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Albano v.

Gapusan

Redentor Albano in a verified complaint dated August 18, 1975 charged Municipal
Judge Patrocinio C. Gapusan of Dumalneg and Adams, Ilocos Norte (1) with
incompetence and Ignorance of the law for having prepared and notarized a document
providing for tile personal separation of husband and wife and the extrajudicial
liquidation of their conjugal partnership

It was stipulated in that document that if either spouse should commit adultery or
concubinage, as the case may be, then the other should refrain from filing an action
against the other.

Judge Gapusan denied that he drafted the agreement. He explained that the spouses had
been separated for a long time when they signed the separation agreement and that the
wife had begotten children with her paramour. He said that there was a stipulation in
the agreement that the spouses would live together in case of reconciliation. His belief
was that the separation agreement forestalled the occurrence of violent incidents
between the spouses.

Albano in filing the malpractice charge is in effect asking this Court to take belated
disciplinary action against Judge Gapusan as a member of the bar or as a notary.

There is no question that the covenents contained in the said separation


agreement are contrary to law, morals and good customs (Biton vs. Momongan, 62
Phil. 7). Those stipulations undermine the institutions of marriage and the family,
"Marriage is not a mere contract but an inviolable social institution". "The family is a
basic social institution which public policy cherishes and protects." Marriage and the
family are the bases of human society throughout the civilized world

To preserve the institutions of marriage and the family, the law considers as void
"any contract for personal separation between husband and wife" and "every
extrajudicial agreement, during the marriage, for the dissolution of the conjugal
partnership. Before the new Civil Code, it was held that the extrajudicial
dissolution of the conjugal partnership without judicial sanction was void

Respondent Gapusan as a member of the bar should be censured for having notarized
the void separation agreement already mentioned.

However, his notarization of that document does not warrant any disciplinary action
against him as a municipal judge (he was appointed in 1946 as justice of the peace)
especially considering that his appointment to the judiciary was screened by the
Commission on Appointments
In Re: Atty. Bucana

Judge notarized an agreement of the spouses saying that “in case anyone of them will
remarry both parties offer no objection and waive all civil and criminal actions against
them" and that the afore-mentioned Agreement was "entered into for the purpose of
agreement to allow each and everyone of them to remarry without objection or
reservation ...", which affidavit is contrary to law because it sanctions an illicit and
immoral purpose.

There is no question that the afore-mentioned Agreement is contrary to law, morals and
good customs. Marriage is an inviolable social institution, in the maintenance of which
in its purity the public is deeply interested for it is the foundation of the family and of
society without which there could be neither civilization nor progress.

The contract, in substance, purports to formulate an agreement between the husband


and the wife to take unto himself a concubine and the wife to live in adulterous relations
with another man, without opposition from either one, and what is more, it induces
each party to commit bigamy. This is not only immoral but in effect abets the
commission of a crime.

In the case at bar, respondent in effect pleads for clemency, claiming that the
notarization of the questioned document was due to his negligence. We find, however,
that the aforementioned document could not have been notarized if the respondent had
only exercised the requisite care required by law in the exercise of his duties as notary
public.

WHEREFORE, We hold that respondent Rufillo D. Bucana is guilty of malpractice and


is hereby suspended from the office of not try public for a period of six (6) months,
with the admonition that a repetition of the same or a similar act in the future will be
dealt with more severely.
Goita Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing paragraph, the
court may for just cause relieve her from this duty when the
This is an action by the wife against her husband for support outside of husband removes his residence to a foreign country.
the conjugal domicile.
And articles 143 and 149 of the Civil Code are as follows:
It was urged in the first instance, and the court so held, that the
defendant cannot be compelled to support the plaintiff, except in his own ART. 143. The following are obliged to support each other
house, unless it be by virtue of a judicial decree granting her a divorce or reciprocally to the whole extent specified in the preceding article.
separation from the defendant.
1. The consorts.
That the defendant, one month after he had contracted marriage with the
plaintiff, demanded of her that she perform unchaste and lascivious acts ART. (149) 49. The person obliged to give support may, at his
on his genital organs; that the plaintiff spurned the obscene demands of option, satisfy it, either by paying the pension that may be fixed or
the defendant and refused to perform any act other than legal and by receiving and maintaining in his own home the person having
valid cohabitation; that the defendant, since that date had continually on the right to the same.
other successive dates, made similar lewd and indecorous demands on
his wife, the plaintiff, who always spurned them, which just refusals of the Article 152 of the Civil Code gives the instances when the obligation
plaintiff exasperated the defendant and induce him to maltreat her by to give support shall cease. The failure of the wife to live with her
word and deed and inflict injuries upon her lips, her face and different husband is not one of them.
parts of her body; and that, as the plaintiff was unable by any means to
induce the defendant to desist from his repugnant desires and cease
The above quoted provisions of the Law of Civil Marriage and the Civil
from maltreating her, she was obliged to leave the conjugal abode and
Code fix the duties and obligations of the spouses. The spouses must be
take refuge in the home of her parents.
faithful to, assist, and support each other. The husband must live with
and protect his wife. The wife must obey and live with her husband
Articles 42 to 107 of the Civil Code are not in force in the Philippine and follow him when he changes his domicile or residence, except
Islands (Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil .Rep., 34). Articles 44 to 78 of when he removes to a foreign country. But the husband who is
the Law of Civil Marriage of 1870, in force in the Peninsula, were obliged to support his wife may, at his option, do so by paying her a
extended to the Philippine Islands by royal decree on April 13, 1883 fixed pension or by receiving and maintaining her in his own home.
(Ebreo vs. Sichon, 4 Phil. Rep., 705). Articles 44, 45, and 48 of this law May the husband, on account of his conduct toward his wife, lose this
read: option and be compelled to pay the pension? Is the rule established by
article 149 of the Civil Code absolute? The supreme court of Spain in its
ART. 44. The spouses are obliged to be faithful to each other and decision of December 5, 1903, held:.
to mutually assist each other.
the option which article 149 grants the person, obliged to furnish
ART. 45. The husband must live with and protect his wife. (The subsistence, between paying the pension fixed or receiving and
second paragraph deals with the management of the wife's keeping in his own house the party who is entitled to the same, is
property.) not so absolute as to prevent cases being considered wherein,
either because this right would be opposed to the exercise of a
ART. 48. The wife must obey her husband, live with him, and preferential right or because of the existence of some justifiable
follow him when he charges his domicile or residence. cause morally opposed to the removal of the party enjoying the
maintenance, the right of selection must be understood as being
thereby restricted.
Whereas the only question discussed in the case which gave rise opposition to what the law, in conformity with good morals, has
to this appeal was whether there was any reason to prevent established; and.
the exercise of the option granted by article 149 of the Civil
Code to the person obliged to furnish subsistence, to receive Considering that, as the spouses D. Ramon Benso and Doña
and maintain in his own house the one who is entitled to Adela Galindo are not legally separated, it is their duty to live
receive it; together and afford each other help and support

The above was quoted with approval in United States and De Jesus vs. From a careful reading of the case just cited and quoted from it appears
Alvir (9 Phil. Rep., 576), wherein the court held that the rule laid down in quite clearly that the spouses separated voluntarily in accordance
article 149 of the Civil Code "is not absolute." but it is insisted that there with an agreement previously made. At least there are strong
existed a preexisting or preferential right in each of these cases which indications to this effect, for the court says, "should the doctrine
was opposed to the removal of the one entitled to support. It is true that maintained in the appeal prevail, it would allow married persons to
in the first the person claiming the option was the natural father of the disregard the marriage bond and separate from each other of their own
child and had married a woman other than the child's mother, and in the free will." If this be the true basis upon which the supreme court of Spain
second the right to support had already been established by a final rested its decision, then the doctrine therein enunciated would not be
judgment in a criminal case. Notwithstanding these facts the two cases controlling in cases where one of the spouses was compelled to
clearly established the proposition that the option given by article 149 of leave the conjugal abode by the other or where the husband
the Civil Code may not be exercised in any and all cases. voluntarily abandons such abode and the wife seeks to force him to
furnish support. That this is true appears from the decision of the same
Considering that article 143, No. 1, of the Civil Code, providing high tribunal, dated October 16, 1903. In this case the wife brought an
that the spouses are mutually obliged to provide each other with action for support against her husband who had willfully and voluntarily
support, cannot but be subordinate to the other provisions of said abandoned the conjugal abode without any cause whatever. The
Code which regulates the family organization and the duties of supreme court, reversing the judgment absolving the defendant upon the
spouses not legally separated, among which duties are those of ground that no action for divorce, etc., had been instituted, said:
their living together and mutually helping each other, as provided
in article 56 of the aforementioned code; and taking this for In not so holding, the trial court, on the mistaken ground that for
granted, the obligation of the spouse who has property to furnish the fulfillment of this duty the situation or relation of the spouses
support to the one who has no property and is in need of it for should be regulated in the manner it indicates, has made the
subsistence, is to be understood as limited to the case where, in errors of law assigned in the first three grounds alleged, because
accordance with law, their separation has been decreed, either the nature of the duty of affording mutual support is compatible
temporarily or finally and this case, with respect to the husband, and enforcible in all situations, so long as the needy spouse does
cannot occur until a judgment of divorce is rendered, since, until not create any illicit situation of the court above described. lawphil.net

then, if he is culpable, he is not deprived of the management of


his wife's property and of the product of the other property If we are in error as to the doctrine enunciated by the supreme court of
belonging to the conjugal partnership; and Spain in its decision of November 3, 1905, and if the court did hold, as
contended by counsel for the defendant in the case under consideration,
Considering that, should the doctrine maintained in the appeal that neither spouse can be compelled to support the other outside of the
prevail, it would allow married persons to disregard the marriage conjugal abode, unless it be by virtue of a final judgment granting the
bond and separate from each other of their own free will, thus injured one a divorce or separation from the other, still such doctrine or
establishing, contrary to the legal provision contained in said holding would not necessarily control in this jurisdiction for the reason
article 56 of the Civil Code, a legal status entirely incompatible that the substantive law is not in every particular the same here as it is in
with the nature and effects of marriage in disregard of the duties Spain. As we have already stated, articles 42 to 107 of the Civil Code
inherent therein and disturbing the unity of the family, in in force in the Peninsula are not in force in the Philippine Islands. The
law governing the duties and obligations of husband and wife in this country are articles 44 to 78 of the Law of Civil Marriage of 1870 .In Spain the
complaining spouse has, under article 105 of the Civil Code, various causes for divorce, such as adultery on the part of the wife in every case and on the
part of the husband when public scandal or disgrace of the wife results therefrom; personal violence actually inflicted or grave insults: violence exercised
by the husband toward the wife in order to force her to change her religion; the proposal of the husband to prostitute his wife; the attempts of the husband
or wife to corrupt their sons or to prostitute their daughters; the connivance in their corruption or prostitution; and the condemnation of a spouse to
perpetual chains or hard labor, while in this jurisdiction the only ground for a divorce is adultery. (Benedicto vs. De la Rama, 3 Phil .Rep., 34, 45.)

This positive and absolute doctrine was announced by this court in the
case just cited after an exhaustive examination of the entire subject.
Although the case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United
States and the judgment rendered by this court was there reversed, the
reversal did not affect in any way or weaken the doctrine in reference to
adultery being the only ground for a divorce. And since the decision was
promulgated by this court in that case in December, 1903, no change or
modification of the rule has been announced. It is, therefore, the well
settled and accepted doctrine in this jurisdiction.

But it is argued that to grant support in an independent suit is equivalent


to granting divorce or separation, as it necessitates a determination of the
question whether the wife has a good and sufficient cause for living
separate from her husband; and, consequently, if a court lacks power to
decree a divorce, as in the instant case, power to grant a separate
maintenance must also be lacking.

The weakness of this argument lies in the assumption that the power to
grant support in a separate action is dependent upon a power to grant a
divorce. That the one is not dependent upon the other is apparent from
the very nature of the marital obligations of the spouses. The mere act of
marriage creates an obligation on the part of the husband to support his
wife. This obligation is founded not so much on the express or implied
terms of the contract of marriage as on the natural and legal duty of the
husband; an obligation, the enforcement of which is of such vital concern
to the state itself that the laws will not permit him to terminate it by his
own wrongful acts in driving his wife to seek protection in the parental
home. A judgment for separate maintenance is not due and payable
either as damages or as a penalty; nor is it a debt in the strict legal
sense of the term, but rather a judgment calling for the performance
of a duty made specific by the mandate of the sovereign. This is
done from necessity and with a view to preserve the public peace and the
purity of the wife; as where the husband makes so base demands upon
his wife and indulges in the habit of assaulting her. The pro tanto
separation resulting from a decree for separate support is not an
impeachment of that public policy by which marriage is regarded as so
sacred and inviolable in its nature; it is merely a stronger policy overruling
a weaker one; and except in so far only as such separation is tolerated
as a means of preserving the public peace and morals may be
considered, it does not in any respect whatever impair the marriage
contract or for any purpose place the wife in the situation of a feme sole.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, community represented by the State for its interest in maintaining and
vs. preserving such status. But this identity of the offended party, status
GUADALUPE ZAPATA and DALMACIO BONDOC, defendants- society does not argue against the commission of the crime of adultery
appellees. as many times as there were carnal consummated, for as long as the
status remain unchanged, the nexus undissolved and unbroken, an
PADILLA, J.: encroachment or trespass upon that status constitutes a crime.
There is no constitutional or legal provision which bars the filing of
A complaint for adultery was filed by Andres Bondoc against Guadalupe as many complaints for adultery as there were adulterous acts
Zapata, his wife, and Dalmacio Bondoc, her paramour, for cohabiting and committed, each constituting one crime.
having repeated sexual intercourse during the period from the year 1946
14 March 1947, the date of the filing of the complaint, Dalmacio Bondoc The notion or concept of a continuous crime has its origin in the juridical
knowing his codefendant to be a married woman (criminal case No. 426). fiction favorable to the law transgressors and in many a case against the
The defendant wife entered the plea of guilty and was sentenced to interest of society. For it to exist there would be plurality of acts
suffer four months of arresto mayor which penalty she served. In the performed seperately during a period of time; unity of penal provision
same court, on 17 September 1948, the offended husband filed another infringed upon or violated; and unity of criminal intent or purpose,
complaint for adulterous acts committed by his wife and her paramour which means that two or more violations of the same penal
from 15 March 1947 to 17 September 1948, the date of the filing of the provision are united in one and the same intent leading to the
second complaint (criminal case No. 735). On 21 February 1949, each of perpetration of the same criminal purpose or aim (Ibid. p. 520).In the
the defendants filed a motion to quash the complaint of the ground that instant case the last unity does not exist, because as already stated
they would be twice put in jeopardy of punishment for the same offense. the culprits perpetrate the crime in every sexual intercourse and
they need not to another or other adulterous acts to consummate it.
The trial court upheld the contention of the defendants and quashed
the second complaint. From the other sustaining the motions to After the last acts of adultery had been committed as charged in the first
quash the prosecution has appealed. complaint, the defendants again committed adulterous acts not included
in the first complaint and for which the second complaint was filed. It was
The trial court held that the adulterous acts charged in the first held by the Supreme Court of Spain that another crime of adultery was
and second complains must be deemed one continuous offense, committed, if the defendants, after their provincional release during the
the defendants in both complaints being the same and identical pendency of the case in which they were sent to prison to serve the
persons and the two sets of unlawful acts having taken place penalty imposed upon them
continuously during the years 1946, 1947 and part of 1948, and
that the acts or two sets of acts that gave rise to the crimes of Another reason why a second complaint charging the commission of
adultery complained of in both cases constitute one and the same adulterous acts not included in the first complaint does not constitute a
offense, within the scope and meaning of the constitutional violation of the double jeopardy clause of the constitution is that, if the
provision that "No person shall be twice put in jeopardy of second places complaint the defendants twice in jeopardy of punishment
punishment for the same offense.". for the same offense, the adultery committed by the male defendant
charged in the second complaint, should he be absolved from, or
Adultery is a crime of result and not of tendency. it is a instantaneous acquitted of, the first charge upon the evidence that he did not know that
crime which is consummated and exhausted or completed at the moment his codefendant was a married woman, would remain or go
of the carnal union. Each sexual intercourse constitutes a crime of unpunished. The defense set up by him against the first charge upon
adultery (Cuello Calon, Derecho Penal, Vol. II, p. 569). True, two or which he was acquitted would no longer be available, because at the
more adulterous acts committed by the same defendants are time of the commission of the crime charged in the second complaint, he
against the same person — the offended husband, the same status already knew that this defendant was a married woman and he continued
— the union of the husband and wife by their marriage, and the same to have carnal knowledge of her. Even if the husband should pardon his
adulterous wife, such pardon would not exempt the wife and her
paramour from criminal liability for adulterous acts committed after the
pardon was granted because the pardon refers to previous and not to
subsequent adulterous acts
FROILAN C. GANDIONCO, petitioner, (c) After a criminal action has been commenced, no civil
vs. action arising from the same offense can be prosecuted
HON. SENEN C. PEÑARANDA, as Presiding Judge of the Regional and the same shall be suspended in whatever stage it
Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, Branch 18, Cagayan de Oro City, may be found until final judgment in the criminal
and TERESITA S. GANDIONCO, respondents. proceeding has been rendered ... (Emphasis supplied)

A special civil action for certiorari, with application for injunction, to annul The provisions last quoted did not clearly state, as the 1985 Rules do,
(1) the Order of the respondent Judge, dated 10 December 1986, that the civil action to be suspended, with or upon the filing of a criminal
ordering petitioner to pay support pendente lite to private action, is one which is "to enforce the civil liability arising from the
respondent (his wife) and their child, and (2) the Order of the same offense". In other words, in view of the amendment under the 1985
respondent Judge, dated 5 August 1987, denying petitioner's motion to Rules on Criminal Procedure, a civil action for legal separation,
suspend hearings in the action for legal separation filed against him by based on concubinage, may proceed ahead of, or simultaneously
private respondent as well as his motion to inhibit respondent Judge from with, a criminal action for concubinage, because said civil action
further hearing and trying the case. is not one "to enforce the civil liability arising from the offense"
even if both the civil and criminal actions arise from or are related to
On 29 May 1986, private respondent, the legal wife of the petitioner, filed the same offense.
with the Regional Trial Court of Misamis Oriental, 10th Judicial District,
Branch 18, in Cagayan de Oro City, presided over by respondent Judge, Such civil action is one intended to obtain the right to live
a complaint against petitioner for legal separation, on the ground of separately, with the legal consequences thereof, such as, the
concubinage, with a petition for support and payment of damages. dissolution of the conjugal partnership of gains, custody of
This case was docketed as Civil Case No. 10636. On 13 October 1986, offsprings, support, and disqualification from inheriting from the
private respondent also filed with the Municipal Trial Court, General innocent spouse, among others.
Santos City, a complaint against petitioner for concubinage, which
was docketed on 23 October 1986 as Criminal Case No. 15437111. On The governing rule is now Sec. 3, Rule 111, 1985 Rules on Criminal
14 November 1986, application for the provisional remedy of Procedure which refers to "civil actions to enforce the civil liability arising
support pendente lite, pending a decision in the action for legal from the offense" as contemplated in the first paragraph of Section 1 of
separation, was filed by private respondent in the civil case for legal Rule 111-which is a civil action "for recovery of civil liability arising from
separation. The respondent judge, as already stated, on 10 the offense charged." Sec. 1, Rule 111, (1985) is specific that it refers to
December 1986, ordered The payment of support pendente lite. civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense
charged. Whereas, the old Sec. 1 (c), Rule 107 simply referred to "Civil
In this recourse, petitioner contends that the civil action for legal action arising from the offense."
separation and the incidents consequent thereto, such as,
application for support pendente lite, should be suspended in view As earlier noted this action for legal separation is not to recover
of the criminal case for concubinage filed against him the private civil liability, in the main, but is aimed at the conjugal rights of the
respondent. In support of his contention, petitioner cites Art. III. Sec. 3 of spouses and their relations to each other, within the contemplation
the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, which states: of Articles 7 to 108, of the Civil Code.

Petitioner's contention is not correct. Petitioner also argues that his conviction for concubinage will have to be
first secured before the action for legal separation can prosper or
In Jerusalem, the Court's statement to the effect that suspension of an succeed, as the basis of the action for legal separation is his alleged
action for legal separation would be proper if an allegation of offense of concubinage.
concubinage is made therein, relied solely on Sec. 1 of Rule 107 of
the then provisions of the Rules of Court on criminal procedure, to wit: Petitioner's assumption is erroneous.
A decree of legal separation, on the ground of concubinage, may be
issued upon proof by preponderance of evidence in the action for
legal separation. 3 No criminal proceeding or conviction is
necessary.
Contreras v. Macaraig Lily Ann Alcala and she was given a copy of the baptismal certificate of
Maria Vivien Mageline Macaraig (Exh. G) which she gave to plaintiff
Appeal taken by Elena Contreras from a decision of the Juvenile and sometime in October, 1963.
Domestic Relations Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 00138 dismissing
her complaint upon the ground that the same was filed more than "Plaintiff then entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to intercede
one year from and after the date on which she had become with defendant and to convince him to return to his family. Mr. Macaraig,
cognizant of the cause for legal separation. after talking to his son and seeing him with the latter’s child told plaintiff
that he could not do anything.
"Plaintiff and defendant were married on March 16, 1952 in the Catholic
Church of Quiapo, Manila. Out of their marriage, three children were "In November, 1963, plaintiff requested the cooperation of defendant’s
born: Eusebio C. Macaraig, on January 11, 1953; Victoria C. Macaraig, older sister, Mrs. Enriqueta Majul, and the latter obliged and arranged a
on March 26, 1956; and Alexander C. Macaraig, on August 4, 1958. All meeting at her home in Buendia between plaintiff and Lily Ann Alcala. Lily
the children are in the care of plaintiff wife. Ann said she was willing to give up defendant as she had no desire to be
accused criminally but it was defendant who refused to break relationship
with her.
"Immediately before the election of 1961, defendant was employed as
manager of the printing establishment owned by plaintiff’s father known "In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her two
as the MICO Offset. In that capacity, defendant met and came to know children, Victoria and Alexander, and by Mrs. Leticia Lagronio went to
Lily Ann Alcala, who placed orders with MICO Offset for propaganda talk to defendant at his place of work on España Extension in front of
materials for Mr. Sergio Osmeña, who was then a Vice-Presidential Quezon Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby restaurant,
candidate. After the elections of 1961, defendant resigned from MICO where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up Lily Ann Alcala and to
Offset to be a special agent at Malacañang. He began to be away often return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was willing to forgive
and to come home very late. Upon plaintiff’s inquiry, defendant explained him. Defendant informed plaintiff that he could no longer leave Lily Ann
that he was out on a series of confidential missions. and refused to return to his legitimate family.

"In September, 1962, Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car, told "On December 14, 1963, plaintiff instituted the present action for legal
plaintiff that defendant was living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala. separation. When defendant did not interpose any answer after he was
When defendant, the following October, returned to the conjugal home, served summons, the case was referred to the Office of the City Fiscal of
plaintiff refrained from verifying Lubos’ report from defendant in her Manila pursuant to the provisions of Article 101 of the Civil Code. After a
desire not to anger nor drive defendant away. Although Plaintiff, in report was received from Asst. Fiscal Primitivo M. Peñaranda that he
April 1963, also received rumors that defendant was seen with a woman believed that there was no collusion present, plaintiff was allowed to
who was on the family way on Dasmariñas St., she was so happy that present her evidence. Defendant has never appeared in this case."cralaw
defendant again returned to the family home in May, 1963 that she once virtua1aw library
more desisted from discussing the matter with him because she did not
wish to precipitate a quarrel and drive him away. All this while, The reasons relied upon by the trial court in dismissing the complaint are
defendant, if and whenever he returned to the family fold, would only stay set forth in the appealed decision as follows:
for two or three days but would be gone for a period of about a month.
"Under the facts established by plaintiff’s evidence, although the infidelity
After plaintiff received reports that Lily Ann Alcala had given birth to a of the husband is apparent, yet the case will have to be dismissed.
baby, she sent Mrs. Felicisima Antioquia, her father’s employee, to verify Article 102 provides that an action for legal separation cannot be
the reports. The latter was driven by Lubos to the house in Singalong and instituted except within one year after plaintiff ‘became cognizant of
between 5:00 and 6:00 o’clock that afternoon, she saw defendant was the cause.’ In the absence of a clear-cut decision of the Supreme Court
carrying a baby in his arms. Mrs. Antioquia then went to the parish priest as to the exact import of the term ‘cognizant,’ the practical application of
of Singalong where she inquired about the child of Cesar Macaraig and said Article can be attended with difficulty. For one thing; that rules might
be different in case of adultery, which is an act, and for concubinage, attempts to induce the husband to amend his erring ways but failed. Her
which may be a situation or a relationship.chanrobles virtuallawlibrary desire to bring defendant back to the connubial fold and to preserve
family solidarity deterred her from taking timely legal action.
"In respect of concubinage, the word ‘cognizant’ may not connote the
date when proof thereof sufficient to establish the cause before a court of
law is possessed. Otherwise, the one-year period would be meaningless The only question to be resolved is whether the period of one year
for practical purposes because all a wife would have to do would be to provided for in Article 102 of the Civil Code should be counted, as far as
claim that the necessary proof was secured only within one year before the instant case is concerned, from September 1962 or from December
the filing of the complaint. On the other hand, it should be hard to 1963. Computing the period of one year from the former date, it is
concede that what the law envisages (and, in a way, encourages) is the clear that plaintiff’s complaint filed on December 14, 1963 came a
filing of a complaint within one year after the innocent spouse has little too late, while the reverse would be true if said period is
received information of the other’s infidelity, howsoever baseless the deemed to have commenced only in the month of December 1963.
report might be.
The period of "five years from after the date when such cause occurred"
The Court believes that the correct rule lies between the two is not here involved.
extremes. At the time a wife acquired information, which can be
reasonably relied upon as true, that her husband is living in Upon the undisputed facts it seems clear that, in the month of September
concubinage with another woman, the one-year period should be 1962, whatever knowledge appellant had acquired regarding the infidelity
deemed to have started even if the wife shall not then be in of her husband, that is, of the fact that he was then living in Singalong
possession of proof sufficient to establish the concubinage before a with Lily Ann Alcala, was only through the information given to her by
court of law. The one-year period may be viewed, inter alia, as an Avelino Lubos, driver of the family car. Much as such hearsay information
allotted time within which proof should be secured. It is in the light of this had pained and anguished her, she apparently thought it best — and no
rule that the Court will determine whether or not plaintiff’s action for legal reasonable person may justifiably blame her for it — not to go deeper into
separation has prescribed. the matter herself because in all probability even up to that time,
notwithstanding her husband’s obvious neglect of his entire family,
After her husband resigned from MICO Offset to be a special agent in appellant still cherished the hope — however forlorn — of his coming
Malacañang, subsequent to the elections of 1961, he would seldom back home to them. Indeed, when her husband returned to the conjugal
come home. He alleged plaintiff’s suspicions with the explanation that he home the following October, she purposely refrained from bringing up the
had been away on ‘confidential missions.’ However, in September, matter of his marital infidelity "in her desire not to anger nor drive
1962, Avelino Lubos, plaintiff’s driver, reported to plaintiff that defendant away" — quoting the very words of the trial court. True,
defendant was living in Singalong with Lily Ann Alcala. As a matter appellant likewise heard in April 1963 rumors that her husband was seen
of fact, it was also Lubos who brought Mrs. F. Antioquia (when plaintiff with a woman on the family way on Dasmariñas street, but failed again to
had asked to verify the reports) to the house in Singalong where she saw either bring up the matter with her husband or make attempts to verify the
defendant, Lily Ann and the baby. truth of said rumors, but this was due, as the lower court itself believed,
because "she was so happy that defendant again returned to the family
"The requirement of the law that a complaint for legal separation be filed home in May 1963 that she once more desisted from discussing the
within one year after the date plaintiff became cognizant of the cause is matter with him because she did not wish to precipitate a quarrel and
not of prescriptive nature, but is of the essence of the cause of action. It drive him away." As a matter of fact, notwithstanding all these painful
is consonant with the philosophy that marriage is an inviolable social informations — which would not have been legally sufficient to make a
institution so that the law provides strict requirements before it will allow a case for legal separation — appellant still made brave if desperate
disruption of its status. attempts to persuade her husband to come back home. In the words of
the lower court, she "entreated her father-in-law, Lucilo Macaraig, to
"In the instant action, the Court has to find that plaintiff became cognizant intercede with defendant and to convince him to return to his family" and
of defendant’s infidelity in September, 1962. Plaintiff made successive also "requested the cooperation of defendant’s older sister, Mrs.
Enriqueta Majul" for the same purpose, but all that was of no avail. Her
husband remained obdurate.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red

After a careful review of the record, We are persuaded that, in the eyes
of the law, the only time when appellant really became cognizant of
the infidelity of her husband was in the early part of December 1963
when, quoting from the appealed decision, the following happened —

"In the early part of December, 1963, plaintiff, accompanied by her


two children, Victoria and Alexander, and by Mrs. Leticia Lagronio
went to talk to defendant at his place of work on España Extension
in front of Quezon Institute. They repaired to Victoria Peak, a nearby
restaurant, where plaintiff pleaded with defendant to give up Lily Ann
Alcala and to return to the conjugal home, assuring him that she was
willing to forgive him. Defendant informed plaintiff that he could no longer
leave Lily Ann and refused to return to his legitimate family."cralaw
virtua1aw library

From all the foregoing We conclude that it was only on the occasion
mentioned in the preceding paragraph when her husband admitted to her
that he was living with and would no longer leave Lily Ann to return to his
legitimate family that appellant must be deemed to be under obligation to
decide whether to sue or not to sue for legal separation, and it was only
then that the legal period of one year must be deemed to have
commenced.
Lapuz v. Eufemio The first real issue in this case is: Does the death of the plaintiff before
final decree, in an action for legal separation, abate the action? If it
JDRC: Dismissed complaint for legal separation on the ground of death of plaintiff, Carmen O. Lapuz does, will abatement also apply if the action involves property
Sy, which occurred during the pendency of the case, abated the cause of action as well as the action
itself. The dismissal order was issued over the objection of Macario Lapuz, the heir of the deceased
rights? .
plaintiff (and petitioner herein) who sought to substitute the deceased and to have the case
prosecuted to final judgment.
An action for legal separation which involves nothing more than the bed-
and-board separation of the spouses (there being no absolute divorce in
On 18 August 1953, Carmen O. Lapuz Sy filed a petition for legal this jurisdiction) is purely personal. The Civil Code of the Philippines
separation against Eufemio S. Eufemio, alleging, in the main, that they recognizes this in its Article 100, by allowing only the innocent spouse
were married civilly on 21 September 1934 and canonically on 30 (and no one else) to claim legal separation; and in its Article 108, by
September 1934; that they had lived together as husband and wife providing that the spouses can, by their reconciliation, stop or abate the
continuously until 1943 when her husband abandoned her; that they had proceedings and even rescind a decree of legal separation already
no child; that they acquired properties during their marriage; and that she rendered. Being personal in character, it follows that the death of
discovered her husband cohabiting with a Chinese woman named one party to the action causes the death of the action itself — actio
Go Hiok at 1319 Sisa Street, Manila, on or about March 1949. She personalis moritur cum persona.
prayed for the issuance of a decree of legal separation, which, among
others, would order that the defendant Eufemio S. Eufemio should be ... When one of the spouses is dead, there is no need for
deprived of his share of the conjugal partnership profits. divorce, because the marriage is dissolved. The heirs
cannot even continue the suit, if the death of the spouse
In his second amended answer to the petition, herein respondent takes place during the course of the suit (Article 244,
Eufemio S. Eufemio alleged affirmative and special defenses, and, along Section 3). The action is absolutely dead
with several other claims involving money and other properties, counter-
claimed for the declaration of nullity ab initio of his marriage with Marriage is a personal relation or status, created under
Carmen O. Lapuz Sy, on the ground of his prior and subsisting the sanction of law, and an action for divorce is a
marriage, celebrated according to Chinese law and customs, with proceeding brought for the purpose of effecting a
one Go Hiok, alias Ngo Hiok. dissolution of that relation. The action is one of a personal
nature. In the absence of a statute to the contrary, the
Issues having been joined, trial proceeded and the parties adduced their death of one of the parties to such action abates the
respective evidence. But before the trial could be completed (the action, for the reason that death has settled the
respondent was already scheduled to present surrebuttal evidence question of separation beyond all controversy and
on 9 and 18 June 1969), petitioner Carmen O. Lapuz Sy died in a deprived the court of jurisdiction, both over the
vehicular accident on 31 May 1969. Counsel for petitioner duly persons of the parties to the action and of the subject-
notified the court of her death. matter of the action itself. For this reason the courts are
almost unanimous in holding that the death of either party
On 9 June 1969, respondent Eufemio moved to dismiss the "petition for to a divorce proceeding, before final decree, abates the
legal separation"1 on two (2) grounds, namely: that the petition for legal action.
separation was and that the death of Carmen abated the action for legal
separation. The same rule is true of causes of action and suits for separation and
maintenance).
On 26 June 1969, counsel for deceased petitioner moved to substitute
the deceased Carmen by her father, Macario Lapuz. Counsel for Eufemio A review of the resulting changes in property relations between
opposed the motion. spouses shows that they are solely the effect of the decree of legal
separation; hence, they can not survive the death of the plaintiff if it
occurs prior to the decree. On the point, Article 106 of the Civil Code proper notice, the legal representative of the deceased to
provides: . appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a
period of thirty (30) days, or within such time as may be
Art. 106. The decree of legal separation shall have the granted...
following effects:
The same result flows from a consideration of the enumeration of the
(1) The spouses shall be entitled to live separately from actions that survive for or against administrators in Section 1, Rule 87, of
each other, but the marriage bonds shall not be severed; . the Revised Rules of Court:

(2) The conjugal partnership of gains or the absolute SECTION 1. Actions which may and which may not be
conjugal community of property shall be dissolved and brought against executor or administrator. No action upon
liquidated, but the offending spouse shall have no right to a claim for the recovery of money or debt or interest
any share of the profits earned by the partnership or thereon shall be commenced against the executor or
community, without prejudice to the provisions of article administrator; but actions to recover real or personal
176; property, or an interest therein, from the estate, or to
enforce a lien thereon, and actions to recover damages
(3) The custody of the minor children shall be awarded to for an injury to person or property, real or personal, may
the innocent spouse, unless otherwise directed by the be commenced against him.
court in the interest of said minors, for whom said court
may appoint a guardian; Neither actions for legal separation or for annulment of marriage can be
deemed fairly included in the enumeration..
(4) The offending spouse shall be disqualified from
inheriting from the innocent spouse by intestate A further reason why an action for legal separation is abated by the
succession. Moreover, provisions in favor of the offending death of the plaintiff, even if property rights are involved, is that
spouse made in the will of the innocent one shall be these rights are mere effects of decree of separation, their source
revoked by operation of law. being the decree itself; without the decree such rights do not come
into existence, so that before the finality of a decree, these claims
From this article it is apparent that the right to the dissolution of the are merely rights in expectation. If death supervenes during the
conjugal partnership of gains (or of the absolute community of pendency of the action, no decree can be forthcoming, death producing a
property), the loss of right by the offending spouse to any share of the more radical and definitive separation; and the expected consequential
profits earned by the partnership or community, or his disqualification to rights and claims would necessarily remain unborn.
inherit by intestacy from the innocent spouse as well as the revocation of
testamentary provisions in favor of the offending spouse made by the
innocent one, are all rights and disabilities that, by the very terms of
the Civil Code article, are vested exclusively in the persons of the
spouses; and by their nature and intent, such claims and disabilities
are difficult to conceive as assignable or transmissible. Hence, a
claim to said rights is not a claim that "is not thereby extinguished" after a
party dies, under Section 17, Rule 3, of the Rules of Court, to warrant
continuation of the action through a substitute of the deceased party.

Sec. 17. Death of party. After a party dies and the claim is
not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon
Matubis v. Praxedes concubinage, a ground for legal separation. It however, dismissed the
complaint by stating:
Alleging abandonment and concubinage, plaintiff Socorro Matubis, filed
with the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur, on April 24, 1956, a While this legal ground exist, the suit must be dismissed for two
complaint for legal Separation and changed of surname against her reasons, viz:
husband defendant Zoilo Praxedes.
Under Art. 102 of the new Civil Code, an action for legal
The allegations of the complaint were denied by defendant spouse, separation cannot be filed except within one year from and after
who interposed the defense that it was plaintiff who left the conjugal the date on which the plaintiff became cognizant of the cause and
home. within five years from and after the date when the cause
occurred. The plaintiff became aware of the illegal cohabitation of
Plaintiff and defendant were legally married on January 10, 1943 at Iriga, her husband with Asuncion Rebulado in January, 1955. The
Camarines Sur. For failure to agree on how they should live as husband complaint was filed on April 24, 1956. The present action was,
and wife, the couple, on May 30, 1944, agreed to live separately from therefore, filed out of time and for that reason action is
each other, which status remained unchanged until the present. On April barred.
3, 1948, plaintiff and defendant entered into an agreement (Exhibit B),
the significant portions of which are hereunder reproduced.. Article 100 of the new Civil Code provides that the legal
separation may be claimed only by the innocent spouse,
. . . (a) That both of us relinquish our right over the other as provided there has been no condonation of or consent to the
legal husband and wife. adultery or concubinage. As shown in Exhibit B, the plaintiff
has consented to the commission of concubinage by her
(b) That both without any interference by any of us, nor husband. Her consent is clear from the following stipulations:
either of us can prosecute the other for adultery or
concubinage or any other crime or suit arising from our (b) That both of us is free to get any mate and live with as
separation. husband and wife without any interference by any of us,
nor either of us can prosecute the other for adultery or
(c) That I, the, wife, is no longer entitled for any support from my concubinage or any other crime or suit arising from our
husband or any benefits he may received thereafter, nor I the separation. (Exh. B).
husband is not entitled for anything from my wife.
This stipulation is an unbridled license she gave her husband to
(d) That neither of us can claim anything from the other from the commit concubinage. Having consented to the concubinage, the
time we verbally separated, that is from May 30, 1944 to the plaintiff cannot claim legal separation.
present when we made our verbal separation into writing.
The above decision is now before us for review, plaintiff- appellant
In January, 1955, defendant began cohabiting with one Asuncion claiming that it was error for the lower court to have considered that the
Rebulado and on September 1, 1955, said Asuncion gave birth to a child period to bring the action has already elapsed and that there was consent
who was recorded as the child of said defendant (Exh. C.).It was shown on the part of the plaintiff to the concubinage. The proposition, therefore,
also that defendant and Asuncion deported themselves as husband and calls for the interpretation of the provisions of the law upon which the
wife and were generally reputed as such in the community. lower court based its judgment of dismissal.

After the trial, without the defendant adducing any evidence, the court a Article 102 of the new Civil Code provides:
quo rendered judgment holding that the acts of defendant constituted
An action for legal separation cannot be filed except within one
year from and after the date on which the plaintiff became
cognizant of the cause and within five years from after the date
when cause occurred.

The complaint was filed outside the periods provided for by the above
Article. By the very admission of plaintiff, she came to know the ground
(concubinage) for the legal separation in January, 1955. She instituted
the complaint only on April 24, 1956. It is to be noted that appellant did
not even press this matter in her brief.

The very wording of the agreement Exhibit B. gives no room for


interpretation other than that given by the trial judge. Counsel in his brief
submits that the agreement is divided in two parts. The first part having to
do with the act of living separately which he claims to be legal, and the
second part — that which becomes a license to commit the ground
for legal separation which is admittedly illegal. We do not share
appellant's view. Condonation and consent on the part of plaintiff are
necessarily the import of paragraph 6(b) of the agreement. The
condonation and consent here are not only implied but expressed.
The law (Art. 100 Civil Code), specifically provides that legal
separation may be claimed only by the innocent spouse, provided
there has been no condonation of or consent to the adultery or
concubinage. Having condoned and/or consented in writing, the plaintiff
is now undeserving of the court's sympathy (People vs.
Scheneckenburger, 73 Phil., 413). Plaintiff's counsel even agrees that the
complaint should be dismissed. He claims however, that the grounds for
the dismissal should not be those stated in the decision of the lower
court, "but on the ground that plaintiff and defendant have already been
legally separated from each other, but without the marital bond having
been affected, long before the effectivity of the new Civil Code"
(appellants brief, pp. 7-8). Again, we cannot subscribed to counsel's
contention, because it is contrary to the evidence.

Conformably with the foregoing, we find that the decision appealed from
is in accordance with the evidence and the law on the matter. The same
is hereby affirmed, with costs.
Bugayong v. Ginez The motion to dismiss was predicted on the following grounds: (1)
Assuming arguendo the truth of the allegations of the commission of
This is a case for legal separation filed in the Court of First Instance of "acts of rank infidelity amounting to adultery", the cause of action, if any,
Pangasinan wherein on motion of the defendant, the case was is barred by the statute of limitations; (2) That under the same
dismissed. The order of dismissal was appealed to the Court of Appeals, assumption, the act charged have been condoned by the plaintiff-
but said Tribunal certified the case to the Court on the ground that there husband; and
is absolutely no question of fact involved, the motion being predicated on
the assumption as true of the very facts testified to by plaintiff-husband. The motion to dismiss was answered by plaintiff and the Court,
considering only the second ground of the motion to dismiss i.
The facts of the case abridgedly stated are as follows: Benjamin e., condonation, ordered the dismissal of the action. After the motion for
Bugayong, a serviceman in the United States Navy, was married to reconsideration filed by plaintiff was denied, the case was taken up for
defendant Leonila Ginez on August 27, 1949, at Asingan, Pangasinan, review to the Court of Appeals, appellant's counsel maintaining that the
while on furlough leave. Immediately after their marriage, the couple lived lower court erred:
with their sisters who later moved to Sampaloc, Manila. After some time,
or about July, 1951, Leonila Ginez left the dwelling of her sister-in-law (a) In so prematurely dismissing the case;
and informed her husband by letter that she had gone to reside with
her mother in Asingan, Pangasinan, from which place she later (b) In finding that there were condonation on the part of plaintiff-
moved to Dagupan City to study in a local college there. appellant; and

As early as July, 1951, Benjamin Bugayong began receiving letters from (c) In entertaining condonation as a ground for dismissal
Valeriana Polangco (plaintiff's sister-in-law) and some from anonymous inasmuch as same was not raised in the answer or in a motion to
writers(which were not produced at the hearing) informing him of alleged dismiss.
acts of infidelity of his wife which he did not even care to mention. On
cross-examination, plaintiff admitted that his wife also informed him by As the questions raised in the brief were merely questions of law, the
letter, which she claims to have destroyed, that a certain "Eliong" kissed Court of Appeals certified the case to Superiority.
her. All these communications prompted him in October, 1951 to seek
the advice of the Navy Chaplain as to the propriety of a legal separation
The Civil Code provides:
between him and his wife on account of the latter's alleged acts of
infidelity, and he was directed to consult instead the navy legal
department. ART. 97. A petition for legal separation may be filed:

In August, 1952, plaintiff went to Asingan, Pangasinan, and sought for his (1) For adultery on the part of the wife and for concubinage for
wife whom he met in the house of one Mrs. Malalang, defendant's the part of the husband as defined on the Penal Code; or
godmother. She came along with him and both proceeded to the house
of Pedro Bugayong, a cousin of the plaintiff-husband, where they stayed (2) An attempt by one spouse against the life of the other.
and lived for 2 nights and 1 day as husband and wife. Then they
repaired to the plaintiff's house and again passed the night therein ART. 100. The legal separation may be claimed only by the
as husband and wife. On the second day, Benjamin Bugayong tried innocent spouse, provided there has been no condonation of
to verify from his wife the truth of the information he received that or consent to the adultery or concubinage. Where both
she had committed adultery but Leonila, instead of answering his spouses are offenders, a legal separation cannot by either of
query, merely packed up and left, which he took as a confirmation of them. Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation
the acts of infidelity imputed on her. After that and despite such belief, shall cause the dismissal of the petition.
plaintiff exerted efforts to locate her and failing to find her, he went to
Bacarra, Ilocos Norte, "to soothe his wounded feelings".
ART. 102. An action for legal separation cannot be filed except And yet he tried to locate her, though in vain. Now, do the husband's
within one year from and after the date on which the plaintiff attitude of sleeping with his wife for 2 nights despite his alleged
became cognizant of the cause and within five years from and belief that she was unfaithful to him, amount to a condonation of her
after the date when such cause occurred. previous and supposed adulterous acts? In the order appealed from,
the Court a quo had the following to say on this point:
As the only reason of the lower Court for dismissing the action was the
alleged condonation of the charges of adultery that the plaintiff-husband In the hearing of the case, the plaintiff further testified as follows:
had preferred in the complaint against his wife, We will disregard the
other 2 grounds of the motion to dismiss, as anyway they have not been Q. Now Mr. Bugayong, you have filed this action for legal
raised in appellant's assignment of errors. separation from your wife. Please tell this Hon. Court why you
want to separate from your wife? — A. I came to know that my
Condonation is the forgiveness of a marital offense constituting a ground wife is committing adultery, I consulted the chaplain and he told
for legal separation or, as stated in I Bouver's Law Dictionary, p. 585, me to consult the legal adviser. (p. 11, t.s.n.)
condonation is the "conditional forgiveness or remission, by a husband or
wife of a matrimonial offense which the latter has committed". It is to be Q. Did you finally locate her?--A. Four days later or on the fifth
noted, however, that in defendant's answer she vehemently and day since my arrival she went to the house of our god-mother,
vigorously denies having committed any act of infidelity against her and as a husband I went to her to come along with me in our
husband, and even if We were to give full weight to the testimony of house but she refused. (p. 12, t.s.n.) l awphil.net

the plaintiff, who was the only one that had the chance of testifying
in Court and link such evidence with the averments of the Q. What happened next? — A. I persuaded her to come along
complaint, We would have to conclude that the facts appearing on with me. She consented but I did not bring her home but brought
the record are far from sufficient to establish the charge of adultery, her to the house of my cousin Pedro Bugayong. (p. 12, t.s.n.)
or, as the complaint states, of "acts of rank infidelity amounting to
adultery" preferred against the defendant.
Q. How long did you remain in the house of your cousin Pedro
Bugayong? — A. One day and one night. (p. 12. t.s.n.)
Certainly, the letter that plaintiff claims to have received from his sister-in-
law Valeriana Polangco, which must have been too vague and indefinite
Q. That night when you stayed in the house of your cousin Pedro
as to defendant's infidelity to deserve its production in evidence; nor the
Bugayong as husband and wife, did you slept together? — A.
anonymous letters which plaintiff also failed to present; nor the alleged
Yes, sir. (p. 19, t.s.n.)
letter that, according to plaintiff, his wife addressed to him admitting that
she had been kissed by one Eliong, whose identity was not established
and which admission defendant had no opportunity to deny because the Q. On the next night, when you slept in your own house, did you
motion to dismiss was filed soon after plaintiff finished his testimony in sleep together also as husband and wife? — A. Yes, sir. (p. 19.
Court, do not amount to anything that can be relied upon. t.s.n.)

But this is not a question at issue. In this appeal, We have to consider Q. When was that? — A. That was in August, 1952. (p. 19 t.s.n.)
plaintiff's line of conduct under the assumption that he really
believed his wife guilty of adultery. What did he do in such state of Q. How many nights did you sleep together as husband and wife?
mind. In August, 1952, he went to Pangasinan and looked for his wife — A. Only two nights. (p. 19, t.s.n.)
and after finding her they lived together as husband and wife for 2 nights
and 1 day, after which he says that he tried to verify from her the truth of The New Civil Code of the Philippines, in its Art. 97, says:
the news he had about her infidelity, but failed to attain his purpose
because his wife, instead of answering his query on the matter, preferred A petition for legal separation may be filed:
to desert him, probably enraged for being subjected to such humiliation.
(1) For adultery on the part of the wife and concubinage on the Condonation. Is the forgiveness of a marital offense
part of the husband as defined on the Penal Code. constituting a ground for divorce and bars the right to a
divorce. But it is on the condition, implied by the law when
and in its Art. 100 it says:
lawphil.net
not express, that the wrongdoer shall not again commit
the offense; and also that he shall thereafter treat the
The legal separation may be claimed only by the innocent other spouse with conjugal kindness. A breach of the
spouse, provided there has been no condonation of or consent to condition will revive the original offense as a ground for
the adultery or concubinage. Where both spouses are offenders, divorce. Condonation may be express or implied.
legal separation cannot be claimed by either of them. Collusion
between the parties to obtain legal separation shall cause the It has been held in a long line of decisions of the various supreme
dismissal of the petition. courts of the different states of the U. S. that 'a single voluntary
act of sexual intercourse by the innocent spouse after discovery
A detailed examination of the testimony of the plaintiff-husband, of the offense is ordinarily sufficient to constitute condonation,
especially those portions quoted above, clearly shows that there especially as against the husband'. (27 Corpus Juris Secundum,
was a condonation on the part of the husband for the supposed section 61 and cases cited therein).
"acts of rank infidelity amounting to adultery" committed by
defendant-wife. Admitting for the sake of argument that the Although no acts of infidelity might have been committed by the
infidelities amounting to adultery were committed by the wife, We agree with the trial judge that the conduct of the plaintiff-
defendant, a reconciliation was effected between her and the husband above narrated despite his belief that his wife was
plaintiff. The act of the latter in persuading her to come along unfaithful, deprives him, as alleged the offended spouse, of any
with him, and the fact that she went with him and consented action for legal separation against the offending wife, because his
to be brought to the house of his cousin Pedro Bugayong said conduct comes within the restriction of Article 100 of the Civil
and together they slept there as husband and wife for one Code.
day and one night, and the further fact that in the second
night they again slept together in their house likewise as The only general rule in American jurisprudence is that any cohabitation
husband and wife — all these facts have no other meaning in with the guilty party, after the commission of the offense, and with the
the opinion of this court than that a reconciliation between knowledge or belief on the part of the injured party of its commission, will
them was effected and that there was a condonation of the amount to conclusive evidence of condonation; but this presumption may
wife by the husband. The reconciliation occurred almost ten be rebutted by evidence (60 L. J. Prob. 73).
months after he came to know of the acts of infidelity
amounting to adultery. If there had been cohabitation, to what extent must it be to constitute
condonation?
In Shackleton vs. Shackleton, 48 N. J. Eq. 364; 21 Atl. 935, it has
been held that "condonation is implied from sexual Single voluntary act of marital intercourse between the parties
intercourse after knowledge of the other infidelity. such acts ordinarily is sufficient to constitute condonation, and where the
necessary implied forgiveness. It is entirely consonant with parties live in the same house, it is presumed that they live on
reason and justice that if the wife freely consents to sexual terms of matrimonial cohabitation (27 C. J. S., section 6-d).
intercourse after she has full knowledge of the husband's guilt,
her consent should operate as a pardon of his wrong."

In Tiffany's Domestic and Family Relations, section 107 says:


De La Vina v. Villareal The petitioner contends that the Court of First Instance of Iloilo had no
jurisdiction to take cognizance of the said action for divorce because the
This is an original petition presented in the Supreme Court. Its purpose is defendant therein was a resident of the Province of Negros Oriental and
to obtain an order declaring: (b) that the said respondent judge has the plaintiff, as the wife of the defendant, must also be considered a
exceeded his power and authority in issuing, in said action, a preliminary resident of the same province inasmuch as, under the law, the domicile
injunction against the said petitioner prohibiting him from alienating or of the husband is also the domicile of the wife; that the plaintiff could not
encumbering any part of the conjugal property during the pendency of the acquire a residence in Iloilo before the arriage between her and the
action; and (c) that all the proceedings theretofore had in said court were defendant was legally dissolved.
null and void.
This contention of the petitioner is not tenable. It is true, as a general of
Narcisa Geopano filed a complaint in the Court of First Instance of the law, that the domicile of the wife follows that of her husband. This rule is
Province of Iloilo against Diego de la Viña, alleging: (4) that during their founded upon the theoretic identity of person and of interest between the
marriage plaintiff and defendant had acquired property, real and husband and the wife, and the presumption that, from the nature of the
personal, the value of which was about P300,000 and all of which was relation, the home of the one is that of the other. It is intended to
under the administration of the defendant; (5) that since the year 1913 promote, strenghten, and secure their interests in this relation, as it
and up to the date of the complaint, the defendant had been committing ordinarily exists, where union and harmony prevail. But the authorities
acts of adultery with one Ana Calog, sustaining illicit relations with her are unanimous in holding that this is not an absolute rule. "Under modern
and having her as his concubine, with public scandal and in disgrace of laws it is clear that many exceptions to the rule that the domicile from of
the plaintiff; (6) that because of said illicit relations, the defendant ejected the wife is determined by that of her husband must obtain. Accordingly,
the plaintiff from the conjugal home, for which reason she was obliged to the wife may acquire another and seperate domicile from that of her
live in the city of Iloilo, where she had since established her habitual husband where the theorical unity of husband and wife is is dissolved, as
residence; and (7) that the plaintiff, scorned by her husband, the it is by the institution of divorce proceedings; or where the husband has
defendant, had no means of support and was living only at the expense given cause for divorce; or where there is a separation of the parties by
of one of her daughters. Upon said allegations she prayed for (a) a agreement, or a permanent separation due to desertion of the wife by the
decree of divorce, (b) the partition of the conjugal property, and (c) husband or attributable to cruel treatment on the part of the husband; or
alimony pendente lite in the sum of P400 per month. where there has been a forfeiture by the wife of the benefit of the
husband's domicile."
The defendant Diego de la Viña, petitioner herein, opposed the said
motion for a preliminary injunction, and, subsequently, demurred to the The case of Narcisa Geopano comes under one of the many exceptions
complaint upon the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to take above-mentioned, to wit: "Where the husband has given cause for
cognizance of the cause, "nor over the person of the defendant." divorce, the wife may acquire another and seperate domicile from
that of her husband." In support of this proposition there is a formidable
The questions arising out of the foregoing facts are as follows: array of authorities. We shall content ourselves with illustrative quotations
from a few of them, as follows:
1. May a married woman ever acquire a residence or domicile separate Although the law fixes the domicile of the wife as being that of her husband, universal jurisprudence recognizes an exception to the rule in
from that of her husband during the existence of the marriage? the case where the husband's conduct has been such as to furnish lawful ground for a divorce, which justifies her in leaving him, and,
therefore, necessarily authorities her to live elsewhere and to acquire a separate domicile.

2. In an action for divorce, brought by the wife against her husband, in The matrimonial domicile of the wife is usually that of the husband, but if she is justified in leaving him because his conduct has been such
as to entitle her to a divorce, and she thereupon does leave him and go into another state for the purpose of there permanently residing,
she acquires a domicile in the latter state.
which the partition of the conjugal property is also prayed for, may the
wife obtain a preliminary injunction against the husband restraining and The law will recognize a wife as having a separate existence, and separate interests, and separate rights, in those cases where the
prohibiting him from alienating or encumbering any part of the conjugal express object of all proceedings is to show that the relation itself ougth to be dissolved, or so modified as to establish separate interests,
and especially a separate domicile and home, bed and board being put, apart for the whole, as expressive of the idea of home. Otherwise
property during the pendency of the action? the parties, in this respect, would stand upon very unequal ground, it being in the power of the husband to change his domicile at will, but
not in that of the wife. (Harteau vs. Harteau, 14 Pick. [Mass.], 181; 25 Am. Dec., 372, 375-376.)
Under the pauper laws, and upon general principles, the wife is regarded as having the domicile of her husband; hut this results from his
marital rights, and the duties of the wife. If the husband has forfeited those rights be misbehavior, and has left and deserted the wife, they The domicile of married women not legally separated from their
may have different domiciles, in the view of the law regulating divorces. (Harding vs. Alden, 9 Greenl. [Me.], 140; 23 Am. Dec., 549, 552.)
husband shall be that of the latter. This principle, maintained by
Though as a general principle of law the domicile of the husband is regarded as the domicile of the wife, according to the prevailing view a the Supreme Court in numerous decisions, was modified in a
wife may acquire a residence or domicile separate from her husband so as to confer jurisdiction upon the courts of the state, in which her
domicile or residence is established, to decree a divorce in her favor. (9 R. C. L. 400-401, citing various cases.) particular case by the decision of June 17, 1887, and in
conformity with this last decision, three others were afterwards
The law making the domicile of the husband that of the wife is applicable only to their relations with third parties, and has no application in
cases of actual separation and controversy between themselves as to the temporary or permanent severance of the marriage ties by
rendered on October 13, 23, and 28, 1899, in all of which it is
judicial proceedings. Vence vs. Vence, 15 How. Pr., 497; Schonwald vs. Schonwald, 55 N. C., 367; Cheever vs. Wilson, 76 U. S. (9 Wall.),
109; 19 L. ed., 605. (Notes, p. 498, 16 L. R. A.) declared that when married women as well as children subject to
parental authority live, with the acquiescence of their husbands or
In the case of Schonwald vs. Schonwald (55 N. C., 343), the plaintiff tried fathers, in a place distinct from where the latter live, they have
to do what the petitioner in this case insists the respondent Narcisa their own independent domicile, which should be considered in
Geopano should have done. In that case the wife filed a bill of divorce in determining jurisdiction in cases of provisional support
a court in North Carolina, where her husband resided. She herself had guardianship of persons, etc. (1 Manresa, 233.)
not resided in that state for three years previous to the filing of the suit, as
required by the statute; but she claimed that the domicile of her husband If the wife can acquire a separate residence when her husband consents
was also her domicile and, inasmuch as her husband, the defendant, had or acquiesces, we see no reason why the law will not allow her to do so
been a resident of North Carolina for more than three years, she had also when, as alleged in the present case, the husband unlawfully ejects her
been a resident of that state during that time. The court dismissed the bill, from the conjugal home in order that he may freely indulge in his illicit
holding that the legal maxim that "her domicile is that of her husband" relations with another woman. Under no other circumstance could a
would not avail in the stead of an actual residence. The court said: wife be more justified in establishing a separate residence from that
of her husband. For her to continue living with him, even if he had
It is true that for many purpose the domicile of the husband is the permitted it, would have been a condonation of his flagrant breach
domicile of the wife, but it is not so for every purpose. The maxim of fidelity and marital duty. Furthermore, in this case no longer was
that the domicile of the wife follows that of the husband cannot be there an "identity of persons and of interest between the husband and the
applied to oust the court of its jurisdiction; neither, from party of wife." Therefore the law allowed her to acquire a separate residence. For,
reasons can it give jurisdiction. (P. 344.) "it would do violence to the plainest principle of common sense and
common justice of to call this residence of the guilty husband, where the
Turning to the Spanish authorities, we find that they agree with the wife is forbidden to come, . . . the domicile of the wife." (Champon vs.
American authorities in holding that the maxim or rule that the domicile of Champon, 40 La. Ann., 28.)
the wife follows that of the husband, is not an absolute one. Scaevola,
commenting on article 40 of the Civil Code (which is the only legal It is clear, therefore, that a married woman may acquire a residence or
provision or authority relied upon by the petitioner in this case), says: domicile separate from that of her husband, during the existence of the
marriage, where the husband has given cause for divorce.
Although article 64 of the Law of Civil Procedure provides that the
domicile of a married woman, not legally separated from her
husband, is that of the latter, yet, when the tacit consent of the
husband and other circumstances justify it, for the purpose of
determining jurisdiction, the habitual residence of the woman
should be considered as her domicile where her right may be
exercised in accordance with article 63. (Scaevola, Civil Code, p.
354.)

Manresa, commenting upon the same article (art. 40) says:


Araneta v. Concepcion “ART. 103. An action for legal separation shall in no case be tried before six
months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition.”
The main action was brought by Petitioner against his wife, one of
the Respondent herein, for legal separation on the ground of adultery. After Interpreting the spirit and policy of the provision the trial judge says: chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

the issues were joined Defendant therein filed an omnibus petition to


“This provision of the code is mandatory. This case cannot be tried within
secure custody of their three minor children, a monthly support of P5,000
the period of six months from the filing of the complaint. The court
for herself and said children, and the return of her passport, to
understands that the introduction of any evidence, be it on the merits of the
enjoin Plaintiff from ordering his hirelings from harassing and molesting
case or on any incident, is prohibited. The law, up to the last minute, exerts
her, and to have Plaintiff therein pay for the fees of her attorney in the
efforts at preserving the family and the home from utter ruin. Interpreting
action.
the intent of said article, the court understands that every step it should
The petition is supported by her affidavit. Plaintiff opposed the petition, take within the period of six months above stated should be taken toward
denying the misconduct imputed to him and alleging that Defendant had reconciling the parties. Admitting evidence now will make reconciliation
abandoned the children; alleging that conjugal properties were worth
chan robl esvirtualawlibrary difficult if not impossible. In this case the court should act as if nothing yet
only P80,000, not one million pesos as alleged by Defendant; denying the
chan roblesvirtualawlibrary had happened. The children must be given for custody to him or her who by
taking of her passport or the supposed vexation, and contesting her right to family custom and tradition is the custodian of the children. The court
attorney’s fees. Plaintiff prayed that as the petition for custody and support should ignore that Defendant had committed any act of adultery or
cannot be determined without evidence, the parties be required to submit the Plaintiff, any act of cruelty to his wife. The status quo of the family must
their respective evidence. He also contended that Defendant is not entitled be restored as much as possible. In this country, unlike perhaps in any other
to the custody of the children as she had abandoned them and had country of the globe, a family or a home is a petite corporation. The father is
committed adultery, that by her conduct she had become unfit to educate the administrator who earns the family funds, dictates rules in the home for
her children, being unstable in her emotions and unable to give the children all to follow, and protects all members of his family. The mother keeps
the love, respect and care of a true mother and without means to educate home, keeps children in her company and custody, and keeps the treasure
them. of that family. In a typical Filipino family, the wife prepares home budget
and makes little investment without the knowledge of her husband. A
As to the claim for support, Plaintiff claims that there are no conjugal assets
husband who holds the purse is un-Filipino. He is shunned in Filipino
and she is not entitled to support because of her infidelity and that she was
community. The court therefore, in taking action on petition No. 1 should be
able to support herself. Affidavits and documents were submitted both in
guided by the above considerations.” (pp. 116-117, Record on Appeal.)
support and against the omnibus petition.
It may be noted that since more than six months have elapsed since the
The Respondent judge resolved the omnibus petition, granting the custody
filing of the petition the question offered may not be allowed. It is,
of the children to Defendant and a monthly allowance of P2,300 for support
however, believed that the reasons for granting the preliminary injunction
for her and the children, P300 for a house and P2,000 as attorney’s fees.
should be given that the scope of the article cited may be explained.
Upon refusal of the judge to reconsider the order, Petitionerfiled the
present petition for certiorari against said order and for mandamus to It is conceded that the period of six months fixed therein Article 103 (Civil
compel the Respondent judge to require the parties to submit evidence Code) is evidently intended as a cooling off period to make possible a
before deciding the omnibus petition. We granted a writ of preliminary reconciliation between the spouses. The recital of their grievances against
injunction against the order. each other in court may only fan their already inflamed passions against
one another, and the lawmaker has imposed the period to give them
The main reason given by the judge, for refusing Plaintiff’s request that
opportunity for dispassionate reflection. But this practical expedient,
evidence be allowed to be introduced on the issues, is the prohibition
necessary to carry out legislative policy, does not have the effect of
contained in Article 103 of the Civil Code, which reads as follows:
overriding other provisions such as the determination of the custody of
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
the children and alimony and support pendente lite according to the
circumstances. (Article 105, Civil Code.) The law expressly enjoins that
these should be determined by the court according to the circumstances. If
these are ignored or the courts close their eyes to actual facts, rank in
justice may be caused.
Take the case at bar, for instance. Why should the court ignore the claim of
adultery by Defendantin the face of express allegations under oath to that
effect, supported by circumstantial evidence consisting of letter the
authenticity of which cannot be denied. And why assume that the children
are in the custody of the wife, and that the latter is living at the conjugal
dwelling, when it is precisely alleged in the petition and in the affidavits,
that she has abandoned the conjugal abode? Evidence of all these disputed
allegations should be allowed that the discretion of the court as to the
custody and alimony pendente lite may be lawfully exercised.
The rule is that all the provisions of the law even if apparently contradictory,
should be allowed to stand and given effect by reconciling them if
necessary.
Thus the determination of the custody and alimony should be given effect
and force provided it does not go to the extent of violating the policy of
the cooling off period. That is, evidence not affecting the cause of the
separation, like the actual custody of the children, the means conducive to
their welfare and convenience during the pendency of the case, these
should be allowed that the court may determine which is best for their
custody.
The writ prayed for is hereby issued and the Respondent judge or
whosoever takes his place is ordered to proceed on the question of custody
and support pendente lite in accordance with this opinion. The court’s order
fixing the alimony and requiring payment is reversed. Without costs.
the dispute is resolved, the better for all concerned. A suit for legal
Samosa v. Vamenta separation, however, is something else again. It involves a relationship
on which the law for the best reasons would attach the quality of
The question raised in this petition for certiorari is whether or not Article 103 of the Civil Code permanence. That there are times when domestic felicity is much less
prohibiting the hearing of an action for legal separation before the lapse of six months from the filing of
the petition, would likewise preclude the court from acting on a motion for preliminary mandatory than it ought to be is not of course to be denied. Grievances, whether
injunction applied for as an ancillary remedy to such a suit. Respondent Cipriano Vamenta, Jr., of the fancied or real, may be entertained by one or both of the spouses. There
Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental, answered the question in the affirmative, in view of the
absolute tenor of such Civil Code provision, which reads thus: "An action for legal separation shall in may be constant bickering. The loss affection on the part of one or both
no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition." He therefore may be discernible. Nonetheless, it will not serve public interest, much
ordered the suspension, upon the plea of the other respondent the husband Clemente G. Ramos, of less the welfare of the husband or the wife, to allow them to go their
the hearing on a motion for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction filed by petitioner at the same
time the suit for legal separation was instituted. Petitioner, Lucy Somosa-Ramos, the wife who brought respective ways. Where there are offspring, the reason for maintaining
the action for legal separation would dispute such a ruling. Hence, this certiorari proceeding. As will be the conjugal union is even more imperative. It is a mark of realism of the
shown later there is justification for such a move on the part of petitioner. The respondent Judge ought
to have acted differently. The plea for a writ of certiorari must be granted. law that for certain cases, adultery on the part of the wife and
concubinage on the part of the husband, or an attempt of one spouse
The pleadings show that on June 18, 1971, petitioner filed Civil Case No. against the life of the other,1 it recognizes, albeit reluctantly, that the
5274 in the sala of respondent Judge against respondent Clemente couple is better off apart. A suit for legal separation lies. Even then, the
Ramos for legal separation, on concubinage on the respondent's part hope that the parties may settle their differences is not all together
and an attempt by him against her life being alleged. She likewise abandoned. The healing balm of time may aid in the process. Hopefully,
sought the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction the guilty parties may mend his or her ways, and the offended party may
for the return to her of what she claimed to be her paraphernal and in turn exhibit magnanimity. Hence, the interposition of a six-month
exclusive property, then under the administration and management period before an action for legal separation is to be tried.
of respondent Clemente Ramos. There was an opposition to the
hearing of such a motion, dated July 3, 1971, based on Article 103 of the The court where the action is pending according to Article 103 is to
Civil Code. It was further manifested by him in a pleading dated July 16, remain passive. It must let the parties alone in the meanwhile. It is
1971, that if the motion asking for preliminary mandatory injunction were precluded from hearing the suit. There is then some plausibility for the
heard, the prospect of the reconciliation of the spouses would become view of the lower court that an ancillary motion such as one for
even more dim. Respondent Judge ordered the parties to submit their preliminary mandatory injunction is not to be acted on. If it were
respective memoranda on the matter. Then on September 3, 1971, otherwise, there would be a failure to abide by the literal language of
petitioner received an order dated August 4, 1971 of respondent Judge such codal provision. That the law, however, remains cognizant of the
granting the motion of respondent Ramos to suspend the hearing of the need in certain cases for judicial power to assert itself is discernible from
petition for a writ of mandatory preliminary injunction. That is the order what is set forth in the following article. It reads thus: "After the filing of
complained of in this petition for certiorari. Respondents were required to the petition for legal separation, the spouse shall be entitled to live
answer according to our resolution of October 5, 1971. The answer was separately from each other and manage their respective property. The
filed December 2 of that year. Then on January 12, 1972 came a husband shall continue to manage the conjugal partnership property but
manifestation from parties in the case submitting the matter without if the court deems it proper, it may appoint another to manage said
further arguments. property, in which case the administrator shall have the same rights and
duties as a guardian and shall not be allowed to dispose of the income or
After a careful consideration of the legal question presented, it is of the capital except in accordance with the orders of the court."2 There
the holding of this Court that Article 103 the Civil Code is not an would appear to be then a recognition that the question of
absolute bar to the hearing motion for preliminary injunction prior to management of their respective property need not be left
the expiration of the six-month period. unresolved even during such six-month period. An administrator
may even be appointed for the management of the property of the
conjugal partnership. The absolute limitation from which the court
1. It is understandable why there should be a period during which the
suffers under the preceding article is thereby eased. The parties may in
court is precluded from acting. Ordinarily of course, no such delay is
the meanwhile be heard. There is justification then for the petitioner's
permissible. Justice to parties would not thereby be served. The sooner
insistence that her motion for preliminary mandatory injunction should not
be ignored by the lower court. There is all the more reason for this
response from respondent Judge, considering that the husband whom
she accused of concubinage and an attempt against her life would in the
meanwhile continue in the management of what she claimed to be her
paraphernal property, an assertion that was not specifically denied by
him. What was held by this Court in Araneta v. Concepcion,3 thus
possesses relevance: "It is conceded that the period of six months fixed
therein Article 103 (Civil Code) is evidently intended as a cooling off
period to make possible a reconciliation between the spouses. The recital
of their grievances against each other in court may only fan their already
inflamed passions against one another, and the lawmaker has imposed
the period to give them opportunity for dispassionate reflection. But this
practical expedient, necessary to carry out legislative policy, does not
have the effect of overriding other provisions such as the determination of
the custody of the children and alimony and support pendente lite
according to the circumstance ... The law expressly enjoins that these
should be determined by the court according to the circumstances. If
these are ignored or the courts close their eyes to actual facts, rank
injustice may be caused."4 At any rate, from the time of the issuance
of the order complained of on August 4, 1971, more than six months
certainly had elapsed. Thus there can be no more impediment for the
lower court acting on the motion of petitioner for the issuance of a writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction.

WHEREFORE, the plea of petitioner for a writ of certiorari is granted, and


the order of respondent Court of August 4, 1971, suspending the hearing
on the petition for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction is set aside.
Respondent Judge is directed to proceed without delay to hear the
motion for preliminary mandatory injunction. Costs against respondent
Clemente G. Ramos.
Lerma v. CA another, dismissing the petition. This is now the subject of the instant
proceeding for review.
Petitioner Lerma and respondent Diaz are husband and wife. They
married on May 19, 1951. On August 22, 1969 the petitioner filed a On January 23, 1974 the petitioner filed an urgent motion for a writ of
complaint for adultery against the respondent and a certain Teodoro preliminary injunction and/or restraining order,; (4) that in connection with
Ramirez. the first adultery charge, the respondent and her co-accused, Teddy
Ramirez, had been convicted by the Court of First Instance of Rizal in its
On November 18, 1969 the respondent filed with the lower court, decision rendered on September 26, 1972 and said judgment of
presided by Judge Leonor Ines Luciano, a complaint1 against the conviction was pending appeal in the Court of Appeals; (5) that Judge
petitioner for legal separation and/or separation of properties, Luciano issued an order dated January 19, 1974, ordering the petitioner
custody of their children2 and support, with an urgent petition for to pay the respondent the awarded support pendente lite within 15 days;
support pendente lite for her and their youngest son, Gregory, who
was then and until now is in her custody. The respondent's (3) that under Article 292 of the New Civil Code, which provides that
complaint for legal separation is based on two grounds: "during the proceedings for legal separation, or for annulment of
concubinage and attempt against her life. marriage, the spouses and children shall be supported from the conjugal
partnership property ...," such support is mandatory even if there be a
The petitioner filed his opposition to the respondent's application for showing that the wife is guilty of adultery.
support pendente lite, setting up as defense the adultery charge he had
filed against the respondent. CA: Trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion

Judge Luciano granted the respondent's application for The foregoing alleged errors refer to the two aspects, procedural and
support pendente lite in an order dated December 24, 1969, which she substantive, of the disputed orders granting support pendente lite.
amended in an order dated February 15, 1970 to the following effect: (1)
the respondent was declared entitled to support pendente lite from The question of whether or not the petitioner should be allowed to
the date of the filing of the complaint; and (2) the amount of such present evidence in the lower court in support of that his wife had
monthly support was reduced from P2,250.00 to P1,820.00. committed adultery has become academic. The petitioner, in his motion
filed February 28, 1974 for reconsideration of the denial by this Court of
On March 12, 1970 the petitioner filed with respondent Court of his petition for preliminary injunction, manifested that on September 26,
Appeals a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction 1972 the court of First Instance of Rizal decided the adultery case of the
to annul the aforementioned orders on the ground that they were issued respondent and found her and her co-accused, Teodoro Ramirez, guilty
with grave abuse of discretion. The next day the respondent court gave of the charge, sentencing them to a term of imprisonment. This has not
due course to the petition and issued a writ of preliminary injunction to been denied by the respondent. Neither is it denied that on March 30,
stop Judge Luciano from enforcing said orders. 1970, as a result of the adulterous relations with Teodoro Ramirez for
which she was later on convicted, the said respondent gave birth
The respondent court, in its decision of October 8, 1970, set aside the prematurely to a baby boy, who however died the same day. When the
assailed orders and granted the petitioner an opportunity to present respondent entered the hospital for delivery, she registered under the
evidence before the lower court in support of his defense against assumed name of "Gloria Santos," and when the child died had it falsely
the application for support pendente lite. identified in the death certificate as the child of one Rosario R. Salita, a
close friend of hers. For the falsification thus committed Rosario E. Salita
The respondent moved to reconsider the decision on the ground was criminally charged and convicted, although the respondent herself
that the petitioner had not asked that he be allowed to present was acquitted on reasonable doubt. The petitioner's motion of February
evidence in the lower court. The respondent court, in its resolution of 28 also states, without denial on the part of the respondent, that after
January 20, 1971, set aside the decision of October 8 and rendered Teodoro Ramirez another man, this time a Manila policeman by the name
of Jose Gochangco, became her paramour, as a consequence of which support pendente lite is applied for, that the court determine
criminal charges of adultery have been filed against them before the provisionally "the probable outcome of the case."
Fiscal of Manila. Photographs of the two, showing them in intimate pose,
were submitted to this Court. Their veracity has not been disputed. Article 100 of the Civil Code provides that "the legal separation may be
claimed only by the innocent spouse, provided there has been no
The legal issue posed by the foregoing facts is whether adultery is a condonation of or consent to the adultery or concubinage ... (and) where
good defense against the respondent's claim for support pendente both spouses are offenders, a legal separation cannot be claimed by
lite. In Quintana v. Lerma, 24 Phil. 285, which was an action by the wife either of them ..."
against the husband for support, based upon a written contract, this
Court held that adultery is a good defense. This ruling was reiterated in In a provisional sense at least, within the meaning of Rule 61 (Section 5),
the subsequent cases of Sanchez v. Zulueta, 68 Phil. 110, and Mangoma the probable failure of the respondent's suit for legal separation can be
v. Macadaeg, et al., 90 Phil. 508. See also Olayvar v. Olayvar, 98 Phil. foreseen since she is not an innocent spouse, having been convicted of
52. adultery by the Court of First Instance. It is true that the judgment of
conviction is on appeal in the Court of Appeals, but the same
The respondent Court of Appeals, in upholding the questioned orders of undoubtedly satisfies the standard of provisional showing set by
the lower court, relied on Article 292 of the Civil Code, which reads: the aforesaid Rule. If legal separation cannot be claimed by the guilty
spouse in the first place, the fact that an action for that purpose is filed
ART. 292. During the proceedings for legal anyway should not be permitted to be used as a means to obtain
separation, or for annulment of marriage, the spouses support pendente lite, which, without such action, would be denied on the
and children shall be supported from the conjugal strength of the decisions of this Court recognizing adultery as a good
partnership property. After the final judgment of legal defense. Otherwise, as pointed out by the petitioner, all that an erring
separation, or of annulment of marriage, the obligation of spouse has to do to circumvent such defense would be to file a suit for
mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in legal separation no matter how groundless.
case of legal separation, the court may order that the
guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, the The right to separate support or maintenance, even from the conjugal
judgment specifying the terms of such order. partnership property, presupposes the existence of a justifiable cause for
the spouse claiming such right to live separately. This is implicit in Article
It is suggested that while adultery may be a defense in an action for 104 of the Civil Code, which states that after the filing of the petition for
personal support, that is, support of the wife by the husband from his own legal separation the spouses shall be entitled to live separately from each
funds, it is not a defense when the support is to be taken from the other. A petition in bad faith, such as that filed by one who is himself
conjugal partnership property. or herself guilty of an act which constitutes a ground for legal
separation at the instance of the other spouse, cannot be
We do not see that the distinction is material in this case. In the first place considered as within the intendment of the law granting separate
Article 292 is not in itself the source of the legal right to receive support. It support. In fact under Article 303 of the same Code the obligation to give
merely states that the support, not only of the spouses but also of the support shall cease "when the recipient, be he a forced heir or not, has
children, shall be taken from the conjugal property during the pendency committed some act which gives rise to disinheritance;" and under Article
of the legal separation proceeding. It does not preclude the loss of such 921 one of the causes for disinheriting a spouse is "when the spouse has
right in certain cases. In the second place, the said article given cause for legal separation." The loss of the substantive right to
contemplates the pendency of a court action and, inferentially at support in such a situation is incompatible with any claim for
least, a prima facie showing that the action will prosper. For if the support pendente lite.
action is shown to be groundless the mere filing thereof will not
necessarily set Article 292 in operation. This is also the sense of
Section 5 of Rule 61, supra, which requires, among other things, when
People v. Sensano The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without
including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any
CFI: Guilty of adultery. case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders.

Ursula Sensano and Mariano Ventura were married on April 29, 1919. Apart from the fact that the husband in this case was assuming a mere
They had one child. Shortly after the birth of his child, the husband pose when he signed the complaint as the "offended" spouse, we have
left his wife to go to the Province of Cagayan where he remained for come to the conclusion that the evidence in this case and his
three years without writing to his wife or sending her anything for the conduct warrant the inference that he consented to the adulterous
support of herself and their son. Poor and illiterate, without relatives relations existing between the accused and therefore he is not
upon whom she could call, she struggled for an existence for authorized by law to institute this criminal proceeding.
herself and her son until a fatal day when she met the accused
Marcelo Ramos who took her and the child to live with him. On the return We cannot accept the argument of the Attorney-General that the seven
of the husband (in 1924), he filed a charge against his wife and years of acquiescence on his part in the adultery of his wife is explained
Marcelo Ramos for adultery and both were sentenced to four months and by his absence from the Philippine Islands during which period it was
one day of arresto mayor. The court, in its decision, stated the following: impossible for him to take any action against the accused. There is no
"In the opinion of the court, the husband of the accused has been merit in the argument that it was impossible for the husband to take any
somewhat cruel in his treatment of his wife having abandoned her as he action against the accused during the said seven years.
did." After completing her sentence, the accused left her paramour.

She thereupon appealed to this municipal president and the justice of the
peace to send for her husband so that she might ask his pardon and beg
him to take her back. At the house of the president she begged his
pardon and promised to be a faithful wife it he would take care her back.
He refused to pardon her to live with her and said she could go where
she wished, that he would have nothing more to do with her, and she
could do as she pleased. Abandoned for the second time, she and her
child went back to her coaccused Marcelo Ramos (this was in the
year 1924) and they have lived with him ever since. The husband,
knowing that she resumed living with her codefendant in 1924, did
nothing to interfere with their relations or to assert his rights as husband.
Shortly thereafter he left for the Territory of Hawaii where he remained for
seven years completely abandoning his said wife and child. On his return
to these Islands, he presented the second charge of adultery here
involved with the sole purpose, as he declared, of being able to
obtain a divorce under the provisions of Act No. 2710.

Article 344 of the Revised Penal Code, paragraphs 1 and 2, are as


follows:

Prosecution of the crimes of adultery, concubinage, seduction,


abduction, rape and acts of lasciviousness. — The crimes of
adultery and concubinage shall not be prosecuted except upon a
complaint filed by the offended spouse.
People v. Schneckenberger As the term "pardon" unquestionably refers to the offense after its
commission, "consent" must have been intended agreeably with its
On March 16, 1926, the accused Rodolfo A. Schneckenburger married ordinary usage, to refer to the offense prior to its commission. No
the compliant Elena Ramirez Cartagena and after seven years of martial logical difference can indeed be perceived between prior and
life, they agreed, for reason of alleged incompatibility of character, to live subsequent consent, for in both instances as the offended party has
separately each other and on May 25, 1935 they executed a document chosen to compromise with his/her dishonor, he/she becomes
which in part recites as follows: unworthy to come to court and invoke its aid in the vindication of
the wrong. For instance, a husband who believers his wife another man
On June 15, 1935, the accused Schneckenburger, without leaving the for adultery, is as unworthy, if not more, as where, upon acquiring
Philippines, secured a decree of divorce from the civil court of knowledge of the adultery after its commission, he says or does nothing.
Juarez, Bravos District, State of Chihuahua, Mexico. On May 11, 1936, We, therefore, hold that the prior consent is as effective as
he contracted another marriage with his co-accused, Julia Medel, in subsequent consent to bar the offended party from prosecuting the
the justice of the peace court of Malabon, Rizal, and since then they lived offense.
together as husband and wife in the city of Manila. Because of the nullity
of the divorce decreed by the Mexico Court, complaint herein instituted In this arriving at this conclusion we do not with to be misconstrued as
two actions against the accused, one for bigamy in the Court of legalizing an agreement to do an illicit act, in violation of law. Our view
First Instance of Rizal and the other concubinage in the court of must be taken only to mean that an agreement of the tenor entered into
First Instance of Manila. The first culminated in the conviction of the between the parties herein, operates, within the plain language and
accused for which he was sentenced to penalty of two months and one manifest policy of the law, to bar the offended party from prosecuting the
day of arresto mayor. On the trial for the offense of concubinage accused offense. If there is anything morally condemnatory in a situation of his
interposed the plea of double jeopardy, and the case was dismissed; but, character, the remedy lies not with us but with the legislative department
upon appeal by the fiscal, this Court held the dismissal before the trial to of the government. What the law is, not what it should be, defines the
be premature this was under the former procedure and without deciding limits of our authority.
the question of double jeopardy, remanded the case to the trial court for
trial on the merits. Accused was convicted of concubinage through Judgment is reversed and the accused is hereby acquitted, without costs.
reckless imprudence and sentenced to a penalty of two months and
one day of arresto mayor. Hence this appeal.

We said before (People vs. Guinucod, 58 Phil., 621) that the consent
which bars the offended party from instituting a criminal prosecution in
cases of adultery, concubinage, seduction, abduction, rape and acts of
lasciviousness is that which has been given expressly or impliedly after
the crime has been committed. We are now convinced that this is a
narrow view in way warranted by the language, as well as the manifest
policy, of the law. The second paragraph of article 344 of the Revised
Penal Code provides:

The offended party cannot institute criminal prosecution without


including both the guilty parties, if they are both alive, nor, in any
case, if he shall have consented or pardoned the offenders.
(Emphasis ours.)
Brown v. Yambao Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation shall
cause the dismissal of the petition.

On July 14, 1955, William H. Brown filed suit in the Court of First Instance that there had been consent and connivance, and because Brown's
of Manila to obtain legal separation from his lawful wife Juanita Yambao. action had prescribed under Article 102 of the same Code:
He alleged under oath that while interned by the Japanese invaders,
from 1942 to 1945, at the University of Sto. Tomas internment camp, his ART. 102 An action for legal separation cannot be filed except
wife engaged in adulterous relations with one Carlos Field of whom within one year from and after the date on which the plaintiff
she begot a baby girl that Brown learned of his wifes misconduct only in became cognizant of the cause and within five years from and
1945, upon his release from internment; that thereafter the spouse after date when such cause occurred.
lived separately and later executed a document (Annex A ) liquidating
their conjugal partnership and assigning certain properties to the since the evidence showed that the learned of his wife's infidelity in 1945
erring wife as her share. The complaint prayed for confirmation of but only filed action in 1945.
the liquidation agreement; for custody of the children issued of the
marriage; that the defendant be declared disqualified to succeed the
Brown appeared to this Court, assigning the following errors:
plaintiff; and for their remedy as might be just and equitable.
The court erred in permitting the Assistant Fiscal Rafel Jose
Upon petition of the plaintiff, the court subsequently declared the wife in
of Manila to act as counsel for the defendant, who defaulted.
default, for failure to answer in due time, despite service of summons;
and directed the City Fiscal or his representatives to—
The court erred in declaring that there was condonation of or
consent to the adultery.
investigate, in accordance with Article 101 of the Civil Code,
whether or not a collusion exists between the parties and to
report to this Court the result of his investigation within fifteen (15) The court erred in dismissing the plaintiff's complaint.
days from receipt of copy of this order. The City Fiscal or his
representative is also directed to intervene in the case in behalf of Appellant Brown argues that in cross-examining him with regard to his
the State. (Rec. App. p. 9). marital relation with Lilia Deito, who was not his wife, the Assistant Fiscal
acted as consel for the defaulting wife, "when the power of the
As ordered, Assistant City Fiscal Rafael Jose appeared at the trial, and prosecuting officer is limited to finding out whether or not there is
cross-examined plaintiff Brown. His questions (strenuously objected to by collusion, and if there is no collusion, which is the fact in the case at
Brown's counsel) elicited the fact that after liberation, Brown had lived bar, to intervene for the state which is not the fact in the instant case,
maritally with another woman and had begotten children by her. the truth of the matter being that he intervened for Juanita Yambao, the
Thereafter, the court rendered judgment denying the legal defendant-appellee, who is private citizen and who is far from being the
separation asked, on the ground that, while the wife's adultery was state.".
established, Brown had incurred in a misconduct of similar nature
that barred his right of action under Article 100 of the new Civil The argument is untenable. Collusion in matrimonial cases being "the act
Code, providing: of married persons in procuring a divorce by mutual consent, whether by
preconcerted commission by one of a matrimonial offense, or by failure,
ART. 100. The legal separation may be claimed only by the in pursuance of agreement to defend divorce proceedings"
innocent spouse, provided there has been no condonation or of (Cyclopedia Law Dictionary; Nelson, Divorce and Separation, Section
consent to the adultery or concubinage. Where both spouses are 500), it was legitimate for the Fiscal to bring to light any circumstances
offenders, a legal separation cannot be claimed by either of them. that could give rise to the inference that the wife's default was calculated,
or agreed upon, to enable appellant to obtain the decree of legal
separation that he sought without regard to the legal merits of his case.
One such circumstance is obviously the fact of Brown's cohabitation with
a woman other than his wife, since it bars him from claiming legal
separation by express provision of Article 100 of the new Civil Code.
Wherefore, such evidence of such misconduct, were proper subject of
inquiry as they may justifiably be considered circumstantial evidence of
collusion between the spouses.

The policy of Article 101 of the new Civil Code, calling for the intervention
of the state attorneys in case of uncontested proceedings for legal
separation (and of annulment of marriages, under Article 88), is to
emphasize that marriage is more than a mere contract; that it is a social
institution in which the state is vitally interested, so that its
continuation or interruption cannot be made depend upon the parties
themselves (Civil Code, Article 52; Adong vs, Cheong Gee, 43 Phil, 43;
Ramirez vs. Gmur 42 Phil. 855; Goitia vs. Campos, 35 Phil. 252). It is
consonant with this policy that the injury by the Fiscal should be allowed
to focus upon any relevant matter that may indicate whether the
proceedings for separation or annulment are fully justified or not.

The court below also found, and correctly held that the appellant's action
was already barred, because Brown did not petition for legal separation
proceedings until ten years after he learned of his wife's adultery,
which was upon his release from internment in 1945. Under Article
102 of the new Civil Code, action for legal separation can not be filed
except within one (1) year from and after the plaintiff became cognizant
of the cause and within five years from and after the date when such
cause occurred. Appellant's brief does not even contest the correctness
of such findings and conclusion.

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.
Ocampo v. Florenciano and wife. They begot several children who are now living with plaintiff. In
March, 1951, plaintiff discovered on several occasions that his wife was
Action for legal separation by Jose de Ocampo against his wife Serafina, betraying his trust by maintaining illicit relations with one Jose Arcalas.
on the ground of adultery. The court of first instance of Nueva Ecija Having found the defendant carrying marital relations with another
dismissed it. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding there was man plaintiff sent her to Manila in June 1951 to study beauty culture,
confession of judgment, plus condonation or consent to the adultery and where she stayed for one year. Again, plaintiff discovered that while
prescription. in the said city defendant was going out with several other men,
aside from Jose Arcalas. Towards the end of June, 1952, when
We granted certiorari to consider the application of articles 100 and 101 defendant had finished studying her course, she left plaintiff and
of the New Civil Code, which for convenience are quoted herewith: since then they had lived separately.

ART. 100.—The legal separation may be claimed only by the "On June 18, 1955, plaintiff surprised his wife in the act of having
innocent spouse, provided there has been no condonation of or illicit relations with another man by the name of Nelson Orzame.
consent to the adultery or concubinage. Where both spouses are Plaintiff signified his intention of filing a petition for legal
offenders, a legal separation cannot be claimed by either of them. separation, to which defendant manifested her conformity provided
Collusion between the parties to obtain legal separation shall she is not charged with adultery in a criminal action. Accordingly,
cause the dismissal of the petition. plaintiff filed on July 5, 1955, a petition for legal separation."

ART. 101.—No decree of legal separation shall be promulgated The Court of Appeals held that the husband's right to legal separation on
upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment. account of the defendant's adultery with Jose Arcalas had prescribed,
because his action was not filed within one year from March 1951 when
plaintiff discovered her infidelity. (Art. 102, New Civil Code) We must
In case of non-appearance of the defendant, the court shall order
agree with the Court of Appeals on this point.1
the prosecuting attorney to inquire whether or not a collusion
between the parties exists. If there is no collusion, the
prosecuting attorney shall intervene for the State in order to take As to the adultery with Nelson Orzame, the appellate court found that in
care that the evidence for the plaintiff is not fabricated. the night of June 18, 1955, the husband upon discovering the illicit
connection, expressed his wish to file a petition for legal separation
and defendant readily agreed to such filing. And when she was
The record shows that on July 5, 1955, the complaint for legal separation
questioned by the Fiscal upon orders of the court, she reiterated her
was filed. As amended, it described their marriage performed in 1938,
conformity to the legal separation even as she admitted having had
and the commission of adultery by Serafina, in March 1951 with Jose
sexual relations with Nelson Orzame. Interpreting these facts
Arcalas, and in June 1955 with Nelson Orzame.
virtually to mean a confession of judgment the Appellate Court
declared that under Art. 101, legal separation could not be decreed.
Because the defendant made no answer, the court defaulted her, and
pursuant to Art. 101 above, directed the provincial fiscal to investigate
AS WE UNDERSTAND THE ARTICLE, IT DOES NOT EXCLUDE, AS
whether or not collusion existed between the parties. The fiscal examined
EVIDENCE, ANY ADMISSION OR CONFESSION MADE BY THE
the defendant under oath, and then reported to the Court that there was
DEFENDANT OUTSIDE OF THE COURT. IT MERELY PROHIBITS A
no collusion. The plaintiff presented his evidence consisting of the
DECREE OF SEPARATION UPON A CONFESSION OF JUDGMENT.
testimony of Vicente Medina, Ernesto de Ocampo, Cesar Enriquez,
Confession of judgment usually happens when the defendant appears in
Mateo Damo, Jose de Ocampo and Capt. Serafin Gubat.
court and confesses the right of plaintiff to judgment or files a pleading
expressly agreeing to the plaintiff's demand.2 This is not occur.
According to the Court of Appeals, the evidence thus presented shows
that "plaintiff and defendant were married in April 5, 1938 by a religious
ceremony in Guimba, Nueva Ecija, and had lived thereafter as husband
Yet, even supposing that the above statement of defendant constituted husband requests the Fiscal to prosecute. She could not have practiced
practically a confession of judgment, inasmuch as there is evidence of deception at such a personal risk.
the adultery independently of such statement, the decree may and
should be granted, since it would not be based on her confession, In this connection, it has been held that collusion may not be inferred
but upon evidence presented by the plaintiff. What the law prohibits from the mere fact that the guilty party confesses to the offense and thus
is a judgment based exclusively or mainly on defendant's enables the other party to procure evidence necessary to prove it.
confession. If a confession defeats the action ipso facto, any defendant (Williams vs. Williams, [N. Y.] 40 N. E. (2d) 1017; Rosenweig vs.
who opposes the separation will immediately confess judgment, Rosenweig, 246 N. Y. Suppl. 231; Conyers, vs. Conyers, 224 S. W. [2d]
purposely to prevent it. 688.).

The mere circumstance that defendants told the Fiscal that she "like also" And proof that the defendant desires the divorce and makes no defense,
to be legally separated from her husband, is no obstacle to the is not by itself collusion. (Pohlman vs. Pohlman, [N. J.] 46 Atl. Rep. 658.).
successful prosecution of the action. When she refused to answer the
complaint, she indicated her willingness to be separated. Yet, the law We do not think plaintiff's failure actively to search for defendant
does not order the dismissal. Allowing the proceeding to continue, it and take her home (after the latter had left him in 1952) constituted
takes precautions against collusion, which implies more than consent or condonation or consent to her adulterous relations with Orzame. It
lack of opposition to the agreement. will be remembered that she "left" him after having sinned with Arcalas
and after he had discovered her dates with other men. Consequently, it
Needless to say, when the court is informed that defendant equally was not his duty to search for her to bring her home. Hers was the
desires the separation and admitted the commission of the offense, it obligation to return.
should be doubly careful lest a collusion exists. (The Court of Appeals did
not find collusion.)

Collusion in divorce or legal separation means the agreement.

. . . between husband and wife for one of them to commit, or


to appear to commit, or to be represented in court as having
committed, a matrimonial offense, or to suppress evidence
of a valid defense, for the purpose of enabling the other to
obtain a divorce. This agreement, if not express, may be implied
from the acts of the parties. It is a ground for denying the divorce.
(Griffiths vs. Griffiths, 69 N. J. Eq. 689 60 Atl. 1099; Sandoz vs.
Sandoz, 107 Ore. 282, 214 Pas. 590.).

In this case, there would be collusion if the parties had arranged to


make it appear that a matrimonial offense had been
committed although it was not, or if the parties had connived to
bring about a legal separation even in the absence of grounds
therefor.

Here, the offense of adultery had really taking place, according to the
evidence. The defendant could not havefalsely told the adulterous acts to
the Fiscal, because her story might send her to jail the moment her
Matute v. Macadaeg issued an order, dated June 29, 1955, absolving Rosario from the charge of
contempt of court, she having secured Armando’s consent before bringing
In an action for legal separation brought by Armando Medel against Rosario the children to Manila, but denying her motion for their custody and
Matute, upon the ground of adultery committed with his brother and her ordering her to deliver them to Armando within twenty-four (24) hours
brother-in-law, Ernesto Medel — which action was docketed as civil case from notice. The dispositive part of said order reads: chanroble svirtuallawlibrary

No. 14190 of the Court of First Instance of Manila — decision was, on


“IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, motion for the custody of the minor children,
November 6, 1952, rendered by the latter, finding Rosario guilty of the
Florencia, Manuel, Carmelita, and Benito, all surnamed Medel, is hereby
charge against her, decreeing said legal separation, and awarding to
denied. Rosario Matute is hereby ordered to deliver to Armando Medel the
Armando the custody of their four (4) minor children, Florencia, Manuel,
persons of the said minor children, within twenty-four (24) hours from
Carmelita and Benito, all surnamed Medel, then 12, 10, 8 and 4 years of age,
receipt of copy of this Order.
respectively. Thereafter, Armando went to the United States, leaving the
children in the City of Davao under the care of his sister Pilar Medel, in “Let copies of this Order be served immediately by the Sheriff of this Court,
whose house Rosario subsequently lived in order to be with her offspring. not only on the lawyers appearing in this case, but also on the parties
Armando returned to the Philippines late in 1954. At the close of the then themselves.”
current school year, during which the children were enrolled in a school in Thereupon, Rosario instituted, against Armando and Judge Macadaeg, the
Davao, or in March, 1955, they joined their father in Cebu. With his present action for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction,
permission, Rosario brought the children to Manila in April, 1955, to attend upon the ground that said order of June 29, 1955, had been issued with
the funeral of her father. Armando alleges that he consented thereto on grave abuse of discretion, and that there is no other plain, adequate and
condition that she would return the children to him within two (2) weeks. speedy remedy in the ordinary course of law. The prayer in her petition, is
However, Rosario did not do so. Instead, on June 10, 1955, she filed, in said as follows: chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

civil case No. 14190, a motion the prayer of which is of the following
tenor:chanroble svirtuallawlibrary
Briefly stated, Petitioner herein maintains that the children should be under
her custody, because: (1) she is their legitimate mother and they wish to chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

“WHEREFORE, movant respectfully prays this Honorable Court, after due stay with her, not their father Armando Medel; (2) three (3) of the chan r oble svirtualawlibrary

hearing: chanrobl esvirtuallawlibrary

children are over ten (10) years of age, and, hence, their aforementioned
“(1) to issue an order awarding the custody of the above-named children to wish must, pursuant to Rule 100, section 6, of the Rules of Court, be
the herein movant, their mother, in deference to the preference expressed heeded, unless “the parent so chosen be unfit to take charge” of them “by
by the children (Sec. 6, Rule 100, Rules of Court); and chan roblesvirtualawlibrary
reason of moral depravity, habitual drunkenness, incapacity or poverty”; chan

(3) the act of infidelity of which she had been found guilty in the decision
“(2) to order Armando Medel, father of the said minor children, to support
roblesvirtualawlibrary

of November 6, 1952, does not involve “moral depravity”; (4) in any


said children by paying their school fees and giving them a reasonable
chan roblesvirtualawlibrary

event, it is a thing of the past, not a present reality;


allowance both items in an amount not less than P200 a month.”
chan

(5) Respondent Armando Medel is now unfit to have the children under
roblesvirtualawlibrary

Said motion was based upon the ground that the children — three (3) of his care, for he is living maritally with a woman by the name of Paz Jesusa
whom, namely, Florencia, Manuel and Carmelita, were then 16, 14 and 12 Concepcion; and (6) although he had married the latter, after securing in
chan roble svirtualawlibrary

years of age, respectively — do not want to go back to their father, because the United States a decree of divorce dissolving his marriage
he “is living with a woman other than” their mother. Armando opposed this with Petitioner herein, said decree is null and void and, accordingly, he is
motion and countered with a petition to declare and punish Rosario for guilty of bigamy.
contempt of court, in view of her failure and alleged refusal to restore the
custody of their children to him. After due hearing the Court of First
Instance of Manila, presided over by Hon. Higinio B. Macadaeg, Judge,
In the present action, we do not deem it necessary to pass upon the merits reviewed by appeal, not by writ of certiorari or prohibition. (Comments on
of such pretense. The case before us is one of certiorari and prohibition, the Rules of Court, by Moran, Vol. II, pp. 167 and 168).
governed by sections 1 and 2 of Rule 67 of the Rules of Court, reading:
Neither does the aforementioned order of June 29, 1955, involve a grave
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

“SECTION 1. Petition for certiorari. — When any tribunal, board, or officer abuse of discretion for it merely enforces the award made in the decision
exercising judicial functions, has acted without or in excess of its or his of November 6, 1952, which is admittedly final and executory. It is true
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion and there is no appeal, nor that, insofar as it refers to the custody of the minor children, said decision
any plain, speedy, end adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a is never final, in the sense that it is subject to review at any time that the
person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court Court may deem it for the best interest of said minors. It is no less true,
alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered however, that, unless and until reviewed and modified, said award must
annulling or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board, or officer as stand. No such modification having been made, at yet, RespondentJudge
the law requires, with costs. had, not only the authority; but, also, the duty to execute and
chan roblesvirt ualawli brary

implement said award.


“SEC. 2. Petition for prohibition. — When the proceedings of any tribunal
corporation board, or person, whether exercising functions judicial or Furthermore, by virtue of said decision of November 6,
ministerial, are without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave 1952, Respondent had, admittedly, the custody of said
abuse of discretion, and there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and minors. Petitioner merely obtained his permission to bring them to Manila,
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby for the purpose of attending the funeral of their maternal grandfather,
may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with which took place in April, 1955. Thus, Petitioner obtained and has the
certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding physical possession of the minors in a precarious manner. She holds it in the
the Defendant to desist from further proceedings in the action or matter name, on behalf and by authority of Respondent Medel, whose agent she, in
specified therein, with costs.” effect, is. He may, therefore, demand their return at any time, and she is
bound to comply immediately with such demand. She cannot even question
Pursuant to these provisions, neither the writ of certiorari nor that of
his authority to make it, although she is free to seek a review of the order or
prohibition lies unless the act complained of has been performed “without
decision awarding the custody of the minors to him, and to ask that they be
or in excess of” jurisdiction “or with grave abuse of discretion”. There is no
placed under her charge.
question but that Respondent Judge had jurisdiction to pass upon the issue
raised by Petitioner’s motion of June 10, 1955, for custody of the children, Again, it is conceded that children over ten (10) years of age, whose
and the petition of Respondent Medel, dated June 22, 1955, to parents are divorced or living separately, may choose which parent they
declare Petitioner guilty of contempt of court, to wit: whether said
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary prefer to live with, unless the parent chosen is unfit to take charge of their
custody should be retained by Respondent Medel, as adjudged in the care by reason of “moral depravity, habitual drunkenness, incapacity or
decision of November 6, 1952, or should be given to Petitioner herein. poverty” (Rule 100, section 6, Rules of Court). Without deciding whether
Which ever alternative taken by Respondent Judge would not vitiate his the adultery committed by herein Petitioner with her own brother-in-law
choice as being “without or in excess” of jurisdiction. Whatever mistakes, if involves moral depravity, it is clear to our mind that the affirmative
any, he may have committed in the appraisal of the situation — on which assumption implicit in the order complained of cannot be characterized as
we do not express our view — in determining the best solution to said issue an “abuse of discretion”, much less a “grave” one.
or which one of the litigants is best qualified or least disqualified to take
Lastly, said order further declares:
charge of the children, would, at best, constitute “merely errors of
chanroble svirtuallawlibrary

judgment.” They are not “errors of jurisdiction”, but errors in the exercise of “ The facts remains that Defendant-movant is without means of livelihood
cralaw

the jurisdiction which the lower court admittedly had. Such errors do not and, according to her own admission, she lives on the charity of her
affect the legality or validity of the order complained of. They may be
brothers. She has no home of her own to offer to her children, but only she
would shelter them under the roof of her brothers.”
and the substantial accuracy of this statement is not contested. We are not
prepared to hold, that a grave abuse of discretion was committed when the
lower court impliedly deduced, from these circumstances, that “poverty”,
among other causes, rendered Petitioner unfit to take charge of her
children or made it unwise to place them under her care.
Wherefore, without prejudice to such appropriate action as Petitioner may
deem fit to take for the purpose of securing a review of the order
of Respondent Judge of June 29, 1955, or a modification of the award made
in the decision of November 6, 1952, relative to the custody of the
children, or both, the petition is denied and the case dismissed. The writ of
preliminary injunction heretofore issued is hereby dissolved, with costs
against the Petitioner. It is SO ORDERED.
LAPERAL v.REPUBLIC The contention of the Republic finds support in the provisions of Article
372 of the New Civil Code which reads:
On May 10, 1960, Elisea Laperal filed in the Court of First Instance of
Baguio (Sp Proc. No. 433) a petition which reads: ART. 372. When legal separation has been granted, the wife shall
continue using her name and surname employed before the legal
2. That petitioner's maiden name is ELISEA LAPERAL; that on separation. (Emphasis supplied)
March 24, 1939, she married Mr. Enrique R. Santamaria; that in a
partial decision entered on this Honorable Court on January 18, Note that the language of the statute is mandatory that the wife,
1958, in Civil Case No. 356 of this Court, entitled 'Enrique R. even after the legal separation has been decreed, shall continue
Santamaria vs. Elisea L. Santamaria' Mr. Enrique Santamaria using her name and surname employed before the legal separation.
was given a decree of legal separation from her; that the said This is so because her married status is unaffected by the
partial decision is now final; separation, there being no severance of the vinculum. It seems to be
the policy of the law that the wife should continue to use the name
3. That during her marriage to Enrique R. Santamaria, she indicative of her unchanged status for the benefit of all concerned.
naturally used, instead of her maiden name, that of Elisea L.
Santamaria; that aside from her legal separation from Enrique R. The appellee contends, however, that the petition is substantially for
Santamaria, she has also ceased to live with him for many years change of her name from Elisea L. Santamaria, the one she has been
now; using, since her marriage, to Elisea Laperal, her maiden name, giving as
reason or cause therefor her being legally separated from the husband
4. That in view of the fact that she has been legally separated Enrique R. Santamaria, and the fact that they have ceased to live
from Mr. Enrique R. Santamaria and has likewise ceased to live together for many years.
with him for many years, it is desirable that she be allowed to
change her name and/or be permitted to resume using her There seems to be no dispute that in the institution of these proceedings,
maiden name, to wit: ELISEA LAPERAL. the procedure prescribed in Rule 103 of the Rules of Court for change of
name has been observed. But from the petition quoted in full at the
WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prayed that after the beginning of these opinion, the only reason relied upon for the change of
necessary proceedings are had, she be allowed to resume using name is the fact that petitioner is legally separated from her husband and
her maiden name of Elisea Laperal. has, in fact, ceased to live with him for many years. It is doubtful, to say
the least, whether Rule 103 which refers to change of name in general,
The petition was opposed by the City Attorney of Baguio on the ground may prevail over the specific provisions of Article 372 of the New Civil
that the same violates the provisions of Article 370 (should be 372) of the Code with regards to married women legally separated from their
Civil Code, and that it is not sanctioned by the Rules of Court. husbands. Even, however, applying Rule 103 to this case, the fact of
legal separation alone — which is the only basis for the petition at bar —
is, in our opinion, not a sufficient ground to justify a change of the name
In its decision of October 31, 1960, the court denied the petition for the of herein petitioner, for to hold otherwise would be to provide an easy
reason that Article 372 of the Civil Code requires the wife, even after she circumvention of the mandatory provisions of Article 372.
is decreed legally separated from her husband, to continue using the
name and surname she employed before the legal separation. Upon
petitioner's motion, however, the court, treating the petition as one for It is true that in the second decision which reconsidered the first it is
change of name, reconsidered its decision and granted the petition on stated that as the petitioner owns extensive business interests, the
the ground that to allow petitioner, who is a businesswoman decreed continued used of her husband surname may cause undue confusion in
legally separated from her husband, to continue using her married name her finances and the eventual liquidation of the conjugal assets. This
would give rise to confusion in her finances and the eventual liquidation finding is however without basis. In the first place, these were not the
of the conjugal assets. Hence, this appeal by the State. causes upon which the petition was based; hence, obviously no
evidence to this effect had been adduced. Secondly, with the issuance of
the decree of legal separation in 1958, the conjugal partnership between
petitioner and her husband had automatically been dissolved and
liquidated. (Art. 106[2], Civil Cod). Consequently, there could be no more
occasion for an eventual liquidation of the conjugal assets.

WHEREFORE, the order of the lower court of December 1, 1960,


granting the petition, is hereby set aside and the petition dismissed.
Without costs. So ordered.
ATILANO of facts agreed upon by the parties, the court rendered judgment granting
the wife a monthly allowance of P75 after finding that the wife's refusal to
Chua Ching Beng and Pilar Atilano were joined in lawful wedlock in return to Manila was caused by her aversion to stay with the parents of
Zamboanga City in May of 1951, after which marriage, the couple sailed her husband after she had experienced some previous in-law troubles;
for Manila and established their residence with the parents of the that her demand that they establish their home in Zamboanga could not
husband. In October of the same year, at the husband's initiative, they be met by the husband because of the latter's job in Manila and due also
went to Zamboanga City to pay the parents of the wife a visit, and it to the husband's fear that his wife would always be under the influence
seems that he was prevailed upon by the wife's parents to return to and pressure of the latter's parents. No evidence was, however, adduced
Manila leaving her behind, with the understanding that she would to support her allegation of incompatibility of temperament and marital
follow him later, which apparently she failed to do. quarrels, and upon receipt of the decision, defendant filed a petition
electing to fulfill his; obligation as thus fixed by the trial court by receiving
On September 30, 1953, Pilar Atilano filed with the Court of First Instance and maintaining plaintiff at his residence at Pasay City, which was, apart,
of Zamboanga a complaint for support against her husband, alleging from that of his parents, with the prayer that in the event, plaintiff would
that they had been estranged and living separately since October, 1952, refuse to receive support under that set-up, that he be declared under, no
by reason of incessant marital bickerings and quarrels brought about by compulsion to remit the allowance to her at Zamboanga City.
incompatibility of temperament and above all, by defendant's inability to
provide for themselves a home separate from the latter's parents; that The only question presented for, our consideration by this appeal is
she was staying with her parents in Zamboanga City, without whether a wife is entitled to received support from his husband
employment nor had she any property of her own. She therefore, prayed where she refused to live with him on account of some
that as defendant was under legal obligation to support her, he be misunderstanding she had with the husband's immediate relatives.
ordered to give her a monthly allowance, P200.00 from the date of the
filing of the complaint. It is clear to Us, and this is borne out by the findings, of the court a quo,
that plaintiff wife, then 19 yeas of age, had the unfortunate experience of
Defendant husband filed his answer contending that when they were still finding herself in some sort of domestic controversy, with her husband's
residing in Manila, their married life was characterized by harmony and immediate relatives in the opposite camp, which made her feel that living
understanding; that when they visited plaintiffs parents in Zamboanga in with them would already be intolerable and unbearable. Most likely,
October 1952, he was prevailed upon by the latter to allow his wife to therefore, when they visited her parents, she recounted her plight to them
stay with them a while with the understanding that she would follow him and as the usual reaction of parents in matters of this nature, they picked
later to Manila; that through insidious machinations, plaintiff's parents up and championed the cause of their daughter which resulted in the
caused her to be alienated from him resulting in her refusal to return to estrangement of the young couple.
Manila and live with her husband again; that defendant went back to
Zamboanga City to fetch her, but through force and intimidation she was Indeed disagreement among in-laws is a problem as old as the world
prevented by her parents from going with him; and that her parents also itself, but despite this discouraging facet of married life there would
exerted undue pressure and influence upon his wife to file the complaint. always be in-laws as long there are marriages and the same vicious cycle
Defendant further averred that while he was not evading his obligation to would be repeated. In the case at bar, which is a clear illustration of this
support his, he preferred to fulfill said duty by receiving and maintaining perennial domestic problem, We find that while the wife remains adamant
her in Manila; that as the husband, defendant had the right to fix the on her stand to effect a separation in fact between her and her husband,
residence of his family, and he would even be willing to establish a the latter, has adopted a more conciliatory attitude by acknowledging his
conjugal dwelling in Manila separate from that of his parents if that was obligation to support her and even going to the extent of expressing his
the plaintiff's desire. Thus, it was prayed that the complaint be dismissed. willingness to abide by her wish to have a conjugal dwelling apart from
his parents, although it, appears that he may find it hard to make
In the meantime, plaintiff filed a petition for alimony pendente adequate provisions for their family, for he is allegedly receiving a salary
lite premised on the same facts as, stated in her complaint, which was of only 170 a month as salesman in a commercial firm. Defendant
duly opposed by the defendant, and on May 3, 1954, based on stipulation does not dispute that our civil Code imposes on the husband the
responsibility of maintaining and supporting, his wife and the rest of the that provided for by the former, yet and in such event We would see
family (Art. 111). He insists, however, that under the, Civil Code, which no plausible reason why she should be allowed any support from
provides: the husband. It appearing that defendant husband availed of the option
granted him by Article 299 of the Civil Code and there being no legal or
ART. 299. The person obliged to give support may, at his option, moral hindrance to the exercise of the second alternative as elected by
fulfill his obligation either by paying the allowance fixed, or by him, the answer to the question presented by this appeal is certainly
receiving and maintaining in his house the person who has a right obvious.
to receive support. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in
this case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto; Wherefore, the decision appealed from is hereby modified by giving the
defendant husband Chua Ching Beng the option of supporting his wife at
he is given the option to fulfill the said duty either by paying the allowance their conjugal dwelling apart from the home of the parents of the
as fixed by the Court or receiving and maintaining the person entitled husband. Should plaintiff wife refuse to abide by the terms of this
thereto in his house; and that he elects to perform his obligation by the decision, then the defendant-appellant shall be considered relieved from
second means allowed him by law. the obligation of giving any support to his wife. Without pronouncement
as to costs. It is so ordered.
The aforeqouted provision of the law is clear enough to require any
further elucidation. In giving the obligor the option to fulfill his duty, it
provides for only one occasion when the second alternative could not be
availed of i.e., when there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto. It is true
that plaintiff wife charged that they were estranged because of marital
troubles and incessant bickering. While physical ill-treatment may be
ground to compel a husband to provide a separate maintenance for
his wife ( Arroyo vs. Vasquez de Arroyo, 42 Phil., 54 ) said allegation
was not proved during the trial. Instead, the lower court found that the
root-cause of all their differences could be traced to disagreements
common among relatives by affinity. Certainly, We do not think that
misunderstanding with in-laws, who may be considered third parties
to the marriage, is the moral or legal obstacle that the lawmakers
contemplated in the drafting of said provision.

The law, in giving the husband authority to fix the conjugal residence (Art.
110), does not prohibit him from establishing the same at the patriarchal
home, nor is it against any recognized norm of morality, especially if he is
not fully capable of meeting his obligation as such head of a family
without the aid of his elders. But even granting arguendo that it might be
"illegal" for him to persist on living with his parents over the objection of
his wife, this argument becomes moot in view of defendant's
manifestation that he is willing to establish a residence, separate from his
parents, if plaintiff so desires. We are aware are that although the
husband and the wife are, obliged to live together, observe mutual
respect and fidelity and render mutual help and assistance ( Art. 109),
and that the wife is entitled to be supported, our laws contain no
provision compelling the wife to live with her husband where even
without legal justification she establishes her residence apart from
Arroyo personal wrangles in which the spouses have allowed themselves from
time to time to become involved and would have little significance apart
Mariano B. Arroyo and Dolores C. Vasquez de Arroyo were united in the from the morbid condition exhibited by the wife. The judgment must
bonds of wedlock by marriage in the year 1910, and since that date, with therefore be recorded that the abandonment by her of the marital
a few short intervals of separation, they have lived together as man and home was without sufficient justification in fact.
wife in the city of Iloilo until July 4, 1920, when the wife went away from
their common home with the intention of living thenceforth separate In examining the legal questions involved, it will be found convenient to
from her husband. After efforts had been made by the husband without dispose first of the defendant's cross-complaint. To begin with, the
avail to induce her to resume marital relations, this action was initiated obligation which the law imposes on the husband to maintain the
by him to compel her to return to the matrimonial home and live wife is a duty universally recognized in civil society and is clearly
with him as a dutiful wife. The defendant answered, admitting the fact expressed in articles 142 and 143 of the Civil code. The enforcement of
of marriage, and that she had left her husband's home without his this obligation by the wife against the husband is not conditioned upon
consent; but she averred by way of defense and cross-complaint that she the procurance of a divorce by her, nor even upon the existence of a
had been compelled to leave by cruel treatment on the part of her cause for divorce. Accordingly it had been determined that where the
husband. Accordingly she in turn prayed for affirmative relief, to consist wife is forced to leave the matrimonial abode and to live apart from
of (1) a decree of separation; (2) a liquidation of the conjugal partnership; her husband, she can, in this jurisdiction, compel him to make
(3) and an allowance for counsel fees and permanent separate provision for her separate maintenance (Goitia vs. Campos Rueda, 35
maintenance. Phil., 252); and he may be required to pay the expenses, including
attorney's fees, necessarily incurred in enforcing such obligation,
Upon hearing the cause the lower court gave judgment in favor of (Mercado vs.Ostrand and Ruiz, 37 Phil., 179.) Nevertheless, the
the defendant, authorizing her to live apart from her husband, interests of both parties as well as of society at large require that
granting her alimony at the rate of P400 per month, and directing that the the courts should move with caution in enforcing the duty to
plaintiff should pay to the defendant's attorney the sum of P1,000 for his provide for the separate maintenance of the wife, for this step
services to defendant in the trial of the case. The plaintiff thereupon involves a recognition of the de facto separation of the spouses — a
removed the case with the usual formalities by appeal to this court. state which is abnormal and fraught with grave danger to all
concerned. From this consideration it follows that provision should
The trial judge, upon consideration of the evidence before him, reached not be made for separate maintenance in favor of the wife unless it
the conclusion that the husband was more to blame than his wife and appears that the continued cohabitation of the pair has become
that his continued ill-treatment of her furnished sufficient justification for impossible and separation necessary from the fault of the husband.
her abandonment of the conjugal home and the permanent breaking off
of marital relations with him. We have carefully examined and weighed In Davidson vs Davidson, the Supreme Court of Michigan, speaking
every line of the proof, and are of the opinion that the conclusion stated is through the eminent jurist, Judge Thomas M. Cooley, held that an action
wholly untenable. The evidence shows that the wife is afflicted with a for the support of the wife separate from the husband will only be
disposition of jealousy towards her husband in an aggravated degree; sustained when the reasons for it are imperative (47 Mich., 151). That
and to his cause are chiefly traceable without a doubt the many miseries imperative necessity is the only ground on which such a proceeding can
that have attended their married life. In view of the decision which we are be maintained also appears from the decision in Schindel vs. Schindel
to pronounce nothing will be said in this opinion which will make the (12 Md., 294). In the State of South Carolina, where judicial divorces
resumption of married relations more difficult to them or serve as a have never been procurable on any ground, the Supreme court fully
reminder to either of the mistakes of the past; and we prefer to record the recognizes the right of the wife to have provision for separate
fact that so far as the proof in this record shows neither of the spouses maintenance, where it is impossible for her to continue safely to cohabit
has at any time been guilty of conjugal infidelity, or has given just cause with her husband; but the same court has more than once rejected the
to the other to suspect illicit relations with any person. The tales of cruelty petition of the wife for separate maintenance where it appeared that the
on the part of the husband towards the wife, which are the basis of the husband's alleged cruelty or ill-treatment was provoked by the wife's own
cross-action, are in our opinion no more than highly colored versions of improper conduct.
Upon one occasion Sir William Scott, pronouncing the judgment of the with that true wisdom, and that real humanity, that regards the
English Ecclesiastical Court in a case where cruelty on the part of the general interests of mankind. For though in particular cases the
husband was relied upon to secure a divorce for the wife, made use of repugnance of the law to dissolve the obligations of matrimonial
the following eloquent words, — which are perhaps even more applicable cohabitation may operate with great severity upon individual, yet
in a proceeding for separate maintenance in a jurisdiction where, as here, it must be carefully remembered that the general happiness of the
a divorce cannot be obtained except on the single ground of adultery and married life is secured by its indissolubility. When people
this, too, after the conviction of the guilty spouse in a criminal prosecution understand that they must live together, except for a very few
for that crime. Said he: reasons known to the law, they learn to soften by mutual
accommodation that yoke which they know cannot shake off; they
That the duty of cohabitation is released by the cruelty of one of become good husbands and good wives form the necessity of
the parties is admitted, but the question occurs, What is cruelty? . remaining husbands and wives; for necessity is a powerful master
.. in teaching the duties which it imposes. . . . In this case, as in
many others, the happiness of some individuals must be
What merely wounds the mental feelings is in few cases to be sacrificed to the greater and more general good.
admitted where they are not accompanied with bodily injury, (Evans vs.Evans, 1 Hag. Con., 35; 161 Eng. Reprint, 466, 467.)
either actual or menaced. Mere austerity of temper, petulance of
manners, rudeness of language, a want of civil attention and In the light of the considerations stated, it is obvious that the cross-
accommodation, even occasional sallies of passion, if they do not complaint is not well founded and none of the relief sought therein can be
threaten bodily harm, do not amount to legal cruelty: they are granted.
high moral offenses in the marriage-state undoubtedly, not
innocent surely in any state of life, but still they are not that The same considerations that require the dismissal of the cross-
cruelty against which the law can relieve. Under such misconduct complaint conclusively prove that the plaintiff, Mariano B. Arroyo, has
of either of the parties, for it may exist on the one side as well as done nothing to forfeit his right to the marital society of his wife and that
on the other, the suffering party must bear in some degree the she is under an obligation, both moral and legal, to return to the
consequences of an injudicious connection; must subdue by common home and cohabit with him. The only question which here
decent resistance or by prudent conciliation; and if this cannot be arises is as to the character and extent of the relief which may be
done, both must suffer in silence. . . . properly conceded to him by judicial decree.

The humanity of the court has been loudly and repeatedly The action is one by which the plaintiff seeks the restitution of conjugal
invoked. Humanity is the second virtue of courts, but undoubtedly rights; and it is supposed in the petitory part of the complaint that he is
the first is justice. If it were a question of humanity simply, and of entitled to a permanent mandatory injunction requiring the defendant to
humanity which confined its views merely to the happiness of the return to the conjugal home and live with him as a wife according to the
present parties, it would be a question easily decided upon first precepts of law and morality. Of course if such a decree were entered, in
impressions. Every body must feel a wish to sever those who unqualified terms, the defendant would be liable to attachment for
wish to live separate from each other, who cannot live together contempt, in case she should refuse to obey it; and, so far as the present
with any degree of harmony, and consequently with any degree writer is aware, the question is raised for the first time in this jurisdiction
of happiness; but my situation does not allow me to indulge the whether it is competent for the court to make such an order.
feelings, much less the first feelings of an individual. The law has
said that married persons shall not be legally separated upon the Upon examination of the authorities we are convinced that it is not
mere disinclination of one or both to cohabit together. . . . within the province of the courts of this country to attempt to
compel one of the spouses to cohabit with, and render conjugal
To vindicate the policy of the law is no necessary part of the office rights to, the other. Of course where the property rights of one of the
of a judge; but if it were, it would not be difficult to show that the pair are invaled, an action for restitution of such rights can be maintained.
law in this respect has acted with its usual wisdom and humanity But we are disinclined to sanction the doctrine that an order, enforcible by
process of contempt, may be entered to compel the restitution of the which might accrue to her from the property which she had brought to the
purely personal rights of consortium. At best such an order can be marriage. (113 Jur. Civ., pp. 1, 11.) but it does not appear that this order
effective for no other purpose than to compel the spouses to live under for the return of the wife to the marital domicile was sanctioned by any
the same roof; and the experience of these countries where the court of other penalty than the consequences that would be visited upon her in
justice have assumed to compel the cohabitation of married people respect to the use and control of her property; and it does not appear that
shows that the policy of the practice is extremely questionable. Thus in her disobedience to that order would necessarily have been followed by
England, formerly the Ecclesiastical Court entertained suits for the imprisonment for contempt.
restitution of conjugal rights at the instance of either husband or wife; and
if the facts were found to warrant it that court would make a mandatory We are therefore unable to hold that Mariano B. Arroyo in this case
decree, enforcible by process of contempt in case of disobedience, is entitled to the unconditional and absolute order for the return of
requiring the delinquent party to live with the other and render conjugal the wife to the marital domicile, which is sought in the petitory part
rights. Yet this practice was sometimes criticized even by the judges who of the complaint; though he is, without doubt, entitled to a judicial
felt bound to enforce such orders, and in Weldon vs. Weldon (9 P. D., declaration that his wife has presented herself without sufficient
52), decided in 1883, Sir James Hannen, President in the Probate, cause and that it is her duty to return.
Divorce and Admiralty Division of the High Court of Justice, expressed
his regret that the English law on the subject was not the same as that Therefore, reversing the judgment appealed from, in respect both to
which prevailed in Scotland, where a decree of adherence, equivalent to the original complaint and the cross-bill, it is declared that Dolores
the decree for the restitution of conjugal rights in England, could be Vasquez de Arroyo has absented herself from the marital home
obtained by the injured spouse, but could not be enforced by without sufficient cause; and she is admonished that it is her duty
imprisonment. Accordingly, in obedience to the growing sentiment to return. The plaintiff is absolved from the cross-complaint, without
against the practice, the Matrimonial Causes Act (1884) abolished the special pronouncement as to costs of either instance. So ordered.
remedy of imprisonment; though a decree for the restitution of conjugal
rights can still be procured, and in case of disobedience may serve in
appropriate cases as the basis of an order for the periodical payment of a
stipend in the character of alimony.

In the voluminous jurisprudence of the United States, only one court, so


far as we can discover, has ever attempted to make a peremptory order
requiring one of the spouses to live with the other; and that was in a case
where a wife was ordered to follow and live with her husband, who had
changed his domicile to the City of New Orleans. The decision referred to
(Gahn vs. Darby, 36 La. Ann., 70) was based on a provision of the Civil
Code of Louisiana similar to article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. It was
decided many years ago, and the doctrine evidently has not been fruitful
even in the State of Louisiana. In other states of the American Union the
idea of enforcing cohabitation by process of contempt is rejected. (21
Cyc., 1148.)

In a decision of January 2, 1909, the supreme court of Spain appears to


have affirmed an order of the Audencia Territorial de Valladolid requiring
a wife to return to the marital domicile, and in the alternative, upon her
failure to do so, to make a particular disposition of certain money and
effects then in her possession and to deliver to her husband, as
administrator of the ganancial property, all income, rents, and interest
Cuaderno wife2 and not any legal mandate or court order. This is due to the
inherent characteristic and nature of marriage in this jurisdiction.
As a consequence of a complaint for support filed by Lourdes Ramirez-
Cuaderno on August 14, 1957, against her husband Angel Cuaderno, the In the instant case, it is not disputed that the infliction of physical
Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, after due hearing, rendered injuries on the wife, by the husband gave rise to their separation. It
judgment ordering the latter to give the plaintiff-wife a monthly is likewise shown it was the husband who took his wife to her
support of P150.00, from the date of the filing of the complaint, plus parents' home where he left her. The fact that the wife allegedly
attorney's fees, and to pay, the costs. On appeal by the husband to the accepted money from her husband and desisted from accepting any
Court of Appeals, said decision was reversed and set aside "so that (in later, because according to the latter, she was demanding for more, only
the language of the court) appellant and appellee may again resume indicates that even before the filing of the present case, the defendant-
cohabitation which they are hereby admonished to do as their duty husband was already providing something for the separate
as husband and wife." The wife filed the instant petition for review of the maintenance. Considering that the wife has no income of her own, while
aforesaid ruling of the Court of Appeals. the husband has an employment, the sum of P150.00 fixed by the trial
court for the wife's monthly support does not seem to be unreasonable.
It has been established that the couple were living separately since Needless to state that, as the separation has been brought about by
November 17, 1956 when the husband, after having inflicted bodily the husband and under the circumstances established during the
injuries on the wife in the course of a quarrel between them, took her trial, the same shall subsist until a different situation between the
to her mother's house where the latter stayed until the institution of the parties shall take place
claim for support. The wife claimed maltreatment and abandonment by
the husband as basis therefor, whereas the husband, in resisting her
demand for maintenance, contended that it was she who left the
conjugal dwelling and, consequently, is not entitled thereto.

The trial court, in granting the wife's demand, sustained the theory that
she was driven out of the dwelling or, at least prevented from
returning thereto by reason of defendant's maltreatment. The Court
of Appeals, on the other hand, while adopting the findings of the Juvenile
and Domestic Relations Court as to the husband's role in the incident that
led to the separation, and notwithstanding the declaration by the husband
during the hearing that "all the trouble she (the wife) has given me is
enough for me to turn my back to her," set aside the decision of the lower
court, on the ground that it believes that the conditions were such that
cohabitation between the spouses is not yet impossible. Thus, they
were admonished to live together as husband and wife.

We recognize the wisdom of the exhortation1 that in the interest of


society, and perhaps of the parties, courts should move, with caution in
providing separate maintenance for the wife, a situation which would be
an acknowledgement of the de facto separation of the spouses.
However, it would be taking an unrealistic view for us to compel or urge
them to live together when, at least for the present, they specially the
husband are speaking of impossibility of cohabitation. For while marriage
entitles both parties to cohabitation or consortium, the sanction therefor
is the spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and
board of canvassers of Leyte 'from proclaiming Adelina Larrazabal as the winning candidate for the Office of the
Abella v. COMELEC Governor in the province of Leyte, in the event that she obtains the winning margin of votes in the canvass of
election returns of said province.' (Id., p. 179) On March 1, 1988, the Commission on Elections having been fully
constituted, we remanded the petition thereto for appropriate action, including maintenance or lifting of the Court's
The main issue in these consolidated petitions centers on who is the temporary restraining order of February 4, 1988. (Id. pp. 182-184)

rightful governor of the province of Leyte 1) petitioner Adelina Larrazabal


In the meantime, petitioner Abella, after raising various verbal objections (later duly reduced to writing) during the
(G.R. No. 100739) who obtained the highest number of votes in the local canvass of the election returns, seasonably elevated them to the Commission on Elections in ten separate appeals
docketed as SPC Nos. 88-627 to 88627-I. Pending resolution of these cases, Abella intervened on March 7, 1988
elections of February 1, 1988 and was proclaimed as the duly elected in the disqualification case, docketed as SPC No. 88-546, and the following day filed a complaint, with the Law
governor but who was later declared by the Commission on Elections Department of the COMELEC charging the private respondent with falsification and misrepresentation of her
residence in her certificate of candidacy. On March 22, 1988, the public respondent consolidated the pre-
(COMELEC) "... to lack both residence and registration qualifications for proclamation and disqualification cases with the Second Division.

the position of Governor of Leyte as provided by Art. X, Section 12,


On February 3, 1989, this Division unanimously upheld virtually all the challenged rulings of the provincial board of canvassers, mostly on
Philippine Constitution in relation to Title II, Chapter I, Sec. 42, B.P. Blg. the ground that the objection raised were merely formal and did not affect the validity of the returns or the ballots, and ordered the
proclamation of the winner after completion of the canvass. (G.R. Nos. 87721-30, Rollo, pp. 18-50) On that same date, the disqualification
137 and Sec. 89, R.A. No. 179 and is hereby disqualified as such case was also dismissed by a 2-1 decision, and the matter was referred to the Law Department for 'preliminary investigation for possible
violation of Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code. ' (G.R. Nos. 88004, Rollo, pp. 26-40)
Governor"; 2) petitioner Benjamin Abella (G.R. No. 100710), who
obtained the second highest number of votes for the position of governor The motion for reconsideration of the resolution on the pre-proclamation cases was denied by the COMELEC en banc on April 13, 1989,
with no dissenting vote. (G.R. Nos. 87721-30, Rollo, pp. 51-56) These cases are the subject of G.R. Nos. 87721-30, where we issued on
but was not allowed by the COMELEC to be proclaimed as governor after April 18, 1989, another temporary restraining order to the provincial board of canvassers of Leyte to CEASE and DESIST from resuming
the canvass of the contested returns and/or from proclaiming private respondent Adelina Larrazabal Governor of Leyte.
the disqualification of Larrazabal; or 3) Leopoldo E. Petilla, the vice-
governor of the province of. Leyte. The motion for reconsideration of the resolution on the qualification case was also denied by the COMELEC en banc on May 4, 1989, but
with three commissioners dissenting. (G.R. No. 88004, Rollo, pp 47-61; penned by Commissioner Abueg, Jr., with Commissioners Africa
Rama, and Yorac, dissenting) The dismissal of this case is the subject of G.R. No. 88004. (at pp. 511-513)

The Court has ordered the consolidation of G.R. Nos 87721-30


Disposing of the consolidated petitions, this Court rendered judgment as follows:
and G.R. No. 88004 involving the same parties and the same
election in 1988 for the office of provincial governor of Leyte. 1. In G.R.Nos. 87721-30, the decision dated February 3, 1989, the resolution dated April 13, 1989, are affirmed and the petition is
Challenged in the petitions for certiorari are the resolutions of the DISMISSED.

respondent Commission on Elections dismissing the pre- 2. In G.R. No. 88004, the decision dated February 3,1989, and the resolution dated May 4, 1989, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
proclamation and disqualification cases filed by the herein Respondent Commission on Elections is ORDERED to directly hear and decide SPC Case No. 88-546 under Section 78 of the Omnibus
Election Code, with authority to maintain or lift our temporary restraining order of April 18, 1989, according to its own assessment of the
petitioners against private respondent Adelina Larrazabal. evidence against the private respondent.

The parties are enjoined to resolve this case with all possible speed, to the end that the Governor of Leyte may be ascertained and
Petitioner Benjamin P. Abella was the official candidate of the installed without further delay. (p. 520)

Liberal Party for provincial governor of Leyte in the local election In view of these rulings, the COMELEC, upon motion of Larrazabal, lifted its temporary restraining order against her proclamation paving Larrazabal's
held on February 1, 1988. The private respondent is the wife of proclamation and her assumption to the Office of Governor of Leyte while the hearings in the disqualification case (SPC No. 88-546) continued.

Emeterio V. Larrazabal, the original candidate of the Lakas ng


On February 14, 1991, the second division in a 2-1 vote rendered a decision disqualifying Larrazabal as governor.
Bansa-PDP-Laban who was disqualified by the Commission on
Elections on January 18, 1988, for lack of residence. (G.R. No. On July 18, 1991, the Commission en banc issued a resolution which denied Larrazabal's motion to declare decision void and/or motion for
reconsideration and affirmed the second division's decision. In the same resolution, the Commission disallowed Abella's proclamation as governor of
88004, Rollo, pp. 102-104) (He filed a petition for certiorari to Leyte.

challenge this resolution. He, however, filed an urgent ex-parte


motion to withdraw petition which was granted in a resolution Hence, these petitions.

dated January 21, 1988 and the case was dismissed. [G.R. No. We treat the various Comments as Answers and decide the petitions on their merits.
81313]) On January 31, 1988, the day before the election, she
filed her own certificate of candidacy in substitution of her Acting on a most urgent petition (motion) for the issuance of a restraining order filed by petitioner Larrazabal, this Court issued a temporary restraining
order on August 1, 1991.
husband. (Ibid., p. 48) The following day, at about 9:30 o'clock in
the morning, Silvestre de la Cruz, a registered voter of Tacloban xxx xxx xxx

City, filed a petition with the provincial election supervisor of Leyte


to disqualify her for alleged false statements in her certificate of ... [E]ffective immediately and continuing until further orders from this Court, ordering the respondent on on Elections to CEASE and
DESIST from enforcing, implementing and executing the decision and resolution, respectively dated February 14, 1991 and July 18, 1991.
candidacy regarding her residence. (Id., pp. 113-118) This was
immediately transmitted to the main office of the Commission on Elections, which could not function, however, It appearing that despite the filing of this petition before this Court and during its pendency, the incumbent Vice-Governor of Leyte Hon.
because all but one of its members had not yet been confirmed by the Commission on Appointments. De la Cruz Leopoldo E. Petilla, took his oath as Provincial Governor of Leyte and assumed the governorship as contained in his telegraphic message,
then came to this Court, which issued a temporary restraining order on February 4, 1988, enjoining the provincial pursuant to COMELEC resolution SPC No. 88-546, promulgated on July 18, 1991, the Court further Resolved to ORDER Hon. Leopoldo
E. Petilla to MAINTAIN the status quo ante then prevailing and/or existing before the filing of this petition and to DESIST from assuming
the office of the Governor and from discharging the duties and functions thereof. (Rollo-100739, p. 204) Sec. 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of
candidacy. — A verified petition seeking to deny due course or to
In G.R. No. 100739, petitioner Larrazabal professes that the COMELEC cancel a certificate of candidacy may be filed by any person
completely disregarded our pronouncement in G.R. No. 88004 in that exclusively on the ground that any material representation
instead of acting on SPC Case No. 88-546 under section 78 of the contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is false.
Election Code, the COMELEC proceeded with a disqualification case not The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five
contemplated in G.R. No. 88004. days from the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and
shall be decided, after due notice and hearing, not later than
The argument is not meritorious. fifteen days before the election.

The questioned decision and resolution of the COMELEC conform with Section 6 of R.A. 6646 states as follows:
this Court's decision in G.R. No. 88004.
Effect of Disqualification Case. — Any candidate who has been
Initially, herein respondent Silvestre T. de la Cruz (Benjamin P. Abella, declared by final judgment to be disqualified shall not be voted
petitioner in G.R. No. 100710 was allowed to intervene in the case) filed for, and the votes cast for him shall not be counted. If for any
a petition with the COMELEC to disqualify petitioner Larrazabal from reason a candidate is not declared by final judgment before an
running as governor of Leyte on the ground that she misrepresented her election to be disqualified and he is voted in such election, the
residence in her certificate of candidacy as Kananga, Leyte. It was Court or Commission shall continue with the trial and hearing of
alleged that she was in fact a resident of Ormoc City like her husband the action, inquiry, or protest and, upon motion of the complainant
who was earlier disqualified from running for the same office. The or any intervenor, may during the pendency thereof order the
COMELEC dismissed the petition and referred the case to its Law suspension of the proclamation of such candidate whenever the
Department for proper action on the ground that the petition was a evidence of his guilt is strong. ...
violation of Section 74 of the Election Code and, pursuant to it rules,
should be prosecuted as an election offense under Section 262 of the xxx xxx xxx
Code.
The above-stressed circumstances should explain the necessity
This Court reversed and set aside the COMELEC's ruling, to wit: for continuing the investigation of the private respondent's
challenged disqualification even after the election notwithstanding
The Court holds that the dismissal was improper. The issue of that such matter is usually resolved before the election.
residence having been squarely raised before it, it should not Independently of these circumstances, such proceedings are
have been shunted aside to the Law Department for a allowed by Section 6 of RA. 6646 if for any reason a candidate is
roundabout investigation of the private respondent's qualification not declared by final judgment before an election to be
through the filing of a criminal prosecution, if found to be disqualified ...
warranted, with resultant disqualification of the accused in case of
conviction. The COMELEC should have opted for a more direct In fine, the Court directed the COMELEC to determine the residence
and speedy process available under the law, considering the vital qualification of petitioner Larrazabal in SPC Case No. 88-546.
public interest involved and the necessity of resolving the Concomitant with this directive would be the disqualification of petitioner
question of the earliest possible time for the benefit of the Larrazabal in the event that substantial evidence is adduced that she
inhabitants of Leyte. really lacks the residence provided by law to qualify her to run for the
position of governor in Leyte.
In the view of the Court, the pertinent provision is Section 78 in
relation to Section 6 of R.A. No. 6646. In line with the Court's directive, the COMELEC conducted hearings in
SPC Case No. 88-546 to resolve the qualification of Larrazabal on the
basis of two (2) legal issues raised by Silvestre T. de la Cruz namely, The petitioner, however, avers that the COMELEC decision is erroneous
Larrazabal's lack of legal residence in the province of Leyte and her not when it relied on the provisions of the Family Code to rule that the
being a registered voter in the province, as required by Title II, Chapter I, petitioner lacks the required residence to qualify her to run for the
Section 42, B.P. Blg. 337, in relation to Article X, Section 12 of the position of governor of Leyte. She opines that under "the Election Law,
Constitution, to wit: the matter of determination of the RESIDENCE is more on the principle
of INTENTION, the animus revertendi rather than anything else."
Sec. 42. Qualification. — (1) An elective local official must be a
citizen of the Philippines, at least twenty-three years of age on In this regard she states that ... "her subsequent physical transfer of
election day, a qualified voter registered as such in the barangay, residence to Ormoc City thereafter, did not necessarily erased (sic) or
municipality, city or province where he proposes to be elected, a removed her Kananga residence, for as long as she had the ANIMUS
resident therein for at least one year at the time of the filing of his REVERTENDIevidenced by her continuous and regular acts of returning
certificate of candidacy, and able to read and write English, there in the course of the years, although she had physically resided at
Pilipino, or any other local language or dialect. Ormoc City." (Petition, Rollo, p. 40)

xxx xxx xxx As can be gleaned from the questioned decision, the COMELEC based
its finding that the petitioner lacks the required residence on the evidence
Sec. 12. Cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, of record to the effect that despite protestations to the contrary made by
and component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from the petitioner, she has established her residence at Ormoc City from
voting for provincial elective officials, shall be independent of the 1975 to the present and not at Kananga, Leyte. Her attempt to
province. The voters of component cities within a province, whose purportedly change her residence one year before the election by
charters contain no such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their registering at Kananga, Leyte to qualify her to ran for the position of
right to vote for elective provincial officials. governor of the province of Leyte clearly shows that she considers
herself already a resident of Ormoc City. In the absence of any evidence
The position of petitioners De la Cruz and Abena was that respondent to prove otherwise, the reliance on the provisions of the Family Code was
Larrazabal is neither a resident nor a registered voter of Kananga, Leyte proper and in consonance with human experience. The petitioner did not
as she claimed but a resident and registered voter of Ormoc City, a present evidence to show that she and her husband maintain separate
component city of the province of Leyte but independent of the province residences, she at Kananga, Leyte and her husband at Ormoc City. The
pursuant to Section 12, Article X of the Constitution thereby disqualifying second division of the COMELEC in its decision dated February 14, 1991
her for the position of governor of Leyte. They presented testimonial as states:
well as documentary evidence to prove their stance.
xxx xxx xxx
On the other hand, respondent Larrazabal maintained that she was a
resident and a registered voter of Kananga, Leyte. She, too presented But there is the more fundamental issue of residence. The only
testimonial as well as documentary evidence to prove her stand. indications of a change of residence so far as respondent is
concerned are: the address indicated in the application for
The COMELEC ruled against the respondent, now petitioner Larrazabal. cancellation filed by respondent indicating her postal address as
Kananga, Leyte, the annotation in her Voter's affidavit for Precinct
No. 15 that her registration was cancelled due to lack of
In its questioned decision and resolution, the COMELEC found that
residence; the testimony of Anastacia Dasigan Mangbanag that
petitioner Larrazabal was neither a resident of Kananga, Leyte nor a
she entered into a contract of lease with option to buy with the
registered voter thereat. With these findings, the COMELEC disqualified
spouses Emeterio and Inday Larrazabal over two parcels of land
the petitioner as governor of the province of Leyte.
the witness owned in Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte; that she sees
the spouses in the leased house in Kananga, that she was
informed by Inday Larrazabal that the spouses had decided to
buy their property because she wanted to beautify the house for The Civil Code is clear that '[F]or the exercise of civil rights and
their residence. She attached as annex the written contract the fulfillment of civil obligations, the domicile of natural persons
signed by her and the spouses; and the testimony of Adolfo is the place of their habitual residence.
Larrazabal Exh. "10" cousin of the spouses that 'at a family
meeting ... the political plan of the Larrazabal clan was discussed, Arts. 68 and 69 of the Family Code, E.O. No. 209 also provide as
among which were (sic) the problem of Terry's residence in follows:
Ormoc City' and that it was decided in said meeting ... that Inday
Larrazabal, wife of Terry, will transfer her Ormoc Registration as Art. 68. The husband and wife are obliged to live together,
a voter to Kananga, Leyte (so) she will be able to vote for Terry observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render
and also help me in my candidacy; that they have been staying in mutual help and support.
Kananga, very often as they have properties in Lonoy and a
house in Mahawan.
Art. 69. The husband and wife shall fix the family
domicile. In case of disagreement, the court shall decide.
The references to residence in the documents of cancellation and The court may exempt one spouse from living with the
registration are already assessed for their evidentiary value in other if the latter should live abroad or there are other
relation to the documents themselves above. The question must valid and compelling reasons for the exemption. However,
therefore be addressed in relation to the testimony of Anastacia such exemption shall not apply if the same is not
Dasigan Mangbanag and Adolfo V. Larrazabal. The gist of the compatible with the solidarity of the family.
testimonies is that they leased properties in Mahawan, Leyte and
that they are seen in the house on the land leased. But the
Husband and wife as a matter of principle live together in one
contract of lease with option to purchase itself indicates as to
legal residence which is their usual place of abode. (COMELEC
where the legal residence of the Jarrazabal is. The pertinent
decision, pp. 21-23; Rollo – 100710, pp. 67-69; Emphsis
portion states:
supplied)
SPS EMETERIO V. LARRAZABAL AND ADELINA Y.
As regards the principle of ANIMUS REVERTENDI we ruled in the case
LARRAZABAL, both of legal age, Filipino, and residents of Ormoc
of Faypon v. Quirino, 96 Phil. 294 [1954]):
City, Philippines, hereinafter referred to as the LESSEES.
xxx xxx xxx
The acknowledgment also indicates that Emeterio V. Larrazabal
presented his Residence Certificate No. 155774914 issued in
Ormoc City. ... [M]ere absence from one's residence or origin-domicile-to
pursue studies, engage in business, or practice his avocation, is
not sufficient to constitute abandonment or loss of such
The testimony of Adolfo Larrazabal reenforces this conclusion. It
residence.' ... The determination of a persons legal residence or
admits, as of the second or third week of November, that the
domicile largely depends upon intention which may be inferred
residence of Emeterio Larrazabal was Ormoc City and that Inday
from his acts, activities and utterances. The party who claims that
Larrazabal was going to transfer her registration so she may be
a person has abandoned or left his residence or origin must show
able to vote for him.
and prove pre-ponderantly such abandonment or loss.
For the purpose of running for public office, the residence
xxx xxx xxx
requirement should be read as legal residence or domicile, not
any place where a party may have properties and may visit from
time to time. ... A citizen may leave the place of his birth to look for 'greener
pastures' as the saying goes, to improve his life, and that, of
course, includes study in other places, practice of his avocation,
or engaging in business. When an election is to be held, the Precinct No. 17, Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte on November
citizen who left his birthplace to improve his lot may desire to 28,1987 which registration was contained in Voter's Affidavit with
return to his native town to cast his ballot but for professional or Serial No. 0190840-J The cancellation of registration was
business reasons, or for any other reason, he may not absent submitted to the Board of Election Inspectors on January 9, 1988
himself from the place of his professional or business activities; (Revision Day) on the submission of the sworn application at 4:30
so there he registers as voter as he has the qualifications to be p.m. allegedly by a clerk from the Election Registrar's Office with
one and is not willing to give up or lose the opportunity to choose only the poll clerk and the third member because the Chairman of
the officials who are to run the government especially in national the Board of Election Inspectors allegedly left earlier and did not
elections. Despite such registration, the animus revertendi to his come back. Exh. "3-B".
home, to his domicile or residence of origin, has not forsaken him.
... (at pp. 297-300) We find the version pressed by respondent unworthy of belief.
The story is marked by so many bizarre cirumtances not
In the instant case, there is no evidence to prove that the petitioner consistent with the ordinary course of events or the natural
temporarily left her residence in Kananga, Leyte in 1975 to pursue any behavior of persons. Among these are:
calling, profession or business. What is clear is that she established her
residence in Ormoc City with her husband and considers herself a (1) The application for cancellation of registration by respondent
resident therein. The intention of animus revertendi not to abandon her Adelina Y. Larrazabal happened to be misplaced by a clerk in the
residence in Kananga, Leyte therefor, is nor present. The fact that she Election Registrar's Office for Ormoc City so it was not sent to the
occasionally visits Kananga, Leyte through the years does not signify an Board of Election Inspectors in a sealed envelope;
intention to continue her residence therein. It is common among us
Filipinos to often visit places where we formerly resided specially so when (2) The 'inadverterment' (sic) misplacement was discovered only
we have left friends and relatives therein although for intents and on January 9,1988;
purposes we have already transferred our residence to other places.
(3) The voter's affidavit was delivered by itself without any
Anent the issue of whether or not the petitioner is a registered voter of endorsement or covering letter from the Election Registrar or
Kananga, Leyte, the petitioner insists that she is such a registered voter anybody else;
based on the following antecedents: 1) She cancelled her registration in
Ormoc City on November 25, 1987, and 2) she then transferred her
(4) The election clerk delivered the application for cancellation
registration to Kananga, Leyte on November 25, 1987 by registering
only towards the last hour of the revision day, allegedly at 4:30
thereat and 3) she later voted on election day (February 1, 1988) in
P.M., January 9, 1988;
Kananga, Leyte.
(5) All the members of the Board of Election Inspectors had
Despite the insistence of the petitioner, the evidence shows that her
already signed the Minutes indicating that no revision of the
supposed cancellation of registration in Ormoc City and transfer of
voter's list was made as of 5:00 PM
registration in Kananga, Leyte, is not supported by the records. As the
COMELEC stated:
(6) The poll clerk and the third member prepared another minutes
stating that the election clerk had delivered the application for
The train of events, which led to respondent's g of her certificate
cancellation at 4:30 P.M. without any reference to the minutes
of candidacy on the basis of her registration started on November
they had previously signed;
25, 1987, when she allegedly filed all application for cancellation
of registration Exh. "2-B". Subsequent to this request, her voter's
affidavit in Precinct 15, Ormoc City with Serial No. 0918394 J was (7) Emeterio Larrazabal, who was supposed to have registered in
annotated with the words 'cancelled upon application of the voter Precinct 17, Mahawan, Kananga, was supposed to have filled up
due to transfer of residence.' Thereafter, she registered in an application for cancellation of his registration in Precinct No.
15, Ormoc City at Precinct 17 concurrent with his registration. His From the certification of the National Central Files, it appears that
application for cancellation was never submitted in evidence. the Serial Nos. of the newly registered voters were as follows:
0189821-J 018922-J 0189823-J 0189824-J 0189825-J 0189826-
(8) The serial number of the voter's affidavits of the spouses J 0189827-J 0189828-J 0189839-J The alleged registration of
Larrazabal in Precinct No. 17 are far removed from the serial Emeterio V. Larrazabal and Adelina Y. Larrazabal are
numbers of the other new registrants in November 28, 1987 in the inexplicably effected through voter's affidavits with Serial Nos.
same precinct. 0190893J and 01 90840-J. These serial numbers are traced per
record of the Commission to Precinct No. 6, municipality of
The most telling evidence is the list of voters (Form 2-A), Exh. Kananga, Leyte. Per official Project of precincts on file with the
"G", that the Chairman and the poll clerk had written in Part II of Commission, Precinct No. 6 is a poblacion precinct located in
the same, closed by the signatures of both officials showing that Kananga, Municipal High School Building. How these documents
there were only nine (9) additional registered voters in Precinct came to be used in Precinct No. 17 in Barangay Mahawan and
17, Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte, namely, Bantasan, Merly; Conie; only by the Larrazabals has never been explained.
Limosnero Anita; Limosnero W; Pame Virginia; Savenario,
Analiza; Verallo, Ofelia; Basan, Juanita; and Acgang Bonifacio. It also takes a lot of straining to believe the story about the effort
This is consistent with the list of new voters after the November to cancel registration on November 25, 1987, which application
28, 1987 for Precinct No. 17, Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte surfaced before the Board of Election inspectors for Precinct No.
submitted by the Election of Kananga to the National Central File 15, Ormoc City only on January 9, 1988, Revision Day. As
of the Commission per certification of the Chief, National Central pointed out by Petitioner, it is absurd that it would only be on
File Division on January 25, 1988 dated January 25, 1988, Exh. Revision Day, normally set aside for the purpose of receiving
'C'. The affidavits submitted by the Election Registrar to the inclusion and exclusion orders from the courts, that the
Commission could only have come from the Board of Election application for cancellation would be coincidentally found and
Inspectors of Precinct No. 17, after the November 28, 1987 delivered to the Board of Election Inspectors for Precinct 15.
registration, for the Election Registrar could not have had the Furthermore, the entire membership of the Board of Inspectors
affidavits of these new registrants apart from those supplied by for said precinct, signed a Minutes, Exh. "3-A" which indicates
the Precinct itself. Why were not the affidavits of the Larrazabals that no order of inclusion or exclusion was received from any
included? Was this part of the incredibly bizarre series of court and that the board proceeded with the numbering of a total
inadvertence and neglect that spanned Ormoc City and 229 voters for the precinct. The Minutes also indicates that the
Kananga? This also explains the certification dated January 29, Board adjourned at 5:00 p.m. Exh. "3-B" which was supposedly
1988, of the Election Registrar of Kananga that as of that date prepared after Exh. "3-A" signed only by the poll clerk and third
Mrs. Adelina Larrazabal was not a registered voter in any of the' member indicates that at 4:30 P.M. an unidentified clerk from the
precincts in Kananga. Exh. "L". It was only on February 15, 1988, Election Registrar's Office arrived with the application for
or two weeks after the election day that the same Registrar cancellation of Vilma Manzano and Adelina Larrazabal.
certified for the first time that there were two voters lists, the first
without the names of the Larrazabals and the second, which It also appears that on November 28, 1987, the Board of Election
appeared only after February 1, submitted by the Chairman of the Inspectors for Precinct 15, Ormoc City prepared the list of voters
Board for Precinct 17 which contained the spouses Larrazabals' for said precinct, Exh. 'N' where the name of Adelina Y.
names. Larrazabal appears as voter No. 96 and Emeterio V. Larrazabal is
listed as Voter No. 98. At the back of the list there is a certification
It might also be stressed that one set of voter's list Exh. "G" had that there was no voter which was included by court order and
the signature of both the Chairman, poll clerk and third member of that to voters, one Montero and one Salvame were excluded by
the board, while the one which appeared later which included the virtue of such order. As of January 29, 1988, when the certified
names of the Larrazabal had the signature only of the Chairman. true copy of the Voter's List for Precinct 15 was furnished the
Exh. "I". petitioner, no additional entry was reflected on the list which
would show what transpired on January 9, 1988, as alleged by Section 12, Article X of the Constitution provides:
the Election Registrar for Ormoc City and the poll clerk and third
member of the board of inspectors that a cancellation was Cities that are highly urbanized, as determined by law, and
effected. It taxes credulity therefore, to lend belief to Exh. "2-C", component cities whose charters prohibit their voters from voting
when was issued by the City Registrar for Ormoc only on for provincial elective officials, shall be independent of the
February 1, 1990, which for the first time showed handwritten province. The voters of component cities within a province, whose
annotations of cancellation of the registration of Adelina charters contain no such prohibition, shall not be deprived of their
Larrazabal and Vilma Manzano by witnesses Gratol and Patonog. right to vote for elective provincial officials.
If this evidence did not exist at the time of the entry which
purports to have been on January 9, 1988, this evidence could Section 89 of Republic Act No. 179 creating the City of Ormoc provides:
have been used to confront within Carolina Quezon when she
testified and identified Exh. "N" on April 14, 1988. In fact if these
Election of provincial governor and members of the Provincial
entries indicating (sic) were made, they would have been evident
Board of the members of the Provincial Board of the Province of
in Exh. 'W. The failure to confront Quezon with the entries and
Leyte — The qualified voters of Ormoc City shall not be qualified
the late submission of Exh. "2-C" can only lead to two
and entitled to vote in the election of the provincial governor and
conclusions: these entries did not exist as of January 29, 1988
the members of the provincial board of the Province of Leyte.
when the certification of the list of voters was made and that they
were annotated in the voter's list after that date. This is consistent
with Exh. "P" which was issued on February 11, 1988. Relating therefore, section 89 of R.A. 179 to section 12, Article X of the
Constitution one comes up with the following conclusion: that Ormoc City
when organized was not yet a highly-urbanned city but is, nevertheless,
The relative weight of the parties' evidence supports petitioner's
considered independent of the province of Leyte to which it is
thesis that respondent was not a registered voter in Precinct No.
geographically attached because its charter prohibits its voters from
17, Brgy. Mahawan, Kananga, Leyte, and, that she and her
voting for the provincial elective officials. The question now is whether or
husband Emeterio Larrazabal continued to be registered voters in
not the prohibition against the 'city's registered voters' electing the
Precinct No. 15, Ormoc City. (Rollo, pp. 62-67; COMELEC
provincial officials necessarily mean, a prohibition of the registered voters
decision, pp. 22-27)
to be elected as provincial officials.
The Court is bound by these factual findings as they are supported by
The petitioner citing section 4, Article X of the Constitution, to wit:
substantial evidence:
Sec. 4. The President of the Philippines shall exercise general
In Aratuc v. Commission on Elections (88 SCRA 251), speaking
supervision over local governments. Provinces with respect to
of the need to preserve the 'independence and all the needed
component cities and municipalities and cities and municipalities
concomitant powers' of the Commission on Elections, Justice
with respect to component barangays, shall ensure that the acts
Antonio P. Barredo declared that it is but proper that the Court
of their component units are within the scope of their prescribed
should accord the greatest measures of presumption of regularity
powers and functions.
to its course of action ... to the end it may achieve its designed
place in the democratic fabric of our government ... (Abella v.
Larrazabal, supra) submits that "while a Component City whose charter prohibits its voters
from participating in the elections for provincial office, is indeed
independent of the province, such independence cannot be equated with
Failing in her contention that she is a resident and registered voter of
a highly urbanized city; rather it is limited to the administrative supervision
Kananga, Leyte, the petitioner poses an alternative position that her
aspect, and nowhere should it lead to the conclusion that said voters are
being a registered voter in Ormoc City was no impediment to her
likewise prohibited from running for the provincial offices." (Petition, p. 29)
candidacy for the position of governor of the province of Leyte.
The argument is untenable. Time of Completion. — Every owner or developer shall construct
and provide the facilities, improvements, infrastructures and other
Section 12, Article X of the Constitution is explicit in that aside from forms of development, including water supply and lighting
highly-urbanized cities, component cities whose charters prohibit their facilities, which are offered and indicated in the approved
voters from voting for provincial elective officials are independent of the subdivision or condominium plans. ...
province. In the same provision, it provides for other component cities
within a province whose charters do not provide a similar prohibition. The Court ruled:
Necessarily, component cities like Ormoc City whose charters prohibit
their voters from voting for provincial elective officials are treated like We further reject petitioner's strained and tenuous application of
highly urbanized cities which are outside the supervisory power of the the called doctrine of last antecedent in the interpretation of
province to which they are geographically attached. This independence Section 20 and, correlatively, of Section 21. He would thereby
from the province carries with it the prohibition or mandate directed to have the enumeration of 'facilities, improvements, infrastructures
their registered voters not to vote and be voted for the provincial elective and other forms of development' interpreted to mean that the
offices. The resolution in G.R. No. 80716 entitled Peralta v. The demonstrative Phrase 'which are offered and indicated in the
Commission on Elections, et al. dated December 10, 1987 applies to this approved subdivision plans, etc,' refer only to 'other forms of
case. While the cited case involves Olongapo City which is classified as a development' and not to 'facilities, improvements and
highly urbanized city, the same principle is applicable. infrastructures.' While this subserves his purpose, such
bifurcation whereby the supposed adjectives phrase is set apart
Moreover, Section 89 of Republic Act 179, independent of the from the antecedent words, is illogical and erroneous. The
constitutional provision, prohibits registered voters of Ormoc City from complete and applicable rule is ad proximum antedecens flat
voting and being voted for elective offices in the province of Leyte. We relationisi impediatursentencia (See Black's Law Dictionary, 4th
agree with the COMELEC en banc that "the phrase 'shall not be qualified Ed., 57 citing Brown v. Brown, Delta 3 Terry 157, 29 A. 2d 149,
and entitled to vote in the election of the provincial governor and the 153) Relative words refer to the nearest antecedent, unless it be
members of the provincial board of the Province of Leyte' connotes two prevented by the context. In the present case, the employment of
prohibitions — one, from running for and the second, from voting for any the word 'and' between 'facilities, improvements, infrastructures'
provincial elective official." (Resolution En Banc, p. 6) and 'other forms of development,' far from supporting petitioner's
theory, enervates it instead since it is basic in legal hermeneutics
The petitioner takes exception to this interpretation. She opines that such that and is not meant to separate words but is a conjunction used
interpretation is "wrong English" since nowhere in the provision is there to denote a joinder or union. (at pp. 81-83)
any reference to a prohibition against running for provincial elective
office. She states that if the prohibition to run was indeed intended, the Applying these principles to the instant case, the
provision should have been phrased "Shall not be qualified TO RUN in conjunction and between the phrase shall not be qualified and entitled to
the election FOR provincial governor." A comma should have been used vote refer to two prohibitions as ruled by the COMELEC in relation to the
after the word qualified and after the word "vote" to clearly indicate that demonstrative phrase "in the election of the provincial governor and the
the phrase "in the election of the provincial governor" is modified members of the provincial board of the Province of Leyte."
separately and distinctly by the words "not qualified" and the words "not
entitled to vote." (Petition, p. 19) Finally, the petitioner contends that the February 14, 1991 decision of the
COMELEC's second division is null and void on the ground that on that
The Court finds the petitioner's interpretation fallacious. date, the term of Commissioner Andres Flores, one of the signatories of
the majority opinion (vote was 2-1) had already expired on February 2,
In the case of Mapa v. Arroyo (175 SCRA 76 [1989]) this Court 1991. (Commissioner Flores was nominated by the President on January
interpreted Section 20 of Presidential Decree No. 957 in relation to the 30, 1988 and was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments on
conjunction and, to wit: February 15, 1988. His term of office was fixed by the President for three
years from February 15, 1988 to February 15, 1991.)
The petitioner postulates that the President has no power to fix the terms U.S. 283; Siler v. Louisville & Nashville R. Co. 213 U.S. 175;
of office of the Commissioners of the COMELEC because the Berea College v. Kentucky 211 U.S. 45.) (at p. 45)
Constitution impliedly fixes such terms of office. With regards to
Commissioner Flores, the petitioner professes that Flores' term of three Even if we concede that Commissioner Flores' term expired on February
(3) years expired on February 2, 1991 based in section 1(2), Article IX, C, 2, 1991, we fail to see how this could validate the holding of an elective
of the Constitution, to wit: office by one who is clearly disqualified from running for that position and
the continued exercise of government powers by one without legal
xxx xxx xxx authority to do so. The powers of this Court are broad enough to enjoin
the violation of constitutional and statutory provisions by public officers
(2) The Chairman and the Commissioners shall be appointed by especially where, as in this case, we merely affirm the decision of the
the President with the consent of the Commission on COMELEC en banc promulgated at a time when Commissioner Flores
Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. was no longer a member.
Of those first appointed, three Members shall hold office for
seven years, two Members for five years, and the last Members Moreover, under the peculiar circumstances of this case, the decision of
for three years, without reappointment. Any appointment to any the second division of COMELEC would still be valid under the de
vacancy shall be only for the unexpired term of the predecessor. facto doctrine.
In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in a
temporary or acting capacity. In relation to the Transitory Commissioner Flores was appointed for a three-year term from February
Provision of the 1987 Constitution (Article XVIII) particularly 15, 1988 to February 15, 1991. In these three years he exercised his
Section 15 thereof, to wit: duties and functions as Commissioner. Granting in the absence of a
statute expressly stating when the terms of the COMELEC Chairman and
xxx xxx xxx members commence and expire, that his term expired on February 2,
1991 to enable a faithful compliance with the constitutional provision that
The incumbent Members of the Civil Service Commission, the the terms of office in the COMELEC are on a staggered basis
Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit shall commencing and ending at fixed intervals, his continuance in office until
continue in office for one year after the ratification of this February 15, 1991 has a color of validity. Therefore, all his official acts
Constitution, unless they are sooner removed for cause or from February 3, 1991 to February 15, 1991, are considered valid. The
become incapacitated to discharge The duties of their office or Court ruled in the case of Leyte Acting Vice-Governor Aurelio D. Menzon
appointed to a new term thereunder. In no case shall any v. Leyte Acting Governor Leopoldo E. Perilla, et al. G.R. No. 90762, May
Member serve longer than seven years including service before 20, 1991:
the ratification of this Constitution.
And finally, even granting that the President, acting through the
There is no need to pass upon this constitutional issue raised by the Secretary of Local Government, possesses no power to appoint
petitioner. The Court ruled in the case of Alger Electric, Inc. v. Court of the petitioner, at the very least, the petitioner is a de facto officer
Appeals (135 SCRA 37 [1985]): entitled to compensation.

xxx xxx xxx There is no denying that the petitioner assumed the Office of the
Vice-Governor under color of a known appointment. As revealed
... This Court does not decide questions of a constitutional nature by the records, the petitioner was appointed by no less than the
unless absolutely necessary to a decision of the case. If there alter ego of the President, the Secretary of Local Government,
exists some other ground based on statute or general law or after which he took his oath of office before Senator Alberto
other grounds of construction, we decide the case on a non- Romulo in the Office of Department of Local Government
constitutional determination. (See Burton v. United States, 196
Regional Director Res Salvatierra. Concededly, the appointment her in the sincere belief that she was a qualified candidate for the position
has the color of validity. of governor. Her votes were counted and she obtained the highest
number of votes. The net effect is that the petitioner lost in the election.
Petitioner Benjamin P. Abella in G.R. No. 100710 obtained the second He was repudiated by the electorate. In the Frivaldo and Labo cases, this
highest number of votes, next to Larrazabal in the local elections of is precisely the reason why the candidates who obtained the second
February 1, 1988 in the province of Leyte. The COMELEC en banc, after highest number of votes were not allowed to assume the positions
affirming the February 14, 1991 decision of its second division vacated by Frivaldo the governorship of Sorsogon, and Labo, the position
disqualifying arrazabal as governor disallowed Abella from assuming of mayor in Baguio City. The nature of the proceedings therefore, is not
position of governor in accordance with section 6, Republic Act No. 6646 that compelling. What matters is that in the event a candidate for an
and the rulings in the cases of Frivaldo v. Commission on Elections (174 elected position who is voted for and who obtains the highest number of
SCRA 245 [1989]) and Labo, Jr. v. Commission on Elections (176 SCRA votes is disqualified for not possessing the eligibility requirements at the
1 [1989]). time of the election as provided by law, the candidate who obtains the
second highest number of votes for the same position can not assume
Abella claims that the Frivaldo and Labo cases were misapplied by the the vacated position. It should be stressed that in G.R. No. 88004, the
COMELEC. According to him these cases are fundamentally different Court set aside the dismissal of SPC No. 88-546, and directed the
from SPC No. 88-546 in that the Frivaldo and Labo cases were petitions COMELEC to conduct hearings to determine whether or not Larrazabal
for a quowarranto filed under section 253 of the Omnibus Code, was qualified to be a candidate for the position of governor in the
contesting the eligibility of the respondents after they had been province of Leyte. This is the import of the decision in G.R. No. 88004.
proclaimed duly elected to the Office from which they were sought to be Thus, the Court ruled in the case of Labo, Jr. v. Commission on
unseated while SPC No. 88-546 which was filed before proclamation Elections:
under section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code sought to deny due
course to Larrazabal's certificate of candidacy for material Finally, there is the question of whether or not the private
misrepresentations and was seasonably filed on election day. He, respondent, who filed the quo warranto petition, can replace the
therefore, avers that since under section 6 of Republic Act 6646 it is petitioner as mayor. He cannot. The simple reason is that as he
provided therein that: obtained only the second highest number of votes in the election,
he was obviously not the choice of the people of Baguio City.
Any candidate who has been declared by final judgment to be
disqualified shall not be voted for, and the votes case for him shall not be The latest ruling of the Court on this issue is Santos v.
counted. Commission on Elections, (137 SCRA 740) decided in 1985. In
that case, the candidate who placed second was proclaimed
the votes cast in favor of Larrazabal who obtained the highest number of elected after the votes for his winning rival, who was disqualified
votes are not considered counted making her a non-candidate, he, who as a turncoat and considered a non-candidate, were all disregard
obtained the second highest number of votes should be installed as as stray. In effect, the second placer won by default. That
regular Governor of Leyte in accordance with the Court's ruling in G.R. decision was supported by eight members of the Court then,
No. 88004. (Cuevas, J., ponente, with Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Escolin,
Relova, De la Fuente, Alampay and Aquino, JJ., concurring.) with
three dissenting (Teehankee, Acting C.J., Abad Santos and
The petitioner's arguments are not persuasive.
Melencio-Herrera, JJ.) and another two reserving their vote.
(Plana and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ.) One was on official leave.
While it is true that SPC No. 88-546 was originally a petition to deny due (Fernando, C.J.)
course to the certificate of candidacy of Larrazabal and was filed before
Larrazabal could be proclaimed the fact remains that the local elections
Re-examining that decision, the Court finds, and so holds, that it
of February 1, 1988 in the province of Leyte proceeded with Larrazabal
should be reversed in favor of the earlier case of Geronimo v.
considered as a bona-fide candidate. The voters of the province voted for
Ramos, (136 SCRA 435) which represents the more logical and
democratic rule. That case, which reiterated the doctrine first The COMELEC has not acted without or in excess of jurisdiction
announced in 1912 in Topacio v. Paredes, (23 Phil. 238) was or in grave abuse of discretion.
supported by ten members of the Court, (Gutierrez, Jr., ponente,
with Teehankee, Abad Santos, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Escolin, WHEREFORE, the instant petitions are DISMISSED. The
Relova, De la Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concurring) questioned decision of the second division of the Commission on
without any dissent, although one reserved his vote, (Makasiar, Elections dated February 14, 1991 and the questioned Resolution
J.) another took no part, (Aquino, J.) and two others were on en banc of the Commission dated July 18, 1991 are hereby
leave. (Fernando, C.J. and Concepcion, Jr., J.) There the Court AFFIRMED. The temporary restraining order issued on August 1,
held: 1991 is LIFTED. Costs against the petitioners.

... it would be extremely repugnant to the basic concept of SO ORDERED.


the constitutionally guaranteed right to suffrage if a
candidate who has not acquired the majority or plurality of
votes is proclaimed a winner and imposed as the
representative of a constituency, the majority of which
have positively declared through their ballots that they do
not choose him.

Sound policy dictates that public elective offices are filled


by those who have received the highest number of votes
cast in the election for that office, and it is a fundamental
idea in all republican forms of government that no one
can be declared elected and no measure can be declared
carried unless he or it receives a majority or plurality of
the legal votes cast in the election. (20 Corpus Juris 2nd,
S 243, p. 676.)

The fact that the candidate who obtained the highest


number of votes is later declared to be disqualified or not
eligible for the office to which he was elected does not
necessarily entitle the candidate who obtained the second
highest number of votes to be declared the winner of the
elective office. The votes cast for a dead, disqualified, or
non-eligible person may not be valid the vote the winner
into office or maintain him there. However the absence of
a statute which clearly asserts a contrary politics and
legislative policy on the matter, if the votes were cast in
the sincere belief that the candidate was alive, qualified,
or eligible, they should not be treated as stray, void or
meaningless. (at pp. 20-21)

In sum, the Court does not find any reason to reverse and set
aside the questioned decision and resolution of the COMELEC.
A question of first impression is before this Court in this litigation. We are void a "donation between the spouses during the marriage," policy
called upon to decide whether the ban on a donation between the spouses considerations of the most exigent character as well as the dictates of morality
during a marriage applies to a common-law relationship. 1 The plaintiff, now require that the same prohibition should apply to a common-law relationship.
appellant Cornelia Matabuena, a sister to the deceased Felix Matabuena, We reverse.
maintains that a donation made while he was living maritally without benefit of
marriage to defendant, now appellee Petronila Cervantes, was void. 1. As announced at the outset of this opinion, a 1954 Court of Appeals
decision, Buenaventura v. Bautista, 7 interpreting a similar provision of the old
Defendant would uphold its validity. The lower court, after noting that it was Civil Code 8 speaks unequivocally. If the policy of the law is, in the language of
made at a time before defendant was married to the donor, sustained the the opinion of the then Justice J.B.L. Reyes of that Court, "to prohibit donations
latter’s stand. Hence this appeal. The question, as noted, is novel in character, in favor of the other consort and his descendants because of fear of undue and
this Court not having had as yet the opportunity of ruling on it. A 1954 decision improper pressure and influence upon the donor, a prejudice deeply rooted in
of the Court of Appeals, Buenaventura v. Bautista, 2 by the then Justice J. B. L. our ancient law; ‘porque no se engañen despojandose el uno al otro por amor
Reyes, who was appointed to this Court later that year, is indicative of the que han de consuno [according to] the Partidas (Part IV, Tit. XI, LAW IV),
appropriate response that should be given. The conclusion reached therein reiterating the rationale ‘Ne mutuato amore invicem spoliarentur’ of the
is that a donation between common-law spouses falls within the Pandects (Bk. 24, Tit. 1, De donat, inter virum et uxorem); then there is every
prohibition and is "null and void as contrary to public policy." 3 Such a reason to apply the same prohibitive policy to persons living together as
view merits fully the acceptance of this Court. The decision must be husband and wife without the benefit of nuptials. For it is not to be doubted
reversed. that assent to such irregular connection for thirty years bespeaks greater
influence of one party over the other, so that the danger that the law seeks to
In the decision of November 23, 1965, the lower court, after stating that in avoid is correspondingly increased. Moreover, as already pointed out by Ulpian
plaintiff’s complaint alleging absolute ownership of the parcel of land in (in his lib. 32 ad Sabinum, fr. 1), ‘it would not be just that such donations
question, she specifically raised the question that the donation made by Felix should subsist, lest the condition of those who incurred guilt should turn out to
Matabuena to defendant Petronila Cervantes was null and void under the be better.’ So long as marriage remains the cornerstone of our family law,
aforesaid article of the Civil Code and that defendant on the other hand did reason and morality alike demand that the disabilities attached to marriage
assert ownership precisely because such a donation was made in 1956 and her should likewise attach to concubinage.
marriage to the deceased did not take place until 1962, noted that when the
case was called for trial on November 19, 1965, there was stipulation of facts 2. It is hardly necessary to add that even in the absence of the above
which it quoted. 4 Thus: "The plaintiff and the defendant assisted by their pronouncement, any other conclusion cannot stand the test of scrutiny. It
respective counsels, jointly agree and stipulate: (1) That the deceased Felix would be to indict the framers of the Civil Code for a failure to apply a laudable
Matabuena owned the property in question; (2) That said Felix Matabuena rule to a situation which in its essentials cannot be distinguished. Moreover, if
executed a Deed of Donation inter vivos in favor of Defendant, Petronila it is at all to be differentiated, the policy of the law which embodies a deeply-
Cervantes over the parcel of land in question on February 20, 1956, which rooted notion of what is just and what is right would be nullified if such
same donation was accepted by defendant; (3) That the donation of the land irregular relationship instead of being visited with disabilities would be
to the defendant which took effect immediately was made during the common attended with benefits. Certainly a legal norm should not be susceptible to
law relationship as husband and wife between the defendant-done and the now such a reproach. If there is ever any occasion where the principle of statutory
deceased donor and later said donor and done were married on March 28, construction that what is within the spirit of the law is as much a part of it as
1962; (4) That the deceased Felix Matabuena died intestate on September 13, what is written, this is it. Otherwise the basic purpose discernible in such codal
1962; (5) That the plaintiff claims the property by reason of being the only provision would not be attained. Whatever omission may be apparent in an
sister and nearest collateral relative of the deceased by virtue of an affidavit of interpretation purely literal of the language used must be remedied by an
self-adjudication executed by her in 1962 and had the land declared in her adherence to its avowed objective. In the language of Justice Pablo: "El
name and paid the estate and inheritance taxes thereon’" espiritu que informa la ley debe ser la luz que ha de guiar a los tribunales en la
aplicación de sus disposiciones.’’ 10
The judgment of the lower court on the above facts was adverse to plaintiff. It
reasoned out thus: "A donation under the terms of Article 133 of the Civil Code 3. The lack of validity of the donation made by the deceased to defendant
is void if made between the spouses during the marriage. When the donation Petronila Cervantes does not necessarily result in plaintiff having exclusive
was made by Felix Matabuena in favor of the defendant on February right to the disputed property. Prior to the death of Felix Matabuena, the
20, 1956, Petronila Cervantes and Felix Matabuena were not yet relationship between him and the defendant was legitimated by their marriage
married. At that time they were not spouses. They became spouses on March 28, 1962. She is therefore his widow. As provided for in the Civil
only when they married on March 28, 1962, six years after the deed of Code, she is entitled to one-half of the inheritance and the plaintiff, as the
donation had been executed." 6 surviving sister, to the other half. 11

We reach a different conclusion. While Art. 133 of the Civil Code considers as WHEREFORE, the lower court decision of November 23, 1965 dismissing the
complaint with costs is reversed. The questioned donation is declared void,
with the rights of plaintiff and defendant as pro indiviso heirs to the property in
question recognized. The case is remanded to the lower court for its
appropriate disposition in accordance with the above opinion. Without
pronouncement as to costs.