Case Digest: Juliano-Llave vs. Republic

G.R. No. 169766:March 30, 2011.




Around 11 months before his death, Sen. Tamano married Estrellita twice initially under the Islamic laws and tradition on May 27, 1993 in Cotabato City and, subsequently, under a civil ceremony officiated by an RTC Judge on June 2, 1993. In their marriage contracts, Sen. Tamanos civil status was indicated as divorced. On November 23, 1994, private respondents Haja Putri Zorayda A.Tamano (Zorayda) and her son Adib Ahmad A. Tamano (Adib), in their own behalf and in behalf of the rest of Sen. Tamanos Legitimate children with Zorayda,filed a complaint with the RTC for the declaration of nullity of marriage between Estrellita and Sen.Tamano for being bigamous.The complaint alleged,inter alia, that Sen. Tamano married Zorayda on May 31, 1958 under civil rites, and that this marriage remained subsisting when he married Estrellita in 1993.

Summons were served to Estrellita but she failed to file an Answer. Instead of submitting her answer, however, Estrellita filed a Motion to Dismiss on February 20, 1995, argued that the RTC has no jurisdiction to take cognizance of the case because under Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1083, or the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (Muslim Code), questions and issues involving Muslim marriages and divorce fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of sharia courts.The RTC denied, leaving Estrellita to file a petition for certiorari, referred to the CA. Regarding the nullity case filed by Zorayda in the RTC, hearings there were repeatedly postponed at the instance of Estrellita. The CA then denied Zoraydas Motion to Dismiss, prompting her to file a petition of certiorari with the SC, which still upheld the jurisdiction of the RTC. Meanwhile, the RTC declared the marriage between Estrellita And Sen. Tamano void. The CA affirmed.


1. Whether or not Estrellita was denied her right to due process
2. Whether or not the marriage between Estrellita and Sen. Tamano is void
3. Whether or not Zorayda had standing to file the nullity case


The petition is denied.

REMEDIAL LAW: Certiorari petition.

First issue: Estrellita argues that the RTC prematurely issued its judgment, as it should have waited first for the resolution of her Motion to Dismiss before the CA and, subsequently, before this Court. However, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court states that "[t]he petition shall not interrupt the course of the principal case unless a temporary restraining order or a writ of preliminary injunction has been issued against the public respondent from further proceeding in the case."

CIVIL LAW: Void marriages; standing.

Second issue: The marriage between the late Sen. Tamano and Zorayda was celebrated in 1958, solemnized under civil and Muslim rites.The only law in force governing marriage relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims alike was the Civil Code of 1950, under the provisions of which only one marriage can exist at any given time. Under the marriage provisions of the Civil Code, divorce is not recognized except during the effectivity of Republic Act No. 394 which was not availed of during its effectivity.

For Estrellita, Sen. Tamanos prior marriage to Zorayda has been severed by way of divorce under PD 1083, the law that codified Muslim personal laws.However, PD 1083 cannot benefit Estrellita.As ruled in Tamano v. Hon. Ortiz, Article 13 of PD 1083 does not provide for a situation where the parties were married both in civil and Muslim rites. Moreover, the Muslim Code took effect only on February 4, 1977, and this law cannot retroactively override the Civil Code which already bestowed certain rights on the marriage of Sen. Tamano and Zorayda.In view of Sen. Tamanos prior marriage which subsisted at the time Estrellita married him, their subsequent marriage is correctly adjudged by the CA as voidab initio.

Third issue: Under A.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, "Only an aggrieved or injured spouse may file petitions for annulment of voidable marriages and declaration of absolute nullity of void marriages." This refers to the "aggrieved or injured spouse," as in bigamy cases.If Estrellitas interpretation is employed, the prior spouse is unjustly precluded from filing an action.Surely, this is not what the Rule contemplated. Zorayda and Adib filed the case for declaration of nullity of Estrellitas marriage in November 1994.While the Family Code is silent with respect to the proper party who can file a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage prior toA.M. No. 02-11-10-SC, it has been held that in a void marriage, in which no marriage has taken place and cannot be the source of rights, 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.