Petitioner Syed Azhar Abbas, a Pakistani, met Gloria, a Filipino, in Taiwan in 1991 and they got married there in 1992.
Later, Gloria filed bigamy cases against him. As advised bt his counsel, he went to the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite, where their Marriage License was issued, to get certification on whether or not there was a marriage license. There, he was asked to show a copy of their marriage contract wherein the marriage license number could be found. It appeared that the marriage license number appearing in their marriage contract was the number of another marriage license issued to Arlindo Getalado and Myra Mabilangan.
The RTC held that no valid marriage license was issued in favor of Gloria and Syed. Hence, their marriage was declared void ab initio.
On appeal, the CA gave credence to Gloria’s arguments, and granted her appeal.
It gave weight to the fact that Syed had admitted to having signed the marriage contract. The CA also considered that the parties had comported themselves as husband and wife, and that Syed only instituted his petition after Gloria had filed a case against him for bigamy.
Syed’s MR was denied.
Hence, this petition.
Whether or not a valid marriage license had been issued for Syed and Gloria.
The petition is meritorious.
The pertinent provisions that would apply to this particular case are Articles 3, 4 and 35(3) of the Family Code, which read as follows:
Art. 3. The formal requisites of marriage are:
(1) Authority of the solemnizing officer;
(2) A valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of this Title; and
(3) A marriage ceremony
x x x x
Art. 4. The absence of any of the essential or formal requisites shall render the marriage void ab initio, except as stated in Article 35(2).
A defect in any of the essential requisites shall render the marriage voidable as provided in Article 45.
An irregularity in the formal requisites shall not affect the validity of the marriage but the party or parties responsible for the irregularity shall be civilly, criminally and administratively liable.
Art. 35. The following marriages shall be void from the beginning:
x x x x
(3) Those solemnized without a license, except those covered by the preceding Chapter.
We find the RTC to be correct in this instance.
Respondent Gloria failed to present the actual marriage license, or a copy thereof, and relied on the marriage contract as well as the testimonies of her witnesses to prove the existence of said license. While Syed was able to secure a certification that there was no marriage license.
In the case of Republic v. Court of Appeals such certification was allowed, as permitted by Sec. 29, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which reads:
SEC. 28. Proof of lack of record. – A written statement signed by an officer having the custody of an official record or by his deputy that after diligent search, no record or entry of a specified tenor is found to exist in the records of his office, accompanied by a certificate as above provided, is admissible as evidence that the records of his office contain no such record or entry.
The Court held in that case that the certification issued by the civil registrar enjoyed probative value, as his duty was to maintain records of data relative to the issuance of a marriage license.
The law must be applied. As the marriage license, a formal requisite, is clearly absent, the marriage of Gloria and Syed is void ab initio.