AMELIA GARCIA-QUIAZON, JENNETH QUIAZON AND MARIA JENNIFER QUIAZON, PETITIONERS, VS. MA. LOURDES BELEN, FOR AND IN BEHALF OF MARIA LOURDES ELISE QUIAZON, RESPONDENT. G.R. No. 189121, July 31, 2013. - THE LAWYER'S POST.
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“Likewise unmeritorious is petitioners’ contention that the Court of Appeals erred in declaring Amelia’s marriage to Eliseo as void ab initio. In a void marriage, it was though no marriage has taken place, thus, it cannot be the source of rights. Any interested party may attack the marriage directly or collaterally. A void marriage can be questioned even beyond the lifetime of the parties to the marriage. It must be pointed out that at the time of the celebration of the marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, the law in effect was the Civil Code, and not the Family Code, making the ruling in Niñal v. Bayadog applicable four-square to the case at hand. In Niñal, the Court, in no uncertain terms, allowed therein petitioners to file a petition for the declaration of nullity of their father’s marriage to therein respondent after the death of their father, by contradistinguishing void from voidable marriages, to wit:
[C]onsequently, void marriages can be questioned even after the death of either party but voidable marriages can be assailed only during the lifetime of the parties and not after death of either, in which case the parties and their offspring will be left as if the marriage had been perfectly valid. That is why the action or defense for nullity is imprescriptible, unlike voidable marriages where the action prescribes. Only the parties to a voidable marriage can assail it but any proper interested party may attack a void marriage.
It was emphasized in Niñal that in a void marriage, no marriage has taken place and it cannot be the source of rights, such that 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.
Relevant to the foregoing, there is no doubt that Elise, whose successional rights would be prejudiced by her father’s marriage to Amelia, may impugn the existence of such marriage even after the death of her father. The said marriage may be questioned directly by filing an action attacking the validity thereof, or collaterally by raising it as an issue in a proceeding for the settlement of the estate of the deceased spouse, such as in the case at bar. Ineluctably, Elise, as a compulsory heir, has a cause of action for the declaration of the absolute nullity of the void marriage of Eliseo and Amelia, and the death of either party to the said marriage does not extinguish such cause of action.
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