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[G.R. No. 119064.

August 22, 2000]


NENG KAGUI KADIGUIA MALANG, petitioner, vs. HON. COROCOY
MOSON, Presiding Judge of 5th Sharia District Court, Cotabato
City, HADJI MOHAMMAD ULYSSIS MALANG, HADJI ISMAEL
MALINDATU MALANG, FATIMA MALANG, DATULNA MALANG,
LAWANBAI MALANG, JUBAIDA KADO MALANG, NAYO OMAL
MALANG and MABAY GANAP MALANG, respondents.
FACTS: Hadji Abdula Malang, a Muslim, contracted marriage with Aida

(Kenanday) Limba, begot three sons named Hadji Mohammad Ulyssis, Hadji
Ismael Malindatu and Datulna, and a daughter named Lawanbai. Hadji Abdula
Malang was engaged in farming, tilling the land that was Aidas dowry (mahr or
majar). Thereafter, he bought a parcel of land in Sousa, Cotabato.Hadji
Abdula and Aida already had two children when he married for the second
time another Muslim named Jubaida Kado, no child was born out of Hadji
Abdulas second marriage. When Aida, the first wife, was pregnant with their
fourth child, Hadji Abdula divorced her. Hadji Abdula married another Muslim, Nayo
H. Omar but they were childless. Thereafter contracted marriage with Hadji Mabai
(Mabay) H. Adziz and soon they had a daughter named Fatima (Kueng). Hadji

Abdula and Hadji Mabai stayed in that place to farm while Hadji Abdula
engaged in the business of buying and selling of rice, corn and other
agricultural products. Not long after, Hadji Abdula married three other Muslim
women named Saaga, Mayumbai and Sabai but he eventually divorced them.
in 1972, Hadji Abdula married petitioner Neng Kagui Kadiguia Malang, his
fourth wife, excluding the wives he had divorced. They established residence
in Cotabato City but they were childless. For a living, they relied on farming
and on the business of buying and selling of agricultural products. Hadji
Abdula acquired vast tracts of land in Sousa and Talumanis, Cotabato City,
some of which were cultivated by tenants. He deposited money in such banks
as United Coconut Planters Bank, Metrobank and Philippine Commercial and
Industrial Bank.
On December 18, 1993, while he was living with petitioner in Cotabato
City, Hadji Abdula died without leaving a will. On January 21, 1994, petitioner
filed with the Sharia District Court in Cotabato City a petition for the settlement
of his estate with a prayer that letters of administration be issued in the name

of her niece, Tarhata Lauban. Petitioner claimed in that petition that she was the wife
of Hadji Abdula; that his other legal heirs are his three children named Teng Abdula,
Keto Abdula and Kueng Malang, and that he left seven (7) parcels of land, five (5) of
which are titled in Hadji Abdulas name married to Neng P. Malang, and a pick-up
jeepney.

On February 7, 1994, the Sharia District Court ordered the publication of


the petition.[1] After such publication[2] or on March 16, 1994, Hadji Mohammad
Ulyssis Malang (Hadji Mohammad, for brevity), the eldest son of Hadji Abdula,
filed his opposition to the petition. He alleged among other matters that his
fathers surviving heirs are as follows: (a) Jubaida Malang, surviving
spouse; (b) Nayo Malang, surviving spouse; (c) Mabay Malang, surviving
spouse; (d) petitioner Neng Malang, surviving spouse; (e) oppositor Hadji
Mohammad Ulyssis Malang who is also known as Teng Abdula, son; (f) Hadji
Ismael Malindatu Malang, also known as Keto Abdula, son, (g) Fatima
Malang, also known as Kueng Malang, daughter; (h) Datulna Malang, son,
and (i) Lawanbai Malang, daughter. Oppositor Hadji Mohammad Ulyssis
Malang alleged that since he and his brother, Hadji Ismael Malindatu Malang,
had helped their father in his business, then they were more competent to be
administrators of his estate.[3]
On April 7, 1994, the Sharia District Court issued an Order appointing Hadji
Mohammad administrator of his fathers properties outside Cotabato City. The same
order named petitioner and Hadji Ismael Malindatu Malang as joint administrators of the
estate in Cotabato City. Each administrator was required to post a bond in the amount
of P100,000.00.

In the Memorandum that she filed with the Sharia District Court, petitioner
asserted that all the properties located in Cotabato City, including the vehicle
and bank deposits, were conjugal properties in accordance with Article 160 of
the Civil Code and Article 116 of the Family Code while properties located
outside of Cotabato City were exclusive properties of the decedent.[19]
On the other hand, the oppositors contended in their own Memorandum
that all the properties left by Hadji Abdula were his exclusive properties for
various reasons. In its Order of September 26, 1994, the Sharia District Court
presided by Judge Corocoy D. Moson held that there was no conjugal partnership of
gains between petitioner and the decedent primarily because the latter married eight
times. The Civil Code provision on conjugal partnership cannot be applied if there is

more than one wife because conjugal partnership presupposes a valid civil marriage,
not a plural marriage or a common-law relationship.

(Hadji Abdula contracted a total of eight marriages, counting the three which terminated in
divorce; all eight marriages were celebrated during the effectivity of the Civil Code and before
the enactment of the Muslim Code; Hadji Abdula divorced four wives --- namely, Aida, Saaga,
Mayumbai and Sabai --- all divorces of which took place before the enactment of the Muslim
Code; and, Hadji Abdula died on December 18, 1993, after the Muslim Code and Family Code
took effect, survived by four wives (Jubaida, Nayo, Mabay and Neng) and five children, four of
whom he begot with Aida and one with Mabay. It is also clear that the following laws were in
force, at some point or other, during the marriages of Hadji Abdula: the Civil Code, which took
effect on August 30, 1950; Republic Act No. 394 (R.A. 394), authorizing Muslim divorces, which
was effective from June 18, 1949 to June 13, 1969; the Muslim Code, which took effect
February 4, 1977; and the Family Code, effective August 3, 1988.)
ISSUE: issue of whether or not the regime of conjugal partnership of gains governed the
property relationship of two Muslims who contracted marriage prior to the effectivity of the Code
of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (hereafter, P.D. 1083 or Muslim Code).

HELD: Thus:

1. Which of the several marriages was validly and legally existing at the
time of the opening of the succession of Hadji Abdula when he died in
1993? The validly and legally existing marriage would be that marriage which
was celebrated at a time when there was no other subsisting marriage
standing undissolved by a valid divorce or by death. This is because all of the
marriages were celebrated during the governance of the Civil Code, under the
rules of which only one marriage can exist at any given time.
Whether or not the marriage was validly dissolved by a Muslim divorce
depends upon the time frame and the applicable law. A Muslim divorce under
R.A. No. 394 is valid if it took place from June 18, 1949 to June 13, 1969, and
void if it took place from June 14, 1969. [46]
2. There being a dispute between the petitioner and the oppositors as
regards the heirship of the children begotten from different marriages, who
among the surviving children are legitimate and who are illegitimate? The
children conceived and born of a validly existing marriage as determined by
the first corollary issue are legitimate. The fact and time of conception or birth

may be determined by proof or presumption depending upon the time frame


and the applicable law.
3. What properties constituted the estate of Hadji Abdula at the time of his
death on December 18, 1993? The estate of Hadji Abdula consists of the
following:
a. Properties acquired during the existence of a valid marriage as
determined by the first corollary issue are conjugal properties and should be
liquidated and divided between the spouses under the Muslim Code, this
being the law in force at the time of Hadji Abdulas death.
b. Properties acquired under the conditions prescribed in Article 144 of the
Civil Code during the period August 30, 1950 to August 2, 1988 are conjugal
properties and should be liquidated and divided between the spouses under
the Muslim Code. However, the wives other than the lawful wife as determined
under the first corollary issue may submit their respective evidence to prove
that any of such property is theirs exclusively.
c. Properties acquired under the conditions set out in Articles 147 and 148
of the Family Code during the period from and after August 3, 1988 are
governed by the rules on co-ownership.
d. Properties acquired under conditions not covered by the preceding
paragraphs and obtained from the exclusive efforts or assets of Hadji Abdula
are his exclusive properties.
4. Who are the legal heirs of Hadji Abdula, and what are their shares in
intestacy? The following are Hadji Abdulas legal heirs: (a) the lawful wife, as
determined under the first corollary issue, and (2) the children, as determined
under the second corollary issue. The Muslim Code, which was already in
force at the time of Hadji Abdulas death, will govern the determination of their
respective shares.
As we have indicated early on, the evidence in this case is inadequate to
resolve in its entirety the main, collateral and corollary issues herein
presented and a remand to the lower court is in order. Accordingly, evidence
should be received to supply the following proofs: (1) the exact dates of the
marriages performed in accordance with Muslim rites or practices; (2) the

exact dates of the dissolutions of the marriages terminated by death or by


divorce in accordance with Muslim rites and practices, thus indicating which
marriage resulted in a conjugal partnership under the criteria prescribed by
the first, second, and third collateral issues and the first corollary issue; (3) the
exact periods of actual cohabitation (common life under a common roof) of
each of the marriages during which time the parties lived together; (4) the
identification of specific properties acquired during each of the periods of
cohabitation referred to in paragraph 3 above, and the manner and source of
acquisition, indicating joint or individual effort, thus showing the asset as
owned separately, conjugally or in co-ownership; and (5) the identities of the
children (legitimate or illegitimate) begotten from the several unions, the dates
of their respective conceptions or births in relation to paragraphs 1 and 2
above, thereby indicating their status as lawful heirs.
Amicus curiae Congressman Mastura agrees that since the marriage of
petitioner to decedent took place in 1972 the Civil Code is the law applicable
on the issue of marriage settlement, [47] but espouses that customs or
established practices among Muslims in Mindanao must also be applied with
the force of law to the instant case. [48] Congressman Masturas disquisition has
proven extremely helpful in impressing upon us the background in which
Islamic law and the Muslim Code need to be interpreted, particularly the
interconnectedness of law and religion for Muslims [49] and the impracticability of
a strict application of the Civil Code to plural marriages recognized under
Muslim law.[50] Regrettably, the Court is duty-bound to resolve the instant case
applying such laws and rights as are in existence at the time the pertinent civil
acts took place. Corollarily, we are unable to supplant governing law with
customs, albeit how widely observed. In the same manner, we cannot supply
a perceived hiatus in P.D. 1083 concerning the distribution of property
between divorced spouses upon one of the spouses death.51
WHEREFORE, the decision dated September 26, 1994 of the Fifth Sharia
District Court of Cotabato City in Special Proceeding No. 94-40 is SET ASIDE,
and the instant petition is REMANDED for the reception of additional evidence
and the resolution of the issues of the case based on the guidelines set out in
this Decision.

PILAPIL vs. HON IBAY-SOMERA, VICTOR AND GEILING et al


G.R. No. 80116
June 30, 1989
FACTS: Petitioner Imelda Pilapil, a Filipino citizen, and private respondent Erich
Geiling, a German national, were married in Germany. After about three and a half
years of marriage, such connubial disharmony eventuated in Geiling initiating a
divorce proceeding against Pilapil in Germany. The Local Court, Federal Republic of
Germany, promulgated a decree of divorce on the ground of failure of marriage of the
spouses.
More than five months after the issuance of the divorce decree, Geiling filed two
complaints for adultery before the City Fiscal of Manila alleging in one that, while
still married to said Geiling, Pilapil had an affair with a certain William Chia. The
Assistant Fiscal, after the corresponding investigation, recommended the dismissal of
the cases on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. However, upon review, the
respondent city fiscal Victor approved a resolution directing the filing of 2 complaint
for adultery against the petitioner. The case entitled PP Philippines vs. Pilapil and
Chia was assigned to the court presided by the respondent judge Ibay-Somera.

A motion to quash was filed in the same case which was denied by the respondent.
Pilapil filed this special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with a prayer for a
TRO, seeking the annulment of the order of the lower court denying her motion to
quash.
As cogently argued by Pilapil, Article 344 of the RPC thus presupposes that the
marital relationship is still subsisting at the time of the institution of the criminal
action for adultery.
ISSUE: Did Geiling have legal capacity at the time of the filing of the complaint for
adultery, considering that it was done after obtaining a divorce decree?
HELD: WHEREFORE, the questioned order denying petitioners MTQ is SET
ASIDE and another one entered DISMISSING the complaint for lack of
jurisdiction. The TRO issued in this case is hereby made permanent.
NO
Under Article 344 of the RPC, the crime of adultery cannot be prosecuted except upon
a sworn written complaint filed by the offended spouse. It has long since been
established, with unwavering consistency, that compliance with this rule is a
jurisdictional, and not merely a formal, requirement.
Corollary to such exclusive grant of power to the offended spouse to institute the
action, it necessarily follows that such initiator must have the status, capacity or legal
representation to do so at the time of the filing of the criminal action. This is a logical
consequence since the raison detre of said provision of law would be absent where
the supposed offended party had ceased to be the spouse of the alleged offender at the
time of the filing of the criminal case.
Stated differently, the inquiry would be whether it is necessary in the commencement
of a criminal action for adultery that the marital bonds between the complainant and
the accused be unsevered and existing at the time of the institution of the action by the
former against the latter.
In the present case, the fact that private respondent obtained a valid divorce in his
country, the Federal Republic of Germany, is admitted. Said divorce and its legal
effects may be recognized in the Philippines insofar as private respondent is
concerned in view of the nationality principle in our civil law on the matter of status
of persons Under the same considerations and rationale, private respondent, being no

longer the husband of petitioner, had no legal standing to commence the adultery case
under the imposture that he was the offended spouse at the time he filed suit.

FACTS: On February 20, 2001, the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 151 rendered a
Decision1 denying the petition for declaration of nullity of petitioner's marriage with Brix Ferraris. The
trial court noted that suffering from epilepsy does not amount to psychological incapacity under
Article 36 of the Civil Code and the evidence on record were insufficient to prove infidelity.
Petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied in an Order2 dated April 20, 2001 where the trial
court reiterated that there was no evidence that respondent is mentally or physically ill to such an
extent that he could not have known the obligations he was assuming, or knowing them, could not
have given valid assumption thereof.
CA held that the evidence on record did not convincingly establish that respondent was suffering
from psychological incapacity or that his "defects" were incurable and already present at the
inception of the marriage.4 The Court of Appeals also found that Dr. Dayan's testimony failed to
establish the substance of respondent's psychological incapacity; that she failed to explain how she
arrived at the conclusion that the respondent has a mixed personality disorder; that she failed to
clearly demonstrate that there was a natal or supervening disabling factor or an adverse integral
element in respondent's character that effectively incapacitated him from accepting and complying
with the essential marital obligations.5
Petitioner filed the instant motion for reconsideration.7 The Court required respondent Brix Ferraris to
file comment8 but failed to comply; thus, he is deemed to have waived the opportunity to file

comment. Further, the Court directed the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to comment on
petitioner's motion for reconsideration which it complied on March 2, 2006.
ISSUE: whether or not psychological incapacity exists in a given case calling for annulment of
marriage
HELD: The term "psychological incapacity" to be a ground for the nullity of marriage under Article 36
of the Family Code, 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. 13 As all
people may have certain quirks and idiosyncrasies, or isolated characteristics associated with
certain personality disorders, there is hardly any doubt that the intendment of the law has been 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.14 It is for this reason that the Court relies heavily on psychological experts for its
understanding of the human personality. However, the root cause must be identified as a
psychological illness and its incapacitating nature must be fully explained, 15 which petitioner failed to
convincingly demonstrate.
We find respondent's alleged mixed personality disorder, the "leaving-the-house" attitude whenever
they quarreled, the violent tendencies during epileptic attacks, the sexual infidelity, the abandonment
and lack of support, and his preference to spend more time with his band mates than his family, are
not rooted on some debilitating psychological condition but a mere refusal or unwillingness to
assume the essential obligations of marriage.
Also, we held in Hernandez v. Court of Appeals18 that habitual alcoholism, sexual infidelity or
perversion, and abandonment do not by themselves constitute grounds for declaring a marriage void
based on psychological incapacity.
While petitioner's marriage with the respondent failed and appears to be without hope of
reconciliation, the remedy however is not always to have it declared void ab initio on the ground of
psychological incapacity. An unsatisfactory marriage, however, is not a null and void marriage. 19 No
less than the Constitution recognizes the sanctity of marriage and the unity of the family; it decrees
marriage as legally "inviolable" and protects it from dissolution at the whim of the parties. Both the
family and marriage are to be "protected" by the state.20
Thus, in determining the import of "psychological incapacity" under Article 36, it must be read in
conjunction with, although to be taken as distinct from Articles 35, 21 37,22 38,23 and 4124 that would
likewise, but for different reasons, render the marriage void ab initio, or Article 4525 that would make
the marriage merely voidable, or Article 55 that could justify a petition for legal separation. Care must
be observed so that these various circumstances are not applied so indiscriminately as if the law
were indifferent on the matter.26 Article 36 should not to be confused with a divorce law that cuts the
marital bond at the time the causes therefor manifest themselves.27 Neither it is to be equated with
legal separation, in which the grounds need not be rooted in psychological incapacity but on physical
violence, moral pressure, moral corruption, civil interdiction, drug addiction, habitual alcoholism,
sexual infidelity, abandonment and the like.28

ALAIN M. DIO , G.R. No. 178044


MA. CARIDAD L. DIO, Promulgated:

Respondent. January 19, 2011


FACTS: Alain M. Dio (petitioner) and

Ma. Caridad L. Dio (respondent) were childhood friends and sweethearts. They
started living together in 1984 until they decided to separate in 1994. In 1996,
petitioner and respondent decided to live together again. On 14 January 1998, they
were married before Mayor Vergel Aguilar of Las Pias City.

On 30 May 2001, petitioner filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage


against respondent, citing psychological incapacity under Article 36 of the Family
Code. Petitioner alleged that respondent failed in her marital obligation to give love
and support to him, and had abandoned her responsibility to the family, choosing
instead to go on shopping sprees and gallivanting with her friends that depleted the
family assets. Petitioner further alleged that respondent was not faithful, and would at
times become violent and hurt him.
Extrajudicial service of summons was effected upon respondent who, at the time of
the filing of the petition, was already living in the United States of America. Despite
receipt of the summons, respondent did not file an answer to the petition within
the reglementary period. Petitioner later learned that respondent filed a petition for
divorce/dissolution of her marriage with petitioner, which was granted by the Superior
Court of California on 25 May 2001. Petitioner also learned that on 5 October 2001,
respondent married a certain Manuel V.Alcantara.

On 30 April 2002, the Office of the Las Pias prosecutor found that there were no
indicative facts of collusion between the parties and the case was set for trial on the
merits.

Dr. Nedy L. Tayag (Dr. Tayag), a clinical psychologist, submitted a psychological


report establishing that respondent was suffering from Narcissistic Personality
Disorder which was deeply ingrained in her system since her early formative years.
Dr. Tayag found that respondents disorder was long-lasting and by nature, incurable.

In its 18 October 2006 Decision, the trial court granted the petition on the ground that
respondent was psychologically incapacited to comply with the essential marital
obligations at the time of the celebration of the marriage.
The trial court ruled that based on the evidence presented,
petitioner was able to establish respondents psychological
incapacity.
Petitioner filed a motion for partial reconsideration questioning the dissolution of the
absolute community of property and the ruling that the decree of annulment shall only
be issued upon compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code.
The sole issue in this case is whether the trial court erred
when it ordered that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall
only be issued after liquidation, partition, and distribution of the
parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code.
ISSUE:

HELD : We agree with petitioner.

The Court has ruled in Valdes v. RTC, Branch 102, Quezon City 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.
7

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.

All these elements are present in this case and there is no question that Article 147 of
the Family Code applies to the property relations between petitioner and respondent.
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. In short, 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.
In this case, petitioners marriage to respondent was declared void under Article 36 of
the Family Code and not under Article 40 or 45. Thus, what governs the liquidation of
properties owned in common by petitioner and respondent are the rules on coownership. In Valdes, the Court ruled that the property relations of parties in a void
marriage during the period of cohabitation is governed either by Article 147 or Article
148 of the Family Code. The rules on co-ownership apply and the properties of the
spouses should be liquidated in accordance with the Civil Code provisions on coownership. Under Article 496 of the Civil Code, [p]artition may be made by
agreement between the parties or by judicial proceedings. x x x. It is not necessary to
liquidate the properties of the spouses in the same proceeding for declaration of
nullity of marriage.
15

16

G.R. No. L-27843 October 11, 1979


CLARA TORELA AND SILVERIANA TORELA, appellants-petitioners,
vs.
FELIMON TORELA, MARCIANA GEPANAGO AND MARCOS MAHILUM AND THE COURT OF
APPEALS,appellees-respondents.

FACTS: t appears that on December 21, 1929, Decree No. 440157 was issued by the Court of First
Instance of Occidental Negros in favor of Felimon Torela, married to Graciana Gallego, decreeing
that he is the owner of a certain parcel of land (Lot No. 3770 of the Cad. Survey of Cauayan)
described therein, and ordering that the same be registered in the name of said Felimon Torela in
accordance with the provision of Land Registration Act (Exh. 3 also Exh. 4). Consequently, Original
Certificate of Title No. 29257 covering said Lot No. 3770 of the Cauayan Cadastre was issued in
favor of Felimon Torela. As the certificate of title (O.C.T. No. 29257) was either lost or destroyed
during the last world war, Felimon Torela filed a verified petition for reconstitution, dated December
28, 1953, praying that after due publication thereof in the Official Gazette, as provided for by law, an
order be issued setting the petition for hearing (Exh. A). Thereafter an order was issued on July 8,
1957, the dispositive portion of which is as follows

Thus, Original Certificate of Title No. RO-6898 (29257) was issued in favor of Felimon Torela, in lieu
of the lost and/or destroyed one (Exh. D, p. 125, Rec.).
On March 5, 1958, Felimon Torela, filed a Motion Ex-Parte alleging that Lot No. 3770 of the Cauayan
Cadastre having been acquired by him by way of inheritance prior to his marriage to his first wife,
Graciana Gallego, the Cadastral court ordered that said land be registered in the name of Felimon
Torela, married to Graciana Gallego; that his first wife died many years ago; and that he is married
by second nuptial to Marciana Gepanago. He, therefore, prayed that the court order the Register of
Deeds of Negros Occidental to change his (movant's) civil status, appearing on the face of the
original certificate of title, "from Felimon Torela, married to Graciana Gallego to Felimon Torela,
married to Marciana Gepanago" (Exh. E).
Thus, Original Certificate of Title No. RO-6898 (29257) was issued in favor of Felimon Torela, in lieu
of the lost and/or destroyed one (Exh. D, p. 125, Rec.).
On March 5, 1958, Felimon Torela, filed a Motion Ex-Parte alleging that Lot No. 3770 of the Cauayan
Cadastre having been acquired by him by way of inheritance prior to his marriage to his first wife,
Graciana Gallego, the Cadastral court ordered that said land be registered in the name of Felimon
Torela, married to Graciana Gallego; that his first wife died many years ago; and that he is married
by second nuptial to Marciana Gepanago. He, therefore, prayed that the court order the Register of
Deeds of Negros Occidental to change his (movant's) civil status, appearing on the face of the
original certificate of title, "from Felimon Torela, married to Graciana Gallego to Felimon Torela,
married to Marciana Gepanago" (Exh. E). Acting upon the Motion Ex-Parte, the court, finding no
opposition thereto and with the conformity of Clara Torela, daughter of Felimon Torela by first
marriage, granted the motion and ordered the Register of Deeds to change the civil status of the
movant from "Felimon Torela, married to Marciana Gepanago", which is the actual civil status of the
movant, upon payment of the required fees. (Order of March 10, 1958, Exh. F.)
According, however, to the plaintiffs while in their youth they had seen their father Felimon and their
mother Graciana Gallego clean the lot in question, as it was there, forested. And when their mother
died, their father married Marciana Gepanago. In other words, the plaintiffs want us to believe that
the parcel of land is a conjugal property of their father and mother (Felimon and Graciana), And
since their father succeeded in changing his status and in conveying the land to another, they now
assert their right to the estate appertaining to their mother, alleging that they were deprived of their
corresponding share from the property thus sold.
Under the conflicting claims of the plaintiffs and their father, defendant Felimon Torela, the decisive
question

ISSUE: whether or not the parcel of land herein involved is a conjugal property of the spouses
Felimon Torela and Graciana Gallego (plaintiffs' mother).
HELD: According to Article 1401 of the Old Civil Code, the following properties belong to the
conjugal partnership:
1. Property acquired for a valuable consideration during the marriage at the expense of the common
fund, whether the acquisition is made for the partnership or for one of the spouses only;
2. Property obtained by the industry, wages or work of the spouses or of either of them;

3. The fruits, income, or interest collected or accrued during the marriage, derived from the
partnership property., or from that which belongs separately to either of the spouses.
Felimon Torela testified that he inherited the contested property from his parents, Pedro Torela and
Soperiana Magbanua. True enough that plaintiff Silveriana Torela and Miguel Pedrosa declared that
the land in question was jointly cleared by Felimon Torela and his first wife Graciana Gallego, but the
trial court did not give credence to their testimonies for the simple reason that Silveriana was not yet
born at the time when said Felimon, together with his father, started living in the land in 1905 As a
matter of fact at the time of his marriage with his first wife, Graciana Gallego, a portion of said land
had already been cultivated by him. In the light of the foregoing, the property in question is not one
of those enumerated in Article 1401 of the Old Civil Code. On the other hand, as it was inherited by
Felimon from his parents and brought to the marriage with his first wife, the same is deemed his
separate property (Art, 1396, Old Civil Code). For these reasons, defendant Felimon Torela had
lawfully disposed of his property to the exclusion of his children by his first marriage. Accordingly,
plaintiffs' complaint was correctly dismissed by the court below.
In the instant case there is nothing in the record to show that the lot in question was acquired during
the marriage of Felimon Torela and Graciana Gallego. On the contrary, the factual finding of the
Court of Appeals is to the effect that Felimon acquired the land through inheritance and this
conclusion is bolstered by that fact that one of the petitioners herein, Clara Torela, gave her
conformity to her father's Ex-Parte Motion of March 5, 1958, wherein it was recited, inter alia, that
Felimon Torela had acquired the property by way of inheritance prior to his marriage to his first wife,
Graciana Gallego.
The circumstance that Decree No. 440157 of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental which
confirmed the ownership of Felimon Torela over the land in question described him as married to
Graciana Gallego was merely descriptive of his civil status at that time and cannot be taken as proof
that the land was acquired during their coverture. The further circumstance that the land was
registered during their marriage cannot in itself constitute proof that it was acquired during their
marriage for land registration under Act No. 496, as amended, does not confer title; it merely
confirms a title already existing and which is registerable.