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Alcantara vs. Alcantara G.R. No.

167746, August 28, 2007; 531 SCRA 446 PAFR Topic: Marriage license, absence of it, certification of Civil Registrar PONENTE: Chico-Nazario, J FACTS: Restituto Alcantara (petitioner) filed a petition for annulment of his marriage with Rosita Alcantara (respondent) before the RTC of Manila alleging that on December 8, 1982, without securing the required marriage license, he and respondent went to the City Hall of Manila to look for a person who could arrange a marriage for them. They met a fixer who arranged their wedding before Rev. Aquilino Navarro, a Minister of the Gospel. They got married on that same day, December 8, 1982. The wedding took place at the stairs in the Manila City Hall and not in the CDCC BR Chapel where Rev. Navarro belongs. They also got married at the San Jose de Manuguit Church in Tondo, Manila on March 26, 1983. The alleged marriage license, appearing on the marriage contract, was procured in Carmona, Cavite, neither party was a resident of Carmona. On the request of the respondent, the Office of the Civil Registry of Carmona, Cavite issued a certification that Marriage License No. 7054133 was issued in favor of the parties on December 8, 1982. However, the marriage contract states that the Marriage License No. is 7054033. The petition for annulment was dismissed by the RTC of Manila and was affirmed by the CA. ISSUE: Whether the marriage is void ab initio on the ground that no valid marriage license existed during the solemnization of the marriage. HELD: No. A valid marriage license is a requisite of marriage under Article 53 of the Civil Code, the absence of which renders the marriage void ab initio. To be considered void on the ground of absence of a marriage license, the law requires that the absence of such marriage license must be apparent on the marriage contract or at the very least, supported by a certification from the local civil registrar that no such marriage license was issued to the parties. The Certification issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite enjoys the presumption that official duty was performed and the issuance of the marriage license was done in the regular conduct of official business. Issuance of a marriage license in a city or municipality, not the residence of either of the contracting parties, and issuance of a marriage license despite the absence of publication or prior to the completion of the 10-day period for publication are considered mere irregularities that do not affect the validity of the marriage. An irregularity in any of the formal requisites of marriage does not affect its validity but the party/ies responsible for the irregularity are civilly, criminally and administratively liable. A closer scrutiny of the marriage contract reveals the overlapping of the numbers 0 and 1, such that the marriage license may either read as 7054133 or 7054033. It does not detract from the conclusion regarding the existence and issuance of said marriage license to the parties.