G.R. No. L-1967
May 28, 1951
Matilde Menciano, in her and her childrens behalf, filed a motion for declaration of
heirs, alleging that she is the widow of the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose, to whom she was married on September 28, 1944 before Rev. Father Isaias Edralin, S.J.; that they lived together before the said marriage, hence, Carlo Magno Neri was born on March 9, 1940, the child having enjoyed the status of a recognized natural child; that their second child Faustino Neri, Jr., was born on April 25, 1945 and was legitimized by the subsequent matrimony of his parents, thus he is a legitimate child in lawful wedlock.
On the other hand, on an amended answer, Paz Neri San Jose (the executrix of the deceased) and Rodolfo Pelaez (designated universal heir in the will of the deceased dated
December 19, 1940), denied the substantial allegations of Mencianos motion for declaration of heirs and further alleged that the deceased was suffering from senile dementia from 1943
which became worse a year later; that the marriage between Menciano and the deceased was in violation of the legal provisions and requisites because of the latters age, sickness, and bombardment; that Menciano took advantage of the deceaseds condition, forced the latter to marry her by means of deceit and threat; and that the deceased was congenitally sterile and impotent. Moreover, the defendants also filed a counterclaim for the sum of 286,000 in cash, for jewels and certain properties which, as presumed, were retained and illegally disposed of by Matilde Menciano.
(1)Was the marriage between the deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano
(2)Are the children Faustino Neri, Jr. and Carlo Magno Neri the legitimate children of the
deceased Faustino Neri San Jose and Matilde Menciano?
(3)Did Matilde Menciano have in her possession and illegally disposed of the cash, jewels,
and certain properties aforementioned?
(1)Yes. The marriage between the two is evidenced by: the 2 applications for a marriage
license, dated September 28, 1944, the first one, signed by the deceased to marry
Menciano and the other one, signed by Menciano to marry the deceased; the certificate
for immediate issuance of marriage license applied for, signed by the Acting Local Civil
Registrar and the deceased and Menciano; the marriage contract signed by the
deceased and Menciano as contracting parties, Rev. Isaias Edralin as solemnizing officer,
and the witnesses L. B. Castaños and Samson Pañgan. The 4 documents are official and
public; there validity can be successfully assailed only by strong, clear, and convincing
oral testimony. In this case, the oral evidence presented by the defendants is not
convincing so as to declare the said marriage invalid. A mere glance at the signatures of
the deceased in the aforesaid documents will convince anyone that they could not have
been written by a man who is almost unconscious and physically and intellectually
incapacitated, as the defendants witnesses represent him to have been. Also, the tests
pertaining to testamentary capacity were applied to show the capacity to contract
marriage of the deceased. Although the said doctrine relates to testamentary capacity,
there is no reason why is should not be applied to the capacity to contract marriage,
which requires the same mental condition. Thus, the court did not err in declaring valid
the marriage of the deceased and Menciano.
(2)Yes. Faustino Neri, Jr. is a legitimate child of the deceased and Menciano. The requisite
for potency being met, the necessary conclusion is that the child Faustino Neri, Jr., is
conclusively presumed to be the legitimate son of the deceased with Menciano in lawful
No. The court declared that Carlo Magno Neri has not been acknowledged as a natural
child and, consequently, cannot be legitimized by the subsequent marriage of his
(3)No. After a careful and exhaustive review of evidence, the trial court correctly reached
the conclusion that such allegation has not been substantiated. The testimonies of
mother and son- Paz Neri San Jose and Rodolfo Pelaez regarding the sum of money are
contradictory. Moreover, Clotilde Galarrita de Labitads testimony is unbelievable. With
regard to the jewels, no satisfactory evidence was presented to prove that Menciano