family law Case Digests

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Manuel Almelor vs RTC of Las Piñas City & Leonida Trinidad

Case Facts:
Manuel married Leonida in 1989 and are both medical practitioners. They bore 3 children.
After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Piñas City
to annul their marriage on the ground that Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to
perform his marital obligations. Leonida testified that Manuel is a harsh disciplinarian
when it comes to their children but is contrastingly very affectionate to his mother. Leonida
also testified that Manuel is a homosexual as shown by his unusual closeness to his male
companions. She also once caught Manuel talking to a man affectionately over the phone
and she confirmed all her fear when she saw Manuel kiss another man. A psychologist was
also presented to Leonida's claim that her husband is psychologically incapacitated
through the evaluative interviews done with Manual and their eldest daughter. Such
incapacity is marked by antecedence; it existed even before the marriage and appeared to
be incurable. The RTC ruled that their marriage is null and void not because of the
psychological incapacity but rather due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his
homosexuality. The Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC’s decision and Manuel filed a
petition for review of the said decision.

Problem: Whether or not the marriage between the two can be declared as null and void
due to fraud by reason of Manuel’s concealment of his alleged homosexuality.

Decision: 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.
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:
Family Code
Art. 46. Any of the following circumstances shall constitute fraud referred to in Number 3
of the preceding Article:
(1) Non-disclosure of a previous conviction by final judgment of the other party of a crime
involving moral turpitude;
(2) Concealment by the wife of the fact that at the time of the marriage, she was pregnant
by a man other than her husband;
(3) Concealment of sexually transmissible disease, regardless of its nature, existing at the
time of the marriage; or
(4) Concealment of drug addiction, habitual alcoholism or homosexuality or lesbianism
existing at the time of the marriage.
No other misrepresentation or deceit as to character, health, rank, fortune or chastity shall
constitute such fraud as will give grounds for action for the annulment of marriage.
Leonida accuses Manuel of concealment of his homosexuality which may be a ground for
annulment, had it existed at the time of their marriage. The Supreme Court emphasized
that homosexuality per se is not a ground to nullify a marriage. It is the concealment of
homosexuality that would. In the case of Manuel, it is not proven that he is a homosexual.
His peculiarities must not be ruled by the lower court as an indication of his homosexuality
for those are not conclusive and are not sufficient enough to prove so. Even granting that
Manuel is indeed a homosexual, there was nothing in the complaint or anywhere in the
case was it proven that Manuel hid such sexuality from Leonida and that Leonida’s consent
had been vitiated by such.

Joel Jimenez vs Remedios Cañizares
Case Facts:
Joel and Remedios are husband and wife. Joel later filed for annulment on grounds that
Remedios is impotent because her genitals were too small for copulation and such was
already existing at the time of the marriage. Remedios was summoned to answer the
complaint of Joel but she refused to do so. It was found that there was no collusion between
the parties notwithstanding the non-cooperation of Remedios in the case. Remedios was
ordered to have herself be submitted to an expert to determine if her genitals are indeed
too small for copulation. Remedios again refused to do as ordered. The trial was heard
solely on Joel’s complaint. The marriage was later annulled.
Problem: Whether or not Remedios’ impotency has been established.
Decision: In the case at bar, the annulment of the marriage in question was decreed upon
the sole testimony of Joel who was expected to give testimony tending or aiming at
securing the annulment of his marriage he sought and seeks.
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:

Case Facts:
In 1956, herein appellant’s brother Felix Matabuena donated a piece of lot to his common-
law spouse, herein appellee Petronila Cervantes. Felix and Petronila got married only in
1962 or six years after the deed of donation was executed. Five months later, or September
13, 1962, Felix died. Thereafter, appellant Cornelia Matabuena, by reason of being the only
sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased, filed a claim over the property, by
virtue of a an affidavit of self-adjudication executed by her in 1962, had the land declared in
her name and paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon. The lower court of Sorsogon
declared that the donation was valid inasmuch as it was made at the time when Felix and
Petronila were not yet spouses, rendering Article 133 of the Civil Code inapplicable.

Problem: Whether or not the ban on donation between spouses during a marriage applies
to a common-law relationship.

While Article 133 of the Civil Code considers as void a donation between the spouses
during marriage, policy consideration of the most exigent character as well as the dictates
of morality requires that the same prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship.
As stated in Buenaventura vs. Bautista (50 OG 3679, 1954), if the policy of the law is to
prohibit donations in favor of the other consort and his descendants because of fear of
undue and improper pressure and influence upon the donor, then there is every reason to
apply the same prohibitive policy to persons living together as husband and wife without
the benefit of nuptials.
The lack of validity of the donation by the deceased to appellee does not necessarily result
in appellant having exclusive right to the disputed property. As a widow, Cervantes is
entitled to one-half of the inheritance, and the surviving sister to the other half.
Article 1001, Civil Code: Should brothers and sisters or their children survive with the
widow or widower, the latter shall be entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the
brothers and sisters or their children to the other half.

Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:

Valdez v. RTC
Case Facts:
Antonio Valdez and Consuelo Gomez were married in 1971 and begotten 5 children.
Valdez filed a petition in 1992 for a declaration of nullity of their marriage pursuant to
Article 36 of the Family Code, which was granted hence, marriage is null and void on the
ground of their mutual psychological incapacity. Stella and Joaquin are placed under the
custody of their mother while the other 3 siblings are free to choose which they prefer. The
petitioner and respondent are also directed to start proceedings in the liquidation of their
property as defined by Article 147 of the Family Code and to comply to Articles 50, 51 and
52 of the same code.
Gomez sought a clarification of that portion in the decision regarding the procedure for the
liquidation of common property in “unions without marriage”. During the hearing on the
motion, the children filed a joint affidavit expressing desire to stay with their father.
Problem: Whether or not the property regime should be based on co-ownership.
Decision: The Supreme Court ruled that in a void marriage, regardless of the cause thereof,
the property relations of the parties are governed by the rules on co-ownership (Art 147
Family Code). Any property acquired during the union is prima facie presumed to have
been obtained through their joint efforts. A party who did not participate in the acquisition
of the property shall be considered as having contributed thereto jointly if said party’s
efforts consisted in the care and maintenance of the family.
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:
Art. 147. When a man and a woman who are capacitated to marry each other, live
exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a
void marriage, their wages and salaries shall be owned by them in equal shares and the
property acquired by both of them through their work or industry shall be governed by the
rules on co-ownership.
In the absence of proof to the contrary, properties acquired while they lived together shall
be presumed to have been obtained by their joint efforts, work or industry, and shall be
owned by them in equal shares. For purposes of this Article, a party who did not participate
in the acquisition by the other party of any property shall be deemed to have contributed
jointly in the acquisition thereof if the former's efforts consisted in the care and
maintenance of the family and of the household.
In void marriages, the property relations of the parties during the cohabitation period is
governed by the provisions of Art. 147 or Art. 1482. In the case, Art. 147 applies because
there was no legal impediment to their marriage and they were capacitated wherein the
word capacitated refers to legal capacity of a party to contract marriage.
The court explained in an order dated May 5, 1995 that the property including the family
home acquired during their union are presumed to have been obtained through joined
efforts and the property would be owned by them in equal shares and the liquidation and
partition of property would be governed by the regime of co-ownership. The court also
explained that Art 102 does not apply since it refers to the procedure for liquidation of
conjugal partnership property. Art 129 also does not apply because it refers to procedures
for liquidation of the absolute community of property.

Aggabao v Parulan
Case Facts:
Involved in this action are two parcels of land and their improvements in Parañaque City
andregistered under the name of Spouses Parulan, who have been estranged from one
another. Realestate broker Atanacio offered the property to Spouses Aggabao who upon
Atanacio’s insistence prevailed upon them, so that they and Atanacio met with Ma. Elena
(Parulan’s wife) at the site of the property. During their meeting, Spouses Aggabao paid Ma.
Elena earnest money amounting toP20,000 which she acknowledged with a handwritten
receipt. Then and there, they agreed on theterms of how the buyers will pay the price of the
property.Spouses Aggabao complied with all the terms with regard to the payment of the
properties, butwhen Ma. Elena already needed to turn over the owner’s duplicate copies for
both lands, she wasable to turn over only one (which was successfully transferred to the
name of spouses Aggabao).For the other one, she said that it is with a relative in HongKong
but she promised to deliver it tothe spouses in a week. Needless to say, she failed to do so
and by doing their own verification, thespouses found out that said copy of title was in the
hands of Dionisio’s brother.The spouses met with Dionisio’s brother, Atty. Parulan, who
told them that he is the one with the power to sell the property. He demanded P800,000 for
said property and gave the spouses severaldays to decide. When Atty. Parulan did not hear
back from the spouses, he gave them a call, andwas then informed that they have already
paid the full amount to Ma. Elena.Subsequently, Dionisio, through Atty. Parulan,
commenced an action praying for the declaration of the nullity of the deed of absolute sale
executed by Ma. Elena, and the cancellation of the titleissued to the petitioners by virtue
Problem: Whether or not the sale of conjugal property made by Ma. Elena, by presenting a
special power of attorney to sell (SPA) purportedly executed by respondent husband in her
favor was a valid sale to the vendees.
Decision: The Court ruled that the sale of conjugal property without the consent of the
husband was not merely voidable but void; hence, it could not be ratified. Spouses Aggabao
also cannot use the defense that they are buyers in good faith because they did not exercise
the necessary prudence to inquire into the wife’s authority to sell.

Applicable Law and the Rationale Behind It:
The relevant part of Article 124 of the Family Code provides that:
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 disposition or encumbrance without
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.

Lacabayan vs Samoy
Case Facts:
During their illicit relationship, petitioner and respondent, together with three more
incorporators, were able to establish a manpower services company. Five parcels of land
were also acquired during the said period and were registered in petitioner and
respondent’s names, ostensibly as husband and wife. The properties were registered in the
name of Bayani Samoy married to Betty Lacbayan. However, when their relationship
turned sour and they decided to part ways sometime in 1991, both parties agreed to divide
the said properties and terminate their business partnership by executing a Partition
Initially, respondent agreed to petitioner’s proposal that the properties in Malvar St. and
Don Enrique Heights be assigned to the latter, while the ownership over the three other
properties will go to respondent. However, when petitioner wanted additional demands to
be included in the partition agreement, respondent refused. Feeling aggrieved, petitioner
filed a complaint for judicial partition of the said properties before the RTC in Quezon City
on May 31, 1999.RTC: dismissed the complaint for lack of merit.
In resolving the issue on ownership, the RTC decided to give considerable weight to
petitioner’s own admission that the properties were acquired not from her own personal
funds but from the income of the manpower services company over which she owns a
measly 3.33% share. Petitioner elevated the matter to the CA asserting that she is the pro
indiviso owner of one-half of the properties in dispute.CA- denied the appeal
Whether an action for partition precludes a settlement on the issue of ownership.
Whether respondent is estopped from repudiating co-ownership over the subject realties.
While it is true that the complaint involved here is one for partition, the same is premised
on the existence or non-existence of co-ownership between the parties. Petitioner insists
she is a co-owner pro indiviso of the five real estate properties based on the transfer
certificates of title (TCTs) covering the subject properties. Respondent maintains
otherwise. Indubitably, therefore, until and unless this issue of co-ownership is definitely
and finally resolved, it would be premature to effect a partition of the disputed properties.
More importantly, the complaint will not even lie if the claimant, or petitioner in this case,
does not even have any rightful interest over the subject properties.
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:

Pascual vs Pascual-Bautista
Case Facts:
Petitioners Olivia and Hermes Pascual are the acknowledged natural children of the late
Eligio Pascual, the latter being a full blood brother of the decedent Don Andres Pascual,
who died intestate without any issue, legitimate, acknowledged natural, adopted or
spurious children. Adela Soldevilla Pascual the surviving spouse of the late Don Andes
Pascual filed w/ the RTC Branch 162, a special proceeding case no.7554 for administration
of the intestate estate of her late husband. Olivia and Hermes are illegitimate children of
Eligio Pascual (although they contend that the term “illegitimate children” as described in
art 992 should be construed as “spurious children”).
Problem: Whether or not Article 992 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, can be
interpreted to exclude recognized natural children from the inheritance of the deceased.
Article 992 of the Civil Code provides a barrier or iron curtain in that it prohibits absolutely
a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the legitimate children and
relatives of the father or mother of said legitimate child. They may have a natural tie of
blood, but this is not recognized by law for the purposes of Article 992.
Eligio Pascual is a legitimate child but petitioners are his illegitimate children.
Applying the above doctrine to the case at bar, respondent IAC did not err in holding that
petitioners herein cannot represent their father Eligio Pascual in the succession of the
latter to the intestate estate of the decedent Andres Pascual, full blood brother of their
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:
Article 902, 989, and 990 clearly speaks of successional rights of illegitimate children,
which rights are transmitted to their descendants upon their death. The descendants (of
these illegitimate children) who may inherit by virtue of the right of representation may be
legitimate or illegitimate. In whatever manner, one should not overlook the fact that the
persons to be represented are themselves illegitimate. The three named provisions are
very clear on this matter. The right of representation is not available to illegitimate
descendants of legitimate children in the inheritance of a legitimate grandparent. It may be
argued, as done by petitioners, that the illegitimate descendant of a legitimate child is
entitled to represent by virtue of the provisions of Article 982, which provides that "the
grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit by right of representation." Such a
conclusion is erroneous. It would allow intestate succession by an illegitimate child to the
legitimate parent of his father or mother, a situation which would set at naught the
provisions of Article 992. Article 982 is inapplicable to the instant case because Article 992
prohibits absolutely a succession ab intestato between the illegitimate child and the
legitimate children and relatives of the father or mother. It may not be amiss to state Article
982 is the general rule and Article 992 the exception.
The rules laid down in Article 982 that "grandchildren and other descendants shall inherit
by right of representation" and in Article 902 that the rights of illegitimate children . . . are
transmitted upon their death to their descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate are
subject to the limitation prescribed by Article 992 to the end that an illegitimate child has
no right to inherit ab intestato from the legitimate children and relatives of his father or
Finally under Article 176 of the Family Code, all illegitimate children are generally placed
under one category, which undoubtedly settles the issue as to whether or not
acknowledged natural children should be treated differently, in the negative.

Ajero v. CA

Case Facts:
On January 20, 1983, petitioners instituted for allowance of decedent's (Annie Sand)
holographic will. They alleged that at the time of its execution, she was of sound and
disposing mind, not acting under duress, fraud or undue influence, and was in every
respect capacitated to dispose of her estate by will. This was opposed on the grounds that:
neither the testament's body nor the signature therein was in decedent's handwriting; it
contained alterations and corrections which were not duly signed by decedent; and, the
will was procured by petitioners through improper pressure and undue influence. The
petition was likewise opposed by Dr. Jose Ajero. He contested the disposition in the will of a
house and lot located in Cabadbaran, Agusan Del Norte. He claimed that said property
could not be conveyed by decedent in its entirety, as she was not its sole owner. The trial
court having found that the holographic will in question was written entirely, dated and
signed in the handwriting of the testatrix with three (3) witnesses to have explicitly and
categorically identified the handwriting with which the holographic will in question was
written to be the genuine handwriting and signature of the testatrix admitted the probate,
however on appeal with CA this was reversed and the petition for probate was dismissed
on the ground that it fails to meet the requirements for its validity by not complying
articles 813 and 814 of the NCC.
Problem: Whether the CA erred in holding that Articles 813 and 814 of the NCC were not
complied with.

Decision: The Court said it is erroneous for the CA to say that the holographic will of Anne
Sand was not executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law and held that
Articles 813 and 814 of the New Civil Code were not complied with, hence, it disallowed the
probate of said will.
Applicable Law and Rationale Behind It:
Art. 813: When a number of dispositions appearing in a holographic will are signed
without being dated, and the last disposition has a signature and date, such date validates
the dispositions preceding it, whatever be the time of prior dispositions.
Art. 814: In case of insertion, cancellation, erasure or alteration in a holographic will, the
testator must authenticate the same by his full signature. It alluded to certain dispositions
in the will which were either unsigned and undated, or signed but not dated. It also found
that the erasures, alterations and cancellations made thereon had not been authenticated
by decedent.
A reading of Article 813 shows that its requirement affects the validity of the dispositions
contained in the holographic will, but not its probate. If the testator fails to sign and date
some of the dispositions, the result is that these dispositions cannot be effectuated. Such
failure, however, does not render the whole testament void.
Likewise, a holographic will can still be admitted to probate notwithstanding non-
compliance with the provisions of Article 814. Unless the authenticated alterations,
cancellations or insertions were made on the date of the holographic will or on testator’s
signature, their presence does not invalidate the will itself. The lack of authentication will
only result in disallowance of such changes.
It is also proper to note that the requirements of authentication of changes and signing and
dating of dispositions appear in provisions (Article 813 and 814) separate from that which
provides for the necessary conditions for the validity of the holographic will (Article 810).
This separation and distinction adds support to the interpretation that only the
requirements of Article 810 of the NCC – and not those found in Articles 813 and 814 – are
essential to the probate of a holographic will.

Section 9, Rule 76 of the Rules of Court and Article 839 of the Civil Code enumerate the
grounds for disallowance of wills. These lists are exclusive; no other grounds can serve to
disallow a will.
In a petition to admit a holographic will, the only issues to be resolved are:
1.whether the instrument submitted is, indeed, the decedent’s last will and testament;
2.whether said will was executed in accordance with the formalities prescribed by law;
3.whether the decedent had the necessary testamentary capacity at the time the will was
executed; and
4.whether the execution of the will and its signing were the voluntary acts of the decedent.
The object of the solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door against
bad faith and fraud; accordingly, laws on this subject should be interpreted to attain these
primordial ends.
In the case of holographic wills, what assures authenticity is the requirement that they be
totally authographic or handwritten by the testator himself. Failure to strictly observe
other formalities will no result in the disallowance of a holographic will that is
unquestionable handwritten by the testator.

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