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In 1969 SPO4 Santiago Cario married Susan Nicdao Cario. He had 2 children with her.

In
1992, SPO4 contracted a second marriage, this time with Susan Yee Cario. In 1988, prior
to his second marriage, SPO4 is already bedridden and he was under the care of Yee. In
1992, he died 13 days after his marriage with Yee. Thereafter, the spouses went on to claim
the benefits of SPO4. Nicdao was able to claim a total of P140,000.00 while Yee was able
to collect a total of P21,000.00. In 1993, Yee filed an action for collection of sum of money
against Nicdao. She wanted to have half of the P140k. Yee admitted that her marriage with
SPO4 was solemnized during the subsistence of the marriage b/n SPO4 and Nicdao but
the said marriage between Nicdao and SPO4 is null and void due to the absence of a valid
marriage license as certified by the local civil registrar. Yee also claimed that she only found
out about the previous marriage on SPO4s funeral.
ISSUE: Whether or not the absolute nullity of marriage may be invoked to claim
presumptive legitimes.
HELD: The marriage between Nicdao and SPO4 is null and void due the absence of a valid
marriage license. The marriage between Yee and SPO4 is likewise null and void for the
same has been solemnized without the judicial declaration of the nullity of the marriage
between Nicdao and SPO4. Under Article 40 of the FC, the absolute nullity of a previous
marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment
declaring such previous marriage void. Meaning, 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. However, for purposes other than
remarriage, no judicial action is necessary to declare a marriage an absolute nullity. For
other purposes, such as but not limited to the 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 after the death of the
parties thereto, and even in a suit not directly instituted to question the validity of said
marriage, so long as it is essential to the determination of the case. In such instances,
evidence must be adduced, testimonial or documentary, to prove the existence of grounds
rendering such a previous marriage an absolute nullity. These need not be limited solely to
an earlier final judgment of a court declaring such previous marriage void.
The SC ruled that Yee has no right to the benefits earned by SPO4 as a policeman for their
marriage is void due to bigamy; she is only entitled to properties, money etc owned by them
in common in proportion to their respective contributions. Wages and salaries earned by
each party shall belong to him or her exclusively (Art. 148 of FC). Nicdao is entitled to the
full benefits earned by SPO4 as a cop even if their marriage is likewise void. This is
because the two were capacitated to marry each other for there were no impediments but
their marriage was void due to the lack of a marriage license; in their situation, their property
relations is governed by Art 147 of the FC which provides that everything they earned
during their cohabitation is presumed to have been equally contributed by each party this
includes salaries and wages earned by each party notwithstanding the fact that the other
may not have contributed at all.