Garcia-Quiazon v. Belen
Eliseo died intestate on 12 December 1992. On 12 September 1994, Maria Lourdes Elise Quiazon (Elise), represented by her mother, Ma. Lourdes Belen (Lourdes), filed a Petition for Letters of Administration before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Las Piñas City.
In her Petition, Elise claims that she is the natural child of Eliseo having been conceived and born at the time when her parents were both capacitated to marry each other. Insisting on the legal capacity of Eliseo and Lourdes to marry, Elise impugned the validity of Eliseo’s marriage to Amelia by claiming that it was bigamous for having been contracted during the subsistence of the latter’s marriage with one Filipito Sandico (Filipito).
To prove her filiation to the decedent, Elise, among others, attached to the Petition for Letters of Administration her Certificate of Live Birth signed by Eliseo as her father. In the same petition, it was alleged that Eliseo left real properties worth ₱2,040,000.00 and personal properties worth ₱2,100,000.00. In order to preserve the estate of Eliseo and to prevent the dissipation of its value, Elise sought her appointment as administratrix of her late father’s estate.
Did the Court err in declaring the marriage of Amelia to Eliseo void?
No. The existence of a previous marriage between Amelia and Filipito was sufficiently established by no less than the Certificate of Marriage issued by the Diocese of Tarlac and signed by the officiating priest of the Parish of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Capas, Tarlac. The said marriage certificate is a competent evidence of marriage and the certification from the National Archive that no information relative to the said marriage exists does not diminish the probative value of the entries therein.
in a void marriage, no marriage has taken place and it cannot be the source of rights, such that any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally without prescription, which may be filed even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. Relevant to the foregoing, there is no doubt that Elise, whose successional rights would be prejudiced by her father’s marriage to Amelia, may impugn the existence of such marriage even after the death of her father. The said marriage may be questioned directly by filing an action attacking the validity thereof, or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse, such as in the case at bar. Ineluctably, Elise, as a compulsory heir, has a cause of action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the void marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, and the death of either party to the said marriage does not extinguish such cause of action.