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UPDATES OF CASES ON PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS 2010-2012 (Cases compiled and digested by 4-B ). Prof. AMPARITA STA. MARIA, LL.B., LL.M. ATENEO SCHOOL OF LAW. ART. 26. CORPUZ v. TIROL STO. TOMAS AND THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (G.R. No. 186571, 11 August 2010).

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UPDATES OF CASES ON PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS 2010-2012 (Cases compiled and digested by 4-B )


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    1. UPDATES OF CASES ON PERSONS AND FAMILY RELATIONS 2010-2012 (Cases compiled and digested by 4-B ) Prof. AMPARITA STA. MARIA, LL.B., LL.M. ATENEO SCHOOL OF LAW

    2. ART. 26 CORPUZ v. TIROL STO. TOMAS AND THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (G.R. No. 186571, 11 August 2010) FACTS: Petitioner Corpuz, a naturalized Canadian citizen married respondent Sto. Tomas but subsequently filed for divorce in Canada which was granted by the Court Justice of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Two years later, Corpuz fell in love with another Filipina. He went to Civil Registry Office of Pasig City to register the Canadian divorce decree on his marriage certificate with Sto. Tomas. However, despite the registration, an official of National Statistics Office informed Corpuz that the former marriage still subsists under the Philippine law until there has been a judicial recognition of the Canadian divorce decree by a competent judicial court in view of NSO Circular No. 4, series of 1982.

    3. Consequently, he filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of dissolution of marriage with the RTC. However, the RTC denied the petition reasoning out that Corpuz cannot institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree because he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It was provided further that Sto. Tomas was the proper party who can institute an action under the principle of Article 26 of the Family Code which capacitates a Filipino citizen to remarry in case the alien spouse obtains a foreign divorce decree. Hence, this petition.

    4. Art. 26 Paragraph 2 Whether the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code grant aliens the right to institute a petition for judicial recognition of a foreign divorce decree. No. The second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code bestows no rights in favor of aliens BUT the foreign divorce decree obtained by such alien, may be proven in court and recognized according to our rules of evidence. Thus, it serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of the alien, pursuant to Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign judgments.

    5. VDA. DE CATALAN v. CATALAN-LEE G. R. No. 183622, February 08, 2012 • Under the principles of comity, Philippine jurisdiction recognizes a valid divorce obtained by a spouse of foreign nationality. Aliens may obtain divorces abroad, which may be recognized in the Philippines, provided they are valid according to their national law. Nonetheless, the fact of divorce must still first be proven by the divorce decree itself. • The best evidence of a judgment is the judgment itself. Under Sections 24 and 25 of Rule 132, a writing or document may be proven as a public or official record of a foreign country by either (1) an official publication or (2) a copy thereof attested by the officer having legal custody of the document. If the record is not kept in the Philippines, such copy must be (a) accompanied by a certificate issued by the proper diplomatic or consular officer in the Philippine foreign service stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and (b) authenticated by the seal of his office.

    6. ART. 36 SILVINO A. LIGERALDE v. MAY ASCENSION A. PATALINGHUG and the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (G.R. NO. 168796, April 15, 2010) Psychological incapacity required by Art. 36 must be characterized by (a) gravity, (b) juridical antecedence and (c) incurability. The incapacity must be grave or serious such that the party would be incapable of carrying out the ordinary duties required in marriage. It must be rooted in the history of the party antedating the marriage, although the overt manifestations may emerge only after the marriage. It must be incurable or, even if it were otherwise, the cure would be beyond the means of the party involved. The root cause of the psychological incapacity must be identified as a psychological illness, its incapacitating nature fully explained and established by the totality of the evidence presented during trial.

    7. Private respondent's act of living an adulterous life cannot automatically be equated with a psychological disorder, especially when no specific evidence was shown that promiscuity was a trait already existing at the inception of marriage. Petitioner must be able to establish that respondent's unfaithfulness is a manifestation of a disordered personality, which makes her completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of the marital state.

    8. RICARDO P. TORING v. TERESITA M. TORING and REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 165321, August 3, 2010 • Reiterated Santos v. CA and Republic v. CA and Molina • Grounds for denial of Psychological Incapacity • Firstof all, the testimony given by Dr. Albaran was based solely on the testimony of Ricardo, the petitioner and their son, Richardson. No personal evaluation was made as to the condition of Teresita to properly conclude that she is indeed inflicted with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Conclusions and generalizations about Teresita’s psychological condition, based solely on information fed by Ricardo, are not any different in kind from admitting hearsay evidence as proof of the truthfulness of the content of such evidence. • Second, it was not proven that the condition of Teresita was present from the moment the marriage was celebrated. • Third, the statement of the root cause is a requirement that cannot be dispensed with but it may be proven either by an express statement or through the description of its physical manifestations.

    9. CAMACHO- REYES v. REYES, G.R. No. 185286, August 18, 2010 Within their acknowledged field of expertise, (THREE) doctors can diagnose the psychological make up of a person based on a number of factors culled from various sources. A person afflicted with a personality disorder will not necessarily have personal knowledge thereof. In this case, considering that a personality disorder is manifested in a pattern of behavior, self-diagnosis by the respondent consisting only in his bare denial of the doctors’ separate diagnoses, does not necessarily evoke credence and cannot trump the clinical findings of experts.

    10. A recommendation for therapy does not automatically imply curability. In general, recommendations for therapy are given by clinical psychologists, or even psychiatrists, to manage behavior. In short, the recommendation that respondent should undergo therapy does not necessarily negate the finding that respondent’s psychological incapacity is incurable. In the case at bar, however, even without the experts’ conclusions, the factual antecedents (narrative of events) alleged in the petition and established during trial, all point to the inevitable conclusion that respondent is psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations.

    11. In the instant case, respondent’s pattern of behavior manifests an inability, nay, a psychological incapacity to perform the essential marital obligations as shown by his: (1) sporadic financial support; (2) extra-marital affairs; (3) substance abuse; (4) failed business attempts; (5) unpaid money obligations; (6) inability to keep a job that is not connected with the family businesses; and (7) criminal charges of estafa. • In fine, given the factual milieu of the present case and in light of the foregoing disquisition, we find ample basis to conclude that respondent was psychologically incapacitated to perform the essential marital obligations at the time of his marriage to the petitioner.

    12. BACCAY v. BACCAY (G.R. No. 173138, December 1, 2010) The phrase “psychological incapacity” is not meant to comprehend all possible cases of psychoses. It refers to no less than a mental incapacity that causes a party to be truly non-cognitive of the basic marital covenants that concomitantly must be assumed and discharged by the parties to the marriage which, as expressed by Art. 68, include their mutual obligations to live together, observe love, respect and fidelity and render help and support. The intendment of the law has been to confine it to the most serious of cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

    13. In this case, the totality of evidence presented by Noel was not sufficient to sustain a finding that Maribel was psychologically incapacitated. Noel’s evidence merely established that Maribel refused to have sexual intercourse with him after their marriage, and that she left him after their quarrel when he confronted her about her alleged miscarriage. He failed to prove the root cause of the alleged psychological incapacity and establish the requirements of gravity, juridical antecedence, and incurability. The report of the psychologist, who concluded that Maribel was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder traceable to her experiences during childhood, did not establish how the personality disorder incapacitated Maribel from validly assuming the essential obligations of the marriage.

    14. MARABLE v. MARABLE G.R. No. 178741, January 17, 2011 In cases of annulment of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code, the psychological illness and its root cause must be proven to exist from the inception of the marriage. The evaluation of Dr. Tayag merely made a general conclusion that petitioner is suffering from an Anti-social Personality Disorder. As held in the case of Suazo v. Suazo, the presentation of expert proof in cases for declaration of nullity of marriage based on psychological incapacity presupposes a thorough and an in-depth assessment of the parties by the psychologist or expert, for a conclusive diagnosis of a grave, severe and incurable presence of psychological incapacity. The evaluation of Dr. Tayag falls short of the required proof which the Court can rely on as basis to declare as void petitioner's marriage to respondent. It is indispensable that the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself.

    15. Petitioner tried to make it appear that his family history of having a womanizer for a father, was one of the reasons why he engaged in extra-marital affairs during his marriage. However, it appears more likely that he became unfaithful as a result of a general dissatisfaction with his marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in his personal history. In Santos v. Court of Appeals, the intention of the law is to confine the meaning of "psychological incapacity" to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage.

    16. YAMBAO V. REPUBLIC AND YAMBAO GR. No. 184063 January 24, 2011 Article 36 contemplates incapacity or inability to take cognizance of and to assume basic marital obligations and not merely difficulty, refusal, or neglect in the performance of marital obligations or ill will. This incapacity consists of the following: (a) a true inability to commit oneself to the essentials of marriage; (b) this inability to commit oneself must refer to the essential obligations of marriage: the conjugal act, the community of life and love, the rendering of mutual help, the procreation and education of offspring; and (c) the inability must be tantamount to a psychological abnormality. It is not enough to prove that a spouse failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is essential that he must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to some psychological illness.

    17. That respondent, according to petitioner, “lack[ed] effective sense of rational judgment and responsibility" does not mean he is incapable to meet his marital obligations. His refusal to help care for the children, his neglect for his business ventures, and his alleged unbearable jealousy may indicate some emotional turmoil or mental difficulty, but none have been shown to amount to a psychological abnormality. Moreover, even assuming that respondent’s faults amount to psychological incapacity, it has not been established that the same existed at the time of the celebration of the marriage. Furthermore, as found by both RTC and CA, respondent never committed infidelity or physically abused petitioner or their children. In fact, considering that the children lived with both parents, it is safe to assume that both made an impact in the children’s upbringing. Still, the parties were able to raise three children into adulthood “without any major parenting problems," and such fact could hardly support a proposition that the parties’ marriage is a nullity.

    18. OCHOSA V. ALANO G.R. No. 181881, January 26, 2011 In Marcos v. Marcos, it was held that the foregoing guidelines do not require that a physician examine the person to be declared psychologically incapacitated and that what is important is the presence of evidence that can adequately establish the party’s psychological condition. In the case at bar, the evidence presented were the testimonies of Jose, his military aides and the psychiatrist. But this is inadequate in proving that her “defects” were already present at the inception of, or prior to, the marriage. Only the uncorroborated testimony of Jose supported the allegation that Bona’s sexual promiscuity already existed prior to the marriage. The psychiatrist’s testimony on Bona’s histrionic personality disorder did not meet the standard of evidence required in determining psychological incapacity as her findings did not emanate from a personal interview with Bona herself and merely relied on her interview with Jose and his other witnesses.

    19. This factual circumstance evokes the possibility that the information fed to the psychiatrist is tainted with bias for Jose’s cause, in the absence of sufficient corroboration. In view of the foregoing, the badges of Bona’s alleged psychological incapacity, i.e., her sexual infidelity and abandonment, can only be convincingly traced to the period of time after her marriage to Jose and not to the inception of the said marriage. Article 36 is not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the marital bond at the time the causes therefore manifest themselves. It refers to a serious psychological illness afflicting a party even before the celebration of the marriage. It is a malady so grave and so permanent as to deprive one of awareness of the duties and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond one is about to assume.

    20. AURELIO V. AURELIO G.R. No. 175367, June 06, 2011 The following are the guidelines to aid the courts in the disposition of cases involving psychological incapacity: (1) Burden of proof to show the nullity of the marriage belongs to the plaintiff; (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 decision; (3) The incapacity must be proven to be existing at "the time of the celebration" of the marriage; (4) Such incapacity must also be shown to be medically or clinically permanent or incurable; (5) Such illness must be grave enough to bring about the disability of the party to assume the essential obligations of marriage;

    21. (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 in regard to parents and their children. Such non-complied marital obligation(s) must also be stated in the petition, proven by evidence and included in the text of the decision; (7) Interpretations given by the National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, while not controlling or decisive, should be given great respect by our courts; (8) The trial court must order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal and the Solicitor General to appear as counsel for the state. No decision shall be handed down unless the Solicitor General issues a certification, which will be quoted in the decision, briefly stating therein his reasons for his agreement or opposition, as the case may be, to the petition.

    22. REPUBLIC v. GALANG (G.R. No. 168335, June 6, 2011) It is not absolutely 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. [Brenda Marcos vs. Marcos] Instead of serving as a guideline, the Molina Doctrine unintentionally became a straightjacket; it forced all cases involving psychological incapacity to fit into and be bound by it. [Ngo Te vs. Yu-Te] In Ting vs. Velez-Ting, far from abandoning Molina, the Ngo Te case simply suggested the relaxation of its stringent requirements; the Ngo Te case merely stands for a more flexible approach in considering petitions for declaration of nullity of marriages based on psychological incapacity.

    23. KALAW v. HERNANDEZ (G.R. No. 166357, September 19, 2011) The burden of proving psychological incapacity is on the plaintiff (petitioner). Petitioner’s experts heavily relied on petitioner’s allegations of respondent’s constant mahjong sessions, visits to the beauty parlor, going out with friends, adultery, and neglect of their children. Petitioner’s experts opined that respondent’s alleged habits, when performed constantly to the detriment of quality and quantity of time devoted to her duties as mother and wife, constitute a psychological incapacity in the form of NPD.   But petitioner’s allegations, which served as the bases or underlying premises of the conclusions of his experts, were not actually proven.

    24. PIMENTEL v. PIMENTEL G.R. No. 172060, September 13, 2010 On 25 October 2004, Maria Pimentel y Lacap (private respondent) filed an action for frustrated parricide against Joselito Pimentel (petitioner) before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. On 7 February 2005, petitioner received summons to appear before the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City for the pre-trial and trial of a civil case (Maria Pimentel v. Joselito Pimentel) for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code on the ground of psychological incapacity. On 11 February 2005, petitioner filed an urgent motion to suspend the proceedings before the RTC Quezon City on the ground of the existence of a prejudicial question.

    25. ISSUE: Whether the resolution of the action for annulment of marriage is a prejudicial question that warrants the suspension of the criminal case for frustrated parricide against petitioner. The issue in the civil case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 is whether petitioner is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations. The issue in parricide is whether the accused killed the victim. In this case, since petitioner was charged with frustrated parricide, the issue is whether he performed all the acts of execution which would have killed respondent as a consequence but which, nevertheless, did not produce it by reason of causes independent of petitioner’s will. At the time of the commission of the alleged crime, petitioner and respondent were married. The subsequent dissolution of their marriage will have no effect on the alleged crime that was committed at the time of the subsistence of the marriage. In short, even if the marriage between petitioner and respondent is annulled, petitioner could still be held criminally liable since at the time of the commission of the alleged crime, he was still married to respondent.

    26. We cannot accept petitioner’s reliance on Tenebro v. CA that “the judicial declaration of the nullity of a marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity retroacts to the date of the celebration of the marriage insofar as the vinculum between the spouses is concerned x xx.” First, the issue in Tenebro is the effect of the judicial declaration of nullity of a second or subsequent marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity on a criminal liability for bigamy. There was no issue of prejudicial question in that case. Second, the Court ruled in Tenebro that “[t]here is x xx a recognition written into the law itself that such a marriage, although void ab initio, may still produce legal consequences.” In fact, the Court declared in that case that “a declaration of the nullity of the second marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity is of absolutely no moment insofar as the State’s penal laws are concerned.”

    27. DIÑO V. DIÑO (G.R. No. 178044, January 19, 2011) The Court has ruled in Valdes v. RTC that in a void marriage, regardless of its cause, the property relations of the parties during the period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or Article 148 of the Family Code. Article 147 of the Family Code applies to union of parties who are legally capacitated and not barred by any impediment to contract marriage, but whose marriage is nonetheless void, such as petitioner and respondent in the case before the Court. For Article 147 of the Family Code to apply, the following elements must be present: 1. The man and the woman must be capacitated to marry each other; 2. They live exclusively with each other as husband and wife; and 3. Their union is without the benefit of marriage, or their marriage is void.

    28. The trial court erred in ordering that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall be issued only after liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties’ properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. The ruling has no basis because Section 19(1) of the Rule does not apply to cases governed under Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code. Section 19(1) of the Rule provides: Sec. 19. Decision. - (1) If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of Properties. It is clear from Article 50 of the Family Code that Section 19(1) of the Rule applies only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45 of the Family Code.

    29. In both instances under Articles 40 and 45, the marriages are governed either by absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains unless the parties agree to a complete separation of property in a marriage settlement entered into before the marriage. Since the property relations of the parties is governed by absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains, there is a need to liquidate, partition and distribute the properties before a decree of annulment could be issued. That is not the case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code because the marriage is governed by the ordinary rules on co-ownership. Article 50 of the Family Code does not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under Article 36 of the Family Code, which should be declared void without waiting for the liquidation of the properties of the parties.

    30. YU v. JUDGE REYES-CARPIO AND YU G.R. No. 189207, June 15, 2011 Finally, petitioner asserts that the deferment of the reception of evidence on custody, support, and property relations would amount to an ambiguous and fragmentary judgment on the main issue. This argument does not hold water. The Court En Banc Resolution in A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC clearly allows the deferment of the reception of evidence on custody, support, and property relations. Conversely, the trial court may receive evidence on the subject incidents after a judgment granting the petition but before the decree of nullity or annulment of marriage is issued. Petitioner's assertion that ruling the main issue without receiving evidence on the subject incidents would result in an ambiguous and fragmentary judgment is certainly speculative and, hence, contravenes the legal presumption that a trial judge can fairly weigh and appraise the evidence submitted by the parties.

    31. ART. 35. 4 JARILLO v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 164435, June 29, 2010 On November 1979, the petitioner, being previously married in 1974, and without the said marriage having been legally dissolved, contracted a second marriage. The RTC found petitioner guilty of bigamy in 2001. In 2003, judgment was promulgated declaring petitioner’s 1974 marriage null and void ab initio on the ground of petitioner spouse’s psychological incapacity. In her motion for reconsideration, petitioner invoked said declaration of nullity as a ground for the reversal of her conviction.

    32. Without a judicial declaration of nullity of the first marriage, it is presumed to be subsisting. Any decision in the civil action for nullity would not erase the fact that the guilty party entered into a second marriage during the subsistence of a first marriage. Thus, a decision in the civil case is not essential to the determination of the criminal charge. It is, therefore, not a prejudicial question. Petitioner’s conviction of the crime of bigamy must be affirmed. The subsequent judicial declaration of nullity of her marriage to Alocillo cannot be considered a valid defense in the crime of bigamy. The moment petitioner contracted a second marriage without the previous one having been judicially declared null and void, the crime of bigamy was already consummated. Under the law, a marriage, even one which is void or voidable, shall be deemed valid until declared otherwise in a judicial proceeding.

    33. ART. 39 ISIDRO ABLAZA V. REPUBLIC G.R. No. 158298, August 11, 2010 Petitioner filed in the RTC in Cataingan, Masbate a petition for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the marriage contracted on December 26, 1949 between his late brother CresencianoAblaza and LeonilaHonato, alleging that the marriage between Cresenciano and Leonila had been celebrated without a marriage license, due to such license being issued only on January 9, 1950. Accordingly, since he is the surviving brother of Cresenciano who had died without any issue, he is entitled to one-half of the real properties acquired by Cresenciano before his death, thereby making him a real party in interest; and that any person, himself included, could impugn the validity of the marriage between Cresenciano and Leonila at any time, even after the death of Cresenciano, due to the marriage being void ab initio.

    34. Section 2, paragraph (a), of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC explicitly provides the limitation that a petition for declaration of absolute nullity of void marriage may be filed solely by the husband or wife. Such limitation demarcates a line to distinguish between marriages covered by the Family Code and those solemnized under the the Civil Code. This specifically extends only to marriages covered by the Family Code, which took effect on August 3, 1988, but, being a procedural rule that is prospective in application, is confined only to proceedings commenced after March 15, 2003. Assuming that the petitioner was as he claimed himself to be, then he has a material interest in the estate of Cresenciano that will be adversely affected by any judgment in the suit.

    35. ART. 40 ANTONE v. BERONILLA G.R. No. 183824, December 8, 2010 ART. 40. The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such marriage void. This was exhaustively discussed in Mercado (G.R. No. 137110, 1 August 2000), where this Court settled the "conflicting" jurisprudence on "the need for a judicial declaration of nullity of the previous marriage." After establishing that Article 40 is a new provision expressly requiring a judicial declaration of nullity of a prior marriage, this Court concluded, in essence, that under the Family Code a subsequent judicial declaration of the nullity of the first marriage is immaterial in a bigamy case because, by then, the crime had already been consummated. Otherwise stated, a person who contracts a subsequent marriage absent a prior judicial declaration of nullity of a previous one, is guilty of bigamy

    36. TEVES v. PEOPLE G.R. No. 188775, August 24, 2011 Petitioner claims that since his previous marriage was declared null and void, "there is in effect no marriage at all, and thus, there is no bigamy to speak of;" especially since the first marriage had already been legally dissolved at the time the bigamy case was filed in court. It does not matter whether the case for declaration of nullity was filed before the case for bigamy was instituted, for as long as the offender contracted a subsequent marriage while his previous marriage is subsisting thereby not being able to secure a Declaration of Nullity of the First marriage AT THE TIME HE CONTRACTED THE SECOND MARRIAGE.

    37. A declaration of the absolute nullity of a marriage is now explicitly required either as a cause of action or a ground for defense. Where the absolute nullity of a previous marriage is sought to be invoked for purposes of contracting a second marriage, the sole basis acceptable in law for said projected marriage to be free from legal infirmity is a final judgment declaring the previous marriage void. Parties to a marriage should not be allowed to assume that their marriage is void even if such be the fact but must first secure a judicial declaration of the nullity of their marriage before they can be allowed to marry again. With the judicial declaration of the nullity of his or her marriage, the person who marries again cannot be charged with bigamy. A judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted; or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage, reprehensible and immoral.

    38. ART. 42 REPUBLIC v. GRANADA G.R. No. 187512, June 13, 2012 After nine years of waiting, Yolanda filed a Petition to have Cyrus declared presumptively dead with the RTC Lipa City. On 7 February 2005, the RTC rendered a Decision declaring Cyrus presumptively dead. On 10 March 2005, petitioner Republic of the Philippines, represented by the OSG, filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that Yolanda had failed to exert earnest efforts to locate Cyrus and thus failed to prove her well-founded belief that he was already dead. The motion was denied. The OSG then elevated the case on appeal to the CA. Yolanda filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the CA had no jurisdiction over the appeal. She argued that her Petition for Declaration of Presumptive Death, based on Article 41 of the Family Code, was a summary judicial proceeding, in which the judgment is immediately final and executory and, thus, not appealable.

    39. A petition for declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse for the purpose of contracting a subsequent marriage under Article 41 of the Family Code is a summary proceeding “as provided for” under the Family Code. Taken together, Articles 41, 238, 247 and 253 of the Family Code provide that since a petition for declaration of presumptive death is a summary proceeding, the judgment of the court therein shall be immediately final and executory. As a matter of course, it follows that no appeal can be had of the trial court's judgment in a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive death of an absent spouse under Article 41 of the Family Code. It goes without saying, however, that an aggrieved party may file a petition for certiorari to question abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

    40. The law does not define what is meant by a well-grounded belief. The belief of the present spouse must be the result of proper and honest to goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain the whereabouts of the absent spouse and whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead. Whether or not the spouse present acted on a well-founded belief of death of the absent spouse depends upon the inquiries to be drawn from a great many circumstances occurring before and after the disappearance of the absent spouse and the nature and extent of the inquiries made by present spouse.

    41. ART. 92 Munoz v. Ramirez G.R. No. 156125, August 25, 2010 As a general rule, all property acquired during the marriage, whether the acquisition appears to have been made, contracted or registered in the name of one or both spouses, is presumed to be conjugal unless the contrary is proved. In the present case, clear evidence that Erlinda inherited the residential lot from her father has sufficiently rebutted this presumption of conjugal ownership pursuant to Articles 92 and 109 of the Family Code. The residential lot, therefore, is Erlinda’s exclusive paraphernal property. Article 120 of the Family Code, which supersedes Article 158 of the Civil Code, provides the solution in determining the ownership of the improvements that are made on the separate property of the spouses, at the expense of the partnership or through the acts or efforts of either or both spouses. When the value of the paraphernal property is considerably more than the conjugal improvement, said paraphernal property does not become conjugal property.

    42. ART. 96 Fuentes vs. Roca G.R. No. 178902, April 21, 2010 Contrary to the ruling of the Court of Appeals, the law that applies to this case is the Family Code, not the Civil Code. Although Tarciano and Rosario got married in 1950, Tarciano sold the conjugal property without the consent of his wife on January 11, 1989, a few months after the Family Code took effect on August 3, 1988. In contrast to Article 173 of the Civil Code which gives the wife right to have the sale annulled during the marriage within ten years from the date of the sale, Article 124 of the Family Code does not provide a period within which the wife who gave no consent may assail her husband’s sale of the real property. It simply provides that without the other spouse’s written consent or a court order allowing the sale, the same would be void. The passage of time did not erode the right to bring such an action.

    43. The Family Code took effect on August 3, 1988. Its Chapter 4 on Conjugal Partnership of Gains expressly superseded Title VI, Book I of the Civil Code on Property Relations Between Husband and Wife. Further, the Family Code provisions were also made to apply to already existing conjugal partnerships without prejudice to vested rights. Art. 105. x xx The provisions of this Chapter shall also apply to conjugal partnerships of gains already established between spouses before the effectivity of this Code, without prejudice to vested rights already acquired in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws, as provided in Article 256. (n)

    44. ART. 116 DELA PENA v. AVILA G.R. No. 187490, February 08, 2012 In the case Ruiz vs. Court of Appeals, the phrase "married to" is merely descriptive of the civil status of the wife and cannot be interpreted to mean that the husband is also a registered owner. Because it is likewise possible that the property was acquired by the wife while she was still single and registered only after her marriage, neither would registration thereof in said manner constitute proof that the same was acquired during the marriage and, for said reason, to be presumed conjugal in nature. "Since there is no showing as to when the property in question was acquired, the fact that the title is in the name of the wife alone is determinative of its nature as paraphernal, i.e., belonging exclusively to said spouse."

    45. ART. 121 AGUETE v. PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK G.R. No. 170166, April 6, 2011 If the husband himself is the principal obligor in the contract, that contract falls within the term "x xxx obligations for the benefit of the conjugal partnership." Here, no actual benefit may be proved. It is enough that the benefit to the family is apparent at the signing of the contract. Where the husband contracts obligations on behalf of the family business, the law presumes, and rightly so, that such obligation will redound to the benefit of the conjugal partnership.

    46. ART. 124 SPOUSES AGGABAO v. PARULAN, JR. AND PARULAN G.R. No. 165803, September 1, 2010 Article 124, Family Code, applies to sale of conjugal properties made after the effectivity of the Family Code. The sale was made on March 18, 1991, or after August 3, 1988, the effectivity of the Family Code. : “Article 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property shall belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband’s decision shall prevail, subject to recourse to the court by the wife for proper remedy, which must be availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision. In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the administration of the conjugal properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of administration.

    47. These powers do not include disposition or encumbrance without authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void. However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors.” The power of administration does not include acts of disposition or encumbrance, which are acts of strict ownership. As such, an authority to dispose cannot proceed from an authority to administer, and vice versa, for the two powers may only be exercised by an agent by following the provisions on agency of the Civil Code (from Article 1876 to Article 1878).

    48. FLORES v. LINDO G.R. No. 183984, April 13, 2011 Article 124 of the Family Code of which applies to conjugal partnership property, is a reproduction of Article 96 of the Family Code which applies to community property. Both Article 96 and Article 124 of the Family Code provide that the powers do not include disposition or encumbrance without the written consent of the other spouse. Any disposition or encumbrance without the written consent shall be void. However, both provisions also state that “the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon the acceptance by the other spouse x xx before the offer is withdrawn by either or both offerors.”

    49. In this case, the Promissory Note and the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage were executed on 31 October 1995. The Special Power of Attorney was executed on 4 November 1995. The execution of the SPA is the acceptance by the other spouse that perfected the continuing offer as a binding contract between the parties, making the Deed of Real Estate Mortgage a valid contract.

    50. ART. 129 QUIAO v. QUIAO G.R. No 176556, July 04, 2012 FACTS: Rita C. Quiao (Rita) filed a complaint for legal separation against petitioner Brigido B. Quiao (Brigido). RTC rendered a decision declaring the legal separation thereby awarding the custody of their 3 minor children in favor of Rita and all remaining properties shall be divided equally between the spouses subject to the respective legitimes of the children and the payment of the unpaid conjugal liabilities. Brigido’s share, however, of the net profits earned by the conjugal partnership is forfeited in favor of the common children because Brigido is the offending spouse. Neither party filed a motion for reconsideration and appeal within the period. After more than nine months from the promulgation of the Decision, the petitioner filed before the RTC a Motion for Clarification, asking the RTC to define the term “Net Profits Earned.”