Abbas v Abbas New

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Republic of the PhilippinesSUPREME COURTManilaTHIRD DIVISIONSYED AZHAR ABBAS,Petitioner,- versus -GLORIA GOO ABBAS,Respondent.G.R. No. 183896Present:VELASCO, JR., 1., Chairperson,PERALTA,ABAD,MENDOZA, andLEONEN,JJ.Promulgated:January 30, 2013 f!. \ t~x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------e--=~~r--DECISIONVELASCO, JR., J.:This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997Rules of Civil Procedure, questioning the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals(CA) dated March 11, 2008 in CA-G.R. CV No. 86760, which reversed theDecision2 in Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM dated October 5, 2005 of theRegional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 109, Pasay City, and theCA Resolutiondated July 24, 2008, denying petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration of theCA Decision.The present case stems from a petition filed by petitioner Syed AzharAbbas (Syed) for the declaration of nullity of his marriage to Gloria GooAbbas(Gloria) with the RTC of Pasay City, docketed as Civil Case No. 03-0382-CFM, and raffled to RTC Branch 109. Syed alleged the absence of amarriage license, as provided for in Article 4, Chapter I, Title 1 of ExecutiveOrder No. 269, otherwise known as the Family Code of the Philippines, as aground for the annulment of his marriage to Gloria.In the Marriage Contrace of Gloria and Syed, it is stated that MarriageLicense No. 9969967, issued at Carmona, Cavite on January 8, 1993, was1 Penned by Associate Justice Celia C. Librea-Leagogo and concurred in by Associate JusticesRegalado E. Maambong and Myrna Dimaranan Vidal.2 Penned by Judge Tingaraan U. Guiling.'Rollo, p. 13. IDecision 2 G.R. No. 183896presented to the solemnizing officer. It is this information that is crucial tothe resolution of this case.At the trial court, Syed, a Pakistani citizen, testified that he metGloria, a Filipino citizen, in Taiwan in 1991, and they were married onAugust 9, 1992 at the Taipei Mosque in Taiwan.4 He arrived in thePhilippines in December of 1992. On January 9, 1993, at around 5 oclockin the afternoon, he was at his mother-in-laws residence, located at 2676 F.Muoz St., Malate, Manila, when his mother-in-law arrived with two men.He testified that he was told that he was going to undergo some ceremony,one of the requirements for his stay in the Philippines, but was not told ofthe nature of said ceremony. During the ceremony he and Gloria signed adocument. He claimed that he did not know that the ceremony was amarriage until Gloria told him later. He further testified that he did not go toCarmona, Cavite to apply for a marriage license, and that he had neverresided in that area. In July of 2003, he went to the Office of the CivilRegistrar of Carmona, Cavite, to check on their marriage license, and wasasked to show a copy of their marriage contract wherein the marriage licensenumber could be found.5 The Municipal Civil Registrar, Leodivinia C.Encarnacion, issued a certification on July 11, 2003 to the effect that themarriage license number appearing in the marriage contract he submitted,Marriage License No. 9969967, was the number of another marriage licenseissued to a certain Arlindo Getalado and Myra Mabilangan.6 Saidcertification reads as follows:11 July 2003TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:This is to certify as per Registry Records of Marriage License filed in thisoffice, Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued in favor of MR.ARLINDO GETALADO and MISS MYRA MABILANGAN on January19, 1993.No Marriage License appear [sic] to have been issued to MR. SYEDAZHAR ABBAS and MISS GLORIA F. GOO on January 8, 1993.This certification is being issued to Mr. Syed Azhar Abbas for whateverlegal purpose or intents it may serve.7On cross-examination, Syed testified that Gloria had filed bigamycases against him in 2001 and 2002, and that he had gone to the MunicipalCivil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite to get certification on whether or notthere was a marriage license on advice of his counsel.84 Id. at 47.5 Id.6 Id. at 12.7 Id. at 10.8 Id. at 48.Decision 3 G.R. No. 183896Petitioner also presented Norberto Bagsic (Bagsic), an employee ofthe Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite. Bagsic appeared under aletter of authority from the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite,and brought documents pertaining to Marriage License No. 9969967, whichwas issued to Arlindo Getalado and Myra Mabilangan on January 20, 1993.9Bagsic testified that their office issues serial numbers for marriage licensesand that the numbers are issued chronologically.10 He testified that thecertification dated July 11, 2003, was issued and signed by LeodivinaEncarnacion, Registrar of the Municipality of Carmona, Cavite, certifyingthat Marriage License No. 9969967 was issued for Arlindo Getalado andMyra Mabilangan on January 19, 1993, and that their office had not issuedany other license of the same serial number, namely 9969967, to any otherperson.11For her part, Gloria testified on her own behalf, and presentedReverend Mario Dauz, Atty. Lorenzo Sanchez, Felicitas Goo and May AnnCeriola.Reverend Mario Dauz (Rev. Dauz) testified that he was a minister ofthe Gospel and a barangay captain, and that he is authorized to solemnizemarriages within the Philippines.12 He testified that he solemnized themarriage of Syed Azhar Abbas and Gloria Goo at the residence of the brideon January 9, 1993.13 He stated that the witnesses were Atty. LorenzoSanchez (Atty. Sanchez) and Mary Ann Ceriola.14 He testified that he hadbeen solemnizing marriages since 1982, and that he is familiar with therequirements.15 Rev. Dauz further testified that Atty. Sanchez gave him themarriage license the day before the actual wedding, and that the marriagecontract was prepared by his secretary.16 After the solemnization of themarriage, it was registered with the Local Civil Registrar of Manila, andRev. Dauz submitted the marriage contract and copy of the marriage licensewith that office.17Atty. Sanchez testified that he was asked to be the sponsor of thewedding of Syed Abbas and Gloria Goo by the mother of the bride, FelicitasGoo.18 He testified that he requested a certain Qualin to secure the marriagelicense for the couple, and that this Qualin secured the license and gave thesame to him on January 8, 1993.19 He further testified that he did not knowwhere the marriage license was obtained.20 He attended the weddingceremony on January 9, 1993, signed the marriage contract as sponsor, and9 Id. at 49, January 19, 1993 in some parts of the records.10 Id.11 Id. at 49-50.12 Id. at 50.13 Id.14 Id.15 Id.16 Id. at 51.17 Id.18 Id.19 Id.20 Id. at 52.Decision 4 G.R. No. 183896witnessed the signing of the marriage contract by the couple, thesolemnizing officer and the other witness, Mary Ann Ceriola.21Felicitas Goo testified that Gloria Goo is her daughter and Syed AzharAbbas is her son-in-law, and that she was present at the wedding ceremonyheld on January 9, 1993 at her house.22 She testified that she sought the helpof Atty. Sanchez at the Manila City Hall in securing the marriage license,and that a week before the marriage was to take place, a male person went totheir house with the application for marriage license.23 Three days later, thesame person went back to their house, showed her the marriage licensebefore returning it to Atty. Sanchez who then gave it to Rev. Dauz, thesolemnizing officer.24 She further testified that she did not read all of thecontents of the marriage license, and that she was told that the marriagelicense was obtained from Carmona.25 She also testified that a bigamy casehad been filed by Gloria against Syed at the Regional Trial Court of Manila,evidenced by an information for Bigamy dated January 10, 2003, pendingbefore Branch 47 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.26As to Mary Ann Ceriolas testimony, the counsels for both partiesstipulated that: (a) she is one of the sponsors at the wedding of Gloria Gooand Syed Abbas on January 9, 1993; (b) she was seen in the wedding photosand she could identify all the persons depicted in said photos; and (c) hertestimony corroborates that of Felicitas Goo and Atty. Sanchez.The respondent, Gloria, testified that Syed is her husband, andpresented the marriage contract bearing their signatures as proof.27 She andher mother sought the help of Atty. Sanchez in securing a marriage license,and asked him to be one of the sponsors. A certain Qualin went to theirhouse and said that he will get the marriage license for them, and afterseveral days returned with an application for marriage license for them tosign, which she and Syed did. After Qualin returned with the marriagelicense, they gave the license to Atty. Sanchez who gave it to Rev. Dauz, thesolemnizing officer. Gloria testified that she and Syed were married onJanuary 9, 1993 at their residence.28Gloria further testified that she has a daughter with Syed, born onJune 15, 1993.29Gloria also testified that she filed a bigamy case against Syed, whohad married a certain Maria Corazon Buenaventura during the existence of21 Id.22 Id. at 53.23 Id. at 54.24 Id.25 Id.26 Id.27 Id. at 55.28 Id.29 Id. at 56.Decision 5 G.R. No. 183896the previous marriage, and that the case was docketed as Criminal Case No.02A-03408, with the RTC of Manila.30Gloria stated that she and Syed had already been married on August 9,1992 in Taiwan, but that she did not know if said marriage had beencelebrated under Muslim rites, because the one who celebrated theirmarriage was Chinese, and those around them at the time were Chinese.31The Ruling of the RTCIn its October 5, 2005 Decision, the Pasay City RTC held that no validmarriage license was issued by the Municipal Civil Registrar of Carmona,Cavite in favor of Gloria and Syed, as Marriage License No. 9969967 hadbeen issued to Arlindo Getalado and Myra Mabilangan, and the MunicipalCivil Registrar of Carmona, Cavite had certified that no marriage license hadbeen issued for Gloria and Syed.32 It also took into account the fact thatneither party was a resident of C