for correction or change of entries in the civil
sex of a person is determined at birth, visually done by the birth registry, where they may be filed, what grounds may be invoked,
attendant (the physician or midwife) by examining the genitals of what proof must be presented and what procedures shall be
the infant. Considering that there is no law legally recognizing observed. If the legislature intends to confer on a person who has
sex reassignment, the determination of a person’s sex made at undergone sex reassignment the privilege to change his name
the time of his or her birth, if not attended by error,30 is and sex to conform with his reassigned sex, it has to enact
immutable.31 legislation laying down the guidelines in turn governing the
conferment of that privilege.
When words are not defined in a statute they are to be given their
common and ordinary meaning in the absence of a contrary It might be theoretically possible for this Court to write a protocol
legislative intent. The words "sex," "male" and "female" as used on when a person may be recognized as having successfully
in the Civil Register Law and laws concerning the civil registry changed his sex. However, this Court has no authority to fashion
(and even all other laws) should therefore be understood in their a law on that matter, or on anything else. The Court cannot enact
common and ordinary usage, there being no legislative intent to a law where no law exists. It can only apply or interpret the
the contrary. In this connection, sex is defined as "the sum of written word of its co-equal branch of government, Congress.
peculiarities of structure and function that distinguish a male from
a female"32 or "the distinction between male and Petitioner pleads that "[t]he unfortunates are also entitled to a life
female."33Female is "the sex that produces ova or bears of happiness, contentment and [the] realization of their dreams."
young"34 and male is "the sex that has organs to produce No argument about that. The Court recognizes that there are
spermatozoa for fertilizing ova."35 Thus, the words "male" and people whose preferences and orientation do not fit neatly into
"female" in everyday understanding do not include persons who the commonly recognized parameters of social convention and
have undergone sex reassignment. Furthermore, "words that are that, at least for them, life is indeed an ordeal. However, the
employed in a statute which had at the time a well-known remedies petitioner seeks involve questions of public policy to be
meaning are presumed to have been used in that sense unless addressed solely by the legislature, not by the courts.
the context compels to the contrary."36 Since the statutory
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.
language of the Civil Register Law was enacted in the early
1900s and remains unchanged, it cannot be argued that the term Costs against petitioner.
"sex" as used then is something alterable through surgery or
something that allows a post-operative male-to-female SO ORDERED.
transsexual to be included in the category "female."
Puno, C.J., Chairperson, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Azcuna, Garcia,
For these reasons, while petitioner may have succeeded in JJ., concur.
altering his body and appearance through the intervention of
modern surgery, no law authorizes the change of entry as to sex
in the civil registry for that reason. Thus, there is no legal basis
for his petition for the correction or change of the entries in his Footnotes
birth certificate.
1
Petitioner went for his elementary and high school, as well as
Neither May Entries in the Birth Certificate As to First Name his Bachelor of Science in Statistics and Master of Arts, in the
or Sex Be Changed on the Ground of Equity University of the Philippines. He took up Population Studies
Program, Master of Arts in Sociology and Doctor of Philosophy in
The trial court opined that its grant of the petition was in
Sociology at the University of Hawaii, in Manoa, Hawaii,
consonance with the principles of justice and equity. It believed
U.S.A. Rollo, p. 48.
that allowing the petition would cause no harm, injury or prejudice
to anyone. This is wrong. 2This consisted of "penectomy [surgical removal of penis]
bilateral oschiectomy [or orchiectomy which is the surgical
The changes sought by petitioner will have serious and wide-
excision of the testes] penile skin inversion vaginoplasty [plastic
ranging legal and public policy consequences. First, even the trial
surgery of the vagina] clitoral hood reconstruction and
court itself found that the petition was but petitioner’s first step
augmentation mammoplasty [surgical enhancement of the size
towards his eventual marriage to his male fiancé. However,
and shape of the breasts]." Id.
marriage, one of the most sacred social institutions, is a special
contract of permanent unionbetween a man and a woman.37 One 3 On January 23, 2003, January 30, 2003 and February 6, 2003.
of its essential requisites is the legal capacity of the contracting
parties who must be a male and a female.38 To grant the 4 Penned by Judge Felixberto T. Olalia, Jr. Rollo, pp. 51-53.
changes sought by petitioner will substantially reconfigure and
5
greatly alter the laws on marriage and family relations. It will Id., pp. 52-53 (citations omitted).
allow the union of a man with another man who has undergone 6 Docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 78824.
sex reassignment (a male-to-female post-operative transsexual).
Second, there are various laws which apply particularly to women 7 Special Sixth Division.

11
8Penned by Associate Justice Arcangelita M. Romilla-Lontok (2) At least two (2) public or private documents showing the
with Associate Justices Marina L. Buzon and Aurora Santiago- correct entry or entries upon which the correction or change shall
Lagman concurring. Rollo, pp. 25-33. be based; and
9 Resolution dated September 14, 2006, id., pp. 45-46. (3) Other documents which the petitioner or the city or municipal
civil registrar or the consul general may consider relevant and
10An Act Authorizing the City or Municipal Civil Registrar or the necessary for the approval of the petition.
Consul General to Correct a Clerical or Typographical Error in an
Entry and/or Change of First Name or Nickname in the Civil In case of change of first name or nickname, the petition shall
Register Without Need of a Judicial Order, Amending for the likewise be supported with the documents mentioned in the
Purpose Articles 376 and 412 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. immediately preceding paragraph. In addition, the petition shall
be published at least once a week for two (2) consecutive weeks
11Wang v. Cebu City Civil Registrar, G.R. No. 159966, 30 March in a newspaper of general circulation. Furthermore, the petitioner
2005, 454 SCRA 155. shall submit a certification from the appropriate law enforcement
12 agencies that he has no pending case or no criminal record.
Id.
18
13 Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97906, 21 May 1992,
K v. Health Division, Department of Human Resources, 277
209 SCRA 189.
Or. 371, 560 P.2d 1070 (1977).
19
14 Supra note 11.
Under Section 2 (6) of RA 9048, "first name" refers to a name
or nickname given to a person which may consist of one or more 20 Id.
names in addition to the middle names and last names. Thus, the
21
term "first name" will be used here to refer both to first name and In re Ladrach, 32 Ohio Misc.2d 6, 513 N.E.2d 828 (1987).
nickname.
22 Lee v. Court of Appeals, 419 Phil. 392 (2001).
15 The last paragraph of Section 7 of RA 9048 provides:
23 Id.
SECTION 7. Duties and Powers of the Civil Registrar General. –
24
xxx xxx xxx Co v. Civil Register of Manila, G.R. No. 138496, 23 February
2004, 423 SCRA 420.
Where the petition is denied by the city or municipal civil registrar
25
or the consul general, the petitioner may either appeal the Id.
decision to the civil registrar general or file the appropriate 26 Id.
petition with the proper court.
27 Beduya v. Republic of the Philippines, 120 Phil. 114 (1964).
16 SECTION 3. Who May File the Petition and Where. – Any
person having direct and personal interest in the correction of a 28Salonga, Jovito, Private International Law, 1995 Edition, Rex
clerical or typographical error in an entry and/or change of first Bookstore, p. 238.
name or nickname in the civil register may file, in person, a
29
verified petition with the local civil registry office of the city or This, of course, should be taken in conjunction with Articles
municipality where the record being sought to be corrected or 407 and 412 of the Civil Code which authorizes the recording of
changed is kept. acts, events and judicial decrees or the correction or change of
errors including those that occur after birth. Nonetheless, in such
In case the petitioner has already migrated to another place in cases, the entries in the certificates of birth are not be corrected
the country and it would not be practical for such party, in terms or changed. The decision of the court granting the petition shall
of transportation expenses, time and effort to appear in person be annotated in the certificates of birth and shall form part of the
before the local civil registrar keeping the documents to be civil register in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar. (Co v. Civil
corrected or changed, the petition may be filed, in person, with Register of Manila, supranote 24)
the local civil registrar of the place where the interested party is
30
presently residing or domiciled. The two (2) local civil registrars The error pertains to one where the birth attendant writes
concerned will then communicate to facilitate the processing of "male" or "female" but the genitals of the child are that of the
the petition. opposite sex.

Citizens of the Philippines who are presently residing or


31Moreover, petitioner’s female anatomy is all man-made. The
domiciled in foreign countries may file their petition, in person, body that he inhabits is a male body in all aspects other than
with the nearest Philippine Consulates. what the physicians have supplied.

The petitions filed with the city or municipal civil registrar or the
32 Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition (2004), p.1406.
consul general shall be processed in accordance with this Act 33 Words and Phrases, volume 39, Permanent Edition, p. 106.
and its implementing rules and regulations.
34In re Application for Marriage License for Nash, 2003-Ohio-
All petitions for the clerical or typographical errors and/or change
7221 (No. 2002-T-0149, slip op., Not Reported in N.E.2d, 2003
of first names or nicknames may be availed of only once.
WL 23097095 (Ohio App. 11 Dist., December 31, 2003), citing
17 SECTION 5. Form and Contents of the Petition. – The petition Webster’s II New College Dictionary (1999).
shall be in the form of an affidavit, subscribed and sworn to 35 Id.
before any person authorized by the law to administer oaths. The
affidavit shall set forth facts necessary to establish the merits of 36Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 221 U.S. 1 (1911), 31 S.Ct.
the petition and shall show affirmatively that the petitioner is 502, 55 L.Ed. 619.
competent to testify to the matters stated. The petitioner shall
37
state the particular erroneous entry or entries, which are sought Article 1, Family Code.
to be corrected and/or the change sought to be made.
38 Article 2(1), Id.
The petition shall be supported with the following documents:
39These are Articles 130 to 138 of the Labor Code which include
(1) A certified true machine copy of the certificate or of the page nightwork prohibition, facilities for women, prohibition on
of the registry book containing the entry or entries sought to be discrimination and stipulation against marriage, among others.
corrected or changed;
40These include Article 333 on adultery, Articles 337 to 339 on
qualified seduction, simple seduction and acts of lasciviousness

12
with the consent of the offended party and Articles 342 and 343 The contending versions of the parties regarding the factual
on forcible and consented abduction, among others. antecedents of this administrative matter, as culled from the
records thereof, are set out under each particular charge against
41 Section 3(jj)(4). respondents.

1. Illegal solemnization of marriage

Complainants allege that respondent judge solemnized


marriages even without the requisite marriage license. Thus, the
following couples were able to get married by the simple
expedient of paying the marriage fees to respondent Baroy,
despite the absence of a marriage license, viz.: Alano P.
Abellano and Nelly Edralin, Francisco Selpo and Julieta Carrido,
Eddie Terrobias and Maria Gacer, Renato Gamay and Maricris
Belga, Arsenio Sabater and Margarita Nacario, and Sammy
Bocaya and Gina Bismonte. As a consequence, their marriage
contracts (Exhibits B, C, D, F, G, and A, respectively) did not
reflect any marriage license number. In addition, respondent
judge did not sign their marriage contracts and did not indicate
the date of solemnization, the reason being that he allegedly had
to wait for the marriage license to be submitted by the parties
which was usually several days after the ceremony. Indubitably,
the marriage contracts were not filed with the local civil registrar.
Complainant Ramon Sambo, who prepares the marriage
contracts, called the attention of respondents to the lack of
marriage licenses and its effect on the marriages involved, but
Article 4
the latter opted to proceed with the celebration of said marriages.
Republic of the Philippines
Respondent Nelia Baroy claims that when she was appointed
SUPREME COURT
Clerk of Court II, the employees of the court were already hostile
Manila
to her, especially complainant Ramon Sambo who told her that
EN BANC he was filing a protest against her appointment. She avers that it
was only lately when she discovered that the court had a
marriage Register which is in the custody of Sambo; that it was
Sambo who failed to furnish the parties copies of the marriage
A.M. No. MTJ-92-721 September 30, 1994 contract and to register these with the local civil registrar; and
that apparently Sambo kept these marriage contracts in
JUVY N. COSCA, EDMUNDO B. PERALTA, RAMON C.
preparation for this administrative case. Complainant Sambo,
SAMBO, and APOLLO A. VILLAMORA, complainants,
however, claims that all file copies of the marriage contracts were
vs.
kept by respondent Baroy, but the latter insists that she had
HON. LUCIO P. PALAYPAYON, JR., Presiding Judge, and
instructed Sambo to follow up the submission by the contracting
NELIA B. ESMERALDA-BAROY, Clerk of Court II, both of the
parties of their marriage licenses as part of his duties but he
Municipal Trial Court of Tinambac, Camarines
failed to do so.
Sur, respondents.
Respondent Judge Palaypayon, Jr. contends that the marriage
Esteban R. Abonal for complainants.
between Alano P. Abellano and Nelly Edralin falls under Article
Haide B. Vista-Gumba for respondents. 34 of the Civil Code, hence it is exempt from the marriage license
requirement; that he gave strict instructions to complainant
Sambo to furnish the couple a copy of the marriage contract and
to file the same with the civil registrar, but the latter failed to do
PER CURIAM, J.:
so; that in order to solve the problem, the spouses subsequently
Complainants Juvy N. Cosca, Edmundo B. Peralta, Ramon C. formalized their marriage by securing a marriage license and
Sambo, and Apollo Villamora, are Stenographer I, Interpreter I, executing their marriage contract, a copy of which was filed with
Clerk II, and Process Server, respectively, of the Municipal Trial the civil registrar; that the other five marriages alluded to in the
Court of Tinambac, Camarines Sur. Respondents Judge Lucio P. administrative complaint were not illegally solemnized because
Palaypayon, Jr. and Nelia B. Esmeralda-Baroy are respectively the marriage contracts were not signed by him and they did not
the Presiding Judge and Clerk of Court II of the same court. contain the date and place of marriage; that copies of these
marriage contracts are in the custody of complainant Sambo; that
In an administrative complaint filed with the Office of the Court the alleged marriage of Francisco Selpo and Julieta Carrido,
Administrator on October 5, 1992, herein respondents were Eddie Terrobias and Maria Emma Gaor, Renato Gamay and
charged with the following offenses, to wit: (1) illegal Maricris Belga, and of Arsenio Sabater and Margarita Nacario
solemnization of marriage; (2) falsification of the monthly reports were not celebrated by him since he refused to solemnize them
of cases; (3) bribery in consideration of an appointment in the in the absence of a marriage license; that the marriage of Samy
court; (4) non-issuance of receipt for cash bond received; (5) Bocaya and Gina Bismonte was celebrated even without the
infidelity in the custody of detained prisoners; and (6) requiring requisite license due to the insistence of the parties in order to
payment of filing fees from exempted entities. 1 avoid embarrassment to their guests but that, at any rate, he did
not sign their marriage contract which remains unsigned up to the
Pursuant to a resolution issued by this Court respondents filed present.
their respective Comments. 2 A Reply to Answers of
Respondents was filed by complainants. 3 The case was 2. Falsification of monthly report for July, 1991 regarding the
thereafter referred to Executive Judge David C. Naval of the number of marriages solemnized and the number of documents
Regional Trial Court, Naga City, for investigation report and notarized.
recommendation. The case was however transferred to First
Assistant Executive Judge Antonio N. Gerona when Judge Naval It is alleged that respondent judge made it appear that he
inhibited himself for the reason that his wife is a cousin of solemnized seven (7) marriages in the month of July, 1992, when
respondent Judge Palaypayon, Jr. 4 in truth he did not do so or at most those marriages were null and
void; that respondents likewise made it appear that they have
notarized only six (6) documents for July, 1992, but the Notarial

13
Register will show that there were one hundred thirteen (113) was never returned to the bondswoman; and that it has not been
documents which were notarized during that month; and that shown that the money was turned over to the Municipal
respondents reported a notarial fee of only P18.50 for each Treasurer of Tinambac.
document, although in fact they collected P20.00 therefor and
failed to account for the difference. Respondent Baroy counters that the cash bond was deposited
with the former clerk of court, then turned over to the acting clerk
Respondent Baroy contends, however, that the marriage registry of court and, later, given to her under a corresponding receipt;
where all marriages celebrated by respondent judge are entered that the cash bond is deposited with the bank; and that should
is under the exclusive control and custody of complainant Ramon the bondswoman desire to withdraw the same, she should follow
Sambo, hence he is the only one who should be held responsible the proper procedure therefor.
for the entries made therein; that the reported marriages are
merely based on the payments made as solemnization fees Respondent judge contends that Criminal Case No. 5438 was
which are in the custody of respondent Baroy. She further avers archieved for failure of the bondsman to deliver the body of the
that it is Sambo who is likewise the custodian of the Notarial accused in court despite notice; and that he has nothing to do
Register; that she cannot be held accountable for whatever with the payment of the cash bond as this is the duty of the clerk
alleged difference there is in the notarial fees because she is of court.
liable only for those payments tendered to her by Sambo himself;
5. Infidelity in the custody of prisoners
that the notarial fees she collects are duly covered by receipts;
that of the P20.00 charged, P18.50 is remitted directly to the Complainants contend that respondent judge usually got
Supreme Court as part of the Judiciary Development Fund and detention prisoners to work in his house, one of whom was Alex
P150 goes to the general fund of the Supreme Court which is Alano, who is accused in Criminal Case No. 5647 for violation of
paid to the Municipal Treasurer of Tinambac, Camarines Sur. the Dangerous Drugs Act; that while Alano was in the custody of
Respondent theorizes that the discrepancies in the monthly respondent judge, the former escaped and was never
report were manipulated by complainant Sambo considering that recaptured; that in order to conceal this fact, the case was
he is the one in charge of the preparation of the monthly report. archived pursuant to an order issued by respondent judge dated
April 6, 1992.
Respondent Judge Palaypayon avers that the erroneous number
of marriages celebrated was intentionally placed by complainant Respondent judge denied the accusation and claims that he
Sambo; that the number of marriages solemnized should not be never employed detention prisoners and that he has adequate
based on solemnization fees paid for that month since not all the household help; and that he had to order the case archived
marriages paid for are solemnized in the same month. He claims because it had been pending for more than six (6) months and
that there were actually only six (6) documents notarized in the the accused therein remained at large.
month of July, 1992 which tallied with the official receipts issued
by the clerk of court; that it is Sambo who should be held 6. Unlawful collection of docket fees
accountable for any unreceipted payment for notarial fees
Finally, respondents are charged with collecting docket fees from
because he is the one in charge of the Notarial Register; and that
the Rural Bank of Tinambac, Camarines Sur, Inc. although such
this case filed by complainant Sambo is merely in retaliation for
entity is exempt by law from the payment of said fees, and that
his failure to be appointed as the clerk of court. Furthermore,
while the corresponding receipt was issued, respondent Baroy
respondent judge contends that he is not the one supervising or
failed to remit the amount to the Supreme Court and, instead,
preparing the monthly report, and that he merely has the
she deposited the same in her personal account.
ministerial duty to sign the same.

3. Bribery in consideration of an appointment in the court Respondents Baroy contends that it was Judge-Designate
Felimon Montenegro (because respondent judge was on sick
Complainants allege that because of the retirement of the clerk of leave) who instructed her to demand payment of docket fees
court, respondent judge forwarded to the Supreme Court the from said rural bank; that the bank issued a check for P800.00;
applications of Rodel Abogado, Ramon Sambo, and Jessell that she was not allowed by the Philippine National Bank to
Abiog. However, they were surprised when respondent Baroy encash the check and, instead, was instructed to deposit the
reported for duty as clerk of court on October 21, 1991. They same in any bank account for clearing; that respondent deposited
later found out that respondent Baroy was the one appointed the same in her account; and that after the check was cleared,
because she gave a brand-new air-conditioning unit to she remitted P400.00 to the Supreme Court and the other
respondent judge. P400.00 was paid to the Municipal Treasurer of Tinambac.

Respondent Baroy claims that when she was still in Naga City On the basis of the foregoing contentions, First Vice-Executive
she purchased an air-conditioning unit but when she was Judge Antonio N. Gerona prepared and submitted to us his
appointed clerk of court she had to transfer to Tinambac and, Report and Recommendations dated May 20, 1994, together with
since she no longer needed the air conditioner, she decided to the administrative matter. We have perspicaciously reviewed the
sell the same to respondent judge. The installation and use same and we are favorably impressed by the thorough and
thereof by the latter in his office was with the consent of the exhaustive presentation and analysis of the facts and evidence in
Mayor of Tinambac. said report. We commend the investigating judge for his industry
and perspicacity reflected by his findings in said report which,
Respondent judge contends that he endorsed all the applications being amply substantiated by the evidence and supported by
for the position of clerk of court to the Supreme Court which has logical illations, we hereby approve and hereunder reproduce at
the sole authority over such appointments and that he had no length the material portions thereof.
hand in the appointment of respondent Baroy. He contends that
the air-conditioning unit was bought from his xxx xxx xxx
co-respondent on installment basis on May 29, 1992, eight (8)
The first charge against the respondents is illegal solemnization
months after Baroy had been appointed clerk of court. He claims
of marriage. Judge Palaypayon is charged with having
that he would not be that naive to exhibit to the public as item
solemnized without a marriage license the marriage of Sammy
which could not be defended as a matter of honor and prestige.
Bocaya and Gina Besmonte (Exh. A). Alano Abellano and Nelly
4. Cash bond issued without a receipt Edralin (Exh. B), Francisco Selpo and Julieta Carrido (Exh. C),
Eddie Terrobias and Maria Emma Gaor (Exh. D), Renato Gamay
It is alleged that in Criminal Case No. 5438, entitled "People vs. and Maricris Belga (Exh. F) and Arsenio Sabater and Margarita
Mendeza, et al., "bondswoman Januaria Dacara was allowed by Nacario (Exh. G).
respondent judge to change her property bond to cash bond; that
she paid the amount of P1,000.00 but was never issued a receipt In all these aforementioned marriages, the blank space in the
therefor nor was it made to appear in the records that the bond marriage contracts to show the number of the marriage was
has been paid; that despite the lapse of two years, the money solemnized as required by Article 22 of the Family Code were not

14
filled up. While the contracting parties and their witnesses signed In their marriage contract which did not bear any date either
their marriage contracts, Judge Palaypayon did not affix his when it was solemnized, it was stated that Abellano was only
signature in the marriage contracts, except that of Abellano and eighteen (18) years, two (2) months and seven (7) days old. If he
Edralin when Judge Palaypayon signed their marriage certificate and Edralin had been living together as husband and wife for
as he claims that he solemnized this marriage under Article 34 of almost six (6) years already before they got married as they
the Family Code of the Philippines. In said marriages the stated in their joint affidavit, Abellano must ha(ve) been less than
contracting parties were not furnished a copy of their marriage thirteen (13) years old when he started living with Edralin as his
contract and the Local Civil Registrar was not sent either a copy wife and this is hard to believe. Judge Palaypayon should ha(ve)
of the marriage certificate as required by Article 23 of the Family been aware of this when he solemnized their marriage as it was
Code. his duty to ascertain the qualification of the contracting parties
who might ha(ve) executed a false joint affidavit in order to have
The marriage of Bocaya and Besmonte is shown to have been an instant marriage by avoiding the marriage license
solemnized by Judge Palaypayon without a marriage license. requirement.
The testimonies of Bocay himself and Pompeo Ariola, one of the
witnesses of the marriage of Bocaya and Besmonte, and the On May 23, 1992, however, after this case was already filed,
photographs taken when Judge Palaypayon solemnized their Judge Palaypayon married again Abellano and Edralin, this time
marriage (Exhs. K-3 to K-9) sufficiently show that Judge with a marriage license (Exh. BB). The explanation given by
Palaypayon really solemnized their marriage. Bocaya declared Judge Palaypayon why he solemnized the marriage of the same
that they were advised by Judge Palaypayon to return after ten couple for the second time is that he did not consider the first
(10) days after their marriage was solemnized and bring with marriage he solemnized under Article 34 of the Family Code as
them their marriage license. In the meantime, they already (a) marriage at all because complainant Ramon Sambo did not
started living together as husband and wife believing that the follow his instruction that the date should be placed in the
formal requisites of marriage were complied with. marriage certificate to show when he solemnized the marriage
and that the contracting parties were not furnished a copy of their
Judge Palaypayon denied that he solemnized the marriage of marriage certificate.
Bocaya and Besmonte because the parties allegedly did not
have a marriage license. He declared that in fact he did not sign This act of Judge Palaypayon of solemnizing the marriage of
the marriage certificate, there was no date stated on it and both Abellano and Edralin for the second time with a marriage license
the parties and the Local Civil Registrar did not have a copy of already only gave rise to the suspicion that the first time he
the marriage certificate. solemnized the marriage it was only made to appear that it was
solemnized under exceptional character as there was not
With respect to the photographs which show that he solemnized marriage license and Judge Palaypayon had already signed the
the marriage of Bocaya and Besmonte, Judge Palaypayon marriage certificate. If it was true that he solemnized the first
explains that they merely show as if he was solemnizing the marriage under exceptional character where a marriage license
marriage. It was actually a simulated solemnization of marriage was not required, why did he already require the parties to have
and not a real one. This happened because of the pleading of the a marriage license when he solemnized their marriage for the
mother of one of the contracting parties that he consent to be second time?
photographed to show that as if he was solemnizing the marriage
as he was told that the food for the wedding reception was The explanation of Judge Palaypayon that the first marriage of
already prepared, visitors were already invited and the place of Abellano and Edralin was not a marriage at all as the marriage
the parties where the reception would be held was more than certificate did not state the date when the marriage was
twenty (20) kilometers away from the poblacion of Tinambac. solemnized and that the contracting parties were not furnished a
copy of their marriage certificate, is not well taken as they are not
The denial made by Judge Palaypayon is difficult to believe. The any of those grounds under Article(s) 35, 36, 37 and 38 of the
fact alone that he did not sign the marriage certificate or contract, Family Code which declare a marriage void from the beginning.
the same did not bear a date and the parties and the Local Civil Even if no one, however, received a copy of the marriage
Registrar were not furnished a copy of the marriage certificate, certificate, the marriage is still valid (Jones vs. H(o)rtiguela, 64
do not by themselves show that he did not solemnize the Phil. 179). Judge Palaypayon cannot just absolve himself from
marriage. His uncorroborated testimony cannot prevail over the responsibility by blaming his personnel. They are not the
testimony of Bocaya and Ariola who also declared, among guardian(s) of his official function and under Article 23 of the
others, that Bocaya and his bride were advised by Judge Family Code it is his duty to furnish the contracting parties (a)
Palaypayon to return after ten (10) days with their marriage copy of their marriage contract.
license and whose credibility had not been impeached.
With respect to the marriage of Francisco Selpo and Julieta
The pictures taken also from the start of the wedding ceremony Carrido (Exh. C), and Arsenio Sabater and Margarita Nacario
up to the signing of the marriage certificate in front of Judge (Exh. G), Selpo and Carrido and Sabater and Nacarcio executed
Palaypayon and on his table (Exhs. K-3, K-3-a, K-3-b, K-3-c, K-4, joint affidavits that Judge Palaypayon did not solemnize their
K-4-a, K-4-b, K-4-c, marriage (Exh. 13-A and Exh. 1). Both Carrido and Nacario
K-4-d, K-5, K-5-a, K-5-b, K-6, K-7, K-8, K-8-a and K-9), cannot testified for the respondents that actually Judge Palaypayon did
possibly be just to show a simulated solemnization of marriage. not solemnize their marriage as they did not have a marriage
One or two pictures may convince a person of the explanation of license. On cross-examination, however, both admitted that they
Judge Palaypayon, but not all those pictures. did not know who prepared their affidavits. They were just told,
Carrido by a certain Charito Palaypayon, and Nacario by a
Besides, as a judge it is very difficult to believe that Judge
certain Kagawad Encinas, to just go to the Municipal building and
Palaypayon would allows himself to be photographed as if he
sign their joint affidavits there which were already prepared
was solemnizing a marriage on a mere pleading of a person
before the Municipal Mayor of Tinambac, Camarines Sur.
whom he did not even know for the alleged reasons given. It
would be highly improper and unbecoming of him to allow himself With respect to the marriage of Renato Gamay and Maricris
to be used as an instrument of deceit by making it appear that Belga (Exh. f), their marriage contract was signed by them and
Bocaya and Besmonte were married by him when in truth and in by their two (2) witnesses, Atty. Elmer Brioso and respondent
fact he did not solemnize their marriage. Baroy (Exhs. F-1 and F-2). Like the other aforementioned
marriages, the solemnization fee was also paid as shown by a
With respect to the marriage of Abellano and Edralin (Exh. B),
receipt dated June 7, 1992 and signed by respondent Baroy
Judge Palaypayon admitted that he solemnized their marriage,
(Exh. F-4).
but he claims that it was under Article 34 of the Family Code, so
a marriage license was not required. The contracting parties here Judge Palaypayon also denied having solemnized the marriage
executed a joint affidavit that they have been living together as of Gamay and Belga allegedly because there was no marriage
husband and wife for almost six (6) years already (Exh. 12; Exh. license. On her part, respondent Baroy at first denied that the
AA).

15
marriage was solemnized. When she was asked, however, why The monthly report of cases of the MTC of Tinambac, Camarines
did she sign the marriage contract as a witness she answered Sur for July, 1992 both signed by the respondents, show that for
that she thought the marriage was already solemnized (TSN, p. said month there were six (6) documents notarized by Judge
14; 10-28-93). Palaypayon in his capacity as Ex-Officio Notary Public (Exhs. H
to H-1-b). The notarial register of the MTC of Tinambac,
Respondent Baroy was, and is, the clerk of court of Judge Camarines Sur, however, shows that there were actually one
Palaypayon. She signed the marriage contract of Gamay and hundred thirteen (113) documents notarized by Judge
Belga as one of the two principal sponsors. Yet, she wanted to Palaypayon for the said month (Exhs. Q to Q-45).
give the impression that she did not even know that the marriage
was solemnized by Judge Palaypayon. This is found very difficult Judge Palaypayon claims that there was no falsification of the
to believe. monthly report of cases for July, 1992 because there were only
six (6) notarized documents that were paid (for) as shown by
Judge Palaypayon made the same denial of having solemnized official receipts. He did not, however, present evidence of the
also the marriage of Terrobias and Gaor (Exh. D). The alleged official receipts showing that the notarial fee for the six
contracting parties and their witnesses also signed the marriage (6) documetns were paid. Besides, the monthly report of cases
contract and paid the solemnization fee, but Judge Palaypayon with respect to the number of documents notarized should not be
allegedly did not solemnize their marriage due to lack of marriage based on how many notarized documents were paid of the
license. Judge Palaypayon submitted the affidavit of William notarial fees, but the number of documents placed or recorded in
Medina, Vice-Mayor of Tinambac, to corroborate his testimony the notarial register.
(Exh. 14). Medina, however, did not testify in this case and so his
affidavit has no probative value. Judge Palaypayon admitted that he was not personally verifying
and checking anymore the correctness of the monthly reports
Judge Palaypayon testified that his procedure and practice have because he relies on his co-respondent who is the Clerk of Court
been that before the contracting parties and their witnesses enter and whom he has assumed to have checked and verified the
his chamber in order to get married, he already required records. He merely signs the monthly report when it is already
complainant Ramon Sambo to whom he assigned the task of signed by respondent Baroy.
preparing the marriage contract, to already let the parties and
their witnesses sign their marriage contracts, as what happened The explanation of Judge Palaypayon is not well taken because
to Gamay and Belga, and Terrobias and Gaor, among others. His he is required to have close supervision in the preparation of the
purpose was to save his precious time as he has been monthly report of cases of which he certifies as to their
solemnizing marriages at the rate of three (3) to four (4) times correctness. As a judge he is personally responsible for the
everyday (TSN, p. 12; proper discharge of his functions (The Phil. Trial Lawyer's Asso.
2-1-94). Inc. vs. Agana, Sr., 102 SCRA 517). In Nidera vs. Lazaro, 174
SCRA 581, it was held that "A judge cannot take refuge behind
This alleged practice and procedure, if true, is highly improper the inefficiency or mismanagement of his court personnel."
and irregular, if not illegal, because the contracting parties are
supposed to be first asked by the solemnizing officer and declare On the part of respondent Baroy, she puts the blame of the
that they take each other as husband and wife before the falsification of the monthly report of cases on complainant Sambo
solemnizing officer in the presence of at least two (2) witnesses whom she allegedly assigned to prepare not only the monthly
before they are supposed to sign their marriage contracts (Art. 6, report of cases, but the preparation and custody of marriage
Family Code). contracts, notarized documents and the notarial register. By her
own admission she has assigned to complainant Sambo duties
The uncorroborated testimony, however, of Judge Palaypayon as she was supposed to perform, yet according to her she never
to his alleged practice and procedure before solemnizing a bother(ed) to check the notarial register of the court to find out
marriage, is not true as shown by the picture taken during the the number of documents notarized in a month (TSN, p. 30; 11-
wedding of Bocaya and Besmonte (Exhs. K-3 to K-9) and by the 23-93).
testimony of respondent Baroy herself who declared that the
practice of Judge Palaypayon ha(s) been to let the contracting Assuming that respondent Baroy assigned the preparation of the
parties and their witnesses sign the marriage contract only after monthly report of cases to Sambo, which was denied by the latter
Judge Palaypayon has solemnized their marriage (TSN, p. 53; as he claims that he only typed the monthly report based on the
10-28-93). data given to him by her, still it is her duty to verify and check
whether the report is correct.
Judge Palaypayon did not present any evidence to show also
that he was really solemnizing three (3) to four (4) marriages The explanation of respondent Baroy that Sambo was the one in
everyday. On the contrary his monthly report of cases for July, custody of marriage contracts, notarized documents and notarial
1992 shows that his court had only twenty-seven (27) pending register, among other things, is not acceptable not only because
cases and he solemnized only seven (7) marriages for the whole as clerk of court she was supposed to be in custody, control and
month (Exh. E). His monthly report of cases for September, 1992 supervision of all court records including documents and other
shows also that he solemnized only four (4) marriages during the properties of the court (p. 32, Manual for Clerks of Court), but she
whole month (Exh. 7). herself admitted that from January, 1992 she was already in full
control of all the records of the court including receipts (TSN, p.
In this first charge of having illegally solemnized marriages, 11; 11-23-93).
respondent Judge Palaypayon has presented and marked in
evidence several marriage contracts of other persons, affidavits The evidence adduced in this cases in connection with the
of persons and certification issued by the Local Civil Registrar charge of falsification, however, also shows that respondent
(Exhs. 12-B to 12-H). These persons who executed affidavits, Baroy did not account for what happened to the notarial fees
however, did not testify in this case. Besides, the marriage received for those documents notarized during the month of July
contracts and certification mentioned are immaterial as Judge and September, 1992. The evidence adduced in this case also
Palaypayon is not charged of having solemnized these marriages sufficiently show that she received cash bond deposits and she
illegally also. He is not charged that the marriages he solemnized did not deposit them to a bank or to the Municipal Treasurer; and
were all illegal. that she only issued temporary receipts for said cash bond
deposits.
The second charge against herein respondents, that of having
falsified the monthly report of cases submitted to the Supreme For July, 1992 there were only six (6) documents reported to
Court and not stating in the monthly report the actual number of have been notarized by Judge Palaypayon although the
documents notarized and issuing the corresponding receipts of documents notarized for said month were actually one hundred
the notarial fees, have been sufficiently proven by the thirteen (113) as recorded in the notarial register. For September,
complainants insofar as the monthly report of cases for July and 1992, there were only five (5) documents reported as notarized
September, 1992 are concerned. for that month, though the notarial register show(s) that there

16
were fifty-six (56) documents actually notarized. The fee for each the parties in Crim. Case No. 5180 informed her that they would
document notarized as appearing in the notarial register was settle the case amicably. It was on April 26, 1993, or almost two
P18.50. Respondent Baroy and Sambo declared that what was months later when Judge Palaypayon issued an order for the
actually being charged was P20.00. Respondent Baroy declared release of said cash bond (Exh. 7).
that P18.50 went to the Supreme Court and P1.50 was being
turned over to the Municipal Treasurer. Respondent Baroy also admitted that since she assumed office
on October 21, 1991 she used to issue temporary receipt only for
Baroy, however, did not present any evidence to show that she cash bond deposits and other payments and collections she
really sent to the Supreme Court the notarial fees of P18.50 for received. She further admitted that some of these temporary
each document notarized and to the Municipal Treasurer the receipts she issued she failed to place the number of the receipts
additional notarial fee of P1.50. This should be fully accounted for such as that receipt marked Exhibit X (TSN, p. 35; 11-23-93).
considering that Baroy herself declared that some notarial fees Baroy claims that she did not know that she had to use the
were allowed by her at her own discretion to be paid later. official receipts of the Supreme Court. It was only from February,
Similarly, the solemnization fees have not been accounted for by 1993, after this case was already filed, when she only started
Baroy considering that she admitted that even (i)n those issuing official receipts.
instances where the marriages were not solemnized due to lack
of marriage license the solemnization fees were not returned The next charge against the respondents is that in order to be
anymore, unless the contracting parties made a demand for their appointed Clerk of Court, Baroy gave Judge Palaypayon an air
return. Judge Palaypayon declared that he did not know of any conditioner as a gift. The evidence adduced with respect to this
instance when solemnization fee was returned when the charge, show that on August 24, 1991 Baroy bought an air
marriage was not solemnized due to lack of marriage license. conditioner for the sum of Seventeen Thousand Six Hundred
(P17,600.00) Pesos (Exhs. I and I-1). The same was paid partly
Respondent Baroy also claims that Ramon Sambo did not turn in cash and in check (Exhs. I-2 and I-3). When the air conditioner
over to her some of the notarial fees. This is difficult to believe. It was brought to court in order to be installed in the chamber of
was not only because Sambo vehemently denied it, but the Judge Palaypayon, it was still placed in the same box when it
minutes of the conference of the personnel of the MTC of was bought and was not used yet.
Tinambac dated January 20, 1992 shows that on that date Baroy
informed the personnel of the court that she was taking over the The respondents claim that Baroy sold it to Judge Palaypayon for
functions she assigned to Sambo, particularly the collection of Twenty Thousand (P20,00.00) Pesos on installment basis with a
legal fees (Exh. 7). The notarial fees she claims that Sambo did down payment of Five Thousand (P5,000.00) Pesos and as proof
not turn over to her were for those documents notarized (i)n July thereof the respondents presented a typewritten receipt dated
and September, 1992 already. Besides there never was any May 29, 1993 (Exh. 22). The receipt was signed by both
demand she made for Sambo to turn over some notarial fees respondents and by the Municipal Mayor of Tinambac,
supposedly in his possession. Neither was there any Camarines Sur and another person as witness.
memorandum she issued on this matter, in spite of the fact that
The alleged sale between respondents is not beyond suspicion. It
she has been holding meetings and issuing memoranda to the
was bought by Baroy at a time when she was applying for the
personnel of the court (Exhs. V, W, FF, FF-1, FF-2, FF-3; Exhs.
vacant position of Clerk of Court (to) which she was eventually
4-A (supplement(s), 5-8, 6-S, 7-S and 8-S).
appointed in October, 1991. From the time she bought the air
It is admitted by respondent Baroy that on October 29, 1991 a conditioner on August 24, 1991 until it was installed in the office
cash bond deposit of a certain Dacara in the amount of One of Judge Palaypayon it was not used yet. The sale to Judge
Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos was turned over to her after she Palaypayon was only evidenced by a mere typewritten receipt
assumed office and for this cash bond she issued only a dated May 29, 1992 when this case was already filed. The
temporary receipt (Exh. Y). She did not deposit this cash bond in receipt could have been easily prepared. The Municipal Mayor of
any bank or to the Municipal Treasurer. She just kept it in her Tinambac who signed in the receipt as a witness did not testify in
own cash box on the alleged ground that the parties in that case this case. The sale is between the Clerk of Court and the Judge
where the cash bond was deposited informed her that they would of the same court. All these circumstances give rise to suspicion
settle the case amicably. of at least impropriety. Judges should avoid such action as would
subject (them) to suspicion and (their) conduct should be free
Respondent Baroy declared that she finally deposited the from the appearance of impropriety (Jaagueta vs. Boncasos, 60
aforementioned cash bond of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos SCRA 27).
with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) in February, 1993,
after this administrative case was already filed (TSN, pp. 27-28; With respect to the charge that Judge Palaypayon received a
12-22-93). The Pass Book, however, shows that actually Baroy cash bond deposit of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos from
opened an account with the LBP, Naga Branch, only on March Januaria Dacara without issuing a receipt, Dacara executed an
26, 1993 when she deposited an amount of Two Thousand affidavit regarding this charge that Judge Palaypayon did not give
(P2,000.00) Pesos (Exhs. 8 to 8-1-a). She claims that One her a receipt for the P1,000.00 cash bond she deposited (Exh.
Thousand (P1,000.000) Pesos of the initial deposit was the cash N). Her affidavit, however, has no probative value as she did not
bond of Dacara. If it were true, it was only after keeping to herself show that this cash bond of P1,000.00 found its way into the
the cash bond of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos for around hands of respondent Baroy who issued only a temporary receipt
one year and five months when she finally deposited it because for it and this has been discussed earlier.
of the filing of this case.
Another charge against Judge Palaypayon is the getting of
On April 29, 1993, or only one month and two days after she detention prisoners to work in his house and one of them
finally deposited the One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos cash escaped while in his custody and was never found again. To hide
bond of Dacara, she withdrew it from the bank without any this fact, the case against said accused was ordered archived by
authority or order from the court. It was only on July 23, 1993, or Judge Palaypayon. The evidence adduced with respect to this
after almost three (3) months after she withdrew it, when she particular charge, show that in Crim. Case No. 5647 entitled
redeposited said cash bond (TSN, p. 6; 1-4-94). People vs. Stephen Kalaw, Alex Alano and Allan Adupe, accused
Alex Alano and Allan Adupe were arrested on April 12, 1991 and
The evidence presented in this case also show that on February placed in the municipal jail of Tinambac, Camarines Sur (Exhs. 0,
28, 1993 respondent Baroy received also a cash bond of Three 0-1, 0-2 and 0-3; Exh. 25). The evidence presented that Alex
Thousand (P3,000.00) Pesos from a certain Alfredo Seprones in Alano was taken by Judge Palaypayon from the municipal jail
Crim. Case No. 5180. For this cash bond deposit, respondent where said accused was confined and that he escaped while in
Baroy issued only an annumbered temporary receipt (Exh. X and custody of Judge Palaypayon is solely testimonial, particularly
X-1). Again Baroy just kept this Three Thousand (P3,000.00) that of David Ortiz, a former utility worker of the MTC of
Pesos cash bond to herself. She did not deposit it either (in) a Tinambac.
bank or (with) the Municipal Treasurer. Her explanation was that

17
Herein investigator finds said evidence not sufficient. The duty in closely supervising his clerk of court in the preparation of
complainants should have presented records from the police of the monthly report of cases being submitted to the Supreme
Tinambac to show that Judge Palaypayon took out from the Court, particularly for the months of July and September, 1992
municipal jail Alex Alano where he was under detention and said where it has been proven that the reports for said two (2) months
accused escaped while in the custody of Judge Palaypayon. were falsified with respect to the number of documents notarized,
it is respectfully recommended that he be imposed a fine of TEN
The order, however, of Judge Palaypayon dated April 6, 1992 in THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS with a warning that the same
Crim. Case No. 5047 archiving said case appears to be without or similar offenses will be more severely dealt with.
basis. The order states: "this case was filed on April 12, 1991 and
the records show that the warrant of arrest (was) issued against The fact that Judge Palaypayon did not sign the marriage
the accused, but up to this moment there is no return of service contracts or certificates of those marriages he solemnized
for the warrant of arrest issued against said accused" (Exh. 0-4). without a marriage license, there were no dates placed in the
The records of said case, however, show that in fact there was a marriage contracts to show when they were solemnized, the
return of the service of the warrant of arrest dated April 12, 1991 contracting parties were not furnished their marriage contracts
showing that Alano and Adupe were arrested (Exh. 0-3). and the Local Civil Registrar was not being sent any copy of the
marriage contract, will not absolve him from liability. By
Judge Palaypayon explained that his order dated April 6, 1992 solemnizing alone a marriage without a marriage license he as
archiving Crim. Case No. 5047 referred only to one of the the solemnizing officer is the one responsible for the irregularity
accused who remained at large. The explanation cannot be in not complying (with) the formal requ(i)sites of marriage and
accepted because the two other accused, Alano and Adupe, under Article 4(3) of the Family Code of the Philippines, he shall
were arrested. Judge Palaypayon should have issued an order be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.
for the arrest of Adupe who allegedly jumped bail, but Alano was
supposed to be confined in the municipal jail if his claim is true Judge Palaypayon is likewise liable for his negligence or failure
that he did not take custody of Alano. to comply with his duty of closely supervising his clerk of court in
the performance of the latter's duties and functions, particularly
The explanation also of Judge Palaypayon why he ordered the the preparation of the monthly report of cases (Bendesula vs.
case archived was because he heard from the police that Alano Laya, 58 SCRA 16). His explanation that he only signed the
escaped. This explanation is not acceptable either. He should monthly report of cases only when his clerk of court already
ha(ve) set the case and if the police failed to bring to court Alano, signed the same, cannot be accepted. It is his duty to closely
the former should have been required to explain in writing why supervise her, to check and verify the records if the monthly
Alano was not brought to court. If the explanation was that Alano reports prepared by his clerk of court do not contain false
escaped from jail, he should have issued an order for his arrest. statements. It was held that "A judge cannot take refuge behind
It is only later on when he could not be arrested when the case the inefficiency or incompetence of court personnel (Nidua vs.
should have been ordered archived. The order archiving this Lazaro, 174 SCRA 158).
case for the reason that he only heard that Alano escaped is
another circumstance which gave rise to a suspicion that Alano In view also of the foregoing finding that respondent Nelia
might have really escaped while in his custody only that the Esmeralda-Baroy, the clerk of court of the Municipal Trial Court
complainants could not present records or other documentary of Tinambac, Camarines Sur, has been found to have falsified
evidence to prove the same. the monthly report of cases for the months of July and
September, 1992 with respect to the number of documents
The last charge against the respondents is that they collected notarized, for having failed to account (for) the notarial fees she
filing fees on collection cases filed by the Rural Bank of received for said two (2) months period; for having failed to
Tinambac, Camarines Sur which was supposed to be exempted account (for) the solemnization fees of those marriages allegedly
in paying filing fees under existing laws and that the filing fees not solemnized, but the solemnization fees were not returned; for
received was deposited by respondent Baroy in her personal unauthorized issuance of temporary receipts, some of which
account in the bank. The evidence presented show that on were issued unnumbered; for receiving the cash bond of Dacara
February 4, 1992 the Rural Bank of Tinambac filed ten (10) civil on October 29, 1991 in the amount of One Thousand (P1,000.00)
cases for collection against farmers and it paid the total amount Pesos for which she issued only a temporary receipt (Exh. Y) and
of Four Hundred (P400.00) Pesos representing filing fees. The for depositing it with the Land Bank of the Philippines only on
complainants cited Section 14 of Republic Act 720, as amended, March 26, 1993, or after one year and five months in her
which exempts Rural Banks (from) the payment of filing fees on possession and after this case was already filed; for withdrawing
collection of sums of money cases filed against farmers on loans said cash bond of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos on April 29,
they obtained. 1993 without any court order or authority and redepositing it only
on July 23, 1993; for receiving a cash bond of Three Thousand
Judge Palaypayon, however, had nothing to do with the payment
(P3,000.00) Pesos from Alfredo Seprones in Crim. Case No.
of the filing fees of the Rural Bank of Tinambac as it was
5180, MTC, Tinambac, Camarines Sur, for which she issued only
respondent Baroy who received them and besides, on February
an unnumbered temporary receipt (Exhs. X and X-1) and for not
4, 1992, he was on sick leave. On her part Baroy claims that the
depositing it with a bank or with the Municipal Treasurer until it
bank paid voluntarily the filing fees. The records, however, shows
was ordered released; and for requiring the Rural Bank of
that respondent Baroy sent a letter to the manager of the bank
Tinambac, Camarines Sur to pay filing fees on February 4, 1992
dated January 28, 1992 to the effect that if the bank would not
for collection cases filed against farmers in the amount of Four
pay she would submit all Rural Bank cases for dismissal (Annex
Hundred (P400.00) Pesos, but turning over said amount to the
6, comment by respondent Baroy).
Municipal Treasurer only on March 12, 1992, it is respectfully
Respondent Baroy should have checked whether the Rural Bank recommended that said respondent clerk of court Nelia
of Tinambac was really exempt from the payment of filing fees Esmeralda-Baroy be dismissed from the service.
pursuant to Republic Act 720, as amended, instead of
It is provided that "Withdrawal of court deposits shall be by the
threatening the bank to have its cases be submitted to the court
clerk of court who shall issue official receipt to the provincial, city
in order to have them dismissed. Here the payment of the filing
or municipal treasurer for the amount withdrawn. Court deposits
fees was made on February 4, 1992, but the Four Hundred
cannot be withdrawn except by order of the court, . . . ." (Revised
(P400.00) Pesos was only turned over to the Municipal Treasurer
Manual of Instructions for Treasurers, Sec. 183, 184 and 626; p.
on March 12, 1992. Here, there is an undue delay again in
127, Manual for Clerks of Court). A circular also provides that the
complying with her obligation as accountable officer.
Clerks of Court shall immediately issue an official receipt upon
In view of the foregoing findings that the evidence presented by receipt of deposits from party litigants and thereafter deposit
the complainants sufficiently show that respondent Judge Lucio intact the collection with the municipal, city or provincial treasurer
P. Palaypayon, Jr. had solemnized marriages, particularly that of and their deposits, can only be withdrawn upon proper receipt
Sammy Bocaya and Gina Besmonte, without a marriage license, and order of the Court (DOJ Circular No. 52, 26 April 1968; p.
and that it having been shown that he did not comply with his 136, Manual for Clerks of Court). Supreme Court Memorandum

18
Circular No. 5, 25 November 1982, also provides that "all WHEREFORE, the Court hereby imposes a FINE of P20,000.00
collections of funds of fiduciary character including rental on respondent Judge Lucio P. Palaypayon. Jr., with a stern
deposits, shall be deposited immediately by the clerk of court warning that any repetition of the same or similar offenses in the
concerned upon receipt thereof with City, Municipal or Provincial future will definitely be severely dealt with. Respondent Nelia
Treasurer where his court is located" and that "no withdrawal of Esmeralda-Baroy is hereby DISMISSED from the service, with
any of such deposits shall be made except upon lawful order of forfeiture of all retirement benefits and with prejudice to
the court exercising jurisdiction over the subject matter. employment in any branch, agency or instrumentality of the
Government, including government-owned or controlled
Respondent Baroy had either failed to comply with the foregoing corporations.
circulars, or deliberately disregarded, or even intentionally
violated them. By her conduct, she demonstrated her callous Let copies of this decision be spread on their records and
unconcern for the obligations and responsibility of her duties and furnished to the Office of the Ombudsman for appropriate action.
functions as a clerk of court and accountable officer. The gross
neglect of her duties shown by her constitute(s) a serious SO ORDERED.
misconduct which warrant(s) her removal from office. In the case
Narvasa, C.J., Feliciano, Padilla, Regalado, Davide, Jr., Romero,
of Belen P. Ferriola vs. Norma Hiam, Clerk of Court, MTCC,
Bellosillo, Melo, Quiason, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan and Mendoza,
Branch I, Batangas City; A.M. No. P-90-414; August 9, 1993, it
JJ., concur.
was held that "The clerk of court is not authorized to keep funds
in his/her custody; monies received by him/her shall be deposited Cruz, J., took no part.
immediately upon receipt thereof with the City, Municipal or
Provincial Treasurer. Supreme Court Circular Nos. 5 dated Bidin, J., is on leave.
November 25, 1982 and 5-A dated December 3, 1982.
Respondent Hiam's failure to remit the cash bail bonds and fine
she collected constitutes serious misconduct and her #Footnotes
misappropriation of said funds constitutes dishonesty.
"Respondent Norma Hiam was found guilty of dishonesty and 1 Original Record, 1.
serious misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service
and (the Court) ordered her immediate dismissal (from) the 2 Ibid., 9 and 23.
service.
3 Ibid., 86.
xxx xxx xxx
4 Ibid., 134.
We here emphasize once again our adjuration that the conduct
5 Annong vs. Vda. de Blas, A.M. No. P-91-602, October 15,
and behavior of everyone connected with an office charged with
1991, 202 SCRA 635.
the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the
lowliest clerk, should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of 6 Capuno, et al. vs. Jaramillo, Jr., A.M. No. RTJ-93-944, July 20,
responsibility. His conduct, at all times, must not only be 1994.
characterized by propriety and decorum but, above all else, must
be beyond suspicion. Every employee should be an example of 7 Article 3(2), Executive Order No. 209, as amended.
integrity, uprightness and honesty. 5 Integrity in a judicial office is
8 Article 4, id.
more than a virtue, it is a necessity. 6 It applies, without
qualification as to rank or position, from the judge to the least of 9 Article 352, Revised Penal Code, in relation to Section 39, Act
its personnel, they being standard-bearers of the exacting norms No. 3613.
of ethics and morality imposed upon a Court of justice.

On the charge regarding illegal marriages the Family Code


pertinently provides that the formal requisites of marriage FIRST DIVISION
are, inter alia, a valid marriage license except in the cases
provided for therein. 7 Complementarily, it declares that the [A.M. No. MTJ-02-1390. April 11, 2002]
absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall
MERCEDITA MATA ARAES, petitioner, vs. JUDGE
generally render the marriage void ab initio and that, while an
SALVADOR M. OCCIANO, respondent.
irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity of
the marriage, the party or parties responsible for the irregularity DECISION
shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable. 8
PUNO, J.:
The civil aspect is addressed to the contracting parties and those
affected by the illegal marriages, and what we are providing for Petitioner Mercedita Mata Araes charges respondent judge with
herein pertains to the administrative liability of respondents, all Gross Ignorance of the Law via a sworn Letter-Complaint dated
without prejudice to their criminal responsibility. The Revised 23 May 2001. Respondent is the Presiding Judge of the
Penal Code provides that "(p)riests or ministers of any religious Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, Camarines Sur. Petitioner
denomination or sect, or civil authorities who shall perform or alleges that on 17 February 2000, respondent judge solemnized
authorize any illegal marriage ceremony shall be punished in her marriage to her late groom Dominador B. Orobia without the
accordance with the provisions of the Marriage Law." 9 This is of requisite marriage license and at Nabua, Camarines Sur which is
course, within the province of the prosecutorial agencies of the outside his territorial jurisdiction.
Government.
They lived together as husband and wife on the strength of this
The recommendation with respect to the administrative sanction marriage until her husband passed away. However, since the
to be imposed on respondent judge should, therefore, be marriage was a nullity, petitioners right to inherit the vast
modified. For one, with respect to the charge of illegal properties left by Orobia was not recognized. She was likewise
solemnization of marriages, it does appear that he had not taken deprived of receiving the pensions of Orobia, a retired
to heart, but actually trifled with, the law's concern for the Commodore of the Philippine Navy.
institution of marriage and the legal effects flowing from civil
status. This, and his undeniable participation in the other Petitioner prays that sanctions be imposed against respondent
offenses charged as hereinbefore narrated in detail, approximate judge for his illegal acts and unethical misrepresentations which
such serious degree of misconduct and of gross negligence in allegedly caused her so much hardships, embarrassment and
the performance of judicial duties as to ineludibly require a higher sufferings.
penalty. On 28 May 2001, the case was referred by the Office of the Chief
Justice to then Acting Court Administrator Zenaida N. Elepao for

19
appropriate action. On 8 June 2001, the Office of the Court respondent judge guilty of solemnizing a marriage without a duly
Administrator required respondent judge to comment. issued marriage license and for doing so outside his territorial
jurisdiction. A fine of P5,000.00 was recommended to be
In his Comment dated 5 July 2001, respondent judge averred imposed on respondent judge.
that he was requested by a certain Juan Arroyo on 15 February
2000 to solemnize the marriage of the parties on 17 February We agree.
2000. Having been assured that all the documents to the
marriage were complete, he agreed to solemnize the marriage in Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, or B.P.129, the
his sala at the Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, Camarines Sur. authority of the regional trial court judges and judges of inferior
However, on 17 February 2000, Arroyo informed him that Orobia courts to solemnize marriages is confined to their territorial
had a difficulty walking and could not stand the rigors of travelling jurisdiction as defined by the Supreme Court.
to Balatan which is located almost 25 kilometers from his
The case at bar is not without precedent. In Navarro vs.
residence in Nabua. Arroyo then requested if respondent judge
Domagtoy,[1] respondent judge held office and had jurisdiction in
could solemnize the marriage in Nabua, to which request he
the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Sta. Monica-Burgos, Surigao
acceded.
del Norte. However, he solemnized a wedding at his residence in
Respondent judge further avers that before he started the the municipality of Dapa, Surigao del Norte which did not fall
ceremony, he carefully examined the documents submitted to within the jurisdictional area of the municipalities of Sta. Monica
him by petitioner. When he discovered that the parties did not and Burgos. We held that:
possess the requisite marriage license, he refused to solemnize
A priest who is commissioned and allowed by his local ordinance
the marriage and suggested its resetting to another date.
to marry the faithful is authorized to do so only within the area or
However, due to the earnest pleas of the parties, the influx of
diocese or place allowed by his Bishop. An appellate court
visitors, and the delivery of provisions for the occasion, he
Justice or a Justice of this Court has jurisdiction over the entire
proceeded to solemnize the marriage out of human compassion.
Philippines to solemnize marriages, regardless of the venue, as
He also feared that if he reset the wedding, it might aggravate the
long as the requisites of the law are complied with.However,
physical condition of Orobia who just suffered from a stroke. After
judges who are appointed to specific jurisdictions, may
the solemnization, he reiterated the necessity for the marriage
officiate in weddings only within said areas and not beyond.
license and admonished the parties that their failure to give it
Where a judge solemnizes a marriage outside his courts
would render the marriage void. Petitioner and Orobia assured
jurisdiction, there is a resultant irregularity in the formal
respondent judge that they would give the license to him in the
requisite laid down in Article 3, which while it may not affect
afternoon of that same day. When they failed to comply,
the validity of the marriage, may subject the officiating
respondent judge followed it up with Arroyo but the latter only
official to administrative liability.[2] (Emphasis supplied.)
gave him the same reassurance that the marriage license would
be delivered to his sala at the Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, In said case, we suspended respondent judge for six (6) months
Camarines Sur. on the ground that his act of solemnizing a marriage outside his
jurisdiction constitutes gross ignorance of the law. We further
Respondent judge vigorously denies that he told the contracting
held that:
parties that their marriage is valid despite the absence of a
marriage license. He attributes the hardships and The judiciary should be composed of persons who, if not experts,
embarrassment suffered by the petitioner as due to her own fault are at least, proficient in the law they are sworn to apply, more
and negligence. than the ordinary laymen. They should be skilled and competent
in understanding and applying the law. It is imperative that they
On 12 September 2001, petitioner filed her Affidavit of
be conversant with basic legal principles like the ones involved in
Desistance dated 28 August 2001 with the Office of the Court
the instant case. x x x While magistrates may at times make
Administrator. She attested that respondent judge initially refused
mistakes in judgment, for which they are not penalized, the
to solemnize her marriage due to the want of a duly issued
respondent judge exhibited ignorance of elementary provisions of
marriage license and that it was because of her prodding and
law, in an area which has greatly prejudiced the status of married
reassurances that he eventually solemnized the same. She
persons.[3]
confessed that she filed this administrative case out of rage.
However, after reading the Comment filed by respondent judge, In the case at bar, the territorial jurisdiction of respondent judge is
she realized her own shortcomings and is now bothered by her limited to the municipality of Balatan, Camarines Sur. His act of
conscience. solemnizing the marriage of petitioner and Orobia in Nabua,
Camarines Sur therefore is contrary to law and subjects him to
Reviewing the records of the case, it appears that petitioner and
administrative liability. His act may not amount to gross
Orobia filed their Application for Marriage License on 5 January
ignorance of the law for he allegedly solemnized the marriage out
2000. It was stamped in this Application that the marriage license
of human compassion but nonetheless, he cannot avoid liability
shall be issued on 17 January 2000. However, neither petitioner
for violating the law on marriage.
nor Orobia claimed it.
Respondent judge should also be faulted for solemnizing a
It also appears that the Office of the Civil Registrar General
marriage without the requisite marriage license. In People vs.
issued a Certification that it has no record of such marriage that
Lara,[4] we held that a marriage which preceded the issuance of
allegedly took place on 17 February 2000. Likewise, the Office of
the marriage license is void, and that the subsequent issuance of
the Local Civil Registrar of Nabua, Camarines Sur issued another
such license cannot render valid or even add an iota of validity to
Certification dated 7 May 2001 that it cannot issue a true copy of
the marriage. Except in cases provided by law, it is the marriage
the Marriage Contract of the parties since it has no record of their
license that gives the solemnizing officer the authority to
marriage.
solemnize a marriage. Respondent judge did not possess such
On 8 May 2001, petitioner sought the assistance of respondent authority when he solemnized the marriage of petitioner. In this
judge so the latter could communicate with the Office of the Local respect, respondent judge acted in gross ignorance of the law.
Civil Registrar of Nabua, Camarines Sur for the issuance of her
Respondent judge cannot be exculpated despite the Affidavit of
marriage license. Respondent judge wrote the Local Civil
Desistance filed by petitioner. This Court has consistently held in
Registrar of Nabua, Camarines Sur. In a letter dated 9 May 2001,
a catena of cases that the withdrawal of the complaint does not
a Clerk of said office, Grace T. Escobal, informed respondent
necessarily have the legal effect of exonerating respondent from
judge that their office cannot issue the marriage license due to
disciplinary action. Otherwise, the prompt and fair administration
the failure of Orobia to submit the Death Certificate of his
of justice, as well as the discipline of court personnel, would be
previous spouse.
undermined.[5] Disciplinary actions of this nature do not involve
The Office of the Court Administrator, in its Report and purely private or personal matters. They can not be made to
Recommendation dated 15 November 2000, found the depend upon the will of every complainant who may, for one

20
reason or another, condone a detestable act. We cannot be marriage with Lucia, on the ground that no marriage ceremony
bound by the unilateral act of a complainant in a matter which actually took place.
involves the Courts constitutional power to discipline judges.
Otherwise, that power may be put to naught, undermine the trust On October 19, 1993, appellant was charged with Bigamy in an
character of a public office and impair the integrity and dignity of Information[5] filed by the City Prosecutor of Tagbilaran [City], with
this Court as a disciplining authority.[6] the Regional Trial Court of Bohol.[6]

WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Salvador M. Occiano, The petitioner moved for suspension of the arraignment on the
Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court of Balatan, ground that the civil case for judicial nullification of his marriage
Camarines Sur, is fined P5,000.00 pesos with a STERN with Lucia posed a prejudicial question in the bigamy case. His
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the motion was granted, but subsequently denied upon motion for
future will be dealt with more severely. reconsideration by the prosecution. When arraigned in the
bigamy case, which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 8688,
SO ORDERED. herein petitioner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Trial thereafter
ensued.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, and Ynares-Santiago,
JJ., concur. On August 5, 1996, the RTC of Bohol handed down its judgment
in Criminal Case No. 8688, as follows:

WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the Court finds


SECOND DIVISION accused Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
[G.R. No. 145226. February 06, 2004] the crime of Bigamy and sentences him to suffer the penalty of
imprisonment ranging from Seven (7) Months of Prision
LUCIO MORIGO y CACHO, petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE Correccional as minimum to Six (6) Years and One (1) Day
PHILIPPINES, respondent. of Prision Mayor as maximum.

DECISION SO ORDERED.[7]

QUISUMBING, J.: In convicting herein petitioner, the trial court discounted


petitioners claim that his first marriage to Lucia was null and
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to reverse the void ab initio. Following Domingo v. Court of Appeals,[8] the trial
decision[1] dated October 21, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA- court ruled that want of a valid marriage ceremony is not a
G.R. CR No. 20700, which affirmed the judgment [2] dated August defense in a charge of bigamy. The parties to a marriage should
5, 1996 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol, Branch 4, in not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if such
Criminal Case No. 8688. The trial court found herein petitioner be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity
Lucio Morigo y Cacho guilty beyond reasonable doubt of bigamy of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again.
and sentenced him to a prison term of seven (7) months
of prision correccional as minimum to six (6) years and one (1) Anent the Canadian divorce obtained by Lucia, the trial court
day of prision mayor as maximum. Also assailed in this petition is cited Ramirez v. Gmur,[9] which held that the court of a country in
the resolution[3] of the appellate court, dated September 25, which neither of the spouses is domiciled and in which one or
2000, denying Morigos motion for reconsideration. both spouses may resort merely for the purpose of obtaining a
divorce, has no jurisdiction to determine the matrimonial status of
The facts of this case, as found by the court a quo, are as the parties. As such, a divorce granted by said court is not
follows: entitled to recognition anywhere. Debunking Lucios defense of
good faith in contracting the second marriage, the trial court
Appellant Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete were boardmates at
stressed that following People v. Bitdu,[10] everyone is presumed
the house of Catalina Tortor at Tagbilaran City, Province of
to know the law, and the fact that one does not know that his act
Bohol, for a period of four (4) years (from 1974-1978).
constitutes a violation of the law does not exempt him from the
After school year 1977-78, Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete lost consequences thereof.
contact with each other.
Seasonably, petitioner filed an appeal with the Court of Appeals,
In 1984, Lucio Morigo was surprised to receive a card from Lucia docketed as CA-G.R. CR No. 20700.
Barrete from Singapore. The former replied and after an
Meanwhile, on October 23, 1997, or while CA-G.R. CR No.
exchange of letters, they became sweethearts.
20700 was pending before the appellate court, the trial court
In 1986, Lucia returned to the Philippines but left again for rendered a decision in Civil Case No. 6020 declaring the
Canada to work there. While in Canada, they maintained marriage between Lucio and Lucia void ab initio since no
constant communication. marriage ceremony actually took place. No appeal was taken
from this decision, which then became final and executory.
In 1990, Lucia came back to the Philippines and proposed to
petition appellant to join her in Canada. Both agreed to get On October 21, 1999, the appellate court decided CA-G.R. CR
married, thus they were married on August 30, 1990 at No. 20700 as follows:
the Iglesia de Filipina Nacional at Catagdaan, Pilar, Bohol.
WHEREFORE, finding no error in the appealed decision, the
On September 8, 1990, Lucia reported back to her work in same is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
Canada leaving appellant Lucio behind.
SO ORDERED.[11]
On August 19, 1991, Lucia filed with the Ontario Court (General
In affirming the assailed judgment of conviction, the appellate
Division) a petition for divorce against appellant which was
court stressed that the subsequent declaration of nullity of Lucios
granted by the court on January 17, 1992 and to take effect on
marriage to Lucia in Civil Case No. 6020 could not acquit Lucio.
February 17, 1992.
The reason is that what is sought to be punished by Article
On October 4, 1992, appellant Lucio Morigo married Maria 349[12] of the Revised Penal Code is the act of contracting a
Jececha Lumbago[4] at the Virgen sa Barangay Parish, second marriage before the first marriage had been dissolved.
Tagbilaran City, Bohol. Hence, the CA held, the fact that the first marriage was void from
the beginning is not a valid defense in a bigamy case.
On September 21, 1993, accused filed a complaint for judicial
declaration of nullity of marriage in the Regional Trial Court of The Court of Appeals also pointed out that the divorce decree
Bohol, docketed as Civil Case No. 6020. The complaint seek obtained by Lucia from the Canadian court could not be accorded
(sic) among others, the declaration of nullity of accuseds validity in the Philippines, pursuant to Article 15[13] of the Civil
Code and given the fact that it is contrary to public policy in this

21
jurisdiction. Under Article 17[14] of the Civil Code, a declaration of Before we delve into petitioners defense of good faith and lack of
public policy cannot be rendered ineffectual by a judgment criminal intent, we must first determine whether all the elements
promulgated in a foreign jurisdiction. of bigamy are present in this case. InMarbella-Bobis v.
Bobis,[20] we laid down the elements of bigamy thus:
Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the appellate courts
decision, contending that the doctrine in Mendiola v. (1) the offender has been legally married;
People,[15] allows mistake upon a difficult question of law (such
as the effect of a foreign divorce decree) to be a basis for good (2) the first marriage has not been legally dissolved, or in case
faith. his or her spouse is absent, the absent spouse has not been
judicially declared presumptively dead;
On September 25, 2000, the appellate court denied the motion
for lack of merit.[16] However, the denial was by a split vote. (3) he contracts a subsequent marriage; and
The ponente of the appellate courts original decision in CA-G.R.
(4) the subsequent marriage would have been valid had it not
CR No. 20700, Justice Eugenio S. Labitoria, joined in the opinion
been for the existence of the first.
prepared by Justice Bernardo P. Abesamis. The dissent
observed that as the first marriage was validly declared Applying the foregoing test to the instant case, we note that
void ab initio, then there was no first marriage to speak of. Since during the pendency of CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, the RTC of
the date of the nullity retroacts to the date of the first marriage Bohol Branch 1, handed down the following decision in Civil
and since herein petitioner was, in the eyes of the law, never Case No. 6020, to wit:
married, he cannot be convicted beyond reasonable doubt of
bigamy. WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered decreeing the annulment of the marriage entered into
The present petition raises the following issues for our resolution: by petitioner Lucio Morigo and Lucia Barrete on August 23, 1990
in Pilar, Bohol and further directing the Local Civil Registrar of
A.
Pilar, Bohol to effect the cancellation of the marriage contract.
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
SO ORDERED.[21]
FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT IN CRIMES PENALIZED
UNDER THE REVISED PENAL CODE, CRIMINAL INTENT IS The trial court found that there was no actual marriage ceremony
AN INDISPENSABLE REQUISITE. COROLLARILY, WHETHER performed between Lucio and Lucia by a solemnizing officer.
OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FAILING TO Instead, what transpired was a mere signing of the marriage
APPRECIATE [THE] PETITIONERS LACK OF CRIMINAL contract by the two, without the presence of a solemnizing officer.
INTENT WHEN HE CONTRACTED THE SECOND MARRIAGE. The trial court thus held that the marriage is void ab initio, in
accordance with Articles 3[22] and 4[23] of the Family Code. As the
B.
dissenting opinion in CA-G.R. CR No. 20700, correctly puts it,
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN This simply means that there was no marriage to begin with; and
HOLDING THAT THE RULING IN PEOPLE VS. BITDU (58 that such declaration of nullity retroacts to the date of the first
PHIL. 817) IS APPLICABLE TO THE CASE AT BAR. marriage. In other words, for all intents and purposes, reckoned
from the date of the declaration of the first marriage as void ab
C. initio to the date of the celebration of the first marriage, the
accused was, under the eyes of the law, never married. [24] The
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN records show that no appeal was taken from the decision of the
FAILING TO APPLY THE RULE THAT EACH AND EVERY trial court in Civil Case No. 6020, hence, the decision had long
CIRCUMSTANCE FAVORING THE INNOCENCE OF THE become final and executory.
ACCUSED MUST BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT.[17]
The first element of bigamy as a crime requires that the accused
To our mind, the primordial issue should be whether or not must have been legally married. But in this case, legally
petitioner committed bigamy and if so, whether his defense of speaking, the petitioner was never married to Lucia Barrete.
good faith is valid. Thus, there is no first marriage to speak of. Under the principle of
retroactivity of a marriage being declared void ab initio, the two
The petitioner submits that he should not be faulted for relying in
were never married from the beginning. The contract of marriage
good faith upon the divorce decree of the Ontario court. He
is null; it bears no legal effect. Taking this argument to its logical
highlights the fact that he contracted the second marriage openly
conclusion, for legal purposes, petitioner was not married to
and publicly, which a person intent upon bigamy would not be
Lucia at the time he contracted the marriage with Maria Jececha.
doing. The petitioner further argues that his lack of criminal intent
The existence and the validity of the first marriage being an
is material to a conviction or acquittal in the instant case. The
essential element of the crime of bigamy, it is but logical that a
crime of bigamy, just like other felonies punished under the
conviction for said offense cannot be sustained where there is no
Revised Penal Code, is mala in se, and hence, good faith and
first marriage to speak of. The petitioner, must, perforce be
lack of criminal intent are allowed as a complete defense. He
acquitted of the instant charge.
stresses that there is a difference between the intent to commit
the crime and the intent to perpetrate the act. Hence, it does not The present case is analogous to, but must be distinguished
necessarily follow that his intention to contract a second marriage from Mercado v. Tan.[25] In the latter case, the judicial declaration
is tantamount to an intent to commit bigamy. of nullity of the first marriage was likewise obtained after the
second marriage was already celebrated. We held therein that:
For the respondent, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG)
submits that good faith in the instant case is a convenient but A judicial declaration of nullity of a previous marriage is
flimsy excuse. The Solicitor General relies upon our ruling necessary before a subsequent one can be legally contracted.
in Marbella-Bobis v. Bobis,[18] which held that bigamy can be One who enters into a subsequent marriage without first
successfully prosecuted provided all the elements concur, obtaining such judicial declaration is guilty of bigamy. This
stressing that under Article 40[19] of the Family Code, a judicial principle applies even if the earlier union is characterized by
declaration of nullity is a must before a party may re-marry. statutes as void.[26]
Whether or not the petitioner was aware of said Article 40 is of no
account as everyone is presumed to know the law. The OSG It bears stressing though that in Mercado, the first marriage was
counters that petitioners contention that he was in good faith actually solemnized not just once, but twice: first before a judge
because he relied on the divorce decree of the Ontario court is where a marriage certificate was duly issued and then again six
negated by his act of filing Civil Case No. 6020, seeking a judicial months later before a priest in religious rites. Ostensibly, at least,
declaration of nullity of his marriage to Lucia. the first marriage appeared to have transpired, although later
declared void ab initio.

22
[14]
In the instant case, however, no marriage ceremony at all was Art. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and
performed by a duly authorized solemnizing officer. Petitioner other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the
and Lucia Barrete merely signed a marriage contract on their country in which they are executed.
own. The mere private act of signing a marriage contract bears
no semblance to a valid marriage and thus, needs no judicial When the acts referred to are executed before the diplomatic or
declaration of nullity. Such act alone, without more, cannot be consular officials of the Republic of the Philippines in a foreign
deemed to constitute an ostensibly valid marriage for which country, the solemnities established by Philippine laws shall be
petitioner might be held liable for bigamy unless he first secures observed in their execution.
a judicial declaration of nullity before he contracts a subsequent
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and
marriage.
those which have for their object public order, public policy and
The law abhors an injustice and the Court is mandated to liberally good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
construe a penal statute in favor of an accused and weigh every judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions
circumstance in favor of the presumption of innocence to ensure agreed upon in a foreign country.
that justice is done. Under the circumstances of the present case, [19]
Art. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be
we held that petitioner has not committed bigamy. Further, we
invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final
also find that we need not tarry on the issue of the validity of his
judgment declaring such previous marriage void.
defense of good faith or lack of criminal intent, which is now moot
and academic. [20] Supra.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The assailed [21] CA Rollo, p. 38.
decision, dated October 21, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
[22]
G.R. CR No. 20700, as well as the resolution of the appellate Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:
court dated September 25, 2000, denying herein petitioners
(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer;
motion for reconsideration, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
petitioner Lucio Morigo y Cacho is ACQUITTED from the charge (2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in
of BIGAMY on the ground that his guilt has not been proven with Chapter 2 of this Title; and
moral certainty.
(3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance
SO ORDERED. of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their
personal declaration that they take each other as husband and
Puno, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, Callejo, Sr., and Tinga,
wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.
JJ., concur.
[23]
Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites
shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article
35 (2).

A defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the


[1]
Rollo, pp. 38-44. Penned by Associate Justice Eugenio S. marriage voidable as provided in Article 45.
Labitoria and concurred in by Associate Justices Marina L. Buzon
An irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity
and Edgardo P. Cruz.
of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the
[2] Records, pp. 114-119. irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.
[24]
[3]
Rollo, pp. 46-58. Per Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz, with Rollo, p. 54.
Associate Justices Cancio C. Garcia and Marina L. Buzon, [25] G.R. No. 137110, 1 August 2000, 337 SCRA 122.
concurring and Eugenio S. Labitoria and Bernardo P. Abesamis,
dissenting. [26] Id. at 124.
[4]
Her correct name is Maria Jececha Limbago (Italics for
emphasis). See Exh. B, the copy of their marriage contract.
Records, p. 10. THIRD DIVISION
[5]Theaccusatory portion of the charge sheet found in Records, p.
1, reads:

That, on or about the 4th day of October, 1992, in the City of


Tagbilaran, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this RESTITUTO M. G.R. No. 167746
Honorable Court, the above-named accused being previously ALCANTARA,
united in lawful marriage with Lucia Barrete on August 23, 1990
Petitioner,
and without the said marriage having been legally dissolved, did Present:
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously contract a
second marriage with Maria Jececha Limbago to the damage
and prejudice of Lucia Barrete in the amount to be proved during
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
trial.

Acts committed contrary to the provisions of Article 349 of the Chairperson,

[12]
ART. 349. Bigamy. The penalty of prision mayor shall be AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
- versus -
imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or CHICO-NAZARIO,
subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been
legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared NACHURA, and
presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the
proper proceedings. REYES, JJ.

[13]Art. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the


status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon
Promulgated:
citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
ROSITA A. ALCANTARA
and HON. COURT OF

23
APPEALS, August 28, 2007

Respondents. 1. The Petition is dismissed for lack of merit;

x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - -x
2. Petitioner is ordered to pay respondent the sum of twenty
thousand pesos (P20,000.00) per month as support for their two
(2) children on the first five (5) days of each month; and
DECISION

3. To pay the costs.[11]


CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

As earlier stated, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision


Before this Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari filed by dismissing the petitioners appeal. His Motion for Reconsideration
petitioner Restituto Alcantara assailing the Decision[1] of the was likewise denied in a resolution of the Court of Appeals
Court of Appeals dated 30 September 2004 in CA-G.R. CV No. dated 6 April 2005.[12]
66724 denying petitioners appeal and affirming the decision [2] of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City, Branch 143, in
Civil Case No. 97-1325 dated 14 February 2000, dismissing his
petition for annulment of marriage. The Court of Appeals held that the marriage license of the parties
is presumed to be regularly issued and petitioner had not
presented any evidence to overcome the presumption. Moreover,
the parties marriage contract being a public document is a prima
The antecedent facts are: facie proof of the questioned marriage under Section 44, Rule
130 of the Rules of Court.[13]

A petition for annulment of marriage [3] was filed by petitioner


against respondent Rosita A. Alcantara alleging that on 8 In his Petition before this Court, petitioner raises the following
December 1982 he and respondent, without securing the issues for resolution:
required marriage license, went to the Manila City Hall for the
purpose of looking for a person who could arrange a marriage for
them. They met a person who, for a fee, arranged their wedding
before a certain Rev. Aquilino Navarro, a Minister of the Gospel a. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error
of the CDCC BR Chapel.[4] They got married on the same day, 8 when it ruled that the Petition for Annulment has no legal and
December 1982. Petitioner and respondent went through another factual basis despite the evidence on record that there was no
marriage ceremony at the San Jose de Manuguit Church marriage license at the precise moment of the solemnization of
in Tondo,Manila, on 26 March 1983. The marriage was likewise the marriage.
celebrated without the parties securing a marriage license. The
alleged marriage license, procured inCarmona, Cavite, appearing
on the marriage contract, is a sham, as neither party was a b. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error
resident of Carmona, and they never went to Carmona to apply when it gave weight to the Marriage License No. 7054133
for a license with the local civil registrar of the said place. On 14 despite the fact that the same was not identified and offered as
October 1985, respondent gave birth to their child Rose evidence during the trial, and was not the Marriage license
Ann Alcantara. In 1988, they parted ways and lived separate number appearing on the face of the marriage contract.
lives. Petitioner prayed that after due hearing, judgment be
issued declaring their marriage void and ordering the Civil
Registrar to cancel the corresponding marriage contract [5] and its
c. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error
entry on file.[6]
when it failed to apply the ruling laid down by this Honorable
Court in the case of Sy vs. Court of Appeals.(G.R. No.
127263, 12 April 2000 [330 SCRA 550]).
Answering petitioners petition for annulment of marriage,
respondent asserts the validity of their marriage and maintains
that there was a marriage license issued as evidenced by a
d. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed a reversible error
certification from the Office of the Civil Registry
when it failed to relax the observance of procedural rules to
of Carmona, Cavite. Contrary to petitioners representation,
protect and promote the substantial rights of the party litigants.[14]
respondent gave birth to their first child named Rose
Ann Alcantara on 14 October 1985 and to another daughter
named Rachel Ann Alcantara on 27 October 1992.[7] Petitioner
has a mistress with whom he has three children. [8] Petitioner only
filed the annulment of their marriage to evade prosecution
for concubinage.[9] Respondent, in fact, has filed a case We deny the petition.
for concubinage against petitioner before
the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City, Branch
60.[10] Respondent prays that the petition for annulment of Petitioner submits that at the precise time that his marriage with
marriage be denied for lack of merit. the respondent was celebrated, there was no marriage license
because he and respondent just went to the Manila City Hall and
dealt with a fixer who arranged everything for them. [15] The
On 14 February 2000, the RTC of Makati City, Branch 143, wedding took place at the stairs in Manila City Hall and not in
rendered its Decision disposing as follows: CDCC BR Chapel where Rev. Aquilino Navarro who solemnized
the marriage belongs.[16] He and respondent did not go
to Carmona, Cavite, to apply for a marriage license. Assuming a
marriage license from Carmona, Cavite, was issued to them,
The foregoing considered, judgment is rendered as follows: neither he nor the respondent was a resident of the place. The

24
certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, and, as certified by the Local Civil Registrar of San Juan, Metro
cannot be given weight because the certification states that Manila, their office has no record of such marriage license. The
Marriage License number 7054133 was issued in favor of court held that the certification issued by the local civil registrar is
Mr. Restituto Alcantara and Miss Rosita Almario[17] but their adequate to prove the non-issuance of the marriage
marriage contract bears the number 7054033 for their marriage license. Their marriage having been solemnized without the
license number. necessary marriage license and not being one of the marriages
exempt from the marriage license requirement, the marriage of
the petitioner and the deceased is undoubtedly void ab initio.
The marriage involved herein having been solemnized on 8
December 1982, or prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, the
applicable law to determine its validity is the Civil Code which In Sy v. Court of Appeals,[24] the marriage license was issued
was the law in effect at the time of its celebration. on 17 September 1974, almost one year after the ceremony took
place on 15 November 1973. The Court held that the ineluctable
conclusion is that the marriage was indeed contracted without a
marriage license.
A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage under Article
53 of the Civil Code, the absence of which renders the
marriage void ab initio pursuant to Article 80(3)[18] in relation to
Article 58 of the same Code.[19] In all these cases, there was clearly an absence of a marriage
license which rendered the marriage void.

Article 53 of the Civil Code[20] which was the law applicable at the
time of the marriage of the parties states: Clearly, from these cases, it can be deduced that to be
considered void on the ground of absence of a marriage license,
the law requires that the absence of such marriage license must
be apparent on the marriage contract, or at the very least,
Art. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these
supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no
requisites are complied with:
such marriage license was issued to the parties. In this case, the
marriage contract between the petitioner and respondent reflects
a marriage license number. A certification to this effect was also
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties; issued by the local civil registrar of Carmona, Cavite.[25] The
certification moreover is precise in that it specifically identified the
parties to whom the marriage license was issued,
(2) Their consent, freely given; namely Restituto Alcantara and Rosita Almario, further validating
the fact that a license was in fact issued to the parties herein.

(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and


The certification of Municipal Civil Registrar Macrino L. Diaz
of Carmona, Cavite, reads:

(4) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional


character.
This is to certify that as per the registry Records of Marriage filed
in this office, Marriage License No. 7054133 was issued in favor
of Mr. Restituto Alcantara and Miss Rosita Almario on December
8, 1982.
The requirement and issuance of a marriage license is the States
demonstration of its involvement and participation in every
marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is This Certification is being issued upon the request of Mrs. Rosita
interested.[21] A. Alcantara for whatever legal purpose or intents it may serve.[26]

Petitioner cannot insist on the absence of a marriage license to


impugn the validity of his marriage. The cases where the court
considered the absence of a marriage license as a ground for This certification enjoys the presumption that official duty has
considering the marriage void are clear-cut. been regularly performed and the issuance of the marriage
license was done in the regular conduct of official
business.[27] The presumption of regularity of official acts may be
rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to
In Republic of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals,[22] the Local perform a duty.However, the presumption prevails until it is
Civil Registrar issued a certification of due search and inability to overcome by no less than clear and convincing evidence to the
find a record or entry to the effect that Marriage License No. contrary. Thus, unless the presumption is rebutted, it becomes
3196182 was issued to the parties. The Court held that the conclusive. Every reasonable intendment will be made in support
certification of due search and inability to find a record or entry as of the presumption and, in case of doubt as to an officers act
to the purported marriage license, issued by the Civil Registrar being lawful or unlawful, construction should be in favor of its
of Pasig, enjoys probative value, he being the officer charged lawfulness.[28] Significantly, apart from these, petitioner, by
under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance counsel, admitted that a marriage license was, indeed, issued
of a marriage license. Based on said certification, the Court held in Carmona, Cavite.[29]
that there is absence of a marriage license that would render the
marriage void ab initio.

Petitioner, in a faint attempt to demolish the probative value of


the marriage license, claims that neither he nor respondent is a
In Cario v. Cario,[23] the Court considered the marriage of therein resident of Carmona, Cavite. Even then, we still hold that there is
petitioner Susan Nicdao and the deceased Santiago S. Carino as no sufficient basis to annul petitioner and respondents
void ab initio. The records reveal that the marriage contract of marriage. Issuance of a marriage license in a city or municipality,
petitioner and the deceased bears no marriage license number

25
not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and In other words, you represented to the San Jose
issuance of a marriage license despite the absence of publication de Manuguit church that you have with you already a Marriage
or prior to the completion of the 10-day period for publication are Contract?
considered mere irregularities that do not affect the validity of the
marriage.[30] An irregularity in any of the formal requisites of WITNESS
marriage does not affect its validity but the party or parties
Yes your honor.
responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and
administratively liable.[31] COURT

That is why the San Jose de Manuguit church copied the same
marriage License in the Marriage Contract issued which Marriage
Again, petitioner harps on the discrepancy between the marriage
License is Number 7054033.
license number in the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar,
which states that the marriage license issued to the parties is No. WITNESS
7054133, while the marriage contract states that the marriage
license number of the parties is number 7054033. Once more, Yes your honor.[35]
this argument fails to sway us. It is not impossible to assume that
The logical conclusion is that petitioner was amenable and a
the same is a mere a typographical error, as a closer scrutiny of
willing participant to all that took place at that time. Obviously, the
the marriage contract reveals the overlapping of the numbers 0
church ceremony was confirmatory of their civil marriage, thereby
and 1, such that the marriage license may read either as
cleansing whatever irregularity or defect attended the civil
7054133 or 7054033. It therefore does not detract from our
wedding.[36]
conclusion regarding the existence and issuance of said
marriage license to the parties. Likewise, the issue raised by petitioner -- that they appeared
before a fixer who arranged everything for them and who
Under the principle that he who comes to court must come with
facilitated the ceremony before a certain Rev. Aquilino Navarro, a
clean hands,[32] petitioner cannot pretend that he was not
Minister of the Gospel of the CDCC Br Chapel -- will not
responsible or a party to the marriage celebration which he now
strengthen his posture. The authority of the officer or clergyman
insists took place without the requisite marriage
shown to have performed a marriage ceremony will be presumed
license. Petitioner admitted that the civil marriage took place
in the absence of any showing to the contrary. [37] Moreover, the
because he initiated it.[33] Petitioner is an educated person. He is
solemnizing officer is not duty-bound to investigate whether or
a mechanical engineer by profession. He knowingly and
not a marriage license has been duly and regularly issued by the
voluntarily went to the Manila City Hall and likewise, knowingly
local civil registrar. All the solemnizing officer needs to know is
and voluntarily, went through a marriage ceremony. He cannot
that the license has been issued by the competent official, and it
benefit from his action and be allowed to extricate himself from
may be presumed from the issuance of the license that said
the marriage bond at his mere say-so when the situation is no
official has fulfilled the duty to ascertain whether the contracting
longer palatable to his taste or suited to his lifestyle. We cannot
parties had fulfilled the requirements of law.[38]
countenance such effrontery. His attempt to make a mockery of
the institution of marriage betrays his bad faith.[34] Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. The presumption is always
in favor of the validity of the marriage.[39] Every intendment of the
law or fact leans toward the validity of the marriage bonds. The
Petitioner and respondent went through a marriage ceremony Courts look upon this presumption with great favor. It is not to be
twice in a span of less than one year utilizing the same marriage lightly repelled; on the contrary, the presumption is of great
license. There is no claim that he went through the second weight.
wedding ceremony in church under duress or with a gun to his
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant Petition
head. Everything was executed without nary a whimper on the
is DENIED for lack of merit. The decision of the Court of Appeals
part of the petitioner.
dated 30 September 2004affirming the decision of the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 143 of Makati City, dated 14 February 2000,
are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
In fact, for the second wedding of petitioner and respondent, they
presented to the San Jose de Manuguit Church the marriage
contract executed during the previous wedding ceremony before
SO ORDERED.
the Manila City Hall. This is confirmed in petitioners testimony as
follows Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
WITNESS
Manila
As I remember your honor, they asked us to get the necessary
SECOND DIVISION
document prior to the wedding.
G.R. No. 191425 September 7, 2011
COURT
ATILANO O. NOLLORA, JR., Petitioner,
What particular document did the church asked you to produce? I
vs.
am referring to the San Jose de Manuguit church.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
WITNESS
DECISION
I dont remember your honor.
CARPIO, J.:
COURT
The Case
Were you asked by the church to present a Marriage License?
G.R. No. 191425 is a petition for review1 assailing the
WITNESS Decision2 promulgated on 30 September 2009 as well as the
Resolution3 promulgated on 23 February 2010 by the Court of
I think they asked us for documents and I said we have already a Appeals (appellate court) in CA-G.R. CR No. 31538. The
Marriage Contract and I dont know if it is good enough for the appellate court affirmed the 19 November 2007 Decision4 of
marriage and they accepted it your honor. Branch 215 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (trial
court) in Criminal Case No. Q-04-129031.
COURT

26
The trial court found accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. (Nollora) Upon learning this information, the private complainant
guilty of bigamy under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code and confronted Rowena P. Geraldino at the latter’s workplace in
sentenced him to suffer imprisonment. Co-accused Rowena CBW, FTI, Taguig and asked her if she knew of the first marriage
Geraldino (Geraldino) was acquitted for the prosecution’s failure between complainant and Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. to which
to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Rowena P. Geraldino allegedly affirmed and despite this
knowledge, she allegedly still married Atilano O. Nollora, Jr.
The Facts because she loves him so much and because they were
neighbors and childhood friends. Private complainant also knew
The appellate court recited the facts as follows:
that Rowena P. Geraldino knew of her marriage with Atilano O.
On August 24, 2004, Assistant City Prosecutor Raymond Nollora, Jr., because when she (private complainant) was
Jonathan B. Lledo filed an Information against Atilano O. Nollora, brought by Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. at the latter’s residence in
Jr. ("Nollora") and Rowena P. Geraldino ("Geraldino") for the Taguig, Metro Manila and introduced her to Atilano O. Nollora,
crime of Bigamy. The accusatory portion of the Information Jr.’s parents, Rowena P. Geraldino was there in the house
reads: together with a friend and she heard everything that they were
talking about.
"That on or about the 8th day of December 2001 in Quezon City,
Philippines, the above-named accused ATILANO O. NOLLORA, Because of this case, private complainant was not able to return
JR., being then legally married to one JESUSA PINAT to Saudi Arabia to work as a Staff Midwife thereby losing income
NOLLORA, and as said marriage has not been legally dissolved opportunity in the amount of P34,000.00 a month, more or less.
and still subsisting, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and When asked about the moral damages she suffered, she
feloniously contract a subsequent or second marriage with her declared that what happened to her was a tragedy and she had
[sic] co-accused ROWENA P. GERALDINO, who knowingly entertained [thoughts] of committing suicide. She added that
consented and agreed to be married to her co-accused ATILANO because of what happened to her, her mother died and she
O. NOLLORA, JR. knowing him to be a married man, to the almost got raped when Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. left her alone in
damage and prejudice of the said offended party JESUSA PINAT their residence in Saudi Arabia. However, she declared that
NOLLORA." money is not enough to assuage her sufferings. Instead, she just
asked for the return of her money in the amount of P50,000.00
Upon his arraignment on April 18, 2005, accused Nollora (TSN, July 26, 2005, pages 4-14).
assisted by counsel, refused to enter his plea. Hence, a plea of
not guilty was entered by the Court for him. Accused Geraldino, Prosecution witness Ruth Santos testified that she knew of the
on the other hand, entered a plea of not guilty when arraigned on marriage between the private complainant and Atilano O. Nollora,
June 14, 2005. On even date, pre-trial conference was held and Jr., because she was one of the sponsors in said wedding.
both the prosecution and defense entered the following Sometime in November 2003, she was asked by the private
stipulation of facts: complainant to accompany the latter to the workplace of Rowena
P. Geraldino in FTI, Taguig, Metro Manila. She declared that the
"1. the validity of the first marriage between Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. private complainant and Rowena P. Geraldino had a
and Jesusa Pinat Nollora solemnized on April 6, 1999 at Sapang confrontation and she heard that Rowena P. Geraldino admitted
Palay, San Jose del Monte; that she (Rowena) knew of the first marriage of Atilano O.
Nollora, Jr. and the private complainant but she still went on to
2. that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. contracted the second marriage with
marry Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. because she loves him very much
Rowena P. Geraldino on December 8, 2001 in Quezon City;
(TSN, October 24, 2005, pages 3-5).
3. that in the Counter-Affidavit of Atilano O. Nollora, Jr., he Evidence for the Defense
admitted that he contracted the second marriage to Rowena P.
Geraldino; The defense’s version of facts, as summarized in the herein
assailed Decision, is as follows:
4. that Rowena P. Geraldino attached to her Counter-Affidavit the
Certificate of Marriage with Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. dated "Accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. admitted having contracted two
December 8, 2001; (2) marriages, the first with private complainant Jesusa Pinat and
the second with Rowena P. Geraldino. He, however, claimed that
5. the fact of marriage of Rowena P. Geraldino with Atilano O.
he was a Muslim convert way back on January 10, 1992, even
Nollora, Jr. as admitted in her Counter-Affidavit."
before he contracted the first marriage with the private
The only issue thus proffered by the prosecution for the RTC’s complainant. As a [M]uslim convert, he is allegedly entitled to
resolution is whether or not the second marriage is bigamous. marry four (4) wives as allowed under the Muslim or Islam belief.
Afterwards, pre-trial conference was terminated and the case
To prove that he is a Muslim convert even prior to his marriage to
was set for initial hearing. Thereafter, trial ensued.
the private complainant, Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. presented a
Evidence for the Prosecution Certificate of Conversion dated August 2, 2004 issued by one
Hadji Abdul Kajar Madueño and approved by one Khad Ibrahim
As culled from the herein assailed Decision, the respective A. Alyamin wherein it is stated that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr.
testimonies of prosecution witnesses were as follows: allegedly converted as a Muslim since January 19, 1992 (Exhibit
‘2,’ ‘3’ and ‘4’). Aside from said certificate, he also presented a
"xxx (W)itness Jesusa Pinat Nollora xxx testified that she and Pledge of Conversion dated January 10, 1992 issued by the
accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. met in Saudi Arabia while she same Hadji Abdul Kajar Madueño and approved by one Khad
was working there as a Staff Midwife in King Abdulah Naval Base Ibrahim A. Alyamin (Exhibit ‘7’).
Hospital. Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. courted her and on April 6, 1999,
they got married at the [IE]MELIF Chruch [sic] in Sapang Palay, He claimed that the private complaint knew that he was a Muslim
San Jose del Monte, Bulacan (Exhibit ‘A’). While working in said convert prior to their marriage because she [sic] told this fact
hospital, she heard rumors that her husband has another wife when he was courting her in Saudi Arabia and the reason why
and because of anxiety and emotional stress, she left Saudi said private complainant filed the instant case was due to hatred
Arabia and returned to the Philippines (TSN, October 4, 2005, having learned of his second marriage with Rowena P.
page 10). Upon arrival in the Philippines, the private complainant Geraldino. She [sic] further testified that Rowena P. Geraldino
learned that indeed, Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. contracted a second was not aware of his first marriage with the private complainant
marriage with co-accused Rowena P. Geraldino on December 8, and he did not tell her this fact because Rowena P. Geraldino is
2001 (Exhibit ‘B’) when she secured a certification as to the civil a Catholic and he does not want to lose her if she learns of his
status of Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. (Exhibit ‘C’) from the National first marriage.
Statistics Office (NSO) sometime in November 2003.
He explained that in his Marriage Contract with Jesusa Pinat, it is
indicated that he was a ‘Catholic Pentecostal’ but that he was not

27
aware why it was placed as such on said contract. In his 1083. The trial court also cited Article 27 of the Code of Muslim
Marriage Contract with Rowena P. Geraldino, the religion Personal Laws of the Philippines, which provides the
‘Catholic’ was also indicated because he was keeping as a secret qualifications for allowing Muslim men to have more than one
his being a Muslim since the society does not approve of wife: "[N]o Muslim male can have more than one wife unless he
marrying a Muslim. He also indicated that he was ‘single’ despite can deal with them in equal companionship and just treatment as
his first marriage to keep said first marriage a secret (TSN, enjoined by Islamic Law and only in exceptional cases."
January 30, 2006, pages 2-13).
In convicting Nollora, the trial court’s Decision further stated thus:
Defense witness Hadji Abdul Qasar Madueño testified that he is
the founder and president of Balik Islam Tableegh Foundation of The principle in Islam is that monogamy is the general rule and
the Philippines and as such president, he has the power and polygamy is allowed only to meet urgent needs. Only with the
authority to convert any applicant to the Muslim religion. He permission of the court can a Muslim be permitted to have a
alleged that sometime in 1992, he met accused Atilano O. second wife subject to certain requirements. This is because
Nollora, Jr. in Mabini (Manila) who was then going abroad. having plurality of wives is merely tolerated, not encouraged,
Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. applied to become a Muslim (Exhibit ‘14’) under certain circumstances (Muslim Law on Personal Status in
and after receiving the application, said accused was the Philippines by Amer M. Bara-acal and Abdulmajid J. Astir,
indoctrinated regarding his obligations as a Muslim. On January 1998 First Edition, Pages 64-65). Arbitration is necessary. Any
10, 1992, Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. embraced the Muslim faith. He Muslim husband desiring to contract subsequent marriages,
was then directed to report every Sunday to monitor his before so doing, shall notify the Shari’a Circuit Court of the place
development. where his family resides. The clerk of court shall serve a copy
thereof to the wife or wives. Should any of them objects [sic]; an
In the year 2004, Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. visited him and asked for Agama Arbitration Council shall be constituted. If said council
a certification because of the filing of the instant case. On fails to secure the wife’s consent to the proposed marriage, the
October 2, 2004, he issued a Certificate of Conversion wherein it Court shall, subject to Article 27, decide whether on [sic] not to
is stated that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. is a Muslim convert since sustain her objection (Art. 162, Muslim Personal Laws of the
January 10, 1992. Apart from the above-mentioned document, Philippines).
their ‘Imam’ also issued a Pledge of Conversion (Exhibit ‘7’). He
declared that a Muslim convert could marry more than one Accused Atilano Nollora, Jr., in marrying his second wife, co-
according to the Holy Koran. However, before marrying his accused Rowena P. Geraldino, did not comply with the above-
second, third and fourth wives, it is required that the consent of mentioned provision of the law. In fact, he did not even declare
the first Muslim wife be secured. Thus, if the first wife is not a that he was a Muslim convert in both marriages, indicating his
Muslim, there is no necessity to secure her consent (TSN, criminal intent. In his converting to the Muslim faith, said accused
October 9, 2006, pages 2-12). entertained the mistaken belief that he can just marry anybody
again after marrying the private complainant. What is clear,
During his cross-examinations, he declared that if a Muslim therefore, is [that] a Muslim is not given an unbridled right to just
convert gets married not in accordance with the Muslim faith, the marry anybody the second, third or fourth time. There are
same is contrary to the teachings of the Muslim faith. A Muslim requirements that the Shari’a law imposes, that is, he should
also can marry up to four times but he should be able to treat have notified the Shari’a Court where his family resides so that
them equally. He claimed that he was not aware of the first copy of said notice should be furnished to the first wife. The
marriage but was aware of the second. Since his second argument that notice to the first wife is not required since she is
marriage with Rowena P. Geraldino was not in accordance with not a Muslim is of no moment. This obligation to notify the said
the Muslim faith, he advised Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. to re-marry court rests upon accused Atilano Nollora, Jr. It is not for him to
Rowena P. Geraldino in accordance with Muslim marriage interpret the Shari’a law. It is the Shari’a Court that has this
celebration, otherwise, he will not be considered as a true Muslim authority.
(TSN, June 25, 2007, pages 3-7).
In an apparent attempt to escape criminal liability, the accused
Accused Rowena P. Geraldino alleged that she was only a victim recelebrated their marriage in accordance with the Muslim rites.
in this incident of bigamous marriage. She claimed that she does However, this can no longer cure the criminal liability that has
not know the private complainant Jesusa Pinat Nollora and only already been violated.
came to know her when this case was filed. She insists that she
is the one lawfully married to Atilano O. Nollora, Jr., having been The Court, however, finds criminal liability on the person of
married to the latter since December 8, 2001. Upon learning that accused Atilano Nollora, Jr., only. There is no sufficient evidence
Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. contracted a first marriage with the private that would pin accused Rowena P. Geraldino down. The
complainant, she confronted the former who admitted the said evidence presented by the prosecution against her is the
marriage. Prior to their marriage, she asked Atilano O. Nollora, allegation that she knew of the first marriage between private
Jr. if he was single and the latter responded that he was single. complainant and Atilano Nollora, Jr., is insufficient[,] being open
She also knew that her husband was a Catholic prior to their to several interpretations. Private complainant alleged that when
marriage but after she learned of the first marriage of her she was brought by Atilano Nollora, Jr., to the latter’s house in
husband, she learned that he is a Muslim convert. She also Taguig, Metro Manila, Rowena P. Geraldino was there standing
claimed that after learning that her husband was a Muslim near the door and heard their conversation. From this incident,
convert, she and Atilano O. Nollora, Jr., also got married in private complainant concluded that said Rowena P. Geraldino
accordance with the Muslim rites. She also belied the allegations was aware that she and Atilano Nollora, Jr., were married. This
of the private complainant that she was sought by the private conclusion is obviously misplaced since it could not be
complainant and that they had a confrontation where she reasonably presumed that Rowena P. Geraldino understands
admitted that she knew that Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. was married to what was going on between her and Atilano Nollora, Jr. It is
the private complainant and despite this knowledge, she went on axiomatic that "(E)very circumstance favoring accused’s
to marry him because she loved him very much. She insisted that innocence must be taken into account, proof against him must
she only came to know the private complainant when she (private survive the test of reason and the strongest suspicion must not
complainant) filed this case (TSN, August 14, 2007, pages 2-8)."5 be permitted to sway judgment" (People vs. Austria, 195 SCRA
700). This Court, therefore, has to acquit Rowena P. Geraldino
The Trial Court’s Ruling for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.
In its Decision6 dated 19 November 2007, the trial court convicted
Nollora and acquitted Geraldino. WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered, as follows:
The trial court stated that there are only two exceptions to
prosecution for bigamy: Article 417 of the Family Code, or a) Finding accused ATILANO O. NOLLORA, JR. guilty beyond
Executive Order No. 209, and Article 180 8 of the Code of Muslim reasonable doubt of the crime of Bigamy punishable under Article
Personal Laws of the Philippines, or Presidential Decree No. 349 of the Revised Penal Code. This court hereby renders

28
judgment imposing upon him a prison term of two (2) years, four The circumstances in the present case satisfy all the elements of
(4) months and one (1) day of prision correccional, as minimum bigamy. (1) Nollora is legally married to Pinat; 14 (2) Nollora and
of his indeterminate sentence, to eight (8) years and one (1) day Pinat’s marriage has not been legally dissolved prior to the date
of prision mayor, as maximum, plus accessory penalties provided of the second marriage; (3) Nollora admitted the existence of his
by law. second marriage to Geraldino;15 and (4) Nollora and Geraldino’s
marriage has all the essential requisites for validity except for the
b) Acquitting accused ROWENA P. GERALDINO of the crime of lack of capacity of Nollora due to his prior marriage. 16
Bigamy for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. The marriage certificate17 of Nollora and Pinat’s marriage states
that Nollora and Pinat were married at Sapang Palay IEMELIF
Costs against accused Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. Church, Sapang Palay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on 6 April
1999. Rev. Jonathan De Mesa, Minister of the IEMELIF Church
SO ORDERED.9
officiated the ceremony. The marriage certificate18 of Nollora and
Nollora filed a notice of appeal and moved for the allowance of Geraldino’s marriage states that Nollora and Geraldino were
his temporary liberty under the same bail bond pending appeal. married at Max’s Restaurant, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City,
The trial court granted Nollora’s motion. Metro Manila on 8 December 2001. Rev. Honorato D. Santos
officiated the ceremony.
Nollora filed a brief with the appellate court and assigned only
one error of the trial court: A certification dated 4 November 2003 from the Office of the Civil
Registrar General reads:
The trial court gravely erred in finding the accused-appellant
guilty of the crime charged despite the prosecution’s failure to We certify that ATILANO JR O. NOLLORA who is alleged to
establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.10 have been born on February 22, 1968 from ATILANO M.
NOLLORA SR and FLAVIANA OCLARIT, appears in our
The Appellate Court’s Ruling National Indices of Marriage for Groom for the years 1973 to
2002 with the following information:
On 30 September 2009, the appellate court dismissed Nollora’s
appeal and affirmed the trial court’s decision.11 Date of Marriage Place of Marriage
The appellate court rejected Nollora’s defense that his second
marriage to Geraldino was in lawful exercise of his Islamic
religion and was allowed by the Qur’an. The appellate court a) April 06, 1999 b) SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, BULACAN
denied Nollora’s invocation of his religious beliefs and practices
to the prejudice of the non-Muslim women who married him a) December 08, 2001 b) QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA (2nd Distri
pursuant to Philippine civil laws.1avvphi1Nollora’s two marriages
were not conducted in accordance with the Code of Muslim Before the trial and appellate courts, Nollora put up his Muslim
Personal Laws, hence the Family Code of the Philippines should religion as his sole defense. He alleged that his religion allows
apply. Nollora’s claim of religious freedom will not immobilize the him to marry more than once. Granting arguendo that Nollora is
State and render it impotent in protecting the general welfare. indeed of Muslim faith at the time of celebration of both
marriages,20 Nollora cannot deny that both marriage ceremonies
In a Resolution12 dated 23 February 2010, the appellate court were not conducted in accordance with the Code of Muslim
denied Nollora’s motion for reconsideration. The allegations in Personal Laws, or Presidential Decree No. 1083. The applicable
the motion for reconsideration were a mere rehash of Nollora’s Articles in the Code of Muslim Personal Laws read:
earlier arguments, and there was no reason for the appellate
court to modify its 30 September 2009 Decision. Art. 14. Nature. - Marriage is not only a civil contract but a civil
institution. Its nature, consequences and incidents are governed
Nollora filed the present petition for review before this Court on 6 by this Code and the Shari’a and not subject to stipulation,
April 2010. except that the marriage settlements to a certain extent fix the
property relations of the spouses.
The Issue
Art. 15. Essential Requisites. - No marriage contract shall be
The issue in this case is whether Nollora is guilty beyond perfected unless the following essential requisites are complied
reasonable doubt of the crime of bigamy. with:
The Court’s Ruling
(a) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
Nollora’s petition has no merit. We affirm the rulings of the (b) Mutual consent of the parties freely given;
appellate court and of the trial court.
(c) Offer (ijab) and acceptance (qabul) duly witnessed by at least
Elements of Bigamy
two competent persons after the proper guardian in marriage
Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code provides: (wali) has given his consent; and

Art. 349. Bigamy. ‒ The penalty of prision mayor shall be (d) Stipulation of the customary dower (mahr) duly witnessed by
imposed upon any person who shall contract a second or two competent persons.
subsequent marriage before the former marriage has been Art. 16. Capacity to contract marriage. - (1) Any Muslim male at
legally dissolved, or before the absent spouse has been declared least fifteen years of age and any Muslim female of the age of
presumptively dead by means of a judgment rendered in the puberty or upwards and not suffering from any impediment under
proper proceedings. the provisions of this Code may contract marriage. A female is
The elements of the crime of bigamy are: presumed to have attained puberty upon reaching the age of
fifteen.
1. That the offender has been legally married.
x x x.
2. That the marriage has not been legally dissolved or, in case
his or her spouse is absent, theabsent spouse could not yet be Art. 17. Marriage Ceremony. - No particular form of marriage
presumed dead according to the Civil Code. ceremony is required but the ijab and the qabul in marriage shall
be declared publicly in the presence of the person solemnizing
3. That he contracts a second or subsequent marriage. the marriage and the two competent witnesses. The declaration
shall be set forth in an instrument in triplicate, signed or marked
4. That the second or subsequent marriage has all the essential by the contracting parties and said witnesses, and attested by the
requisites for validity.13 person solemnizing the marriage. One copy shall be given to the

29
contracting parties and another sent to the Circuit Registrar by A: I also kept it as a secret that I was married, earlier
the solemnizing officer who shall keep the third. married.22 (Emphasis supplied)

Art. 18. Authority to solemnize marriage. - Marriage maybe xxx


solemnized:
[PROSECUTOR TAYLOR:]
(a) By the proper wali by the woman to be wedded;
Q: Would you die for your new religion, Mr. Nollora?
(b) Upon the authority of the proper wali, by any person who is
competent under Muslim law to solemnize marriage; or A: Yes, ma’am.

(c) By the judge of the Shari’a District Court or Shari’a Circuit Q: If you would die for your new religion, why did you allow that
Court or any person designated by the judge, should the your faith be indicated as Catholic when in fact you were already
proper wali refuse without justifiable reason, to authorize the as you alleged [M]uslim to be put in your marriage contract?
solemnization.
xxx
Art. 19. Place of solemnization. - Marriage shall be solemnized
[A:] I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, I just signed it so
publicly in any mosque, office of the Shari’a judge, office of the
we can get married under the Catholic rights [sic] because after
Circuit Registrar, residence of the bride or her wali, or at any
that we even got married under the [M]uslim rights [sic], your
other suitable place agreed upon by the parties.
Honor.
Art. 20. Specification of dower. - The amount or value of dower
xxx
may be fixed by the contracting parties (mahr-musamma) before,
during or after the celebration of marriage. If the amount or the Q: Under your Muslim faith, if you marry a second wife, are you
value thereof has not been so fixed, a proper dower (mahr-mithl) required under your faith to secure the permission of your first
shall, upon petition of the wife, be determined by the court wife to get married?
according to the social standing of the parties.
A: Yes, ma’am.
Indeed, Article 13(2) of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws states
that "[i]n case of a marriage between a Muslim and a non- Q: Did you secure that permission from your first wife, Jesusa
Muslim, solemnized not in accordance with Muslim law or Nollora?
this Code, the [Family Code of the Philippines, or Executive
Order No. 209, in lieu of the Civil Code of the Philippines] shall A: I was not able to ask any permission from her because she
apply." Nollora’s religious affiliation is not an issue here. Neither was very mad at me, at the start, she was always very mad,
ma’am.23
is the claim that Nollora’s marriages were solemnized according
to Muslim law. Thus, regardless of his professed religion, Nollora In his petition before this Court, Nollora casts doubt on the
cannot claim exemption from liability for the crime of bigamy.21 validity of his marriage to Geraldino.1avvphi1 Nollora may not
impugn his marriage to Geraldino in order to extricate himself
Nollora asserted in his marriage certificate with Geraldino that his
from criminal liability; otherwise, we would be opening the doors
civil status is "single." Moreover, both of Nollora’s marriage
to allowing the solemnization of multiple flawed marriage
contracts do not state that he is a Muslim. Although the truth or
ceremonies. As we stated in Tenebro v. Court of Appeals:24
falsehood of the declaration of one’s religion in the marriage
certificate is not an essential requirement for marriage, such There is therefore a recognition written into the law itself that
omissions are sufficient proofs of Nollora’s liability for bigamy. such a marriage, although void ab initio, may still produce legal
Nollora’s false declaration about his civil status is thus further consequences. Among these legal consequences is incurring
compounded by these omissions. criminal liability for bigamy. To hold otherwise would render the
State’s penal laws on bigamy completely nugatory, and allow
[ATTY. CALDINO:]
individuals to deliberately ensure that each marital contract be
Q: In your marriage contract, Mr. Witness, with Jesusa Pinat, you flawed in some manner, and to thus escape the consequences of
indicated here as your religion, Catholic Pentecostal, and you contracting multiple marriages, while beguiling throngs of hapless
were saying that since January 10, 1992, you are already a women with the promise of futurity and commitment.
[M]uslim convert. . . you said, Mr. Witness, that you are already a
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. The Decision of the Court
[M]uslim convert since January 10, 1992. However, in your
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31538 promulgated on 30
marriage contract with Jesusa Pinat, there is no indication here
September 2009 and the Resolution promulgated on 23 February
that you have indicated your religion. Will you please go over
2010 are AFFIRMED. Petitioner Atilano O. Nollora, Jr. is guilty
your marriage contract?
beyond reasonable doubt of Bigamy in Criminal Case No. Q-04-
[NOLLORA:] 129031 and is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment
with a term of two years, four months and one day of prision
A: When we got married, they just placed there Catholic but I correccional as minimum to eight years and one day of prision
didn’t know why they did not place any Catholic there. mayor as maximum of his indeterminate sentence, as well as the
accessory penalties provided by law.
xxx
Costs against petitioner Atilano O. Nollora, Jr.
Q: Now, Mr. Witness, I would like to call your attention with
respect to your marriage contract with your co-accused in SO ORDERED.
this case, Rowena Geraldino, x x x will you please tell us, Mr.
Witness, considering that you said that you are already a Footnotes
[M]uslim convert on January 10, 1992, why in the marriage *
contract with Rowena Geraldino, you indicated there your Designated Acting Member per Special Order No. 1074 dated 6
religion as Catholic, Mr. Witness? September 2011.
**
A: Since I was a former Catholic and since I was then Designated Acting Member per Special Order No. 1066 dated
23 August 2011.
keeping, I was keeping it as a secret my being my Balik-
Islam, that’s why I placed there Catholic since I know that 1 Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
the society doesn’t approve a Catholic to marry another,
that’s why I placed there Catholic as my religion, sir. 7
Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during the
subsistence of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless
Q: How about under the column, "civil status," why did you before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior
indicate there that you’re single, Mr. Witness? spouse had been absent for four consecutive years and the

30
spouse present had a well-founded belief that the absent spouse MENDOZA, J.:
was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is
danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
provisions of Article 391 of the Civil Code, an absence of only Rules t of Court assailing the September 29, 2011 Decision 1 of
two years shall be sufficient. the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. CV No. 95414, which
affirmed the April 25, 2008Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court,
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under Imus, Cavite (RTC). declaring the marriage of Daniel Lee Fringer
the preceding paragraph, the spouse present must institute a (Fringer) and respondent Liberty Albios (A/bios) as void from the
summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the declaration beginning.
of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the
effect of reappearance of the absent spouse. The facts

8Article 180. Law applicable. The provisions of the Revised On October 22, 2004, Fringer, an American citizen, and Albios
Penal Code relative to the crime of bigamy shall not apply to a were married before Judge Ofelia I. Calo of the Metropolitan Trial
person married in accordance with the provisions of this Code or, Court, Branch59, Mandaluyong City (MeTC), as evidenced by a
before its effectivity, under Muslim law. Certificate of Marriage with Register No. 2004-1588.3

16 Exhibit "B," Records, p. 118. Also Article 2 of the Family Code On December 6, 2006, Albios filed with the RTC a petition for
of the Philippines, Executive Order No. 209 (1988). declaration of nullity 4 of her marriage with Fringer. She alleged
that immediately after their marriage, they separated and never
Art. 2. No marriage shall be valid, unless these essential lived as husband and wife because they never really had any
requisites are present: intention of entering into a married state or complying with any of
their essential marital obligations. She described their marriage
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties who must be a male as one made in jest and, therefore, null and void ab initio .
and a female; and
Summons was served on Fringer but he did not file his answer.
(2) Consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing On September 13, 2007, Albios filed a motion to set case for pre-
officer. trial and to admit her pre-trial brief. The RTC ordered the
17 Assistant Provincial Prosecutor to conduct an investigation and
Exhibit "A," Records, p. 117.
determine the existence of a collusion. On October 2, 2007, the
18 Exhibit "B," id. at 118. Assistant Prosecutor complied and reported that she could not
make a determination for failure of both parties to appear at the
19 Exhibit "C," id. at 119. scheduled investigation.
20 Id. at 195-198, 201, 206-207. Nollora presented various proofs At the pre-trial, only Albios, her counsel and the prosecutor
of his Muslim affiliation: appeared. Fringer did not attend the hearing despite being duly
notified of the schedule. After the pre-trial, hearing on the merits
Exhibit "1" and submarkings - Balik Islam Tableegh Foundation
ensued.
of the Philippines’ Membership Application Form accomplished in
handwritten form, dated 10 January 1992; Ruling of the RTC
Exhibit "2" and submarkings - Certificate of Conversion to Islam In its April 25, 2008 Decision,5 the RTC declared the marriage
dated 2 October 2004 issued by Hadji Abdul Hai Qahar void ab initio, the dispositive portion of which reads:
Madueño, President of Balik Islam Tableegh Foundation of the
Philippines; WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby
rendered declaring the marriage of Liberty Albios and Daniel Lee
Exhibit "3" and submarkings - Certificate of Conversion to Islam Fringer as void from the very beginning. As a necessary
dated 17 December 2003 issued by Abdullah M. Al-Hamid, consequence of this pronouncement, petitioner shall cease using
Director General of the Riyadh branch of the Ministry of Islamic the surname of respondent as she never acquired any right over
Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, Kingdom of Saudi it and so as to avoid a misimpression that she remains the wife of
Arabia; respondent.
Exhibits "4," "12" and "13" - Certificate of Conversion to Islam xxxx
dated 17 December 2003 issued by the Civil Registry of
Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur; and SO ORDERED.6

Exhibit "7" and submarkings – Nollora’s Pledge of Conversion The RTC was of the view that the parties married each other for
dated 10 January 1992 issued by Hadji Abdul Hai Qahar convenience only. Giving credence to the testimony of Albios, it
Madueño, President of Balik Islam Tableegh Foundation of the stated that she contracted Fringer to enter into a marriage to
Philippines. enable her to acquire American citizenship; that in consideration
thereof, she agreed to pay him the sum of $2,000.00; that after
21 Supra note 8. the ceremony, the parties went their separate ways; that Fringer
22
returned to the United States and never again communicated
TSN, 30 January 2006, pp. 11-12.
with her; and that, in turn, she did not pay him the $2,000.00
23 TSN, 29 May 2006, pp. 6, 9-10. because he never processed her petition for citizenship. The
RTC, thus, ruled that when marriage was entered into for a
24 467 Phil. 723, 744 (2004). purpose other than the establishment of a conjugal and family
life, such was a farce and should not be recognized from its
Republic of the Philippines inception.
SUPREME COURT
Manila Petitioner Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Office
of the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a motion for reconsideration.
THIRD DIVISION The RTC issued the Order, 7 dated February 5, 2009, denying
the motion for want of merit. It explained that the marriage was
G.R. No. 198780 October 16, 2013
declared void because the parties failed to freely give their
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, consent to the marriage as they had no intention to be legally
vs. bound by it and used it only as a means to acquire American
LIBERTY D. ALBIOS, Respondent. citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00.

DECISION Not in conformity, the OSG filed an appeal before the CA.

31
Ruling of the CA the United States." The focus, thus, shifted from determining the
intention to establish a life together, to determining the intention
In its assailed decision, dated September 29, 2011, the CA of evading immigration laws.16 It must be noted, however, that
affirmed the RTC ruling which found that the essential requisite of this standard is used purely for immigration purposes and,
consent was lacking. The CA stated that the parties clearly did therefore, does not purport to rule on the legal validity or
not understand the nature and consequence of getting married existence of a marriage.
and that their case was similar to a marriage in jest. It further
explained that the parties never intended to enter into the The question that then arises is whether a marriage declared as
marriage contract and never intended to live as husband and wife a sham or fraudulent for the limited purpose of immigration is
or build a family. It concluded that their purpose was primarily for also legally void and in existent. The early cases on limited
personal gain, that is, for Albios to obtain foreign citizenship, and purpose marriages in the United States made no definitive ruling.
for Fringer, the consideration of $2,000.00. In 1946, the notable case of

Hence, this petition. United States v. Rubenstein17 was promulgated, wherein in order
to allow an alien to stay in the country, the parties had agreed to
Assignment of Error marry but not to live together and to obtain a divorce within six
months. The Court, through Judge Learned Hand, ruled that a
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED ON A QUESTION OF
marriage to convert temporary into permanent permission to stay
LAWWHEN IT HELD THAT A MARRIAGE CONTRACTED FOR
in the country was not a marriage, there being no consent, to wit:
THEPURPOSE OF OBTAINING FOREIGN CITIZENSHIP WAS
DONEIN JEST, HENCE, LACKING IN THE ESSENTIAL x x x But, that aside, Spitz and Sandler were never married at all.
ELEMENT OFCONSENT.8 Mutual consent is necessary to every contract; and no matter
what forms or ceremonies the parties may go through indicating
The OSG argues that albeit the intention was for Albios to
the contrary, they do not contract if they do not in fact assent,
acquire American citizenship and for Fringer to be paid
which may always be proved. x x x Marriage is no exception to
$2,000.00, both parties freely gave their consent to the marriage,
this rule: a marriage in jest is not a marriage at all. x x x It is quite
as they knowingly and willingly entered into that marriage and
true that a marriage without subsequent consummation will be
knew the benefits and consequences of being bound by it.
valid; but if the spouses agree to a marriage only for the sake of
According to the OSG, consent should be distinguished from
representing it as such to the outside world and with the
motive, the latter being inconsequential to the validity of
understanding that they will put an end to it as soon as it has
marriage.
served its purpose to deceive, they have never really agreed to
The OSG also argues that the present case does not fall within be married at all. They must assent to enter into the relation as it
the concept of a marriage in jest. The parties here intentionally is ordinarily understood, and it is not ordinarily understood as
consented to enter into a real and valid marriage, for if it were merely a pretence, or cover, to deceive others.18
otherwise, the purpose of Albios to acquire American citizenship
(Italics supplied)
would be rendered futile.
On the other end of the spectrum is the 1969 case of Mpiliris v.
On October 29, 2012, Albios filed her Comment9 to the petition,
Hellenic Lines,19 which declared as valid a marriage entered into
reiterating her stand that her marriage was similar to a marriage
solely for the husband to gain entry to the United States, stating
by way of jest and, therefore, void from the beginning.
that a valid marriage could not be avoided "merely because the
On March 22, 2013, the OSG filed its Reply10 reiterating its marriage was entered into for a limited purpose." 20 The 1980
arguments in its petition for review on certiorari. immigration case of Matter of McKee,21 further recognized that a
fraudulent or sham marriage was intrinsically different from a non
Ruling of the Court subsisting one.
The resolution of this case hinges on this sole question of law: Is Nullifying these limited purpose marriages for lack of consent
a marriage, contracted for the sole purpose of acquiring has, therefore, been recognized as problematic. The problem
American citizenship in consideration of $2,000.00, void ab initio being that in order to obtain an immigration benefit, a legal
on the ground of lack of consent? marriage is first necessary.22 At present, United States courts
have generally denied annulments involving" limited purpose"
The Court resolves in the negative.
marriages where a couple married only to achieve a particular
Before the Court delves into its ruling, It shall first examine the purpose, and have upheld such marriages as valid. 23
phenomenon of marriage fraud for the purposes of immigration.
The Court now turns to the case at hand.
Marriage Fraud in Immigration
Respondent’s marriage not void
The institution of marriage carries with it concomitant benefits.
In declaring the respondent’s marriage void, the RTC ruled that
This has led to the development of marriage fraud for the sole
when a marriage was entered into for a purpose other than the
purpose of availing of particular benefits. In the United States,
establishment of a conjugal and family life, such was a farce and
marriages where a couple marries only to achieve a particular
should not be recognized from its inception. In its resolution
purpose or acquire specific benefits, have been referred to as
denying the OSG’s motion for reconsideration, the RTC went on
"limited purpose" marriages.11 A common limited purpose
to explain that the marriage was declared void because the
marriage is one entered into solely for the legitimization of a
parties failed to freely give their consent to the marriage as they
child.12 Another, which is the subject of the present case, is for
had no intention to be legally bound by it and used it only as a
immigration purposes. Immigration law is usually concerned with
means for the respondent to acquire American citizenship.
the intention of the couple at the time of their marriage, 13 and it
Agreeing with the RTC, the CA ruled that the essential requisite
attempts to filter out those who use marriage solely to achieve
of consent was lacking. It held that the parties clearly did not
immigration status.14
understand the nature and consequence of getting married. As in
In 1975, the seminal case of Bark v. Immigration and the Rubenstein case, the CA found the marriage to be similar to
Naturalization Service,15 established the principal test for a marriage in jest considering that the parties only entered into
determining the presence of marriage fraud in immigration cases. the marriage for the acquisition of American citizenship in
It ruled that a "marriage is a sham if the bride and groom did not exchange of $2,000.00. They never intended to enter into a
intend to establish a life together at the time they were married. marriage contract and never intended to live as husband and wife
"This standard was modified with the passage of the Immigration or build a family.
Marriage Fraud Amendment of 1986 (IMFA), which now requires
The CA’s assailed decision was, therefore, grounded on the
the couple to instead demonstrate that the marriage was not
parties’ supposed lack of consent. Under Article 2 of the Family
"entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws of

32
Code, consent is an essential requisite of marriage. Article 4 of into the realm of their right to privacy and would raise serious
the same Code provides that the absence of any essential constitutional questions.29 The right to marital privacy allows
requisite shall render a marriage void ab initio. married couples to structure their marriages in almost any way
they see fit, to live together or live apart, to have children or no
Under said Article 2, for consent to be valid, it must be (1) freely children, to love one another or not, and so on. 30 Thus, marriages
given and (2) made in the presence of a solemnizing officer. A entered into for other purposes, limited or otherwise, such as
"freely given" consent requires that the contracting parties convenience, companionship, money, status, and title, provided
willingly and deliberately enter into the marriage. Consent must that they comply with all the legal requisites, 31are equally valid.
be real in the sense that it is not vitiated nor rendered defective Love, though the ideal consideration in a marriage contract, is not
by any of the vices of consent under Articles45 and 46 of the the only valid cause for marriage. Other considerations, not
Family Code, such as fraud, force, intimidation, and undue precluded by law, may validly support a marriage.
influence.24Consent must also be conscious or intelligent, in that
the parties must be capable of intelligently understanding the Although the Court views with disdain the respondent’s attempt
nature of, and both the beneficial or unfavorable consequences to utilize marriage for dishonest purposes, It cannot declare the
of their act.25 Their understanding should not be affected by marriage void. Hence, though the respondent’s marriage may be
insanity, intoxication, drugs, or hypnotism.26 considered a sham or fraudulent for the purposes of immigration,
it is not void ab initio and continues to be valid and subsisting.
Based on the above, consent was not lacking between Albios
and Fringer. In fact, there was real consent because it was not Neither can their marriage be considered voidable on the ground
vitiated nor rendered defective by any vice of consent. Their of fraud under Article 45 (3) of the Family Code. Only the
consent was also conscious and intelligent as they understood circumstances listed under Article 46 of the same Code may
the nature and the beneficial and inconvenient consequences of constitute fraud, namely, (1) non- disclosure of a previous
their marriage, as nothing impaired their ability to do so. That conv1ctwn involving moral turpitude; (2) concealment by the wife
their consent was freely given is best evidenced by their of a pregnancy by another man; (3) concealment of a sexually
conscious purpose of acquiring American citizenship through transmitted disease; and (4) concealment of drug addiction,
marriage. Such plainly demonstrates that they willingly and alcoholism, or homosexuality. No other misrepresentation or
deliberately contracted the marriage. There was a clear intention deceit shall constitute fraud as a ground for an action to annul a
to enter into a real and valid marriage so as to fully comply with marriage. Entering into a marriage for the sole purpose of
the requirements of an application for citizenship. There was a evading immigration laws does not qualify under any of the listed
full and complete understanding of the legal tie that would be circumstances. Furthermore, under Article 47 (3), the ground of
created between them, since it was that precise legal tie which fraud may only be brought by the injured or innocent party. In the
was necessary to accomplish their goal. present case, there is no injured party because Albios and
Fringer both conspired to enter into the sham marriage.
In ruling that Albios’ marriage was void for lack of consent, the
CA characterized such as akin to a marriage by way of jest. A Albios has indeed made a mockery of the sacred institution of
marriage in jest is a pretended marriage, legal in form but marriage. Allowing her marriage with Fringer to be declared void
entered into as a joke, with no real intention of entering into the would only further trivialize this inviolable institution. The Court
actual marriage status, and with a clear understanding that the cannot declare such a marriage void in the event the parties fail
parties would not be bound. The ceremony is not followed by any to qualify for immigration benefits, after they have availed of its
conduct indicating a purpose to enter into such a relation. 27 It is a benefits, or simply have no further use for it. These unscrupulous
pretended marriage not intended to be real and with no intention individuals cannot be allowed to use the courts as instruments in
to create any legal ties whatsoever, hence, the absence of any their fraudulent schemes. Albios already misused a judicial
genuine consent. Marriages in jest are void ab initio, not for institution to enter into a marriage of convenience; she should not
vitiated, defective, or unintelligent consent, but for a complete be allowed to again abuse it to get herself out of an inconvenient
absence of consent. There is no genuine consent because the situation.
parties have absolutely no intention of being bound in any way or
for any purpose. No less than our Constitution declares that marriage, as an in
violable social institution, is the foundation of the family and shall
The respondent’s marriage is not at all analogous to a marriage be protected by the State.32 It must, therefore, be safeguarded
in jest.1âwphi1 Albios and Fringer had an undeniable intention to from the whims and caprices of the contracting parties. This
be bound in order to create the very bond necessary to allow the Court cannot leave the impression that marriage may easily be
respondent to acquire American citizenship. Only a genuine entered into when it suits the needs of the parties, and just as
consent to be married would allow them to further their objective, easily nullified when no longer needed.
considering that only a valid marriage can properly support an
application for citizenship. There was, thus, an apparent intention WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The September 29,
to enter into the actual marriage status and to create a legal tie, 2011 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 95414
albeit for a limited purpose. Genuine consent was, therefore, is ANNULLED, and Civil Case No. 1134-06 is DISMISSED for
clearly present. utter lack of merit.

The avowed purpose of marriage under Article 1 of the Family SO ORDERED.


Code is for the couple to establish a conjugal and family life. The Footnotes
possibility that the parties in a marriage might have no real
intention to establish a life together is, however, insufficient to *Designated Acting Member in lieu of Associate Justice Marvic
nullify a marriage freely entered into in accordance with law. The Mario Victor F. Leonen per Special Order No. 1570 dated
same Article 1 provides that the nature, consequences, and October 14. 2013.
incidents of marriage are governed by law and not subject to
**
stipulation. A marriage may, thus, only be declared void or Designated Acting Member in lieu of Associate Justice Roberto
voidable under the grounds provided by law. There is no law that A. Abad. Per Special Order No. 1554dated September 19, 2013.
declares a marriage void if it is entered into for purposes other 1Rollo. pp. 26-32; penned by Associate Justice Juan Q.
than what the Constitution or law declares, such as the
Enriquez. Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justice Ramon M.
acquisition of foreign citizenship. Therefore, so long as all the
Bato. Jr. and Associate Justice Fiorito S. Macalino of the Fifth
essential and formal requisites prescribed by law are present,
Division. Manila.
and it is not void or voidable under the grounds provided by law,
it shall be declared valid.28 11Abrams, Kerry. Marriage Fraud . 100 Cal. L. Rev. 1
(2012);http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2000
Motives for entering into a marriage are varied and complex. The
956. Lutwak v. United States , 344 U.S. 604, 612-613 (U.S.
State does not and cannot dictate on the kind of life that a couple
1953).
chooses to lead. Any attempt to regulate their lifestyle would go

33
12 THIRD DIVISION
Abrams, Kerry. Marriage Fraud . 100 Cal. L. Rev. 1
(2012);http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2000
956; citing Schibi v. Schibi , 69 A.2d 831 (Conn. 1949) (denying G.R. No. 183896 January 30, 2013
annulment where parties married only to give a name to a
SYED AZHAR ABBAS, Petitioner,
prospective child); Bishop v. Bishop , 308 N.Y.S.2d 998 (Sup. Ct.
vs.
1970); Erickson v. Erickson , 48 N.Y.S.2d 588 (Sup. Ct. 1944)
GLORIA GOO ABBAS, Respondent.
(holding similarly to Schibi ); Delfino v.Delfino , 35 N.Y.S.2d 693
(Sup. Ct. 1942) (denying annulment where purpose of marriage DECISION
was to protect the girl’s name and there was an understanding
that the parties would not live together as man and wife); Bove v. VELASCO, JR., J.:
Pinciotti , 46 Pa. D. & C. 159 (1942); Campbell v. Moore , 189
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the
S.E.2d 497 (S.C.1939) (refusing an annulment where parties
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the Decision1 of the
entered marriage for the purpose of legitimizing a child); Chander
Court of Appeals (CA) dated March 11, 2008 in CA-G.R. CV No.
v. Chander , No.2937-98-4, 1999 WL 1129721 (Va. Ct. App.
86760, which reversed the Decision2 in Civil Case No. 03-0382-
June 22, 1999) (denying annulment where wife married husband
CFM dated October 5, 2005 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
to get his pension with no intention to consummate marriage
Branch 109, Pasay City, and the CA Resolution dated July 24,
because husband knew that was the purpose of the marriage).
2008, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of the CA
13Abrams, Kerry. Immigration Law and the Regulation of Decision.
Marriage; 91 Minn. L. Rev. 1625
The present case stems from a petition filed by petitioner Syed
(2007);http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp-
Azhar Abbas (Syed) for the declaration of nullity of his marriage
content/uploads/2012/01/Abrams_Final.pdf; citing Immigration
to Gloria Goo-Abbas (Gloria) with the RTC of Pasay City,
and Nationality Act (INA), § 237(a)(1)(G), 8 U.S.C. §
docketed as Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM, and raffled to RTC
1227(a)(1)(G) (2000).
Branch 109. Syed alleged the absence of a marriage license, as
14 Abrams, Kerry. Immigration Law and the Regulation of provided for in Article 4, Chapter I, Title 1 of Executive Order No.
Marriage ; 91 Minn. L. Rev. 1625 269, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, as a
(2007);http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp- ground for the annulment of his marriage to Gloria.
content/uploads/2012/01/Abrams_Final.pdf; citing 132
In the Marriage Contract3 of Gloria and Syed, it is stated that
CONG.REC. 27,012, 27,015 (1986) (statement of Rep Mc
Marriage License No. 9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on
Collum) (promoting the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments
January 8, 1993, was presented to the solemnizing officer. It is
of 1986).
this information that is crucial to the resolution of this case.
15 511 F.2d 1200, 1201 (9th Cir. 1975).
At the trial court, Syed, a Pakistani citizen, testified that he met
16Abrams, Kerry. Immigration Law and the Regulation of Gloria, a Filipino citizen, in Taiwan in 1991, and they were
Marriage; 91 Minn. L. Rev. 1625 married on August 9, 1992 at the Taipei Mosque in Taiwan. 4 He
(2007);http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp- arrived in the Philippines in December of 1992. On January 9,
content/uploads/2012/01/Abrams_Final.pdf. 1993, at around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, he was at his mother-
in-law’s residence, located at 2676 F. Muñoz St., Malate, Manila,
17
151 F.2d 915 (2d Cir. 1945). when his mother-in-law arrived with two men. He testified that he
18
was told that he was going to undergo some ceremony, one of
United States v. Rubenstein , 151 F.2d 915 (2d Cir. 1945).
the requirements for his stay in the Philippines, but was not told
19
Mpiliris v. Hellenic Lines, Ltd. , 323 F. Supp. 865 (S.D. Tex. of the nature of said ceremony. During the ceremony he and
1969), aff’d , 440 F.2d 1163 (5th Cir. 1971). Gloria signed a document. He claimed that he did not know that
the ceremony was a marriage until Gloria told him later. He
20Abrams, Kerry. Marriage Fraud . 100 Cal. L. Rev. 1 further testified that he did not go to Carmona, Cavite to apply for
(2012);http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2000 a marriage license, and that he had never resided in that area. In
956; citing Mpiliris v. Hellenic Lines, Ltd. , 323 F. Supp. 865 (S.D. July of 2003, he went to the Office of the Civil Registrar of
Tex. 1969), aff’d, 440F.2d 1163 (5th Cir. 1971). Carmona, Cavite, to check on their marriage license, and was
asked to show a copy of their marriage contract wherein the
21 Matter of McKee, 17 I. & N. Dec. 332, 333 (B.I.A. 1980). marriage license number could be found. 5 The Municipal Civil
28 Registrar, Leodivinia C. Encarnacion, issued a certification on
Article 4, Family Code.
July 11, 2003 to the effect that the marriage license number
29Bark v. Immigration & Naturalization Service, 511 F.2d 1200, appearing in the marriage contract he submitted, Marriage
1201 (9th Cir. 1975). License No. 9969967, was the number of another marriage
license issued to a certain Arlindo Getalado and Myra
30
Abrams, Kerry. Immigration Law and the Regulation of Mabilangan.6 Said certification reads as follows:
Marriage; 91 Minn. L. Rev. 1625
(2007);http://www.minnesotalawreview.org/wp- 11 July 2003
content/uploads/2012/01/Abrams_Final.pdf; citing McGuire v.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
McGuire , 59 N.W.2d 336, 337 (Neb. 1953). Griswold v.
Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 485–86 (1965). This is to certify as per Registry Records of Marriage License
31 filed in this office, Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued in
Article 4, Family Code.
favor of MR. ARLINDO GETALADO and MISS MYRA
32 Const. ( 1987), Article XV, Section 2. MABILANGAN on January 19, 1993.

No Marriage License appear [sic] to have been issued to MR.


SYED AZHAR ABBAS and MISS GLORIA F. GOO on January 8,
1993.

This certification is being issued to Mr. Syed Azhar Abbas for


whatever legal purpose or intents it may serve.7

On cross-examination, Syed testified that Gloria had filed bigamy


cases against him in 2001 and 2002, and that he had gone to the
Republic of the Philippines
Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite to get certification
SUPREME COURT
on whether or not there was a marriage license on advice of his
Manila
counsel.8

34
Petitioner also presented Norberto Bagsic (Bagsic), an employee will get the marriage license for them, and after several days
of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite. Bagsic returned with an application for marriage license for them to sign,
appeared under a letter of authority from the Municipal Civil which she and Syed did. After Qualin returned with the marriage
Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, and brought documents pertaining license, they gave the license to Atty. Sanchez who gave it to
to Marriage License No. 9969967, which was issued to Arlindo Rev. Dauz, the solemnizing officer. Gloria testified that she and
Getalado and Myra Mabilangan on January 20, 1993. 9 Syed were married on January 9, 1993 at their residence. 28

Bagsic testified that their office issues serial numbers for Gloria further testified that she has a daughter with Syed, born on
marriage licenses and that the numbers are issued June 15, 1993.29
chronologically.10 He testified that the certification dated July 11,
2003, was issued and signed by Leodivina Encarnacion, Gloria also testified that she filed a bigamy case against Syed,
Registrar of the Municipality of Carmona, Cavite, certifying that who had married a certain Maria Corazon Buenaventura during
Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued for Arlindo Getalado the existence of the previous marriage, and that the case was
and Myra Mabilangan on January 19, 1993, and that their office docketed as Criminal Case No. 02A-03408, with the RTC of
had not issued any other license of the same serial number, Manila.30
namely 9969967, to any other person.11
Gloria stated that she and Syed had already been married on
For her part, Gloria testified on her own behalf, and presented August 9, 1992 in Taiwan, but that she did not know if said
Reverend Mario Dauz, Atty. Lorenzo Sanchez, Felicitas Goo and marriage had been celebrated under Muslim rites, because the
May Ann Ceriola. one who celebrated their marriage was Chinese, and those
around them at the time were Chinese.31
Reverend Mario Dauz (Rev. Dauz) testified that he was a
minister of the Gospel and a barangay captain, and that he is The Ruling of the RTC
authorized to solemnize marriages within the Philippines. 12 He
In its October 5, 2005 Decision, the Pasay City RTC held that no
testified that he solemnized the marriage of Syed Azhar Abbas
valid marriage license was issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar
and Gloria Goo at the residence of the bride on January 9,
of Carmona, Cavite in favor of Gloria and Syed, as Marriage
1993.13 He stated that the witnesses were Atty. Lorenzo Sanchez
License No. 9969967 had been issued to Arlindo Getalado and
(Atty. Sanchez) and Mary Ann Ceriola.14 He testified that he had
Myra Mabilangan, and the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona,
been solemnizing marriages since 1982, and that he is familiar
Cavite had certified that no marriage license had been issued for
with the requirements.15 Rev. Dauz further testified that Atty.
Gloria and Syed.32 It also took into account the fact that neither
Sanchez gave him the marriage license the day before the actual
party was a resident of Carmona, Cavite, the place where
wedding, and that the marriage contract was prepared by his
Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued, in violation of Article
secretary.16 After the solemnization of the marriage, it was
9 of the Family Code.33 As the marriage was not one of those
registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Manila, and Rev. Dauz
exempt from the license requirement, and that the lack of a valid
submitted the marriage contract and copy of the marriage license
marriage license is an absence of a formal requisite, the
with that office.17
marriage of Gloria and Syed on January 9, 1993 was void ab
Atty. Sanchez testified that he was asked to be the sponsor of initio.
the wedding of Syed Abbas and Gloria Goo by the mother of the
The dispositive portion of the Decision reads as follows:
bride, Felicitas Goo.18 He testified that he requested a certain
Qualin to secure the marriage license for the couple, and that this WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the
Qualin secured the license and gave the same to him on January petitioner, and against the respondent declaring as follows:
8, 1993.19 He further testified that he did not know where the
marriage license was obtained.20 He attended the wedding 1. The marriage on January 9, 1993 between petitioner Syed
ceremony on January 9, 1993, signed the marriage contract as Azhar Abbas and respondent Gloria Goo-Abbas is hereby
sponsor, and witnessed the signing of the marriage contract by annulled;
the couple, the solemnizing officer and the other witness, Mary
2. Terminating the community of property relations between the
Ann Ceriola.21
petitioner and the respondent even if no property was acquired
Felicitas Goo testified that Gloria Goo is her daughter and Syed during their cohabitation by reason of the nullity of the marriage
Azhar Abbas is her son-in-law, and that she was present at the of the parties.
wedding ceremony held on January 9, 1993 at her house. 22 She
3. The Local Civil Registrar of Manila and the Civil Registrar
testified that she sought the help of Atty. Sanchez at the Manila
General, National Statistics Office, are hereby ordered to cancel
City Hall in securing the marriage license, and that a week before
from their respective civil registries the marriage contracted by
the marriage was to take place, a male person went to their
petitioner Syed Azhar Abbas and respondent Gloria Goo-Abbas
house with the application for marriage license. 23 Three days
on January 9, 1993 in Manila.
later, the same person went back to their house, showed her the
marriage license before returning it to Atty. Sanchez who then SO ORDERED.34
gave it to Rev. Dauz, the solemnizing officer. 24 She further
testified that she did not read all of the contents of the marriage Gloria filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated November 7,
license, and that she was told that the marriage license was 2005, but the RTC denied the same, prompting her to appeal the
obtained from Carmona.25 She also testified that a bigamy case questioned decision to the Court of Appeals.
had been filed by Gloria against Syed at the Regional Trial Court
of Manila, evidenced by an information for Bigamy dated January The Ruling of the CA
10, 2003, pending before Branch 47 of the Regional Trial Court
In her appeal to the CA, Gloria submitted the following
of Manila.26
assignment of errors:
As to Mary Ann Ceriola’s testimony, the counsels for both parties
I
stipulated that: (a) she is one of the sponsors at the wedding of
Gloria Goo and Syed Abbas on January 9, 1993; (b) she was THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THE MARRIAGE
seen in the wedding photos and she could identify all the persons BETWEEN THE PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT AS NULL
depicted in said photos; and (c) her testimony corroborates that AND VOID DUE TO THE ABSENCE OF A MARRIAGE
of Felicitas Goo and Atty. Sanchez. LICENSE DESPITE EVIDENCE CLEARLY SHOWING THAT
THERE WAS ONE.
The respondent, Gloria, testified that Syed is her husband, and
presented the marriage contract bearing their signatures as II
proof.27 She and her mother sought the help of Atty. Sanchez in
securing a marriage license, and asked him to be one of the THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING, AS A
sponsors. A certain Qualin went to their house and said that he REQUISITE OF A VALID MARRIAGE, THE OVERWHELMING

35
EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT A MARRIAGE CEREMONY TOOK (2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in
PLACE WITH THE APPEARANCE OF THE CONTRACTING Chapter 2 of this Title; and
PARTIES BEFORE THE SOLEMNIZING OFFICER AND THEIR
PERSONAL DECLARATION THAT THEY TOOK EACH OTHER (3) A marriage ceremony which takes place with the appearance
AS HUSBAND AND WIFE IN THE PRESENCE OF NOT LESS of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer and their
THAN TWO WITNESSES OF LEGAL AGE. personal declaration that they take each other as husband and
wife in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age.
III
Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT RULING ON THE ISSUE shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article
OF ESTOPPEL BY LACHES ON THE PART OF THE 35(2).
PETITIONER, AN ISSUE TIMELY RAISED IN THE COURT
BELOW.35 A defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the
marriage voidable as provided in Article 45.
The CA gave credence to Gloria’s arguments, and granted her
appeal. It held that the certification of the Municipal Civil An irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity
Registrar failed to categorically state that a diligent search for the of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the
marriage license of Gloria and Syed was conducted, and thus irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.
held that said certification could not be accorded probative
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
value.36 The CA ruled that there was sufficient testimonial and
documentary evidence that Gloria and Syed had been validly xxxx
married and that there was compliance with all the requisites laid
down by law.37 (3) Those solemnized without a license, except those covered by
the preceding Chapter.
It gave weight to the fact that Syed had admitted to having signed
the marriage contract. The CA also considered that the parties There is no issue with the essential requisites under Art. 2 of the
had comported themselves as husband and wife, and that Syed Family Code, nor with the formal requisites of the authority of the
only instituted his petition after Gloria had filed a case against solemnizing officer and the conduct of the marriage ceremony.
him for bigamy.38 Nor is the marriage one that is exempt from the requirement of a
valid marriage license under Chapter 2, Title I of the Family
The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads as follows: Code. The resolution of this case, thus, hinges on whether or not
a valid marriage license had been issued for the couple. The
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is GRANTED.
RTC held that no valid marriage license had been issued. The
The Decision dated 05 October 2005 and Order dated 27
CA held that there was a valid marriage license.
January 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch
109, in Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM are REVERSED and SET We find the RTC to be correct in this instance.
ASIDE and the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage is
DISMISSED. The marriage between Shed [sic] Azhar Abbas and Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license,
Gloria Goo Abbas contracted on 09 January 1993 remains valid or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as well as
and subsisting. No costs. the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said
license. To prove that no such license was issued, Syed turned
SO ORDERED.39 to the office of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite
which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he
Syed then filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated April 1,
requested certification that no such license was issued. In the
200840 but the same was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated
case of Republic v. Court of Appeals 43 such certification was
July 24, 2008.41
allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court,
Hence, this petition. which reads:

Grounds in Support of Petition SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. – A written statement signed by
an officer having the custody of an official record or by his deputy
I that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is
found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the
SERIOUS ERROR OF LAW IN CITING REPUBLIC VS. COURT records of his office contain no such record or entry.
OF APPEALS AS THE SAME IS DIAMETRICALLY
INCONSISTENT AND CONTRARY TO THE COURT’S OWN In the case of Republic, in allowing the certification of the Civil
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS IN THIS CASE. Registrar of Pasig to prove the non-issuance of a marriage
license, the Court held:
II
The above Rule authorized the custodian of the documents to
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN certify that despite diligent search, a particular document does
REVERSING AND SETTING ASIDE, WITHOUT ANY FACTUAL not exist in his office or that a particular entry of a specified tenor
AND LEGAL BASIS, THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL was not to be found in a register. As custodians of public
TRIAL COURT GRANTING THE PETITION FOR documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the
DECLARATION OF NULLITY OF MARRIAGE.42 duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are
required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including
The Ruling of this Court
the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was
The petition is meritorious. issued and such other relevant data.44

As the marriage of Gloria and Syed was solemnized on January The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the
9, 1993, Executive Order No. 209, or the Family Code of the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to
Philippines, is the applicable law. The pertinent provisions that maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage
would apply to this particular case are Articles 3, 4 and 35(3), license.
which read as follows:
The Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the
Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are: marriage license of Gloria and Syed was allegedly issued, issued
a certification to the effect that no such marriage license for
(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer; Gloria and Syed was issued, and that the serial number of the
marriage license pertained to another couple, Arlindo Getalado
and Myra Mabilangan. A certified machine copy of Marriage

36
License No. 9969967 was presented, which was issued in irregularity in the marriage license that would not affect the
Carmona, Cavite, and indeed, the names of Gloria and Syed do validity of the marriage, as no license was presented by the
not appear in the document. respondent. No marriage license was proven to have been
issued to Gloria and Syed, based on the certification of the
In reversing the RTC, the CA focused on the wording of the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite and Gloria’s failure
certification, stating that it did not comply with Section 28, Rule to produce a copy of the alleged marriage license.
132 of the Rules of Court.
To bolster its ruling, the CA cited other evidence to support its
The CA deduced that from the absence of the words "despite conclusion that Gloria and Syed were validly married. To quote
diligent search" in the certification, and since the certification the CA:
used stated that no marriage license appears to have been
issued, no diligent search had been conducted and thus the Moreover, the record is replete with evidence, testimonial and
certification could not be given probative value. documentary, that appellant and appellee have been validly
married and there was compliance with all the requisites laid
To justify that deduction, the CA cited the case of Republic v. down by law. Both parties are legally capacitated to marry. A
Court of Appeals.45 It is worth noting that in that particular case, certificate of legal capacity was even issued by the Embassy of
the Court, in sustaining the finding of the lower court that a Pakistan in favor of appellee. The parties herein gave their
marriage license was lacking, relied on the Certification issued by consent freely. Appellee admitted that the signature above his
the Civil Registrar of Pasig, which merely stated that the alleged name in the marriage contract was his. Several pictures were
marriage license could not be located as the same did not appear presented showing appellant and appellee, before the
in their records. Nowhere in the Certification was it categorically solemnizing officer, the witnesses and other members of
stated that the officer involved conducted a diligent search, nor is appellant’s family, taken during the marriage ceremony, as well
a categorical declaration absolutely necessary for Sec. 28, Rule as in the restaurant where the lunch was held after the marriage
132 of the Rules of Court to apply. ceremony. Most telling of all is Exhibit "5-C" which shows
appellee signing the Marriage Contract.
Under Sec. 3(m), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is a
disputable presumption that an official duty has been regularly xxxx
performed, absent contradiction or other evidence to the
contrary. We held, "The presumption of regularity of official acts The parties have comported themselves as husband and wife
may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure and has [sic] one offspring, Aliea Fatima Goo Abbas, who was
to perform a duty."46 No such affirmative evidence was shown born on 15 June 1993. It took appellee more than ten (10) years
that the Municipal Civil Registrar was lax in performing her duty before he filed on 01 August 2003 his Petition for Declaration of
of checking the records of their office, thus the presumption must Nullity of Marriage under Article 4 of the Family Code. We take
stand. In fact, proof does exist of a diligent search having been serious note that said Petition appears to have been instituted by
conducted, as Marriage License No. 996967 was indeed located him only after an Information for Bigamy (Exhibit "1") dated 10
and submitted to the court. The fact that the names in said January 2003 was filed against him for contracting a second or
license do not correspond to those of Gloria and Syed does not subsequent marriage with one Ma. Corazon (Maryam) T.
overturn the presumption that the registrar conducted a diligent Buenaventura. We are not ready to reward (appellee) by
search of the records of her office. declaring the nullity of his marriage and give him his freedom and
in the process allow him to profit from his own deceit and
It is telling that Gloria failed to present their marriage license or a perfidy.50
copy thereof to the court. She failed to explain why the marriage
license was secured in Carmona, Cavite, a location where, All the evidence cited by the CA to show that a wedding
admittedly, neither party resided. She took no pains to apply for ceremony was conducted and a marriage contract was signed
the license, so she is not the best witness to testify to the validity does not operate to cure the absence of a valid marriage license.
and existence of said license. Neither could the other witnesses Article 4 of the Family Code is clear when it says, "The absence
she presented prove the existence of the marriage license, as of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the
none of them applied for the license in Carmona, Cavite. Her marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2)." Article
mother, Felicitas Goo, could not even testify as to the contents of 35(3) of the Family Code also provides that a marriage
the license, having admitted to not reading all of its contents. solemnized without a license is void from the beginning, except
Atty. Sanchez, one of the sponsors, whom Gloria and Felicitas those exempt from the license requirement under Articles 27 to
Goo approached for assistance in securing the license, admitted 34, Chapter 2, Title I of the same Code.51 Again, this marriage
not knowing where the license came from. The task of applying cannot be characterized as among the exemptions, and thus,
for the license was delegated to a certain Qualin, who could have having been solemnized without a marriage license, is void ab
testified as to how the license was secured and thus impeached initio.1âwphi1
the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar as well as the
testimony of her representative. As Gloria failed to present this As to the motive of Syed in seeking to annul his marriage to
Qualin, the certification of the Municipal Civil Registrar still enjoys Gloria, it may well be that his motives are less than pure, that he
probative value. seeks to evade a bigamy suit. Be that as it may, the same does
not make up for the failure of the respondent to prove that they
It is also noted that the solemnizing officer testified that the had a valid marriage license, given the weight of evidence
marriage contract and a copy of the marriage license were presented by petitioner. The lack of a valid marriage license
submitted to the Local Civil Registrar of Manila. Thus, a copy of cannot be attributed to him, as it was Gloria who took steps to
the marriage license could have simply been secured from that procure the same. The law must be applied. As the marriage
office and submitted to the court. However, Gloria inexplicably license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of
failed to do so, further weakening her claim that there was a valid Gloria and Syed is void ab initio.
marriage license issued for her and Syed.
WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, the petition is hereby
In the case of Cariño v. Cariño,47 following the case of GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated March 11, 2008 and
Republic,48 it was held that the certification of the Local Civil Resolution dated July 24, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-
Registrar that their office had no record of a marriage license was G.R. CV No. 86760 are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
adequate to prove the non-issuance of said license. The case of The Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 109, Pasay City
Cariño further held that the presumed validity of the marriage of dated October 5, 2005 in Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM annulling
the parties had been overcome, and that it became the burden of the marriage of petitioner with respondent on January 9, 1993 is
the party alleging a valid marriage to prove that the marriage was hereby REINSTATED.
valid, and that the required marriage license had been
secured.49 Gloria has failed to discharge that burden, and the No costs.
only conclusion that can be reached is that no valid marriage
SO ORDERED.
license was issued. It cannot be said that there was a simple

37
Before the Court is a petition for review1 assailing the 17 August
2011 Decision2 and the 14 March 2012 Resolution3 of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 94226.
Footnotes The Antecedent Facts
33Article 9. A Marriage License shall be issued by the Local Civil On 15 March 2004, Benjamin Bangayan, Jr. (Benjamin) filed a
Registrar of the city or municipality where either contracting party petition for declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or
habitually resides, except in marriages where no license is declaration of nullity of marriage before the Regional Trial Court
required in accordance with Chapter 2 of this Title. of Manila, Branch 43 (trial court). The case was docketed as Civil
51 Case No. 04109401. Benjamin alleged that on 10 September
Art. 27. In case either or both of the contracting parties are at
1973, he married Azucena Alegre (Azucena) in Caloocan City.
the point of death, the marriage may be solemnized without
They had three children, namely, Rizalyn, Emmamylin, and
necessity of a marriage license and shall remain valid even if the
Benjamin III.
ailing party subsequently survives.
In 1979, Benjamin developed a romantic relationship with Sally
Art. 28. If the residence of either party is so located that there is
GoBangayan (Sally) who was a customer in the auto parts and
no means of transportation to enable such party to appear
supplies business owned by Benjamin’s family. In December
personally before the local civil registrar, the marriage may be
1981, Azucena left for the United States of America. In February
solemnized without necessity of a marriage license.
1982, Benjamin and Sally lived together as husband and wife.
Art. 29. In the cases provided for in the two preceding articles, Sally’s father was against the relationship. On 7 March 1982, in
the solemnizing officer shall state in an affidavit executed before order to appease her father, Sally brought Benjamin to an office
the local civil registrar or any other person legally authorized to in Santolan, Pasig City where they signed a purported marriage
administer oaths that the marriage was performed in articulo contract. Sally, knowing Benjamin’s marital status, assured him
mortis or that the residence of either party, specifying the barrio that the marriage contract would not be registered.
or barangay, is so located that there is no means of
Benjamin and Sally’s cohabitation produced two children, Bernice
transportation to enable such party to appear personally before
and Bentley. During the period of their cohabitation, they
the local civil registrar and that the officer took the necessary
acquired the following real properties:
steps to ascertain the ages and relationship of the contracting
parties and the absence of legal impediment to the marriage. (1) property under Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 61722
registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as spouses;
Art. 30. The original of the affidavit required in the last preceding
article, together with a legible copy of the marriage contract, shall (2) properties under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860 registered in
be sent by the person solemnizing the marriage to the local civil the name of Benjamin, married to Sally;
registrar of the municipality where it was performed within the
period of thirty days after the performance of the marriage. (3) properties under Condominium Certificate of Title (CCT) Nos.
8782 and 8783 registered in the name of Sally, married to
Art. 31. A marriage in articulo mortis between passengers or Benjamin; and
crew members may also be solemnized by a ship captain or by
an airplane pilot not only while the ship is at sea or the plane is in (4) properties under TCT Nos. N-193656 and 253681 registered
flight, but also during stopovers at ports of call. in the name of Sally as a single individual.

Art. 32. A military commander of a unit, who is a commissioned The relationship of Benjamin and Sally ended in 1994 when Sally
officer, shall likewise have authority to solemnize marriages in left for Canada, bringing Bernice and Bentley with her. She then
articulo mortis between persons within the zone of military filed criminal actions for bigamy and falsification of public
operation, whether members of the armed forces or civilians. documents against Benjamin, using their simulated marriage
contract as evidence. Benjamin, in turn, filed a petition for
Art. 33. Marriage among Muslims or among members of the declaration of a non-existent marriage and/or declaration of
ethnic cultural communities may be performed validly without the nullity of marriage before the trial court on the ground that his
necessity of marriage licenses, provided they arc solemnized in marriage to Sally was bigamous and that it lacked the formal
accordance with their customs, rites or practices. requisites to a valid marriage. Benjamin also asked the trial court
for the partition of the properties he acquired with Sally in
Art. 34. No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man
accordance with Article 148 of the Family Code, for his
and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at
appointment as administrator of the properties during the
least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each
pendency of the case, and for the declaration of Bernice and
other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an
Bentley as illegitimate children. A total of 44 registered properties
affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.
became the subject of the partition before the trial court. Aside
The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he
from the seven properties enumerated by Benjamin in his
ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found
petition, Sally named 37 properties in her answer.
no legal impediment to the marriage.
After Benjamin presented his evidence, Sally filed a demurrer to
evidence which the trial court denied. Sally filed a motion for
Republic of the Philippines reconsideration which the trial court also denied. Sally filed a
SUPREME COURT petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals and asked for
Manila the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or injunction
which the Court of Appeals never issued. Sally then refused to
SECOND DIVISION present any evidence before the trial court citing the pendency of
her petition before the Court of Appeals. The trial court gave
G.R. No. 201061 July 3, 2013
Sally several opportunities to present her evidence on 28
SALLY GO-BANGAYAN, Petitioner, February 2008, 10 July 2008, 4 September 2008, 11 September
vs. 2008, 2 October 2008, 23 October 2008, and 28 November 2008.
BENJAMIN BANGAYAN, JR., Respondent. Despite repeated warnings from the trial court, Sally still refused
to present her evidence, prompting the trial court to consider the
DECISION case submitted for decision.

CARPIO, J.: The Decision of the Trial Court

The Case In a Decision4 dated 26 March 2009, the trial court ruled in favor
ofBenjamin. The trial court gave weight to the certification dated

38
21 July 2004 from the Pasig Local Civil Registrar, which was Respondent is ordered to submit an accounting of her collections
confirmed during trial, that only Marriage License Series Nos. of income from these five (5) properties within thirty (30) days
6648100 to 6648150 were issued for the month of February 1982 from notice hereof. Except for lot under TCT No. 61722,
and the purported Marriage License No. N-07568 was not issued respondent is further directed within thirty (30) days from notice
to Benjamin and Sally.5 The trial court ruled that the marriage hereof to turn over and surrender control and possession of
was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the National these properties including the documents of title to the petitioner.
Statistics Office because it could not be registered due to
Benjamin’s subsisting marriage with Azucena. On the properties under TCT Nos. N-193656 and N-253681,
these properties are under co-ownership of the parties shared by
The trial court ruled that the marriage between Benjamin and them equally. However, the share of respondent is declared
Sally was not bigamous. The trial court ruled that the second FORFEITED in favor of Bernice Go Bangayan and Bentley Go
marriage was void not because of the existence of the first Bangayan. The share of the petitioner shall belong to his
marriage but because of other causes, particularly, the lack of a conjugal ownership with Azucena Alegre. The liquidation,
marriage license. Hence, bigamy was not committed in this case. partition and distribution of these two (2) properties shall be
The trial court did not rule on the issue of the legitimacy status of further processed pursuant to Section 21 of A.M. No. 02-11-10 of
Bernice and Bentley because they were not parties to the case. March 15, 2003.
The trial court denied Sally’s claim for spousal support because
she was not married to Benjamin. The trial court likewise denied Other properties shall be adjudicated in a later proceeding
support for Bernice and Bentley who were both of legal age and pursuant to Section 21 of A.M. No. 02-11-10.
did not ask for support.
Respondent’s claim of spousal support, children support and
On the issue of partition, the trial court ruled that Sally could not counterclaims are DISMISSED for lack of merit. Further, no
claim the 37 properties she named in her answer as part of her declaration of the status of the parties’ children.
conjugal properties with Benjamin. The trial court ruled that Sally
No other relief granted.
was not legally married to Benjamin. Further, the 37 properties
that Sally was claiming were owned by Benjamin’s parents who Furnish copy of this decision to the parties, their counsels, the
gave the properties to their children, including Benjamin, as Trial Prosecutor, the Solicitor General and the Registry of Deeds
advance inheritance. The 37 titles were in the names of Benjamin in Manila, Quezon City and Caloocan.
and his brothers and the phrase "married to Sally Go" was
merely descriptive of Benjamin’s civil status in the title. As SO ORDERED.6
regards the two lots under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860, the trial
Sally filed a Verified and Vigorous Motion for Inhibition with
court found that they were bought by Benjamin using his own
Motion for Reconsideration. In its Order dated 27 August
money and that Sally failed to prove any actual contribution of
2009,7 the trial court denied the motion. Sally appealed the trial
money, property or industry in their purchase. The trial court
court’s decision before the Court of Appeals.
found that Sally was a registered co-owner of the lots covered by
TCT Nos. 61722, N-193656, and 253681 as well as the two The Decision of the Court of Appeals
condominium units under CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783. However,
the trial court ruled that the lot under TCT No. 61722 and the two In its 17 August 2011 Decision, the Court of Appeals partly
condominium units were purchased from the earnings of granted the appeal. The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court
Benjamin alone. The trial court ruled that the properties under did not err in submitting the case for decision. The Court of
TCT Nos. 61722, 61720, and 190860 and CCT Nos. 8782 and Appeals noted that there were six resettings of the case, all made
8783 were part of the conjugal partnership of Benjamin and at the instance of Sally, for the initial reception of evidence, and
Azucena, without prejudice to Benjamin’s right to dispute his Sally was duly warned to present her evidence on the next
conjugal state with Azucena in a separate proceeding. hearing or the case would be deemed submitted for decision.
However, despite the warning, Sally still failed to present her
The trial court further ruled that Sally acted in bad faith because evidence. She insisted on presenting Benjamin who was not
she knew that Benjamin was married to Azucena. Applying around and was not subpoenaed despite the presence of her
Article 148 of the Family Code, the trial court forfeited Sally’s other witnesses.
share in the properties covered under TCT Nos. N-193656 and
253681 in favor of Bernice and Bentley while Benjamin’s share The Court of Appeals rejected Sally’s allegation that Benjamin
reverted to his conjugal ownership with Azucena. failed to prove his action for declaration of nullity of marriage. The
Court of Appeals ruled that Benjamin’s action was based on his
The dispositive portion of the trial court’s decision reads: prior marriage to Azucena and there was no evidence that the
marriage was annulled or dissolved before Benjamin contracted
ACCORDINGLY, the marriage of BENJAMIN BANGAYAN, JR.
the second marriage with Sally. The Court of Appeals ruled that
and SALLY S. GO on March 7, 1982 at Santolan, Pasig, Metro
the trial court committed no error in declaring Benjamin’s
Manila is hereby declared NULL and VOID AB INITIO. It is
marriage to Sally null and void.
further declared NONEXISTENT.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the property relations of
Respondent’s claim as co-owner or conjugal owner of the
Benjamin and Sally was governed by Article 148 of the Family
thirtyseven (37) properties under TCT Nos. 17722, 17723,
Code. The Court of Appeals ruled that only the properties
17724, 17725, 126397, RT-73480, and RT-86821; in Manila,
acquired by the parties through their actual joint contribution of
TCT Nos. 188949, 188950, 188951, 193035, 194620, 194621,
money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common
194622, 194623, 194624, 194625, 194626, 194627, 194628,
in proportion to their respective contribution. The Court of
194629, 194630, 194631, 194632, 194633, 194634, 194635,
Appeals ruled that the 37 properties being claimed by Sally
194636, 194637, 194638, 194639, 198651, 206209, 206210,
rightfully belong to Benjamin and his siblings.
206211, 206213 and 206215 is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
registered owners, namely: Benjamin B. Bangayan, Jr., Roberto As regards the seven properties claimed by both parties, the
E. Bangayan, Ricardo B. Bangayan and Rodrigo B. Bangayan Court of Appeals ruled that only the properties under TCT Nos.
are the owners to the exclusion of "Sally Go" Consequently, the 61720 and 190860 registered in the name of Benjamin belong to
Registry of Deeds for Quezon City and Manila are directed to him exclusively because he was able to establish that they were
delete the words "married to Sally Go" from these thirty-seven acquired by him solely. The Court of
(37) titles.
Appeals found that the properties under TCT Nos. N-193656 and
Properties under TCT Nos. 61722, 61720 and 190860, CCT Nos. 253681 and under CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 were exclusive
8782 and 8783 are properties acquired from petitioner’s money properties of Sally in the absence of proof of Benjamin’s actual
without contribution from respondent, hence, these are properties contribution in their purchase. The Court of Appeals ruled that the
of the petitioner and his lawful wife. Consequently, petitioner is property under TCT No. 61722 registered in the names of
appointed the administrator of these five (5) properties.

39
Benjamin and Sally shall be owned by them in common, to be were at her instance and she was warned by the trial court that it
shared equally. However, the share of Benjamin shall accrue to would submit the case for decision should she still fail to present
the conjugal partnership under his existing marriage with her evidence on 28 November 2008.
Azucena while Sally’s share shall accrue to her in the absence of
a clear and convincing proof of bad faith. We agree with the trial court that by her continued refusal to
present her evidence, she was deemed to have waived her right
Finally, the Court of Appeals ruled that Sally failed to present to present them. As pointed out by the Court of Appeals, Sally’s
clear and convincing evidence that would show bias and continued failure to present her evidence despite the
prejudice on the part of the trial judge that would justify his opportunities given by the trial court showed her lack of interest
inhibition from the case. to proceed with the case. Further, it was clear that Sally was
delaying the case because she was waiting for the decision of
The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals’ decision reads: the Court of Appeals on her petition questioning the trial court’s
denial of her demurrer to evidence, despite the fact that the Court
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is
of Appeals did not issue any temporary restraining order as Sally
PARTLY GRANTED. The assailed Decision and Order dated
prayed for. Sally could not accuse the trial court of failing to
March 26, 2009 and August 27, 2009, respectively, of the
protect marriage as an inviolable institution because the trial
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 43, in Civil Case No. 04-
court also has the duty to ensure that trial proceeds despite the
109401 are hereby AFFIRMED with modification declaring TCT
deliberate delay and refusal to proceed by one of the parties.10
Nos. 61720 and 190860 to be exclusively owned by the
petitioner-appellee while the properties under TCT Nos. N- Validity of the Marriage between Benjamin and Sally
193656 and 253681 as well as CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783 shall be
solely owned by the respondent-appellant. On the other hand, Sally alleges that both the trial court and the Court of Appeals
TCT No. 61722 shall be owned by them and common and to be recognized her marriage to Benjamin because a marriage could
shared equally but the share of the petitioner-appellee shall not be nonexistent and, at the same time, null and void ab initio.
accrue to the conjugal partnership under his first marriage while Sally further alleges that if she were allowed to present her
the share of respondent-appellant shall accrue to her. The rest of evidence, she would have proven her marriage to Benjamin. To
the decision stands. prove her marriage to Benjamin, Sally asked this Court to
consider that in acquiring real properties, Benjamin listed her as
SO ORDERED.8 his wife by declaring he was "married to" her; that Benjamin was
the informant in their children’s birth certificates where he stated
Sally moved for the reconsideration of the Court of Appeals’
that he was their father; and that Benjamin introduced her to his
decision. In its 14 March 2012 Resolution, the Court of Appeals
family and friends as his wife. In contrast, Sally claims that there
denied her motion.
was no real property registered in the names of Benjamin and
Hence, the petition before this Court. Azucena. Sally further alleges that Benjamin was not the
informant in the birth certificates of his children with Azucena.
The Issues
First, Benjamin’s marriage to Azucena on 10 September 1973
Sally raised the following issues before this Court: was duly established before the trial court, evidenced by a
certified true copy of their marriage contract. At the time
(1) Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in
Benjamin and Sally entered into a purported marriage on 7
affirming the trial court’s ruling that Sally had waived her right to
March 1982, the marriage between Benjamin and Azucena was
present evidence;
valid and subsisting.
(2) Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in
On the purported marriage of Benjamin and Sally, Teresita
affirming the trial court’s decision declaring the marriage between
Oliveros (Oliveros), Registration Officer II of the Local Civil
Benjamin and Sally null and void ab initio and non-existent; and
Registrar of Pasig City, testified that there was no valid marriage
(3) Whether the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in license issued to Benjamin and Sally. Oliveros confirmed that
affirming with modification the trial court’s decision regarding the only Marriage Licence Nos. 6648100 to 6648150 were issued for
property relations of Benjamin and Sally. the month of February 1982. Marriage License No. N-07568 did
not match the series issued for the month. Oliveros further
The Ruling of this Court testified that the local civil registrar of Pasig City did not issue
Marriage License No. N-07568 to Benjamin and Sally. The
The petition has no merit. certification from the local civil registrar is adequate to prove the
non-issuance of a marriage license and absent any suspicious
Waiver of Right to Present Evidence
circumstance, the certification enjoys probative value, being
Sally alleges that the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial issued by the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all
court’s ruling that she waived her right to present her evidence. data relative to the issuance of a marriage license.11 Clearly, if
Sally alleges that in not allowing her to present evidence that she indeed Benjamin and Sally entered into a marriage contract, the
and Benjamin were married, the trial court abandoned its duty to marriage was void from the beginning for lack of a marriage
protect marriage as an inviolable institution. license.12

It is well-settled that a grant of a motion for continuance or It was also established before the trial court that the purported
postponement is not a matter of right but is addressed to the marriage between Benjamin and Sally was not recorded with the
discretion of the trial court.9 In this case, Sally’s presentation of local civil registrar and the National Statistics Office. The lack of
evidence was scheduled on28 February 2008. Thereafter, there record was certified by Julieta B. Javier, Registration Officer IV of
were six resettings of the case: on 10 July 2008, 4 and 11 the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of the Municipality of
September 2008, 2 and 28 October 2008, and 28 November Pasig;13 Teresita R. Ignacio, Chief of the Archives Division of the
2008. They were all made at Sally’s instance. Before the Records Management and Archives Office, National Commission
scheduled hearing of 28 November 2008, the trial court warned for Culture and the Arts;14 and Lourdes J. Hufana, Director III,
Sally that in case she still failed to present her evidence, the case Civil Registration Department of the National Statistics
would be submitted for decision. On the date of the scheduled Office.15 The documentary and testimonial evidence proved that
hearing, despite the presence of other available witnesses, Sally there was no marriage between Benjamin and Sally. As pointed
insisted on presenting Benjamin who was not even subpoenaed out by the trial court, the marriage between Benjamin and Sally
on that day. Sally’s counsel insisted that the trial court could not "was made only in jest"16 and "a simulated marriage, at the
dictate on the priority of witnesses to be presented, disregarding instance of Sally, intended to cover her up from expected social
the trial court’s prior warning due to the numerous resettings of humiliation coming from relatives, friends and the society
the case. Sally could not complain that she had been deprived of especially from her parents seen as Chinese conservatives." 17 In
her right to present her evidence because all the postponements short, it was a fictitious marriage.

40
The fact that Benjamin was the informant in the birth certificates their actual joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall
of Bernice and Bentley was not a proof of the marriage between be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective
Benjamin and Sally. This Court notes that Benjamin was the contributions. In the absence of proof to the contrary, their
informant in Bernice’s birth certificate which stated that Benjamin contributions and corresponding shares are presumed to be
and Sally were married on 8 March 1982 18 while Sally was the equal. The same rule and presumption shall apply to joint
informant in Bentley’s birth certificate which also stated that deposits of money and evidences of credit.
Benjamin and Sally were married on 8 March 1982. 19 Benjamin
and Sally were supposedly married on 7 March 1982 which did If one of the parties is validly married to another, his or her share
not match the dates reflected on the birth certificates. in the co-ownership shall accrue to the absolute community of
conjugal partnership existing in such valid marriage. If the party
We see no inconsistency in finding the marriage between who acted in bad faith is not validly married to another, his or her
Benjamin and Sally null and void ab initio and, at the same time, share shall be forfeited in the manner provided in the last
non-existent. Under Article 35 of the Family Code, a marriage paragraph of the preceding Article.
solemnized without a license, except those covered by Article 34
where no license is necessary, "shall be void from the The foregoing rules on forfeiture shall likewise apply even if both
beginning." In this case, the marriage between Benjamin and parties are in bad faith.
Sally was solemnized without a license. It was duly established
Benjamin and Sally cohabitated without the benefit of marriage.
that no marriage license was issued to them and that Marriage
Thus, only the properties acquired by them through their actual
License No. N-07568 did not match the marriage license
joint contribution of money, property, or industry shall be owned
numbers issued by the local civil registrar of Pasig City for the
by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions.
month of February 1982. The case clearly falls under Section 3 of
Thus, both the trial court and the Court of Appeals correctly
Article 3520 which made their marriage void ab initio. The
excluded the 37 properties being claimed by Sally which were
marriage between Benjamin and Sally was also non-existent.
given by Benjamin’s father to his children as advance
Applying the general rules on void or inexistent contracts under
inheritance. Sally’s Answer to the petition before the trial court
Article 1409 of the Civil Code, contracts which are absolutely
even admitted that "Benjamin’s late father himself conveyed a
simulated or fictitious are "inexistent and void from the
number of properties to his children and their respective spouses
beginning."21 Thus, the Court of Appeals did not err in sustaining
which included Sally x x x."25
the trial court’s ruling that the marriage between Benjamin and
Sally was null and void ab initio and non-existent. As regards the seven remaining properties, we rule that the
decision of the Court of Appeals is more in accord with the
Except for the modification in the distribution of properties, the
evidence on record. Only the property covered by TCT No.
Court of Appeals affirmed in all aspects the trial court’s decision
61722 was registered in the names of Benjamin and Sally as
and ruled that "the rest of the decision stands."22 While the Court
spouses.26 The properties under TCT Nos. 61720 and 190860
of Appeals did notdiscuss bigamous marriages, it can be gleaned
were in the name of Benjamin27 with the descriptive title "married
from the dispositive portion of the decision declaring that "the rest
to Sally." The property covered by CCT Nos. 8782 and 8783
of the decision stands" that the Court of Appeals adopted the trial
were registered in the name of Sally28 with the descriptive title
court’s discussion that the marriage between Benjamin and Sally
"married to Benjamin" while the properties under TCT Nos. N-
is not bigamous.1âwphi1 The trial court stated:
193656 and 253681 were registered in the name of Sally as a
On whether or not the parties’ marriage is bigamous under the single individual. We have ruled that the words "married to"
concept of Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code, the marriage is preceding the name of a spouse are merely descriptive of the
not bigamous. It is required that the first or former marriage shall civil status of the registered owner.29 Such words do not prove
not be null and void. The marriage of the petitioner to Azucena co-ownership. Without proof of actual contribution from either or
shall be assumed as the one that is valid, there being no both spouses, there can be no co-ownership under Article 148 of
evidence to the contrary and there is no trace of invalidity or the Family Code.30
irregularity on the face of their marriage contract. However, if the
Inhibition of the Trial Judge
second marriage was void not because of the existence of the
first marriage but for other causes such as lack of license, the Sally questions the refusal of Judge Roy G. Gironella (Judge
crime of bigamy was not committed. In People v. De Lara [CA, 51 Gironella) to inhibit himself from hearing the case. She cited the
O.G., 4079], it was held that what was committed was contracting failure of Judge Gironella to accommodate her in presenting her
marriage against the provisions of laws not under Article 349 but evidence. She further alleged that Judge Gironella practically
Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code. Concluding, the marriage labeled her as an opportunist in his decision, showing his
of the parties is therefore not bigamous because there was no partiality against her and in favor of Benjamin.
marriage license. The daring and repeated stand of respondent
that she is legally married to petitioner cannot, in any instance, We have ruled that the issue of voluntary inhibition is primarily a
be sustained. Assuming that her marriage to petitioner has the matter of conscience and sound discretion on the part of the
marriage license, yet the same would be bigamous, civilly or judge.31 To justify the call for inhibition, there must be extrinsic
criminally as it would be invalidated by a prior existing valid evidence to establish bias, bad faith, malice, or corrupt purpose,
marriage of petitioner and Azucena.23 in addition to palpable error which may be inferred from the
decision or order itself.32In this case, we have sufficiently
For bigamy to exist, the second or subsequent marriage must explained that Judge Gironella did not err in submitting the case
have all the essential requisites for validity except for the for decision because of Sally’s continued refusal to present her
existence of a prior marriage.24 In this case, there was really no evidence.
subsequent marriage. Benjamin and Sally just signed a purported
marriage contract without a marriage license. The supposed We reviewed the decision of the trial court and while Judge
marriage was not recorded with the local civil registrar and the Gironella may have used uncomplimentary words in writing the
National Statistics Office. In short, the marriage between decision, they are not enough to prove his prejudice against Sally
Benjamin and Sally did not exist. They lived together and or show that he acted in bad faith in deciding the case that would
represented themselves as husband and wife without the benefit justify the call for his voluntary inhibition.
of marriage.
WHEREFORE, we AFFIRM the 17 August 2011 Decision and
Property Relations Between Benjamin and Sally the 14 March 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 94226.
The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that the property relations of
Benjamin and Sally is governed by Article 148 of the Family SO ORDERED.
Code which states:

Art. 148. In cases of cohabitation not falling under the preceding


Footnotes
Article, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through

41
* Designated additional member per Raffle dated 8 October Rederick A. Recio, a Filipino, was married to Editha Samson, an
2012. Australian citizen, in Malabon, Rizal, on March 1, 1987. [4] They
lived together as husband and wife in Australia. On May 18,
1 Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. 1989, [5] a decree of divorce, purportedly dissolving the marriage,
2 was issued by an Australian family court.
Rollo, pp. 29-40. Penned by Associate Justice (now Supreme
Court Associate Justice) Estela M. PerlasBernabe with Associate On June 26, 1992, respondent became an Australian citizen, as
Justices Bienvenido L. Reyes (now also a Supreme Court shown by a Certificate of Australian Citizenship issued by the
Associate Justice) and Samuel H. Gaerlan, concurring. Australian government.[6] Petitioner -- a Filipina -- and respondent
12 were married on January 12, 1994 in Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Article 35 of the Family Code states:
Church in Cabanatuan City.[7] In their application for a marriage
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning: license, respondent was declared as single and Filipino.[8]

(1) Those contracted by any party below eighteen years of age Starting October 22, 1995, petitioner and respondent lived
even with the consent of parents or guardians; separately without prior judicial dissolution of their
marriage. While the two were still in Australia, their conjugal
(2) Those solemnized by any person not legally authorized to assets were divided on May 16, 1996, in accordance with their
perform marriages unless such marriages were contracted with Statutory Declarations secured in Australia.[9]
either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing
officer had the legal authority to do so; On March 3, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint for Declaration of
Nullity of Marriage[10] in the court a quo, on the ground of bigamy
(3) Those solemnized without a license, except those covered by -- respondent allegedly had a prior subsisting marriage at the
the preceding Chapter; time he married her on January 12, 1994. She claimed that she
learned of respondents marriage to Editha Samson only in
(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under November, 1997.
Article 41;
In his Answer, respondent averred that, as far back as 1993, he
(5) Those contracted through mistake of one contracting party as
had revealed to petitioner his prior marriage and its subsequent
to the identity of the other; and
dissolution.[11] He contended that his first marriage to an
(6) Those subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53. Australian citizen had been validly dissolved by a divorce decree
obtained in Australia in 1989;[12] thus, he was legally capacitated
21 to marry petitioner in 1994.
Article 1409. The following contracts are inexistent and void
from the beginning:
On July 7, 1998 -- or about five years after the couples wedding
xxxx and while the suit for the declaration of nullity was pending --
respondent was able to secure a divorce decree from a family
(2) Those which are absolutely simulated or fictitious; court in Sydney, Australia because the marriage ha[d]
irretrievably broken down.[13]
xxxx
Respondent prayed in his Answer that the Complaint be
dismissed on the ground that it stated no cause of action. [14] The
Article 21 Office of the Solicitor General agreed with respondent. [15]The
court marked and admitted the documentary evidence of both
THIRD DIVISION parties.[16] After they submitted their respective memoranda, the
case was submitted for resolution.[17]
[G.R. No. 138322. October 2, 2001]
Thereafter, the trial court rendered the assailed Decision and
GRACE J. GARCIA, a.k.a. GRACE J. GARCIA-
Order.
RECIO, petitioner, vs. REDERICK A. RECIO, respondent.
Ruling of the Trial Court
DECISION
The trial court declared the marriage dissolved on the ground that
PANGANIBAN, J.:
the divorce issued in Australia was valid and recognized in the
A divorce obtained abroad by an alien may be recognized in our Philippines. It deemed the marriage ended, but not on the basis
jurisdiction, provided such decree is valid according to the of any defect in an essential element of the marriage; that
national law of the foreigner. However, the divorce decree and is, respondents alleged lack of legal capacity to remarry. Rather,
the governing personal law of the alien spouse who obtained the it based its Decision on the divorce decree obtained by
divorce must be proven. Our courts do not take judicial notice of respondent. The Australian divorce had ended the marriage;
foreign laws and judgments; hence, like any other facts, both the thus, there was no more marital union to nullify or annul.
divorce decree and the national law of the alien must be alleged Hence, this Petition.[18]
and proven according to our law on evidence.
Issues
The Case
Petitioner submits the following issues for our consideration:
Before us is a Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court, seeking to nullify the January 7, 1999 Decision [1] and the 1
March 24, 1999 Order[2] of the Regional Trial Court of
Cabanatuan City, Branch 28, in Civil Case No. 3026AF. The The trial court gravely erred in finding that the divorce decree
assailed Decision disposed as follows: obtained in Australia by the respondent ipso facto terminated his
first marriage to Editha Samson thereby capacitating him to
WHEREFORE, this Court declares the marriage between Grace contract a second marriage with the petitioner.
J. Garcia and Rederick A. Recio solemnized on January 12, 1994
at Cabanatuan City as dissolved and both parties can now 2
remarry under existing and applicable laws to any and/or both
The failure of the respondent, who is now a naturalized
parties.[3]
Australian, to present a certificate of legal capacity to marry
The assailed Order denied reconsideration of the above-quoted constitutes absence of a substantial requisite voiding the
Decision. petitioners marriage to the respondent

The Facts 3

42
The trial court seriously erred in the application of Art. 26 of the ART. 11. Where a marriage license is required, each of the
Family Code in this case. contracting parties shall file separately a sworn application for
such license with the proper local civil registrar which shall
4 specify the following:
The trial court patently and grievously erred in disregarding Arts. xxxxxxxxx
11, 13, 21, 35, 40, 52 and 53 of the Family Code as the
applicable provisions in this case. (5) If previously married, how, when and where the previous
marriage was dissolved or annulled;
5
xxxxxxxxx
The trial court gravely erred in pronouncing that the divorce
decree obtained by the respondent in Australia ipso ART. 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been
facto capacitated the parties to remarry, without first securing a previously married, the applicant shall be required to
recognition of the judgment granting the divorce decree before
our courts.[19] ART. 13. In case either of the contracting parties has been
previously married, the applicant shall be required to furnish,
The Petition raises five issues, but for purposes of this Decision, instead of the birth or baptismal certificate required in the last
we shall concentrate on two pivotal ones: (1) whether the divorce preceding article, the death certificate of the deceased spouse or
between respondent and Editha Samson was proven, and (2) the judicial decree of the absolute divorce, or the judicial decree
whether respondent was proven to be legally capacitated to of annulment or declaration of nullity of his or her previous
marry petitioner. Because of our ruling on these two, there is no marriage. x x x.
more necessity to take up the rest.
ART. 52. The judgment of annulment or of absolute nullity of the
The Courts Ruling marriage, the partition and distribution of the properties of the
spouses, and the delivery of the childrens presumptive legitimes
The Petition is partly meritorious. shall be recorded in the appropriate civil registry and registries of
property; otherwise, the same shall not affect their persons.
First Issue:
Respondent, on the other hand, argues that the Australian
Proving the Divorce Between Respondent and Editha
divorce decree is a public document -- a written official act of an
Samson
Australian family court. Therefore, it requires no further proof of
Petitioner assails the trial courts recognition of the divorce its authenticity and due execution.
between respondent and Editha Samson. Citing Adong v.
Respondent is getting ahead of himself. Before a foreign
Cheong Seng Gee,[20] petitioner argues that the divorce decree,
judgment is given presumptive evidentiary value, the document
like any other foreign judgment, may be given recognition in this
must first be presented and admitted in evidence. [30] A divorce
jurisdiction only upon proof of the existence of (1) the foreign law
obtained abroad is proven by the divorce decree itself. Indeed
allowing absolute divorce and (2) the alleged divorce decree
the best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself.[31] The
itself. She adds that respondent miserably failed to establish
decree purports to be a written act or record of an act of an
these elements.
official body or tribunal of a foreign country.[32]
Petitioner adds that, based on the first paragraph of Article 26 of
Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, on the other hand, a
the Family Code, marriages solemnized abroad are governed by
writing or document may be proven as a public or official record
the law of the place where they were celebrated (thelex loci
of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication or (2) a
celebrationis). In effect, the Code requires the presentation of the
copy thereof attested[33] by the officer having legal custody of the
foreign law to show the conformity of the marriage in question to
document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy
the legal requirements of the place where the marriage was
must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper
performed.
diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service
At the outset, we lay the following basic legal principles as the stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b)
take-off points for our discussion. Philippine law does not provide authenticated by the seal of his office. [34]
for absolute divorce; hence, our courts cannot grant it.[21] A
The divorce decree between respondent and Editha Samson
marriage between two Filipinos cannot be dissolved even by a
appears to be an authentic one issued by an Australian family
divorce obtained abroad, because of Articles 15 [22] and 17[23] of
court.[35] However, appearance is not sufficient; compliance with
the Civil Code.[24] In mixed marriages involving a Filipino and a
the aforementioned rules on evidence must be demonstrated.
foreigner, Article 26[25] of the Family Code allows the former to
contract a subsequent marriage in case the divorce is validly Fortunately for respondents cause, when the divorce decree of
obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to May 18, 1989 was submitted in evidence, counsel for petitioner
remarry.[26] A divorce obtained abroad by a couple, who are both objected, not to its admissibility, but only to the fact that it had not
aliens, may be recognized in the Philippines, provided it is been registered in the Local Civil Registry of Cabanatuan
consistent with their respective national laws.[27] City.[36] The trial court ruled that it was admissible, subject to
petitioners qualification.[37] Hence, it was admitted in evidence
A comparison between marriage and divorce, as far as pleading
and accorded weight by the judge. Indeed, petitioners failure to
and proof are concerned, can be made. Van Dorn v. Romillo
object properly rendered the divorce decree admissible as a
Jr. decrees that aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may
written act of the Family Court of Sydney, Australia. [38]
be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid
according to their national law.[28] Therefore, before a foreign Compliance with the quoted articles (11, 13 and 52) of the Family
divorce decree can be recognized by our courts, the party Code is not necessary; respondent was no longer bound by
pleading it must prove the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its Philippine personal laws after he acquired Australian citizenship
conformity to the foreign law allowing it. [29] Presentation solely of in 1992.[39] Naturalization is the legal act of adopting an alien and
the divorce decree is insufficient. clothing him with the political and civil rights belonging to a
citizen.[40] Naturalized citizens, freed from the protective cloak of
Divorce as a Question of Fact
their former states, don the attires of their adoptive countries. By
Petitioner insists that before a divorce decree can be admitted in becoming an Australian, respondent severed his allegiance to the
evidence, it must first comply with the registration requirements Philippines and the vinculum juris that had tied him to Philippine
under Articles 11, 13 and 52 of the Family Code.These articles personal laws.
read as follows:
Burden of Proving Australian Law

43
Respondent contends that the burden to prove Australian divorce the legal effects of the divorce decree obtained under Australian
law falls upon petitioner, because she is the party challenging the laws.
validity of a foreign judgment. He contends that petitioner was
satisfied with the original of the divorce decree and was Significance of the Certificate of Legal Capacity
cognizant of the marital laws of Australia, because she had lived
Petitioner argues that the certificate of legal capacity required by
and worked in that country for quite a long time.Besides, the
Article 21 of the Family Code was not submitted together with the
Australian divorce law is allegedly known by Philippine courts;
application for a marriage license. According to her, its absence
thus, judges may take judicial notice of foreign laws in the
is proof that respondent did not have legal capacity to remarry.
exercise of sound discretion.
We clarify. To repeat, the legal capacity to contract marriage is
We are not persuaded. The burden of proof lies with the party
determined by the national law of the party concerned. The
who alleges the existence of a fact or thing necessary in the
certificate mentioned in Article 21 of the Family Code would have
prosecution or defense of an action.[41] In civil cases, plaintiffs
been sufficient to establish the legal capacity of respondent, had
have the burden of proving the material allegations of the
he duly presented it in court. A duly authenticated and admitted
complaint when those are denied by the answer; and defendants
certificate is prima facie evidence of legal capacity to marry on
have the burden of proving the material allegations in their
the part of the alien applicant for a marriage license. [50]
answer when they introduce new matters. [42] Since the divorce
was a defense raised by respondent, the burden of proving the As it is, however, there is absolutely no evidence that proves
pertinent Australian law validating it falls squarely upon him. respondents legal capacity to marry petitioner. A review of the
records before this Court shows that only the following exhibits
It is well-settled in our jurisdiction that our courts cannot take
were presented before the lower court: (1) for petitioner: (a)
judicial notice of foreign laws.[43] Like any other facts, they must
Exhibit A Complaint;[51] (b) Exhibit B Certificate of Marriage
be alleged and proved. Australian marital laws are not among
Between Rederick A. Recio (Filipino-Australian) and Grace J.
those matters that judges are supposed to know by reason of
Garcia (Filipino) on January 12, 1994 in Cabanatuan City, Nueva
their judicial function.[44] The power of judicial notice must be
Ecija;[52] (c) Exhibit C Certificate of Marriage Between Rederick
exercised with caution, and every reasonable doubt upon the
A. Recio (Filipino) and Editha D. Samson (Australian) on March
subject should be resolved in the negative.
1, 1987 in Malabon, Metro Manila; [53] (d) Exhibit D Office of the
Second Issue: Respondents Legal Capacity to Remarry City Registrar of Cabanatuan City Certification that no
information of annulment between Rederick A. Recio and Editha
Petitioner contends that, in view of the insufficient proof of the D. Samson was in its records;[54] and (e) Exhibit E Certificate of
divorce, respondent was legally incapacitated to marry her in Australian Citizenship of Rederick A. Recio;[55] (2) for respondent:
1994. Hence, she concludes that their marriage was voidab initio. (a) Exhibit 1 -- Amended Answer;[56] (b) Exhibit 2 Family Law Act
1975 Decree Nisi of Dissolution of Marriage in the Family Court
Respondent replies that the Australian divorce decree, which was of Australia;[57] (c) Exhibit 3 Certificate of Australian Citizenship of
validly admitted in evidence, adequately established his legal Rederick A. Recio;[58] (d) Exhibit 4 Decree Nisi of Dissolution of
capacity to marry under Australian law. Marriage in the Family Court of Australia Certificate;[59] and
Exhibit 5 -- Statutory Declaration of the Legal Separation
Respondents contention is untenable. In its strict legal
Between Rederick A. Recio and Grace J. Garcia Recio since
sense, divorce means the legal dissolution of a lawful union for a
October 22, 1995.[60]
cause arising after marriage. But divorces are of different
types.The two basic ones are (1) absolute divorce or a vinculo Based on the above records, we cannot conclude that
matrimonii and (2) limited divorce or a mensa et thoro. The first respondent, who was then a naturalized Australian citizen, was
kind terminates the marriage, while the second suspends it and legally capacitated to marry petitioner on January 12, 1994. We
leaves the bond in full force.[45] There is no showing in the case agree with petitioners contention that the court a quo erred in
at bar which type of divorce was procured by respondent. finding that the divorce decree ipso facto clothed respondent with
the legal capacity to remarry without requiring him to adduce
Respondent presented a decree nisi or an interlocutory decree --
sufficient evidence to show the Australian personal law governing
a conditional or provisional judgment of divorce. It is in effect the
his status; or at the very least, to prove his legal capacity to
same as a separation from bed and board, although an absolute
contract the second marriage.
divorce may follow after the lapse of the prescribed period during
which no reconciliation is effected.[46] Neither can we grant petitioners prayer to declare her marriage to
respondent null and void on the ground of bigamy. After all, it
Even after the divorce becomes absolute, the court may under
may turn out that under Australian law, he was really capacitated
some foreign statutes and practices, still restrict
to marry petitioner as a direct result of the divorce
remarriage. Under some other jurisdictions, remarriage may be
decree. Hence, we believe that the most judicious course is to
limited by statute; thus, the guilty party in a divorce which was
remand this case to the trial court to receive evidence, if any,
granted on the ground of adultery may be prohibited from
which show petitioners legal capacity to marry petitioner. Failing
marrying again. The court may allow a remarriage only after
in that, then the court a quo may declare a nullity of the parties
proof of good behavior.[47]
marriage on the ground of bigamy, there being already in
On its face, the herein Australian divorce decree contains a evidence two existing marriage certificates, which were both
restriction that reads: obtained in the Philippines, one in Malabon, Metro Manila dated
March 1, 1987 and the other, in Cabanatuan City dated January
1. A party to a marriage who marries again before this decree 12, 1994.
becomes absolute (unless the other party has died) commits the
offence of bigamy.[48] WHEREFORE, in the interest of orderly procedure and
substantial justice, we REMAND the case to the court a quo for
This quotation bolsters our contention that the divorce obtained the purpose of receiving evidence which conclusively show
by respondent may have been restricted. It did not absolutely respondents legal capacity to marry petitioner; and failing in that,
establish his legal capacity to remarry according to his national of declaring the parties marriage void on the ground of bigamy,
law. Hence, we find no basis for the ruling of the trial court, which as above discussed. No costs.
erroneously assumed that the Australian divorce ipso
facto restored respondents capacity to remarry despite the SO ORDERED.
paucity of evidence on this matter.
Melo, (Chairman), Vitug, and Sandoval-Gutierrez, JJ., concur.
We also reject the claim of respondent that the divorce decree
raises a disputable presumption or presumptive evidence as to
his civil status based on Section 48, Rule 39 [49] of the Rules of
Court, for the simple reason that no proof has been presented on

44
[9] Public documents are:
The couple secured an Australian Statutory Declaration of their
legal separation and division of conjugal assets.
(a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the
[17] RTC Order of December 16, 1998; ibid., p. 203. sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public
officers, whether in the Philippines, or of a foreign country.
[18]
The case was deemed submitted for decision on January 11,
2000, upon this Courts receipt of the Memorandum for petitioner, x x x x x x x x x.
signed by Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba. The Memorandum for
[33]
respondent, signed by Atty. Gloria V. Gomez of Gomez and Sec. 25. What attestation of copy must state. Whenever a
Associates, had been filed on December 10, 1999. copy of a document or record is attested for the purpose of
evidence, the attestation must state, in substance, that the copy
[19] Petitioners Memorandum, pp. 8-9; rollo, pp. 242-243. is a correct copy of the original, or a specific part thereof, as the
case may be. The attestation must be under the official seal of
[20] 43 Phil. 43, 49, March 3, 1922. the attesting officer, if there be any, or if he be the clerk of a court
[21] having a seal, under the seal of such court.
Ruben F. Balane, Family Courts and Significant
Jurisprudence in Family Law, Journal of the Integrated Bar of the [34]
Sec. 24. Proof of official record.The record of public
Philippines, 1st & 2nd Quarters, 2001, Vol. XXVII, No. 1, p. 25. documents referred to in paragraph (a) of Section 19, when
[22] admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official
ART. 15. Laws relating to family rights and duties, or to the
publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the
status, condition and legal capacity of persons are binding upon
legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied, if
citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.
the record is not kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that
[23]
ART. 17. The forms and solemnities of contracts, wills, and such officer has the custody. If the office in which the record is
other public instruments shall be governed by the laws of the kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may be made by a
country in which they are executed. secretary of the embassy or legation, consul general, consul,
vice-consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign
xxxxxxxxx service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which
the record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office.
Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and
those which have for their object public order, public policy and See also Asiavest Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, 296 SCRA 539, 550-
good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or 551, September 25, 1998; Pacific Asia Overseas Shipping Corp.
judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions v. National Labor Relations Commission, 161 SCRA 122, 133-
agreed upon in a foreign country. 134, May 6, 1988.
[24]Tenchaves v. Escano 15 SCRA 355, 362, November 29, [35]The transcript of stenographic notes states that the original
1965; Barretto Gonzalez v. Gonzalez, 58 Phil. 67, 71-72, March copies of the divorce decrees were presented in court (TSN,
7, 1933. December 16, 1998, p. 5; records, p. 176), but only photocopies
[25]
of the same documents were attached to the records (Records,
Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in
Index of Exhibits, p. 1.).
accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were
solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this [36] TSN, December 15, 1998, p. 7; records, p. 178.
country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5), and
[37]
(6), 36, 37, and 38. (71a) TSN, December 16, 1998, p. 7; records, p. 178.
[38]
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is People v. Yatco, 97 Phil. 941, 945, November 28,
validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained 1955; Marella v. Reyes, 12 Phil. 1, 3, November 10,
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, 1908; People v. Diaz, 271 SCRA 504, 516, April 18, 1997; De la
the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Torre v. Court of Appeals, 294 SCRA 196, 203-204, August 14,
Philippine law. (As amended by EO 227, prom. July 27, 1987) 1998; Maunlad Savings & Loan Asso., Inc. v. Court of
Appeals, GR No. 114942, November 27, 2000, pp. 8-9.
[26]
Cf. Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr., 139 SCRA 139, 143-144, October
[39]
8, 1985; and Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera, 174 SCRA 653, 663, June Art. 15, Civil Code.
30, 1989. [49]SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders.The effect
[27] Van Dorn v. Romillo Jr., supra. of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country,
having jurisdiction to render the judgment or final order is as
[28] Ibid., p. 143. follows:
[29]For a detailed discussion of Van Dorn, see Salonga, Private xxxxxxxxx
International Law, 1995 ed. pp. 295-300. See also Jose C.
Vitug, Compendium of Civil Law and Jurisprudence, 1993 ed., p. (b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the
16; judgment or final order is presumptive evidence of a right as
between the parties and their successors in interest by a
[30]
SEC. 19. Classes of documents.For the purpose of their subsequent title.
presentation in evidence, documents are either public or private.
In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by
Public documents are: evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party,
collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
(a) The written official acts, or records of the official acts of the
sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public [50]In passing, we note that the absence of the said certificate is
officers, whether in the Philippines, or of a foreign country. merely an irregularity in complying with the formal requirement
for procuring a marriage license. Under Article 4 of the Family
x x x x x x x x x.
Code, an irregularity will not affect the validity of a marriage
[31]Burr W. Jones, Commentaries on the Law of Evidence in Civil celebrated on the basis of a marriage license issued without that
Cases, Vol. IV, 1926 ed., p. 3511; 3, Rule 130 of the Rules on certificate. (Vitug, Compendium, pp. 120-126; Sempio-
Evidence provides that when the subject of inquiry is the contents Diy, Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines, 1997
of a document, no evidence shall be admissible other than the reprint, p. 17; Rufus Rodriguez, The Family Code of the
original document itself. Philippines Annotated, 1990 ed., p. 42; Melencio Sta. Maria
Jr., Persons and Family Relations Law, 1999 ed., p. 146.)
[32]
SEC. 19. Classes of documents. For the purpose of their
presentation in evidence, documents are either public or private. SECOND DIVISION

45
1995, for unknown reasons. Fely continued to live with her
American family in New Jersey, U.S.A. She had been openly
REPUBLIC OF THE G.R. No. 152577 using the surname of her American husband in the Philippines
PHILIPPINES, and in the U.S.A. For the wedding of Crasus, Jr., Fely herself had
Present:
invitations made in which she was named as Mrs. Fely Ada
Petitioner,
Micklus. At the time the Complaint was filed, it had been 13 years
since Fely left and abandoned respondent Crasus, and there was
PUNO, no more possibility of reconciliation between them. Respondent
Crasus finally alleged in his Complaint that Felys acts brought
Chairman,
danger and dishonor to the family, and clearly demonstrated her
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of
marriage. Such incapacity, being incurable and continuing,
CALLEJO, SR., constitutes a ground for declaration of nullity of marriage under
- versus- Article 36, in relation to Articles 68, 70, and 72, of the Family
TINGA, and Code of the Philippines.
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

Promulgated: Fely filed her Answer and Counterclaim [4] with the RTC on 05
June 1997. She asserted therein that she was already an
American citizen since 1988 and was now married to Stephen
September 21, 2005 Micklus. While she admitted being previously married to
CRASUS L. IYOY, respondent Crasus and having five children with him, Fely
refuted the other allegations made by respondent Crasus in his
R e s p o n d e n t. Complaint. She explained that she was no more hot-tempered
than any normal person, and she may had been indignant at
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
respondent Crasus on certain occasions but it was because of
- - - -x
the latters drunkenness, womanizing, and lack of sincere effort to
find employment and to contribute to the maintenance of their
household. She could not have been extravagant since the family
DECISION hardly had enough money for basic needs. Indeed, Fely left for
abroad for financial reasons as respondent Crasus had no job
and what she was then earning as the sole breadwinner in the
Philippines was insufficient to support their family. Although she
left all of her children with respondent Crasus, she continued to
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: provide financial support to them, as well as, to respondent
Crasus. Subsequently, Fely was able to bring her children to the
U.S.A., except for one, Calvert, who had to stay behind for
medical reasons. While she did file for divorce from respondent
Crasus, she denied having herself sent a letter to respondent
In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Crasus requesting him to sign the enclosed divorce papers. After
Rules of Court, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, securing a divorce from respondent Crasus, Fely married her
represented by the Office of the Solicitor General, prays for the American husband and acquired American citizenship. She
reversal of the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV argued that her marriage to her American husband was legal
No. 62539, dated 30 July 2001,[1] affirming the Judgment of the because now being an American citizen, her status shall be
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, Branch 22, in Civil Case governed by the law of her present nationality. Fely also pointed
No. CEB-20077, dated 30 October 1998,[2] declaring the out that respondent Crasus himself was presently living with
marriage between respondent Crasus L. Iyoy and Fely Ada another woman who bore him a child. She also accused
Rosal-Iyoy null and void on the basis of Article 36 of the Family respondent Crasus of misusing the amount ofP90,000.00 which
Code of the Philippines. she advanced to him to finance the brain operation of their son,
Calvert. On the basis of the foregoing, Fely also prayed that the
RTC declare her marriage to respondent Crasus null and void;
and that respondent Crasus be ordered to pay to Fely
The proceedings before the RTC commenced with the filing of a the P90,000.00 she advanced to him, with interest, plus, moral
Complaint[3] for declaration of nullity of marriage by respondent and exemplary damages, attorneys fees, and litigation expenses.
Crasus on 25 March 1997. According to the said Complaint,
respondent Crasus married Fely on 16 December 1961 at
Bradford Memorial Church, Jones Avenue, Cebu City. As a result
of their union, they had five children Crasus, Jr., Daphne, Debbie, After respondent Crasus and Fely had filed their respective Pre-
Calvert, and Carlos who are now all of legal ages. After the Trial Briefs,[5] the RTC afforded both parties the opportunity to
celebration of their marriage, respondent Crasus discovered that present their evidence. Petitioner Republic participated in the trial
Fely was hot-tempered, a nagger and extravagant. In 1984, Fely through the Provincial Prosecutor of Cebu.[6]
left the Philippines for the United States of America (U.S.A.),
leaving all of their five children, the youngest then being only six
years old, to the care of respondent Crasus. Barely a year after Respondent Crasus submitted the following pieces of evidence in
Fely left for the U.S.A., respondent Crasus received a letter from support of his Complaint: (1) his own testimony on 08 September
her requesting that he sign the enclosed divorce papers; he 1997, in which he essentially reiterated the allegations in his
disregarded the said request. Sometime in 1985, respondent Complaint;[7] (2) the Certification, dated 13 April 1989, by the
Crasus learned, through the letters sent by Fely to their children, Health Department of Cebu City, on the recording of the Marriage
that Fely got married to an American, with whom she eventually Contract between respondent Crasus and Fely in the Register of
had a child. In 1987, Fely came back to the Philippines with her Deeds, such marriage celebration taking place on 16 December
American family, staying at Cebu Plaza Hotel in Cebu City. 1961;[8] and (3) the invitation to the wedding of Crasus, Jr., their
Respondent Crasus did not bother to talk to Fely because he was eldest son, wherein Fely openly used her American husbands
afraid he might not be able to bear the sorrow and the pain she surname, Micklus.[9]
had caused him. Fely returned to the Philippines several times
more: in 1990, for the wedding of their eldest child, Crasus, Jr.; in
1992, for the brain operation of their fourth child, Calvert; and in

46
Felys counsel filed a Notice,[10] and, later on, a Motion,[11] to take dated 30 July 2001, affirmed the appealed Judgment of the RTC,
the deposition of witnesses, namely, Fely and her children, finding no reversible error therein. It even offered additional
Crasus, Jr. and Daphne, upon written interrogatories, before the ratiocination for declaring the marriage between respondent
consular officers of the Philippines in New York and California, Crasus and Fely null and void, to wit
U.S.A, where the said witnesses reside. Despite the
Orders[12]and Commissions[13] issued by the RTC to the
Philippine Consuls of New York and California, U.S.A., to take
Defendant secured a divorce from plaintiff-appellee abroad, has
the depositions of the witnesses upon written interrogatories, not
remarried, and is now permanently residing in the United States.
a single deposition was ever submitted to the RTC. Taking into
Plaintiff-appellee categorically stated this as one of his reasons
account that it had been over a year since respondent Crasus
for seeking the declaration of nullity of their marriage
had presented his evidence and that Fely failed to exert effort to
have the case progress, the RTC issued an Order, dated 05
October 1998,[14] considering Fely to have waived her right to
present her evidence. The case was thus deemed submitted for Article 26 of the Family Code provides:
decision.

Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in


Not long after, on 30 October 1998, the RTC promulgated its accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were
Judgment declaring the marriage of respondent Crasus and Fely solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this
null and void ab initio, on the basis of the following findings country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and
(6), 36, 37 and 38.
The ground bearing defendants psychological incapacity
deserves a reasonable consideration. As observed, plaintiffs
testimony is decidedly credible. The Court finds that defendant
WHERE A MARRIAGE BETWEEN A FILIPINO CITIZEN AND A
had indeed exhibited unmistakable signs of psychological
FOREIGNER IS VALIDLY CELEBRATED AND A DIVORCE IS
incapacity to comply with her marital duties such as striving for
THEREAFTER VALIDLY OBTAINED ABROAD BY THE ALIEN
family unity, observing fidelity, mutual love, respect, help and
SPOUSE CAPACITATING HIM OR HER TO REMARRY, THE
support. From the evidence presented, plaintiff adequately
FILIPINO SPOUSE SHALL LIKEWISE HAVE CAPACITY TO
established that the defendant practically abandoned him. She
REMARRY UNDER PHILIPPINE LAW.
obtained a divorce decree in the United States of America and
married another man and has establish [sic] another family of her
own. Plaintiff is in an anomalous situation, wherein he is married
to a wife who is already married to another man in another The rationale behind the second paragraph of the above-quoted
country. provision is to avoid the absurd and unjust situation of a Filipino
citizen still being married to his or her alien spouse, although the
latter is no longer married to the Filipino spouse because he or
she has obtained a divorce abroad. In the case at bench, the
Defendants intolerable traits may not have been apparent or
defendant has undoubtedly acquired her American husbands
manifest before the marriage, the FAMILY CODE nonetheless
citizenship and thus has become an alien as well. This Court
allows the annulment of the marriage provided that these were
cannot see why the benefits of Art. 26 aforequoted can not be
eventually manifested after the wedding. It appears to be the
extended to a Filipino citizen whose spouse eventually embraces
case in this instance.
another citizenship and thus becomes herself an alien.

Certainly defendants posture being an irresponsible wife erringly


It would be the height of unfairness if, under these
reveals her very low regard for that sacred and inviolable
circumstances, plaintiff would still be considered as married to
institution of marriage which is the foundation of human society
defendant, given her total incapacity to honor her marital
throughout the civilized world. It is quite evident that the
covenants to the former. To condemn plaintiff to remain shackled
defendant is bereft of the mind, will and heart to comply with her
in a marriage that in truth and in fact does not exist and to remain
marital obligations, such incapacity was already there at the time
married to a spouse who is incapacitated to discharge essential
of the marriage in question is shown by defendants own attitude
marital covenants, is verily to condemn him to a perpetual
towards her marriage to plaintiff.
disadvantage which this Court finds abhorrent and will not
countenance. Justice dictates that plaintiff be given relief by
affirming the trial courts declaration of the nullity of the marriage
In sum, the ground invoked by plaintiff which is defendants of the parties.[16]
psychological incapacity to comply with the essential marital
obligations which already existed at the time of the marriage in After the Court of Appeals, in a Resolution, dated 08 March
question has been satisfactorily proven. The evidence in herein 2002,[17] denied its Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner
case establishes the irresponsibility of defendant Fely Ada Rosal Republic filed the instant Petition before this Court, based on the
Iyoy, firmly. following arguments/grounds

Going over plaintiffs testimony which is decidedly credible, the I. Abandonment by and sexual infidelity of respondents wife do
Court finds that the defendant had indeed exhibited unmistakable not per se constitute psychological incapacity.
signs of such psychological incapacity to comply with her marital
obligations. These are her excessive disposition to material
things over and above the marital stability. That such incapacity II. The Court of Appeals has decided questions of substance not
was already there at the time of the marriage in question is in accord with law and jurisprudence considering that the Court of
shown by defendants own attitude towards her marriage to Appeals committed serious errors of law in ruling that Article 26,
plaintiff. And for these reasons there is a legal ground to declare paragraph 2 of the Family Code is inapplicable to the case at
the marriage of plaintiff Crasus L. Iyoy and defendant Fely Ada bar.[18]
Rosal Iyoy null and void ab initio.[15]
In his Comment[19] to the Petition, respondent Crasus maintained
Petitioner Republic, believing that the afore-quoted Judgment of that Felys psychological incapacity was clearly established after
the RTC was contrary to law and evidence, filed an appeal with a full-blown trial, and that paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
the Court of Appeals. The appellate court, though, in its Decision, Code of the Philippines was indeed applicable to the marriage of

47
respondent Crasus and Fely, because the latter had already down by this Court inRepublic v. Court of Appeals and
become an American citizen. He further questioned the Molina,[23] which, although quite lengthy, by its significance,
personality of petitioner Republic, represented by the Office of deserves to be reproduced below
the Solicitor General, to institute the instant Petition, because
Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines authorizes the
prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to the trial court, not the
(1) The burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage
Solicitor General, to intervene on behalf of the State, in
belongs to the plaintiff. Any doubt should be resolved in favor of
proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of
the existence and continuation of the marriage and against its
marriages.
dissolution and nullity. This is rooted in the fact that both our
Constitution and our laws cherish the validity of marriage and
unity of the family. Thus, our Constitution devotes an entire
After having reviewed the records of this case and the applicable Article on the Family, recognizing it as the foundation of the
laws and jurisprudence, this Court finds the instant Petition to be nation. It decrees marriage as legally inviolable, thereby
meritorious. protecting it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the
family and marriage are to be protected by the state.

The Family Code echoes this constitutional edict on marriage


I and the family and emphasizes their permanence, inviolability
and solidarity.

The totality of evidence presented during trial is insufficient to


support the finding of psychological incapacity of Fely. (2) The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be (a)
medically or clinically identified, (b) alleged in the complaint, (c)
sufficiently proven by experts and (d) clearly explained in the
Article 36, concededly one of the more controversial provisions decision. Article 36 of the Family Code requires that the
of the Family Code of the Philippines, reads incapacity must be psychological - not physical, although its
manifestations and/or symptoms may be physical. The evidence
ART. 36. A marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of must convince the court that the parties, or one of them, was
the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with mentally or psychically ill to such an extent that the person could
the essential marital obligations of marriage, shall likewise be not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing
void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its them, could not have given valid assumption thereof. Although no
solemnization. example of such incapacity need be given here so as not to limit
the application of the provision under the principle of ejusdem
Issues most commonly arise as to what constitutes
generis, nevertheless such root cause must be identified as a
psychological incapacity. In a series of cases, this Court laid
psychological illness and its incapacitating nature fully explained.
down guidelines for determining its existence.
Expert evidence may be given by qualified psychiatrists and
clinical psychologists.

In Santos v. Court of Appeals,[20] the term psychological


incapacity was defined, thus
(3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at the time of
the celebration of the marriage. The evidence must show that the
illness was existing when the parties exchanged their I do's. The
. . . [P]sychological incapacity should refer to no less than a manifestation of the illness need not be perceivable at such time,
mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly but the illness itself must have attached at such moment, or prior
cognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must thereto.
be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which,
as so expressed by Article 68 of the Family Code, include their
mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and
(4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or
fidelity and render help and support. There is hardly any doubt
clinically permanent or incurable. Such incurability may be
that the intendment of the law has been to confine the meaning
absolute or even relative only in regard to the other spouse, not
of psychological incapacity to the most serious cases of
necessarily absolutely against everyone of the same sex.
personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter
Furthermore, such incapacity must be relevant to the assumption
insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the
of marriage obligations, not necessarily to those not related to
marriage. This psychological condition must exist at the time the
marriage, like the exercise of a profession or employment in a job
marriage is celebrated[21]

The psychological incapacity must be characterized by


(5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the
disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of
(a) Gravity It must be grave or serious such that the party marriage. Thus, mild characteriological peculiarities, mood
would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in changes, occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as
a marriage; root causes. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity
or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In
(b) Juridical Antecedence It must be rooted in the history other words, there is a natal or supervening disabling factor in the
of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure
manifestations may emerge only after the marriage; and that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and
thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.
(c) Incurability It must be incurable or, even if it were
otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party
involved.[22]
(6) The essential marital obligations must be those embraced by
Articles 68 up to 71 of the Family Code as regards the husband
and wife as well as Articles 220, 221 and 225 of the same Code
More definitive guidelines in the interpretation and application of in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied
Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines were handed

48
marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by
evidence and included in the text of the decision.
The evidence may have proven that Fely committed acts that
hurt and embarrassed respondent Crasus and the rest of the
family. Her hot-temper, nagging, and extravagance; her
(7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial abandonment of respondent Crasus; her marriage to an
Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not American; and even her flaunting of her American family and her
controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our American surname, may indeed be manifestations of her alleged
courts incapacity to comply with her marital obligations; nonetheless,
the root cause for such was not identified. If the root cause of the
incapacity was not identified, then it cannot be satisfactorily
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal established as a psychological or mental defect that is serious or
and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No grave; neither could it be proven to be in existence at the time of
decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General celebration of the marriage; nor that it is incurable. While the
issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly personal examination of Fely by a psychiatrist or psychologist is
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as no longer mandatory for the declaration of nullity of their marriage
the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with under Article 36 of the Family Code of the Philippines, by virtue
the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such of this Courts ruling in Marcos v. Marcos,[29] respondent Crasus
certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is must still have complied with the requirement laid down
deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor in Republic v. Court of Appeals and Molina[30] that the root cause
General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor of the incapacity be identified as a psychological illness and that
vinculicontemplated under Canon 1095.[24] its incapacitating nature be fully explained.

A later case, Marcos v. Marcos,[25] further clarified that there is In any case, any doubt shall be resolved in favor of the validity of
no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be the marriage.[31] No less than the Constitution of 1987 sets the
personally examined by a physician or psychologist as a policy to protect and strengthen the family as the basic social
condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage institution and marriage as the foundation of the family.[32]
based on psychological incapacity. Such psychological
II
incapacity, however, must be established by the totality of the
evidence presented during the trial. Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the Philippines is
not applicable to the case at bar.

According to Article 26, paragraph 2 of the Family Code of the


Using the guidelines established by the afore-mentioned
Philippines
jurisprudence, this Court finds that the totality of evidence
presented by respondent Crasus failed miserably to establish the
alleged psychological incapacity of his wife Fely; therefore, there
is no basis for declaring their marriage null and void under Article Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is
36 of the Family Code of the Philippines. validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,
the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity to remarry under
Philippine law.
The only substantial evidence presented by respondent Crasus
before the RTC was his testimony, which can be easily put into As it is worded, Article 26, paragraph 2, refers to a special
question for being self-serving, in the absence of any other situation wherein one of the couple getting married is a Filipino
corroborating evidence. He submitted only two other pieces of citizen and the other a foreigner at the time the marriage was
evidence: (1) the Certification on the recording with the Register celebrated. By its plain and literal interpretation, the said
of Deeds of the Marriage Contract between respondent Crasus provision cannot be applied to the case of respondent
and Fely, such marriage being celebrated on 16 December 1961; Crasus and his wife Fely because at the time Fely obtained
and (2) the invitation to the wedding of Crasus, Jr., their eldest her divorce, she was still a Filipino citizen. Although the exact
son, in which Fely used her American husbands surname. Even date was not established, Fely herself admitted in her Answer
considering the admissions made by Fely herself in her Answer filed before the RTC that she obtained a divorce from respondent
to respondent Crasuss Complaint filed with the RTC, the Crasus sometime after she left for the United States in 1984,
evidence is not enough to convince this Court that Fely had such after which she married her American husband in 1985. In the
a grave mental illness that prevented her from assuming the same Answer, she alleged that she had been an American
essential obligations of marriage. citizen since 1988. At the time she filed for divorce, Fely was still
a Filipino citizen, and pursuant to the nationality principle
embodied in Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, she
It is worthy to emphasize that Article 36 of the Family Code of the was still bound by Philippine laws on family rights and duties,
Philippines contemplates downright incapacity or inability to take status, condition, and legal capacity, even when she was already
cognizance of and to assume the basic marital obligations; not a living abroad. Philippine laws, then and even until now, do not
mere refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less, ill will, on the part of allow and recognize divorce between Filipino spouses. Thus,
the errant spouse.[26] Irreconcilable differences, conflicting Fely could not have validly obtained a divorce from respondent
personalities, emotional immaturity and irresponsibility, physical Crasus.
abuse, habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or perversion, and
III
abandonment, by themselves, also do not warrant a finding of
psychological incapacity under the said Article.[27] The Solicitor General is authorized to intervene, on behalf of the
Republic, in proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity
of marriages.
As has already been stressed by this Court in previous cases,
Invoking Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines,
Article 36 is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the
respondent Crasus argued that only the prosecuting attorney or
marital bond at the time the causes therefore manifest
fiscal assigned to the RTC may intervene on behalf of the State
themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a
in proceedings for annulment or declaration of nullity of
party even before the celebration of marriage. It is a malady so
marriages; hence, the Office of the Solicitor General had no
grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the
personality to file the instant Petition on behalf of the State.
duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about
Article 48 provides
to assume.[28]

49
Finally, the issuance of this Court of the Rule on Declaration of
Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
ART. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute Marriages,[38] which became effective on 15 March 2003, should
nullity of marriage, the Court shall order the prosecuting attorney dispel any other doubts of respondent Crasus as to the authority
or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the State to take of the Solicitor General to file the instant Petition on behalf of the
steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care State. The Rule recognizes the authority of the Solicitor General
that the evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. to intervene and take part in the proceedings for annulment and
declaration of nullity of marriages before the RTC and on appeal
That Article 48 does not expressly mention the Solicitor General
to higher courts. The pertinent provisions of the said Rule are
does not bar him or his Office from intervening in proceedings for
reproduced below
annulment or declaration of nullity of marriages. Executive Order
No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition.
appoints the Solicitor General as the principal law officer and
legal defender of the Government.[33] His Office is tasked to (4) It shall be filed in six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy
represent the Government of the Philippines, its agencies and of the petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office
instrumentalities and its officials and agents in any litigation, of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the date
proceeding, investigation or matter requiring the services of of its filing and submit to the court proof of such service within the
lawyers. The Office of the Solicitor General shall constitute the same period.
law office of the Government and, as such, shall discharge duties
requiring the services of lawyers.[34] Sec. 18. Memoranda. The court may require the parties and the
public prosecutor, in consultation with the Office of the Solicitor
General, to file their respective memoranda in support of their
claims within fifteen days from the date the trial is terminated. It
The intent of Article 48 of the Family Code of the Philippines is to may require the Office of the Solicitor General to file its own
ensure that the interest of the State is represented and protected memorandum if the case is of significant interest to the State. No
in proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of other pleadings or papers may be submitted without leave of
marriages by preventing collusion between the parties, or the court. After the lapse of the period herein provided, the case will
fabrication or suppression of evidence; and, bearing in mind that be considered submitted for decision, with or without the
the Solicitor General is the principal law officer and legal memoranda.
defender of the land, then his intervention in such proceedings
could only serve and contribute to the realization of such intent,
rather than thwart it.

Sec. 19. Decision.


Furthermore, the general rule is that only the Solicitor General is
authorized to bring or defend actions on behalf of the People or
the Republic of the Philippines once the case is brought before
this Court or the Court of Appeals.[35] While it is the prosecuting
attorney or fiscal who actively participates, on behalf of the State, (2) The parties, including the Solicitor General and the public
in a proceeding for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage prosecutor, shall be served with copies of the decision personally
before the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor General takes over or by registered mail. If the respondent summoned by publication
when the case is elevated to the Court of Appeals or this Court. failed to appear in the action, the dispositive part of the decision
Since it shall be eventually responsible for taking the case to the shall be published once in a newspaper of general circulation.
appellate courts when circumstances demand, then it is only
reasonable and practical that even while the proceeding is still
being held before the RTC, the Office of the Solicitor General can
(3) The decision becomes final upon the expiration of fifteen days
already exercise supervision and control over the conduct of the
from notice to the parties. Entry of judgment shall be made if no
prosecuting attorney or fiscal therein to better guarantee the
motion for reconsideration or new trial, or appeal is filed by any of
protection of the interests of the State.
the parties, the public prosecutor, or the Solicitor General.
In fact, this Court had already recognized and affirmed the role of
Sec. 20. Appeal.
the Solicitor General in several cases for annulment and
declaration of nullity of marriages that were appealed before it, (2) Notice of Appeal. An aggrieved party or the Solicitor General
summarized as follows in the case of Ancheta v. Ancheta[36] may appeal from the decision by filing a Notice of Appeal within
fifteen days from notice of denial of the motion for
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals [268 SCRA 198
reconsideration or new trial. The appellant shall serve a copy of
(1997)], this Court laid down the guidelines in the interpretation
the notice of appeal on the adverse parties.
and application of Art. 48 of the Family Code, one of which
concerns the role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Given the foregoing, this Court arrives at a conclusion contrary to
Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the State: those of the RTC and the Court of Appeals, and sustains the
validity and existence of the marriage between respondent
(8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal
Crasus and Fely. At most, Felys abandonment, sexual infidelity,
and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No
and bigamy, give respondent Crasus grounds to file for legal
decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General
separation under Article 55 of the Family Code of the Philippines,
issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly
but not for declaration of nullity of marriage under Article 36 of
stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as
the same Code. While this Court commiserates with respondent
the case may be, to the petition. The Solicitor General, along with
Crasus for being continuously shackled to what is now a
the prosecuting attorney, shall submit to the court such
hopeless and loveless marriage, this is one of those situations
certification within fifteen (15) days from the date the case is
where neither law nor society can provide the specific answer to
deemed submitted for resolution of the court. The Solicitor
every individual problem.[39]
General shall discharge the equivalent function of the defensor
vinculi contemplated under Canon 1095. [Id., at 213] WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED and the assailed
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 62539,
This Court in the case of Malcampo-Sin v. Sin [355 SCRA 285
dated 30 July 2001, affirming the Judgment of the RTC of Cebu
(2001)] reiterated its pronouncement in Republic v. Court of
City, Branch 22, in Civil Case No. CEB-20077, dated 30 October
Appeals [Supra.] regarding the role of the prosecuting attorney or
1998, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the
State[37]

50
The marriage of respondent Crasus L. Iyoy and Fely Ada Rosal- Sometime in 2000, Cipriano learned from his son that his wife
Iyoy remains valid and subsisting. had obtained a divorce decree and then married a certain
Innocent Stanley. She, Stanley and her child by him currently live
SO ORDERED. at 5566 A. Walnut Grove Avenue, San Gabriel, California.

Cipriano thereafter filed with the trial court a petition for authority
FIRST DIVISION to remarry invoking Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family Code.
No opposition was filed. Finding merit in the petition, the court
granted the same. The Republic, herein petitioner, through the
Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), sought reconsideration but
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 154380
it was denied.
Petitioner, In this petition, the OSG raises a pure question of law:

WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT CAN REMARRY UNDER


ARTICLE 26 OF THE FAMILY CODE[4]
Present:
The OSG contends that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 of the Family
Code is not applicable to the instant case because it only applies
Davide,to a C.J.,
Jr., valid mixed marriage; that is, a marriage celebrated between
a Filipino citizen and an alien. The proper remedy, according to
- versus - (Chairman),
the OSG, is to file a petition for annulment or for legal
separation.[5] Furthermore, the OSG argues there is no law that
Quisumbing,
governs respondents situation. The OSG posits that this is a
matter of legislation and not of judicial determination.[6]
Ynares-Santiago,
For his part, respondent admits that Article 26 is not directly
Carpio, and
applicable to his case but insists that when his naturalized alien
Azcuna,wife
JJ. obtained a divorce decree which capacitated her to remarry,
he is likewise capacitated by operation of law pursuant to Section
CIPRIANO ORBECIDO III, 12, Article II of the Constitution.[7]

Respondent. Promulgated:
At the outset, we note that the petition for authority to remarry
filed before the trial court actually constituted a petition for
October 5, 2005
declaratory relief. In this connection, Section 1, Rule 63 of the
x---------------------------------------------- Rules of Court provides:
----x
RULE 63

DECLARATORY RELIEF AND SIMILAR REMEDIES


DECISION

QUISUMBING, J.:
Section 1. Who may file petitionAny person interested under a
Given a valid marriage between two Filipino citizens, where one deed, will, contract or other written instrument, or whose rights
party is later naturalized as a foreign citizen and obtains a valid are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation,
divorce decree capacitating him or her to remarry, can the ordinance, or other governmental regulation may, before breach
Filipino spouse likewise remarry under Philippine law? or violation thereof, bring an action in the appropriate Regional
Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity
Before us is a case of first impression that behooves the Court to arising, and for a declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder.
make a definite ruling on this apparently novel question,
presented as a pure question of law. ...

In this petition for review, the Solicitor General assails The requisites of a petition for declaratory relief are: (1) there
the Decision[1] dated May 15, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court must be a justiciable controversy; (2) the controversy must be
of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23 and between persons whose interests are adverse; (3) that the party
its Resolution[2] dated July 4, 2002 denying the motion for seeking the relief has a legal interest in the controversy; and (4)
reconsideration. The court a quo had declared that herein that the issue is ripe for judicial determination.[8]
respondent Cipriano Orbecido III is capacitated to remarry.
This case concerns the applicability of Paragraph 2 of Article 26
The fallo of the impugned Decision reads:
to a marriage between two Filipino citizens where one later
WHEREFORE, by virtue of the provision of the second acquired alien citizenship, obtained a divorce decree, and
paragraph of Art. 26 of the Family Code and by reason of the remarried while in the U.S.A. The interests of the parties are also
divorce decree obtained against him by his American wife, the adverse, as petitioner representing the State asserts its duty to
petitioner is given the capacity to remarry under the Philippine protect the institution of marriage while respondent, a private
Law. citizen, insists on a declaration of his capacity to remarry.
Respondent, praying for relief, has legal interest in the
IT IS SO ORDERED.[3] controversy. The issue raised is also ripe for judicial
determination inasmuch as when respondent remarries, litigation
The factual antecedents, as narrated by the trial court, are as ensues and puts into question the validity of his second marriage.
follows.
Coming now to the substantive issue, does Paragraph 2 of Article
On May 24, 1981, Cipriano Orbecido III married Lady Myros M. 26 of the Family Code apply to the case of respondent?
Villanueva at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Necessarily, we must dwell on how this provision had come
Lam-an, Ozamis City. Their marriage was blessed with a son and about in the first place, and what was the intent of the legislators
a daughter, Kristoffer Simbortriz V. Orbecido and Lady Kimberly in its enactment?
V. Orbecido.
Brief Historical Background
In 1986, Ciprianos wife left for the United States bringing along
their son Kristoffer. A few years later, Cipriano discovered that
his wife had been naturalized as an American citizen.

51
On July 6, 1987, then President Corazon Aquino signed into law naturalized American citizen in 1954 and obtained a divorce in
Executive Order No. 209, otherwise known as the Family Code, the same year. The Court therein hinted, by way of obiter dictum,
which took effect on August 3, 1988. Article 26 thereof states: that a Filipino divorced by his naturalized foreign spouse is no
longer married under Philippine law and can thus remarry.
All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in accordance
with the laws in force in the country where they were solemnized, Thus, taking into consideration the legislative intent and applying
and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this country, except the rule of reason, we hold that Paragraph 2 of Article 26 should
those prohibited under Articles 35, 37, and 38. be interpreted to include cases involving parties who, at the time
of the celebration of the marriage were Filipino citizens, but later
On July 17, 1987, shortly after the signing of the original Family on, one of them becomes naturalized as a foreign citizen and
Code, Executive Order No. 227 was likewise signed into law, obtains a divorce decree. The Filipino spouse should likewise be
amending Articles 26, 36, and 39 of the Family Code. A second allowed to remarry as if the other party were a foreigner at the
paragraph was added to Article 26. As so amended, it now time of the solemnization of the marriage. To rule otherwise
provides: would be to sanction absurdity and injustice. Where the
interpretation of a statute according to its exact and literal import
ART. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines in
would lead to mischievous results or contravene the clear
accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were
purpose of the legislature, it should be construed according to its
solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this
spirit and reason, disregarding as far as necessary the letter of
country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and
the law. A statute may therefore be extended to cases not within
(6), 36, 37 and 38.
the literal meaning of its terms, so long as they come within its
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is spirit or intent.[12]
validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained
If we are to give meaning to the legislative intent to avoid the
abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,
absurd situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the
the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
alien spouse who, after obtaining a divorce is no longer married
Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied)
to the Filipino spouse, then the instant case must be deemed as
On its face, the foregoing provision does not appear to govern coming within the contemplation of Paragraph 2 of Article 26.
the situation presented by the case at hand. It seems to apply
In view of the foregoing, we state the twin elements for the
only to cases where at the time of the celebration of the
application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 as follows:
marriage, the parties are a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. The
instant case is one where at the time the marriage was 1. There is a valid marriage that has been celebrated
solemnized, the parties were two Filipino citizens, but later on, between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner; and
the wife was naturalized as an American citizen and
subsequently obtained a divorce granting her capacity to 2. A valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien
remarry, and indeed she remarried an American citizen while spouse capacitating him or her to remarry.
residing in the U.S.A.
The reckoning point is not the citizenship of the parties at the
Noteworthy, in the Report of the Public Hearings [9] on the Family time of the celebration of the marriage, but their citizenship at the
Code, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines time a valid divorce is obtained abroad by the alien spouse
(CBCP) registered the following objections to Paragraph 2 of capacitating the latter to remarry.
Article 26:
In this case, when Ciprianos wife was naturalized as an
1. The rule is discriminatory. It discriminates against American citizen, there was still a valid marriage that has been
those whose spouses are Filipinos who divorce them abroad. celebrated between her and Cipriano. As fate would have it, the
These spouses who are divorced will not be able to re-marry, naturalized alien wife subsequently obtained a valid divorce
while the spouses of foreigners who validly divorce them abroad capacitating her to remarry. Clearly, the twin requisites for the
can. application of Paragraph 2 of Article 26 are both present in this
case. Thus Cipriano, the divorced Filipino spouse, should be
2. This is the beginning of the recognition of the allowed to remarry.
validity of divorce even for Filipino citizens. For those whose
foreign spouses validly divorce them abroad will also be We are also unable to sustain the OSGs theory that the proper
considered to be validly divorced here and can re-marry. We remedy of the Filipino spouse is to file either a petition for
propose that this be deleted and made into law only after more annulment or a petition for legal separation. Annulment would be
widespread consultation. (Emphasis supplied.) a long and tedious process, and in this particular case, not even
feasible, considering that the marriage of the parties appears to
Legislative Intent have all the badges of validity. On the other hand, legal
separation would not be a sufficient remedy for it would not sever
Records of the proceedings of the Family Code deliberations
the marriage tie; hence, the legally separated Filipino spouse
showed that the intent of Paragraph 2 of Article 26, according to
would still remain married to the naturalized alien spouse.
Judge Alicia Sempio-Diy, a member of the Civil Code Revision
Committee, is to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino However, we note that the records are bereft of competent
spouse remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining evidence duly submitted by respondent concerning the divorce
a divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. decree and the naturalization of respondents wife. It is settled
rule that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it and
Interestingly, Paragraph 2 of Article 26 traces its origin to the
mere allegation is not evidence.[13]
1985 case of Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.[10] The Van Dorn case
involved a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner. Accordingly, for his plea to prosper, respondent herein must
The Court held therein that a divorce decree validly obtained by prove his allegation that his wife was naturalized as an American
the alien spouse is valid in the Philippines, and consequently, the citizen. Likewise, before a foreign divorce decree can be
Filipino spouse is capacitated to remarry under Philippine law. recognized by our own courts, the party pleading it must prove
the divorce as a fact and demonstrate its conformity to the
Does the same principle apply to a case where at the time of the
foreign law allowing it.[14] Such foreign law must also be proved
celebration of the marriage, the parties were Filipino citizens, but
as our courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. Like any
later on, one of them obtains a foreign citizenship by
other fact, such laws must be alleged and
naturalization?
proved.[15] Furthermore, respondent must also show that the
The jurisprudential answer lies latent in the 1998 case of Quita v. divorce decree allows his former wife to remarry as specifically
Court of Appeals.[11] In Quita, the parties were, as in this case, required in Article 26. Otherwise, there would be no evidence
Filipino citizens when they got married. The wife became a

52
sufficient to declare that he is capacitated to enter into another Before the Court is a direct appeal from the decision [1] of the
marriage. Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Laoag City, Branch 11,
elevated via a petition for review oncertiorari[2] under Rule 45 of
Nevertheless, we are unanimous in our holding that Paragraph 2 the Rules of Court (present petition).
of Article 26 of the Family Code (E.O. No. 209, as amended by
E.O. No. 227), should be interpreted to allow a Filipino citizen,
who has been divorced by a spouse who had acquired foreign
citizenship and remarried, also to remarry. However, considering Petitioner Gerbert R. Corpuz was a former Filipino citizen who
that in the present petition there is no sufficient evidence acquired Canadian citizenship through naturalization
submitted and on record, we are unable to declare, based on on November 29, 2000.[3] OnJanuary 18, 2005, Gerbert married
respondents bare allegations that his wife, who was naturalized respondent Daisylyn T. Sto. Tomas, a Filipina,
as an American citizen, had obtained a divorce decree and had in Pasig City.[4] Due to work and other professional commitments,
remarried an American, that respondent is now capacitated to Gerbert left for Canada soon after the wedding. He returned to
remarry. Such declaration could only be made properly upon the Philippines sometime in April 2005 to surprise Daisylyn, but
respondents submission of the aforecited evidence in his favor. was shocked to discover that his wife was having an affair with
another man. Hurt and disappointed, Gerbert returned
ACCORDINGLY, the petition by the Republic of the Philippines to Canada and filed a petition for divorce. The Superior Court of
is GRANTED. The assailed Decision dated May 15, 2002, and Justice, Windsor,Ontario, Canada granted Gerberts petition for
Resolution dated July 4, 2002, of the Regional Trial Court of divorce on December 8, 2005. The divorce decree took effect a
Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Branch 23, are hereby SET ASIDE. month later, on January 8, 2006.[5]

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED. Two years after the divorce, Gerbert has moved on and has
found another Filipina to love. Desirous of marrying his new
Republic of the Philippines Filipina fiance in the Philippines, Gerbert went to the Pasig City
Supreme Court Civil Registry Office and registered the Canadian divorce decree
on his and Daisylyns marriage certificate. Despite the registration
Manila of the divorce decree, an official of the National Statistics Office
(NSO) informed Gerbert that the marriage between him and
Daisylyn still subsists under Philippine law; to be enforceable, the
foreign divorce decree must first be judicially recognized by a
competent Philippine court, pursuant to NSO Circular No. 4,
THIRD DIVISION series of 1982.[6]

Accordingly, Gerbert filed a petition for judicial recognition of


foreign divorce and/or declaration of marriage as
GERBERT R. CORPUZ, dissolved (petition) with the RTC.Although summoned, Daisylyn
G.R. No. 186571
did not file any responsive pleading but submitted instead a
Petitioner, notarized letter/manifestation to the trial court. She offered no
opposition to Gerberts petition and, in fact, alleged her desire to
Present:
file a similar case herself but was prevented by financial and
personal circumstances. She, thus, requested that she be
considered as a party-in-interest with a similar prayer to
CARPIO MORALES,
Gerberts.J., Chairperson,

BRION,

- versus - BERSAMIN, In its October 30, 2008 decision,[7] the RTC denied Gerberts
*ABAD, and
petition. The RTC concluded that Gerbert was not the proper
party to institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign
VILLARAMA, divorce
JR., JJ. decree as he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It ruled
that only the Filipino spouse can avail of the remedy, under the
second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code, [8] in order for
him or her to be able to remarry under Philippine law. [9] Article 26
of the Family Code reads:
Promulgated:

DAISYLYN TIROL STO. August 11, 2010 Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in
TOMAS and The accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were
SOLICITOR GENERAL, solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this
country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and
Respondents. -- -
(6), 36, 37 and 38.
x--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner


DECISION is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly
obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her
to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity
to remarry under Philippine law.
BRION, J.:

This conclusion, the RTC stated, is consistent with the legislative


intent behind the enactment of the second paragraph of Article
26 of the Family Code, as determined by the Court in Republic v.
Orbecido III;[10] the provision was enacted to avoid the absurd

53
situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her
spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the to remarry, the Filipino spouse shall likewise have capacity
Filipino spouse.[11] to remarry under Philippine law.

THE PETITION Through the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code,
EO 227 effectively incorporated into the law this Courts holding
in Van Dorn v. Romillo, Jr.[20]and Pilapil v. Ibay-Somera.[21] In
both cases, the Court refused to acknowledge the alien spouses
From the RTCs ruling,[12] Gerbert filed the present petition.[13]
assertion of marital rights after a foreign courts divorce decree
Gerbert asserts that his petition before the RTC is essentially for between the alien and the Filipino. The Court, thus, recognized
declaratory relief, similar to that filed in Orbecido; he, thus, that the foreign divorce had already severed the marital bond
similarly asks for a determination of his rights under the second between the spouses. The Court reasoned in Van Dorn v.
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code. Taking into account Romillo that:
the rationale behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
Family Code, he contends that the provision applies as well to
the benefit of the alien spouse. He claims that the RTC ruling To maintain x x x that, under our laws, [the Filipino spouse]
unduly stretched the doctrine in Orbecido by limiting the standing has to be considered still married to [the alien spouse] and
to file the petition only to the Filipino spouse an interpretation he still subject to a wife's obligations x x x cannot be just. [The
claims to be contrary to the essence of the second paragraph of Filipino spouse] should not be obliged to live together with,
Article 26 of the Family Code. He considers himself as a proper observe respect and fidelity, and render support to [the alien
party, vested with sufficient legal interest, to institute the case, as spouse]. The latter should not continue to be one of her heirs
there is a possibility that he might be prosecuted for bigamy if he with possible rights to conjugal property. She should not be
marries his Filipina fiance in the Philippines since two marriage discriminated against in her own country if the ends of
certificates, involving him, would be on file with the Civil Registry justice are to be served.[22]
Office. The Office of the Solicitor General and Daisylyn, in their
respective Comments,[14] both support Gerberts position.

Essentially, the petition raises the issue of whether the second As the RTC correctly stated, the provision was included in the
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code extends to aliens law to avoid the absurd situation where the Filipino spouse
the right to petition a court of this jurisdiction for the remains married to the alien spouse who, after obtaining a
recognition of a foreign divorce decree. divorce, is no longer married to the Filipino spouse. [23] The
legislative intent is for the benefit of the Filipino spouse, by
THE COURTS RULING clarifying his or her marital status, settling the doubts created by
the divorce decree. Essentially, the second paragraph of
Article 26 of the Family Code provided the Filipino spouse a
The alien spouse can claim no right under the second substantive right to have his or her marriage to the alien
paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code as the spouse considered as dissolved, capacitating him or her to
substantive right it establishes is in favor of the Filipino remarry.[24]Without the second paragraph of Article 26 of the
spouse Family Code, the judicial recognition of the foreign decree of
divorce, whether in a proceeding instituted precisely for that
purpose or as a related issue in another proceeding, would be of
no significance to the Filipino spouse since our laws do not
The resolution of the issue requires a review of the legislative
recognize divorce as a mode of severing the marital
history and intent behind the second paragraph of Article 26 of
bond;[25] Article 17 of the Civil Code provides that the policy
the Family Code.
against absolute divorces cannot be subverted by judgments
promulgated in a foreign country. The inclusion of the second
paragraph in Article 26 of the Family Code provides the direct
The Family Code recognizes only two types of defective exception to this rule and serves as basis for recognizing the
marriages void[15] and voidable[16] marriages. In both cases, the dissolution of the marriage between the Filipino spouse and his
basis for the judicial declaration of absolute nullity or annulment or her alien spouse.
of the marriage exists before or at the time of the
marriage. Divorce, on the other hand, contemplates the
dissolution of the lawful union for cause arising after the
Additionally, an action based on the second paragraph of Article
marriage.[17] Our family laws do not recognize absolute divorce
26 of the Family Code is not limited to the recognition of the
between Filipino citizens.[18]
foreign divorce decree. If the court finds that the decree
Recognizing the reality that divorce is a possibility in marriages capacitated the alien spouse to remarry, the courts can declare
between a Filipino and an alien, President Corazon C. Aquino, in that the Filipino spouse is likewise capacitated to contract
the exercise of her legislative powers under the Freedom another marriage.No court in this jurisdiction, however, can make
Constitution,[19] enacted Executive Order No. (EO) 227, a similar declaration for the alien spouse (other than that already
amending Article 26 of the Family Code to its present wording, as established by the decree), whose status and legal capacity are
follows: generally governed by his national law.[26]

Art. 26. All marriages solemnized outside the Philippines, in Given the rationale and intent behind the enactment, and the
accordance with the laws in force in the country where they were purpose of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family
solemnized, and valid there as such, shall also be valid in this Code, the RTC was correct in limiting the applicability of the
country, except those prohibited under Articles 35(1), (4), (5) and provision for the benefit of the Filipino spouse. In other words,
(6), 36, 37 and 38. only the Filipino spouse can invoke the second paragraph of
Article 26 of the Family Code; the alien spouse can claim no right
under this provision.

Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner


is validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly

54
copies attested by the officer having legal custody of the
documents. If the copies of official records are not kept in
The foreign divorce decree is presumptive evidence of a the Philippines, these must be (a) accompanied by a certificate
right that clothes the party with legal interest to petition for issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the
its recognition in this jurisdiction Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which
the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

We qualify our above conclusion i.e., that the second paragraph


of Article 26 of the Family Code bestows no rights in favor of The records show that Gerbert attached to his petition a copy of
aliens with the complementary statement that this conclusion is the divorce decree, as well as the required certificates proving its
not sufficient basis to dismiss Gerberts petition before the authenticity,[30] but failed to include a copy of the Canadian law
RTC. In other words, the unavailability of the second paragraph on divorce.[31] Under this situation, we can, at this point, simply
of Article 26 of the Family Code to aliens does not necessarily dismiss the petition for insufficiency of supporting evidence,
strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the RTC for the unless we deem it more appropriate to remand the case to the
recognition of his foreign divorce decree. The foreign divorce RTC to determine whether the divorce decree is consistent with
decree itself, after its authenticity and conformity with the aliens the Canadian divorce law.
national law have been duly proven according to our rules of
evidence, serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of
Gerbert, pursuant to Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court
which provides for the effect of foreign judgments. This Section We deem it more appropriate to take this latter course of action,
states: given the Article 26 interests that will be served and the Filipina
wifes (Daisylyns) obvious conformity with the petition. A remand,
at the same time, will allow other interested parties to oppose the
foreign judgment and overcome a petitioners presumptive
SEC. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders.The effect of evidence of a right by proving want of jurisdiction, want of notice
a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign country, to a party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or
having jurisdiction to render the judgment or final order is as fact. Needless to state, every precaution must be taken to ensure
follows: conformity with our laws before a recognition is made, as the
foreign judgment, once recognized, shall have the effect of res
judicata[32] between the parties, as provided in Section 48, Rule
(a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific 39 of the Rules of Court.[33]
thing, the judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title of
the thing; and
In fact, more than the principle of comity that is served by the
practice of reciprocal recognition of foreign judgments between
(b) In case of a judgment or final order against a nations, the res judicataeffect of the foreign judgments of divorce
person, the judgment or final order is presumptive evidence serves as the deeper basis for extending judicial recognition and
of a right as between the parties and their successors in for considering the alien spouse bound by its terms.This same
interest by a subsequent title. effect, as discussed above, will not obtain for the Filipino spouse
were it not for the substantive rule that the second paragraph of
Article 26 of the Family Code provides.
In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by
evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party,
collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Considerations beyond the recognition of the foreign
divorce decree

As a matter of housekeeping concern, we note that


To our mind, direct involvement or being the subject of the the Pasig City Civil Registry Office has already recorded the
foreign judgment is sufficient to clothe a party with the requisite divorce decree on Gerbert and Daisylyns marriage certificate
interest to institute an action before our courts for the recognition based on the mere presentation of the decree.[34] We consider
of the foreign judgment. In a divorce situation, we have declared, the recording to be legally improper; hence, the need to draw
no less, that the divorce obtained by an alien abroad may be attention of the bench and the bar to what had been done.
recognized in the Philippines, provided the divorce is valid
according to his or her national law.[27]
Article 407 of the Civil Code states that [a]cts, events and judicial
decrees concerning the civil status of persons shall be recorded
The starting point in any recognition of a foreign divorce in the civil register. The law requires the entry in the civil registry
judgment is the acknowledgment that our courts do not take of judicial decrees that produce legal consequences touching
judicial notice of foreign judgments and laws. Justice Herrera upon a persons legal capacity and status, i.e., those affecting all
explained that, as a rule, no sovereign is bound to give effect his personal qualities and relations, more or less permanent in
within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of nature, not ordinarily terminable at his own will, such as his being
another country.[28] This means that the foreign judgment and its legitimate or illegitimate, orhis being married or not.[35]
authenticity must be proven as facts under our rules on evidence,
together with the aliens applicable national law to show the effect
of the judgment on the alien himself or herself.[29] The recognition
A judgment of divorce is a judicial decree, although a foreign one,
may be made in an action instituted specifically for the purpose
affecting a persons legal capacity and status that must be
or in another action where a party invokes the foreign decree as
recorded. In fact, Act No. 3753 or the Law on Registry of Civil
an integral aspect of his claim or defense.
Status specifically requires the registration of divorce decrees in
the civil registry:

In Gerberts case, since both the foreign divorce decree and the
national law of the alien, recognizing his or her capacity to obtain
Sec. 1. Civil Register. A civil register is established for
a divorce, purport to be official acts of a sovereign authority,
recording the civil status of persons, in which shall be
Section 24, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court comes into play. This
entered:
Section requires proof, either by (1) official publications or (2)

55
proper proceeding, contemplated under the Rules of Court, for
the cancellation of entries in the civil registry.
(a) births;

(b) deaths;
Article 412 of the Civil Code declares that no entry in a civil
(c) marriages; register shall be changed or corrected, without judicial order. The
Rules of Court supplements Article 412 of the Civil Code by
(d) annulments of marriages;
specifically providing for a special remedial proceeding by which
(e) divorces; entries in the civil registry may be judicially cancelled or
corrected. Rule 108 of the Rules of Court sets in detail the
(f) legitimations; jurisdictional and procedural requirements that must be complied
with before a judgment, authorizing the cancellation or correction,
(g) adoptions;
may be annotated in the civil registry. It also requires, among
(h) acknowledgment of natural children; others, that the verified petition must be filed with the RTC of the
province where the corresponding civil registry is located;[38] that
(i) naturalization; and the civil registrar and all persons who have or claim any interest
must be made parties to the proceedings;[39] and that the time
(j) changes of name. and place for hearing must be published in a newspaper of
general circulation.[40] As these basic jurisdictional requirements
have not been met in the present case, we cannot consider the
xxxx petition Gerbert filed with the RTC as one filed under Rule 108 of
the Rules of Court.

Sec. 4. Civil Register Books. The local registrars shall keep and
preserve in their offices the following books, in which they shall, We hasten to point out, however, that this ruling should not be
respectively make the proper entries concerning the civil status of construed as requiring two separate proceedings for the
persons: registration of a foreign divorce decree in the civil registry one for
recognition of the foreign decree and another specifically for
cancellation of the entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of
Court. The recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be
(1) Birth and death register;
made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of special
proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is
precisely to establish the status or right of a party or a particular
(2) Marriage register, in which shall be entered not only the fact. Moreover, Rule 108 of the Rules of Court can serve as the
marriages solemnized but also divorces and dissolved appropriate adversarial proceeding[41] by which the applicability of
marriages. the foreign judgment can be measured and tested in terms of
jurisdictional infirmities, want of notice to the party, collusion,
fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
(3) Legitimation, acknowledgment, adoption, change of name
and naturalization register.
WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition for review on certiorari,
and REVERSE the October 30, 2008 decision of
the Regional Trial Court of LaoagCity, Branch 11, as well as
its February 17, 2009 order. We order the REMAND of the case
But while the law requires the entry of the divorce decree in the to the trial court for further proceedings in accordance with our
civil registry, the law and the submission of the decree by ruling above. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Civil
themselves do not ipso facto authorize the Registrar General. No costs.
decrees registration. The law should be read in relation with the
SO ORDERED.
requirement of a judicial recognition of the foreign judgment
before it can be given res judicata effect. In the context of the Republic of the Philippines
present case, no judicial order as yet exists recognizing the SUPREME COURT
foreign divorce decree. Thus, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office Manila
acted totally out of turn and without authority of law when it
annotated the Canadian divorce decree on Gerbert and SECOND DIVISION
Daisylyns marriage certificate, on the strength alone of the
foreign decree presented by Gerbert. G.R. No. 196049 June 26, 2013

MINORU FUJIKI, PETITIONER,


vs.
Evidently, the Pasig City Civil Registry Office was aware of the MARIA PAZ GALELA MARINAY, SHINICHI MAEKARA,
requirement of a court recognition, as it cited NSO Circular No. 4, LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF QUEZON CITY, AND THE
series of 1982,[36] and Department of Justice Opinion No. 181, ADMINISTRATOR AND CIVIL REGISTRAR GENERAL OF THE
series of 1982[37] both of which required a final order from a NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE,RESPONDENTS.
competent Philippine court before a foreign judgment, dissolving
a marriage, can be registered in the civil registry, but it, DECISION
nonetheless, allowed the registration of the decree. For being CARPIO, J.:
contrary to law, the registration of the foreign divorce decree
without the requisite judicial recognition is patently void and The Case
cannot produce any legal effect.
This is a direct recourse to this Court from the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 107, Quezon City, through a petition for
review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on a pure
Another point we wish to draw attention to is that the recognition question of law. The petition assails the Order 1 dated 31 January
that the RTC may extend to the Canadian divorce decree does 2011 of the RTC in Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 and its Resolution
not, by itself, authorize thecancellation of the entry in the civil
dated 2 March 2011 denying petitioner’s Motion for
registry. A petition for recognition of a foreign judgment is not the
Reconsideration. The RTC dismissed the petition for "Judicial

56
Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of Absolute Nullity between Marinay and Maekara as void on the ground of bigamy.
of Marriage)" based on improper venue and the lack of The petitioner contended that the Japanese judgment was
personality of petitioner, Minoru Fujiki, to file the petition. consistent with Article 35(4) of the Family Code of the
Philippines11on bigamy and was therefore entitled to recognition
The Facts by Philippine courts.12
Petitioner Minoru Fujiki (Fujiki) is a Japanese national who In any case, it was also Fujiki’s view that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
married respondent Maria Paz Galela Marinay (Marinay) in the applied only to void marriages under Article 36 of the Family
Philippines2 on 23 January 2004. The marriage did not sit well Code on the ground of psychological incapacity. 13 Thus, Section
with petitioner’s parents. Thus, Fujiki could not bring his wife to 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC provides that "a petition for
Japan where he resides. Eventually, they lost contact with each declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages may be filed
other. solely by the husband or the wife." To apply Section 2(a) in
bigamy would be absurd because only the guilty parties would be
In 2008, Marinay met another Japanese, Shinichi Maekara
permitted to sue. In the words of Fujiki, "[i]t is not, of course,
(Maekara). Without the first marriage being dissolved, Marinay
difficult to realize that the party interested in having a bigamous
and Maekara were married on 15 May 2008 in Quezon City,
marriage declared a nullity would be the husband in the prior,
Philippines. Maekara brought Marinay to Japan. However,
pre-existing marriage."14 Fujiki had material interest and therefore
Marinay allegedly suffered physical abuse from Maekara. She left
the personality to nullify a bigamous marriage.
Maekara and started to contact Fujiki.3
Fujiki argued that Rule 108 (Cancellation or Correction of Entries
Fujiki and Marinay met in Japan and they were able to
in the Civil Registry) of the Rules of Court is applicable. Rule 108
reestablish their relationship. In 2010, Fujiki helped Marinay
is the "procedural implementation" of the Civil Register Law (Act
obtain a judgment from a family court in Japan which declared
No. 3753)15 in relation to Article 413 of the Civil Code.16 The Civil
the marriage between Marinay and Maekara void on the ground
Register Law imposes a duty on the "successful petitioner for
of bigamy.4 On 14 January 2011, Fujiki filed a petition in the RTC
divorce or annulment of marriage to send a copy of the final
entitled: "Judicial Recognition of Foreign Judgment (or Decree of
decree of the court to the local registrar of the municipality where
Absolute Nullity of Marriage)." Fujiki prayed that (1) the Japanese
the dissolved or annulled marriage was solemnized." 17 Section 2
Family Court judgment be recognized; (2) that the bigamous
of Rule 108 provides that entries in the civil registry relating to
marriage between Marinay and Maekara be declared void ab
"marriages," "judgments of annulments of marriage" and
initio under Articles 35(4) and 41 of the Family Code of the
"judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning" are
Philippines;5 and (3) for the RTC to direct the Local Civil
subject to cancellation or correction. 18 The petition in the RTC
Registrar of Quezon City to annotate the Japanese Family Court
sought (among others) to annotate the judgment of the Japanese
judgment on the Certificate of Marriage between Marinay and
Family Court on the certificate of marriage between Marinay and
Maekara and to endorse such annotation to the Office of the
Maekara.
Administrator and Civil Registrar General in the National
Statistics Office (NSO).6 Fujiki’s motion for reconsideration in the RTC also asserted that
the trial court "gravely erred" when, on its own, it dismissed the
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
petition based on improper venue. Fujiki stated that the RTC may
A few days after the filing of the petition, the RTC immediately be confusing the concept of venue with the concept of
issued an Order dismissing the petition and withdrawing the case jurisdiction, because it is lack of jurisdiction which allows a court
from its active civil docket.7 The RTC cited the following to dismiss a case on its own. Fujiki cited Dacoycoy v.
provisions of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Intermediate Appellate Court19 which held that the "trial court
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02- cannot pre-empt the defendant’s prerogative to object to the
11-10-SC): improper laying of the venue by motu proprio dismissing the
case."20Moreover, petitioner alleged that the trial court should not
Sec. 2. Petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void have "immediately dismissed" the petition under Section 5 of
marriages. – A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC because he substantially complied with
the provision.
(a) Who may file. – A petition for declaration of absolute nullity of
void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or the wife. On 2 March 2011, the RTC resolved to deny petitioner’s motion
for reconsideration. In its Resolution, the RTC stated that A.M.
xxxx
No. 02-11-10-SC applies because the petitioner, in effect, prays
Sec. 4. Venue. – The petition shall be filed in the Family Court of for a decree of absolute nullity of marriage. 21 The trial court
the province or city where the petitioner or the respondent has reiterated its two grounds for dismissal, i.e. lack of personality to
been residing for at least six months prior to the date of filing, or sue and improper venue under Sections 2(a) and 4 of A.M. No.
in the case of a non-resident respondent, where he may be found 02-11-10-SC. The RTC considered Fujiki as a "third person" 22 in
in the Philippines, at the election of the petitioner. x x x the proceeding because he "is not the husband in the decree of
divorce issued by the Japanese Family Court, which he now
The RTC ruled, without further explanation, that the petition was seeks to be judicially recognized, x x x." 23 On the other hand, the
in "gross violation" of the above provisions. The trial court based RTC did not explain its ground of impropriety of venue. It only
its dismissal on Section 5(4) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC which said that "[a]lthough the Court cited Sec. 4 (Venue) x x x as a
provides that "[f]ailure to comply with any of the preceding ground for dismissal of this case[,] it should be taken together
requirements may be a ground for immediate dismissal of the with the other ground cited by the Court x x x which is Sec. 2(a) x
petition."8 Apparently, the RTC took the view that only "the x x."24
husband or the wife," in this case either Maekara or Marinay, can
file the petition to declare their marriage void, and not Fujiki. The RTC further justified its motu proprio dismissal of the petition
based on Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City,
Fujiki moved that the Order be reconsidered. He argued that Negros Occidental.25 The Court in Braza ruled that "[i]n a special
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC contemplated ordinary civil actions for proceeding for correction of entry under Rule 108 (Cancellation
declaration of nullity and annulment of marriage. Thus, A.M. No. or Correction of Entries in the Original Registry), the trial court
02-11-10-SC does not apply. A petition for recognition of foreign has no jurisdiction to nullify marriages x x x." 26 Braza emphasized
judgment is a special proceeding, which "seeks to establish a that the "validity of marriages as well as legitimacy and filiation
status, a right or a particular fact,"9 and not a civil action which is can be questioned only in a direct action seasonably filed by the
"for the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or proper party, and not through a collateral attack such as [a]
redress of a wrong."10 In other words, the petition in the RTC petition [for correction of entry] x x x."27
sought to establish (1) the status and concomitant rights of Fujiki
and Marinay as husband and wife and (2) the fact of the rendition The RTC considered the petition as a collateral attack on the
of the Japanese Family Court judgment declaring the marriage validity of marriage between Marinay and Maekara. The trial

57
court held that this is a "jurisdictional ground" to dismiss the anything she say might cause misunderstanding between her
petition.28 Moreover, the verification and certification against and Fujiki.46
forum shopping of the petition was not authenticated as required
under Section 529 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. Hence, this also The Issues
warranted the "immediate dismissal" of the petition under the
Petitioner raises the following legal issues:
same provision.
(1) Whether the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void
The Manifestation and Motion of the Office of the Solicitor
Marriages and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-
General and the Letters of Marinay and Maekara
11-10-SC) is applicable.
On 30 May 2011, the Court required respondents to file their
(2) Whether a husband or wife of a prior marriage can file a
comment on the petition for review.30 The public respondents, the
petition to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the subsequent
Local Civil Registrar of Quezon City and the Administrator and
marriage between his or her spouse and a foreign citizen on the
Civil Registrar General of the NSO, participated through the
ground of bigamy.
Office of the Solicitor General. Instead of a comment, the
Solicitor General filed a Manifestation and Motion.31 (3) Whether the Regional Trial Court can recognize the foreign
judgment in a proceeding for cancellation or correction of entries
The Solicitor General agreed with the petition. He prayed that the
in the Civil Registry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.
RTC’s "pronouncement that the petitioner failed to comply with x
x x A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC x x x be set aside" and that the case The Ruling of the Court
be reinstated in the trial court for further proceedings. 32 The
Solicitor General argued that Fujiki, as the spouse of the first We grant the petition.
marriage, is an injured party who can sue to declare the
The Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages
bigamous marriage between Marinay and Maekara void. The
Solicitor General cited Juliano-Llave v. Republic33 which held that and Annulment of Voidable Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC)
does not apply in a petition to recognize a foreign judgment
Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in cases of
bigamy. In Juliano-Llave, this Court explained: relating to the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a
citizen of a foreign country. Moreover, in Juliano-Llave v.
[t]he subsequent spouse may only be expected to take action if Republic,47 this Court held that the rule in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC
he or she had only discovered during the connubial period that that only the husband or wife can file a declaration of nullity or
the marriage was bigamous, and especially if the conjugal bliss annulment of marriage "does not apply if the reason behind the
had already vanished. Should parties in a subsequent marriage petition is bigamy."48
benefit from the bigamous marriage, it would not be expected
I.
that they would file an action to declare the marriage void and
thus, in such circumstance, the "injured spouse" who should be For Philippine courts to recognize a foreign judgment relating to
given a legal remedy is the one in a subsisting previous the status of a marriage where one of the parties is a citizen of a
marriage. The latter is clearly the aggrieved party as the foreign country, the petitioner only needs to prove the foreign
bigamous marriage not only threatens the financial and the judgment as a fact under the Rules of Court. To be more specific,
property ownership aspect of the prior marriage but most of all, it a copy of the foreign judgment may be admitted in evidence and
causes an emotional burden to the prior spouse. The subsequent proven as a fact under Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation
marriage will always be a reminder of the infidelity of the spouse to Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court.49 Petitioner may
and the disregard of the prior marriage which sanctity is prove the Japanese Family Court judgment through (1) an official
protected by the Constitution.34 publication or (2) a certification or copy attested by the officer
who has custody of the judgment. If the office which has custody
The Solicitor General contended that the petition to recognize the
is in a foreign country such as Japan, the certification may be
Japanese Family Court judgment may be made in a Rule 108
made by the proper diplomatic or consular officer of the
proceeding.35 In Corpuz v. Santo Tomas,36 this Court held that
Philippine foreign service in Japan and authenticated by the seal
"[t]he recognition of the foreign divorce decree may be made in a
of office.50
Rule 108 proceeding itself, as the object of special proceedings
(such as that in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court) is precisely to To hold that A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC applies to a petition for
establish the status or right of a party or a particular recognition of foreign judgment would mean that the trial court
fact."37 WhileCorpuz concerned a foreign divorce decree, in the and the parties should follow its provisions, including the form
present case the Japanese Family Court judgment also affected and contents of the petition,51 the service of summons,52 the
the civil status of the parties, especially Marinay, who is a Filipino investigation of the public prosecutor,53 the setting of pre-
citizen. trial,54 the trial55 and the judgment of the trial court.56 This is
absurd because it will litigate the case anew. It will defeat the
The Solicitor General asserted that Rule 108 of the Rules of
purpose of recognizing foreign judgments, which is "to limit
Court is the procedure to record "[a]cts, events and judicial
repetitive litigation on claims and issues." 57 The interpretation of
decrees concerning the civil status of persons" in the civil registry
the RTC is tantamount to relitigating the case on the merits.
as required by Article 407 of the Civil Code. In other words, "[t]he
In Mijares v. Rañada,58 this Court explained that "[i]f every
law requires the entry in the civil registry of judicial decrees that
judgment of a foreign court were reviewable on the merits, the
produce legal consequences upon a person’s legal capacity and
plaintiff would be forced back on his/her original cause of action,
status x x x."38 The Japanese Family Court judgment directly
rendering immaterial the previously concluded litigation." 59
bears on the civil status of a Filipino citizen and should therefore
be proven as a fact in a Rule 108 proceeding. A foreign judgment relating to the status of a marriage affects the
civil status, condition and legal capacity of its parties. However,
Moreover, the Solicitor General argued that there is no
the effect of a foreign judgment is not automatic. To extend the
jurisdictional infirmity in assailing a void marriage under Rule
effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines, Philippine courts
108, citing De Castro v. De Castro39 and Niñal v.
40 must determine if the foreign judgment is consistent with
Bayadog which declared that "[t]he validity of a void marriage
domestic public policy and other mandatory laws. 60 Article 15 of
may be collaterally attacked."41
the Civil Code provides that "[l]aws relating to family rights and
Marinay and Maekara individually sent letters to the Court to duties, or to the status, condition and legal capacity of persons
comply with the directive for them to comment on the are binding upon citizens of the Philippines, even though living
petition.42 Maekara wrote that Marinay concealed from him the abroad." This is the rule of lex nationalii in private international
fact that she was previously married to Fujiki. 43Maekara also law. Thus, the Philippine State may require, for effectivity in the
denied that he inflicted any form of violence on Marinay.44 On the Philippines, recognition by Philippine courts of a foreign judgment
other hand, Marinay wrote that she had no reason to oppose the affecting its citizen, over whom it exercises personal jurisdiction
petition.45 She would like to maintain her silence for fear that relating to the status, condition and legal capacity of such citizen.

58
A petition to recognize a foreign judgment declaring a marriage Fujiki has the personality to file a petition to recognize the
void does not require relitigation under a Philippine court of the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the marriage between
case as if it were a new petition for declaration of nullity of Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamy because the
marriage. Philippine courts cannot presume to know the foreign judgment concerns his civil status as married to Marinay. For the
laws under which the foreign judgment was rendered. They same reason he has the personality to file a petition under Rule
cannot substitute their judgment on the status, condition and 108 to cancel the entry of marriage between Marinay and
legal capacity of the foreign citizen who is under the jurisdiction Maekara in the civil registry on the basis of the decree of the
of another state. Thus, Philippine courts can only recognize the Japanese Family Court.
foreign judgment as a fact according to the rules of evidence.
There is no doubt that the prior spouse has a personal and
Section 48(b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court provides that a material interest in maintaining the integrity of the marriage he
foreign judgment or final order against a person creates a contracted and the property relations arising from it. There is also
"presumptive evidence of a right as between the parties and their no doubt that he is interested in the cancellation of an entry of a
successors in interest by a subsequent title." Moreover, Section bigamous marriage in the civil registry, which compromises the
48 of the Rules of Court states that "the judgment or final order public record of his marriage. The interest derives from the
may be repelled by evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of substantive right of the spouse not only to preserve (or dissolve,
notice to the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or in limited instances68) his most intimate human relation, but also
fact." Thus, Philippine courts exercise limited review on foreign to protect his property interests that arise by operation of law the
judgments. Courts are not allowed to delve into the merits of a moment he contracts marriage.69 These property interests in
foreign judgment. Once a foreign judgment is admitted and marriage include the right to be supported "in keeping with the
proven in a Philippine court, it can only be repelled on grounds financial capacity of the family"70 and preserving the property
external to its merits, i.e. , "want of jurisdiction, want of notice to regime of the marriage.71
the party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact." The
rule on limited review embodies the policy of efficiency and the Property rights are already substantive rights protected by the
protection of party expectations,61 as well as respecting the Constitution,72 but a spouse’s right in a marriage extends further
jurisdiction of other states.62 to relational rights recognized under Title III ("Rights and
Obligations between Husband and Wife") of the Family
Since 1922 in Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee,63 Philippine courts Code.73 A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC cannot "diminish, increase, or
have recognized foreign divorce decrees between a Filipino and modify" the substantive right of the spouse to maintain the
a foreign citizen if they are successfully proven under the rules of integrity of his marriage.74 In any case, Section 2(a) of A.M. No.
evidence.64 Divorce involves the dissolution of a marriage, but 02-11-10-SC preserves this substantive right by limiting the
the recognition of a foreign divorce decree does not involve the personality to sue to the husband or the wife of the union
extended procedure under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC or the rules of recognized by law.
ordinary trial. While the Philippines does not have a divorce law,
Philippine courts may, however, recognize a foreign divorce Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not preclude a
decree under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family spouse of a subsisting marriage to question the validity of a
Code, to capacitate a Filipino citizen to remarry when his or her subsequent marriage on the ground of bigamy. On the contrary,
foreign spouse obtained a divorce decree abroad.65 when Section 2(a) states that "[a] petition for declaration of
absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the
There is therefore no reason to disallow Fujiki to simply prove as husband or the wife"75—it refers to the husband or the wife of
a fact the Japanese Family Court judgment nullifying the the subsisting marriage. Under Article 35(4) of the Family Code,
marriage between Marinay and Maekara on the ground of bigamous marriages are void from the beginning. Thus, the
bigamy. While the Philippines has no divorce law, the Japanese parties in a bigamous marriage are neither the husband nor the
Family Court judgment is fully consistent with Philippine public wife under the law. The husband or the wife of the prior
policy, as bigamous marriages are declared void from the subsisting marriage is the one who has the personality to file a
beginning under Article 35(4) of the Family Code. Bigamy is a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage under
crime under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus, Fujiki Section 2(a) of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC.
can prove the existence of the Japanese Family Court judgment
in accordance with Rule 132, Sections 24 and 25, in relation to Article 35(4) of the Family Code, which declares bigamous
Rule 39, Section 48(b) of the Rules of Court. marriages void from the beginning, is the civil aspect of Article
349 of the Revised Penal Code,76 which penalizes bigamy.
II. Bigamy is a public crime. Thus, anyone can initiate prosecution
for bigamy because any citizen has an interest in the prosecution
Since the recognition of a foreign judgment only requires proof of and prevention of crimes.77If anyone can file a criminal action
fact of the judgment, it may be made in a special proceeding for which leads to the declaration of nullity of a bigamous
cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry under Rule marriage,78 there is more reason to confer personality to sue on
108 of the Rules of Court. Rule 1, Section 3 of the Rules of Court the husband or the wife of a subsisting marriage. The prior
provides that "[a] special proceeding is a remedy by which a spouse does not only share in the public interest of prosecuting
party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a particular fact." and preventing crimes, he is also personally interested in the
Rule 108 creates a remedy to rectify facts of a person’s life which purely civil aspect of protecting his marriage.
are recorded by the State pursuant to the Civil Register Law or
Act No. 3753. These are facts of public consequence such as When the right of the spouse to protect his marriage is violated,
birth, death or marriage,66 which the State has an interest in the spouse is clearly an injured party and is therefore interested
recording. As noted by the Solicitor General, in Corpuz v. Sto. in the judgment of the suit.79 Juliano-Llave ruled that the prior
Tomas this Court declared that "[t]he recognition of the foreign spouse "is clearly the aggrieved party as the bigamous marriage
divorce decree may be made in a Rule 108 proceeding itself, as not only threatens the financial and the property ownership
the object of special proceedings (such as that in Rule 108 of the aspect of the prior marriage but most of all, it causes an
Rules of Court) is precisely to establish the status or right of a emotional burden to the prior spouse." 80 Being a real party in
party or a particular fact."67 interest, the prior spouse is entitled to sue in order to declare a
bigamous marriage void. For this purpose, he can petition a court
Rule 108, Section 1 of the Rules of Court states: to recognize a foreign judgment nullifying the bigamous marriage
and judicially declare as a fact that such judgment is effective in
Sec. 1. Who may file petition. — Any person interested in
the Philippines. Once established, there should be no more
any act, event, order or decree concerning the civil status of
impediment to cancel the entry of the bigamous marriage in the
persons which has been recorded in the civil register, may
civil registry.
file a verified petition for the cancellation or correction of any
entry relating thereto, with the Regional Trial Court of the III.
province where the corresponding civil registry is located.
(Emphasis supplied)

59
In Braza v. The City Civil Registrar of Himamaylan City, Negros Code is based on this Court’s decision in Van Dorn v.
Occidental, this Court held that a "trial court has no jurisdiction to Romillo90 which declared that the Filipino spouse "should not be
nullify marriages" in a special proceeding for cancellation or discriminated against in her own country if the ends of justice are
correction of entry under Rule 108 of the Rules of Court.81 Thus, to be served."91
the "validity of marriage[] x x x can be questioned only in a direct
action" to nullify the marriage.82 The RTC relied on Braza in The principle in Article 26 of the Family Code applies in a
dismissing the petition for recognition of foreign judgment as a marriage between a Filipino and a foreign citizen who obtains a
collateral attack on the marriage between Marinay and Maekara. foreign judgment nullifying the marriage on the ground of bigamy.
The Filipino spouse may file a petition abroad to declare the
Braza is not applicable because Braza does not involve a marriage void on the ground of bigamy. The principle in the
recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code applies
where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. because the foreign spouse, after the foreign judgment nullifying
the marriage, is capacitated to remarry under the laws of his or
To be sure, a petition for correction or cancellation of an entry in her country. If the foreign judgment is not recognized in the
the civil registry cannot substitute for an action to invalidate a Philippines, the Filipino spouse will be discriminated—the foreign
marriage. A direct action is necessary to prevent circumvention of spouse can remarry while the Filipino spouse cannot remarry.
the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under the
Family Code, A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC and other related laws. Under the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code,
Among these safeguards are the requirement of proving the Philippine courts are empowered to correct a situation where the
limited grounds for the dissolution of Filipino spouse is still tied to the marriage while the foreign
marriage,83 support pendente lite of the spouses and spouse is free to marry. Moreover, notwithstanding Article 26 of
children,84 the liquidation, partition and distribution of the the Family Code, Philippine courts already have jurisdiction to
properties of the spouses,85 and the investigation of the public extend the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines to the
prosecutor to determine collusion.86 A direct action for declaration extent that the foreign judgment does not contravene domestic
of nullity or annulment of marriage is also necessary to prevent public policy. A critical difference between the case of a foreign
circumvention of the jurisdiction of the Family Courts under the divorce decree and a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
Family Courts Act of 1997 (Republic Act No. 8369), as a petition marriage is that bigamy, as a ground for the nullity of marriage, is
for cancellation or correction of entries in the civil registry may be fully consistent with Philippine public policy as expressed in
filed in the Regional Trial Court "where the corresponding civil Article 35(4) of the Family Code and Article 349 of the Revised
registry is located."87 In other words, a Filipino citizen cannot Penal Code. The Filipino spouse has the option to undergo full
dissolve his marriage by the mere expedient of changing his trial by filing a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage under
entry of marriage in the civil registry. A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, but this is not the only remedy available
to him or her. Philippine courts have jurisdiction to recognize a
However, this does not apply in a petition for correction or foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage, without
cancellation of a civil registry entry based on the recognition of a prejudice to a criminal prosecution for bigamy.
foreign judgment annulling a marriage where one of the parties is
a citizen of the foreign country. There is neither circumvention of In the recognition of foreign judgments, Philippine courts are
the substantive and procedural safeguards of marriage under incompetent to substitute their judgment on how a case was
Philippine law, nor of the jurisdiction of Family Courts under R.A. decided under foreign law. They cannot decide on the "family
No. 8369. A recognition of a foreign judgment is not an action to rights and duties, or on the status, condition and legal capacity"
nullify a marriage. It is an action for Philippine courts to recognize of the foreign citizen who is a party to the foreign judgment. Thus,
the effectivity of a foreign judgment, which presupposes a case Philippine courts are limited to the question of whether to extend
which was already tried and decided under foreign law. The the effect of a foreign judgment in the Philippines. In a foreign
procedure in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC does not apply in a petition judgment relating to the status of a marriage involving a citizen of
to recognize a foreign judgment annulling a bigamous marriage a foreign country, Philippine courts only decide whether to extend
where one of the parties is a citizen of the foreign country. its effect to the Filipino party, under the rule of lex
Neither can R.A. No. 8369 define the jurisdiction of the foreign nationalii expressed in Article 15 of the Civil Code.
court.
For this purpose, Philippine courts will only determine (1) whether
Article 26 of the Family Code confers jurisdiction on Philippine the foreign judgment is inconsistent with an overriding public
courts to extend the effect of a foreign divorce decree to a policy in the Philippines; and (2) whether any alleging party is
Filipino spouse without undergoing trial to determine the validity able to prove an extrinsic ground to repel the foreign judgment,
of the dissolution of the marriage. The second paragraph of i.e. want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party, collusion,
Article 26 of the Family Code provides that "[w]here a marriage fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. If there is neither
between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated inconsistency with public policy nor adequate proof to repel the
and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien judgment, Philippine courts should, by default, recognize the
spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the Filipino spouse foreign judgment as part of the comity of nations. Section 48(b),
shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine law." InRepublic Rule 39 of the Rules of Court states that the foreign judgment is
v. Orbecido,88 this Court recognized the legislative intent of the already "presumptive evidence of a right between the parties."
second paragraph of Article 26 which is "to avoid the absurd Upon recognition of the foreign judgment, this right becomes
situation where the Filipino spouse remains married to the alien conclusive and the judgment serves as the basis for the
spouse who, after obtaining a divorce, is no longer married to the correction or cancellation of entry in the civil registry. The
Filipino spouse"89 under the laws of his or her country. The recognition of the foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous
second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code only marriage is a subsequent event that establishes a new status,
authorizes Philippine courts to adopt the effects of a foreign right and fact92 that needs to be reflected in the civil registry.
divorce decree precisely because the Philippines does not allow Otherwise, there will be an inconsistency between the recognition
divorce. Philippine courts cannot try the case on the merits of the effectivity of the foreign judgment and the public records in
because it is tantamount to trying a case for divorce. the Philippines.1âwphi1

The second paragraph of Article 26 is only a corrective measure However, the recognition of a foreign judgment nullifying a
to address the anomaly that results from a marriage between a bigamous marriage is without prejudice to prosecution for bigamy
Filipino, whose laws do not allow divorce, and a foreign citizen, under Article 349 of the Revised Penal Code. 93 The recognition
whose laws allow divorce. The anomaly consists in the Filipino of a foreign judgment nullifying a bigamous marriage is not a
spouse being tied to the marriage while the foreign spouse is free ground for extinction of criminal liability under Articles 89 and 94
to marry under the laws of his or her country. The correction is of the Revised Penal Code. Moreover, under Article 91 of the
made by extending in the Philippines the effect of the foreign Revised Penal Code, "[t]he term of prescription [of the crime of
divorce decree, which is already effective in the country where it bigamy] shall not run when the offender is absent from the
was rendered. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Philippine archipelago."

60
Since A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC is inapplicable, the Court no longer (3) It must be verified and accompanied by a certification against
sees the need to address the questions on venue and the forum shopping. The verification and certification must be signed
contents and form of the petition under Sections 4 and 5, personally by the petitioner. No petition may be filed solely by
respectively, of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC. counsel or through an attorney-in-fact.

WHEREFORE, we GRANT the petition. The Order dated 31 If the petitioner is in a foreign country, the verification and
January 2011 and the Resolution dated 2 March 2011 of the certification against forum shopping shall be authenticated by the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 107, Quezon City, in Civil Case No. duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy or legation,
Q-11-68582 are REVERSED andSET ASIDE. The Regional Trial consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular agent in said
Court is ORDERED to REINSTATE the petition for further country.
proceedings in accordance with this Decision.
(4) It shall be filed in six copies. The petitioner shall serve a copy
SO ORDERED. of the petition on the Office of the Solicitor General and the Office
of the City or Provincial Prosecutor, within five days from the date
Brion, Del Castillo, Perez, and Perlas-Bernabe, JJ., concur. of its filing and submit to the court proof of such service within the
same period.

Failure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be


a ground for immediate dismissal of the petition.
Footnotes
9
1 RULES OF COURT, Rule 1, Sec. 3(c). See rollo, pp. 55-56
Penned by Judge Jose L. Bautista Jr.
(Petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration).
2 In Pasay City, Metro Manila. 10 RULES OF COURT, Rule 1, Sec. 3(a).
3 See rollo, p. 88; Trial Family Court Decree No. 15 of 2009, 11 FAMILY CODE (E.O. No. 209 as amended), Art. 35. The
Decree of Absolute Nullity of Marriage between Maria Paz Galela
following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
Marinay and Shinichi Maekara dated 18 August 2010. Translated
by Yoshiaki Kurisu, Kurisu Gyoseishoshi Lawyer’s Office (see xxxx
rollo, p. 89).
(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under
4 Id. Article 41;
5FAMILY CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES (E.O. No. 209 as xxxx
amended):
12 Rollo, p. 56.
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
13FAMILY CODE, Art. 36. A marriage contracted by any party
xxxx who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of
(4) Those bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under
marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes
Article 41;
manifest only after its solemnization.
xxxx 14 Rollo, p. 68.
Art. 41. A marriage contracted by any person during subsistence 15 Enacted 26 November 1930.
of a previous marriage shall be null and void, unless before the
celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse had 16CIVIL CODE, Art. 413. All other matters pertaining to the
been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present registration of civil status shall be governed by special laws.
has a well-founded belief that the absent spouse was already
17
dead. In case of disappearance where there is danger of death Act No. 3753, Sec. 7. Registration of marriage. - All civil
under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 officers and priests or ministers authorized to solemnize
of the Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be marriages shall send a copy of each marriage contract
sufficient. solemnized by them to the local civil registrar within the time limit
specified in the existing Marriage Law.
6 Rollo, pp. 79-80.
In cases of divorce and annulment of marriage, it shall be the
7 The dispositive portion stated: duty of the successful petitioner for divorce or annulment of
marriage to send a copy of the final decree of the court to the
WHEREFORE, the instant case is hereby ordered DISMISSED
local civil registrar of the municipality where the dissolved or
and WITHDRAWN from the active civil docket of this Court. The
annulled marriage was solemnized.
RTC-OCC, Quezon City is directed to refund to the petitioner the
amount of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000) to be taken from the In the marriage register there shall be entered the full name and
Sheriff’s Trust Fund. address of each of the contracting parties, their ages, the place
8 and date of the solemnization of the marriage, the names and
Rollo, pp. 44-45. Section 5 of the Rule on Declaration of
addresses of the witnesses, the full name, address, and
Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of Voidable
relationship of the minor contracting party or parties or the person
Marriages (A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC) provides:
or persons who gave their consent to the marriage, and the full
Sec. 5. Contents and form of petition. – (1) The petition shall name, title, and address of the person who solemnized the
allege the complete facts constituting the cause of action. marriage.

(2) It shall state the names and ages of the common children of In cases of divorce or annulment of marriages, there shall be
the parties and specify the regime governing their property recorded the names of the parties divorced or whose marriage
relations, as well as the properties involved. was annulled, the date of the decree of the court, and such other
details as the regulations to be issued may require.
If there is no adequate provision in a written agreement between
18
the parties, the petitioner may apply for a provisional order for RULES OF COURT, Rule 108, Sec. 2. Entries subject to
spousal support, custody and support of common children, cancellation or correction. — Upon good and valid grounds, the
visitation rights, administration of community or conjugal following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or
property, and other matters similarly requiring urgent action. corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal
separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f)
judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g)

61
legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural (b) In case of a judgment or final order against a person, the
children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of judgment or final order is presumptive evidence of a right as
citizenship; (1) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of between the parties and their successors in interest by a
filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes subsequent title.
of name.
In either case, the judgment or final order may be repelled by
29 Section 5 of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC states in part: evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the party,
collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact.
Contents and form of petition. – x x x
50See RULES OF COURT, Rule 132, Sec. 24-25. See also
xxxx Corpuz v. Santo Tomas, supra note 36 at 282.
(3) It must be verified and accompanied by a certification against 51 A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, Sec. 5.
forum shopping. The verification and certification must be signed
52
personally by the petitioner. No petition may be filed solely by Id., Sec. 6.
counsel or through an attorney-in-fact.
53 Id., Sec. 9.
If the petitioner is in a foreign country, the verification and
54
certification against forum shopping shall be authenticated by the Id., Sec. 11-15.
duly authorized officer of the Philippine embassy or legation, 55 Id., Sec. 17-18.
consul general, consul or vice-consul or consular agent in said
country. 56 Id., Sec. 19 and 22-23.
xxxx 57
Mijares v. Rañada, 495 Phil. 372, 386 (2005) citing Eugene
Scoles & Peter Hay, Conflict of Laws 916 (2nd ed., 1982).
Failure to comply with any of the preceding requirements may be
a ground for immediate dismissal of the petition. 58 Id.
30 Resolution dated 30 May 2011. Rollo, p. 105. 59 Id. at 386.
31 Under Solicitor General Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz. 60 Civil Code, Art. 17. x x x
32Rollo, p. 137. The "Conclusion and Prayer" of the xxxx
"Manifestation and Motion (In Lieu of Comment)" of the Solicitor
General stated: Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and
those which have for their object public order, public policy and
In fine, the court a quo’s pronouncement that the petitioner failed good customs shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
to comply with the requirements provided in A.M. No. 02-11-10- judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions
SC should accordingly be set aside. It is, thus, respectfully agreed upon in a foreign country.
prayed that Civil Case No. Q-11-68582 be reinstated for further
61
proceedings. Mijares v. Rañada, supra note 57 at 386. "Otherwise known as
the policy of preclusion, it seeks to protect party expectations
Other reliefs, just and equitable under the premises are likewise resulting from previous litigation, to safeguard against the
prayed for. harassment of defendants, to insure that the task of courts not be
46
increased by never-ending litigation of the same disputes, and –
Id.
in a larger sense – to promote what Lord Coke in the Ferrer’s
47 Supra note 33. Case of 1599 stated to be the goal of all law: ‘rest and
quietness.’" (Citations omitted)
48 Supra note 33 at 655.
62 Mijares v. Rañada, supra note 57 at 382. "The rules of comity,
49 RULES OF COURT, Rule 132, Sec. 24. Proof of official utility and convenience of nations have established a usage
record. — The record of public documents referred to in among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts
paragraph (a) of Section 19, when admissible for any purpose, of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered
may be evidenced by an official publication thereof or by a copy efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different
attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or countries." (Citations omitted)
by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not kept in the
63
Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If 43 Phil. 43 (1922).
the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the 64Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, G.R. No. 186571, 11 August 2010, 628
certificate may be made by a secretary of the embassy or
SCRA 266, 280; Garcia v. Recio, 418 Phil. 723 (2001); Adong v.
legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent or
Cheong Seng Gee, supra.
by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in
the foreign country in which the record is kept, and authenticated 65 FAMILY CODE, Art. 26. x x x
by the seal of his office.
Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is
Sec. 25. What attestation of copy must state. — Whenever a validly celebrated and a divorce is thereafter validly obtained
copy of a document or record is attested for the purpose of abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry,
evidence, the attestation must state, in substance, that the copy the Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under
is a correct copy of the original, or a specific part thereof, as the Philippine law.
case may be. The attestation must be under the official seal of
the attesting officer, if there be any, or if he be the clerk of a court
66Act No. 3753, Sec. 1. Civil Register. — A civil register is
having a seal, under the seal of such court. established for recording the civil status of persons, in which shall
be entered: (a) births; (b) deaths; (c) marriages; (d) annulments
Rule 39, Sec. 48. Effect of foreign judgments or final orders. — of marriages; (e) divorces; (f) legitimations; (g) adoptions; (h)
The effect of a judgment or final order of a tribunal of a foreign acknowledgment of natural children; (i) naturalization; and (j)
country, having jurisdiction to render the judgment or final order, changes of name.
is as follows:
Cf. RULES OF COURT, Rule 108, Sec. 2. Entries subject to
(a) In case of a judgment or final order upon a specific thing, the cancellation or correction. — Upon good and valid grounds, the
judgment or final order is conclusive upon the title of the thing; following entries in the civil register may be cancelled or
and corrected: (a) births; (b) marriages; (c) deaths; (d) legal
separations; (e) judgments of annulments of marriage; (f)

62
judgments declaring marriages void from the beginning; (g) shall also provide for appropriate visitation rights of the other
legitimations; (h) adoptions; (i) acknowledgments of natural parent.
children; (j) naturalization; (k) election, loss or recovery of
citizenship; (1) civil interdiction; (m) judicial determination of Cf. RULES OF COURT, Rule 61.
filiation; (n) voluntary emancipation of a minor; and (o) changes 85FAMILY CODE, Art. 50. The effects provided for by
of name.
paragraphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of Article 43 and by Article 44
67 Corpuz v. Sto. Tomas, supra note 36 at 287. shall also apply in the proper cases to marriages which are
declared ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40
68 FAMILY CODE, Art. 35-67. and 45.
69 FAMILY CODE, Art. 74-148. The final judgment in such cases shall provide for the liquidation,
partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, the
70 FAMILY CODE, Art. 195 in relation to Art. 194. custody and support of the common children, and the delivery of
71 third presumptive legitimes, unless such matters had been
See supra note 69.
adjudicated in previous judicial proceedings.
72 CONSTITUTION, Art. III, Sec. 1: "No person shall be deprived
All creditors of the spouses as well as of the absolute community
of life, liberty, or property without due process of law x x x."
or the conjugal partnership shall be notified of the proceedings
73 FAMILY CODE, Art. 68-73. for liquidation.
74CONSTITUTION, Art. VIII, Sec. 5(5). The Supreme Court shall In the partition, the conjugal dwelling and the lot on which it is
have the following powers: situated, shall be adjudicated in accordance with the provisions
of Articles 102 and 129.
xxxx
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, Sec. 19. Decision.— (1) If the court
(5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein
of constitutional rights, pleading, practice, and procedure in all that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be
courts, the admission to the practice of law, the integrated bar, issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51
and legal assistance to the underprivileged. Such rules shall of the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on
provide a simplified and inexpensive procedure for the speedy Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of Properties.
disposition of cases, shall be uniform for all courts of the same
grade, and shall not diminish, increase, or modify xxxx
substantive rights. x x x 86FAMILY CODE, Art. 48. In all cases of annulment or
x x x x (Emphasis supplied) declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the Court shall order
the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on
75 Emphasis supplied. behalf of the State to take steps to prevent collusion between the
76
parties and to take care that evidence is not fabricated or
Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815, as amended), Art. 349.
suppressed.
Bigamy. - The penalty of prisión mayor shall be imposed upon
any person who shall contract a second or subsequent marriage In the cases referred to in the preceding paragraph, no judgment
before the former marriage has been legally dissolved, or before shall be based upon a stipulation of facts or confession of
the absent spouse has been declared presumptively dead by judgment.
means of a judgment rendered in the proper proceedings.
A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, Sec. 9. Investigation report of public
77See III RAMON AQUINO, THE REVISED PENAL CODE prosecutor. — (1) Within one month after receipt of the court
(1997), 518. order mentioned in paragraph (3) of Section 8 above, the public
78
prosecutor shall submit a report to the court stating whether the
RULES OF COURT, Rule 111, Sec. 1. Institution of criminal
parties are in collusion and serve copies thereof on the parties
and civil actions. — (a) When a criminal action is instituted, the
and their respective counsels, if any.
civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action (2) If the public prosecutor finds that collusion exists, he shall
unless the offended party waives the civil action, reserves the state the basis thereof in his report. The parties shall file their
right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to respective comments on the finding of collusion within ten days
the criminal action. from receipt of a copy of the report The court shall set the report
for hearing and if convinced that the parties are in collusion, it
xxxx
shall dismiss the petition.
79 Cf. RULES OF COURT, Rule 3, Sec. 2. Parties in interest. —
(3) If the public prosecutor reports that no collusion exists, the
A real party in interest is the party who stands to be benefited or
court shall set the case for pre-trial. It shall be the duty of the
injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the public prosecutor to appear for the State at the pre-trial.
avails of the suit. Unless otherwise authorized by law or these
Rules, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name 93 See RULES OF COURT, Rule 72, Sec. 2. Applicability of rules
of the real party in interest. of civil actions. — In the absence of special provisions, the rules
80
provided for in ordinary actions shall be, as far as practicable,
Juliano-Llave v. Republic, supra note 33.
applicable in special proceedings.
81 Supra note 25.
Rule 111, Sec. 2. When separate civil action is suspended. — x x
82 Supra note 25. x

83 See supra note 68. If the criminal action is filed after the said civil action has already
been instituted, the latter shall be suspended in whatever stage it
84 may be found before judgment on the merits. The suspension
FAMILY CODE, Art. 49. During the pendency of the action and
in the absence of adequate provisions in a written agreement shall last until final judgment is rendered in the criminal action.
between the spouses, the Court shall provide for the support of Nevertheless, before judgment on the merits is rendered in the
the spouses and the custody and support of their common civil action, the same may, upon motion of the offended party, be
children. The Court shall give paramount consideration to the consolidated with the criminal action in the court trying the
moral and material welfare of said children and their choice of the criminal action. In case of consolidation, the evidence already
parent with whom they wish to remain as provided to in Title IX. It adduced in the civil action shall be deemed automatically
reproduced in the criminal action without prejudice to the right of

63
the prosecution to cross-examine the witnesses presented by the because "the verification failed to state the basis of petitioners
offended party in the criminal case and of the parties to present averment that the allegations in the petition are true and correct."
additional evidence. The consolidated criminal and civil actions It was thus treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no
shall be tried and decided jointly. legal effect under Section 3, Rule 7, of the 1997
Rules.[3] However, upon motion of petitioners, this Court
During the pendency of the criminal action, the running of the reconsidered the dismissal and reinstated the petition for
period of prescription of the civil action which cannot be instituted review.[4]
separately or whose proceeding has been suspended shall be
tolled. The two marriages involved herein having been solemnized prior
to the effectivity of the Family Code (FC), the applicable law to
The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it extinction determine their validity is the Civil Code which was the law in
of the civil action. However, the civil action based on delict shall effect at the time of their celebration.[5] A valid marriage license is
be deemed extinguished if there is a finding in a final judgment in a requisite of marriage under Article 53 of the Civil Code,[6] the
the criminal action that the act or omission from which the civil absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio pursuant to
liability may arise did not exist. Article 80(3)[7] in relation to Article 58.[8] The requirement and
issuance of marriage license is the States demonstration of its
FIRST DIVISION
involvement and participation in every marriage, in the
maintenance of which the general public is interested.[9] This
interest proceeds from the constitutional mandate that the State
[G.R. No. 133778. March 14, 2000] recognizes the sanctity of family life and of affording protection to
the family as a basic "autonomous social
ENGRACE NIAL for Herself and as Guardian ad Litem of the
institution."[10] Specifically, the Constitution considers marriage as
minors BABYLINE NIAL, INGRID NIAL, ARCHIE NIAL &
an "inviolable social institution," and is the foundation of family
PEPITO NIAL, JR.,petitioners, vs. NORMA
life which shall be protected by the State. [11] This is why the
BAYADOG, respondent. Ncmmis
Family Code considers marriage as "a special contract of
DECISION permanent union"[12] and case law considers it "not just an
adventure but a lifetime commitment."[13]
YNARES_SANTIAGO, J.:
However, there are several instances recognized by the Civil
May the heirs of a deceased person file a petition for the Code wherein a marriage license is dispensed with, one of which
declaration of nullity of his marriage after his death? is that provided in Article 76,[14] referring to the marriage of a man
and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each
Pepito Nial was married to Teodulfa Bellones on September 26, other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period
1974. Out of their marriage were born herein petitioners. of at least five years before the marriage. The rationale why no
Teodulfa was shot by Pepito resulting in her death on April 24, license is required in such case is to avoid exposing the parties
1985. One year and 8 months thereafter or on December 11, to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the
1986, Pepito and respondent Norma Badayog got married scandalous cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due
without any marriage license. In lieu thereof, Pepito and Norma to the publication of every applicants name for a marriage
executed an affidavit dated December 11, 1986 stating that they license. The publicity attending the marriage license may
had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years and discourage such persons from legitimizing their status. [15] To
were thus exempt from securing a marriage license. On February preserve peace in the family, avoid the peeping and suspicious
19, 1997, Pepito died in a car accident. After their fathers death, eye of public exposure and contain the source of gossip arising
petitioners filed a petition for declaration of nullity of the marriage from the publication of their names, the law deemed it wise to
of Pepito to Norma alleging that the said marriage was void for preserve their privacy and exempt them from that
lack of a marriage license. The case was filed under the requirement. Sdaa miso
assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second marriage
would affect petitioners successional rights. Norma filed a motion There is no dispute that the marriage of petitioners father to
to dismiss on the ground that petitioners have no cause of action respondent Norma was celebrated without any marriage license.
since they are not among the persons who could file an action for In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit stating that "they have
"annulment of marriage" under Article 47 of the Family Code. attained the age of majority, and, being unmarried, have lived
together as husband and wife for at least five years, and that we
Judge Ferdinand J. Marcos of the Regional Trial Court of Toledo now desire to marry each other."[16] The only issue that needs to
City, Cebu, Branch 59, dismissed the petition after finding that be resolved pertains to what nature of cohabitation is
the Family Code is "rather silent, obscure, insufficient" to resolve contemplated under Article 76 of the Civil Code to warrant the
the following issues: counting of the five year period in order to exempt the future
spouses from securing a marriage license. Should it be a
(1) Whether or not plaintiffs have a cause of action against
cohabitation wherein both parties are capacitated to marry each
defendant in asking for the declaration of the nullity of marriage
other during the entire five-year continuous period or should it be
of their deceased father, Pepito G. Nial, with her specially so
a cohabitation wherein both parties have lived together and
when at the time of the filing of this instant suit, their father Pepito
exclusively with each other as husband and wife during the entire
G. Nial is already dead;
five-year continuous period regardless of whether there is a legal
(2) Whether or not the second marriage of plaintiffs deceased impediment to their being lawfully married, which impediment
father with defendant is null and void ab initio; may have either disappeared or intervened sometime during the
cohabitation period?
(3) Whether or not plaintiffs are estopped from assailing the
validity of the second marriage after it was dissolved due to their Working on the assumption that Pepito and Norma have lived
fathers death.[1] together as husband and wife for five years without the benefit of
marriage, that five-year period should be computed on the basis
Thus, the lower court ruled that petitioners should have filed the of a cohabitation as "husband and wife" where the only missing
action to declare null and void their fathers marriage to factor is the special contract of marriage to validate the union. In
respondent before his death, applying by analogy Article 47 of other words, the five-year common-law cohabitation period,
the Family Code which enumerates the time and the persons which is counted back from the date of celebration of marriage,
who could initiate an action for annulment of marriage. [2] Hence, should be a period of legal union had it not been for the absence
this petition for review with this Court grounded on a pure of the marriage. This 5-year period should be the years
question of law. Scnc m immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a
period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity meaning no
This petition was originally dismissed for non-compliance with
third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and
Section 11, Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and
continuity that is unbroken. Otherwise, if that continuous 5-year

64
cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether Contrary to respondent judges ruling, Article 47 of the Family
the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire Code[20] cannot be applied even by analogy to petitions for
five years, then the law would be sanctioning immorality and declaration of nullity of marriage. The second ground for
encouraging parties to have common law relationships and annulment of marriage relied upon by the trial court, which allows
placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully "the sane spouse" to file an annulment suit "at any time before
with their spouse. Marriage being a special relationship must be the death of either party" is inapplicable. Article 47 pertains to the
respected as such and its requirements must be strictly grounds, periods and persons who can file an annulment suit, not
observed. The presumption that a man and a woman deporting a suit for declaration of nullity of marriage. The Code is silent as
themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation to who can file a petition to declare the nullity of a marriage.
of the requirements of the law. The parties should not be afforded Voidable and void marriages are not identical. A marriage that is
any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later annulable is valid until otherwise declared by the court; whereas
use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape a marriage that is void ab initio is considered as having never to
ground to nullify their marriage. There should be no exemption have taken place[21] and cannot be the source of rights. The first
from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances can be generally ratified or confirmed by free cohabitation or
clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. It should be noted prescription while the other can never be ratified. A voidable
that a license is required in order to notify the public that two marriage cannot be assailed collaterally except in a direct
persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone proceeding while a void marriage can be attacked collaterally.
who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union Consequently, void marriages can be questioned even after the
of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar. [17] The death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only
Civil Code provides: during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either, in
which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the
Article 63: "x x x. This notice shall request all persons having marriage had been perfectly valid.[22] That is why the action or
knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to advice the local defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike voidable marriages
civil registrar thereof. x x x." where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable
marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack
Article 64: "Upon being advised of any alleged impediment to the
a void marriage. Void marriages have no legal effects except
marriage, the local civil registrar shall forthwith make an
those declared by law concerning the properties of the alleged
investigation, examining persons under oath. x x x" Sdaad
spouses, regarding co-ownership or ownership through actual
This is reiterated in the Family Code thus: joint contribution,[23] and its effect on the children born to such
void marriages as provided in Article 50 in relation to Article 43
Article 17 provides in part: "x x x. This notice shall request all and 44 as well as Article 51, 53 and 54 of the Family Code. On
persons having knowledge of any impediment to the marriage to the contrary, the property regime governing voidable marriages is
advise the local civil registrar thereof. x x x." generally conjugal partnership and the children conceived before
its annulment are legitimate. Sup rema
Article 18 reads in part: "x x x. In case of any impediment known
to the local civil registrar or brought to his attention, he shall note Contrary to the trial courts ruling, the death of petitioners father
down the particulars thereof and his findings thereon in the extinguished the alleged marital bond between him and
application for a marriage license. x x x." respondent. The conclusion is erroneous and proceeds from a
wrong premise that there was a marriage bond that was
This is the same reason why our civil laws, past or present,
dissolved between the two. It should be noted that their marriage
absolutely prohibited the concurrence of multiple marriages by
was void hence it is deemed as if it never existed at all and the
the same person during the same period. Thus, any marriage death of either extinguished nothing.
subsequently contracted during the lifetime of the first spouse
shall be illegal and void,[18] subject only to the exception in cases Jurisprudence under the Civil Code states that no judicial decree
of absence or where the prior marriage was dissolved or is necessary in order to establish the nullity of a marriage. [24] "A
annulled. The Revised Penal Code complements the civil law in void marriage does not require a judicial decree to restore the
that the contracting of two or more marriages and the having of parties to their original rights or to make the marriage void but
extramarital affairs are considered felonies, i.e., bigamy and though no sentence of avoidance be absolutely necessary, yet as
concubinage and adultery.[19] The law sanctions monogamy. well for the sake of good order of society as for the peace of mind
of all concerned, it is expedient that the nullity of the marriage
In this case, at the time of Pepito and respondents marriage, it
should be ascertained and declared by the decree of a court of
cannot be said that they have lived with each other as husband
competent jurisdiction."[25] "Under ordinary circumstances, the
and wife for at least five years prior to their wedding day. From
effect of a void marriage, so far as concerns the conferring of
the time Pepitos first marriage was dissolved to the time of his
legal rights upon the parties, is as though no marriage had ever
marriage with respondent, only about twenty months had
taken place. And therefore, being good for no legal purpose, its
elapsed. Even assuming that Pepito and his first wife had
invalidity can be maintained in any proceeding in which the fact
separated in fact, and thereafter both Pepito and respondent had
of marriage may be material, either direct or collateral, in any civil
started living with each other that has already lasted for five
court between any parties at any time, whether before or after the
years, the fact remains that their five-year period cohabitation
death of either or both the husband and the wife, and upon mere
was not the cohabitation contemplated by law. It should be in the
proof of the facts rendering such marriage void, it will be
nature of a perfect union that is valid under the law but rendered
disregarded or treated as non-existent by the courts." It is not like
imperfect only by the absence of the marriage contract. Pepito
a voidable marriage which cannot be collaterally attacked except
had a subsisting marriage at the time when he started cohabiting
in direct proceeding instituted during the lifetime of the parties so
with respondent. It is immaterial that when they lived with each
that on the death of either, the marriage cannot be impeached,
other, Pepito had already been separated in fact from his lawful
and is made good ab initio.[26] But Article 40 of the Family Code
spouse. The subsistence of the marriage even where there was
expressly provides that there must be a judicial declaration of the
actual severance of the filial companionship between the
nullity of a previous marriage, though void, before a party can
spouses cannot make any cohabitation by either spouse with any
enter into a second marriage[27] and such absolute nullity can be
third party as being one as "husband and wife". Scs daad
based only on a final judgment to that effect. [28] For the same
Having determined that the second marriage involved in this case reason, the law makes either the action or defense for the
is not covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage declaration of absolute nullity of marriage
license, it is void ab initio because of the absence of such imprescriptible.[29] Corollarily, if the death of either party would
element. extinguish the cause of action or the ground for defense, then the
same cannot be considered imprescriptible. Juris
The next issue to be resolved is: do petitioners have the
personality to file a petition to declare their fathers marriage void However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial
after his death? action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For

65
[14]
other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of Now Article 34, Family Code. Art. 76. No marriage license
heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, shall be necessary when a man and a woman who have attained
dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, the age of majority and who, being unmarried, have lived
the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit together as husband and wife for at least five years, desire to
not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the
essential to the determination of the case. This is without foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by
prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such law to administer oaths. The official, priest or minister who
need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he
even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause "on the took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the
basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void" contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the
in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final marriage.
judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage.
[15] Report of the Code Commission, p. 80.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Order of
[16]
the Regional Trial Court, Toledo City, Cebu, Branch 59, Rollo, p. 29.
dismissing Civil Case No. T-639, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. [17]
Articles 63 and 64, Civil Code; Article 17 and 18,
The said case is ordered REINSTATED.
Family Code.
SO ORDERED. [18]
Article 83, Civil Code provides "Any marriage subsequently
Davide, Jr., (Chairman), Puno, and Kapunan, JJ., concur. Sc juris contracted by any person during the lifetime of the first spouse of
such person with any person other than such first spouse shall
Pardo, J., on official business abroad. be illegal and void from its performance, unless:

(1) the first marriage was annulled or dissolved; or

(2) the first spouse had been absent for seven consecutive
[1] years."
The dispositive portion of the Order dated March 27, 1998
issued by Judge Ferdinand J. Marcos of Regional Trial Court
(RTC) - Branch 59, Toledo City, reads: "WHEREFORE, premises Article 41 of the Family Code reads: "A marriage contracted by
considered, defendants motion to dismiss is hereby granted and any person during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall
this instant case is hereby ordered dismissed without costs." (p. be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent
6; Rollo, p. 21). marriage, the prior spouse had been absent for four consecutive
years"
[2] Order, p. 4; Rollo, p. 19.
[19] Arts. 333 and 334, Revised Penal Code.
[3] Minute Resolution dated July 13, 1998; Rollo, p. 39.
[20]
Art. 47. The action for annulment of marriage must be filed by
[4] Minute Resolution dated October 7, 1998; Rollo, p. 50. the following persons and within the periods indicated herein:
[5] Tamano v. Ortiz, 291 SCRA 584 (1998). (1) For causes mentioned in number 1 of Article 45 by the party
whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within
[6]
Now Article 3, Family Code. Art. 53. No marriage shall be five years after attaining the age of twenty-one; or by the parent
solemnized unless all the requisites are complied with: or guardian or person having legal charge of the minor, at any
time before such party has reached the age of twenty-one;
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties; their consent, freely
given; (2) For causes mentioned in number 2 of Article 45, by the sane
spouse, who had no knowledge of the others insanity; or by any
(2) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
relative or guardian or person having legal charge of the insane,
(3) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional at any time before the death of either party, or by the insane
character. spouse during a lucid interval or after regaining sanity;

[7]
Now Article 4, Family Code. Art. 80. The following marriages (3) For causes mentioned in number 3 of Article 45, by the
shall be void from the beginning: injured party, within five years after the discovery of the fraud;

xxxxxxxxx (4) For causes mentioned in number 4 of Article 45, by the


injured party, within five years from the time the force,
(3) Those solemnized without a marriage license, save marriages intimidation or undue influence disappeared or ceased;
of exceptional character.

xxxxxxxxx
FIRST DIVISION
[8]
Art. 58. Save marriages of an exceptional character authorized
in Chapter 2 of this Title, but not those under article 75, no [A.M. No. MTJ-00-1329. March 8, 2001]
marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued
HERMINIA BORJA-MANZANO, petitioner, vs. JUDGE ROQUE
by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either
R. SANCHEZ, MTC, Infanta, Pangasinan, respondent.
contracting party habitually resides.
[9] RESOLUTION
Perido v. Perido, 63 SCRA 97 (1975).
[10] DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:
Section 12, Article II, 1987 Constitution; Hernandez v. CA, G.
R. No. 126010, December 8, 1999; See also Tuason v. CA, 256 The solemnization of a marriage between two contracting parties
SCRA 158 (1996). who were both bound by a prior existing marriage is the bone of
[11] contention of the instant complaint against respondent Judge
Section 2, Article XV (The Family), 1987 Constitution.
Roque R. Sanchez, Municipal Trial Court, Infanta, Pangasinan.
[12]
Article 1, Family Code provides: "Marriage is a special For this act, complainant Herminia Borja-Manzano charges
contract of permanent union between a man and a woman respondent Judge with gross ignorance of the law in a sworn
entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of Complaint-Affidavit filed with the Office of the Court Administrator
conjugal or family life. x x x. on 12 May 1999.
[13] Santos v. CA, 58 SCAD 17 (1995); 310 Phil. 21, 41 (1995). Complainant avers that she was the lawful wife of the late David
Manzano, having been married to him on 21 May 1966 in San

66
Gabriel Archangel Parish, Araneta Avenue, Caloocan City. [1] Four March 1993 and sworn to before respondent Judge himself,
children were born out of that marriage.[2] On 22 March 1993, David Manzano and Luzviminda Payao expressly stated the fact
however, her husband contracted another marriage with one of their prior existing marriage. Also, in their marriage contract, it
Luzviminda Payao before respondent Judge. [3]When respondent was indicated that both were separated.
Judge solemnized said marriage, he knew or ought to know that
the same was void and bigamous, as the marriage contract Respondent Judge knew or ought to know that a subsisting
clearly stated that both contracting parties were separated. previous marriage is a diriment impediment, which would make
the subsequent marriage null and void. [7] In fact, in his Comment,
Respondent Judge, on the other hand, claims in his Comment he stated that had he known that the late Manzano was married
that when he officiated the marriage between Manzano and he would have discouraged him from contracting another
Payao he did not know that Manzano was legally married.What marriage. And respondent Judge cannot deny knowledge of
he knew was that the two had been living together as husband Manzanos and Payaos subsisting previous marriage, as the
and wife for seven years already without the benefit of marriage, same was clearly stated in their separate affidavits which were
as manifested in their joint affidavit.[4] According to him, had he subscribed and sworn to before him.
known that the late Manzano was married, he would have
advised the latter not to marry again; otherwise, he (Manzano) The fact that Manzano and Payao had been living apart from
could be charged with bigamy. He then prayed that the complaint their respective spouses for a long time already is
be dismissed for lack of merit and for being designed merely to immaterial. Article 63(1) of the Family Code allows spouses who
harass him. have obtained a decree of legal separation to live separately from
each other, but in such a case the marriage bonds are not
After an evaluation of the Complaint and the Comment, the Court severed. Elsewise stated, legal separation does not dissolve the
Administrator recommended that respondent Judge be found marriage tie, much less authorize the parties to remarry. This
guilty of gross ignorance of the law and be ordered to pay a fine holds true all the more when the separation is merely de facto, as
of P2,000, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar in the case at bar.
act would be dealt with more severely.
Neither can respondent Judge take refuge on the Joint Affidavit
On 25 October 2000, this Court required the parties to manifest of David Manzano and Luzviminda Payao stating that they had
whether they were willing to submit the case for resolution on the been cohabiting as husband and wife for seven years.Just like
basis of the pleadings thus filed. Complainant answered in the separation, free and voluntary cohabitation with another person
affirmative. for at least five years does not severe the tie of a subsisting
previous marriage. Marital cohabitation for a long period of time
For his part, respondent Judge filed a Manifestation reiterating between two individuals who are legally capacitated to marry
his plea for the dismissal of the complaint and setting aside his each other is merely a ground for exemption from marriage
earlier Comment. He therein invites the attention of the Court to license. It could not serve as a justification for respondent Judge
two separate affidavits[5] of the late Manzano and of Payao, to solemnize a subsequent marriage vitiated by the impediment
which were allegedly unearthed by a member of his staff upon of a prior existing marriage.
his instruction. In those affidavits, both David Manzano and
Luzviminda Payao expressly stated that they were married to Clearly, respondent Judge demonstrated gross ignorance of the
Herminia Borja and Domingo Relos, respectively; and that since law when he solemnized a void and bigamous marriage. The
their respective marriages had been marked by constant maxim ignorance of the law excuses no one has special
quarrels, they had both left their families and had never application to judges,[8] who, under Rule 1.01 of the Code of
cohabited or communicated with their spouses Judicial Conduct, should be the embodiment of competence,
anymore. Respondent Judge alleges that on the basis of those integrity, and independence. It is highly imperative that judges be
affidavits, he agreed to solemnize the marriage in question in conversant with the law and basic legal principles. [9] And when
accordance with Article 34 of the Family Code. the law transgressed is simple and elementary, the failure to
know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. [10]
We find merit in the complaint.
ACCORDINGLY, the recommendation of the Court Administrator
Article 34 of the Family Code provides: is hereby ADOPTED, with the MODIFICATION that the amount
of fine to be imposed upon respondent Judge Roque Sanchez is
No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man and a
increased to P20,000.
woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at least
five years and without any legal impediment to marry each SO ORDERED.
other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an
affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer Republic of the Philippines
oaths. The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he SUPREME COURT
ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found Manila
no legal impediment to the marriage.
SECOND DIVISION
For this provision on legal ratification of marital cohabitation to
apply, the following requisites must concur: G.R. No. 160172 February 13, 2008

1. The man and woman must have been living together as REINEL ANTHONY B. DE CASTRO, petitioner,
husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage; vs.
ANNABELLE ASSIDAO-DE CASTRO, respondent.
2. The parties must have no legal impediment to marry each
other; DECISION

3. The fact of absence of legal impediment between the parties TINGA, J.:
must be present at the time of marriage;
This is a petition for review of the Decision 1 of the Court of
4. The parties must execute an affidavit stating that they have Appeals in CA-GR CV. No. 69166,2 declaring that (1) Reianna
lived together for at least five years [and are without legal Tricia A. De Castro is the legitimate child of the petitioner; and (2)
impediment to marry each other]; and that the marriage between petitioner and respondent is valid until
properly nullified by a competent court in a proceeding instituted
5. The solemnizing officer must execute a sworn statement that for that purpose.
he had ascertained the qualifications of the parties and that he
had found no legal impediment to their marriage. [6] The facts of the case, as culled from the records, follow.

Not all of these requirements are present in the case at bar. It is Petitioner and respondent met and became sweethearts in 1991.
significant to note that in their separate affidavits executed on 22 They planned to get married, thus they applied for a marriage

67
license with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Pasig City in Tricia A. De Castro, as the legitimate child of the appellant and
September 1994. They had their first sexual relation sometime in the appellee and (2) declaring the marriage on 13 March 1995
October 1994, and had regularly engaged in sex thereafter. between the appellant and the appellee valid until properly
When the couple went back to the Office of the Civil Registrar, annulled by a competent court in a proceeding instituted for that
the marriage license had already expired. Thus, in order to push purpose. Costs against the appellant.8
through with the plan, in lieu of a marriage license, they executed
an affidavit dated 13 March 1995 stating that they had been living Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, but the motion was
together as husband and wife for at least five years. The couple denied by the Court of Appeals.9 Hence this petition.
got married on the same date, with Judge Jose C. Bernabe,
Before us, petitioner contends that the trial court properly
presiding judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City,
annulled his marriage with respondent because as shown by the
administering the civil rites. Nevertheless, after the ceremony,
evidence and admissions of the parties, the marriage was
petitioner and respondent went back to their respective homes
celebrated without a marriage license. He stresses that the
and did not live together as husband and wife.
affidavit they executed, in lieu of a marriage license, contained a
On 13 November 1995, respondent gave birth to a child named false narration of facts, the truth being that he and respondent
Reinna Tricia A. De Castro. Since the child’s birth, respondent never lived together as husband and wife. The false affidavit
has been the one supporting her out of her income as a should never be allowed or admitted as a substitute to fill the
government dentist and from her private practice. absence of a marriage license.10 Petitioner additionally argues
that there was no need for the appearance of a prosecuting
On 4 June 1998, respondent filed a complaint for support against attorney in this case because it is only an ordinary action for
petitioner before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City (trial support and not an action for annulment or declaration of
court.3 In her complaint, respondent alleged that she is married to absolute nullity of marriage. In any case, petitioner argues that
petitioner and that the latter has "reneged on his the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the invalidity of their
responsibility/obligation to financially support her "as his wife and marriage since it was validly invoked as an affirmative defense in
Reinna Tricia as his child."4 the instant action for support. Citing several
authorities,11 petitioner claims that a void marriage can be the
Petitioner denied that he is married to respondent, claiming that subject of a collateral attack. Thus, there is no necessity to
their marriage is void ab initio since the marriage was facilitated institute another independent proceeding for the declaration of
by a fake affidavit; and that he was merely prevailed upon by nullity of the marriage between the parties. The refiling of another
respondent to sign the marriage contract to save her from case for declaration of nullity where the same evidence and
embarrassment and possible administrative prosecution due to parties would be presented would entail enormous expenses and
her pregnant state; and that he was not able to get parental anxieties, would be time-consuming for the parties, and would
advice from his parents before he got married. He also averred increase the burden of the courts. 12 Finally, petitioner claims that
that they never lived together as husband and wife and that he in view of the nullity of his marriage with respondent and his
has never seen nor acknowledged the child. vigorous denial of the child’s paternity and filiation, the Court of
Appeals gravely erred in declaring the child as his legitimate
In its Decision dated 16 October 2000,5 the trial court ruled that
child.
the marriage between petitioner and respondent is not valid
because it was solemnized without a marriage license. However, In a resolution dated 16 February 2004, the Court required
it declared petitioner as the natural father of the child, and thus respondent and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file
obliged to give her support. Petitioner elevated the case to the their respective comments on the petition.13
Court of Appeals, arguing that the lower court committed grave
abuse of discretion when, on the basis of mere belief and In her Comment,14 respondent claims that the instant petition is a
conjecture, it ordered him to provide support to the child when mere dilatory tactic to thwart the finality of the decision of the
the latter is not, and could not have been, his own child. Court of Appeals. Echoing the findings and rulings of the
appellate court, she argues that the legitimacy of their marriage
The Court of Appeals denied the appeal. Prompted by the rule cannot be attacked collaterally, but can only be repudiated or
that a marriage is presumed to be subsisting until a judicial contested in a direct suit specifically brought for that purpose.
declaration of nullity has been made, the appellate court declared With regard to the filiation of her child, she pointed out that
that the child was born during the subsistence and validity of the compared to her candid and straightforward testimony, petitioner
parties’ marriage. In addition, the Court of Appeals frowned upon was uncertain, if not evasive in answering questions about their
petitioner’s refusal to undergo DNA testing to prove the paternity sexual encounters. Moreover, she adds that despite the
and filiation, as well as his refusal to state with certainty the last challenge from her and from the trial court, petitioner strongly
time he had carnal knowledge with respondent, saying that objected to being subjected to DNA testing to prove paternity and
petitioner’s "forgetfulness should not be used as a vehicle to filiation.15
relieve him of his obligation and reward him of his being
irresponsible."6 Moreover, the Court of Appeals noted the For its part, the OSG avers that the Court of Appeals erred in
affidavit dated 7 April 1998 executed by petitioner, wherein he holding that it was improper for the trial court to declare null and
voluntarily admitted that he is the legitimate father of the child. void the marriage of petitioner and respondent in the action for
support. Citing the case of Niñal v. Bayadog,16 it states that
The appellate court also ruled that since this case is an action for courts may pass upon the validity of a marriage in an action for
support, it was improper for the trial court to declare the marriage support, since the right to support from petitioner hinges on the
of petitioner and respondent as null and void in the very same existence of a valid marriage. Moreover, the evidence presented
case. There was no participation of the State, through the during the proceedings in the trial court showed that the marriage
prosecuting attorney or fiscal, to see to it that there is no between petitioner and respondent was solemnized without a
collusion between the parties, as required by the Family Code in marriage license, and that their affidavit (of a man and woman
actions for declaration of nullity of a marriage. The burden of who have lived together and exclusively with each other as
proof to show that the marriage is void rests upon petitioner, but husband and wife for at least five years) was false. Thus, it
it is a matter that can be raised in an action for declaration of concludes the trial court correctly held that the marriage between
nullity, and not in the instant proceedings. The proceedings petitioner and respondent is not valid. 17 In addition, the OSG
before the trial court should have been limited to the obligation of agrees with the findings of the trial court that the child is an
petitioner to support the child and his wife on the basis of the illegitimate child of petitioner and thus entitled to support. 18
marriage apparently and voluntarily entered into by petitioner and
respondent.7 The dispositive portion of the decision reads: Two key issues are presented before us. First, whether the trial
court had the jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Decision dated 16 between petitioner and respondent in an action for support and
October 2000, of the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, National second, whether the child is the daughter of petitioner.
Capital Judicial Region, Brach 70, in JDRC No. 4626,
is AFFIRMED with theMODIFICATIONS (1) declaring Reianna

68
Anent the first issue, the Court holds that the trial court had The Certificate of Live Birth29 of the child lists petitioner as the
jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage between father. In addition, petitioner, in an affidavit waiving additional tax
petitioner and respondent. The validity of a void marriage may be exemption in favor of respondent, admitted that he is the father of
collaterally attacked.19 Thus, in Niñal v. Bayadog, we held: the child, thus stating:

However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial 1. I am the legitimate father of REIANNA TRICIA A. DE CASTRO
action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For who was born on November 3, 1995 at Better Living, Parañaque,
other purposes, such as but not limited to determination of Metro Manila;30
heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate,
dissolution of property regime, or a criminal case for that matter, We are likewise inclined to agree with the following findings of
the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit the trial court:
not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is
That Reinna Tricia is the child of the respondent with the
essential to the determination of the case. This is without
petitioner is supported not only by the testimony of the latter, but
prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such
also by respondent’s own admission in the course of his
need arises, a final judgment of declaration of nullity is necessary
testimony wherein he conceded that petitioner was his former
even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause "on the
girlfriend. While they were sweethearts, he used to visit petitioner
basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void"
at the latter’s house or clinic. At times, they would go to a motel
in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final
to have sex. As a result of their sexual dalliances, petitioner
judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage.20
became pregnant which ultimately led to their marriage, though
Likewise, in Nicdao Cariño v. Yee Cariño,21 the Court ruled that it invalid, as earlier ruled. While respondent claims that he was
is clothed with sufficient authority to pass upon the validity of two merely forced to undergo the marriage ceremony, the pictures
marriages despite the main case being a claim for death benefits. taken of the occasion reveal otherwise (Exhs. "B," "B-1," to "B-3,"
Reiterating Niñal, we held that the Court may pass upon the "C," "C-1" and "C-2," "D," "D-1" and "D-2," "E," "E-1" and "E-2,"
validity of a marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to "F," "F-1" and "F-2," "G," "G-1" and "G-2" and "H," "H-1" to "H-3").
question the validity of said marriage, so long as it is essential to In one of the pictures (Exhs. "D," "D-1" and "D-2"), defendant is
the determination of the case. However, evidence must be seen putting the wedding ring on petitioner’s finger and in
adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of another picture (Exhs. "E," "E-1" and "E-2") respondent is seen in
grounds rendering such a marriage an absolute nullity.22 the act of kissing the petitioner.31

Under the Family Code, the absence of any of the essential or WHEREFORE, the petition is granted in part. The assailed
formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, whereas Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-GR CV
a defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the No. 69166 are SET ASIDE and the decision of the Regional Trial
marriage voidable.23 In the instant case, it is clear from the Court Branch 70 of Pasig City in JDRC No. 4626 dated 16
evidence presented that petitioner and respondent did not have a October 2000 is hereby REINSTATED.
marriage license when they contracted their marriage. Instead,
they presented an affidavit stating that they had been living
together for more than five years.24 However, respondent herself
in effect admitted the falsity of the affidavit when she was asked Footnotes
during cross-examination, thus—
1 Rollo, pp. 31-41.
ATTY. CARPIO:
2Captioned Annabelle Assidao–De Castro v. Reinel Anthony B.
Q But despite of (sic) the fact that you have not been living De Castro.
together as husband and wife for the last five years on or before
3
March 13, 1995, you signed the Affidavit, is that correct? The case was eventually raffled to Branch 70 of the Pasig RTC,
presided by Judge Pablito M. Rojas.
A Yes, sir.25
23 Family Code, Art. 4.
The falsity of the affidavit cannot be considered as a mere
24
irregularity in the formal requisites of marriage. The law Purportedly complying with Art. 34 of the Family Code, which
dispenses with the marriage license requirement for a man and a provides:
woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other
Art. 34. No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man
as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at
and woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at
least five years before the marriage. The aim of this provision is
least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each
to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation, shame and
other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an
embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous cohabitation of
affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.
persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every
The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he
applicant’s name for a marriage license.26 In the instant case,
ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found
there was no "scandalous cohabitation" to protect; in fact, there
no legal impediment to the marriage.
was no cohabitation at all. The false affidavit which petitioner and
respondent executed so they could push through with the 25 TSN, 18 February 2000, p. 20.
marriage has no value whatsoever; it is a mere scrap of paper.
26
They were not exempt from the marriage license requirement. Niñal v. Bayadog, 384 Phil. 661, 669 (2000), citing THE
Their failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders REPORT OF THE CODE COMMISSION, p. 80.
their marriage void ab initio.
27 Family Code, Art. 175.
Anent the second issue, we find that the child is petitioner’s
28
illegitimate daughter, and therefore entitled to support. Family Code, Art. 172.

Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the In the book Handbook on the Family Code of the Philippines by
same way and on the same evidence as legitimate Alicia V. Sempio-Diy, p. 246 (1988), the following were given as
children.27 Thus, one can prove illegitimate filiation through the examples of "other means allowed by the Rules of Court and
record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment, special laws:" (a) the baptismal certificate of the child ; (b) a
an admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a judicial admission; (c) the family bible wherein the name of the
private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent child is entered; (d) common reputation respecting pedigree; (e)
concerned, or the open and continuous possession of the status admission by silence; (f) testimonies of witnesses; and (g) other
of a legitimate child, or any other means allowed by the Rules of kinds of proof admissible under Rule 130.
Court and special laws.28

69
Subsequently, she filed an administrative complaint against Jose
with the Office of the Ombudsman, since Jose and Rufina were
Republic of the Philippines both employees of the National Statistics and Coordinating
SUPREME COURT Board.6 The Ombudsman found Jose administratively liable for
Manila disgraceful and immoral conduct, and meted out to him the
penalty of suspension from service for one year without
THIRD DIVISION
emolument.7
G.R. No. 175581 March 28, 2008
On 26 July 2000, the RTC rendered a Decision 8 dismissing the
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner, Complaint. It disposed:
vs.
JOSE A. DAYOT, Respondent. WHEREFORE, after a careful evaluation and analysis of the
evidence presented by both parties, this Court finds and so holds
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x that the [C]omplaint does not deserve a favorable consideration.
Accordingly, the above-entitled case is hereby ordered
G.R. No. 179474 DISMISSED with costs against [Jose].9
FELISA TECSON-DAYOT, Petitioner, The RTC ruled that from the testimonies and evidence
vs. presented, the marriage celebrated between Jose and Felisa on
JOSE A. DAYOT, Respondent. 24 November 1986 was valid. It dismissed Jose’s version of the
story as implausible, and rationalized that:
DECISION
Any person in his right frame of mind would easily suspect any
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
attempt to make him or her sign a blank sheet of paper. [Jose]
Before us are two consolidated petitions. G.R. No. 175581 and could have already detected that something was amiss, unusual,
G.R. No. 179474 are Petitions for Review under Rule 45 of the as they were at Pasay City Hall to get a package for [Felisa] but it
Rules of Court filed by the Republic of the Philippines and Felisa [was] he who was made to sign the pieces of paper for the
Tecson-Dayot (Felisa), respectively, both challenging the release of the said package. Another indirect suggestion that
Amended Decision1 of the Court of Appeals, dated 7 November could have put him on guard was the fact that, by his own
2006, in CA-G.R. CV No. 68759, which declared the marriage admission, [Felisa] told him that her brother would kill them if he
between Jose Dayot (Jose) and Felisa void ab initio. will not sign the papers. And yet it took him, more or less, three
months to "discover" that the pieces of paper that he signed was
The records disclose that on 24 November 1986, Jose and Felisa [sic] purportedly the marriage contract. [Jose] does not seem to
were married at the Pasay City Hall. The marriage was be that ignorant, as perceived by this Court, to be "taken in for a
solemnized by Rev. Tomas V. Atienza.2 In lieu of a marriage ride" by [Felisa.]
license, Jose and Felisa executed a sworn affidavit, 3 also dated
24 November 1986, attesting that both of them had attained the [Jose’s] claim that he did not consent to the marriage was belied
age of maturity, and that being unmarried, they had lived together by the fact that he acknowledged Felisa Tecson as his wife when
as husband and wife for at least five years. he wrote [Felisa’s] name in the duly notarized statement of
assets and liabilities he filled up on May 12, 1988, one year after
On 7 July 1993, Jose filed a Complaint 4 for Annulment and/or he discovered the marriage contract he is now claiming to be
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage with the Regional Trial Court sham and false. [Jose], again, in his company I.D., wrote the
(RTC), Biñan, Laguna, Branch 25. He contended that his name of [Felisa] as the person to be contacted in case of
marriage with Felisa was a sham, as no marriage ceremony was emergency. This Court does not believe that the only reason why
celebrated between the parties; that he did not execute the sworn her name was written in his company I.D. was because he was
affidavit stating that he and Felisa had lived as husband and wife residing there then. This is just but a lame excuse because if he
for at least five years; and that his consent to the marriage was really considers her not his lawfully wedded wife, he would have
secured through fraud. written instead the name of his sister.

In his Complaint, Jose gave his version of the events which led to When [Jose’s] sister was put into the witness stand, under oath,
his filing of the same. According to Jose, he was introduced to she testified that she signed her name voluntarily as a witness to
Felisa in 1986. Immediately thereafter, he came to live as a the marriage in the marriage certificate (T.S.N., page 25,
boarder in Felisa’s house, the latter being his landlady. Some November 29, 1996) and she further testified that the signature
three weeks later, Felisa requested him to accompany her to the appearing over the name of Jose Dayot was the signature of his
Pasay City Hall, ostensibly so she could claim a package sent to [sic] brother that he voluntarily affixed in the marriage contract
her by her brother from Saudi Arabia. At the Pasay City Hall, (page 26 of T.S.N. taken on November 29, 1996), and when she
upon a pre-arranged signal from Felisa, a man bearing three was asked by the Honorable Court if indeed she believed that
folded pieces of paper approached them. They were told that Felisa Tecson was really chosen by her brother she answered
Jose needed to sign the papers so that the package could be yes. The testimony of his sister all the more belied his claim that
released to Felisa. He initially refused to do so. However, Felisa his consent was procured through fraud.10
cajoled him, and told him that his refusal could get both of them
killed by her brother who had learned about their relationship. Moreover, on the matter of fraud, the RTC ruled that Jose’s
Reluctantly, he signed the pieces of paper, and gave them to the action had prescribed. It cited Article 87 11 of the New Civil Code
man who immediately left. It was in February 1987 when he which requires that the action for annulment of marriage must be
discovered that he had contracted marriage with Felisa. He commenced by the injured party within four years after the
alleged that he saw a piece of paper lying on top of the table at discovery of the fraud. Thus:
the sala of Felisa’s house. When he perused the same, he
That granting even for the sake of argument that his consent was
discovered that it was a copy of his marriage contract with Felisa.
obtained by [Felisa] through fraud, trickery and machinations, he
When he confronted Felisa, the latter feigned ignorance.
could have filed an annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage
In opposing the Complaint, Felisa denied Jose’s allegations and at the earliest possible opportunity, the time when he discovered
defended the validity of their marriage. She declared that they the alleged sham and false marriage contract. [Jose] did not take
had maintained their relationship as man and wife absent the any action to void the marriage at the earliest instance. x x x.12
legality of marriage in the early part of 1980, but that she had
Undeterred, Jose filed an appeal from the foregoing RTC
deferred contracting marriage with him on account of their age
Decision to the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated 11 August
difference.5 In her pre-trial brief, Felisa expounded that while her
2005, the Court of Appeals found the appeal to be without merit.
marriage to Jose was subsisting, the latter contracted marriage
The dispositive portion of the appellate court’s Decision reads:
with a certain Rufina Pascual (Rufina) on 31 August 1990. On 3
June 1993, Felisa filed an action for bigamy against Jose.

70
WHEREFORE, the Decision appealed from is AFFIRMED.13 In Niñal v. Bayadog, where the contracting parties to a marriage
solemnized without a marriage license on the basis of their
The Court of Appeals applied the Civil Code to the marriage affidavit that they had attained the age of majority, that being
between Jose and Felisa as it was solemnized prior to the unmarried, they had lived together for at least five (5) years and
effectivity of the Family Code. The appellate court observed that that they desired to marry each other, the Supreme Court ruled
the circumstances constituting fraud as a ground for annulment as follows:
of marriage under Article 8614 of the Civil Code did not exist in
the marriage between the parties. Further, it ruled that the action "x x x In other words, the five-year common-law cohabitation
for annulment of marriage on the ground of fraud was filed period, which is counted back from the date of celebration of
beyond the prescriptive period provided by law. The Court of marriage, should be a period of legal union had it not been for the
Appeals struck down Jose’s appeal in the following manner: absence of the marriage. This 5-year period should be the years
immediately before the day of the marriage and it should be a
Nonetheless, even if we consider that fraud or intimidation was period of cohabitation characterized by exclusivity – meaning no
employed on Jose in giving his consent to the marriage, the third party was involved at any time within the 5 years and
action for the annulment thereof had already prescribed. Article continuity – that is unbroken. Otherwise, if that continuous 5-year
87 (4) and (5) of the Civil Code provides that the action for cohabitation is computed without any distinction as to whether
annulment of marriage on the ground that the consent of a party the parties were capacitated to marry each other during the entire
was obtained by fraud, force or intimidation must be commenced five years, then the law would be sanctioning immorality and
by said party within four (4) years after the discovery of the fraud encouraging parties to have common law relationships and
and within four (4) years from the time the force or intimidation placing them on the same footing with those who lived faithfully
ceased. Inasmuch as the fraud was allegedly discovered by Jose with their spouse. Marriage being a special relationship must be
in February, 1987 then he had only until February, 1991 within respected as such and its requirements must be strictly
which to file an action for annulment of marriage. However, it was observed. The presumption that a man and a woman deporting
only on July 7, 1993 that Jose filed the complaint for annulment themselves as husband and wife is based on the approximation
of his marriage to Felisa.15 of the requirements of the law. The parties should not be afforded
any excuse to not comply with every single requirement and later
Likewise, the Court of Appeals did not accept Jose’s assertion
use the same missing element as a pre-conceived escape
that his marriage to Felisa was void ab initio for lack of a
ground to nullify their marriage. There should be no exemption
marriage license. It ruled that the marriage was solemnized
from securing a marriage license unless the circumstances
under Article 7616 of the Civil Code as one of exceptional
clearly fall within the ambit of the exception. It should be noted
character, with the parties executing an affidavit of marriage
that a license is required in order to notify the public that two
between man and woman who have lived together as husband
persons are about to be united in matrimony and that anyone
and wife for at least five years. The Court of Appeals concluded
who is aware or has knowledge of any impediment to the union
that the falsity in the affidavit to the effect that Jose and Felisa
of the two shall make it known to the local civil registrar.
had lived together as husband and wife for the period required by
Article 76 did not affect the validity of the marriage, seeing that Article 80(3) of the Civil Code provides that a marriage
the solemnizing officer was misled by the statements contained solemnized without a marriage license, save marriages of
therein. In this manner, the Court of Appeals gave credence to exceptional character, shall be void from the beginning.
the good-faith reliance of the solemnizing officer over the falsity Inasmuch as the marriage between Jose and Felisa is not
of the affidavit. The appellate court further noted that on the covered by the exception to the requirement of a marriage
dorsal side of said affidavit of marriage, Rev. Tomas V. Atienza, license, it is, therefore, void ab initio because of the absence of a
the solemnizing officer, stated that he took steps to ascertain the marriage license.21
ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and found
no legal impediment to their marriage. Finally, the Court of Felisa sought reconsideration of the Amended Decision, but to no
Appeals dismissed Jose’s argument that neither he nor Felisa avail. The appellate court rendered a Resolution 22 dated 10 May
was a member of the sect to which Rev. Tomas V. Atienza 2007, denying Felisa’s motion.
belonged. According to the Court of Appeals, Article 5617 of the
Civil Code did not require that either one of the contracting Meanwhile, the Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of
parties to the marriage must belong to the solemnizing officer’s the Solicitor General (OSG), filed a Petition for Review before
church or religious sect. The prescription was established only in this Court in G.R. No. 175581, praying that the Court of Appeals’
Article 718 of the Family Code which does not govern the parties’ Amended Decision dated 7 November 2006 be reversed and set
marriage. aside for lack of merit, and that the marriage between Jose and
Felisa be declared valid and subsisting. Felisa filed a separate
Differing with the ruling of the Court of Appeals, Jose filed a Petition for Review, docketed as G.R. No. 179474, similarly
Motion for Reconsideration thereof.1avvphi1 His central assailing the appellate court’s Amended Decision. On 1 August
opposition was that the requisites for the proper application of the 2007, this Court resolved to consolidate the two Petitions in the
exemption from a marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil interest of uniformity of the Court rulings in similar cases brought
Code were not fully attendant in the case at bar. In particular, before it for resolution.23
Jose cited the legal condition that the man and the woman must
have been living together as husband and wife for at least five The Republic of the Philippines propounds the following
years before the marriage. Essentially, he maintained that the arguments for the allowance of its Petition, to wit:
affidavit of marital cohabitation executed by him and Felisa was
I
false.
RESPONDENT FAILED TO OVERTHROW THE
The Court of Appeals granted Jose’s Motion for Reconsideration
PRESUMPTION OF THE VALIDITY OF HIS MARRIAGE TO
and reversed itself. Accordingly, it rendered an Amended
FELISA.
Decision, dated 7 November 2006, the fallo of which reads:
II
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated August 11, 2005 is
RECALLED and SET ASIDE and another one entered declaring RESPONDENT DID NOT COME TO THE COURT WITH CLEAN
the marriage between Jose A. Dayot and Felisa C. Tecson void HANDS AND SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO PROFIT FROM
ab initio. HIS OWN FRAUDULENT CONDUCT.
Furnish a copy of this Amended Decision to the Local Civil III
Registrar of Pasay City.19
RESPONDENT IS ESTOPPED FROM ASSAILING THE
In its Amended Decision, the Court of Appeals relied on the ruling LEGALITY OF HIS MARRIAGE FOR LACK OF MARRIAGE
of this Court in Niñal v. Bayadog,20 and reasoned that: LICEN[S]E.24

71
Correlative to the above, Felisa submits that the Court of Appeals marriage license did not make the marriage void. The rationale
misapplied Niñal.25 She differentiates the case at bar from Niñal for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil
by reasoning that one of the parties therein had an existing prior Code is that it is the authority granted by the State to the
marriage, a circumstance which does not obtain in her contracting parties, after the proper government official has
cohabitation with Jose. Finally, Felisa adduces that Jose only inquired into their capacity to contract marriage.32
sought the annulment of their marriage after a criminal case for
bigamy and an administrative case had been filed against him in Under the Civil Code, marriages of exceptional character are
order to avoid liability. Felisa surmises that the declaration of covered by Chapter 2, Title III, comprising Articles 72 to 79. To
nullity of their marriage would exonerate Jose from any liability. wit, these marriages are: (1) marriages in articulo mortis or at the
point of death during peace or war, (2) marriages in remote
For our resolution is the validity of the marriage between Jose places, (2) consular marriages,33 (3) ratification of marital
and Felisa. To reach a considered ruling on the issue, we shall cohabitation, (4) religious ratification of a civil marriage, (5)
jointly tackle the related arguments vented by petitioners Mohammedan or pagan marriages, and (6) mixed marriages. 34
Republic of the Philippines and Felisa.
The instant case pertains to a ratification of marital cohabitation
The Republic of the Philippines asserts that several under Article 76 of the Civil Code, which provides:
circumstances give rise to the presumption that a valid marriage
exists between Jose and Felisa. For her part, Felisa echoes the ART. 76. No marriage license shall be necessary when a man
claim that any doubt should be resolved in favor of the validity of and a woman who have attained the age of majority and who,
the marriage by citing this Court’s ruling in Hernandez v. Court of being unmarried, have lived together as husband and wife for at
Appeals.26 To buttress its assertion, the Republic points to the least five years, desire to marry each other. The contracting
affidavit executed by Jose and Felisa, dated 24 November 1986, parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any
attesting that they have lived together as husband and wife for at person authorized by law to administer oaths. The official, priest
least five years, which they used in lieu of a marriage license. It is or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an
the Republic’s position that the falsity of the statements in the affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other
affidavit does not affect the validity of the marriage, as the qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal
essential and formal requisites were complied with; and the impediment to the marriage.
solemnizing officer was not required to investigate as to whether
The reason for the law,35 as espoused by the Code Commission,
the said affidavit was legally obtained. The Republic opines that
is that the publicity attending a marriage license may discourage
as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that
such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from
the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be
legalizing their status.36
invalidated by the fact that the parties incorporated a fabricated
statement in their affidavit that they cohabited as husband and It is not contested herein that the marriage of Jose and Felisa
wife for at least five years. In addition, the Republic posits that was performed without a marriage license. In lieu thereof, they
the parties’ marriage contract states that their marriage was executed an affidavit declaring that "they have attained the age of
solemnized under Article 76 of the Civil Code. It also bears the maturity; that being unmarried, they have lived together as
signature of the parties and their witnesses, and must be husband and wife for at least five years; and that because of this
considered a primary evidence of marriage. To further fortify its union, they desire to marry each other." 37 One of the central
Petition, the Republic adduces the following documents: (1) issues in the Petition at bar is thus: whether the falsity of an
Jose’s notarized Statement of Assets and Liabilities, dated 12 affidavit of marital cohabitation, where the parties have in truth
May 1988 wherein he wrote Felisa’s name as his wife; (2) fallen short of the minimum five-year requirement, effectively
Certification dated 25 July 1993 issued by the Barangay renders the marriage void ab initio for lack of a marriage license.
Chairman 192, Zone ZZ, District 24 of Pasay City, attesting that
Jose and Felisa had lived together as husband and wife in said We answer in the affirmative.
barangay; and (3) Jose’s company ID card, dated 2 May 1988,
Marriages of exceptional character are, doubtless, the exceptions
indicating Felisa’s name as his wife.
to the rule on the indispensability of the formal requisite of a
The first assignment of error compels this Court to rule on the marriage license. Under the rules of statutory construction,
issue of the effect of a false affidavit under Article 76 of the Civil exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly38 but reasonably
Code. A survey of the prevailing rules is in order. construed.39 They extend only so far as their language fairly
warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the
It is beyond dispute that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was general provisions rather than the exception. 40 Where a general
celebrated on 24 November 1986, prior to the effectivity of the rule is established by statute with exceptions, the court will not
Family Code. Accordingly, the Civil Code governs their union. curtail the former or add to the latter by implication. 41 For the
Article 53 of the Civil Code spells out the essential requisites of exception in Article 76 to apply, it is a sine qua non thereto that
marriage as a contract: the man and the woman must have attained the age of majority,
and that, being unmarried, they have lived together as husband
ART. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these
and wife for at least five years.
requisites are complied with:
A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 leaves us with
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
no other expediency but to read the law as it is plainly written.
(2) Their consent, freely given; The exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only
to those who have lived together as husband and wife for at least
(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and five years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code, in no
ambiguous terms, places a minimum period requirement of five
(4) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional years of cohabitation. No other reading of the law can be had,
character. (Emphasis ours.) since the language of Article 76 is precise. The minimum
requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved
Article 5827 makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized
in the language of the law. For a marriage celebrated under
without a license first being issued by the local civil registrar of
Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with.
the municipality where either contracting party habitually resides,
It is embodied in the law not as a directory requirement, but as
save marriages of an exceptional character authorized by the
one that partakes of a mandatory character. It is worthy to
Civil Code, but not those under Article 75.28 Article 80(3)29 of the
mention that Article 76 also prescribes that the contracting
Civil Code makes it clear that a marriage performed without the
parties shall state the requisite facts 42 in an affidavit before any
corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more
person authorized by law to administer oaths; and that the
than the legitimate consequence flowing from the fact that the
official, priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also
license is the essence of the marriage contract.30 This is in stark
state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and
contrast to the old Marriage Law,31 whereby the absence of a

72
other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found fabric of the institution of marriage, we must be wary of deceptive
no legal impediment to the marriage. schemes that violate the legal measures set forth in our laws.

It is indubitably established that Jose and Felisa have not lived Similarly, we are not impressed by the ratiocination of the
together for five years at the time they executed their sworn Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by
affidavit and contracted marriage. The Republic admitted that the fact that the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a
Jose and Felisa started living together only in June 1986, or marriage not be invalidated by a fabricated statement that the
barely five months before the celebration of their marriage. 43 The parties have cohabited for at least five years as required by law.
Court of Appeals also noted Felisa’s testimony that Jose was The contrast is flagrant. The former is with reference to an
introduced to her by her neighbor, Teresita Perwel, sometime in irregularity of the marriage license, and not to the absence of
February or March 1986 after the EDSA Revolution. 44 The one. Here, there is no marriage license at all. Furthermore, the
appellate court also cited Felisa’s own testimony that it was only falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period
in June 1986 when Jose commenced to live in her house.45 of Jose and Felisa’s cohabitation, which would have qualified
their marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage
Moreover, it is noteworthy that the question as to whether they license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers to a
satisfied the minimum five-year requisite is factual in nature. A quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed
question of fact arises when there is a need to decide on the truth and attested to by the parties under oath. If the essential matter
or falsehood of the alleged facts.46Under Rule 45, factual findings in the sworn affidavit is a lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper,
are ordinarily not subject to this Court’s review.47 It is already without force and effect. Hence, it is as if there was no affidavit at
well-settled that: all.
The general rule is that the findings of facts of the Court of In its second assignment of error, the Republic puts forth the
Appeals are binding on this Court. A recognized exception to this argument that based on equity, Jose should be denied relief
rule is when the Court of Appeals and the trial court, or in this because he perpetrated the fabrication, and cannot thereby profit
case the administrative body, make contradictory findings. from his wrongdoing. This is a misplaced invocation. It must be
However, the exception does not apply in every instance that the stated that equity finds no room for application where there is a
Court of Appeals and the trial court or administrative body law.54 There is a law on the ratification of marital cohabitation,
disagree. The factual findings of the Court of Appeals remain which is set in precise terms under Article 76 of the Civil Code.
conclusive on this Court if such findings are supported by the Nonetheless, the authorities are consistent that the declaration of
record or based on substantial evidence.48 nullity of the parties’ marriage is without prejudice to their criminal
liability.55
Therefore, the falsity of the affidavit dated 24 November 1986,
executed by Jose and Felisa to exempt them from the The Republic further avers in its third assignment of error that
requirement of a marriage license, is beyond question. Jose is deemed estopped from assailing the legality of his
marriage for lack of a marriage license. It is claimed that Jose
We cannot accept the insistence of the Republic that the falsity of
and Felisa had lived together from 1986 to 1990, notwithstanding
the statements in the parties’ affidavit will not affect the validity of
Jose’s subsequent marriage to Rufina Pascual on 31 August
marriage, since all the essential and formal requisites were
1990, and that it took Jose seven years before he sought the
complied with. The argument deserves scant merit. Patently, it
declaration of nullity; hence, estoppel had set in.
cannot be denied that the marriage between Jose and Felisa was
celebrated without the formal requisite of a marriage license. This is erroneous. An action for nullity of marriage is
Neither did Jose and Felisa meet the explicit legal requirement in imprescriptible.56 Jose and Felisa’s marriage was celebrated
Article 76, that they should have lived together as husband and sans a marriage license. No other conclusion can be reached
wife for at least five years, so as to be excepted from the except that it is void ab initio. In this case, the right to impugn a
requirement of a marriage license. void marriage does not prescribe, and may be raised any time.
Anent petitioners’ reliance on the presumption of marriage, this Lastly, to settle all doubts, jurisprudence has laid down the rule
Court holds that the same finds no applicability to the case at bar. that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under Article
Essentially, when we speak of a presumption of marriage, it is 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of
with reference to the prima facie presumption that a man and a celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had
woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered it not been for the absence of a marriage. 57 It covers the years
into a lawful contract of marriage.49 Restated more explicitly, immediately preceding the day of the marriage, characterized by
persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, exclusivity - meaning no third party was involved at any time
in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to within the five years - and continuity that is unbroken.58
the case, to be in fact married.50 The present case does not
involve an apparent marriage to which the presumption still WHEREFORE, the Petitions are DENIED. The Amended
needs to be applied. There is no question that Jose and Felisa Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated 7 November 2006 in CA-
actually entered into a contract of marriage on 24 November G.R. CV No. 68759, declaring the marriage of Jose Dayot to
1986, hence, compelling Jose to institute a Complaint for Felisa Tecson-Dayot void ab initio, is AFFIRMED, without
Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, which prejudice to their criminal liability, if any. No costs.
spawned the instant consolidated Petitions.
SO ORDERED.
In the same vein, the declaration of the Civil Code 51 that every
intendment of law or fact leans towards the validity of marriage MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
will not salvage the parties’ marriage, and extricate them from the Associate Justice
effect of a violation of the law. The marriage of Jose and Felisa
WE CONCUR:
was entered into without the requisite marriage license or
compliance with the stringent requirements of a marriage under MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ
exceptional circumstance. The solemnization of a marriage Associate Justice
without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead Acting Chairperson
or could be used, at least, for the perpetration of fraud against
innocent and unwary parties, which was one of the evils that the PRESBITERO J.
DANTE O. TINGA*
law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite for VELASCO, JR.**
Associate Justice
a valid marriage.52 The protection of marriage as a sacred Associate Justice
institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine
union but the exposure of an invalid one as well. 53 To permit a RUBEN T. REYES
false affidavit to take the place of a marriage license is to allow Associate Justice
an abject circumvention of the law. If this Court is to protect the
ATTESTATION

73
I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached (4) For causes mentioned in Number 4, by the injured party,
in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the within four years after the discovery of the fraud;
opinion of the Court’s Division.
(5) For causes mentioned in Number 5, by the injured party,
MA. ALICIA AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ within four years from the time the force or intimidation ceased;
Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson, Third Division (6) For causes mentioned in Number 6, by the injured party,
within eight years after the marriage.
CERTIFICATION
12 Records, p. 322.
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the
13
Division Acting Chairperson’s attestation, it is hereby certified Rollo (G.R. No. 179474), p. 125.
that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in 14 ART. 86. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute
consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
fraud referred to in number 4 of the preceding article:
opinion of the Court’s Division.
(1) Misrepresentation as to the identity of one of the contracting
REYNATO S. PUNO
parties;
Chief Justice
(2) Nondisclosure of the previous conviction of the other party of
a crime involving moral turpitude, and the penalty imposed was
imprisonment for two years or more;
Footnotes
(3) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the
*Per Special Order No. 497, dated 14 March 2008, signed by marriage, she was pregnant by a man other than her husband;
Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno designating Associate Justice
No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, rank,
Dante O. Tinga to replace Associate Justice Consuelo Ynares-
fortune or chastity shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds
Santiago, who is on official leave under the Court’s Wellness
for action for the annulment of marriage.
Program and assigning Associate Justice Alicia Austria-Martinez
as Acting Chairperson. 15 Rollo (G.R. No. 179474), p. 122.
**
Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. was designated to sit as 16 ART. 76. No marriage license shall be necessary when a man
additional member replacing Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura and a woman who have attained the age of majority and who,
per Raffle dated 12 September 2007. being unmarried, have lived together as husband and wife for at
1
least five years, desire to marry each other. The contracting
Penned by Associate Justice Marina L. Buzon with Associate
parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any
Justices Mario L. Guariña III and Santiago Javier Ranada,
person authorized by law to administer oaths. The official, priest
concurring; rollo (G.R. No. 175581), pp. 65-70; rollo, (G.R. No.
or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an
179474), pp. 156-161.
affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other
2 Records, p. 170. qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal
impediment to the marriage.
3 Id.
17 ART. 56. Marriage may be solemnized by:
4 Id. at 1-8.
(1) The Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
5 Court;
The marriage contract shows that at the time of the celebration
of the parties’ marriage, Jose was 27 years old, while Felisa was
37. (2) The Presiding Justice and the Justices of the Court of
Appeals;
6The Administrative complaint before the Administrative
Adjudication Bureau of the Office of the Ombudsman was (3) Judges of the Courts of First Instance;
docketed as OMB-ADM-0-93-0466; Records, pp. 252-258.
(4) Mayors of cities and municipalities;
7 Id. at 257.
(5) Municipal judges and justices of the peace;
8 Id. at 313-323.
(6) Priests, rabbis, ministers of the gospel of any denomination,
9 Id. at 323. church, religion or sect, duly registered, as provided in Article 92;
and
10 Id. at 321-322.
(7) Ship captains, airplane chiefs, military commanders, and
11ART. 87. - The action for annulment of marriage must be consuls and vice-consuls in special cases provided in Articles 74
commenced by the parties and within the periods as follows: and 75.
18
(1) For causes mentioned in Number 1 of Article 85, by the party ART. 7. Marriage may be solemnized by:
whose parent or guardian did not give his or her consent, within
four years after attaining the age of twenty or eighteen years, as (1) Any incumbent member of the judiciary within the court’s
the case may be; or by the parent or guardian or person having jurisdiction;
legal charge, at any time before such party has arrived at the age
(2) Any priest, rabbi, imam, or minister of any church or religious
of twenty or eighteen years;
sect duly authorized by his church or religious sect and
(2) For causes mentioned in Number 2 of Article 85, by the registered with the civil registrar general, acting within the limits
spouse who has been absent, during his or her lifetime; or by of the written authority granted him by his church or religious sect
either spouse of the subsequent marriage during the lifetime of and provided that at least one of the contracting parties belongs
the other; to the solemnizing officer's church or religious sect;

(3) For causes mentioned in Number 3 of Article 85, by the sane (3) Any ship captain or airplane chief only in the cases mentioned
spouse, who had no knowledge of the other's insanity; or by any in Article 31;
relative or guardian of the party of unsound mind, at any time
(4) Any military commander of a unit to which a chaplain is
before the death of either party;
assigned, in the absence of the latter, during a military operation,
likewise only in the cases mentioned in Article 32; or

74
39
(5) Any consul-general, consul or vice-consul in the case Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Court of Appeals, 363
provided in Article 10. Phil. 130, 137 (1999).
26 40
377 Phil. 919 (1999). Id.
27 41
ART. 58. Save marriages of an exceptional character Id. citing Samson v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-43182, 25
authorized in Chapter 2 of this Title, but not those under Article November 1986, 145 SCRA 654, 659.
75, no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being
42
issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either The first part of Article 76 states, "No marriage license shall be
contracting party habitually resides. necessary when a man and a woman who have attained the age
of majority and who, being unmarried, have lived together as
28ART. 75. Marriages between Filipino citizens abroad may be husband and wife for at least five years, desire to marry each
solemnized by consuls and vice-consuls of the Republic of the other x x x."
Philippines. The duties of the local civil registrar and of a judge or
43
justice of the peace or mayor with regard to the celebration of Rollo (G.R. No. 175581), p. 38.
marriage shall be performed by such consuls and vice-consuls. 44Rollo (G.R. No. 179474), p. 158, citing TSN (Civil Case No. B-
29ART. 80. The following marriages shall be void from the 4143), 15 April 1999.
beginning: 45 Id. at 159.
xxxx 46First Dominion Resources Corporation v. Peñaranda, G.R. No.
(3) Those solemnized without a marriage license, save marriages 166616, 27 January 2006, 480 SCRA 504, 508.
of exceptional character. 47Civil Service Commission v. Ledesma, G.R. No. 154521, 30
30People v. De Lara, No. 12583-R, 14 February 1955, 51 O.G. September 2005, 471 SCRA 589, 605.
4079, 4082. 48 Id.
31The Marriage Law, otherwise known as Act No. 3613, requires 49 Vda. de Jacob v. Court of Appeals, 371 Phil. 693, 708 (1999).
the following essential requisites: (1) legal capacity of the
contracting parties; and (2) their mutual consent. 50 Id.
32Report of the Code Commission, pp. 79-80; see also Ambrosio 51 ART. 220. In case of doubt, all presumptions favor the
Padilla, Civil Code Annotated, 1956 Edition, Vol. I, p. 195. solidarity of the family. Thus, every intendment of law or fact
33
leans toward the validity of marriage, the indissolubility of the
Must be read with Article 58 of the Civil Code which provides:
marriage bonds, the legitimacy of children, the community of
ART. 58. Save marriages of an exceptional character authorized property during marriage, the authority of parents over their
in Chapter 2 of this Title, but not those under Article 75, no children, and the validity of defense for any member of the family
marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued in case of unlawful aggression.
by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either 52 People v. De Lara, supra note 30 at 4083.
contracting party habitually resides.
53
34
Malcampo-Sin v. Sin, 407 Phil. 583, 588 (2001).
Edgardo L. Paras, Civil Code of the Philippines Annotated
(1984 Eleventh Ed.), pp. 302-310. 54Salavarria v. Letran College, 357 Phil. 189, 196 (1998);
35
Aparente, Sr. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 387 Phil.
In Niñal v. Bayadog (supra note 20 at 668-669), this Court
96, 108 (2000).
articulated the spirit behind Article 76 of the Civil Code, thus:
55 Supra note 33 at 306. Alicia V. Sempio-Diy in A Handbook on
"However, there are several instances recognized by the Civil
the Family Code of the Philippines (1995 Ed., p. 38) wrote that "If
Code wherein a marriage license is dispensed with, one of which
the parties falsify their affidavit in order to have an instant
is that provided in Article 76, referring to the marriage of a man
marriage, although the truth is that they have not been cohabiting
and a woman who have lived together and exclusively with each
for five years, their marriage will be void for lack of a marriage
other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period
license, and they will also be criminally liable." Article 76 of the
of at least five years before the marriage. The rationale why no
Civil Code is now Article 34 of the Family Code, which reads:
license is required in such case is to avoid exposing the parties
to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the ART. 34. No license shall be necessary for the marriage of a man
scandalous cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife for at
to the publication of every applicant’s name for a marriage least five years and without any legal impediment to marry each
license. The publicity attending the marriage license may other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an
discourage such persons from legitimizing their status. To affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.
preserve peace in the family, avoid the peeping and suspicious The solemnizing officer shall also state under oath that he
eye of public exposure and contain the source of gossip arising ascertained the qualifications of the contracting parties and found
from the publication of their names, the law deemed it wise to no legal impediment to the marriage.
preserve their privacy and exempt them from that requirement."
Republic of the Philippines
36 The Report of the Code Commission states that "No marriage
license shall be necessary when a man and a woman who have Supreme Court
attained the age of majority and who, being unmarried, have lived
Manila
together as husband and wife for at least five years desire to
marry each other. In such case, the publicity attending a THIRD DIVISION
marriage license may discourage such persons from legalizing
their status," Report of the Code Commission, p. 80. JUAN DE DIOS CARLOS, G.R. No. 179922
37Records, p. 49. The affidavit was denominated by the parties Petitioner,
as an "Affidavit on (sic) Marriage Between Man and Woman Who
Haved (sic) Lived Together as Husband and Wife for at Least Present:
Five Years."
38 Benedicto v. Court of Appeals, 416 Phil. 722, 744 (2001).
- versus - YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,

75
Chairperson,

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, A parcel of land (Lot No. 159-B), being a portion of Lot 159,
situated in the Bo. of
FELICIDAD SANDOVAL, also CHICO-NAZARIO, Alabang, Municipality of Muntinlupa, Province of Rizal, x x x
known as FELICIDAD S. VDA. NACHURA, and containing an area of Thirteen Thousand Four Hundred Forty
One (13,441) square meters.
DE CARLOS or FELICIDAD REYES, JJ.

SANDOVAL CARLOS or

FELICIDAD SANDOVAL VDA.


Parcel No. 3
DE CARLOS, and TEOFILO Promulgated:

CARLOS II,
A parcel of land (Lot 159-B-2 of the subd. plan [LRC] Psd-
Respondents. December 16, 2008 325903, approved as a non-subd. project), being a portion
of Lot 159-B [LRC] Psd- Alabang, Mun. of Muntinlupa,
Metro Manila, Island of Luzon. Bounded on the NE, points 2 to 4
by Lot 155, Muntinlupa Estate; on the SE, point 4 to 5 by Lot 159-
x----------------------------------------------
B-5; on the S, points 5 to 1 by Lot 159-B-3; on the W, points 1 to
----x
2 by Lot 159-B-1 (Road widening) all of the subd. plan,
containing an area of ONE HUNDRED THIRTY (130) SQ.
METERS, more or less.
DECISION
PARCEL No. 4
REYES, R.T., J.:
A parcel of land (Lot 28-C of the subd. plan Psd-13-007090,
ONLY a spouse can initiate an action to sever the marital bond being a portion of Lot 28, Muntinlupa Estate, L.R.C. Rec. No.
for marriages solemnized during the effectivity of the Family 6137), situated in the Bo. of Alabang, Mun. of Muntinlupa,
Code, except cases commenced prior to March 15, 2003. The Metro Manila. Bounded on the NE, along lines 1-2 by Lot 27,
nullity and annulment of a marriage cannot be declared in a Muntinlupa Estate; on the East & SE, along lines 2 to 6 by
judgment on the pleadings, summary judgment, or confession of Mangangata River; and on the West., along line 6-1, by Lot 28-B
judgment. of the subd. plan x x x containing an area
of ONE THUSAND AND SEVENTY-SIX (1,076) SQUARE
METERS.
We pronounce these principles as We review on certiorari the PARCEL No. 5
Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) which reversed and set
aside the summary judgment[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
in an action for declaration of nullity of marriage, status of a child,
recovery of property, reconveyance, sum of money, and PARCELA DE TERRENO No. 50, Manzana No. 18, de la subd.
damages. de Solocan. Linda por el NW, con la parcela 49; por el NE, con la
parcela 36; por el SE, con la parcela 51; y por el SW, con la calle
Dos Castillas. Partiendo de un punto marcado 1 en el plano, el
cual se halla a S. gds. 01'W, 72.50 mts. Desde el punto 1 de esta
The Facts manzana, que es un mojon de concreto de la Ciudad de Manila,
situado on el esquina E. que forman las Calles Laong Laan y
Dos. Castillas, continiendo un extension superficial de CIENTO
The events that led to the institution of the instant suit are CINCUENTA (150) METROS CUADRADOS.
unveiled as follows:

Spouses Felix B. Carlos and Felipa Elemia died intestate. They


PARCEL No. 6
left six parcels of land to their compulsory heirs, Teofilo Carlos
and petitioner Juan De Dios Carlos. The lots are particularly
described as follows:
PARCELA DE TERRENO No. 51, Manzana No. 18, de la subd.
De Solocon. Linda por el NW, con la parcela 50; por el NE, con
la parcela 37; por el SE, con la parcela 52; por el SW, con la
Parcel No. 1
Calle Dos Castillas. Partiendo de un punto Marcado 1 en el
plano, el cual se halla at S. 43 gds. 01'E, 82.50 mts. Desde el
punto 1 de esta manzana, que es un mojon de concreto de la
Lot No. 162 of the MUNTINLUPA ESTATE SUBDIVISION, Case Ciudad de Manila, situado on el esquina E. que forman las Calles
No. 6137 of the Court of Land Registration. Laong Laan y Dos. Castillas, continiendo una extension
superficial de CIENTO CINCUENTA (150) METROS
CUADRADOS.[3]
Exemption from the provisions of Article 567 of the Civil Code is
specifically reserved.
During the lifetime of Felix Carlos, he agreed to transfer his
estate to Teofilo. The agreement was made in order to avoid the
Area: 1 hectare, 06 ares, 07 centares. payment of inheritance taxes.Teofilo, in turn, undertook to deliver
and turn over the share of the other legal heir, petitioner Juan
De Dios Carlos.

Parcel No. 2

76
Eventually, the first three (3) parcels of land were transferred and the sums received by respondents as proceeds, should be
registered in the name of Teofilo. These three (3) lots are now reconveyed to him.
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 234824 issued
by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City; TCT No. 139061 issued
by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City; and TCTNo. 139058
Finally, petitioner claimed indemnification as and by way of moral
issued by the Registry of Deeds of Makati City.
and exemplary damages, attorneys fees, litigation expenses, and
costs of suit.

Parcel No. 4 was registered in the name of petitioner. The lot is


now covered by TCT No. 160401 issued by the Registry of
On October 16, 1995, respondents submitted their answer. They
Deeds of Makati City.
denied the material averments of petitioners complaint.
Respondents contended that the dearth of details regarding the
requisite marriage license did not invalidate Felicidads marriage
On May 13, 1992, Teofilo died intestate. He was survived by to Teofilo. Respondents declared that Teofilo II was the
respondents Felicidad and their son, Teofilo Carlos II (Teofilo illegitimate child of the deceased Teofilo Carlos with another
II). Upon Teofilos death, Parcel Nos. 5 & 6 were registered in the woman.
name of respondent Felicidad and co-respondent, Teofilo II. The
said two (2) parcels of land are covered by TCT Nos. 219877 and
210878, respectively, issued by the Registry of Deeds of Manila.
On the grounds of lack of cause of action and lack of jurisdiction
over the subject matter, respondents prayed for the dismissal of
the case before the trial court. They also asked that their
In 1994, petitioner instituted a suit against respondents before counterclaims for moral and exemplary damages, as well as
the RTC in Muntinlupa City, docketed as Civil Case No. 94- attorneys fees, be granted.
1964. In the said case, the parties submitted and caused the
approval of a partial compromise agreement. Under the
compromise, the parties acknowledged their respective shares in
But before the parties could even proceed to pre-trial,
the proceeds from the sale of a portion of the first parcel of
respondents moved for summary judgment. Attached to the
land. This includes the remaining 6,691-square-meter portion of
motion was the affidavit of the justice of the peace who
said land.
solemnized the marriage. Respondents also submitted the
Certificate of Live Birth of respondent Teofilo II. In the certificate,
the late Teofilo Carlos and respondent Felicidad were designated
On September 17, 1994, the parties executed a deed of as parents.
extrajudicial partition, dividing the remaining land of the first
parcel between them.
On January 5, 1996, petitioner opposed the motion for summary
judgment on the ground of irregularity of the contract evidencing
Meanwhile, in a separate case entitled Rillo v. Carlos,[4] 2,331 the marriage. In the same breath, petitioner lodged his own
square meters of the second parcel of land were adjudicated in motion for summary judgment. Petitioner presented a certification
favor of plaintiffs Rillo. The remaining 10,000-square meter from the Local Civil Registrar of Calumpit, Bulacan, certifying that
portion was later divided between petitioner and respondents. there is no record of birth of respondent Teofilo II.

The division was incorporated in a supplemental compromise Petitioner also incorporated in the counter-motion for summary
agreement executed on August 17, 1994, with respect to Civil judgment the testimony of respondent Felicidad in another
Case No. 94-1964. The parties submitted the supplemental case. Said testimony was made in Civil Case No. 89-2384,
compromise agreement, which was approved accordingly. entitled Carlos v. Gorospe, before the RTC Branch 255, Las
Pias. In her testimony, respondent Felicidad narrated that co-
Petitioner and respondents entered into two more contracts in respondent Teofilo II is her child with Teofilo. [5]
August 1994. Under the contracts, the parties equally divided
between them the third and fourth parcels of land.

Subsequently, the Office of the City Prosecutor of Muntinlupa


submitted to the trial court its report and manifestation,
In August 1995, petitioner commenced an action, docketed as discounting the possibility of collusion between the parties.
Civil Case No. 95-135, against respondents before the court a
quo with the following causes of action: (a) declaration of nullity RTC and CA Dispositions
of marriage; (b) status of a child; (c) recovery of property; (d)
reconveyance; and (e) sum of money and damages. The
complaint was raffled to Branch 256 of the RTC in Muntinlupa.
On April 8, 1996, the RTC rendered judgment, disposing as
follows:

In his complaint, petitioner asserted that the marriage between


his late brother Teofilo and respondent Felicidad was a nullity in
WHEREFORE, premises considered, defendants (respondents)
view of the absence of the required marriage license. He likewise
Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby denied. Plaintiffs
maintained that his deceased brother was neither the natural nor
(petitioners) Counter-Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby
the adoptive father of respondent Teofilo Carlos II.
granted and summary judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
plaintiff as follows:

Petitioner likewise sought the avoidance of the contracts he


entered into with respondent Felicidad with respect to the subject
1. Declaring the marriage between defendant Felicidad Sandoval
real properties. He also prayed for the cancellation of the
and Teofilo Carlos solemnized at Silang, Cavite on May 14,
certificates of title issued in the name of respondents. He argued
1962, evidenced by the Marriage Certificate submitted in this
that the properties covered by such certificates of title, including
case, null and void ab initio for lack of the requisite marriage
license;

77
The CA opined:

2. Declaring that the defendant minor, Teofilo S. Carlos II, is not


the natural, illegitimate, or legally adopted child of the late Teofilo
E. Carlos; We find the rendition of the herein appealed summary judgment
by the court a quo contrary to law and public policy as ensconced
3. Ordering defendant Sandoval to pay and restitute to plaintiff in the aforesaid safeguards. The fact that it was appellants who
the sum of P18,924,800.00 together with the interest thereon at first sought summary judgment from the trial court, did not justify
the legal rate from date of filing of the instant complaint until fully the grant thereof in favor of appellee. Not being an action to
paid; recover upon a claim or to obtain a declaratory relief, the rule on
summary judgment apply (sic) to an action to annul a marriage.
The mere fact that no genuine issue was presented and the
desire to expedite the disposition of the case cannot justify a
4. Declaring plaintiff as the sole and exclusive owner of the
misinterpretation of the rule. The first paragraph of Article 88 and
parcel of land, less the portion adjudicated to plaintiffs in Civil
101 of the Civil Code expressly prohibit the rendition of decree of
Case No. 11975, covered by TCT No. 139061 of the Register of
annulment of a marriage upon a stipulation of facts or a
Deeds of Makati City, and ordering said Register of Deeds to
confession of judgment. Yet, the affidavits annexed to the petition
cancel said title and to issue another title in the sole name of
for summary judgment practically amount to these methods
plaintiff herein;
explicitly proscribed by the law.

5. Declaring the Contract, Annex K of complaint, between plaintiff


We are not unmindful of appellees argument that the foregoing
and defendant Sandoval null and void, and ordering the Register
safeguards have traditionally been applied to prevent collusion of
of Deeds of Makati City to cancel TCT No. 139058 in the name of
spouses in the matter of dissolution of marriages and that the
Teofilo Carlos, and to issue another title in the sole name of
death of Teofilo Carlos on May 13, 1992 had effectively dissolved
plaintiff herein;
the marriage herein impugned. The fact, however, that appellees
own brother and appellant Felicidad Sandoval lived together as
husband and wife for thirty years and that the annulment of their
6. Declaring the Contract, Annex M of the complaint, between marriage is the very means by which the latter is sought to be
plaintiff and defendant Sandoval null and void; deprived of her participation in the estate left by the former call
for a closer and more thorough inquiry into the circumstances
surrounding the case. Rather that the summary nature by which
7. Ordering the cancellation of TCT No. 210877 in the names of the court a quo resolved the issues in the case, the rule is to the
defendant Sandoval and defendant minor Teofilo S. Carlos II and effect that the material facts alleged in the complaint for
ordering the Register of Deeds of Manila to issue another title in annulment of marriage should always be proved. Section 1, Rule
the exclusive name of plaintiff herein; 19 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:

8. Ordering the cancellation of TCT No. 210878 in the name of Section 1. Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to
defendant Sandoval and defendant Minor Teofilo S. Carlos II and tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of
ordering the Register of Deeds of Manila to issue another title in the adverse party's pleading, the court may, on motion of that
the sole name of plaintiff herein. party, direct judgment on such pleading. But in actions for
annulment of marriage or for legal separation, the material facts
alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. (Underscoring
supplied)
Let this case be set for hearing for the reception of plaintiffs
evidence on his claim for moral damages, exemplary damages,
attorneys fees, appearance fees, and litigation expenses on June
7, 1996 at 1:30 o'clock in the afternoon. Moreover, even if We were to sustain the applicability of the rules
on summary judgment to the case at bench, Our perusal of the
record shows that the finding of the court a quo for appellee
would still not be warranted. While it may be readily conceded
SO ORDERED.[6] that a valid marriage license is among the formal requisites of
marriage, the absence of which renders the marriage void ab
initio pursuant to Article 80(3) in relation to Article 58 of the Civil
Dissatisfied, respondents appealed to the CA. In the appeal, Code the failure to reflect the serial number of the marriage
respondents argued, inter alia, that the trial court acted without or license on the marriage contract evidencing the marriage
in excess