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Rounald A.

Sitoy

Syed Azhar Abbas v. Gloria Goo Abbas


G.R. No. 183896
Date: January 30, 2013

Principle:

Article 4 of the Family Code is clearnwhen it says, The absence of any of the
essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as
stated in Article 35(2). Article 35(3) of the Family Code also provides that a
marriage solemnized without a license is void from the beginning, except those
exempt from the license requirement under Articles 27 to 34, Chapter 2, Title I of
the same Code.

Facts:

Petitioner is a Pakistani National while the respondent is a Filipino. Petitioner


filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court for nullity of marriage on the ground
of the absence of marriage license at the time of the solemnization of marriage.
Petitioner avers that when he arrived at the Philippines, he was told by the
respondent together with her family to have a ceremony as part of the customs for
him to stay in the Philippines (not knowing that it was marriage ceremony). During
the trial in the RTC, petitioner presented a certification from the local civil registrar
that the marriage license serial number stated in the marriage contract is in
different name/coupled being issued. The RTC Ruled in favor of the petitioner
annulling the marriage for failure to have a marriage license as one of the formal
requisite for celebration of marriage. In the Court of Appeals, the CA reversed and
set aside the decision of the RTC on the ground of failure to categorically state in
the certification of the local registrar that there was due diligence in finding the
records of marriage license of the Petitioner.

Issue:

Whether or not the marriage entered into by the Petitioner and Respondents is void
ab initio?

Ruling:

Yes.

Under the Family Code, the absence of any of the essential or formal
requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2).
Article 35(3) of the Family Code also provides that a marriage solemnized without a
license is void from the beginning. Marriage license is one of the formal requisites
for marriage.

In the case at bar, Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage
license, or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as well as the
testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said license. To prove that no
such license was issued, Syed turned to the office of the Municipal Civil Registrar of
Carmona, Cavite which had allegedly issued said license. It was there that he
requested certification that no such license was issued. In the case of Republic v.
Court of Appeals43 such certification was allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule
132 of the Rules of Court, which reads:

SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. A written statement signed by an


officer having the custody of an official record or by his deputy that after
diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the
records of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is
admissible as evidence that the records of his office contain no such record or
entry.

In the case of Republic, in allowing the certification of the Civil Registrar of


Pasig to prove the non-issuance of a marriage license, the Court held:

The above Rule authorized the custodian of the documents to certify that
despite diligent search, a particular document does not exist in his office or that a
particular entry of a specified tenor was not to be found in a register. As custodians
of public documents, civil registrars are public 43 G.R. No. 103047, September 2,
1994, 236 SCRA 257. Decision G.R. No. 183896 9 officers charged with the duty,
inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all
applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date
the marriage license was issued and such other relevant data.

The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the civil registrar
enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to maintain records of data relative to the
issuance of a marriage license.
The Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where the marriage license of
Gloria and Syed was allegedly issued, issued a certification to the effect that no
such marriage license for Gloria and Syed was issued, and that the serial number of
the marriage license pertained to another couple, Arlindo Getalado and Myra
Mabilangan. A certified machine copy of Marriage License No. 9969967 was
presented, which was issued in Carmona, Cavite, and indeed, the names of Gloria
and Syed do not appear in the document.

Hence, the marriage is void ab initio.

BAR QUESTION

Mr. A a Pakistani national married Ms. B a Filipina. The marriage was solemnized
without marriage license and such is not under the exceptions provided by law to be
exempt from such license. Was there a valid marriage?

Answer:

No, the marriage is void ab initio.


A marriage license in needed to have a valid marriage. Article 3 of the Family Code
states that a valid marriage license is one of the formal requisite of celebration of
marriage. Article 4 of the Family Code states that the absence of any of the
essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio except as
stated in Article 35 (2)

In the case at bar, the absence of marriage license during the celebration of
marriage makes the marriage void ab initio. Furthermore, the case is not one of the
exceptions provided by law to have a valid marriage notwithstanding the absence of
valid marriage license