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LUPO ALMODIEL ATIENZA vs. JUDGE FRANCISCO F. BRILLANTES, JR.

A.M. No. MTJ-92-706 March 29, 1995


243 SCRA 32
QUIASON, J.

FACTS: Atienza lived together with De Castro and their two children whenever he is in Manila.
In December 1991, he saw Judge Brillantes sleeping on his bed. He was informed by their
houseboy that Judge Brillantes had been cohabiting with De Castro. Atienza ignored the
information given to him, instructed the houseboy to take care of his children, and left the house.
Thereafter, Judge Brillantes prevented him from visiting his children and even alienated the
affection of his children for him.

Atienza filed a complaint for Gross Immorality and Appearance of Impropriety against
Judge Brillantes. Atienza alleged that Judge Brillantes was married with Ongkiko with whom he
had five children. Judge Brillantes admitted that he had children with Ongkiko but was never
married to her. Judge Brillantes claimed that the marriage between him and Ongkiko is void
because of lack of marriage license. He also claimed that the marriage between him and De
Castro is valid.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Brillantes can contract a second marriage without a judicial
declaration of nullity.

RULING: Under the Family Code, there must be a judicial declaration of the nullity of a
previous marriage before a party thereto can enter into a second marriage. Article 40 of said
Code provides:
The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked for the purposes of
remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void.
Respondent argues that the provision of Article 40 of the Family Code does not apply to
him considering that his first marriage took place in 1965 and was governed by the Civil Code of
the Philippines; while the second marriage took place in 1991 and governed by the Family Code.
Article 40 is applicable to remarriages entered into after the effectivity of the Family Code on
August 3, 1988 regardless of the date of the first marriage. Besides, under Article 256 of the
Family Code, said Article is given "retroactive effect insofar as it does not prejudice or impair
vested or acquired rights in accordance with the Civil Code or other laws." This is particularly
true with Article 40, which is a rule of procedure. Respondent has not shown any vested right
that was impaired by the application of Article 40 to his case.



ROBERTO DOMINGO vs. COURT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 104818 September 17, 1993
226 SCRA 572
ROMERO, J.

FACTS: Delia Domingo alleged that Roberto Domingo and she were married at
Carmona, Cavite with evidences of marriage certificate and marriage license
without knowing that Roberto had a previous marriage with Dela Paz which is
still valid. She came to know about the prior marriage when Dela Paz sued them
for bigamy.
Subsequently, Delia filed a petition for the declaration of nullity of marriage and as a
consequence, to declare that she is the exclusive owner of all properties she acquired during the
marriage and to recover them from him.
Roberto moved to dismiss the petition on the ground that the marriage being void ab
initio, the petition of declaration of nullity is unnecessary. He added that Delia has no property
which in his possession.
ISSUE: Whether or not Delia may claim for a declaration of nullity against Roberto on the
ground of bigamy.
RULING: With regards to the declaration of nullity of mariage, the court held that crucial to the
proper interpretation of Article 40 [of the Family Code] is the position in the provision of the
word "solely." As it is placed, the same shows that it is meant to qualify "final judgment
declaring such previous marriage void." Realizing the need for careful craftsmanship in
conveying the precise intent of the Committee members, the provision in question, as it finally
emerged, did not state "The absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked solely for
purposes of remarriage . . .," in which case "solely" would clearly qualify the phrase "for
purposes of remarriage." Had the phraseology been such, the interpretation of petitioner would
have been correct and, that is, that the absolute nullity of a previous marriage may be invoked
solely for purposes of remarriage, thus rendering irrelevant the clause "on the basis solely of a
final judgment declaring such previous marriage void."
That Article 40 as finally formulated included the significant clause denotes that such
final judgment declaring the previous marriage void need not be obtained only for purposes of
remarriage.
MEYNARDO L. BELTRAN vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
G.R. No. 137567 June 20, 2000
334 SCRA 106
BUENA, J.

FACTS: In June 16, 1973, Beltran and Felix married and had 4 children. After 24 years of
marriage, Beltran filed an action for a declaration of nullity of their marriage on the ground of
Felixs psychological incapacity. In answer to the said petition, Felix alleged that it was Beltran
who abandoned the conjugal home and lived with Salting. Thereafter, Felix filed a criminal
complaint for concubinage against Beltran and his paramour.

In September 16, 1997, the court found probable cause and ordered a warrant of arrest
against Beltran. In order to forestall said warrant, Beltran raised the issue that the civil case for
declaration of nullity of their marriage posed a prejudicial question to the determination of the
criminal case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the absolute nullity of a previous marriage be invoked as a prejudicial
question.

RULING: The rationale behind the principle of prejudicial question is to avoid two conflicting
decisions. It has two essential elements: (a) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately
related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (b) the resolution of such issue determines
whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
The pendency of the case for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage is not a prejudicial
question to the concubinage case. For a civil case to be considered prejudicial to a criminal
action as to cause the suspension of the latter pending the final determination of the civil case, it
must appear not only that the said civil case involves the same facts upon which the criminal
prosecution would be based, but also that in the resolution of the issue or issues raised in the
aforesaid civil action, the guilt or innocence of the accused would necessarily be determined.


VINCENT PAUL G. MERCADO vs. CONSUELO TAN
G.R. No. 137110 August 1, 2000
337 SCRA 28
PANGANIBAN, J.

FACTS: Mercado married Tan on June 27, 1991 while Mercado was still married to Oliva.
When Tan filed a letter-complaint for bigamy against Mercado, Mercado filed an action for
declaration of nullity against Oliva more than a month later. In a decision dated May 6, 1993,
the marriage between Mercado and Oliva was declared null and void.

ISSUE: Whether Mercado committed bigamy even though he filed a declaration of nullity of the
former marriage.

RULING: In Terre vs. Terre, the court declared that for purposes of determining whether a
person is legally free to contract a second marriage, a judicial declaration that the first marriage
was null and void ab initio is essential. That he subsequently obtained a judicial declaration of
the nullity of the first marriage was immaterial. The crime had already been consummated by
then. Moreover, his view effectively encourages delay in the prosecution of bigamy cases; an
accused could simply file a petition to declare his previous marriage void and invoke the
pendency of that action as a prejudicial question in the criminal case. We cannot allow that.


JUANITA CARATING-SIAYNGCO vs. MANUEL SIAYNGCO
G.R. NO. 158896 October 27, 2004
441 SCRA 422
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.

FACTS: Carating-Siayngco and Siayngco were married on June 27, 1973. Having known that
they cannot have a child, they adopted a baby boy in 1977 and named the boy, Jeremy.
On 25 September 1997, or after twenty-four (24) years of married life together,
respondent Manuel filed for the declaration of its nullity on the ground of psychological
incapacity of petitioner Juanita. He alleged that all throughout their marriage, his wife exhibited
an over domineering and selfish attitude towards him which was exacerbated by her extremely
volatile and bellicose nature; that she incessantly complained about almost everything and
anyone connected with him like his elderly parents, the staff in his office and anything not of her
liking like the physical arrangement, tables, chairs, wastebaskets in his office and with other
trivial matters; that she showed no respect or regard at all for the prestige and high position of his
office as judge of the Municipal Trial Court; that she would yell and scream at him and throw
objects around the house within the hearing of their neighbors; that she cared even less about his
professional advancement as she did not even give him moral support and encouragement; that
her psychological incapacity arose before marriage, rooted in her deep-seated resentment and
vindictiveness for what she perceived as lack of love and appreciation from her own parents
since childhood and that such incapacity is permanent and incurable and, even if treatment could
be attempted, it will involve time and expense beyond the emotional and physical capacity of the
parties; and that he endured and suffered through his turbulent and loveless marriage to her for
twenty-two (22) years.
In her Answer, petitioner Juanita alleged that respondent Manuel is still living with her at
their conjugal home in Malolos, Bulacan; that he invented malicious stories against her so that he
could be free to marry his paramour; that she is a loving wife and mother; that it was respondent
Manuel who was remiss in his marital and family obligations; that she supported respondent
Manuel in all his endeavors despite his philandering; that she was raised in a real happy family
and had a happy childhood contrary to what was stated in the complaint.

ISSUE: Whether or not the totality of evidence presented is enough to sustain a finding of
psychological incapacity against petitioner Juanita.

RULING: The court held that the presumption is always in favor of the validity of marriage.
Semper praesumitur pro matrimonio. In the case at bar, respondent Manuel failed to prove that
his wifes lack of respect for him, her jealousies and obsession with cleanliness, her outbursts
and her controlling nature (especially with respect to his salary), and her inability to endear
herself to his parents are grave psychological maladies that paralyze her from complying with the
essential obligations of marriage. Neither is there any showing that these "defects" were already
present at the inception of the marriage or that they are incurable. In fact, Dr. Maaba, whose
expertise as a psychiatrist was admitted by respondent Manuel, reported that petitioner was
psychologically capacitated to comply with the basic and essential obligations of marriage.