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FAMILY CODE CIVIL LAW

Gerbert R. Corpuz v. Daisylyn Tirol Sto. Tomas and the Solicitor General G.R. No. 186571, 11 August 2010, THIRD DIVISION, (Brion, J.) The unavailability of the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code to aliens does not necessarily strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the RTC for the recognition of his foreign divorce decree. The foreign divorce decree itself, after its authenticity and conformity with the alien's national law have been duly proven according to our rules of evidence, serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert, pursuant to Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign judgments. This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking a direct appeal from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City. Petitioner Gerbert R. Corpuz is a naturalized Canadian citizen who married respondent Daisylyn Tirol Sto. Tomas but subsequently left for Canada due to work and other professional commitments. When he returned to the Philippines, he discovered that Sto. Tomas was already romantically involved with another man. This brought about the filing of a petition for divorce by Corpuz in Canada which was eventually granted by the Court Justice of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. A month later, the divorce decree took effect. Two years later, Corpuz has fallen in love with another Filipina and wished to marry her. He went to Civil Registry Office of Pasig City to register the Canadian divorce decree on his marriage certificate with Sto. Tomas. However, despite the registration, an official of National Statistics Office informed Corpuz that the former marriage still subsists under the Philippine law until there has been a judicial recognition of the Canadian divorce decree by a competent judicial court in view of NSO Circular No. 4, series of 1982. Consequently, he filed a petition for judicial recognition of foreign divorce and/or declaration of dissolution of marriage with the RTC. However, the RTC denied the petition reasoning out that Corpuz cannot institute the action for judicial recognition of the foreign divorce decree because he is a naturalized Canadian citizen. It was provided further that Sto. Tomas was the proper party who can institute an action under the principle of Article 26 of the Family Code which capacitates a Filipino citizen to remarry in case the alien spouse obtains a foreign divorce decree. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code grants aliens like Corpuz the right to institute a petition for judicial recognition of a foreign divorce decree. HELD: Petition GRANTED. RTC Decision REVERSED. The Supreme Court qualifies the above conclusion - i.e., that the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code bestows no rights in favor of aliens with the complementary statement that this conclusion is not sufficient basis to dismiss Gerbert's petition before the RTC. In other words, the unavailability of

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the second paragraph of Article 26 of the Family Code to aliens does not

necessarily strip Gerbert of legal interest to petition the RTC for the recognition of his foreign divorce decree. The foreign divorce decree itself, after its authenticity and conformity with the alien's national law have been duly proven according to our rules of evidence, serves as a presumptive evidence of right in favor of Gerbert, pursuant to Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court which provides for the effect of foreign judgments. A remand, at the same time, will allow other interested parties to oppose the foreign judgment and overcome a petitioner's presumptive evidence of a right by proving want of jurisdiction, want of notice to a party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Needless to state, every precaution must be taken to ensure conformity with our laws before a recognition is made, as the foreign judgment, once recognized, shall have the effect of res judicata between the parties, as provided in Section 48, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Rosalino L. Marable v. Myrna F. Marable G.R. No. 178741, 17 January 2011, THIRD DIVISION, (Villarama, Jr., J.) It is indispensable that the evidence must show a link, medical or the like, between the acts that manifest psychological incapacity and the psychological disorder itself. Rosalino L. Marable and Myrna F. Marable were sweethearts since they were still students at Arellano University. Later on in their relationship, they eloped from their homes and married through civil rites before the mayor of Tanay, Rizal. Within the same month after the civil wedding, a church wedding was celebrated. They had five children. However, after years of being together, they started to fight verbally and even physically more frequently. This was aggravated when they encountered problems with their daughter who was transferred from one school to another because of misbehavior and then later on became pregnant untimely. Rosalinos way of of spoiling their childre n also was a cause of quarrels between him and his spouse, Myrna. Rosalino, who is beginning to get worn out by their unhealthy relationship, had an affair with another woman. When Myrna discovered it, Rosalino immediately ended the relationship with his mistress. The quarrels between them unfortunately worsened and this led to Rosalinos departure from their home, leaving his wife and children. After some time, he converted to Islam after going out with many women. Rosalino decided to legally end his marriage with Myrna so he filed a petition for absolute nullity of marriage on the ground of his psychological incapacity to perform the essential obligations of marriage. He went to a clinical psychologist to be examined for the purpose of presenting evidence in court. Dr. Tayag, the clinical psychologist who examined him, concluded that Rosalino is suffering from Anti-Social Personality Disorder which manifests a pervasive

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pattern of social deviancy, rebelliousness, impulsivity, self-centeredness, deceitfulness, and lack of remorse. It was said to be rooted from Rosalinos childhood hardships due to a dysfunctional family, deep feelings of rejection, and constant need for attention. Because of this finding, Dr. Tayag concluded that Rosalino was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. The Regional Trial Court of Antipolo rendered judgment annulling the

marriage of the Marable spouses. However, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the RTC upon granting the appeal of the Office of the Solicitor General which declared the marriage as still valid and subsisting. The Court of Appeals held that the evidence submitted was insufficient to prove psychological incapacity. Hence, this appeal. ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the decision of the RTC which granted the annulment of marriage of the Marable spouses based on the evidence of Rosalinos psychological incapacity. HELD: Appeal DENIED for lack of merit. CA Decision AFFIRMED. In cases of annulment of marriage based on Article 36 of the Family Code, as amended, the psychological illness and its root cause must be proven to exist from the inception of the marriage. Here, the appellate court correctly ruled that the report of Dr. Tayag failed to explain the root cause of Rosalinos alleged psychological incapacity. The evaluation of Dr. Tayag merely made a general conclusion that petitioner is suffering from an Anti-social Personality Disorder but there was no factual basis stated for the finding that Rosalino is a socially deviant person, rebellious, impulsive, self-centered and deceitful. For sure, the spouses frequent marital squabbles and differences in handling finances and managing their business affairs, as well as their conflicts on how to raise their children, are not manifestations of psychological incapacity which may be a ground for declaring their marriage void. Rosalino even admitted that despite their financial difficulties, they had happy moments together. Also, the records would show that the Rosalino acted responsibly during their marriage and in fact worked hard to provide for the needs of his family, most especially his children. Their personal differences do not reflect a personality disorder tantamount to psychological incapacity. Rosalino tried to make it appear that his family history of having a womanizer for a father, was one of the reasons why he engaged in extra-marital affairs during his marriage. However, it appears more likely that he became unfaithful as a result of a general dissatisfaction with his marriage rather than a psychological disorder rooted in his personal history. His tendency to womanize, assuming he had such tendency, was not shown to be due to causes of a psychological nature that is grave, permanent and incurable. In fact, the records

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show that when respondent learned of his affair, he immediately terminated it. In short, Rosalinos marital infidelity does not appear to be symptomatic of a grav e psychological disorder which rendered him incapable of performing his spousal obligations. It has been held in various cases that sexual infidelity, by itself, is not sufficient proof that petitioner is suffering from psychological incapacity. It must be shown that the acts of unfaithfulness are manifestations of a disordered personality which make Rosalino completely unable to discharge the essential obligations of marriage. That not being the case with Rosalino, his claim of psychological incapacity must fail. It bears stressing that psychological incapacity must be more than just a difficulty, refusal or neglect in the performance of some marital obligations. Rather, it is essential that the concerned party was incapable of doing so, due to some psychological illness

existing at the time of the celebration of the marriage. In Santos v. Court of Appeals. the intention of the law is to confine the meaning of psychological incapacity to the most serious cases of personality disorders clearly demonstrative of an utter insensitivity or inability to give meaning and significance to the marriage. Alain M. Dio v. Caridad L. Dio G.R. No. 178044, January 19, 2011, SECOND DIVISION, (Carpio, J.) In this case, Alains marriage to Caridad was declared void under Article 36 of the Family Code and not under Article 40 or 45. Thus, what governs the liquidation of properties owned in common by petitioner and respondent are the rules on co-ownership. Petitioner Alain M. Dio and respondent Caridad L. Dio have been childhood friends and sweethearts. They lived together for ten years then separated. After two years, they reunited and later on decided to get married. However, Alain filed an action for Declaration of Nullity of marriage based on the psychological incapacity (Article 36 of the Family Code) of Caridad. He alleged that Caridad failed to give him love and support throughout their marriage and was irresponsible, unfaithful, and prodigal. He also alleged that Caridad tends to be violent toward him. Extrajudicial service of summons was sent to Caridad who was living in the United Stated at that time. She did file any answer within the reglementary period. It was also learned that she already filed a divorce in the United States, which was granted by the Superior Court of California, and is now married to another man. The prosecutor of Las Pias declared that there was no collusion between the two parties. Furthermore, a psychological report was submitted by Dr. Tayag, a clinical psychologist, stating that Caridad was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder which rooted from her early formative years and which was founded to be long-lasting and incurable. The Regional Trial Court of Las Pias granted Alains petition. However, the dispositive portion requires that a decree of

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absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued upon compliance with Article[s] 50 and 51 of the Family Code. Alain filed a petition questioning that requirement. The RTC partially granted the petition with modifications stating that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall be issued after liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court erred when it ordered that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall only be issued after liquidation, partition, and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. HELD: RTC Decision AFFIRMED with MODIFICATIONS. For Article 147 of the Family Code to apply, the following elements must be present: 1. The man and the woman must be capacitated to marry each other; 2. They live exclusively with each other as husband and wife; and 3. Their union is without the benefit of marriage, or their marriage is void. 9 All these elements are present in this case and there is no question that

Article 147 of the Family Code applies to the property relations between Alian and Caridad. The Court agrees with Alain that the trial court erred in ordering that a decree of absolute nullity of marriage shall be issued only after liquidation, partition and distribution of the parties properties under Article 147 of the Family Code. The ruling has no basis because Section 19(1) of the Rule does not apply to cases governed under Articles 147 and 148 of the Family Code. Section 19(1) of the Rule provides: Sec. 19. Decision. - (1) If the court renders a decision granting the petition, it shall declare therein that the decree of absolute nullity or decree of annulment shall be issued by the court only after compliance with Articles 50 and 51 of the Family Code as implemented under the Rule on Liquidation, Partition and Distribution of Properties. It is clear from Article 50 of the Family Code that Section 19(1) of the Rule applies only to marriages which are declared void ab initio or annulled by final judgment under Articles 40 and 45 of the Family Code. In short, Article 50 of the Family Code does not apply to marriages which are declared void ab initio under Article 36 of the Family Code, which should be declared void without waiting for the liquidation of the properties of the parties. Article 40 of the Family Code contemplates a situation where a second or bigamous marriage was contracted. Under Article 40, [t]he absolute nullity of a

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previous marriage may be invoked for purposes of remarriage on the basis solely of a final judgment declaring such previous marriage void. Article 45 of the Family Code, on the other hand, refers to voidable marriages, meaning, marriages which are valid until they are set aside by final judgment of a competent court in an action for annulment. In both instances under Articles 40 and 45, the marriages are governed either by absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains unless the parties agree to a complete separation of property in a marriage settlement entered into before the marriage. Since the property relations of the parties is governed by absolute community of property or conjugal partnership of gains, there is a need to liquidate, partition and distribute the properties before a decree of annulment could be issued. That is not the case for annulment of marriage under Article 36 of the Family Code because the marriage is governed by the ordinary rules on co-ownership. Juanita Trinidad Ramos, et al. v. Danilo Pangilinan et al. G.R. No. 185920, 20 July 2010, THIRD DIVISION, (Carpio-Morales, J.) There being absolutely no proof that the Pandacan property was judicially or extrajudicially constituted as the Ramos family home, the laws protective mantle cannot be availed of by Ramos, et. al. Respondents Danilo Pangilinan, et. al. filed a complaint of illegal dismissal before the Labor Arbiter against E.M. Ramos Electric, Inc. which was owned by Ernesto M. Ramos (Ramos). The Labor Arbiter decided the case in favor of Pangilinan, et. al. and ordered Ramos to pay the latter their backwages, separation pay, 13th month pay, and service incentive pay. Ramos property in Pandacan, Manila was ordered to be levied. However, it was alleged by Ramos that the Pandacan property is a family home and therefore exempted from

execution to satisfy the judgment award. Pangilinan, et. al. countered that such property is not a family home because it bears the address of the company and, supposing it is a family home, only P300,000 is exempt from execution. During Ramos appeal to the Court of Appeals, he passed away and he was thereafter substituted by Juanita Trinidad Ramos, et. al., the herein petitioners. The Court of Appeals held that the Pandacan property was not exempted from execution notwithstanding Article 153 of the Family Code which provides that the family home is deemed constituted on a house and lot from the time it is occupied as a family residence. The article, however, has no retroactive effect. Moreover, it was also held that the applicable laws were Articles 224 to 251 of the Civil Code which require that it is necessary to either judicially or extrajudicially constitute the Pandacan property as their family home prior to its exemption. Ramos, et. al. unfortunately failed to comply with

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the requirement resulting to the denial of the motion to quash the writ of execution. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in holding the levy upon the Pandacan property. HELD: Petition DENIED. For the family home to be exempt from execution, distinction must be made as to what law applies based on when it was constituted and what requirements must be complied with by the judgment debtor or his successors claiming such privilege. Hence, two sets of rules are applicable. If the family home was constructed before the effectivity of the Family Code or before August 3, 1988, then it must have been constituted either judicially or extra-judicially as provided under Articles 225, 229-231 and 233 of the Civil Code. Judicial constitution of the family home requires the filing of a verified petition before the courts and the registration of the courts order with the Registry of Deeds of the area where the property is located. Meanwhile, extrajudicial constitution is governed by Articles 240 to 242 of the Civil Code and involves the execution of a public instrument which must also be registered with the Registry of Property. Failure to comply with either one of these two modes of constitution will bar a judgment debtor from availing of the privilege. On the other hand, for family homes constructed after the effectivity of the Family Code on August 3, 1988, there is no need to constitute extrajudicially or judicially, and the exemption is effective from the time it was constituted and lasts as long as any of its beneficiaries under Art. 154 actually resides therein. Moreover, the family home should belong to the absolute community or conjugal partnership, or if exclusively by one spouse, its constitution must have been with consent of the other, and its value must not exceed certain amounts depending upon the area where it is located. Further, the debts incurred for which the exemption does not apply as provided under Art. 155 for which the family home is made answerable must have been incurred after August 3, 1988. And in both cases, whether under the Civil Code or the Family Code, it is

not sufficient that the person claiming exemption merely alleges that such property is a family home. This claim for exemption must be set up and proved. In the present case, since Ramos, et. al. claim that the family home was constituted prior to August 3, 1988, or as early as 1944, they must comply with the procedure mandated by the Civil Code. There being absolutely no proof that the Pandacan property was judicially or extrajudicially constituted as the Ramos family home, the laws protective mantle cannot be availed of by

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Ramos, et. al. Parenthetically, the records show that the sheriff exhausted all means to execute the judgment but failed because Ramos bank accounts were already closed while other properties in his or the companys name had already been transferred, and the only property left was the Pandacan property. Ben-Hur Nepomuceno v. Archbencel Ann Lopez, represented by her mother Araceli Lopez G.R. No. 181258, March 18, 2010, FIRST DIVISION, (Carpio-Morales, J.) The Court is mindful that the best interests of the child in cases involving paternity and filiation should be advanced. It is, however, just as mindful of the disturbance that unfounded paternity suits cause to the privacy and peace of the putative fathers legitimate family. Respondent Archbencel Ann Lopez, filed a complaint for recognition and support of filiation against petitioner Ben-Hur Nepomuceno. She was represented by her mother, Araceli Lopez. She assailed that she is the illegitimate daughter of Nepomuceno submitting as evidence the handwritten note allegedly written and signed by Nepomuceno. She also demanded for financial support along with filial recognition. On the other hand, Nepomuceno denied the assertions reasoning out that he was compelled to execute the handwritten note due to the threats of the National Peoples Army. As the Regional Trial Court of Caloocan City ruled in favor of Archbencel, Nepomuceno thereafter proceeded to file a demurrer to evidence which was granted by the trial court stating insufficiency of evidence as the reason for dismissing the case against Nepomuceno. The case was elevated to the Court of Appeals and the trial courts decision was reversed. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the filiation of Archbencel as illegitimate daughter of BenHur Nepomuceno is established by the handwritten note submitted as documentary evidence. HELD: Petition GRANTED. Arhbencels demand for support, being based on her claim of filiation to petitioner as his illegitimate daughter, falls under Article 195(4). As such, her entitlement to support from petitioner is dependent on the determination of her filiation. Article 195. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

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1. The spouses;

2. Legitimate ascendants and descendants; 3. Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; 4. Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and 5. Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of the full or halfblood. Herrera v. Alba summarizes the laws, rules, and jurisprudence on establishing filiation: ART. 175. Illegitimate children may establish their illegitimate filiation in the same way and on the same evidence as legitimate children. xxxx ART. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the following: (1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or (2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. In the present case, Arhbencel relies, in the main, on the handwritten note executed by petitioner. The note does not contain any statement whatsoever about Arhbencels filiation to petitioner. It is, therefore, not within the ambit of Article 172(2) vis--vis Article 175 of the Family Code which admits as competent evidence of illegitimate filiation an admission of filiation in a private handwritten instrument signed by the parent concerned. The note cannot also be accorded the same weight as the notarial agreement to support the child referred to in Herrera. For it is not even notarized. And Herrera instructs that the notarial agreement must be accompanied by the putative fathers admission of filiation to be an acceptable evidence of filiation. Here, however, not only has petitioner not admitted filiation through contemporaneous actions. He has consistently denied it. The only other documentary evidence submitted by Arhbencel, a copy of her Certificate of Birth, has no probative value to establish filiation to petitioner, the latter not having signed the same. At bottom, all that Arhbencel really has is petitioners handwritten undertaking to provide financial support to her which, without more, fails to establish her claim of filiation. The Court is mindful that the best interests of the child in cases involving paternity and filiation should be advanced. It is,

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however, just as mindful of the disturbance that unfounded paternity suits cause to the privacy and peace of the putative fathers legitimate family. Ma. Virginia V. Remo v. The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs G.R. No. 169202, 5 March 2010, SECOND DIVISION, (Carpio, J.) Such unjustified changes in one's name and identity in a passport, which is considered superior to all other official documents, cannot be countenanced. Otherwise, undue confusion and inconsistency in the records of passport holders will arise. Petitoner Virginia V. Remo is married to Francisco R. Rallonza. In her

passport, she used the last name of her husband as her surname and her maiden name as her middle name. Before the expiration of her passport, she filed an application for its renewal with a request to revert her surname to her maiden name. Her request was denied. Consequently, Remos counsel sent a letter to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs to express the same request. However, it was also denied. The Office, although recognizing the non-mandatory use of the husbands surname, stated that the request can only be granted in cases where a woman had not used her husbands surname in a previous passport, and that reverting to ones maiden name is only permitted in cases of annulment of marriage, divorce, or death of the husband which was neither the case with Remo and her husband. Remo filed an appeal to the Office of the President which was dismissed. The same action was filed to the Court of Appeals resulting also to denial. All motions for reconsiderations filed to both offices were also denied. Hence, this petition. ISSUE: Whether or not Remo, who originally used her husbands surname in her expired passport, can revert to the use of her maiden name, despite the subsistence of her marriage. HELD: Petition DENIED. Title XIII of the Civil Code governs the use of surnames. In the case of a married woman, Article 370 of the Civil Code provides: ART. 370. A married woman may use: (1) HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND SURNAME AND ADD HER HUSBANDS SURNAME, OR

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(2) HER MAIDEN FIRST NAME AND HER HUSBAND'S SURNAME, OR (3) HER HUSBANDS FULL NAME, BUT PREFIXING A WORD INDICATING THAT SHE IS HIS WIFE, SUCH AS MRS. We agree with Remo that the use of the word may in the above provision indicates that the use of the husbands surname by the wife is permissive rather than obligatory. Clearly, a married woman has an option, but not a duty, to use the surname of the husband in any of the ways provided by Article 370 of the Civil Code. She is therefore allowed to use not only any of the three names provided in Article 370, but also her maiden name upon marriage. She is not prohibited from continuously using her maiden name once she is married because when a woman marries, she does not change her name but only her civil status. Further, this interpretation is in consonance with the principle that surnames indicate descent. In the present case, Remo, whose marriage is still subsisting and who opted to use her husbands surname in her old passport, requested to resume her maiden name in the replacement passport arguing that no law prohibits her from using her maiden name. The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), on behalf of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, argues that the highlighted proviso in Section 5(d) of RA 8239 limits the instances when a married woman may be allowed to revert to

the use of her maiden name in her passport. These instances are death of husband, divorce decree, annulment or nullity of marriage. Since Remos marriage to her husband subsists, placing her case outside of the purview of Section 5(d) of RA 8239 (as to the instances when a married woman may revert to the use of her maiden name), she may not resume her maiden name in the replacement passport. The Court notes that Remo would not have encountered any problems in the replacement passport had she opted to continuously and consistently use her maiden name from the moment she was married and from the time she first applied for a Philippine passport. However, Remo consciously chose to use her husbands surname before, in her previous passport application, and now desires to resume her maiden name. If we allow petitioners present request, definitely nothing prevents her in the future from requesting to revert to the use of her husbands surname. Such unjustified changes in one's name and identity in a passport, which is considered superior to all other official documents, cannot be countenanced. Otherwise, undue confusion and inconsistency in the records of passport holders will arise. Thus, for passport issuance purposes, a married woman, such as Remo, whose marriage subsists, may not change her family name at will.