G.R. No. 57062, 24 January 1992
Lupo Mariategui died without a will on June 26, 1953 and contracted 3 marriages during his lifetime. He acquired the Muntinlupa Estate while he was still a bachelor. He had 4 children with his first wife Eusebia Montellano, who died in 1904 namely Baldomera, Maria del Rosario, Urbano and Ireneo. Baldomera had 7 children, all surnamed Espina. Ireneo on the other hand had a son. On the other hand, Lupo’s second wife is Flaviana Montellano where they had a daughter. Lupo got married for the third time in 1930 with Felipa Velasco and had 3 children namely Jacinto, Julian and Paulina. Jacinto testified that his parents got married before a Justice of the Peace of Taguig Rizal. The spouses deported themselves as husband and wife, and were known in the community to be such.
Lupo’s descendants by his first and second marriages executed a deed of extrajudicial partition whereby they adjudicated themselves Lot NO. 163 of the Muntinlupa Estate and was subjected to a voluntary registration proceedings and a decree ordering the registration of the lot was issued. The siblings in the third marriage prayed for inclusion in the partition of the estate of their deceased father and annulment of the deed of extrajudicial partition dated Dec. 1967.
Whether the marriage of Lupo with Felipa is valid.
Yes. Although no marriage certificate was introduced to prove Lupo and Felipa’s marriage, no evidence was likewise offered to controvert these facts. Moreover, the mere fact that no record of the marriage exists does not invalidate the marriage, provided all requisites for its validity are present.
Courts look upon the presumption of marriage with great favor as it is founded on the following rationale that the basis of human society throughout the civilized world is that of marriage. Marriage in this jurisdiction is not only a civil contract, but it is a new relation, an institution in the maintenance of which the public is deeply interested. Consequently, every intendment of the law leans toward legalizing matrimony. Persons dwelling together in apparent matrimony are presumed, in the absence of any counter-presumption or evidence special to that case, to be in fact married.
Under these circumstances, a marriage may be presumed to have taken place between Lupo and Felipa. The laws presume that a man and a woman, deporting themselves as husband and wife, have entered into a lawful contract of marriage; that a child born in lawful wedlock, there being no divorce, absolute or from bed and board is legitimate; and that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life.
Hence, Felipa’s children are legitimate and therefore have successional rights.
* Case digest by Vera L. Nataa, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018