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9/23/2016

G.R.No.127263

TodayisFriday,September23,2016

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
SECONDDIVISION
G.R.No.127263April12,2000
FILIPINAY.SY,petitioner,
vs.
THEHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALS,THEHONORABLEREGIONALTRIALCOURT,SANFERNANDO,
PAMPANGA,BRANCHXLI,andFERNANDOSY,respondents.

QUISUMBING,J.:
Forreviewisthedecision1datedMay21,1996oftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.CVNo.44144,whichaffirmed
thedecision2 of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, denying the petition3 for declaration of
absolutenullityofmarriageofthespousesFilipinaSyandFernandoSy.
PetitionerFilipinaY.SyandprivaterespondentFernandoSycontractedmarriageonNovember15,1973atthe
ChurchofOurLadyofLourdesinQuezonCity. 4Bothwerethen22yearsold.Theirunionwasblessedwithtwo
children,FrederickandFarrahSheryllwhowerebornonJuly8,1975andFebruary14,1978,respectively.5
The spouses first established their residence in Singalong, Manila, then in Apalit, Pampanga, and later at San
Matias,Sto.Tomas,Pampanga.TheyoperatedalumberandhardwarebusinessinSto.Tomas,Pampanga.6
OnSeptember15,1983,Fernandolefttheirconjugaldwelling.Sincethen,thespouseslivedseparately,andtheir
twochildrenwereinthecustodyoftheirmother.However,theirsonFredericktransferredtohisfather'sresidence
atMasangkay,Tondo,ManilaonMay15,1988,andfromthenon,livedwithhisfather.7
On February 11, 1987, Filipina filed a petition for legal separation, docketed as Civil Case No. 7900 before the
RegionalTrialCourtofSanFernando,Pampanga.Later,uponmotionofpetitioner,theactionwaslateramended
toapetitionforseparationofpropertyonthegroundsthatherhusbandabandonedherwithoutjustcausethat
theyhavebeenlivingseparatelyformorethanoneyearandthattheyvoluntarilyenteredintoaMemorandumof
Agreement dated September 29, 1983, containing the rules that would govern the dissolution of their conjugal
partnership.8 Judgment was rendered dissolving their conjugal partnership of gains and approving a regime of
separationofpropertiesbasedontheMemorandumofAgreementexecutedbythespouses.9Thetrialcourtalso
grantedcustodyofthechildrentoFilipina.10
In May 1988, Filipina filed a criminal action for attempted parricide against her husband, docketed as Criminal
CaseNo.8868006,beforetheRegionalTrialCourtofManila.FilipinatestifiedthatintheafternoonofMay15,
1988, she went to the dental clinic at Masangkay, Tondo, Manila, owned by her husband but operated by his
mistress,tofetchhersonandbringhimtoSanFernando,Pampanga.Whileshewastalkingtoherson,theboy
ignoredherandcontinuedplayingwiththefamilycomputer.Filipinagotmad,tookthecomputerawayfromher
son,andstartedspankinghim.Atthatinstance,FernandopulledFilipinaawayfromtheirson,andpunchedherin
the different parts of her body. Filipina also claimed that her husband started choking her when she fell on the
floor,andreleasedheronlywhenhethoughtshewasdead.Filipinasufferedfromhematomaandcontusionson
different parts of her body as a result of the blows inflicted by her husband, evidenced by a Medical Certificate
issuedbyacertainDr.JamesFerraren.ShesaiditwasnotthefirsttimeFernandomaltreatedher.11
TheRegionalTrialCourtofManila,however,initsdecision 12datedApril26,1990,convictedFernandoonlyof
thelessercrimeofslightphysicalinjuries,andsentencedhimto20daysimprisonment.
Petitioner later filed a new action for legal separation against private respondent, docketed as Civil Case No.
8273, on the following grounds: (1) repeated physical violence (2) sexual infidelity (3) attempt by respondent
againstherlifeand(4)abandonmentofherbyherhusbandwithoutjustifiablecauseformorethanoneyear.The
RegionalTrialCourtofSanFernando,Pampanga,initsdecision13datedDecember4,1991,grantedthepetition
on the grounds of repeated physical violence and sexual infidelity, and issued a decree of legal separation. It
awardedcustodyoftheirdaughterFarrahSherylltopetitioner,andtheirsonFredericktorespondent.
OnAugust4,1992,Filipinafiledapetition14forthedeclarationofabsolutenullityofhermarriagetoFernandoon
thegroundofpsychologicalincapacity.ShepointsoutthatthefinaljudgmentrenderedbytheRegionalTrialCourt
inherfavor,inherpetitionsforseparationofpropertyandlegalseparation,andFernando'sinflictionofphysical
violence on her which led to the conviction of her husband for slight physical injuries are symptoms of
psychologicalincapacity.Shealsocitesasmanifestationsofherhusband'spsychologicalincapacitythefollowing:
(1) habitual alcoholism (2) refusal to live with her without fault on her part, choosing to live with his mistress
insteadand(3)refusaltohavesexwithher,performingthemaritalactonlytosatisfyhimself.Moreover,Filipina
alleges that such psychological incapacity of her husband existed from the time of the celebration of their
marriageandbecamemanifestthereafter.15
The Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, Pampanga, in its decision 16 dated December 9, 1993, denied the
petitionofFilipinaSyforthedeclarationofabsolutenullityofhermarriagetoFernando.Itstatedthatthealleged
acts of the respondent, as cited by petitioner, do not constitute psychological incapacity which may warrant the
declarationofabsolutenullityoftheirmarriage.
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PetitionerappealedtotheCourtofAppealswhichaffirmedthedecisionofthetrialcourt.Inthedecision 17ofthe
CourtofAppealsdatedMay21,1996,itruledthatthetestimonyofpetitionerconcerningrespondent'spurported
psychological incapacity falls short of the quantum of evidence required to nullify a marriage celebrated with all
theformalandessentialrequisitesoflaw.Moreover,theCourtofAppealsheldthatpetitionerfailedtoshowthat
theallegedpsychologicalincapacityofrespondenthadexistedatthetimeofthecelebrationoftheirmarriagein
1973.Itreiteratedthefindingofthetrialcourtthatthecouple'smaritalproblemssurfacedonlyin1983,oralmost
tenyearsfromthedateofthecelebrationoftheirmarriage.Andpriortotheirseparationin1983,theywereliving
togetherharmoniously.Thus,theCourtofAppealsaffirmedthejudgmentofthelowercourtwhichitfoundtobein
accordancewithlawandtheevidenceonrecord.18
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, 19 which the Court of Appeals denied in its resolution dated
November21,1996.20
Hence,thisappealbycertiorari21whereinpetitionernowraisesthefollowingissues:
1.WHETHERORNOTTHEHONORABLECOURTOFAPPEALSMANIFESTLYOVERLOOKEDTHEFACT
THAT ON THE DATE OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE PARTIES' MARRIAGE ON NOVEMBER 15, 1973,
NOTDISPUTEDBYRESPONDENTFERNANDO,THEREWASNOMARRIAGELICENSETHERETO
2. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF
FACTS BY STATING THAT THE GROUNDS RELIED UPON BY APPELLANT [herein petitioner] DO NOT
CONSTITUTE PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY AS WOULD JUSTIFY NULLIFICATION OF HER
MARRIAGETOAPPELLEE[hereinrespondent]
3. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED MISAPPREHENSION OF
FACTS BY STATING THAT APPELLANT FAILED TO SHOW THAT THE ALLEGED UNDESIRABLE
ACTUATIONSOFAPPELLEEHADEXISTEDORWEREPRESENTATTHETIMETHEIRMARRIAGEWAS
CELEBRATEDIN1973
4. WHETHER OR NOT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION IN AFFIRMING THE ERRONEOUS RULING OF THE LOWER COURT THAT THERE IS A
REDEEMING ATTITUDE SHOWN TO THE COURT BY RESPONDENT FERNANDO WITH RESPECT TO
HIS CHILDREN AND ALSO BELIEVES THAT RECONCILIATION BETWEEN THE PARTIES IS NOT A
REMOTEPOSSIBILITYWHICHISERRONEOUSAND
5.WHETHERORNOTTHECASEOFSANTOSV.COURTOFAPPEALS(240SCRA20)ISAPPLICABLE
HERETO.22
Insum,twoissuesaretoberesolved:
1.Whetherornotthemarriagebetweenpetitionerandprivaterespondentisvoidfromthebeginningforlackofa
marriagelicenseatthetimeoftheceremonyand
2.Whetherornotprivaterespondentispsychologicallyincapacitatedatthetimeofsaidmarriagecelebrationto
warrantadeclarationofitsabsolutenullity.
Petitioner,forthefirsttime,raisestheissueofthemarriagebeingvoidforlackofavalidmarriagelicenseatthe
timeofitscelebration.Itappearsthat,accordingtoher,thedateoftheactualcelebrationoftheirmarriageand
thedateofissuanceoftheirmarriagecertificateandmarriagelicensearedifferentandincongruous.
Althoughwehaverepeatedlyruledthatlitigantscannotraiseanissueforthefirsttimeonappeal,asthiswould
contravenethebasicrulesoffairplayandjustice, 23 in a number of instances, we have relaxed observance of
proceduralrules,notingthattechnicalitiesarenotendsinthemselvesbutexisttoprotectandpromotesubstantive
rightsoflitigants.Wesaidthatcertainrulesoughtnottobeappliedwithseverityandrigidityifbysodoing,the
veryreasonfortheirexistencewouldbedefeated. 24Hence,whensubstantialjusticeplainlyrequires,exempting
aparticularcasefromtheoperationoftechnicalitiesshouldnotbesubjecttocavil. 25Inourview,thecaseatbar
requiresthatweaddresstheissueofthevalidityofthemarriagebetweenFilipinaandFernandowhichpetitioner
claimsisvoidfromthebeginningforlackofamarriagelicense,inordertoarriveatajustresolutionofadeeply
seatedandviolentconflictbetweentheparties.Note,however,thatherethepertinentfactsarenotdisputedand
whatisrequirednowisadeclarationoftheireffectsaccordingtoexistinglaw.
Petitioner states that though she did not categorically state in her petition for annulment of marriage before the
trialcourtthattheincongruityinthedatesofthemarriagelicenseandthecelebrationofthemarriageitselfwould
lead to the conclusion that her marriage to Fernando was void from the beginning, she points out that these
criticaldateswerecontainedinthedocumentsshesubmittedbeforethecourt.Thedateofissueofthemarriage
licenseandmarriagecertificate,September17,1974,iscontainedintheirmarriagecontractwhichwasattached
as Annex "A" in her petition for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage before the trial court, and thereafter
marked as Exhibit "A" in the course of the trial. 26 The date of celebration of their marriage at Our Lady of
Lourdes,Sta.TeresitaParish,onNovember15,1973,isadmittedbothbypetitionerandprivaterespondent,as
statedinparagraphthreeofpetitioner'spetitionforthedeclarationofabsolutenullityofmarriagebeforethetrial
court,andprivaterespondent'sansweradmittingit. 27Thisfactwasalsoaffirmedbypetitioner,inopencourt,on
January22,1993,duringherdirectexamination,28asfollows:
ATTY.RAZON:Inthelasthearing,yousaidthatyouweremarriedonNovember15,1973?
FILIPINASY:Yes,Sir.
November15,1973,alsoappearsasthedateofmarriageoftheparentsinboththeirson'sanddaughter'sbirth
certificates, which are also attached as Annexes "B" and "C" in the petition for declaration of absolute nullity of
marriagebeforethetrialcourt,andthereaftermarkedasExhibits"B"and"C"inthecourseofthetrial. 29These
piecesofevidenceonrecordplainlyandindubitablyshowthatonthedayofthemarriageceremony,therewasno
marriagelicense.Amarriagelicenseisaformalrequirementitsabsencerendersthemarriagevoidabinitio.In
addition, the marriage contract shows that the marriage license, numbered 6237519, was issued in Carmona,
Cavite,yet,neitherpetitionernorprivaterespondenteverresidedinCarmona.30
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Carefullyreviewingthedocumentsandthepleadingsonrecord,wefindthatindeedpetitionerdidnotexpressly
stateinherpetitionbeforethetrialcourtthattherewasincongruitybetweenthedateoftheactualcelebrationof
their marriage and the date of the issuance of their marriage license. From the documents she presented, the
marriage license was issued on September 17, 1974, almost one year after the ceremony took place on
November 15, 1973. The ineluctable conclusion is that the marriage was indeed contracted without a marriage
license.Nowheredowefindprivaterespondentdenyingthesedatesonrecord.Article80oftheCivilCode 31is
clearlyapplicableinthiscase.Therebeingnoclaimofanexceptionalcharacter,thepurportedmarriagebetween
petitionerandprivaterespondentcouldnotbeclassifiedamongthoseenumeratedinArticles727932oftheCivil
Code. We thus conclude that under Article 80 of the Civil Code, the marriage between petitioner and private
respondentisvoidfromthebeginning.
Wenotethattheirmarriagecertificateandmarriagelicenseareonlyphotocopies.Soarethebirthcertificatesof
theirsonFrederickanddaughterFarrahSheryll.Nevertheless,thesedocumentsweremarkedasExhibitsduring
thecourseofthetrialbelow,whichshowsthatthesehavebeenexaminedandadmittedbythetrialcourt,withno
objectionshavingbeenmadeastotheirauthenticityanddueexecution.Likewise,noobjectionwasinterposedto
petitioner'stestimonyinopencourtwhensheaffirmedthatthedateoftheactualcelebrationoftheirmarriagewas
onNovember15,1973.Weareoftheview,therefore,thathavingbeenadmittedinevidence,withtheadverse
partyfailingtotimelyobjectthereto,thesedocumentsaredeemedsufficientproofofthefactscontainedtherein.
33

Theremainingissueonthepsychologicalincapacityofprivaterespondentneednolongerdetainus.Itismooted
byourconclusionthatthemarriageofpetitionertorespondentisvoidabinitioforlackofamarriagelicenseatthe
timetheirmarriagewassolemnized.
WHEREFORE,thepetitionisGRANTED.TheDecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofSanFernando,Pampanga,
datedDecember9,1993aswellastheDecisionpromulgatedonMay21,1996bytheCourtofAppealsandits
ResolutiondatedNovember21,1996inCAG.R.No.44144aresetaside.ThemarriagecelebratedonNovember
15,1973betweenpetitionerFilipinaYapandprivaterespondentFernandoSyisherebydeclaredvoidabinitiofor
lackofamarriagelicenseatthetimeofcelebration.Nopronouncementastocosts.
SOORDERED.
Bellosillo,Mendoza,BuenaandDeLeon,Jr.,JJ.,concur.
Footnotes
1CARecords,at5159.
2Records,at136143.
3Id.at15.
4Exh.AId.at6.
5Exhs.B&CId.at78.
6Id.at136.
7Ibid.
8Id.at1011.
9Exh.E,Id.at1018.
10Id.at18.
11Id.at2324.
12Exh.GId.at2326.
13Exh,HId.at2746.
14Id.at15.
15Id.at3.
16Id.at136143.
17Supra,note1.
18Id.at59.
19Id.at6064.
20Id.at76.
21Rollo,pp.1055.
22Id.at31.
23Sumbadv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.106060,June21,1999,p.23Modinavs.CA,G.R.No.109355,

October29,1999,p.13citingRomanCatholicArchbishopofManilav.CourtofAppeals,269SCRA145
(1997).
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24 Government Service Insurance System vs. Court of Appeals, 266 SCRA 187, 198 (1997) Mauna vs.

CivilServiceCommission,232SCRA388,398(1994).
25GSISvs.CA,at198,citingAguilarvs.CourtofAppeals,250SCRA371(1995).
26ExhibitA,Records,p.6Rollo,p.72.
27Records,at1and53.
28TSN,22January1993,p.4.
29Recordspp.7&8Exh.A,Rollo,p.72.
30Rollo,at20.
31Art.80.Thefollowingmarriagesshallbevoidfromthebeginning:

xxxxxxxxx
(3)Thosesolemnizedwithoutamarriagelicense,savemarriagesofexceptionalcharacter:
xxxxxxxxx
32Art.72.Whenoneofthespousesneglectshisorherdutiestotheconjugalunionorcommitsactswhich

tendtobringdanger,dishonororinjurytotheotherortothefamily,theaggrievedpartymayapplytothe
courtforrelief.
Art.73.Eitherspousemayexerciseanylegitimateprofession,occupation,businessoractivity
withouttheconsentoftheother.Thelattermayobjectonlyonvalid,serious,andmoral
grounds.
Incaseofdisagreement,thecourtshalldecidewhetherornot.
(1)Theobjectionisproper,and
(2) Benefit has accrued to the family prior to the objection or thereafter. If the benefit
accrued prior to the objection, the resulting obligation shall be enforced against the
separatepropertyofthespousewhohasnotobtainedconsent.
Theforegoingprovisionsshallnotprejudicetherightsofcreditorswhoactedingoodfaith.
Art.74.Thepropertyrelationsbetweenhusbandandwifeshallbegovernedinthefollowing
order:
(1)Bymarriagesettlementsexecutedbeforethemarriage
(2)BytheprovisionsofthisCodeand
(3)Bythelocalcustoms.
Art. 75. The future spouses may, in the marriage settlements, agree upon the regime of
absolute community, conjugal partnership of gains, complete separation of property, or any
other regime. In the absence of marriage settlements, or when the regime agreed upon is
void,thesystemofabsolutecommunityofpropertyasestablishedinthisCodeshallgovern.
Art. 76. In order that any modification in the marriage settlements may be valid, it must be
madebeforethecelebrationofthemarriage,subjecttotheprovisionsofArticles66,67,128,
135and136.
Art. 77. The marriage settlements and any modification thereof shall be in writing, signed by
thepartiesandexecutedbeforethecelebrationofthemarriage.Theyshallnotprejudicethird
persons unless they are registered in the local civil registry where the marriage contract is
recordedaswellasintheproperregistriesofproperty.
Art. 78. A minor who according to law may contract marriage may also enter into marriage
settlements,buttheyshallbevalidonlyifthepersonsdesignatedinArticle14togiveconsent
tothemarriagearemadepartiestotheagreement,subjecttotheprovisionsofTitleIXofthis
Code.
1 w p h i1 .n t

Art. 79. For the validity of any marriage settlements executed by a person upon whom a
sentence of civil interdiction has been pronounced or who is subject to any other disability, it
shall be indispensable for the guardian appointed by a competent court to be made a party
thereto.
33SeealsoSonvs.Son,251SCRA556(1995)Tisonvs.CA,276SCRA582(1997)Quebralvs.CA,252

SCRA353(1996).
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

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