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G.R. 204494
September 5, 2016
Conjugal property

BY: Dean Melencio Sta. Maria

On September 5, 2003, Luis Anson filed a Complaint against Jo-Ann Diaz-Salgado and Gerard Salgado
(Spouses Salgado) along with Maria Luisa Anson-Maya and Gaston Maya (Spouses Maya), seeking the
annulment of three Unilateral Deeds of Sale and the Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate of the
Deceased Severina De Asis.

Luis claimed that he is the surviving spouse of the late Severina. He alleged they were married in a civil
ceremony on December 1966. Prior to this, Severina gave birth to their daughter, Maria Luisa while Jo-Ann
is Severina’s daughter from a previous relationship. During their marital union, they acquired real properties
in San Juan, Manila. Luis claims that since there was no marriage settlement between them, and the
properties pertain to their conjugal partnership. However, without his knowledge and consent, Severina
executed Unilateral Deeds of Sale transferring the properties in favor of Jo-Ann. When Severina died,
Maria Luisa executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Settlement of Estate of Severina, adjudicating herself as
Severina’s sole heir. Luis claimed that because of this, he was divested of his share in the conjugal
properties, and inheritance as a compulsory heir of Severina.

Jo-Ann countered that she did not know about the marriage between her mother and Luis, and that all they
had was a common-law relationship. This was terminated through a Partition Agreement executed in
November 1980. Luis then already received the properties apportioned to him. Maria Luisa also claimed
that she was not aware of any marriage. In the Partition Agreement, Luis and Severina were described as
single and they acknowledged that they were living together as common-law spouses.

Luis presented a marriage contract with Severina during trial. The Spouses Salgado disputed the validity of
the marriage on the ground of lack of marriage license. Luis also admitted the existence and execution of
the Partition Agreement. The RTC ruled in favor of Luis, upholding the validity of marriage despite the lack
of the marriage license number. The CA affirmed this.

Whether there was a valid marriage between Luis and Severina.
Whether Luis is entitled to properties from Severina’s estate under Articles 147 or 148.


The marriage of Luis and Severina was solemnized prior to the effectivity of the Family Code, hence the
applicable law is the Old Civil Code.

The reason cited by Luis as to why there was no marriage license is the exception under Article 77 of the
Old Civil Code, stating that “In case two persons married n accordance with law desire to ratify their union
in conformity with the regulations, rites, or practices of any church, sect, or religion, it shall no longer be
necessary to comply with the requirements of Chapter 1 of this Title and any ratification made shall merely
be considered as a purely religious ceremony.” However, it is clear that they were not married to each other
prior to the civil ceremony, and this was affirmed by Luis in his testimony.

On the issue of the co-ownership, the Court held that in a void marriage, regardless of the cause thereof, the
property relations of the parties during the period of cohabitation is governed by the provisions of Article
147 or Article 148. As there is no showing that the parties were incapacitated to marry each other at the
time of their cohabitation and considering that their marriage is void from the beginning for lack of a valid
marriage license, Article 144 in relation to Article 147 of the Family Code are the pertinent provisions of
law governing their property relations.

Under this property regime, property acquired by both spouses through their work and industry shall be
governed by the rules on equal co-ownership. And since Luis has admitted the existence, due execution and
authenticity of the Partition Agreement, it remains uncontroverted that he already received his share as
stipulated in the Partition Agreement. As such, the Court finds no reason to have the said agreement
declared null and void or annulled, in the absence of any circumstance which renders such contract invalid
or at least, voidable.