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REPUBLIC VS CATUBAG decision is immutable thus cannot be modified in any respect even if it means to correct
G.R. NO. 210580 erroneous conclusions of fact/law.
APRIL 18, 2018 8. While parties are prohibited to file a MR or appeal, the decision may be challenged via
TOPIC: CERTIORARI Rule 65 then if aggrieved file via Rule 45 to the SC. In this case, OSG’s move to resort to
PETITIONER: REPUBLIC OF PH Rule 65 to challenge the RTC’s order declaring Shananiv presumptively dead was proper.
RESPONDENT: LUDYSON CATUBAG 9. SIDE ISSUE: WoN Catubag complied w/ the requisites for this petition - NO
PONENTE: REYES JR 10. Under FC 41, these are the essential requisites for such a petition to prosper:
FACTS: a. the absent spouse has been missing for four consecutive years, or two consecutive
1. Prior to their marriage in 2003, Catubag and Shananiv cohabited as husband and wife. They years if the disappearance occurred where there is danger of death under the
have 2 children. In 2001, Catubag worked overseas while Shananiv stayed behind to look circumstances laid down in Article 391 of the Civil Code.
after the children. They married in Rizal, Cagayan and solemnized by the Municipal Judge. b. the present spouse wishes to remarry.
In 2006, Catubag acquired a housing unit in Rio del Grande Subdivision, Cagayan thus c. the present spouse has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead.
Catubag continued to work overseas and constantly talked to his family. d. the present spouse files for a summary proceeding for the declaration of presumptive
2. Months later, Catubag was informed that Shananiv left their house and never returned death of the absentee.
thus his relatives took care of the children for the meantime. Worried about his children, 11. The present spouse had the burden to prove that requisites are present. In this case,
he flew back home to attend to them and looked for his wife but to no avail. records show that Catubag complied in (a)(b) and (d) thus the only issue herein is (c).
3. He even went to Bombo Radyo to broadcast his wife’s disappearance and he also went to Though there is no definition of what “well-founded belief” constituted, In Republic vs
several hospitals and funeral parlors to look for her but ultimately failing. After 7 yrs of Orcelino-Villanueva, that such belief must result from diligent efforts to locate the absent
waiting, he filed to declare Shananiv presumptively dead w/c was granted. spouse. Such diligence entails an active effort on the part of the present spouse to locate
4. OSG raised the RTC decision to the CA via Rule 65 contending that Catubag failed to the missing one as mere absence w/o any attempt to locate.
establish a well-founded belief that his missing wife was already dead. CA dismissed the 12. In this case, Catubag first filed a leave of absence from his work in the UAE and returned
OSG’s petition as no MR was filed in the RTC hence was a fatal defect that warranted the to PH search his wife. He proceeded to inquire her whereabouts from their friends,
case’s dismissal. OSG filed a MR but was denied hence this appeal to the SC. relatives in Cagayan and Bicol. He even went to Bombo Radyo and also claimed to visit
5. MAIN ISSUE: WoN Republic’s filing Rule 65 was proper – YES hospitals and funeral parlors in Tugegarao and nearby municipalities.
MAIN RULING 13. SC found that Catubag’s efforts fell shot to the degree of diligence required by
6. The nature of the proceedings determines the appropriate remedies available thus a party jurisprudence
aggrieved by a court action must first correctly determine the nature of the case in order a. He failed to present any friends or relatives to corroborate these inquiries. No
to properly assail it, w/c in this case is a petition for declaration of presumptive death, explanation for such omission was given thus failure to present any of the person from
particularly relevant is FC 41/238/253 whom inquiries were allegedly made tends belie the claim of a diligent search.
FC 41. A marriage contracted by any person during subsistence of a previous marriage shall b. Catubag never sought the help of government agencies (i.e. PNP/NBI). It would have
be null and void, unless before the celebration of the subsequent marriage, the prior spouse been prudent for him to seek the aid of authorities in searching for his wife thus absent
had been absent for four consecutive years and the spouse present has a well-founded such efforts no diligence of search can be attributed to him.
belief that the absent spouse was already dead. In case of disappearance where there is c. He only based his “well-founded” belief on bare assertions. Taken as a whole, SC
danger of death under the circumstances set forth in the provisions of Article 391 of the viewed his efforts as only passive. He could have produced evidence of “earnest-
Civil Code, an absence of only two years shall be sufficient. efforts” w/c he never provided. Only his act to broadcast his search was corroborated
For the purpose of contracting the subsequent marriage under the preceding paragraph, by Bombo Radyo thus the theory that she abandoned her family stands.
the spouse present must institute a summary proceeding as provided in this Code for the 14. Spouses may easily circumvent the laws on marriage by simply agreeing that one of them
declaration of presumptive death of the absentee, without prejudice to the effect of leave the conjugal abode and never return again. Thus, there is a need for courts to
reappearance of the absent spouse. exercise prudence in evaluating petitions for declaration of presumptive death of an
FC 238. Until modified by the Supreme Court, the procedural rules in this Title shall apply absent spouse. A lenient approach in applying the standards of diligence required in
in all cases provided for in this Code requiring summary court proceedings. Such cases establishing a "well-founded belief' would defeat the State's policy in protecting and
shall be decided in an expeditious manner without regard to technical rules. strengthening the institution of marriage. Thus, it is clear that Catubag failed to comply w/
FC 253. The foregoing rules in Chapters 2 and 3 hereof shall likewise govern summary all the requisites hence the RTC should have denied his petition
proceedings filed under Articles 41, 51, 69, 73, 96, 124 and 217, insofar as they are FALLO: WHEREFORE the petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision dated May 23, 2013
applicable. of the Regional Trial Court
7. Consequently, parties cannot seek reconsideration nor appeal in summary judicial of Tuao, Cagayan, Branch 11 and the Resolutions dated September 3, 2013 and December 6,
proceedings under FC because the law expressly mandates that decisions made 2013 rendered by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. S.P. No. 131269 are hereby ANNULED and
thereunder are final and executory. It is also settled by law and jurisprudence that a SET ASIDE. Consequently, the petition of private respondent Ludyson C. Catubag to have his
wife, Shanaviv G. Alvarez-Catubag, declared presumptively dead is DENIED.