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28 REPUBLIC V.

SARENOGON absent spouse and that based upon these efforts and inquiries, he/she
GR No. 199194 | FEBRUARY 10, 2016 | GARCIA believes that under the circumstances, the absent spouse is already dead.
Topic: Marriage due to absence of spouse It requires exertion of active effort. At the case at bar, the respondent, Jose
Sareñogon, failed to satisfy the required “well-founded belief” standard.
FACTS: The respondent’s pathetically anemic efforts to locate the missing
On November 4, 2008, the respondent, Jose Sareñogon, filed a Netchie are notches below the required degree of stringent diligence
petition before the RTC of Ozamiz to declare the presumptive death of his prescribed by jurisprudence. For, aside from his bare claims that he had
wife Netchie Sareñogon. The petitioner testified that they got married and inquired form alleged friends and relatives as to Netchie’s whereabouts,
had lived together as husband and wife for a month only because he left to Jose Sareñogon did not call to the witness stand specific individuals or
work as a seaman, while his wife, Netchie, went to Hongkong as a persons whom he allegedly saw or met in the course of his search or quest
domestic helper. For 3 months, he did not receive any communication for the allegedly missing Netchie. Neither did he prove that he sought the
from Netchie and likewise had no idea about her whereabouts. While still assistance of the pertinent government agencies as well as the media. Nor
abroad, he tried to contact Netchie’s parents, but failed. He returned home did he show that he undertook a thorough, determined, and unflagging
after his contract expired, then inquired from Netchie’s relatives and search for Netchie, say for at least two years, and naming the particular
friends about her whereabouts but they also did not know where she was. places, provinces, cities, barangays, or municipalities that he visited, or
Because of these, he had to presume that his wife, Netchie was already went to, and identifying the specific persons he interviewed or talked to in
dead. He filed the Petition before the RTC so he could contract another the course of his search.
marriage pursuant to Article 41 of the Family Code.
Jose’s testimony was corroborated by his older brother Joel
Sareñogon, and by Netchie’s aunt, Consuelo Sande. These two witnesses
testified that Jose and Netchie lived together as husband and wife only for
one month prior to their leaving the Philippines for separate destinations
abroad and added that they had no information regarding Netchie’s
location.
On January 31, 2011, in the RTC’s decision found that Netchie had
disappeared for more than four years, reason enough for Jose to conclude
that his wife was indeed already dead.
The OSG questioned the RTC ruling via Rule 65 before the CA for
the RTC’s error in its misappreciation of evidence. The CA saw no error in
the RTC judgment and further held that Rule 65 is the wrong recourse in
elevating a declaration of presumptive death judgment from the RTC.

ISSUE: Whether the “well-founded belief” requisite under Article 41 (FC)


was complied with

HELD:
No. This requisite needs the present spouse to prove that his/her belief
was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts and inquiries to locate the

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