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G.R. No.

L-27930

November 26, 1970

AURORA A. ANAYA, plaintiff-appellant, vs. FERNANDO O. PALAROAN, defendantappellee.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Appeal from an order of dismissal, issued motu proprio by the Juvenile & Domestic
Relations Court, Manila, of a complaint for annulment of marriage, docketed therein as Civil
Case No. E-00431, entitled "Aurora A. Anaya, plaintiff vs. Fernando O. Palaroan, defendant."

The complaint in said Civil Case No. E-00431 alleged, inter alia, that plaintiff Aurora
and defendant Fernando were married on 4 December 1953; that defendant Fernando filed
an action for annulment of the marriage on 7 January 1954 on the ground that his consent
was obtained through force and intimidation, which action was docketed in the Court of
First Instance of Manila as Civil Case No. 21589; that judgment was rendered therein on 23
September 1959 dismissing the complaint of Fernando, upholding the validity of the
marriage and granting Aurora's counterclaim; that (per paragraph IV) while the amount of
the counterclaim was being negotiated "to settle the judgment," Fernando had divulged to
Aurora that several months prior to their marriage he had pre-marital relationship with a
close relative of his; and that "the non-divulgement to her of the aforementioned premarital secret on the part of defendant that definitely wrecked their marriage, which
apparently doomed to fail even before it had hardly commenced ... frank disclosure of
which, certitude precisely precluded her, the Plaintiff herein from going thru the marriage
that was solemnized between them constituted 'FRAUD', in obtaining her consent, within
the contemplation of No. 4 of Article 85 of the Civil Code" (sic) (Record on Appeal, page 3).
She prayed for the annulment of the marriage and for moral damages.

Defendant Fernando, in his answer, denied the allegation in paragraph IV of the


complaint and denied having had pre-marital relationship with a close relative; he averred
that under no circumstance would he live with Aurora, as he had escaped from her and
from her relatives the day following their marriage on 4 December 1953; that he denied
having committed any fraud against her. He set up the defenses of lack of cause of action
and estoppel, for her having prayed in Civil Case No. 21589 for the validity of the marriage

and her having enjoyed the support that had been granted her. He counterclaimed for
damages for the malicious filing of the suit. Defendant Fernando did not pray for the
dismissal of the complaint but for its dismissal "with respect to the alleged moral
damages."

Plaintiff Aurora filed a reply with answer to the counterclaim, wherein she alleged:

(1)

that prior to their marriage on 4 December 1953, he paid court to her, and pretended

to shower her with love and affection not because he really felt so but because she merely
happened to be the first girl available to marry so he could evade marrying the close
relative of his whose immediate members of her family were threatening him to force him
to marry her (the close relative);

(2)

that since he contracted the marriage for the reason intimated by him, and not

because he loved her, he secretly intended from the very beginning not to perform the
marital duties and obligations appurtenant thereto, and furthermore, he covertly made up
his mind not to live with her;

(3)

that the foregoing clandestine intentions intimated by him were prematurely

concretized for him, when in order to placate and appease the immediate members of the
family of the first girl (referent being the close relative) and to convince them of his
intention not to live with plaintiff, carried on a courtship with a third girl with whom, after
gaining the latter's love cohabited and had several children during the whole range of nine
years that Civil Case No. 21589, had been litigated between them (parties); (Record on
Appeal, pages 10-11)

Failing in its attempt to have the parties reconciled, the court set the case for trial on
26 August 1966 but it was postponed. Thereafter, while reviewing the expendiente, the
court realized that Aurora's allegation of the fraud was legally insufficient to invalidate her
marriage, and, on the authority of Brown vs. Yambao, 102 Phil. 168, holding:

It is true that the wife has not interposed prescription as a defense. Nevertheless, the
courts can take cognizance thereof, because actions seeking a decree of legal separation,

or annulment of marriage, involve public interest, and it is the policy of our law that no
such decree be issued if any legal obstacles thereto appear upon the record.

the court a quo required plaintiff to show cause why her complaint should not be
dismissed. Plaintiff Aurora submitted a memorandum in compliance therewith, but
the court found it inadequate and thereby issued an order, dated 7 October 1966, for
the dismissal of the complaint; it also denied reconsideration.

The main issue is whether or not the non-disclosure to a wife by her husband of his
pre-marital relationship with another woman is a ground for annulment of marriage.

We must agree with the lower court that it is not. For fraud as a vice of consent in
marriage, which may be a cause for its annulment, comes under Article 85, No. 4, of the
Civil Code, which provides:

ART. 85.

A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at

the time of the marriage:

xxx

(4)

xxx

xxx

That the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards,

with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as
her husband or his wife, as the case may be;

This fraud, as vice of consent, is limited exclusively by law to those kinds or species of
fraud enumerated in Article 86, as follows:

ART. 86.

Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in

number 4 of the preceding article:

(1)

Misrepresentation as to the identity of one of the contracting parties;

(2)

Non-disclosure of the previous conviction of the other party of a crime involving moral

turpitude, and the penalty imposed was imprisonment for two years or more;

(3)

Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was

pregnant by a man other than her husband.

No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, rank, fortune or chastity shall


constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage.

The intention of Congress to confine the circumstances that can constitute fraud as
ground for annulment of marriage to the foregoing three cases may be deduced from the
fact that, of all the causes of nullity enumerated in Article 85, fraud is the only one given
special treatment in a subsequent article within the chapter on void and voidable
marriages. If its intention were otherwise, Congress would have stopped at Article 85, for,
anyway, fraud in general is already mentioned therein as a cause for annulment. But Article
86 was also enacted, expressly and specifically dealing with "fraud referred to in number 4
of

the

preceding

article,"

and

proceeds

by

enumerating

the

specific

frauds

(misrepresentation as to identity, non-disclosure of a previous conviction, and concealment


of pregnancy), making it clear that Congress intended to exclude all other frauds or deceits.
To stress further such intention, the enumeration of the specific frauds was followed by the
interdiction: "No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, rank, fortune or chastity
shall constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage."

Non-disclosure of a husband's pre-marital relationship with another woman is not one


of the enumerated circumstances that would constitute a ground for annulment; and it is
further excluded by the last paragraph of the article, providing that "no other
misrepresentation or deceit as to ... chastity" shall give ground for an action to annul a
marriage. While a woman may detest such non-disclosure of premarital lewdness or feel
having been thereby cheated into giving her consent to the marriage, nevertheless the law
does not assuage her grief after her consent was solemnly given, for upon marriage she
entered into an institution in which society, and not herself alone, is interested. The
lawmaker's intent being plain, the Court's duty is to give effect to the same, whether it
agrees with the rule or not.

But plaintiff-appellant Anaya emphasizes that not only has she alleged "nondivulgement" (the word chosen by her) of the pre-marital relationship of her husband with
another woman as her cause of action, but that she has, likewise, alleged in her reply that
defendant Fernando paid court to her without any intention of complying with his marital
duties and obligations and covertly made up his mind not to live with her. Plaintiff-appellant
contends that the lower court erred in ignoring these allegations in her reply.

This second set of averments which were made in the reply (pretended love and
absence of intention to perform duties of consortium) is an entirely new and additional
"cause of action." According to the plaintiff herself, the second set of allegations is "apart,
distinct and separate from that earlier averred in the Complaint ..." (Record on Appeal,
page 76). Said allegations were, therefore, improperly alleged in the reply, because if in a
reply a party-plaintiff is not permitted to amend or change the cause of action as set forth
in his complaint (Calo vs. Roldan, 76 Phil. 445), there is more reason not to allow such party
to allege a new and additional cause of action in the reply. Otherwise, the series of
pleadings of the parties could become interminable.

On the merits of this second fraud charge, it is enough to point out that any secret
intention on the husband's part not to perform his marital duties must have been
discovered by the wife soon after the marriage: hence her action for annulment based on
that fraud should have been brought within four years after the marriage. Since appellant's
wedding was celebrated in December of 1953, and this ground was only pleaded in 1966, it
must be declared already barred.

FOR THE FOREGOING REASONS, the appealed order is hereby affirmed. No costs.

GR No. 174451 OCTOBER 13, 2009


VERONICA

CABACUNGAN

ALCAZAR

Petitioner,

-VERSUS-

REY

C.

ALCAZAR,

Respondent

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:

The Complaint
On 22 August 2002. Petitioner alleged in her Complaint that she was married to
respondent on 11 October 2000 by Rev. Augusto G. Pabustan (Pabustan), at the latters
residence. After their wedding, petitioner and respondent lived for five days in San Jose,
Occidental Mindoro, the hometown of respondents parents.

Thereafter, the newlyweds

went back to Manila, but respondent did not live with petitioner at the latters abode at
2601-C Jose Abad Santos Avenue, Tondo, Manila.

On 23 October 2000, respondent left for Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he
worked as an upholsterer in a furniture shop. While working in Riyadh, respondent did not
communicate with petitioner by phone or by letter. Petitioner tried to call respondent for
five times but respondent never answered. About a year and a half after respondent left
for Riyadh, a co-teacher informed petitioner that respondent was about to come home to

the Philippines. Petitioner was surprised why she was not advised by respondent of his
arrival.

Petitioner further averred in her Complaint that when respondent arrived in the
Philippines, the latter did not go home to petitioner at 2601-C Jose Abad Santos Avenue,
Tondo, Manila. Instead, respondent proceeded to his parents house in San Jose, Occidental
Mindoro.

Petitioner went to see her brother-in-law in Velasquez St., Tondo, Manila, who claimed
that he was not aware of respondents whereabouts.

Petitioner traveled to San Jose,

Occidental Mindoro, where she was informed that respondent had been living with his
parents since his arrival in March 2002.

Petitioner asserted that from the time respondent arrived in the Philippines, he never
contacted her.

Thus, petitioner concluded that respondent was physically incapable of

consummating his marriage with her, providing sufficient cause for annulment of their
marriage pursuant to paragraph 5, Article 45 of the Family Code of the Philippines (Family
Code).

There was also no more possibility of reconciliation between petitioner and

respondent Per the Sheriffs Return dated 3 October 2002, a summons, together with a
copy of petitioners Complaint, was served upon respondent on 30 September 2002.

On 18 November 2002, petitioner, through counsel, filed a Motion to direct the public
prosecutor to conduct an investigation of the case pursuant to Article 48 of the Family
Code. the RTC issued on 27 November 2002 an Order directing the public prosecutor to
conduct an investigation to ensure that no collusion existed between the parties

Public Prosecutrix Veronica A.V. de Guzman (De Guzman) submitted her Report
manifesting that she had conducted an investigation of the case of petitioner and
respondent in January 2003, but respondent never participated therein. Public Prosecutrix
De Guzman also noted that no collusion took place between the parties, and measures
were taken to prevent suppression of evidence between them. She then recommended
that a full-blown trial be conducted to determine whether petitioners Complaint was
meritorious or not.

On 21 May 2003, the RTC received the Notice of Appearance of the Solicitor General.

On 18 February 2004, petitioner filed her Formal Offer of Evidence. Public Prosecutrix
Myrna S. Lagrosa (Lagrosa), who replaced Public Prosecutrix De Guzman, interposed no
objection to the admission of petitioners evidence and manifested that she would no
longer present evidence for the State.

On 9 June 2004, the RTC rendered its Decision denying petitioners Complaint for
annulment of her marriage to respondent

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Annulment of Marriage is hereby


DENIED

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied by the RTC in an Order
dated 19 August 2004

The Court of Appeals ruled that the RTC did not err in finding that petitioner failed to
prove respondents psychological incapacity

Petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was denied by the Court of Appeals in a


Resolution dated 28 August 2008.

WHETHER OR NOT, AS DEFINED BY THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE, RESPONDENT IS


PSYCHOLOGICALLY INCAPACITATED TO PERFORM THE ESSENTIAL MARITAL OBLIGATONS.
ART. 45. A marriage may be annulled for any of the following causes, existing at the
time of the marriage:
That either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the
other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED.

The 24 May 2006 Decision and 28 August 2008

Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 84471, which affirmed the 9 June 2004
Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Branch 85, dismissing petitioner
Veronica Cabacungan Alcazars Complaint in Civil Case No. 664-M-2002, are AFFIRMED.

THIRD DIVISION
[G.R. No. 179620, August 26, 2008]
MANUEL G. ALMELOR, PETITIONER, VS. THE HON. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF LAS
PIAS CITY, BRANCH 254, AND LEONIDA T. ALMELOR, RESPONDENT.
DECISION
REYES, R.T., J.:
MARRIAGE, in its totality, involves the spouses' right to the community of their whole lives.
It likewise involves a true intertwining of personalities.
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA)
denying the petition for annulment of judgment and affirming in toto the decision of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Las Pinas, Branch 254. The CA dismissed outright the Rule 47

petition for being the wrong remedy.


The Facts
Petitioner Manuel G. Almelor (Manuel) and respondent Leonida Trinidad (Leonida) were
married on January 29, 1989 at the Manila Cathedral. Their union bore three children: (1)
Maria Paulina Corinne, born on October 20, 1989; (2) Napoleon Manuel, born on August 9,
1991; and (3) Manuel Homer, born on July 4, 1994. Manuel and Leonida are both medical
practitioners, an anesthesiologist and a pediatrician, respectively.
After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Pinas City to
annul their marriage on the ground that Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to
perform his marital obligations. The case, docketed as LP-00-0132 was raffled off to Branch
254.
During the trial, Leonida testified that she first met Manuel in 1981 at the San Lazaro
Hospital where they worked as medical student clerks. At that time, she regarded Manuel
as a very thoughtful person who got along well with other people. They soon became
sweethearts. Three years after, they got married.
Leonida averred that Manuel's kind and gentle demeanor did not last long. In the public
eye, Manuel was the picture of a perfect husband and father. This was not the case in his
private life. At home, Leonida described Manuel as a harsh disciplinarian, unreasonably
meticulous, easily angered. Manuel's unreasonable way of imposing discipline on their
children was the cause of their frequent fights as a couple. Leonida complained that this
was in stark contrast to the alleged lavish affection Manuel has for his mother. Manuel's
deep attachment to his mother and his dependence on her decision-making were
incomprehensible to Leonida.
Further adding to her woes was his concealment to her of his homosexuality. Her suspicions
were first aroused when she noticed Manuel's peculiar closeness to his male companions.
For instance, she caught him in an indiscreet telephone conversation manifesting his
affection for a male caller. She also found several pornographic homosexual materials in his
possession. Her worse fears were confirmed when she saw Manuel kissed another man on
the lips. The man was a certain Dr. Nogales. When she confronted Manuel, he denied
everything. At this point, Leonida took her children and left their conjugal abode. Since
then, Manuel stopped giving support to their children.
Dr. Valentina del Fonso Garcia, a clinical psychologist, was presented to prove Leonida's
claim. Dr. del Fonso Garcia testified that she conducted evaluative interviews and a battery
of psychiatric tests on Leonida. She also had a one-time interview with Manuel and face-toface interviews with Ma. Paulina Corrinne (the eldest child). She concluded that Manuel is
psychologically incapacitated. Such incapacity is marked by antecedence; it existed even
before the marriage and appeared to be incurable.
Manuel, for his part, admitted that he and Leonida had some petty arguments here and
there. He, however, maintained that their marital relationship was generally harmonious.
The petition for annulment filed by Leonida came as a surprise to him.
Manuel countered that the true cause of Leonida's hostility against him was their
professional rivalry. It began when he refused to heed the memorandum released by Christ

1.

2.

3.
4.
.

b.

the King Hospital. The memorandum ordered him to desist from converting his own lying-in
clinic to a primary or secondary hospital. Leonida's family owns Christ the King Hospital
which is situated in the same subdivision as Manuel's clinic and residence. In other words,
he and her family have competing or rival hospitals in the same vicinity.
Manuel belied her allegation that he was a cruel father to their children. He denied
maltreating them. At most, he only imposed the necessary discipline on the children.
He also defended his show of affection for his mother. He said there was nothing wrong for
him to return the love and affection of the person who reared and looked after him and his
siblings. This is especially apt now that his mother is in her twilight years. Manuel pointed
out that Leonida found fault in this otherwise healthy relationship because of her very
jealous and possessive nature.
This same overly jealous behavior of Leonida drove Manuel to avoid the company of female
friends. He wanted to avoid any further misunderstanding with his wife. But, Leonida
instead conjured up stories about his sexual preference. She also fabricated tales about
pornographic materials found in his possession to cast doubt on his masculinity.
To corroborate his version, he presented his brother, Jesus G. Almelor. Jesus narrated that
he usually stayed at Manuel's house during his weekly trips to Manila from Iriga City. He
was a witness to the generally harmonious relationship between his brother Manuel and
sister-in-law, Leonida. True, they had some quarrels typical of a husband and wife
relationship. But there was nothing similar to what Leonida described in her testimony.
Jesus further testified that he was with his brother on the day Leonida allegedly saw Manuel
kissed another man. He denied that such an incident occurred. On that particular date, he
and Manuel went straight home from a trip to Bicol. There was no other person with them
at that time, except their driver.
Manuel expressed his intention to refute Dr. del Fonso Garcia's findings by presenting his
own expert witness. However, no psychiatrist was presented.
RTC Disposition
By decision dated November 25, 2005, the RTC granted the petition for annulment, with the
following disposition:
WHEREFORE, premised on the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered:
Declaring the marriage contracted by herein parties on 29 January 1989 and all its effects
under the law null and void from the beginning;
Dissolving the regime of community property between the same parties with forfeiture of
defendant's share thereon in favor of the same parties' children whose legal custody is
awarded to plaintiff with visitorial right afforded to defendant;
Ordering the defendant to give monthly financial support to all the children; and
Pursuant to the provisions of A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC:
Directing the Branch Clerk of this Court to enter this Judgment upon its finality in the Book
of Entry of Judgment and to issue an Entry of Judgment in accordance thereto; and
Directing the Local Civil Registrars of Las Pinas City and Manila City to cause the
registration of the said Entry of Judgment in their respective Books of Marriages.
Upon compliance, a decree of nullity of marriage shall be issued.

SO ORDERED. (Emphasis supplied)


The trial court nullified the marriage, not on the ground of Article 36, but Article 45 of the
Family Code. It ratiocinated:
x x x a careful evaluation and in-depth analysis of the surrounding circumstances of the
allegations in the complaint and of the evidence presented in support thereof (sic) reveals
that in this case (sic) there is more than meets the eyes (sic).
Both legally and biologically, homosexuality x x x is, indeed, generally incompatible with
hetero sexual marriage. This is reason enough that in this jurisdiction (sic) the law
recognizes marriage as a special contract exclusively only between a man and a woman x x
x and thus when homosexuality has trespassed into marriage, the same law provides ample
remedies to correct the situation [Article 45(3) in relation to Article 46(4) or Article 55, par.
6, Family Code]. This is of course in recognition of the biological fact that no matter how a
man cheats himself that he is not a homosexual and forces himself to live a normal
heterosexual life, there will surely come a time when his true sexual preference as a
homosexual shall prevail in haunting him and thus jeopardizing the solidity, honor, and
welfare of his own family.
Manuel filed a notice of appeal which was, however, denied due course. Undaunted, he
filed a petition for annulment of judgment with the CA.
Manuel contended that the assailed decision was issued in excess of the lower court's
jurisdiction; that it had no jurisdiction to dissolve the absolute community of property and
forfeit his conjugal share in favor of his children.
CA Disposition
On July 31, 2007, the CA denied the petition, disposing as follows:
WHEREFORE, the present Petition for Annulment of Judgment is hereby DENIED. The Court
AFFIRMS in toto the Decision (dated November 25, 2005) of the Regional Trial Court
(Branch 254), in Las Pinas City, in Civil Case No. LP-00-0132. No costs.
The CA stated that petitioner pursued the wrong remedy by filing the extraordinary remedy
of petition for annulment of judgment. Said the appellate court:
It is obvious that the petitioner is questioning the propriety of the decision rendered by the
lower Court. But the remedy assuming there was a mistake is not a Petition for Annulment
of Judgment but an ordinary appeal. An error of judgment may be reversed or corrected
only by appeal.
What petitioner is ascribing is an error of judgment, not of jurisdiction, which is properly the
subject of an ordinary appeal.
In short, petitioner admits the jurisdiction of the lower court but he claims excess in the
exercise thereof. "Excess" assuming there was is not covered by Rule 47 of the 1997 Rules
of Civil Procedure. The Rule refers the lack of jurisdiction and not the exercise thereof.
Issues
Petitioner Manuel takes the present recourse via Rule 45, assigning to the CA the following
errors:
I

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT TREATING THE PETITION FOR
ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENT AS A PETITION FOR REVIEW IN VIEW OF THE IMPORTANCE OF
THE ISSUES INVOLVED AND IN THE INTEREST OF JUSTICE;
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL
COURT AS REGARDS THE ORDER DECLARING THE MARRIAGE AS NULL AND VOID ON THE
GROUND OF PETITIONER'S PSYCHOLOGICAL INCAPACITY;
III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL
COURT AS REGARDS THE ORDER TO FORFEIT THE SHARE OF PETITIONER IN HIS SHARE OF
THE CONJUGAL ASSETS.
Our Ruling
I. The stringent rules of procedures may be relaxed to serve the demands of
substantial justice and in the Court's exercise of equity jurisdiction
Generally, an appeal taken either to the Supreme Court or the CA by the wrong or
inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. This is to prevent the party from benefiting from
one's neglect and mistakes. However, like most rules, it carries certain exceptions.
After all, the ultimate purpose of all rules of procedures is to achieve substantial justice as
expeditiously as possible.
Annulment of judgment under Rule 47 is a last remedy. It can not be resorted to if the
ordinary remedies are available or no longer available through no fault of petitioner.
However, in Buenaflor v. Court of Appeals, this Court clarified the proper appreciation for
technical rules of procedure, in this wise:
Rules of procedures are intended to promote, not to defeat, substantial justice
and, therefore, they should not be applied in a very rigid and technical sense.
The exception is that while the Rules are liberally construed, the provisions with
respect to the rules on the manner and periods for perfecting appeals are strictly
applied. As an exception to the exception, these rules have sometimes been
relaxed on equitable considerations. Also, in some cases the Supreme Court has given
due course to an appeal perfected out of time where a stringent application of the rules
would have denied it, but only when to do so would serve the demands of substantial
justice and in the exercise of equity jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied)
For reasons of justice and equity, this Court has allowed exceptions to the stringent rules
governing appeals. It has, in the past, refused to sacrifice justice for technicality.
After discovering the palpable error of his petition, Manuel seeks the indulgence of this
Court to consider his petition before the CA instead as a petition for certiorari under Rule
65.
A perusal of the said petition reveals that Manuel imputed grave abuse of discretion to the
lower court for annulling his marriage on account of his alleged homosexuality. This is not
the first time that this Court is faced with a similar situation. In Nerves v. Civil Service

1.

2.

Commission, petitioner Delia R. Nerves elevated to the CA a Civil Service Commission (CSC)
decision suspending her for six (6) months. The CSC ruled Nerves, a public school teacher,
is deemed to have already served her six-month suspension during the pendency of the
case. Nevertheless, she is ordered reinstated without back wages. On appeal, Nerves
stated in her petition, inter alia:
This is a petition for certiorari filed pursuant to Article IX-A, Section 7 of the Constitution of
the Philippines and under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
But per Supreme Court Revised Administrative Circular No. 1-95 (Revised Circular No. 1-91)
petitioner is filing the instant petition with this Honorable Court instead of the Supreme
Court. (Underscoring supplied)
The CA dismissed Nerves' petition for certiorari for being the wrong remedy or the
inappropriate mode of appeal. The CA opined that "under the Supreme Court Revised
Administrative Circular No. 1-95 x x x appeals from judgments or final orders or resolutions
of CSC is by a petition for review."
This Court granted Nerves petition and held that she had substantially complied with the
Administrative Circular. The Court stated:
That it was erroneously labeled as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court is only a minor procedural lapse, not fatal to the appeal. x x x
More importantly, the appeal on its face appears to be impressed with merit. Hence, the
Court of Appeals should have overlooked the insubstantial defects of the petition x x x in
order to do justice to the parties concerned. There is, indeed, nothing sacrosanct about
procedural rules, which should be liberally construed in order to promote their object and
assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action
or proceeding. As it has been said, where the rigid application of the rules would frustrate
substantial justice, or bar the vindication of a legitimate grievance, the courts are justified
in exempting a particular case from the operation of the rules.[41] (Underscoring supplied)
Similarly, in the more recent case of Tan v. Dumarpa, petitioner Joy G. Tan availed of a
wrong remedy by filing a petition for review on certiorari instead of a motion for new trial or
an ordinary appeal. In the interest of justice, this Court considered the petition, pro hac
vice, as a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
This Court found that based on Tan's allegations, the trial court prima facie committed
grave abuse of discretion in rendering a judgment by default. If uncorrected, it will cause
petitioner great injustice. The Court elucidated in this wise:
Indeed, where as here, there is a strong showing that grave miscarriage of justice would
result from the strict application of the Rules, we will not hesitate to relax the same in the
interest of substantial justice. (Underscoring supplied)
Measured by the foregoing yardstick, justice will be better served by giving due course to
the present petition and treating petitioner's CA petition as one for certiorari under Rule 65,
considering that what is at stake is the validity or non-validity of a marriage.
In Salazar v. Court of Appeals, citing Labad v. University of Southeastern Philippines, this
Court reiterated:
x x x The dismissal of appeals on purely technical grounds is frowned upon. While the right
to appeal is a statutory, not a natural right, nonetheless it is an essential part of our judicial
system and courts should proceed with caution so as not to deprive a party of the right to
appeal, but rather, ensure that every party-litigant has the amplest opportunity for the
proper and just disposition of his cause, free from the constraints of technicalities.

Indeed, it is far better and more prudent for a court to excuse a technical lapse and afford
the parties a review of the case on the merits to attain the ends of justice.
Furthermore, it was the negligence and incompetence of Manuel's counsel that prejudiced
his right to appeal. His counsel, Atty. Christine Dugenio, repeatedly availed of inappropriate
remedies. After the denial of her notice of appeal, she failed to move for reconsideration or
new trial at the first instance. She also erroneously filed a petition for annulment of
judgment rather than pursue an ordinary appeal.
These manifest errors were clearly indicative of counsel's incompetence. These gravely
worked to the detriment of Manuel's appeal. True it is that the negligence of counsel binds
the client. Still, this Court has recognized certain exceptions: (1) where reckless or gross
negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law; (2) when its application will
result in outright deprivation of the client's liberty and property; or (3) where the interest of
justice so require.
The negligence of Manuel's counsel falls under the exceptions. Ultimately, the reckless or
gross negligence of petitioner's former counsel led to the loss of his right to appeal. He
should not be made to suffer for his counsel's grave mistakes. Higher interests of justice
and equity demand that he be allowed to ventilate his case in a higher court.
In Apex Mining, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, this Court explained thus:
It is settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. This is based on the rule that
any act performed by a counsel within the scope of his general or implied authority is
regarded as an act of his client. However, where counsel is guilty of gross ignorance,
negligence and dereliction of duty, which resulted in the client's being held liable for
damages in a damage suit, the client is deprived of his day in court and the judgment may
be set aside on such ground. In the instant case, higher interests of justice and equity
demand that petitioners be allowed to present evidence on their defense. Petitioners may
not be made to suffer for the lawyer's mistakes. This Court will always be disposed to
grant relief to parties aggrieved by perfidy, fraud, reckless inattention and
downright incompetence of lawyers, which has the consequence of depriving
their clients, of their day in court. (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, this Court has the power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule
whenever the demands of justice require it. With more conviction should it wield such
power in a case involving the sacrosanct institution of marriage. This Court is guided with
the thrust of giving a party the fullest opportunity to establish the merits of one's action.
The client was likewise spared from counsel's negligence in Government Service Insurance
System v. Bengson Commercial Buildings, Inc. and Ancheta v. Guersey-Dalaygon. Said the
Court in Bengson:
But if under the circumstances of the case, the rule deserts its proper office as an aid to
justice and becomes a great hindrance and chief enemy, its rigors must be relaxed to admit
exceptions thereto and to prevent a miscarriage of justice. In other words, the court has the
power to except a particular case from the operation of the rule whenever the purposes of
justice require it.
II. Concealment of homosexuality is the proper ground to annul a marriage, not
homosexuality per se.
Manuel is a desperate man determined to salvage what remains of his marriage. Persistent
in his quest, he fought back all the heavy accusations of incapacity, cruelty, and doubted

masculinity thrown at him.


The trial court declared that Leonida's petition for nullity had "no basis at all because the
supporting grounds relied upon can not legally make a case under Article 36 of the
Family Code." It went further by citing Republic v. Molina:
Indeed, mere allegations of conflicting personalities, irreconcilable differences, incessant
quarrels and/or beatings, unpredictable mood swings, infidelities, vices, abandonment, and
difficulty, neglect, or failure in the performance of some marital obligations do not suffice to
establish psychological incapacity.
If so, the lower court should have dismissed outright the petition for not meeting the
guidelines set in Molina. What Leonida attempted to demonstrate were Manuel's
homosexual tendencies by citing overt acts generally predominant among homosexual
individuals. She wanted to prove that the perceived homosexuality rendered Manuel
incapable of fulfilling the essential marital obligations.
But instead of dismissing the petition, the trial court nullified the marriage between
Manuel and Leonida on the ground of vitiated consent by virtue of fraud. In support of its
conclusion, the lower court reasoned out:
As insinuated by the State (p. 75, TSN, 15 December 2003), when there is smoke surely
there is fire. Although vehemently denied by defendant, there is preponderant evidence
enough to establish with certainty that defendant is really a homosexual. This is the fact
that can be deduced from the totality of the marriage life scenario of herein parties.
Before his marriage, defendant knew very well that people around him even including his
own close friends doubted his true sexual preference (TSN, pp. 35-36, 13 December 2000;
pp. 73-75, 15 December 2003). After receiving many forewarnings, plaintiff told defendant
about the rumor she heard but defendant did not do anything to prove to the whole world
once and for all the truth of all his denials. Defendant threatened to sue those people but
nothing happened after that. There may have been more important matters to attend to
than to waste time and effort filing cases against and be effected by these people and so,
putting more premiums on defendant's denials, plaintiff just the same married him.
Reasons upon reasons may be advanced to either exculpate or nail to the cross defendant
for his act of initially concealing his homosexuality to plaintiff, but in the end, only one
thing is certain - even during his marriage with plaintiff, the smoke of doubt about his real
preference continued and even got thicker, reason why obviously defendant failed to
establish a happy and solid family; and in so failing, plaintiff and their children became his
innocent and unwilling victims.
Yes, there is nothing untoward of a man if, like herein defendant, he is meticulous over
even small details in the house (sic) like wrongly folded bed sheets, etc. or if a man is more
authoritative in knowing what clothes or jewelry shall fit his wife (pp. 77-81, TSN, 15
December 2003); but these admissions of defendant taken in the light of evidence
presented apparently showing that he had extra fondness of his male friends (sic) to the
extent that twice on separate occasions (pp. 4-7, TSN, 14 February 2001) he was allegedly
seen by plaintiff kissing another man lips-to-lips plus the homosexual magazines and tapes
likewise allegedly discovered underneath his bed (Exhibits "L" and "M"), the doubt as to his
real sex identity becomes stronger. The accusation of plaintiff versus thereof of defendant
may be the name of the game in this case; but the simple reason of professional rivalry
advanced by the defendant is certainly not enough to justify and obscure the question why
plaintiff should accuse him of such a very untoward infidelity at the expense and
humiliation of their children and family as a whole.

Evidently, no sufficient proof was presented to substantiate the allegations that Manuel is a
homosexual and that he concealed this to Leonida at the time of their marriage. The lower
court considered the public perception of Manuel's sexual preference without the
corroboration of witnesses. Also, it took cognizance of Manuel's peculiarities and
interpreted it against his sexuality.
Even assuming, ex gratia argumenti, that Manuel is a homosexual, the lower court cannot
appreciate it as a ground to annul his marriage with Leonida. The law is clear - a marriage
may be annulled when the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, [ such as
concealment of homosexuality. Nowhere in the said decision was it proven by
preponderance of evidence that Manuel was a homosexual at the onset of his marriage and
that he deliberately hid such fact to his wife. It is the concealment of homosexuality, and
not homosexuality per se, that vitiates the consent of the innocent party. Such concealment
presupposes bad faith and intent to defraud the other party in giving consent to the
marriage.
Consent is an essential requisite of a valid marriage. To be valid, it must be freely given by
both parties. An allegation of vitiated consent must be proven by preponderance of
evidence. The Family Code has enumerated an exclusive list of circumstances constituting
fraud. Homosexuality per se is not among those cited, but its concealment.
This distinction becomes more apparent when we go over the deliberations of the
Committees on the Civil Code and Family Law, to wit:
Justice Caguioa remarked that this ground should be eliminated in the provision on the
grounds for legal separation. Dean Gupit, however, pointed out that in Article 46, they are
talking only of "concealment," while in the article on legal separation, there is actuality.
Judge Diy added that in legal separation, the ground existed after the marriage, while in
Article 46, the ground existed at the time of the marriage. Justice Reyes suggested that, for
clarity, they add the phrase "existing at the time of the marriage" at the end of
subparagraph (4). The Committee approved the suggestion.
To reiterate, homosexuality per se is only a ground for legal separation. It is its concealment
that serves as a valid ground to annul a marriage. Concealment in this case is not simply a
blanket denial, but one that is constitutive of fraud. It is this fundamental element that
respondent failed to prove.
In the United States, homosexuality has been considered as a basis for divorce. It indicates
that questions of sexual identity strike so deeply at one of the basic elements of marriage,
which is the exclusive sexual bond between the spouses. In Crutcher v. Crutcher, the Court
held:
Unnatural practices of the kind charged here are an infamous indignity to the wife, and
which would make the marriage relation so revolting to her that it would become
impossible for her to discharge the duties of a wife, and would defeat the whole purpose of
the relation. In the natural course of things, they would cause mental suffering to the
extent of affecting her health.
However, although there may be similar sentiments here in the Philippines, the legal
overtones are significantly different. Divorce is not recognized in the country.
Homosexuality and its alleged incompatibility to a healthy heterosexual life are not
sanctioned as grounds to sever the marriage bond in our jurisdiction. At most, it is only a
ground to separate from bed and board.
What was proven in the hearings a quo was a relatively blissful marital union for more than

eleven (11) years, which produced three (3) children. The burden of proof to show the
nullity of the marriage rests on Leonida. Sadly, she failed to discharge this onus.
The same failure to prove fraud which purportedly resulted to a vitiated marital consent
was found in Villanueva v. Court of Appeals. In Villanueva, instead of proving vitiation of
consent, appellant resorted to baseless portrayals of his wife as a perpetrator of fraudulent
schemes. Said the Court:
Factual findings of the Court of Appeals, especially if they coincide with those of the trial
court, as in the instant case, are generally binding on this Court. We affirm the findings of
the Court of Appeals that petitioner freely and voluntarily married private respondent and
that no threats or intimidation, duress or violence compelled him to do so, thus Appellant anchored his prayer for the annulment of his marriage on the ground that he did
not freely consent to be married to the appellee. He cited several incidents that created on
his mind a reasonable and well-grounded fear of an imminent and grave danger to his life
and safety. x x x
The Court is not convinced that appellant's apprehension of danger to his person is so
overwhelming as to deprive him of the will to enter voluntarily to a contract of marriage. It
is not disputed that at the time he was allegedly being harassed, appellant worked as a
security guard in a bank. Given the rudiments of self-defense, or, at the very least, the
proper way to keep himself out of harm's way. x x x
Appellant also invoked fraud to annul his marriage, as he was made to believe by appellee
that the latter was pregnant with his child when they were married. Appellant's excuse that
he could not have impregnated the appellee because he did not have an erection during
their tryst is flimsy at best, and an outright lie at worst. The complaint is bereft of any
reference to his inability to copulate with the appellee. x x x
xxxx
x x x The failure to cohabit becomes relevant only if it arises as a result of the perpetration
of any of the grounds for annulling the marriage, such as lack of parental consent, insanity,
fraud, intimidation, or undue influence x x x. Since the appellant failed to justify his failure
to cohabit with the appellee on any of these grounds, the validity of his marriage must be
upheld.
Verily, the lower court committed grave abuse of discretion, not only by solely taking into
account petitioner's homosexuality per se and not its concealment, but by declaring the
marriage void from its existence.
This Court is mindful of the constitutional policy to protect and strengthen the family as the
basic autonomous social institution and marriage as the foundation of the family. The State
and the public have vital interest in the maintenance and preservation of these social
institutions against desecration by fabricated evidence. Thus, any doubt should be resolved
in favor of the validity of marriage.
III. In a valid marriage, the husband and wife jointly administer and enjoy their
community or conjugal property
Article 96 of the Family Code, on regimes of absolute community property, provides:
Art. 96. The administration and enjoyment of the community property shall belong to both

spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husband's decision shall prevail, subject to
recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy, which must be availed of within five
years from the date of the contract implementing such decision.
In the event that one spouse is incapacitated or otherwise unable to participate in the
administration of the common properties, the other spouse may assume sole powers of
administration. These powers do not include the powers of disposition or encumbrance
without the authority of the court or the written consent of the other spouse. In the
absence of such authority or consent, the disposition or encumbrance shall be void.
However, the transaction shall be construed as a continuing offer on the part of the
consenting spouse and the third person, and may be perfected as a binding contract upon
the acceptance by the other spouse or authorization by the court before the offer is
withdrawn by either or both offerors.
A similar provision, Article 124 prescribes joint administration and enjoyment in a regime of
conjugal partnership. In a valid marriage, both spouses exercise administration and
enjoyment of the property regime, jointly.
In the case under review, the RTC decreed a dissolution of the community property of
Manuel and Leonida. In the same breath, the trial court forfeited Manuel's share in favor of
the children. Considering that the marriage is upheld valid and subsisting, the dissolution
and forfeiture of Manuel's share in the property regime is unwarranted. They remain the
joint administrators of the community property.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed Decision is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE and the petition in the trial court to annul the marriage is DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. L-19671

November 29, 1965

PASTOR B. TENCHAVEZ, plaintiff-appellant, vs. VICENTA F. ESCAO, ET AL.,


defendants-appellees.

REYES, J.B.L., J.:

Direct appeal, on factual and legal questions, from the judgment of the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, in its Civil Case No. R-4177, denying the claim of the plaintiff-appellant,
Pastor B. Tenchavez, for legal separation and one million pesos in damages against his wife

and parents-in-law, the defendants-appellees, Vicente, Mamerto and Mena,1 all surnamed
"Escao," respectively.2

The facts, supported by the evidence of record, are the following:

Missing her late afternoon classes on 24 February 1948 in the University of San Carlos,
Cebu City, where she was then enrolled as a second year student of commerce, Vicenta
Escao, 27 years of age (scion of a well-to-do and socially prominent Filipino family of
Spanish ancestry and a "sheltered colegiala"), exchanged marriage vows with Pastor
Tenchavez, 32 years of age, an engineer, ex-army officer and of undistinguished stock,
without the knowledge of her parents, before a Catholic chaplain, Lt. Moises Lavares, in the
house of one Juan Alburo in the said city. The marriage was the culmination of a previous
love affair and was duly registered with the local civil register.

Vicenta's letters to Pastor, and his to her, before the marriage, indicate that the couple
were deeply in love. Together with a friend, Pacita Noel, their matchmaker and go-between,
they had planned out their marital future whereby Pacita would be the governess of their
first-born; they started saving money in a piggy bank. A few weeks before their secret
marriage, their engagement was broken; Vicenta returned the engagement ring and
accepted another suitor, Joseling Lao. Her love for Pastor beckoned; she pleaded for his
return, and they reconciled. This time they planned to get married and then elope. To
facilitate the elopement, Vicenta had brought some of her clothes to the room of Pacita
Noel in St. Mary's Hall, which was their usual trysting place.

Although planned for the midnight following their marriage, the elopement did not,
however, materialize because when Vicente went back to her classes after the marriage,
her mother, who got wind of the intended nuptials, was already waiting for her at the
college. Vicenta was taken home where she admitted that she had already married Pastor.
Mamerto and Mena Escao were surprised, because Pastor never asked for the hand of
Vicente, and were disgusted because of the great scandal that the clandestine marriage
would provoke (t.s.n., vol. III, pp. 1105-06). The following morning, the Escao spouses
sought priestly advice. Father Reynes suggested a recelebration to validate what he
believed to be an invalid marriage, from the standpoint of the Church, due to the lack of
authority from the Archbishop or the parish priest for the officiating chaplain to celebrate

the marriage. The recelebration did not take place, because on 26 February 1948 Mamerto
Escao was handed by a maid, whose name he claims he does not remember, a letter
purportedly coming from San Carlos college students and disclosing an amorous
relationship between Pastor Tenchavez and Pacita Noel; Vicenta translated the letter to her
father, and thereafter would not agree to a new marriage. Vicenta and Pastor met that day
in the house of Mrs. Pilar Mendezona. Thereafter, Vicenta continued living with her parents
while Pastor returned to his job in Manila. Her letter of 22 March 1948 (Exh. "M"), while still
solicitous of her husband's welfare, was not as endearing as her previous letters when their
love was aflame.

Vicenta was bred in Catholic ways but is of a changeable disposition, and Pastor knew it.
She fondly accepted her being called a "jellyfish." She was not prevented by her parents
from communicating with Pastor (Exh. "1-Escao"), but her letters became less frequent as
the days passed. As of June, 1948 the newlyweds were already estranged (Exh. "2Escao"). Vicenta had gone to Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, to escape from the scandal
that her marriage stirred in Cebu society. There, a lawyer filed for her a petition, drafted by
then Senator Emmanuel Pelaez, to annul her marriage. She did not sign the petition (Exh.
"B-5"). The case was dismissed without prejudice because of her non-appearance at the
hearing (Exh. "B-4").

On 24 June 1950, without informing her husband, she applied for a passport, indicating in
her application that she was single, that her purpose was to study, and she was domiciled
in Cebu City, and that she intended to return after two years. The application was
approved, and she left for the United States. On 22 August 1950, she filed a verified
complaint for divorce against the herein plaintiff in the Second Judicial District Court of the
State of Nevada in and for the County of Washoe, on the ground of "extreme cruelty,
entirely mental in character." On 21 October 1950, a decree of divorce, "final and absolute",
was issued in open court by the said tribunal.

In 1951 Mamerto and Mena Escao filed a petition with the Archbishop of Cebu to annul
their daughter's marriage to Pastor (Exh. "D"). On 10 September 1954, Vicenta sought
papal dispensation of her marriage (Exh. "D"-2).

On 13 September 1954, Vicenta married an American, Russell Leo Moran, in Nevada. She
now lives with him in California, and, by him, has begotten children. She acquired American
citizenship on 8 August 1958.

But on 30 July 1955, Tenchavez had initiated the proceedings at bar by a complaint in the
Court of First Instance of Cebu, and amended on 31 May 1956, against Vicenta F. Escao,
her parents, Mamerto and Mena Escao, whom he charged with having dissuaded and
discouraged Vicenta from joining her husband, and alienating her affections, and against
the Roman Catholic Church, for having, through its Diocesan Tribunal, decreed the
annulment of the marriage, and asked for legal separation and one million pesos in
damages. Vicenta claimed a valid divorce from plaintiff and an equally valid marriage to her
present husband, Russell Leo Moran; while her parents denied that they had in any way
influenced their daughter's acts, and counterclaimed for moral damages.

The appealed judgment did not decree a legal separation, but freed the plaintiff from
supporting his wife and to acquire property to the exclusion of his wife. It allowed the
counterclaim of Mamerto Escao and Mena Escao for moral and exemplary damages and
attorney's fees against the plaintiff-appellant, to the extent of P45,000.00, and plaintiff
resorted directly to this Court.

The appellant ascribes, as errors of the trial court, the following:

1.

In not declaring legal separation; in not holding defendant Vicenta F. Escao liable for

damages and in dismissing the complaint;.

2.

In not holding the defendant parents Mamerto Escano and the heirs of Doa Mena

Escao liable for damages;.

In holding the plaintiff liable for and requiring him to pay the damages to the

defendant parents on their counterclaims; and.

4.

In dismissing the complaint and in denying the relief sought by the plaintiff.

That on 24 February 1948 the plaintiff-appellant, Pastor Tenchavez, and the defendantappellee, Vicenta Escao, were validly married to each other, from the standpoint of our
civil law, is clearly established by the record before us. Both parties were then above the
age of majority, and otherwise qualified; and both consented to the marriage, which was
performed by a Catholic priest (army chaplain Lavares) in the presence of competent
witnesses. It is nowhere shown that said priest was not duly authorized under civil law to
solemnize marriages.

The chaplain's alleged lack of ecclesiastical authorization from the parish priest and the
Ordinary, as required by Canon law, is irrelevant in our civil law, not only because of the
separation of Church and State but also because Act 3613 of the Philippine Legislature
(which was the marriage law in force at the time) expressly provided that

SEC. 1.

Essential requisites. Essential requisites for marriage are the legal capacity of

the contracting parties and consent. (Emphasis supplied)

The actual authority of the solemnizing officer was thus only a formal requirement, and,
therefore, not essential to give the marriage civil effects,3 and this is emphasized by
section 27 of said marriage act, which provided the following:

SEC. 27. Failure to comply with formal requirements. No marriage shall be declared invalid
because of the absence of one or several of the formal requirements of this Act if, when it
was performed, the spouses or one of them believed in good faith that the person who
solemnized the marriage was actually empowered to do so, and that the marriage was
perfectly legal.

The good faith of all the parties to the marriage (and hence the validity of their marriage)
will be presumed until the contrary is positively proved (Lao vs. Dee Tim, 45 Phil. 739, 745;
Francisco vs. Jason, 60 Phil. 442, 448). It is well to note here that in the case at bar, doubts
as to the authority of the solemnizing priest arose only after the marriage, when Vicenta's
parents consulted Father Reynes and the archbishop of Cebu. Moreover, the very act of
Vicenta in abandoning her original action for annulment and subsequently suing for divorce
implies an admission that her marriage to plaintiff was valid and binding.

Defendant Vicenta Escao argues that when she contracted the marriage she was under
the undue influence of Pacita Noel, whom she charges to have been in conspiracy with
appellant Tenchavez. Even granting, for argument's sake, the truth of that contention, and
assuming that Vicenta's consent was vitiated by fraud and undue influence, such vices did
not render her marriage ab initio void, but merely voidable, and the marriage remained
valid until annulled by a competent civil court. This was never done, and admittedly,
Vicenta's suit for annulment in the Court of First Instance of Misamis was dismissed for nonprosecution.

It is equally clear from the record that the valid marriage between Pastor Tenchavez and
Vicenta Escao remained subsisting and undissolved under Philippine law, notwithstanding
the decree of absolute divorce that the wife sought and obtained on 21 October 1950 from
the Second Judicial District Court of Washoe County, State of Nevada, on grounds of
"extreme cruelty, entirely mental in character." At the time the divorce decree was issued,
Vicenta Escao, like her husband, was still a Filipino citizen.4 She was then subject to
Philippine law, and Article 15 of the Civil Code of the Philippines (Rep. Act No. 386), already
in force at the time, expressly provided:

Laws relating to family rights and duties or to the status, condition and legal capacity of
persons are binding upon the citizens of the Philippines, even though living abroad.

The Civil Code of the Philippines, now in force, does not admit absolute divorce, quo ad
vinculo matrimonii; and in fact does not even use that term, to further emphasize its
restrictive policy on the matter, in contrast to the preceding legislation that admitted
absolute divorce on grounds of adultery of the wife or concubinage of the husband (Act
2710). Instead of divorce, the present Civil Code only provides for legal separation (Title IV,
Book 1, Arts. 97 to 108), and, even in that case, it expressly prescribes that "the marriage
bonds shall not be severed" (Art. 106, subpar. 1).

For the Philippine courts to recognize and give recognition or effect to a foreign decree of
absolute divorce betiveen Filipino citizens could be a patent violation of the declared public
policy of the state, specially in view of the third paragraph of Article 17 of the Civil Code
that prescribes the following:

Prohibitive laws concerning persons, their acts or property, and those which have for their
object public order, policy and good customs, shall not be rendered ineffective by laws or
judgments promulgated, or by determinations or conventions agreed upon in a foreign
country.

Even more, the grant of effectivity in this jurisdiction to such foreign divorce decrees would,
in effect, give rise to an irritating and scandalous discrimination in favor of wealthy citizens,
to the detriment of those members of our polity whose means do not permit them to
sojourn abroad and obtain absolute divorces outside the Philippines.

From this point of view, it is irrelevant that appellant Pastor Tenchavez should have
appeared in the Nevada divorce court. Primarily because the policy of our law cannot be
nullified by acts of private parties (Civil Code,Art. 17, jam quot.); and additionally, because
the mere appearance of a non-resident consort cannot confer jurisdiction where the court
originally had none (Area vs. Javier, 95 Phil. 579).

From the preceding facts and considerations, there flows as a necessary consequence that
in this jurisdiction Vicenta Escao's divorce and second marriage are not entitled to
recognition as valid; for her previous union to plaintiff Tenchavez must be declared to be
existent and undissolved. It follows, likewise, that her refusal to perform her wifely duties,
and her denial of consortium and her desertion of her husband constitute in law a wrong
caused through her fault, for which the husband is entitled to the corresponding indemnity
(Civil Code, Art. 2176). Neither an unsubstantiated charge of deceit nor an anonymous
letter charging immorality against the husband constitute, contrary to her claim, adequate
excuse. Wherefore, her marriage and cohabitation with Russell Leo Moran is technically
"intercourse with a person not her husband" from the standpoint of Philippine Law, and
entitles plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez to a decree of "legal separation under our law, on the
basis of adultery" (Revised Penal Code, Art. 333).

The foregoing conclusions as to the untoward effect of a marriage after an invalid divorce
are in accord with the previous doctrines and rulings of this court on the subject,
particularly those that were rendered under our laws prior to the approval of the absolute
divorce act (Act 2710 of the Philippine Legislature). As a matter of legal history, our
statutes did not recognize divorces a vinculo before 1917, when Act 2710 became effective;

and the present Civil Code of the Philippines, in disregarding absolute divorces, in effect
merely reverted to the policies on the subject prevailing before Act 2710. The rulings,
therefore, under the Civil Code of 1889, prior to the Act above-mentioned, are now, fully
applicable. Of these, the decision in Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855, is of particular interest.
Said this Court in that case:

As the divorce granted by the French Court must be ignored, it results that the marriage of
Dr. Mory and Leona Castro, celebrated in London in 1905, could not legalize their relations;
and the circumstance that they afterwards passed for husband and wife in Switzerland until
her death is wholly without legal significance. The claims of the very children to participate
in the estate of Samuel Bishop must therefore be rejected. The right to inherit is limited to
legitimate, legitimated and acknowledged natural children. The children of adulterous
relations are wholly excluded. The word "descendants" as used in Article 941 of the Civil
Code cannot be interpreted to include illegitimates born of adulterous relations. (Emphasis
supplied)

Except for the fact that the successional rights of the children, begotten from Vicenta's
marriage to Leo Moran after the invalid divorce, are not involved in the case at bar, the
Gmur case is authority for the proposition that such union is adulterous in this jurisdiction,
and, therefore, justifies an action for legal separation on the part of the innocent consort of
the first marriage, that stands undissolved in Philippine law. In not so declaring, the trial
court committed error.

True it is that our ruling gives rise to anomalous situations where the status of a person
(whether divorced or not) would depend on the territory where the question arises.
Anomalies of this kind are not new in the Philippines, and the answer to them was given in
Barretto vs. Gonzales, 58 Phil. 667:

The hardship of the existing divorce laws in the Philippine Islands are well known to the
members of the Legislature. It is the duty of the Courts to enforce the laws of divorce as
written by Legislature if they are constitutional. Courts have no right to say that such laws
are too strict or too liberal. (p. 72)

The appellant's first assignment of error is, therefore, sustained.

However, the plaintiff-appellant's charge that his wife's parents, Dr. Mamerto Escao and
his wife, the late Doa Mena Escao, alienated the affections of their daughter and
influenced her conduct toward her husband are not supported by credible evidence. The
testimony of Pastor Tenchavez about the Escao's animosity toward him strikes us to be
merely conjecture and exaggeration, and are belied by Pastor's own letters written before
this suit was begun (Exh. "2-Escao" and "Vicenta," Rec. on App., pp. 270-274). In these
letters he expressly apologized to the defendants for "misjudging them" and for the "great
unhappiness" caused by his "impulsive blunders" and "sinful pride," "effrontery and
audacity" [sic]. Plaintiff was admitted to the Escao house to visit and court Vicenta, and
the record shows nothing to prove that he would not have been accepted to marry Vicente
had he openly asked for her hand, as good manners and breeding demanded. Even after
learning of the clandestine marriage, and despite their shock at such unexpected event,
the parents of Vicenta proposed and arranged that the marriage be recelebrated in strict
conformity with the canons of their religion upon advice that the previous one was
canonically defective. If no recelebration of the marriage ceremony was had it was not due
to defendants Mamerto Escao and his wife, but to the refusal of Vicenta to proceed with it.
That the spouses Escao did not seek to compel or induce their daughter to assent to the
recelebration but respected her decision, or that they abided by her resolve, does not
constitute in law an alienation of affections. Neither does the fact that Vicenta's parents
sent her money while she was in the United States; for it was natural that they should not
wish their daughter to live in penury even if they did not concur in her decision to divorce
Tenchavez (27 Am. Jur. 130-132).

There is no evidence that the parents of Vicenta, out of improper motives, aided and
abetted her original suit for annulment, or her subsequent divorce; she appears to have
acted independently, and being of age, she was entitled to judge what was best for her and
ask that her decisions be respected. Her parents, in so doing, certainly cannot be charged
with alienation of affections in the absence of malice or unworthy motives, which have not
been shown, good faith being always presumed until the contrary is proved.

SEC. 529.

Liability of Parents, Guardians or Kin. The law distinguishes between the right

of a parent to interest himself in the marital affairs of his child and the absence of rights in
a stranger to intermeddle in such affairs. However, such distinction between the liability of

parents and that of strangers is only in regard to what will justify interference. A parent
isliable for alienation of affections resulting from his own malicious conduct, as where he
wrongfully entices his son or daughter to leave his or her spouse, but he is not liable unless
he acts maliciously, without justification and from unworthy motives. He is not liable where
he acts and advises his child in good faith with respect to his child's marital relations in the
interest of his child as he sees it, the marriage of his child not terminating his right and
liberty to interest himself in, and be extremely solicitous for, his child's welfare and
happiness, even where his conduct and advice suggest or result in the separation of the
spouses or the obtaining of a divorce or annulment, or where he acts under mistake or
misinformation, or where his advice or interference are indiscreet or unfortunate, although
it has been held that the parent is liable for consequences resulting from recklessness. He
may in good faith take his child into his home and afford him or her protection and support,
so long as he has not maliciously enticed his child away, or does not maliciously entice or
cause him or her to stay away, from his or her spouse. This rule has more frequently been
applied in the case of advice given to a married daughter, but it is equally applicable in the
case of advice given to a son.

Plaintiff Tenchavez, in falsely charging Vicenta's aged parents with racial or social
discrimination and with having exerted efforts and pressured her to seek annulment and
divorce, unquestionably caused them unrest and anxiety, entitling them to recover
damages. While this suit may not have been impelled by actual malice, the charges were
certainly reckless in the face of the proven facts and circumstances. Court actions are not
established for parties to give vent to their prejudices or spleen.

In the assessment of the moral damages recoverable by appellant Pastor Tenchavez from
defendant Vicente Escao, it is proper to take into account, against his patently
unreasonable claim for a million pesos in damages, that (a) the marriage was celebrated in
secret, and its failure was not characterized by publicity or undue humiliation on appellant's
part; (b) that the parties never lived together; and (c) that there is evidence that appellant
had originally agreed to the annulment of the marriage, although such a promise was
legally invalid, being against public policy (cf. Art. 88, Civ. Code). While appellant is unable
to remarry under our law, this fact is a consequence of the indissoluble character of the
union that appellant entered into voluntarily and with open eyes rather than of her divorce

and her second marriage. All told, we are of the opinion that appellant should recover
P25,000 only by way of moral damages and attorney's fees.

With regard to the P45,000 damages awarded to the defendants, Dr. Mamerto Escao and
Mena Escao, by the court below, we opine that the same are excessive. While the filing of
this unfounded suit must have wounded said defendants' feelings and caused them
anxiety, the same could in no way have seriously injured their reputation, or otherwise
prejudiced them, lawsuits having become a common occurrence in present society. What is
important, and has been correctly established in the decision of the court below, is that
said defendants were not guilty of any improper conduct in the whole deplorable affair. This
Court, therefore, reduces the damages awarded to P5,000 only.

Summing up, the Court rules:

(1)

That a foreign divorce between Filipino citizens, sought and decreed after the

effectivity of the present Civil Code (Rep. Act 386), is not entitled to recognition as valid in
this jurisdiction; and neither is the marriage contracted with another party by the divorced
consort, subsequently to the foreign decree of divorce, entitled to validity in the country;

(2)

That the remarriage of divorced wife and her co-habitation with a person other than

the lawful husband entitle the latter to a decree of legal separation conformably to
Philippine law;

(3)

That the desertion and securing of an invalid divorce decree by one consort entitles

the other to recover damages;

(4)

That an action for alienation of affections against the parents of one consort does not

lie in the absence of proof of malice or unworthy motives on their part.

WHEREFORE, the decision under appeal is hereby modified as follows;

(1)

Adjudging plaintiff-appellant Pastor Tenchavez entitled to a decree of legal separation

from defendant Vicenta F. Escao;

(2)

Sentencing defendant-appellee Vicenta Escao to pay plaintiff-appellant Tenchavez

the amount of P25,000 for damages and attorneys' fees;

(3)

Sentencing appellant Pastor Tenchavez to pay the appellee, Mamerto Escao and the

estate of his wife, the deceased Mena Escao, P5,000 by way of damages and attorneys'
fees.

Neither party to recover costs.

G.R. NO. 155409

June 8, 2007

VIRGILIO MAQUILAN, Petitioner, vs. DITA MAQUILAN, Respondent.

DECISION

AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:

Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
assailing the Decision[1] dated August 30, 2002 promulgated by the Court of Appeals (CA)
in CA-G.R. SP No. 69689, which affirmed the Judgment on Compromise Agreement dated
January 2, 2002 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley,
and the RTC Orders dated January 21, 2002 and February 7, 2002 (ORDERS) in Civil Case
No. 656.

The facts of the case, as found by the CA, are as follows:

Herein petitioner and herein private respondent are spouses who once had a blissful
married life and out of which were blessed to have a son.

However, their once sugar

coated romance turned bitter when petitioner discovered that private respondent was
having illicit sexual affair with her paramour, which thus, prompted the petitioner to file a
case of adultery against private respondent and the latters paramour. Consequently, both
the private respondent and her paramour were convicted of the crime charged and were
sentenced to suffer an imprisonment ranging from one (1) year, eight (8) months, minimum
of prision correccional as minimum penalty, to three (3) years, six (6) months and twenty
one (21) days, medium of prision correccional as maximum penalty.

Thereafter, private respondent, through counsel, filed a Petition for Declaration of


Nullity of Marriage, Dissolution and Liquidation of Conjugal Partnership of Gains and
Damages on June 15, 2001 with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 3 of Nabunturan,
Compostela Valley, docketed as Civil Case No. 656, imputing psychological incapacity on
the part of the petitioner.

During the pre-trial of the said case, petitioner and private respondent entered into a
COMPROMISE AGREEMENT in the following terms, to wit:

1.

In partial settlement of the conjugal partnership of gains, the parties agree to the

following:

a.

P500,000.00 of the money deposited in the bank jointly in the name of the spouses

shall be withdrawn and deposited in favor and in trust of their common child, Neil Maquilan,
with the deposit in the joint account of the parties.

The balance of such deposit, which presently stands at P1,318,043.36, shall be withdrawn
and divided equally by the parties;

b.

The store that is now being occupied by the plaintiff shall be allotted to her while the

bodega shall be for the defendant. The defendant shall be paid the sum of P50,000.00 as
his share in the stocks of the store in full settlement thereof.

The plaintiff shall be allowed to occupy the bodega until the time the owner of the lot on
which it stands shall construct a building thereon;

c.

The motorcycles shall be divided between them such that the Kawasaki shall be owned

by the plaintiff while the Honda Dream shall be for the defendant;

d.

The passenger jeep shall be for the plaintiff who shall pay the defendant the sum of

P75,000.00 as his share thereon and in full settlement thereof;

e. The house and lot shall be to the common child.

2.

This settlement is only partial, i.e., without prejudice to the litigation of other

conjugal properties that have not been mentioned;

xxxx

The said Compromise Agreement was given judicial imprimatur by the respondent
judge in the assailed Judgment On Compromise Agreement, which was erroneously dated
January 2, 2002.[2]

However, petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion dated January 15, 2002, praying for the
repudiation of the Compromise Agreement and the reconsideration of the Judgment on
Compromise Agreement by the respondent judge on the grounds that his previous lawyer
did not intelligently and judiciously apprise him of the consequential effects of the
Compromise Agreement.

The respondent Judge in the assailed Order dated January 21, 2002, denied the
aforementioned Omnibus Motion.

Displeased, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the aforesaid Order, but
the same was denied in the assailed Order dated February 7, 2002.[3] (Emphasis supplied)

The petitioner filed a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with the CA under Rule 65
of the Rules of Court claiming that the RTC committed grave error and abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction (1) in upholding the validity of the Compromise
Agreement dated January 11, 2002; (2) when it held in its Order dated February 7, 2002
that the Compromise Agreement was made within the cooling-off period; (3) when it denied
petitioners Motion to Repudiate Compromise Agreement and to Reconsider Its Judgment on
Compromise Agreement; and (4) when it conducted the proceedings without the
appearance and participation of the Office of the Solicitor General and/or the Provincial
Prosecutor.[4]

On August 30, 2002, the CA dismissed the Petition for lack of merit. The CA held that
the conviction of the respondent of the crime of adultery does not ipso facto disqualify her
from sharing in the conjugal property, especially considering that she had only been
sentenced with the penalty of prision correccional, a penalty that does not carry the
accessory penalty of civil interdiction which deprives the person of the rights to manage
her property and to dispose of such property inter vivos; that Articles 43 and 63 of the
Family Code, which pertain to the effects of a nullified marriage and the effects of legal
separation, respectively, do not apply, considering, too, that the Petition for the Declaration
of the Nullity of Marriage filed by the respondent invoking Article 36 of the Family Code has
yet to be decided, and, hence, it is premature to apply Articles 43 and 63 of the Family
Code; that, although adultery is a ground for legal separation, nonetheless, Article 63 finds
no application in the instant case since no petition to that effect was filed by the petitioner
against the respondent; that the spouses voluntarily separated their property through their
Compromise Agreement with court approval under Article 134 of the Family Code; that the
Compromise Agreement, which embodies the voluntary separation of property, is valid and
binding in all respects because it had been voluntarily entered into by the parties; that,
furthermore, even if it were true that the petitioner was not duly informed by his previous

counsel about the legal effects of the Compromise Agreement, this point is untenable since
the mistake or negligence of the lawyer binds his client, unless such mistake or negligence
amounts to gross negligence or deprivation of due process on the part of his client; that
these exceptions are not present in the instant case; that the Compromise Agreement was
plainly worded and written in simple language, which a person of ordinary intelligence can
discern the consequences thereof, hence, petitioners claim that his consent was vitiated is
highly incredible; that the Compromise Agreement was made during the existence of the
marriage of the parties since it was submitted during the pendency of the petition for
declaration of nullity of marriage; that the application of Article 2035 of the Civil Code is
misplaced; that the cooling-off period under Article 58 of the Family Code has no bearing on
the validity of the Compromise Agreement; that the Compromise Agreement is not contrary
to law, morals, good customs, public order, and public policy; that this agreement may not
be later disowned simply because of a change of mind; that the presence of the Solicitor
General or his deputy is not indispensable to the execution and validity of the Compromise
Agreement, since the purpose of his presence is to curtail any collusion between the parties
and to see to it that evidence is not fabricated, and, with this in mind, nothing in the
Compromise Agreement touches on the very merits of the case of declaration of nullity of
marriage for the court to be wary of any possible collusion; and, finally, that the
Compromise Agreement is merely an agreement between the parties to separate their
conjugal properties partially without prejudice to the outcome of the pending case of
declaration of nullity of marriage.

Hence, herein Petition, purely on questions of law, raising the following issues:

I.

WHETHER OF NOT A SPOUSE CONVICTED OF EITHER CONCUBINAGE OR ADULTERY, CAN


STILL SHARE IN THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP;

II

WHETHER OR NOT A COMPROMISE AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BY SPOUSES, ONE OF


WHOM WAS CONVICTED OF ADULTERY, GIVING THE CONVICTED SPOUSE A SHARE IN THE
CONJUGAL PROPERTY, VALID AND LEGAL;

III

WHETHER OR NOT A JUDGMENT FOR ANNULMENT AND LEGAL SEPARATION IS A PREREQUISITE BEFORE A SPOUSE CONVICTED OF EITHER CONCUBINAGE OR ADULTERY, BE
DISQUALIFIED AND PROHIBITED FROM SHARING IN THE CONJUGAL PROPERTY;

IV

WHETHER OR NOT THE DISQUALIFICATION OF A CONVICTED SPOUSE OF ADULTERY FROM


SHARING IN A CONJUGAL PROPERTY, CONSTITUTES CIVIL INTERDICTION.[5]

The petitioner argues that the Compromise Agreement should not have been given
judicial imprimatur since it is against law and public policy; that the proceedings where it
was approved is null and void, there being no appearance and participation of the Solicitor
General or the Provincial Prosecutor; that it was timely repudiated; and that the
respondent, having been convicted of adultery, is therefore disqualified from sharing in the
conjugal property.

The Petition must fail.


The essential question is whether the partial voluntary separation of property made by
the spouses pending the petition for declaration of nullity of marriage is valid.

First. The petitioner contends that the Compromise Agreement is void because it
circumvents the law that prohibits the guilty spouse, who was convicted of either adultery
or concubinage, from sharing in the conjugal property. Since the respondent was convicted
of adultery, the petitioner argues that her share should be forfeited in favor of the common
child under Articles 43(2)[6] and 63[7] of the Family Code.

To the petitioner, it is the clear intention of the law to disqualify the spouse convicted
of adultery from sharing in the conjugal property; and because the Compromise Agreement
is void, it never became final and executory.

Moreover, the petitioner cites Article 2035[8] of the Civil Code and argues that since
adultery is a ground for legal separation, the Compromise Agreement is therefore void.

These arguments are specious. The foregoing provisions of the law are inapplicable to
the instant case.

Article 43 of the Family Code refers to Article 42, to wit:

Article 42. The subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding Article[9] shall be
automatically terminated by the recording of the affidavit of reappearance of the absent
spouse, unless there is a judgment annulling the previous marriage or declaring it void ab
initio.

A sworn statement of the fact and circumstances of reappearance shall be recorded


in the civil registry of the residence of the parties to the subsequent marriage at the
instance of any interested person, with due notice to the spouses of the subsequent
marriage and without prejudice to the fact of reappearance being judicially determined in
case such fact is disputed.

where a subsequent marriage is terminated because of the reappearance of an absent


spouse; while Article 63 applies to the effects of a decree of legal separation. The present
case involves a proceeding where the nullity of the marriage is sought to be declared under
the ground of psychological capacity.

Article 2035 of the Civil Code is also clearly inapplicable. The Compromise Agreement
partially divided the properties of the conjugal partnership of gains between the parties and
does not deal with the validity of a marriage or legal separation. It is not among those that
are expressly prohibited by Article 2035.

Moreover, the contention that the Compromise Agreement is tantamount to a


circumvention of the law prohibiting the guilty spouse from sharing in the conjugal
properties

is

disqualification.

misplaced.

Existing

law

and

jurisprudence

do

not

impose

such

Under Article 143 of the Family Code, separation of property may be effected
voluntarily or for sufficient cause, subject to judicial approval. The questioned Compromise
Agreement which was judicially approved is exactly such a separation of property allowed
under the law. This conclusion holds true even if the proceedings for the declaration of
nullity of marriage was still pending. However, the Court must stress that this voluntary
separation of property is subject to the rights of all creditors of the conjugal partnership of
gains and other persons with pecuniary interest pursuant to Article 136 of the Family Code.

Second. Petitioners claim that since the proceedings before the RTC were void in the
absence of the participation of the provincial prosecutor or solicitor, the voluntary
separation made during the pendency of the case is also void. The proceedings pertaining
to the Compromise Agreement involved the conjugal properties of the spouses. The
settlement had no relation to the questions surrounding the validity of their marriage. Nor
did the settlement amount to a collusion between the parties.

Article 48 of the Family Code states:

Art. 48. In all cases of annulment or declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, the
Court shall order the prosecuting attorney or fiscal assigned to it to appear on behalf of the
State to take steps to prevent collusion between the parties and to take care that the
evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. (Emphasis supplied)

Section 3(e) of Rule 9 of the 1997 Rules of Court provides:

SEC. 3. Default; declaration of.- x x x x


xxxx

(e) Where no defaults allowed.

If the defending party in action for annulment or

declaration of nullity of marriage or for legal separation fails to answer, the court shall
order the prosecuting attorney to investigate whether or not a collusion between the
parties exists if there is no collusion, to intervene for the State in order to see to it that the
evidence submitted is not fabricated. (Emphasis supplied

Truly, the purpose of the active participation of the Public Prosecutor or the Solicitor
General is to ensure that the interest of the State is represented and protected in
proceedings for annulment and declaration of nullity of marriages by preventing collusion
between the parties, or the fabrication or suppression of evidence.[10]

While the

appearances of the Solicitor General and/or the Public Prosecutor are mandatory, the failure
of the RTC to require their appearance does not per se nullify the Compromise Agreement.
This Court fully concurs with the findings of the CA:

x x x. It bears emphasizing that the intendment of the law in requiring the presence
of the Solicitor General and/or State prosecutor in all proceedings of legal separation and
annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage is to curtail or prevent any possibility of
collusion between the parties and to see to it that their evidence respecting the case is not
fabricated.

In the instant case, there is no exigency for the presence of the Solicitor

General and/or the State prosecutor because as already stated, nothing in the subject
compromise agreement touched into the very merits of the case of declaration of nullity of
marriage for the court to be wary of any possible collusion between the parties. At the risk
of being repetiti[ve], the compromise agreement pertains merely to an agreement between
the petitioner and the private respondent to separate their conjugal properties partially
without prejudice to the outcome of the pending case of declaration of nullity of marriage.
[11]

Third. The conviction of adultery does not carry the accessory of civil interdiction.
Article 34 of the Revised Penal Code provides for the consequences of civil interdiction:

Art. 34. Civil Interdiction. Civil interdiction shall deprive the offender during the
time of his sentence of the rights of parental authority, or guardianship, either as to the
person or property of any ward, of marital authority, of the right to manage his property
and of the right to dispose of such property by any act or any conveyance inter vivos.

Under Article 333 of the same Code, the penalty for adultery is prision correccional in its
medium and maximum periods. Article 333 should be read with Article 43 of the same
Code. The latter provides:

Art. 43. Prision correccional Its accessory penalties. The penalty of prision
correccional shall carry with it that of suspension from public office, from the right to follow
a profession or calling, and that of perpetual special disqualification from the right of
suffrage, if the duration of said imprisonment shall exceed eighteen months. The offender
shall suffer the disqualification provided in this article although pardoned as to the principal
penalty, unless the same shall have been expressly remitted in the pardon.

It is clear, therefore, and as correctly held by the CA, that the crime of adultery does
not carry the accessory penalty of civil interdiction which deprives the person of the rights
to manage her property and to dispose of such property inter vivos.

Fourth. Neither could it be said that the petitioner was not intelligently and judiciously
informed of the consequential effects of the compromise agreement, and that, on this
basis, he may repudiate the Compromise Agreement. The argument of the petitioner that
he was not duly informed by his previous counsel about the legal effects of the voluntary
settlement is not convincing.

Mistake or vitiation of consent, as now claimed by the

petitioner as his basis for repudiating the settlement, could hardly be said to be evident. In
Salonga v. Court of Appeals,[12] this Court held:

[I]t is well-settled that the negligence of counsel binds the client. This is based on
the rule that any act performed by a lawyer within the scope of his general or implied
authority is regarded as an act of his client. Consequently, the mistake or negligence of
petitioners' counsel may result in the rendition of an unfavorable judgment against them.

Exceptions to the foregoing have been recognized by the Court in cases where
reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law, or when
its application "results in the outright deprivation of one's property through a technicality."
x x x x[13]

None of these exceptions has been sufficiently shown in the present case.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED
with MODIFICATION that the subject Compromise Agreement is VALID without prejudice to

the rights of all creditors and other persons with pecuniary interest in the properties of the
conjugal partnership of gains.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 169900

MARCH 18, 2010

MARIO SIOCHI, Petitioner, vs. ALFREDO GOZON, WINIFRED GOZON, GIL TABIJE,
INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC., and ELVIRA GOZON, Respondents.

G.R. NO. 169977

MARCH 18, 2010

INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC., Petitioner, vs. MARIO SIOCHI, ELVIRA GOZON,


ALFREDO GOZON, AND
WINIFRED GOZON, Respondents.

RESOLUTION

CARPIO, J.:

This is a consolidation of two separate petitions for review, assailing the 7 July 2005
Decision and the 30 September 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No.
74447.

THIS CASE INVOLVES A 30,000 SQ.M. PARCEL OF LAND (PROPERTY) COVERED BY TCT
NO. 5357. THE PROPERTY IS SITUATED IN MALABON, METRO MANILA AND IS REGISTERED IN
THE NAME OF ALFREDO GOZON (ALFREDO), MARRIED TO ELVIRA GOZON (ELVIRA).

ON 23 DECEMBER 1991, ELVIRA FILED WITH THE CAVITE CITY REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
(CAVITE RTC) A PETITION FOR LEGAL SEPARATION AGAINST HER HUSBAND ALFREDO. ON 2
JANUARY 1992, ELVIRA FILED A NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS, WHICH WAS THEN ANNOTATED ON
TCT NO. 5357.

ON 31 AUGUST 1993, WHILE THE LEGAL SEPARATION CASE WAS STILL PENDING,
ALFREDO AND MARIO SIOCHI (MARIO) ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT TO BUY AND SELL
(AGREEMENT) INVOLVING THE PROPERTY FOR THE PRICE OF P18 MILLION.

AMONG THE

STIPULATIONS IN THE AGREEMENT WERE THAT ALFREDO WOULD:

(1) SECURE AN AFFIDAVIT FROM ELVIRA THAT THE PROPERTY IS ALFREDOS


EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY AND TO ANNOTATE THE AGREEMENT AT THE BACK OF TCT NO.
5357;
(2) SECURE THE APPROVAL OF THE CAVITE RTC TO EXCLUDE THE PROPERTY FROM
THE LEGAL SEPARATION CASE; AND
(3) SECURE THE REMOVAL OF THE NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS PERTAINING TO THE SAID
CASE AND ANNOTATED ON TCT NO. 5357.
HOWEVER, DESPITE REPEATED DEMANDS FROM MARIO, ALFREDO FAILED TO COMPLY WITH
THESE STIPULATIONS. AFTER PAYING THE P5 MILLION EARNEST MONEY AS PARTIAL
PAYMENT OF THE PURCHASE PRICE, MARIO TOOK POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY IN
SEPTEMBER 1993. ON 6 SEPTEMBER 1993, THE AGREEMENT WAS ANNOTATED ON TCT NO.
5357.

Meanwhile, on 29 June 1994, the Cavite RTC rendered a decision[6] in the legal separation
case, the dispositive portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered decreeing the legal separation between


petitioner and respondent. Accordingly, petitioner Elvira Robles Gozon is entitled to live
separately from respondent Alfredo Gozon without dissolution of their marriage bond. The

conjugal partnership of gains of the spouses is hereby declared DISSOLVED and


LIQUIDATED. Being the offending spouse, respondent is deprived of his share in the net
profits and the same is awarded to their child Winifred R. Gozon whose custody is awarded
to petitioner.

FURTHERMORE, SAID PARTIES ARE REQUIRED TO MUTUALLY SUPPORT THEIR CHILD


WINIFRED R. GOZON AS HER NEEDS ARISES.
SO ORDERED.

As regards the property, the Cavite RTC held that it is deemed conjugal property.

ON 22 AUGUST 1994, ALFREDO EXECUTED A DEED OF DONATION OVER THE


PROPERTY IN FAVOR OF THEIR DAUGHTER, WINIFRED GOZON (WINIFRED). THE REGISTER
OF DEEDS OF MALABON, GIL TABIJE, CANCELLED TCT NO. 5357 AND ISSUED TCT NO. M10508 IN THE NAME OF WINIFRED, WITHOUT ANNOTATING THE AGREEMENT AND THE
NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS ON TCT NO. M-10508.

ON 26 OCTOBER 1994, ALFREDO, BY VIRTUE OF A SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY


EXECUTED IN HIS FAVOR BY WINIFRED, SOLD THE PROPERTY TO INTER-DIMENSIONAL
REALTY, INC. (IDRI) FOR P18 MILLION. IDRI PAID ALFREDO P18 MILLION, REPRESENTING
FULL PAYMENT FOR THE PROPERTY. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MALABON
CANCELLED TCT NO. M-10508 AND ISSUED TCT NO. M-10976 TO IDRI.

MARIO THEN FILED WITH THE MALABON REGIONAL TRIAL COURT (MALABON RTC) A
COMPLAINT FOR SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE AND DAMAGES, ANNULMENT OF DONATION AND
SALE, WITH PRELIMINARY MANDATORY AND PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION AND/OR TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER.

ON 3 APRIL 2001, THE MALABON RTC RENDERED A DECISION,[13] THE DISPOSITIVE


PORTION OF WHICH READS:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, JUDGMENT IS HEREBY RENDERED AS


FOLLOWS:
01. On the preliminary mandatory and prohibitory injunction:

1.1 THE SAME IS HEREBY MADE PERMANENT BY:


1.1.1 ENJOINING DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON, WINIFRED GOZON,
INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. AND GIL TABIJE, THEIR AGENTS,
REPRESENTATIVES AND ALL PERSONS ACTING IN THEIR BEHALF FROM
ANY ATTEMPT OF COMMISSION OR CONTINUANCE OF THEIR WRONGFUL
ACTS

OF

FURTHER

ALIENATING

OR

DISPOSING

OF

THE

SUBJECT

PROPERTY;
1.1.2.

ENJOINING DEFENDANT INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. FROM

ENTERING AND FENCING THE PROPERTY;


1.1.3. ENJOINING DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON, WINIFRED GOZON,
INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. TO RESPECT PLAINTIFFS POSSESSION
OF THE PROPERTY.

02. THE AGREEMENT TO BUY AND SELL DATED 31 AUGUST 1993, BETWEEN PLAINTIFF
AND DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON IS HEREBY APPROVED, EXCLUDING THE PROPERTY
AND RIGHTS OF DEFENDANT ELVIRA ROBLES-GOZON TO THE UNDIVIDED ONE-HALF
SHARE IN THE CONJUGAL PROPERTY SUBJECT OF THIS CASE.

03. THE DEED OF DONATION DATED 22 AUGUST 1994, ENTERED INTO BY AND
BETWEEN DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON AND WINIFRED GOZON IS HEREBY
NULLIFIED AND VOIDED.

04. THE DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED 26 OCTOBER 1994, EXECUTED BY


DEFENDANT WINIFRED GOZON, THROUGH DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON, IN FAVOR
OF DEFENDANT INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. IS HEREBY NULLIFIED AND VOIDED.

05. DEFENDANT INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. IS HEREBY ORDERED TO DELIVER


ITS TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. M-10976 TO THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF
MALABON, METRO MANILA.

06. THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF MALABON, METRO MANILA IS HEREBY ORDERED TO


CANCEL CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NOS. 10508 IN THE NAME OF WINIFRED GOZON AND
M-10976 IN THE NAME OF INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC., AND TO RESTORE
TRANSFER CERTIFICATE OF TITLE NO. 5357 IN THE NAME OF ALFREDO GOZON,

MARRIED TO ELVIRA ROBLES WITH THE AGREEMENT TO BUY AND SELL DATED 31
AUGUST 1993 FULLY ANNOTATED THEREIN IS HEREBY ORDERED.

07. DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON IS HEREBY ORDERED TO DELIVER A DEED OF


ABSOLUTE SALE IN FAVOR OF PLAINTIFF OVER HIS ONE-HALF UNDIVIDED SHARE IN
THE SUBJECT PROPERTY AND TO COMPLY WITH ALL THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
REGISTERING SUCH DEED.

08. ORDERING DEFENDANT ELVIRA ROBLES-GOZON TO SIT WITH PLAINTIFF TO AGREE


ON THE SELLING PRICE OF HER UNDIVIDED ONE-HALF SHARE IN THE SUBJECT
PROPERTY, THEREAFTER, TO EXECUTE AND DELIVER A DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE
OVER THE SAME IN FAVOR OF THE PLAINTIFF AND TO COMPLY WITH ALL THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR REGISTERING SUCH DEED, WITHIN FIFTEEN (15) DAYS FROM THE
RECEIPT OF THIS DECISION.

09. THEREAFTER, PLAINTIFF IS HEREBY ORDERED TO PAY DEFENDANT ALFREDO


GOZON THE BALANCE OF FOUR MILLION PESOS (P4,000,000.00) IN HIS ONE-HALF
UNDIVIDED SHARE IN THE PROPERTY TO BE SET OFF BY THE AWARD OF DAMAGES IN
PLAINTIFFS FAVOR.

10. PLAINTIFF IS HEREBY ORDERED TO PAY THE DEFENDANT ELVIRA ROBLES-GOZON


THE PRICE THEY HAD AGREED UPON FOR THE SALE OF HER ONE-HALF UNDIVIDED
SHARE IN THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.

11. DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON, WINIFRED GOZON AND GIL TABIJE ARE HEREBY
ORDERED TO PAY THE PLAINTIFF, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, THE FOLLOWING:
11.1 TWO MILLION PESOS (P2,000,000.00) AS ACTUAL AND COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES;
11.2 ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00) AS MORAL DAMAGES;
11.3

FIVE

HUNDRED

THOUSAND

PESOS

(P500,000.00)

AS

EXEMPLARY

DAMAGES;
11.4 FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P400,000.00) AS ATTORNEYS FEES;
AND

11.5

ONE

HUNDRED

THOUSAND

PESOS

(P100,000.00)

AS

LITIGATION

EXPENSES.
11.6 THE ABOVE AWARDS ARE SUBJECT TO SET OFF OF PLAINTIFFS
OBLIGATION IN PARAGRAPH 9 HEREOF.

12. DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON AND WINIFRED GOZON ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO
PAY INTER-DIMENSIONAL REALTY, INC. JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY THE FOLLOWING:
12.1 EIGHTEEN MILLION PESOS (P18,000,000.00) WHICH CONSTITUTE THE
AMOUNT THE FORMER RECEIVED FROM THE LATTER PURSUANT TO THEIR DEED
OF ABSOLUTE SALE DATED 26 OCTOBER 1994, WITH LEGAL INTEREST
THEREFROM;
12.2 ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00) AS MORAL DAMAGES;
12.3

FIVE

HUNDRED

THOUSAND

PESOS

(P500,000.00)

AS

EXEMPLARY

DAMAGES; AND
12.4 ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100,000.00) AS ATTORNEYS FEES.

13. DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON AND WINIFRED GOZON ARE HEREBY ORDERED
TO PAY COSTS OF SUIT.

SO ORDERED.[14]

ON APPEAL, THE COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMED THE MALABON RTCS DECISION WITH
MODIFICATION. THE DISPOSITIVE PORTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS DECISION DATED 7
JULY 2005 READS:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, THE ASSAILED DECISION DATED APRIL 3,


2001 OF THE RTC, BRANCH 74, MALABON IS HEREBY AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS, AS
FOLLOWS:

1. THE SALE OF THE SUBJECT LAND BY DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON TO PLAINTIFFAPPELLANT SIOCHI IS DECLARED NULL AND VOID FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

A) THE CONVEYANCE WAS DONE WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF DEFENDANT-APPELLEE


ELVIRA GOZON;
B) DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZONS ONE-HALF () UNDIVIDED SHARE HAS BEEN
FORFEITED IN FAVOR OF HIS DAUGHTER, DEFENDANT WINIFRED GOZON, BY VIRTUE
OF THE DECISION IN THE LEGAL SEPARATION CASE RENDERED BY THE RTC, BRANCH
16, CAVITE;

2. DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON SHALL RETURN/DELIVER TO PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT SIOCHI


THE AMOUNT OF P5 MILLION WHICH THE LATTER PAID AS EARNEST MONEY IN
CONSIDERATION FOR THE SALE OF THE SUBJECT LAND;

3. DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON, WINIFRED GOZON AND GIL TABIJE ARE HEREBY
ORDERED TO PAY PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT SIOCHI JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, THE FOLLOWING:
A) P100,000.00 AS MORAL DAMAGES;
B) P100,000.00 AS EXEMPLARY DAMAGES;
C) P50,000.00 AS ATTORNEYS FEES;
D) P20,000.00 AS LITIGATION EXPENSES; AND
E) THE AWARDS OF ACTUAL AND COMPENSATORY DAMAGES ARE HEREBY ORDERED
DELETED FOR LACK OF BASIS.

4. DEFENDANTS ALFREDO GOZON AND WINIFRED GOZON ARE HEREBY ORDERED TO PAY
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT IDRI JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY THE FOLLOWING:
A) P100,000.00 AS MORAL DAMAGES;
B) P100,000.00 AS EXEMPLARY DAMAGES; AND
C) P50,000.00 AS ATTORNEYS FEES.

`DEFENDANT WINIFRED GOZON, WHOM THE UNDIVIDED ONE-HALF SHARE OF


DEFENDANT ALFREDO GOZON WAS AWARDED, IS HEREBY GIVEN THE OPTION WHETHER OR
NOT TO DISPOSE OF HER UNDIVIDED SHARE IN THE SUBJECT LAND.

THE REST OF THE DECISION NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THIS RULING STANDS.

SO ORDERED.

Only Mario and IDRI appealed the decision of the Court of Appeals. In his petition,
Mario alleges that the Agreement should be treated as a continuing offer which may be
perfected by the acceptance of the other spouse before the offer is withdrawn. Since
Elviras conduct signified her acquiescence to the sale, Mario prays for the Court to direct
Alfredo and Elvira to execute a Deed of Absolute Sale over the property upon his payment
of P9 million to Elvira.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IDRI ALLEGES THAT IT IS A BUYER IN GOOD FAITH AND FOR
VALUE. THUS, IDRI PRAYS THAT THE COURT SHOULD UPHOLD THE VALIDITY OF IDRIS TCT
NO. M-10976 OVER THE PROPERTY.

WE FIND THE PETITIONS WITHOUT MERIT.

THIS CASE INVOLVES THE CONJUGAL PROPERTY OF ALFREDO AND ELVIRA. SINCE THE
DISPOSITION OF THE PROPERTY OCCURRED AFTER THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE FAMILY CODE,
THE APPLICABLE LAW IS THE FAMILY CODE. ARTICLE 124 OF THE FAMILY CODE PROVIDES:

Art. 124. The administration and enjoyment of the conjugal partnership property
shall belong to both spouses jointly. In case of disagreement, the husbands decision shall
prevail, subject to the recourse to the court by the wife for a proper remedy, which must be
availed of within five years from the date of the contract implementing such decision.

IN THE EVENT THAT ONE SPOUSE IS INCAPACITATED OR OTHERWISE UNABLE TO


PARTICIPATE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CONJUGAL PROPERTIES, THE OTHER SPOUSE
MAY ASSUME SOLE POWERS OF ADMINISTRATION. THESE POWERS DO NOT INCLUDE THE
POWERS OF DISPOSITION OR ENCUMBRANCE WHICH MUST HAVE THE AUTHORITY OF THE
COURT OR THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE OTHER SPOUSE. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH
AUTHORITY OR CONSENT, THE DISPOSITION OR ENCUMBRANCE SHALL BE VOID. HOWEVER,
THE TRANSACTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED AS A CONTINUING OFFER ON THE PART OF THE
CONSENTING SPOUSE AND THE THIRD PERSON, AND MAY BE PERFECTED AS A BINDING
CONTRACT UPON THE ACCEPTANCE BY THE OTHER SPOUSE OR AUTHORIZATION BY THE
COURT BEFORE THE OFFER IS WITHDRAWN BY EITHER OR BOTH OFFERORS. (EMPHASIS
SUPPLIED)

In this case, Alfredo was the sole administrator of the property because Elvira, with
whom Alfredo was separated in fact, was unable to participate in the administration of the
conjugal property. However, as sole administrator of the property, Alfredo still cannot sell
the property without the written consent of Elvira or the authority of the court. Without
such consent or authority, the sale is void.[16] The absence of the consent of one of the
spouse renders the entire sale void, including the portion of the conjugal property
pertaining to the spouse who contracted the sale.[17] Even if the other spouse actively
participated in negotiating for the sale of the property, that other spouses written consent
to the sale is still required by law for its validity.[18] The Agreement entered into by Alfredo
and Mario was without the written consent of Elvira. Thus, the Agreement is entirely void.
As regards Marios contention that the Agreement is a continuing offer which may be
perfected by Elviras acceptance before the offer is withdrawn, the fact that the property
was subsequently donated by Alfredo to Winifred and then sold to IDRI clearly indicates
that the offer was already withdrawn.

However, we disagree with the finding of the Court of Appeals that the one-half
undivided share of Alfredo in the property was already forfeited in favor of his daughter
Winifred, based on the ruling of the Cavite RTC in the legal separation case. The Court of
Appeals misconstrued the ruling of the Cavite RTC that Alfredo, being the offending spouse,
is deprived of his share in the net profits and the same is awarded to Winifred.

THE CAVITE RTC RULING FINDS SUPPORT IN THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS OF THE
FAMILY CODE:

ART. 63. THE DECREE OF LEGAL SEPARATION SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING
EFFECTS:
(1) THE SPOUSES SHALL BE ENTITLED TO LIVE SEPARATELY FROM EACH OTHER,
BUT THE MARRIAGE BONDS SHALL NOT BE SEVERED;
(2) THE ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY OR THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP SHALL BE
DISSOLVED AND LIQUIDATED BUT THE OFFENDING SPOUSE SHALL HAVE NO
RIGHT TO ANY SHARE OF THE NET PROFITS EARNED BY THE ABSOLUTE
COMMUNITY OR THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP, WHICH SHALL BE FORFEITED IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 43(2);

(3) THE CUSTODY OF THE MINOR CHILDREN SHALL BE AWARDED TO THE


INNOCENT SPOUSE, SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE 213 OF THIS
CODE; AND

THE OFFENDING SPOUSE SHALL BE DISQUALIFIED FROM INHERITING FROM THE INNOCENT
SPOUSE

BY

INTESTATE

SUCCESSION. MOREOVER, PROVISIONS

IN FAVOR

OF

THE

OFFENDING SPOUSE MADE IN THE WILL OF THE INNOCENT SPOUSE SHALL BE REVOKED BY
OPERATION OF LAW.

Art. 43. The termination of the subsequent marriage referred to in the preceding
Article shall produce the following effects:
XXX
(2) THE ABSOLUTE COMMUNITY OF PROPERTY OR THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP,
AS THE CASE MAY BE, SHALL BE DISSOLVED AND LIQUIDATED, BUT IF EITHER
SPOUSE CONTRACTED SAID MARRIAGE IN BAD FAITH, HIS OR HER SHARE OF
THE NET PROFITS OF THE COMMUNITY PROPERTY OR CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP
PROPERTY SHALL BE FORFEITED IN FAVOR OF THE COMMON CHILDREN OR, IF
THERE ARE NONE, THE CHILDREN OF THE GUILTY SPOUSE BY A PREVIOUS
MARRIAGE OR, IN DEFAULT OF CHILDREN, THE INNOCENT SPOUSE; (EMPHASIS
SUPPLIED)

Thus, among the effects of the decree of legal separation is that the conjugal
partnership is dissolved and liquidated and the offending spouse would have no right to any
share of the net profits earned by the conjugal partnership. It is only Alfredos share in the
net profits which is forfeited in favor of Winifred. Article 102(4) of the Family Code provides
that [f]or purposes of computing the net profits subject to forfeiture in accordance with
Article 43, No. (2) and 63, No. (2), the said profits shall be the increase in value between
the market value of the community property at the time of the celebration of the marriage
and the market value at the time of its dissolution. Clearly, what is forfeited in favor of
Winifred is not Alfredos share in the conjugal partnership property but merely in the net
profits of the conjugal partnership property.

WITH REGARD TO IDRI, WE AGREE WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS IN HOLDING THAT
IDRI IS NOT A BUYER IN GOOD FAITH. AS FOUND BY THE RTC MALABON AND THE COURT OF

APPEALS, IDRI HAD ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE OF FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH SHOULD
IMPEL A REASONABLY CAUTIOUS PERSON TO MAKE FURTHER INQUIRIES ABOUT THE
VENDORS TITLE TO THE PROPERTY. THE REPRESENTATIVE OF IDRI TESTIFIED THAT HE
KNEW ABOUT THE EXISTENCE OF THE NOTICE OF LIS PENDENS ON TCT

NO. 5357 AND

THE LEGAL SEPARATION CASE FILED BEFORE THE CAVITE RTC. THUS, IDRI COULD NOT
FEIGN IGNORANCE OF THE CAVITE RTC DECISION DECLARING THE PROPERTY AS CONJUGAL.

Furthermore, if IDRI made further inquiries, it would have known that the cancellation
of the notice of lis pendens was highly irregular. Under Section 77 of Presidential Decree
No. 1529,[19] the notice of lis pendens may be cancelled (a) upon order of the court, or (b)
by the Register of Deeds upon verified petition of the party who caused the registration of
the lis pendens. In this case, the lis pendens was cancelled by the Register of Deeds upon
the request of Alfredo. There was no court order for the cancellation of the lis pendens.
Neither did Elvira, the party who caused the registration of the lis pendens, file a verified
petition for its cancellation.

Besides, had IDRI been more prudent before buying the property, it would have
discovered that Alfredos donation of the property to Winifred was without the consent of
Elvira. Under Article 125[20] of the Family Code, a conjugal property cannot be donated by
one spouse without the consent of the other spouse. Clearly, IDRI was not a buyer in good
faith.

Nevertheless, we find it proper to reinstate the order of the Malabon RTC for the
reimbursement of the P18 million paid by IDRI for the property, which was inadvertently
omitted in the dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals decision.

WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitions. We AFFIRM the 7 July 2005 Decision of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 74447 with the following MODIFICATIONS:

(1) We DELETE the portions regarding the forfeiture of Alfredo Gozons one-half
undivided share in favor of Winifred Gozon and the grant of option to Winifred Gozon
whether or not to dispose of her undivided share in the property; and

(2) We ORDER Alfredo Gozon and Winifred Gozon to pay Inter-Dimensional


Realty, Inc. jointly and severally the Eighteen Million Pesos (P18,000,000) which was
the amount paid by Inter-Dimensional Realty, Inc. for the property, with legal interest
computed from the finality of this Decision.

SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 119190

CHI

MING TSOI,

January 16, 1997

petitioner,

vs.

COURT OF APPEALS and GINA LAO-TSOI,

respondents.

TORRES, JR., J.:

Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over
troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been
placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things.

Who is to blame when a marriage fails?

This case was originally commenced by a distraught wife against her uncaring husband in
the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City (Branch 89) which decreed the annulment of the
marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity. Petitioner appealed the decision of the
trial court to respondent Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. CV No. 42758) which affirmed the Trial
Court's decision November 29, 1994 and correspondingly denied the motion for
reconsideration in a resolution dated February 14, 1995.

The statement of the case and of the facts made by the trial court and reproduced by the
Court of Appeals 1 its decision are as follows:

From the evidence adduced, the following acts were preponderantly established:

Sometime on May 22, 1988, the plaintiff married the defendant at the Manila Cathedral, . . .
Intramuros Manila, as evidenced by their Marriage Contract. (Exh. "A")

After the celebration of their marriage and wedding reception at the South Villa, Makati,
they went and proceeded to the house of defendant's mother.

There, they slept together on the same bed in the same room for the first night of their
married life.

It is the version of the plaintiff, that contrary to her expectations, that as newlyweds they
were supposed to enjoy making love, or having sexual intercourse, with each other, the
defendant just went to bed, slept on one side thereof, then turned his back and went to
sleep . There was no sexual intercourse between them during the first night. The same
thing happened on the second, third and fourth nights.

In an effort to have their honeymoon in a private place where they can enjoy together
during their first week as husband and wife, they went to Baguio City. But, they did so
together with her mother, an uncle, his mother and his nephew. They were all invited by
the defendant to join them. [T]hey stayed in Baguio City for four (4) days. But, during this
period, there was no sexual intercourse between them, since the defendant avoided her by

taking a long walk during siesta time or by just sleeping on a rocking chair located at the
living room. They slept together in the same room and on the same bed since May 22, 1988
until March 15, 1989. But during this period, there was no attempt of sexual intercourse
between them. [S]he claims, that she did not: even see her husband's private parts nor did
he see hers.

Because of this, they submitted themselves for medical examinations to Dr. Eufemio
Macalalag, a urologist at the Chinese General Hospital, on January 20, 1989.

The results of their physical examinations were that she is healthy, normal and still a virgin,
while that of her husband's examination was kept confidential up to this time. While no
medicine was prescribed for her, the doctor prescribed medications for her husband which
was also kept confidential. No treatment was given to her. For her husband, he was asked
by the doctor to return but he never did.

The plaintiff claims, that the defendant is impotent, a closet homosexual as he did not show
his penis. She said, that she had observed the defendant using an eyebrow pencil and
sometimes the cleansing cream of his mother. And that, according to her, the defendant
married her, a Filipino citizen, to acquire or maintain his residency status here in the
country and to publicly maintain the appearance of a normal man.

The plaintiff is not willing to reconcile with her husband.

On the other hand, it is the claim of the defendant that if their marriage shall be annulled
by reason of psychological incapacity, the fault lies with his wife.

But, he said that he does not want his marriage with his wife annulled for several reasons,
viz: (1) that he loves her very much; (2) that he has no defect on his part and he is
physically and psychologically capable; and, (3) since the relationship is still very young
and if there is any differences between the two of them, it can still be reconciled and that,
according to him, if either one of them has some incapabilities, there is no certainty that
this will not be cured. He further claims, that if there is any defect, it can be cured by the
intervention of medical technology or science.

The defendant admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation
on March 15, 1989, there was no sexual contact between them. But, the reason for this,
according to the defendant, was that everytime he wants to have sexual intercourse with
his wife, she always avoided him and whenever he caresses her private parts, she always
removed his hands. The defendant claims, that he forced his wife to have sex with him only
once but he did not continue because she was shaking and she did not like it. So he
stopped.

There are two (2) reasons, according to the defendant , why the plaintiff filed this case
against him, and these are: (1) that she is afraid that she will be forced to return the pieces
of jewelry of his mother, and, (2) that her husband, the defendant, will consummate their
marriage.

The defendant insisted that their marriage will remain valid because they are still very
young and there is still a chance to overcome their differences.

The defendant submitted himself to a physical examination. His penis was examined by Dr.
Sergio Alteza, Jr., for the purpose of finding out whether he is impotent . As a result thereof,
Dr. Alteza submitted his Doctor's Medical Report. (Exh. "2"). It is stated there, that there is
no evidence of impotency (Exh. "2-B"), and he is capable of erection. (Exh. "2-C")

The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he
has an erection and he found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5)
centimeters, the penis of the defendant lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr.
Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its
full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft erection, the
defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman.

In open Court, the Trial Prosecutor manifested that there is no collusion between the parties
and that the evidence is not fabricated."

After trial, the court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:

ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered declaring as VOID the marriage entered into
by the plaintiff with the defendant on May 22, 1988 at the Manila Cathedral, Basilica of the
Immaculate Conception, Intramuros, Manila, before the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Melencio de Vera.
Without costs. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Quezon
City. Let another copy be furnished the Local Civil Registrar of Manila.

SO ORDERED.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's decision.

Hence, the instant petition.

Petitioner alleges that the respondent Court of Appeals erred:

in affirming the conclusions of the lower court that there was no sexual intercourse
between the parties without making any findings of fact.

II

in holding that the refusal of private respondent to have sexual communion with petitioner
is a psychological incapacity inasmuch as proof thereof is totally absent.

III

in holding that the alleged refusal of both the petitioner and the private respondent to have
sex with each other constitutes psychological incapacity of both.

IV

in affirming the annulment of the marriage between the parties decreed by the lower court
without fully satisfying itself that there was no collusion between them.

We find the petition to be bereft of merit.

Petitioner contends that being the plaintiff in Civil Case No. Q-89-3141, private respondent
has the burden of proving the allegations in her complaint; that since there was no
independent evidence to prove the alleged non-coitus between the parties, there remains
no other basis for the court's conclusion except the admission of petitioner; that public
policy should aid acts intended to validate marriage and should retard acts intended to
invalidate them; that the conclusion drawn by the trial court on the admissions and
confessions of the parties in their pleadings and in the course of the trial is misplaced since
it could have been a product of collusion; and that in actions for annulment of marriage, the
material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved. 3

Section 1, Rule 19 of the Rules of Court reads:

Section 1.

Judgment on the pleadings. Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or

otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party's pleading, the court may,
on motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. But in actions for annulment of
marriage or for legal separation the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be
proved.

The foregoing provision pertains to a judgment on the pleadings. What said provision seeks
to prevent is annulment of marriage without trial. The assailed decision was not based on
such a judgment on the pleadings. When private respondent testified under oath before the
trial court and was cross-examined by oath before the trial court and was cross-examined
by the adverse party, she thereby presented evidence in form of a testimony. After such
evidence was presented, it be came incumbent upon petitioner to present his side. He
admitted that since their marriage on May 22, 1988, until their separation on March 15,
1989, there was no sexual intercourse between them.

To prevent collusion between the parties is the reason why, as stated by the petitioner, the
Civil Code provides that no judgment annulling a marriage shall be promulgated upon a
stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment (Arts. 88 and 101[par. 2]) and the Rules of
Court prohibit such annulment without trial (Sec. 1, Rule 19).

The case has reached this Court because petitioner does not want their marriage to be
annulled. This only shows that there is no collusion between the parties. When petitioner
admitted that he and his wife (private respondent) have never had sexual contact with
each other, he must have been only telling the truth. We are reproducing the relevant
portion of the challenged resolution denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration,
penned with magisterial lucidity by Associate Justice Minerva Gonzaga-Reyes, viz:

The judgment of the trial court which was affirmed by this Court is not based on a
stipulation of facts. The issue of whether or not the appellant is psychologically
incapacitated to discharge a basic marital obligation was resolved upon a review of both
the documentary and testimonial evidence on record. Appellant admitted that he did not
have sexual relations with his wife after almost ten months of cohabitation, and it appears
that he is not suffering from any physical disability. Such abnormal reluctance or
unwillingness to consummate his marriage is strongly indicative of a serious personality
disorder which to the mind of this Court clearly demonstrates an 'utter insensitivity or
inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage' within the meaning of Article 36
of the Family Code (See Santos vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 112019, January 4, 1995). 4

Petitioner further contends that respondent court erred in holding that the alleged refusal of
both the petitioner and the private respondent to have sex with each other constitutes
psychological incapacity of both. He points out as error the failure of the trial court to make
"a categorical finding about the alleged psychological incapacity and an in-depth analysis
of the reasons for such refusal which may not be necessarily due to physchological
disorders" because there might have been other reasons, i.e., physical disorders, such as
aches, pains or other discomforts, why private respondent would not want to have sexual
intercourse from May 22, 1988 to March 15, 1989, in a short span of 10 months.

First, it must be stated that neither the trial court nor the respondent court made a finding
on who between petitioner and private respondent refuses to have sexual contact with the
other. The fact remains, however, that there has never been coitus between them. At any
rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even
the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other
becomes immaterial.

Petitioner claims that there is no independent evidence on record to show that any of the
parties is suffering from phychological incapacity. Petitioner also claims that he wanted to
have sex with private respondent; that the reason for private respondent's refusal may not
be psychological but physical disorder as stated above.

We do not agree. Assuming it to be so, petitioner could have discussed with private
respondent or asked her what is ailing her, and why she balks and avoids him everytime he
wanted to have sexual intercourse with her. He never did. At least, there is nothing in the
record to show that he had tried to find out or discover what the problem with his wife
could be. What he presented in evidence is his doctor's Medical Report that there is no
evidence of his impotency and he is capable of erection. 5 Since it is petitioner's claim that
the reason is not psychological but perhaps physical disorder on the part of private
respondent, it became incumbent upon him to prove such a claim.

If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential
marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals
attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and
protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a
spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of
psychological incapacity. 6

Evidently, one of the essential marital obligations under the Family Code is "To procreate
children based on the universal principle that procreation of children through sexual
cooperation is the basic end of marriage." Constant non- fulfillment of this obligation will
finally destroy the integrity or wholeness of the marriage. In the case at bar, the senseless
and protracted refusal of one of the parties to fulfill the above marital obligation is
equivalent to psychological incapacity.

As aptly stated by the respondent court,

An examination of the evidence convinces Us that the husband's plea that the wife did not
want carnal intercourse with him does not inspire belief. Since he was not physically
impotent, but he refrained from sexual intercourse during the entire time (from May 22,

1988 to March 15, 1989) that he occupied the same bed with his wife, purely out of
symphaty for her feelings, he deserves to be doubted for not having asserted his right
seven though she balked (Tompkins vs. Tompkins, 111 Atl. 599, cited in I Paras, Civil Code,
at p. 330). Besides, if it were true that it is the wife was suffering from incapacity, the fact
that defendant did not go to court and seek the declaration of nullity weakens his claim.
This case was instituted by the wife whose normal expectations of her marriage were
frustrated by her husband's inadequacy. Considering the innate modesty of the Filipino
woman, it is hard to believe that she would expose her private life to public scrutiny and
fabricate testimony against her husband if it were not necessary to put her life in order and
put to rest her marital status.

We are not impressed by defendant's claim that what the evidence proved is the
unwillingness or lack of intention to perform the sexual act, which is not phychological
incapacity, and which can be achieved "through proper motivation." After almost ten
months of cohabitation, the admission that the husband is reluctant or unwilling to perform
the sexual act with his wife whom he professes to love very dearly, and who has not posed
any insurmountable resistance to his alleged approaches, is indicative of a hopeless
situation, and of a serious personality disorder that constitutes psychological incapacity to
discharge the basic marital covenants within the contemplation of the Family Code. 7

While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe
mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the
"spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or
court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared
with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say
"I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The
egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings
spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the
mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the
continuation of family relations.

It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent.
That is a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only
by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital

union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is


needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is
definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love
amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise,
conscious of its value as a sublime social institution.

This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found
themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations,
can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING PREMISES , the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals dated
November 29, 1994 is hereby AFFIRMED in all respects and the petition is hereby DENIED
for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.