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NINAL v.

BADAYOG
Facts: The petitioner, Engrace Ninal, who serves as the guardian of four Ninal
minors, the children of Pepito Ninal and Teodulfa Bellones, petitioned for the
declaration of nullity of marriage of Pepito Ninal to respondent Norma Badayog
which was contracted without any marriage license on December 11, 1986, or
after 20 months after the death of Teodulfa Bellones. The petition was predicated
on the assumption that the validity or invalidity of the second marriage would
affect the petitioners successional rights. Respondent, however, contended that
the petitioner has no cause of action to file for the declaration of nullity of
marriage after the death of their father under Article 47 of the Family Code. The
lower court dismissed the petition on the grounds mentioned under Article 47 of
the Family Code, hence, this petition for review on grounded on pure question of
law.
Issue:
(1) WON, the petitioner has the cause of action to file for the
declaration of nullity of marriage of their deceased father to respondent;
(2) WON, the respondents marriage to Pepito Ninal was void ab initio;
(3) WON, the petitioner is estopped to assail the validity of the second
marriage after it was dissolved due to their fathers death.
Ruling: (1) YES, the petitioner has the cause of action to file for the declaration
of nullity of marriage of their deceased father to respondent because the Family
Code is rather silent as to who may file for declaration of nullity of marriage.
However, to have a proper determination of the cause of action, the assailed
marriage should be distinguished whether it is voidable or void. If the marriage is
voidable then Article 47 of the Family Code governs it, and it likewise
enumerated the time and persons who could initiate an action for annulment of
marriage. On the other hand, if the marriage is void, as if there was no marriage
at all to begin with, and it being material to the determination of successional
rights of the petitioner in this case at bar, it is open for collateral attack and need
not a separate proceeding directly assailing the nullity of same marriage.
(2) YES, the respondents marriage to Pepito Ninal was void ab initio
because their case was not the one contemplated by Article 76a of the Old Civil
Code (now Article 34 NCC) which dispenses the requirement of a marriage
license to those who cohabited or lived together as husband and wife for at least
five years and without any legal impediment to marry each other. It must be
recalled that they contracted their marriage without any license 20 months after
the death of Pepitos first wife, thus, the alleged five year cohabitation was not
met. Granting that they lived five years before said marriage, the same was
against good morals, good customs, or even public policy as Pepitos first wife
was still living then, or exactly 30 months before her death. Thus, there is a legal
impediment to respondents marriage to Pepito.
(3) NO, the petitioner is not estopped to assail the validity of the second
marriage after it was dissolved due to their fathers death because the Family
Code is rather silent as to who may file for declaration of nullity of marriage, and
since the marriage sought to be annulled was void from the beginning, it does
not fall under the enumerations in Article 47 of the Family Code. Petitioner may
directly or collaterally assail the validity of the second marriage of their father
even after the latters death.

The Court granted the petition, reversed and set aside the lower courts
ruling and the case is ordered reinstated.