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G.R. No. L-32473 October 6, 1930 MELECIO MADRIDEJO, assisted by his guardian ad litem, Pedro Madridejo, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs.

GONZALO DE LEON, ET AL., Defendants-Appellants. VILLA-REAL, J.:

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This is a rehearsing of the appeal taken by the defendants, Gonzalo de Leon et al. from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Laguna holding as follows: Wherefore, the court finds that Melecio Madridejo is Domingo de Leon's next of kin, and hereby orders the defendants in case No. 5258 to restore and deliver the ownership and possession of the property described in the complaints filed in the aforesaid case, to Melecio Madridejo, without cost. So ordered. In support of their appeal the defendants assign the following alleged errors as committed by the trial court, to wit: 1. The lower court erred in holding that the marriage between Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez is valid.
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2. The lower court also erred in declaring that solely because of the subsequent marriage of his parents, the appellee Melecio Madridejo, a natural child, was legitimated.
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3. The lower court lastly erred in not rendering judgment in favor of the defendants and appellants. The relevant facts necessary for the decision of all the questions of fact and of law raised herein are as follows:
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Eulogio de Leon and Flaviana Perez, man and wife, had but one child, Domingo de Leon. The wife and son survived Eulogio de Leon, who died in the year 1915. During her widowhood, Flaviana Perez lived with Pedro Madridejo, a bachelor. The registry of births of the municipality of Siniloan, Laguna, shows that on June 1, 1917, a child was born to Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, which was named Melecio Madridejo, the necessary data being furnished by Pedro Madridejo (Exhibit B). On June 17, 1917, a 24-day old child of Siniloan, Laguna, as a son of Flaviana Perez, no mention being made of the father (Exhibit 2). On July 8, 1920, Flaviana Perez, being at death's door, was married to Pedro Madridejo, a bachelor, 30 years of age, by the parish priest of Siniloan (Exhibit A). She died on the following day, July 9, 1920, leaving Domingo de Leon, her son by Eulogio de Leon, and the plaintiffappellee Melecio Madridejo, as well as her alleged second husband, Pedro Madridejo. Domingo de Leon died on the 2nd of May, 1928.
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With regard to the first assignment of error, the mere fact that the parish priest of Siniloan, Laguna, who married Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, failed to send a copy of the marriage certificate to the municipal secretary does not invalidate the marriage in articulo mortis, it not appearing that the essential requisites required by law for its validity were lacking in the ceremony, and the forwarding of a copy of the marriage certificate is not one of said essential requisites.
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Touching the second assignment of error, there has been no attempt to deny that Melecio Madridejo, the plaintiff-appellee, is the natural son of the Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, The only question to be decided is whether the subsequent marriage of his parents legitimated him.
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Article 121 of the Civil Code provides: Art. 121. Children shall be considered as legitimated by a subsequent marriage only when they have been acknowledged by the parents before or after the celebration thereof. According to this legal provision, in order that a subsequent marriage may be effective as a legitimation, the natural children born out of wedlock must have been acknowledged by the parents either before or after its celebration. The Civil Code has established two kinds of acknowledgment: voluntary and compulsary. Article 131 provides for the voluntary acknowledgment by the father or mother as follows: Art. 131. The acknowledgment of a natural child must be made in the record of birth, in a will, or in some other public document. Article 135 provides for the compulsary acknowledgment by the father, thus: Art. 135. The father may be compelled to acknowledge his natural child in the following cases:
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1. When an indisputable paper written by him, expressly acknowledging his paternity, is in existence.
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2. When the child has been in the uninterrupted possession of the status of a natural child of the defendant father, justified by the conduct of the father himself of that of his family.
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3. In cases of rape, seduction, or abduction, the provisions of the Penal Code with regard to the acknowledgment of the issue, shall be observed. Article 136 providing for the compulsory acknowledgment by the mother, reads: Art. 136. The mother may be compelled to acknowlegde her natural child:
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1. When the child is, with respect to the mother, included in any of the cases mentioned in the next preceding article.
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2. When the fact of the birth and the identity of the child are fully proven. Let us see whether the plaintiff-appellee, Melecio Madridejo, has been acknowledged by his parents Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, under any of the provisions above quoted.
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To begin with the father, no document has been adduced to show that he has voluntarily acknowledged Melecio Madridejo as his son, except the registry certificate of birth, Exhibit B. This, of course, is not the record of birth mentioned in the law, for it lacks the requisites of article 48 of the Law of Civil Registry. It, no doubt, is a public instrument, but it has neither been executed nor signed by Pedro Madridejo, and contains no statement by which he acknowledges Melecio Madridejo to be his son. Although as Pedro Madridejo testified, he furnished the municipal secretary of Siniloan with necessary data for recording the birth of Melecio Madridejo, and although said official inscribed the data thus given in the civil registry of births, this is not sufficient to bring it under the legal provision regarding acknowledgment by a public document.
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As to the mother, it does not appear that Flaviana Perez supplied the data set forth in the civil registry of births, Exhibit B, or in the baptismal register, where of Exhibit 2 is a certificate, and which

constitutes final proof only of the baptism, and not of the kinship or parentage of the person baptized (Adriano vs. De Jesus, 23 Phil., 350). Furthermore, church registers of baptism are no longer considered public documents (United States vs. Evangelista, 29 Phil., 215).
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Melecio Madridejo, then, was not voluntarily acknowledged by Pedro Madridejo or Flaviana Perez, either before or after their marriage.
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Did Pedro Madridejo acknowledge Melecio Madridejo as his son, by compulsion?

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The compulsory acknowledgment by the father established in article 135 of the Civil Code, and by the mother according to article 136, requires that the natural child take judicial action against the father or mother, or against the persons setting themselves up as the heirs of both, for the purpose of compelling them to acknowledge him as a natural son through a judgment of the court.
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In the instant action brought by Melecio Madridejo not only has he not demanded to be acknowledged as a natural child, which is the condition precedent to establishing his legitimation by the subsequent marriage and his right to the estate of his uterine brother, Domingo de Leon, but he has not even impleaded either his father Pedro Madridejo, or the heirs of his mother, Flaviana Perez, in order that the court might have authority to make a valid and effective pronouncement of his being a natural child, and to compel them to acknowledge him as such.
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The plaintiff-appellee alleges that the second paragraph of the defendants' answer amounts to an admission that he is indeed Flaviana Perez's son, and relieves him of the burden of proving that his mother acknowledged him as a son before her marriage. Such an admission would have been affective if the present action had been brought for the purpose of compelling Flaviana Perez or her heirs to acknowledge the appellee as her son.
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In view of the foregoing, it is evident that Melecio Madridejo has not been acknowledged by Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez, either voluntarily or by compulsion, before or after their marriage, and therefore said marriage did not legitimate him.
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Wherefore, the judgment is reversed, the complaint dismissed, and the defendants absolved with costs against the appellee without prejudice to any right he may have to establish or compel his acknowledgment as the natural son of Pedro Madridejo and Flaviana Perez. So ordered.
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Avancea, C.J., Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Ostrand and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

G.R. No. L-4904

February 5, 1909

ROSALIA MARTINEZ, plaintiff-appellant, vs. ANGEL TAN, defendant-appellee. Domingo Franco, for appellant. Doroteo Karagdag, for appellee. WILLARD, J.: The only question in this case is whether or not the plaintiff and the defendant were married on the 25th day of September, 1907, before the justice of the peace, Jose Ballori, in the town of Palompon in the Province of Leyte. There was received in evidence at the trial what is called an expediente de matrimonio civil. It is written in Spanish and consists, first, of a petition directed to the justice of the peace, dated on the 25th of September, 1907, signed by the plaintiff and the defendant, in which they state that they have mutually agreed to enter into a contract of marriage before the justice of the peace, and ask that the justice solemnize the marriage. Following this is a document dated on the same day, signed by the justice of the peace, by the plaintiff, by the defendant, and by Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori. It states the presentation of the petition above mentioned; that the persons who signed it where actually present in the office of the justice on the same day named; that they ratified under oath the contents of the petition, and that they insisted in what they had there asked for. It also stated that being required to produce witnesses of the marriage, the presented Zacarias Esmero as a witness for the husband and Pacita Ballori as a witness for the wife. Following this is a certificate of marriage signed by the justice of the peace and the witnesses Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori, dated the 25th day of September, 1907, in which it is stated that the plaintiff and the defendant were legally married by the justice of the peace in the presence of the witnesses on that day. The court below decided the case in favor of the defendant, holding that the parties were legally married on the day named. The evidence in support of that decision is: First. The document itself, which the plaintiff admits that she signed. Second. The evidence of the defendant, who testifies that he and said plaintiff appeared before the justice of the peace at the time named, together with the witness Zacarias Esmero and Pacita Ballori, and that they all signed the document above mentioned. Third. The evidence of Zacarias Esmero, one of the above-named witnesses, who testifies that the plaintiff, the defendant, and Pacita Ballori appeared before the justice at the time named and did sign the document referred to. Fourth. The evidence of Pacita Ballori, who testified to the same effect. Fifth. The evidence of Jose Santiago, the bailiff of the court of the justice of the peace, who testified that the plaintiff, the defendant, the two witnesses above-named, and the justice of the peace were all present in the office of the justice of the peace at the time mentioned. The only direct evidence in favor of the plaintiff is her own testimony that she never appeared before the justice of the peace and never was married to the defendant. She admits that she signed the document in question, but says that she signed it in her own home, without reading it, and at the request of the defendant, who told her that it was a paper authorizing him to ask the consent of her parents to the marriage. There is some indirect evidence which the plaintiff claims supports her case, but which we think, when properly considered, is not entitled to much weight. The plaintiff at the time was visiting, in the town of Palompon, her married brother and was there for about two weeks. The wife of her brother, Rosario Bayot, testified that the plaintiff never left the house except in her company. But she admitted on crossexamination that she herself went to school every morning and that on one occasion the plaintiff had

gone to church unaccompanied. The testimony of this witness loses its force when the testimony of Pacita Ballori is considered. She says that at the request of the defendant on the day named, about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, she went to the store of a Chinese named Veles; that there she met the plaintiff and her mother; that she asked the mother of the plaintiff to allow the plaintiff to accompany her, the witness, to her own house for the purpose of examining some dress patterns; that the mother gave her consent and the two rights left the store, but instead of going to the house of the witness they went directly to the office of the justice of the peace where the ceremony took place; that after the ceremony had taken place, one came advising them that the mother was approaching, and that they thereupon hurriedly left the office of the justice and went to the house of Pacita Ballori, where the mother later found them. The other testimony of the plaintiff relating to certain statements made by the justice of the peace, who died after the ceremony was performed and before the trial, and certain statements made by Pacita Ballori, is not sufficient to overcome the positive testimony of the witnesses for the defendant. The other testimony of Pacita Ballori is severely criticized by counsel for the appellant in his brief. It appears that during her first examination she was seized with an hysterical attack and practically collapsed at the trial. Her examination was adjourned to a future day and was completed in her house where she was sick in bed. It is claimed by counsel that her collapse was due to the fact that she recognized that she testified falsely in stating the office of the justice of the peace was at the time in the municipal building, when, in fact, it was in a private house. We do not think that the record justifies the claim of the appellant. The statement as to the location of the office of the justice of the peace was afterwards corrected by the witness and we are satisfied that she told the facts substantially as they occurred. There is, moreover, in the case written evidence which satisfies us that the plaintiff was not telling the truth when she said she did not appear before the justice of the peace. This evidence consists of eight letters, which the defendant claims were all written by the plaintiff. The plaintiff admits that she wrote letters numbered 2 and 9. The authenticity of the others was proven. No. 9 is as follows: ANGEL: Up to this time I did not see my father; but I know that he is very angry and if he be informed that we have been married civilly, I am sure that he will turn me out of the house. Do what you may deem convenient, as I don't know what to do. Should I be able to go to-morrow to Merida, I shall do so, because I can not remain here. Yours, ROSAL. Letter No. 6, which bears no date, but which undoubtedly was written on the morning of the 25th of September, is as follows: Sr. D. ANGEL, TAN. ANGEL: It is impossible for me to go to the house of Veles this morning because my sister in law will not let me go there; if it suits you, I believe that this afternoon, about 5 or 6 o'clock, is the best hour. Arrange everything, as I shall go there only for the purpose of signing, and have Pacita wait for me at the Chinese store, because I don't like to go without Pacita. The house must be one belonging to prudent people, and no one should know anything about it. Yours, ROSAL. It will be noticed that this corroborates completely the testimony of Pacita Ballori as to her meeting the plaintiff in the afternoon at the store of the Chinese, Veles. Letter No. 7 is also undated, but was

evidently written after the marriage before the justice of the peace. It is as follows: Sr. D. ANGEL, TAN. ANGEL: If you want to speak to my mother, who is also yours, come here by and by, at about 9 or 10, when you see that the tide is high because my brother will have to go to the boat for the purpose of loading lumber. Don't tell her that we have been civilly married, but tell her at first that you are willing to celebrate the marriage at this time, because I don't like her to know to-day that we have been at the court-house, inasmuch as she told me this morning that she heard that we would go to the court, and that we must not cause her to be ashamed, and that if I insist on being married I must do it right. Tell her also that you have asked me to carry you. I send you herewith the letter of your brother, in order that you may do what he wishes. Yours, ROSAL. Letter No. 8 was also evidently written after the marriage and is in part as follows: Sr. D. ANGEL TAN. ANGEL: I believe it is better for you to go to Ormoc on Sunday of the steamer Rosa, for the purpose of asking my father's permission for our marriage, and in case he fails to give it, then we shall do what we deem proper, and, if he does not wish us to marry without his permission, you must request his consent. Tell me who said that my sister in law knows that we are civilly married; my brother ill treatment is a matter of no importance, as every thing may be carried out, with patience. It was proven at the trial that the defendant did go to Ormoc on the steamer Rosa as indicated in this letter, and that the plaintiff was on the same boat. The plaintiff testified, however, that she had no communication with the defendant during the voyage. The plaintiff and the defendant never lived together as husband and wife, and upon her arrival in Ormoc, after consulting with her family, she went to Cebu and commenced this action, which was brought for the purpose of procuring the cancellation of the certificate of marriage and for damages. The evidence strongly preponderates in favor of the decision of the court below to the effect that the plaintiff appeared before the justice of the peace at the time named. It is claimed by the plaintiff that what took place before the justice of the peace, even admitting all that the witnesses for the defendant testified to, did not constitute a legal marriage. General orders, No. 68, section 6, is as follows: No particular form from the ceremony of marriage is required, but the parties must declare in the presence of the person solemnizing the marriage, that they take each other as husband and wife. Zacarias Esmero, one of the witnesses, testified that upon the occasion in question the justice of the peace said nothing until after the document was signed and then addressing himself to the plaintiff and the defendant said, "You are married." The petition signed the plaintiff and defendant contained a positive statement that they had mutually agreed to be married and they asked the justice of the peace to solemnize the marriage. The document signed by the plaintiff, the defendant, and the justice of the peace, stated that they ratified under oath, before the justice, the contents of the petition and that witnesses of the marriage were produced. A mortgage took place as shown by the certificate of the justice of the peace, signed by both contracting parties, which certificates gives rise to the presumption

that the officer authorized the marriage in due form, the parties before the justice of the peace declaring that they took each other as husband and wife, unless the contrary is proved, such presumption being corroborated in this case by the admission of the woman to the effect that she had contracted the marriage certified to in the document signed by her, which admission can only mean the parties mutually agreed to unite in marriage when they appeared and signed the said document which so states before the justice of the peace who authorized the same. It was proven that both the plaintiff and the defendant were able to read and write the Spanish language, and that they knew the contents of the document which they signed; and under the circumstances in this particular case were satisfied, and so hold, that what took place before the justice of the peace on this occasion amounted to a legal marriage. The defendant's original answer was a general denial of the allegations contained in the complaint. Among these allegations was a statement that the parties had obtain previously the consent of the plaintiff's parents. The defendant was afterwards allowed to amend his answer so that it was a denial of the allegations of the complaint except that relating to the condition in regard to the consent of the parents. The plaintiff objected to the allowance of this amendment. After the trial had commenced the defendant was again allowed to amend his answer so that it should be an admission of paragraphs 2 and 3 of the complaint, except that part which related to the consent of the parents. It will be seen that this second amendment destroyed completely the first amendment and the defendants lawyer stated that what he intended to allege in his first amendment, but by reason of the haste with which the first amendment was drawn he had unintentionally made it exactly the opposite of what he had intended to state. After argument the court allowed the second amendment. We are satisfied that in this allowance there was no abuse of discretion and we do not see how the plaintiff was in any way prejudiced. She proceeded with the trial of the case without asking for a continuance. The judgment of the court below acquitting the defendant of the complaint is affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellant. Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ., concur.