G.R. No. 116668, 28 July 1997
Miguel Palang married his first wife Carlina in 1949. In 1972, Miguel returned to the Philippines for good but did not choose to leave with his wife and daughter Herminia. In July 1973, then 63 years old Miguel contracted his second marriage with 19 years old Erlinda Agapay.
In May 1973 or two months prior to their marriage Miguel and Erlinda jointly purchased a parcel of agricultural land located at San Felipe, Binalonan, Pangasinan. Upon the death of Miguel in 1981, Carlina and Herminia filed a case to recover the ownership and possession of the Agricultural land in Pangasinan.
Whether or not the property acquired during the illicit cohabitation or subsequent void marriage (Erlinda and Miguel) belongs to conjugal property of the first and valid marriage (Carlina and Miguel).
Yes. The provision of law applicable here is Article 148 of the Family Code providing for cases of cohabitation when a man and woman who are not capacitated to marry each other live exclusively with each other as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage or under a void marriage. While Miguel and Erlinda contracted marriage, said union was patently void because earlier marriage of Miguel and Carlina was still subsisting and unaffected by the latter’s de facto separation.
Under Article 148, only the properties acquired by both of the parties through their actual joint contribution of money, property or industry shall be owned by them in common in proportion to their respective contributions. It must be stressed that actual contribution is required by this provision, in contrast to Article 147 which states that efforts in the care and maintenance of the family and household, are regarded as contributions to the acquisition of common property by one who has no salary or income or work or industry. If the actual contribution of the party is not proved, there will be no co-ownership and no presumption of equal shares.
Erlinda tried to establish by her testimony that she is engaged in the business of buy-and-sell and had a sari-sari store but failed to persuade the SC that she actually contributed money to buy the riceland. Since petitioner failed to prove that she contributed money to the purchase price of the riceland, SC finds no basis to justify her co-ownership with Miguel over the same.
* Case digest by Gretchen Rina A. Lim, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018