Case Digest Political Law

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ARAÑES VS. OCCIANO (Judges Solmenizing Marriage)

Mercedita Arañes filed charges against Judge Salvador Occiano of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Batalan, Camarines Sur with Gross Ignorance of Law. Occiano solemnized Arañes’ marriage without the requisite marriage license in latter’s house which is outside judge’s jurisdiction. Arañes was not able to claim her right to inherit his deceased husband’s property and she was deprived of receiving her husband’s pension. Occiano avers that the ceremony took place in Arañes’ house because the groom had a difficulty walking & he couldn’t stand traveling. Judge was aware that there was no marriage license but due to the pleas of the couple and everything was prepared already and the visitors were there, he agreed to solemnize the marriage. He reminded them that marriage won’t be valid without the license. They promised to give it within the day but they never did. Arañes desisted but Court still decided the case. ISSUE: Whether or not the marriage is valid?

HELD: No. Judge fined P5,000.00.
1. Judges can only solemnize marriage within their territorial jurisdiction. 2. Marriage license is a requisite for marriage and without it, marriage is void. It is the marriage license that gives the solemnizing officer the authority to solemnize a marriage. And since there was no license, Occiano didn’t have the authority to officiate the ceremony.

Santos vs CA
Article 36: Psychological Incapacity

Leouel, a member of the Army, met Julia in Iloilo City. In September 1986, they got married. The couple latter lived with Julia’s parents. Julia gave birth to a son in 1987. Their marriage, however, was marred by the frequent interference of Julia’s parent as averred by Leouel. The couple also occasionally quarrels about as to, among other things, when should they start living independently from Julia’s parents. In 1988, Julia went to the US to work as a nurse despite Leouel’s opposition. 7 months later, she and Leouel got to talk and she promised to return home in 1989. She never went home that year. In 1990, Leouel got the chance to be in the US due to a military training. During his stay, he desperately tried to locate his wife but to no avail. Leouel, in an effort to at least have his wife come home, filed to nullify their marriage due to Julia’s psychological incapacity. Leouel asserted that due to Julia’s failure to return home or at least communicate with him even with all his effort constitutes psychological incapacity. Julia attacked the complaint and she said that it is Leouel who is incompetent. The prosecutor ascertained that there is no collusion between the two. Leouel’s petition is however denied by the lower and appellate court. ISSUE: Whether or not psychological incapacity is attendant to the case at bar. HELD: Before deciding on the case, the SC noted that the Family Code did not define the term “psychological incapacity”, which is adopted from the Catholic Canon Law. But basing it on the deliberations of the Family Code Revision Committee, the provision in PI, adopted with less specificity than expected, has been designed to allow some resiliency in its application. The FCRC did not give any examples of PI for fear that the giving of examples would limit the applicability of the provision under the principle of ejusdem generis. Rather, the FCRC would like the judge to interpret the provision on a case-to-case basis, guided by experience, the findings of experts and researchers in psychological disciplines, and by decisions of church tribunals which, although not binding on the civil courts, may be given persuasive effect since the provision was taken from Canon Law. The term “psychological incapacity” defies any precise definition since psychological causes can be of an infinite variety. Article 36 of the Family Code cannot be taken and construed independently of but must stand in conjunction with, existing precepts in our law on marriage. PI should refer...
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