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RESTITUTO M. ALCANTARA, Petitioner, vs. ROSITA A. ALCANTARA and HON. COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.

Civil Law; Marriages; 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) in relation to Article 58 of the same Code.—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 was the
law in effect at the time of its celebration. 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) in relation to Article 58 of the same Code.

Same; Same; Same; To be considered void on the ground of ab-sence 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, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such marriage license was issued
to the parties.—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, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar
that no 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 issued by the local civil registrar of Carmona, Cavite. The certification moreover is precise in that it
specifically identified the parties to whom the marriage license was issued, namely Restituto Alcantara and Rosita Almario, further validating the fact that
a license was in fact issued to the parties herein.

Same; Same; Same; Issuance of a marriage license in a city or municipality, not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and issuance of a
marriage license despite the absence of publication or prior to the completion of the 10-day period for publication are considered mere irregularities that do
not affect the validity of the marriage; An irregularity in any of the formal requisites of marriage does not affect its validity but the party or parties
responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and administratively liable.— Petitioner, in a faint attempt to demolish the probative value of the
marriage license, claims that neither he nor respondent is a resident of Carmona, Cavite. Even then, we still hold that there is no sufficient basis to annul
petitioner and respondent’s marriage. Issuance of a marriage license in a city or municipality, not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and
issuance of a marriage license despite the absence of publication or prior to the completion of the 10-day period for publication are considered mere
irregularities that do not affect the validity of the marriage. An irregularity in any of the formal requisites of marriage does not affect its validity but the
party or parties responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and administratively liable.
FACTS
 Restituto M. Alcantara filed a petition for annulment of marriage against respondent Rosita A. Alcantara alleging that on 8 December 1982 he and
respondent, without securing the 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 priest. They got married on the same day. They went through another
marriage ceremony in a church in Tondo, Manila, on 26 March 1983.
 The marriage was likewise celebrated without the parties securing a marriage license. The alleged marriage license, procured in Carmona, Cavite,
appearing on the marriage contract, is a sham, as neither party was a resident of Carmona, and they never went to Carmona to apply for a license. In
1988, they parted ways and lived separate 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 and its entry on file.
 Rosita asserted the validity of their marriage and maintained that there was a marriage license issued as evidenced by a certification from the Office of
the Civil Registry of Carmona, Cavite.
 Petitioner has a mistress with whom he has three children. Petitioner only filed the annulment of their marriage to evade prosecution for concubinage.
After hearing, the trial court dismissed the petition for lack of merit. The CA affirmed the decision.
ISSUES
Whether or not there was an absence of marriage license that would render the marriage between petitioner and respondent void ab initio?
HELD
No. A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage, the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio. The requirement and issuance of a
marriage license is the State’s demonstration of its involvement and participation in every marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is
interested.
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, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no 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 issued by the local civil registrar of Carmona, Cavite. The certification moreover is precise in that it specifically identified the parties to whom the
marriage license was issued, namely Restituto Alcantara and Rosita Almario, further validating the fact that a license was in fact issued to the parties
herein. This certification enjoys the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed and the issuance of the marriage license was done in
the regular conduct of official business. Hence, petitioner cannot insist on the absence of a marriage license to impugn the validity of his marriage.
Petitioner, in a faint attempt to demolish the probative value of the marriage license, claims that neither he nor respondent is a resident of Carmona,
Cavite. Even then, we still hold that there is no sufficient basis to annul petitioner and respondent’s marriage. Issuance of a marriage license in a city or
municipality, not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and issuance of a marriage license despite the absence of publication or prior to the
completion of the 10-day period for publication are considered mere irregularities that do not affect the validity of the marriage. An irregularity in any
of the formal requisites of marriage does not affect its validity but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and
administratively liable.
Likewise, the issue raised by petitioner — which they appeared before a “fixer” who arranged everything for them and who facilitated the ceremony
before a certain priest — will not strengthen his posture. The authority of the officer or clergyman shown to have performed a marriage ceremony will
be presumed in the absence of any showing to the contrary. Moreover, the solemnizing officer is not duty-bound to investigate whether or not a
marriage license has been duly and regularly issued by the local civil registrar. All solemnizing officer needs to know is that the license has been issued
by the competent official, and it may be presumed from the issuance of the license that said official has fulfilled the duty to ascertain whether the
contracting parties had fulfilled the requirements of law.
Art. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with:
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
(2) Their consent, freely given
(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
(4) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional character.
Petitioner cannot insist on the absence of a marriage license to impugn the validity of his marriage since all the elements in Article 53 are present in the
case at bar.

G.R. No. 150677. June 5, 2009.*


RENATO REYES SO, petitioner, vs. LORNA VALERA, respondent.
Family Code; Marriages; Annulment of Marriage; Psychological Incapacity; Characterization of Psychological Incapacity; Psychological incapacity
must be confined to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and
significance to the marriage.—The petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is anchored on Article 36 of the Family Code which provides that “a
marriage contracted by any party who, at the time of the celebration, was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations
of marriage, shall likewise be void even if such incapacity becomes manifest only after its solemnization.” In Santos v. Court of Appeals (240 SCRA
20 [1995]), the Court first declared that psychological incapacity must be characterized by (a) gravity; (b) juridical antecedence; and (c) incurability. It
should refer to “no less than a mental (not physical) incapacity that causes a party to be truly incognitive of the basic marital covenants that
concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage.” It must be confined to “the most serious cases of personality disorders
clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.”

Same; Same; Same; Same; There is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or psychologist
as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity.—A later case, Marcos v. Marcos (343 SCRA
755 [2000]), further clarified that there is no requirement that the defendant/respondent spouse should be personally examined by a physician or
psychologist as a condition sine qua non for the declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity. Accordingly, it is no longer
necessary to introduce expert opinion in a petition under Article 36 of the Family Code if the totality of evidence shows that psychological incapacity
exists and its gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability can be duly established.

Same; Same; Same; Same; Mild characterological peculiarities, mood changes and occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as indicative of
psychological incapacity.—In Molina (268 SCRA 198 [1997], we ruled that “mild characterological peculiarities, mood changes and occasional
emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as indicative of psychological incapacity. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a
refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other words, the root cause should be a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse
integral element in the personality structure that effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations
essential to marriage.”

FACTS
 Renato and Lorna first met in 1973 and lived together as husband and wife, without the benefit of marriage, before they got married in 1991. In the
course of their relationship, they had three (3) children (born in 1975, 1978 and 1984) and established a business.
 On May 14, 1996, Renato filed with the (RTC) a petition for the declaration of the nullity of his marriage with Lorna. He alleged that their marriage
was null and void for want of the essential and formal requisites. He also claimed that Lorna was psychologically incapacitated to exercise the
essential obligations of marriage, as shown by the following circumstances: Lorna failed and refused to cohabit and make love to him; did not love
and respect him; did not remain faithful to him; did not give him emotional, spiritual, physical, and psychological help and support; failed and refused
to have a family domicile; and failed and refused to enter into a permanent union and establish conjugal and family life with him.
 The RTC nullified the marriage of Renato and Lorna in its decision of November 8, 1999. The RTC concluded that Lorna was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with her martial obligations.
 The Republic of the Philippines, through the Office of the Solicitor General, appealed the RTC decision to the Court of Appeals (CA). The CA, in its
Decision dated July 4, 2001, reversed and set aside the RTC decision and dismissed the petition for lack of merit.
 The CA ruled that Renato failed to prove Lorna’s psychological incapacity. According to the CA, Lorna’s character, faults, and defects did not
constitute psychological incapacity warranting the nullity of the parties’ marriage. The CA reasoned out that while Lorna “appears to be a less than
ideal mother to her children, and loving wife to her husband,” these flaws were not physical manifestations of psychological illness. The CA further
added that although Lorna’s condition was clinically identified by an expert witness to be an “Adjustment Disorder,” it was not established that such
disorder was the root cause of her incapacity to fulfill the essential marital obligations. The prosecution also failed to establish that Lorna’s disorder
was incurable and permanent in such a way as to disable and/or incapacitate Lorna from complying with obligations essential to marriage.
 The CA likewise held that Lorna’s hostile attitude towards Renato when the latter came home late was “a normal reaction of an ordinary housewife
under a similar situation”; and her subsequent refusal to cohabit with him was not due to any psychological condition, but due to the fact that she no
longer loved him. Finally, the CA concluded that the declaration of nullity of a marriage was not proper when the psychological disorder does not
meet the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court in the case of Molina.
 Renato moved to reconsider the decision, but the CA denied his motion in its resolution dated October 18, 2001.

ISSUE
Whether there exists sufficient ground to declare the marriage of petitioner and respondent null and void.

HELD
The Supreme Court agreed with the CA and ruled that the totality of evidence presented by Ramon failed to establish Lorna’s psychological incapacity
to perform the essential marital obligations. The Supreme Court did not give much credence to the testimony and report of Renato’s expert
witness. According to the Supreme Court:
Our own examination of the psychologist’s testimony and conclusions leads us to conclude that they are not sufficiently in-depth and comprehensive to
warrant the conclusion that a psychological incapacity existed that prevented the respondent from complying with the essential marital obligations of
marriage. In the first place, the facts on which the psychologist based her conclusions were all derived from statements by the petitioner whose bias in
favor of his cause cannot be doubted. It does not appear to us that the psychologist read and interpreted the facts related to her with the awareness that
these facts could be slanted. In this sense, we say her reading may not at all be completely fair in its assessment. We say this while fully aware that the
psychologist appeared at the petitioner’s bidding and the arrangement between them was not pro bono. While this circumstance does not disqualify the
psychologist for reasons of bias, her reading of the facts, her testimony, and her conclusions must be read carefully with this circumstance and the source
of the facts in mind.
In examining the psychologist’s Report, we find the “Particulars” and the “Psychological Conclusions” disproportionate with one another; the
conclusions appear to be exaggerated extrapolations, derived as they are from isolated incidents, rather than from continuing patterns. The “particulars”
are, as it were, snapshots, rather than a running account of the respondent’s life from which her whole life is totally judged. Thus, we do not see her
psychological assessment to be comprehensive enough to be reliable. . .
As against the negatives in viewing the respondent, we note that she lived with the petitioner for 18 years and begot children with him born in 1975,
1978 and 1984 – developments that show a fair level of stability in the relationship and a healthy degree of intimacy between the parties for some eleven
(11) years. She finished her Dentistry and joined her husband in the communications business – traits that do not at all indicate an irresponsible attitude,
especially when read with the comment that she had been strict with employees and in business affairs. The petitioner’s Memorandum itself is very
revealing when, in arguing that the Marriage Contract was a sham, the petitioner interestingly alleged that (referring to 1987) “[S]ince at that time, the
relationship between the petitioner and respondent was going well,and future marriage between the two was not an impossibility, the petitioner signed
these documents.”
The Supreme Court also noted that there was no proof that Lorna’s psychological disorder was incurable:
. . . the psychologist’s testimony itself glaringly failed to show that the respondent’s behavioral disorder was medically or clinically permanent or
incurable as established jurisprudence requires. Neither did the psychologist testify that the disorder was grave enough to bring about the disability of the
party to assume the essential obligations of marriage. . .
In Molina, we ruled that “mild characterological peculiarities, mood changes and occasional emotional outbursts cannot be accepted as indicative of
psychological incapacity. The illness must be shown as downright incapacity or inability, not a refusal, neglect or difficulty, much less ill will. In other
words, the root cause should be a natal or supervening disabling factor in the person, an adverse integral element in the personality structure that
effectively incapacitates the person from really accepting and thereby complying with the obligations essential to marriage.” In the present case, the
psychologist simply narrated adverse “snapshots” of the respondent’s life showing her alleged failure to meet her marital duties, but did not convincingly
prove her permanent incapacity to meet her marital duties and responsibilities; the root or psychological illness that gave rise to this incapacity; and that
this psychological illness and consequent incapacity existed at the time the marriage was celebrated.
Given the foreoging, the Supreme Court ruled that based on the evidence, psychological incapacity was not proved:
Shorn of any reference to psychology, we conclude that we have a case here of parties who have very human faults and frailties; who have been together
for some time; and who are now tired of each other. If in fact the respondent does not want to provide the support expected of a wife, the cause is not
necessarily a grave and incurable psychological malady whose effects go as far as to affect her capacity to provide marital support promised and
expected when the marital knot was tied. To be tired and to give up on one’s situation and on one’s husband are not necessarily signs of psychological
illness; neither can falling out of love be so labeled. When these happen, the remedy for some is to cut the marital knot to allow the parties to go their
separate ways. This simple remedy, however, is not available to us under our laws. Ours is still a limited remedy that addresses only a very specific
situation – a relationship where no marriage could have validly been concluded because the parties, or one of them, by reason of a grave and incurable
psychological illness existing when the marriage was celebrated, did not appreciate the obligations of marital life and, thus, could not have validly
entered into a marriage. Outside of this situation, this Court is powerless to provide any permanent remedy.

REINEL ANTHONY B. DE CASTRO, petitioner, vs. ANNABELLE ASSIDAO-DE CASTRO, respondent.


JURISPRUDENCE
Civil Law; Marriages; Filiation; The validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked; Other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial action
is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity.—The Court holds that the trial court had jurisdiction to determine the validity of the marriage
between petitioner and respondent. The validity of a void marriage may be collaterally attacked. Thus, in Niñal v. Bayadog, 328 SCRA 122 (2000), we
held: However, other than for purposes of remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For other purposes, such
as but not limited to determination of heirship, legitimacy or illegitimacy of a child, settlement of estate, dissolution of property regime, or a criminal
case for that matter, the court may pass upon the validity of marriage even in a suit not directly instituted to question the same so long as it is essential
to the determination of the case. This is without prejudice to any issue that may arise in the case. When such need arises, a final judgment of declaration
of nullity is necessary even if the purpose is other than to remarry. The clause “on the basis of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void”
in Article 40 of the Family Code connotes that such final judgment need not be obtained only for purpose of remarriage.
Same; Same; Same; Failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders the marriage void ab initio.—The falsity of the affidavit cannot be
considered as a mere irregularity in the formal requisites of marriage. The law dispenses with the marriage license requirement for a man and a woman
who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before the
marriage. The aim of this provision is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous
cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicant’s name for a marriage license. In the instant case, there was
no “scandalous cohabitation” to protect; in fact, there was no cohabitation at all. The false affidavit which petitioner and respondent executed so they
could push through with the marriage has no value whatsoever; it is a mere scrap of paper. They were not exempt from the marriage license
requirement. Their failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders their marriage void ab initio.

Same; Same; Same; Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children.—
Anent the second issue, we find that the child is petitioner’s illegitimate daughter, and therefore entitled to support. Illegitimate children may establish
their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. De Castro vs. Assidao-De Castro, 545 SCRA 162, G.R. No.
160172 February 13, 2008

FACTS
Petitioner and respondent met and became sweethearts in 1991. They planned to get married, thus they applied for a marriage license with the Office of
the Civil Registrar of Pasig City in September 1994.
They had their first sexual relation sometime in October 1994, and had regularly engaged in sex thereafter.
When the couple went back to the Office of the Civil Registrar, the marriage license had already expired.
Thus, in order to push through with the plan, in lieu of a marriage license, they executed an affidavit dated 13 March 1995 stating that they had been
living together as husband and wife for at least five years.
The couple got married on the same date, with Judge Jose C. Bernabe, presiding judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasig City, administering the
civil rites. Nevertheless, after the ceremony, petitioner and respondent went back to their respective homes and did not live together as husband and wife.
ISSUE
Whether or not the marriage between petitioner and respondent is valid.
HELD

Under the Family Code, the absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, whereas a defect in any of the
essential requisites shall render the marriage voidable. In the instant case, it is clear from the evidence presented that petitioner and respondent did not
have a marriage license when they contracted their marriage. Instead, they presented an affidavit stating that they had been living together for more than
five years.
However, respondent herself in effect admitted the falsity of the affidavit when she was asked during cross-examination. The falsity of the affidavit
cannot be considered as a mere irregularity in the formal requisites of marriage. The law dispenses with the marriage license requirement for a man and a
woman who have lived together and exclusively with each other as husband and wife for a continuous and unbroken period of at least five years before
the marriage. The aim of this provision is to avoid exposing the parties to humiliation, shame and embarrassment concomitant with the scandalous
cohabitation of persons outside a valid marriage due to the publication of every applicant’s name for a marriage license. In the instant case, there was no
"scandalous cohabitation" to protect; in fact, there was no cohabitation at all. The false affidavit which petitioner and respondent executed so they could
push through with the marriage has no value whatsoever; it is a mere scrap of paper. They were not exempt from the marriage license requirement. Their
failure to obtain and present a marriage license renders their marriage void ab initio.

G.R. No. 175581. March 28, 2008.*


REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. JOSE A. DAYOT, respondent.
JURISPRUDENCE

Marriages; Marriage License; A marriage performed without the corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more than the legitimate
consequence flowing from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract, in stark contrast to the old Marriage Law, whereby the absence
of a marriage license did not make the marriage void; The rationale for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil Code is that it is the
authority granted by the State to the contracting parties, after the proper government official has inquired into their capacity to contract marriage.—Article
58 makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either
contracting party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional character authorized by the Civil Code, but not those under Article 75. Article 80(3)
of the Civil Code makes it clear that a marriage performed without the corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more than the legitimate
consequence flowing from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract. This is in stark contrast to the old Marriage Law, whereby the
absence of a marriage license did not make the marriage void. The rationale for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil Code is that
it is the authority granted by the State to the contracting parties, after the proper government official has inquired into their capacity to contract marriage.

Same; Same; Ratification of Marital Cohabitation; The reason for the law on ratification of marital cohabitation, whereby no marriage license is required,
is that the publicity attending a marriage license may discourage such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from legalizing their status.—The
instant case pertains to a ratification of marital cohabitation under Article 76 of the Civil Code, which provides: ART. 76. No marriage license shall be
necessary when a man and a woman who have attained the age of majority and who, being unmarried, have lived together as husband and wife for at least
five years, desire to marry each other. The contracting parties shall state the foregoing facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to
administer oaths. The official, priest or minister who solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and
other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he found no legal impediment to the marriage. The reason for the law, as espoused by the Code
Commission, is that the publicity attending a marriage license may discourage such persons who have lived in a state of cohabitation from legalizing their
status.

Same; Same; Same; The falsity of an affidavit of marital cohabitation, where the parties have in truth fallen short of the minimum five-year requirement,
effectively renders the marriage void ab initio for lack of a marriage license.—It is not contested herein that the marriage of Jose and Felisa was performed
without a marriage license. In lieu thereof, they executed an affidavit declaring that “they have attained the age of maturity; that being unmarried, they
have lived together as husband and wife for at least five years; and that because of this union, they desire to marry each other.” One of the central issues in
the Petition at bar is thus: whether the falsity of an affidavit of marital cohabitation, where the parties have in truth fallen short of the minimum five-year
requirement, effectively renders the marriage void ab initio for lack of a marriage license. We answer in the affirmative.
Same; Same; Same; Statutory Construction; Marriages of exceptional character are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the
formal requisite of a marriage license, and under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly but reasonably
construed.—Marriages of exceptional character are, doubtless, the exceptions to the rule on the indispensability of the formal requisite of a marriage
license. Under the rules of statutory construction, exceptions, as a general rule, should be strictly but reasonably construed. They extend only so far as their
language fairly warrants, and all doubts should be resolved in favor of the general provisions rather than the exception. Where a general rule is established
by statute with exceptions, the court will not curtail the former or add to the latter by implication. For the exception in Article 76 to apply, it is a sine qua
non thereto that the man and the woman must have attained the age of majority, and that, being unmarried, they have lived together as husband and wife
for at least five years.

Same; Same; Same; Same; A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 of the Civil Code leaves the Court with no other expediency but to read the
law as it is plainly written—the exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only to those who have lived together as husband and wife for at
least five years and desire to marry each other.—A strict but reasonable construction of Article 76 leaves us with no other expediency but to read the law as
it is plainly written. The exception of a marriage license under Article 76 applies only to those who have lived together as husband and wife for at least five
years and desire to marry each other. The Civil Code, in no ambiguous terms, places a minimum period requirement of five years of cohabitation. No other
reading of the law can be had, since the language of Article 76 is precise. The minimum requisite of five years of cohabitation is an indispensability carved
in the language of the law. For a marriage celebrated under Article 76 to be valid, this material fact cannot be dispensed with. It is embodied in the law not
as a directory requirement, but as one that partakes of a mandatory character. It is worthy to mention that Article 76 also prescribes that the contracting
parties shall state the requisite facts in an affidavit before any person authorized by law to administer oaths; and that the official, priest or minister who
solemnized the marriage shall also state in an affidavit that he took steps to ascertain the ages and other qualifications of the contracting parties and that he
found no legal impediment to the marriage.
Same; Same; Same; The question as to whether they satisfied the minimum five-year requisite is factual in nature.—It is noteworthy that the question as to
whether they satisfied the minimum five-year requisite is factual in nature. A question of fact arises when there is a need to decide on the truth or falsehood
of the alleged facts. Under Rule 45, factual findings are ordinarily not subject to this Court’s review. It is already well-settled that: The general rule is that
the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are binding on this Court. A recognized exception to this rule is when the Court of Appeals and the trial court,
or in this case the administrative body, make contradictory findings. However, the exception does not apply in every instance that the Court of Appeals and
the trial court or administrative body disagree. The factual findings of the Court of Appeals remain conclusive on this Court if such findings are supported
by the record or based on substantial evidence.

Same; Same; Same; The rule that persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence
special to the case, to be in fact married does not apply to a case which does not involve an apparent marriage.—Anent petitioners’ reliance on the
presumption of marriage, this Court holds that the same finds no applicability to the case at bar. Essentially, when we speak of a presumption of marriage,
it is with reference to the prima facie presumption that a man and a woman deporting themselves as husband and wife have entered into a lawful contract
of marriage. Restated more explicitly, persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or
evidence special to the case, to be in fact married. The present case does not involve an apparent marriage to which the presumption still needs to be
applied. There is no question that Jose and Felisa actually entered into a contract of marriage on 24 November 1986, hence, compelling Jose to institute a
Complaint for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage, which spawned the instant consolidated Petitions.

Same; Same; Same; The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead or could be used, at least, for the
perpetration of fraud against innocent and unwary parties, which was one of the evils that the law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite
for a valid marriage.—The declaration of the Civil Code that every intendment of law or fact leans towards the validity of marriage will not salvage the
parties’ marriage, and extricate them from the effect of a violation of the law. The marriage of Jose and Felisa was entered into without the requisite
marriage license or compliance with the stringent requirements of a marriage under exceptional circumstance. The solemnization of a marriage without
prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead or could be used, at least, for the perpetration of fraud against innocent and unwary parties,
which was one of the evils that the law sought to prevent by making a prior license a prerequisite for a valid marriage. The protection of marriage as a
sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as well. To permit a false affidavit to take the
place of a marriage license is to allow an abject circumvention of the law. If this Court is to protect the fabric of the institution of marriage, we must be
wary of deceptive schemes that violate the legal measures set forth in our laws.

Same; Same; Same; The falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period of the parties’ cohabitation, which would have qualified their
marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers to a quintessential fact that the law precisely
required to be deposed and attested to by the parties under oath—if the essential matter in the sworn affidavit is a lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper,
without force and effect.—We are not impressed by the ratiocination of the Republic that as a marriage under a license is not invalidated by the fact that
the license was wrongfully obtained, so must a marriage not be invalidated by a fabricated statement that the parties have cohabited for at least five years
as required by law. The contrast is flagrant. The former is with reference to an irregularity of the marriage license, and not to the absence of one. Here,
there is no marriage license at all. Furthermore, the falsity of the allegation in the sworn affidavit relating to the period of Jose and Felisa’s cohabitation,
which would have qualified their marriage as an exception to the requirement for a marriage license, cannot be a mere irregularity, for it refers to a
quintessential fact that the law precisely required to be deposed and attested to by the parties under oath. If the essential matter in the sworn affidavit is a
lie, then it is but a mere scrap of paper, without force and effect. Hence, it is as if there was no affidavit at all.

Same; Same; Same; Equity; Equity finds no room for application where there is a law.—In its second assignment of error, the Republic puts forth the
argument that based on equity, Jose should be denied relief because he perpetrated the fabrication, and cannot thereby profit from his wrongdoing. This is a
misplaced invocation. It must be stated that equity finds no room for application where there is a law. There is a law on the ratification of marital
cohabitation, which is set in precise terms under Article 76 of the Civil Code. Nonetheless, the authorities are consistent that the declaration of nullity of
the parties’ marriage is without prejudice to their criminal liability.

Same; Declaration of Nullity; Prescription; An action for nullity of marriage is imprescriptible.—The Republic further avers in its third assignment of error
that Jose is deemed estopped from assailing the legality of his marriage for lack of a marriage license. It is claimed that Jose and Felisa had lived together
from 1986 to 1990, notwithstanding Jose’s subsequent marriage to Rufina Pascual on 31 August 1990, and that it took Jose seven years before he sought
the declaration of nullity; hence, estoppel had set in. This is erroneous. An action for nullity of marriage is imprescriptible. Jose and Felisa’s marriage was
celebrated sans a marriage license. No other conclusion can be reached except that it is void ab initio. In this case, the right to impugn a void marriage does
not prescribe, and may be raised any time.

Same; Same; Common-Law Cohabitation Period; To settle all doubts, jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation
period under Article 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had it not
been for the absence of a marriage.—To settle all doubts, jurisprudence has laid down the rule that the five-year common-law cohabitation period under
Article 76 means a five-year period computed back from the date of celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had it not been for the
absence of a marriage. It covers the years immediately preceding the day of the marriage, characterized by exclusivity—meaning no third party was
involved at any time within the five years—and continuity that is unbroken.

FACTS

 On November 1986, Jose and Felisa were married at the Pasay City Hall. The marriage was solemnized by Rev. Tomas V. Atienza.
 In lieu of a marriage license, Jose and Felisa executed a sworn affidavit, attesting that both of them had attained the age of maturity, and that
being unmarried, they had lived together as husband and wife for at least five years.
 On July 1993, Jose filed a Complaint for Annulment and/or Declaration of Nullity of Marriage with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Biñan,
Laguna, Branch 25. He contended that his marriage with Felisa was a sham, as no marriage ceremony was celebrated between the parties; that he
did not execute the sworn affidavit stating that he and Felisa had lived as husband and wife for at least five years; and that his consent to the
marriage was secured through fraud.
 RTC dismissed the complaint. The RTC ruled that from the testimonies and evidence presented, the marriage celebrated between Jose and
Felisa on November 1986 was valid.
 CA found the appeal no merit.
 Jose filed a Motion for Reconsideration thereof. His central opposition was that the requisites for the proper application of the exemption from a
marriage license under Article 76 of the Civil Code were not fully attendant in the case at bar. In particular, Jose cited the legal condition that the
man and the woman must have been living together as husband and wife for at least five years before the marriage. Essentially, he maintained
that the affidavit of marital cohabitation executed by him and Felisa was false.

ISSUE

Whether or not, the marriage of Jose and Felisa is void ab initio

HELD

Yes, it is void ab initio (void from the beginning) for lacking the requirements of valid marriage in which the sworn affidavit that Felisa executed is merely
a scrap of paper because they started living together five months before the celebration of their marriage. That according to the five-year common-law
cohabitation period under Article 34 “No license shall be necessary for the marriage for a man and a woman who have lived together as husband and wife
for at least five years and without any legal impediments to marry each other… “ it means that a five years period computed back from the date of
celebration of marriage, and refers to a period of legal union had it not been for the absence of a marriage. It covers the years immediately preceding the
day of the marriage, characterized by exclusivity, meaning no third party was involved at any time within the five years and continuity that is unbroken.

The solemnization of a marriage without prior license is a clear violation of the law and would lead or could be used, at least, for the perpetration of fraud
against innocent and unwary parties.

The Court of Appeals granted Joses Motion for Reconsideration and reversed itself. Accordingly, it rendered an Amended Decision that the marriage
between Jose A. Dayot and Felisa C. Tecson is void ab initio.

G.R. No. 187462. June 1, 2016.*

RAQUEL G. KHO, petitioner, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES and VERONICA B. KHO, respondents.

JURISPRUDENCE

Civil Law; Marriages; Marriage License; Article 58 of the Civil Code makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being
issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional character
authorized by the Civil Code, but not those under Article 75.—Article 58 of the Civil Code makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a
license first being issued by the local civil registrar of the municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional
character authorized by the Civil Code, but not those under Article 75. Under the Civil Code, marriages of exceptional character are covered by Chapter 2,
Title III, comprising Articles 72 to 79. These marriages are: (1) marriages in articulo mortis or at the point of death during peace or war; (2) marriages in
remote places; (3) consular marriages; (4) ratification of marital cohabitation; (5) religious ratification of a civil marriage; (6) Mohammedan or pagan
marriages; and (7) mixed marriages. Petitioner’s and respondent’s marriage does not fall under any of these exceptions.

Same; Same; Same; The rationale for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the Civil Code is that it is the authority granted by the State to
the contracting parties, after the proper government official has inquired into their capacity to contract marriage.—Article 80(3) of the Civil Code also
makes it clear that a marriage performed without the corresponding marriage license is void, this being nothing more than the legitimate consequence
flowing from the fact that the license is the essence of the marriage contract. The rationale for the compulsory character of a marriage license under the
Civil Code is that it is the authority granted by the State to the contracting parties, after the proper government official has inquired into their capacity to
contract marriage. Stated differently, the requirement and issuance of a marriage license is the State’s demonstration of its involvement and participation in
every marriage, in the maintenance of which the general public is interested.

Same; Same; Same; To be considered void on the ground of absence of a marriage license, the law requires that the absence or such marriage license must
be apparent on the marriage contract, or at the very least, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such marriage license was issued
to the parties.—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, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such marriage license was issued to
the parties. Indeed, all the evidence cited by the CA to show that a wedding ceremony was conducted and a marriage contract was signed does not operate
to cure the absence of a valid marriage license. As cited above, Article 80(3) of the Civil Code clearly provides that a marriage solemnized without a
license is void from the beginning, except marriages of exceptional character under Articles 72 to 79 of the same Code. As earlier stated, petitioner’s and
respondent’s marriage cannot be characterized as among the exceptions.

FACTS

The present petition arose from a Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage filed by herein petitioner with the RTC of Oras, Eastern Samar. Pertinent
portions of the Petition allege as follows:
 On May 31, 1972, around afternoon, petitioner’s parents summoned one Eusebio Colongon, now deceased, then clerk in the office of the
municipal treasurer, instructing said clerk to arrange and prepare whatever necessary papers were required for the intended marriage between
petitioner and respondent supposedly to take place at around midnight of June 1, 1972 so as to exclude the public from witnessing the marriage
ceremony
 Petitioner and Respondent thereafter exchanged marital vows in a marriage ceremony which actually took place at around 3:00 o’clock before
dawn of June 1, 1972
 Petitioner has never gone to the office of the Local Civil Registrar to apply for marriage license and had not seen much less signed any papers or
documents in connection with the procurement of a marriage license
 Considering the shortness of period from the time the aforenamed clerk of the treasurer’s office was told to obtain the pertinent papers in the
afternoon of May 31, 1972 so required for the purpose of the forthcoming marriage up to the moment the actual marriage was celebrated before
dawn of June 1, 1972, no marriage license therefore could have been validly issued, thereby rendering the marriage solemnized on even date null
and void for want of the most essential requisite
 For all intents and purposes, thus, Petitioner’s and Respondent’s marriage aforestated was solemnized sans the required marriage license, hence,
null and void from the beginning and neither was it performed under circumstances exempting the requirement of such marriage license
 The RTC found that petitioner’s evidence sufficiently established the absence of the requisite marriage license when the marriage between
petitioner and respondent was celebrated. As such, the RTC ruled that based on Articles 53(4), 58 and 80(3) of the Civil Code of the Philippines,
the absence of the said marriage license rendered the marriage between petitioner and respondent null and void ab initio.
 Respondent filed an appeal on CA – CA REVERSED and SET ASIDE the previous RTC decision.
 The CA held that since a marriage was, in fact, solemnized between the contending parties, there is a presumption that a marriage license was
issued for that purpose and that petitioner failed to overcome such presumption. The CA also ruled that the absence of any indication in the
marriage certificate that a marriage license was issued is a mere defect in the formal requisites of the law which does not invalidate the parties’
marriage.
 Petitioner filed for a Motion for Reconsideration, but CA denied. Hence, this appeal.

ISSUE

Whether or not, CA erred to give due credence to petitioner’s evidence which established the absence or lack of marriage license when the marriage was
solemnized.

HELD

The marriage of petitioner and respondent was celebrated on June 1, 1972, prior to the effectivity of the Family Code. Hence, the Civil Code governs their
union. Accordingly, Article 53 of the Civil Code spells out the essential requisites of marriage as a contract, to wit:

ART. 53. No marriage shall be solemnized unless all these requisites are complied with:
(1) Legal capacity of the contracting parties;
(2) Their consent, freely given;
(3) Authority of the person performing the marriage; and
(4) A marriage license, except in a marriage of exceptional character.

Article 58 of the Civil Code makes explicit that no marriage shall be solemnized without a license first being issued by the local civil registrar of the
municipality where either contracting party habitually resides, save marriages of an exceptional character authorized by the Civil Code, but not those under
Article 75.

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, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such
marriage license was issued to the parties.
Indeed, all the evidence cited by the CA to show that a wedding ceremony was conducted and a marriage contract was signed does not operate to cure the
absence of a valid marriage license. As cited above, Article 80(3) of the Civil Code clearly provides that a marriage solemnized without a license is void
from the beginning, except marriages of exceptional character under Articles 72 to 79 of the same Code. As earlier stated, petitioner’s and respondent’s
marriage cannot be characterized as among the exceptions.
As to the motive of petitioner in seeking to annul his marriage to respondent, it may well be that his motives are less than pure — that he seeks a way out
of his marriage to legitimize his alleged illicit affair with another woman. Be that as it may, the same does not make up for the failure of the respondent to
prove that they had a valid marriage license, given the weight of evidence presented by petitioner. The law must be applied. As the marriage license, an
essential requisite under the Civil Code, is clearly absent, the marriage of petitioner and respondent is void ab initio.