G.R. No. 103047, 12 September 1994
On June 24, 1970, Angelina M. Castro and Edwin F. Cardenas were married in a civil ceremony without the knowledge of Castro’s parents. Defendant Cardenas personally attended to the processing of the documents required for the celebration of the marriage, including the procurement of the marriage license. In fact, the marriage contract itself states that marriage license no. 3196182 was issued in the name of the contracting parties on June 24, 1970 in Pasig, Metro Manila.
The couple did not immediately live together as husband and wife until when Castro discovered she was pregnant, that the couple decided to live together. However, their cohabitation lasted only for four (4) months. Thereafter, the couple parted ways. On October 19, 1971, Castro gave birth. The baby was adopted by Castro’s brother, with the consent of Cardenas and was brought to US. Desiring to follow her daughter, Castro wanted to put in order her marital status before leaving for the States. She filed a petition in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City seeking a judicial declaration of nullity of her marriage to Edwin F. Cardenas. As ground therefor that no marriage license was ever issued to them prior to the solemnization of their marriage.
As proof, Angelina Castro offered in evidence a certification from the Civil Register of Pasig, Metro Manila that their marriage license cannot be located and does not appear in the records. Castro testified that she did not go to the civil registrar of Pasig on or before June 24, 1970 in order to apply for a license. Neither did she sign any application therefor. She affixed her signature only on the marriage contract on June 24, 1970 in Pasay City.
The trial court denied the petition. Unsatisfied with the decision, Castro appealed to respondent appellate court. The CA reversed the decision of the trial court and declared the marriage null and void. Hence this petition for review on certiorari.
Whether or not the documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private respondent are sufficient to establish that no marriage license was issued by the Civil Registrar of Pasig prior to the celebration of the marriage of private respondent to Edwin F. Cardenas.
Yes. The documentary and testimonial evidence presented by private respondent Castro sufficiently established the absence of the subject marriage license. The court affirmed the decision of CA that the certification issued by the Civil Registrar unaccompanied by any circumstances of suspicion sufficiently proves that the office did not issue a marriage license to the contracting parties. Albeit the fact that the testimony of Castro is not supported by any other witnesses is not a ground to deny her petition because of the peculiar circumstances of her case. Furthermore, Cardenas was duly served with notice of the proceedings, which he chose to ignore.
At the time the subject marriage was solemnized on June 24, 1970, the law governing marital relations was the New Civil Code. The law provides that no marriage shall be solemnized without a marriage license first issued by a local civil registrar. Being one of the essential requisites of a valid marriage, absence of a license would render the marriage void ab initio.
As custodians of public documents, civil registrars are public officers charged with the duty, inter alia, of maintaining a register book where they are required to enter all applications for marriage licenses, including the names of the applicants, the date the marriage license was issued and such other relevant data. The certification of “due search and inability to find” issued by the civil registrar of Pasig enjoys probative value, he being the officer charged under the law to keep a record of all data relative to the issuance of a marriage license. Unaccompanied by any circumstance of suspicion and pursuant to Section 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, a certificate of “due search and inability to find” sufficiently proved that his office did not issue marriage license no. 3196182 to the contracting parties.
* Case digest by Mary Jade L. Capin, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018