Posted by: Elmer Brabante | September 16, 2009

Abadilla vs. Tabiliran

Blyth Abadilla vs. J. Jose Tabiliran

249 SCRA 447

October 25, 1995 



                Repondent Judge Tabiliran was married to Teresita Banzuela. Sometime in 1965, Banzuela left and abandoned their family home in Zamboanga del Norte and thereafter her whereabouts could not be known.  In 1970, tabiliran began cohabiting with Priscilla Baybayan, with whom he had three children born in 1970, 1971 and 1975, respectively.  Tabiliran and Baybayan got married in 1986.  In the marriage contract, Tabiliran represented himself as single.  Petitioner is a clerk of court assigned in the sala of respondent, charging Tabiliran for gross immorality. 

ISSUES: (1)  Whether or not Tabiliran’s marriage to Baybayan was valid;

(1)     Whether or not their children were legitimated by their subsequent marriage. 


(1) The Supreme Court held Tabiliran culpable for gross immorality, having scandalously and openly cohabited with Baybayan during the existence of his marriage to Bazuela.  Evidently, respondent and Baybayan had openly lived together even while respondent’s marriage to his (first) wife was still valid and subsisting.  The provisions of Sec. 3 of the Rules of Court and Article 390 of the Civil Code which provide that after an absence of seven years, it being unknown whether or not the absentee still lives, the absent spouse shall be considered dead for all purposes, except for those of succession, cannot be invoked by respondent.  From the time Banzuela left the conjugal home in 1966 until the time that respondent started to cohabit with Baybayan in 1970, only four years had elapsed.  Respondent had no right to presume therefore that Banzuela was already dead for all purposes. 

As to respondent’s act of eventually marrying Baybayan in 1986, the Supreme Court (SC) declared to be not in the position to determine the legality thereof, absent all the facts for proper determination.  The SC considered the finding of the Investigating Judge that said marriage is authorized under Article 83 (2) of the Civil Code. 

(2)  As a lawyer and a judge, respondent ought to know that, despite his subsequent marriage to Priscilla, the three children cannot be legitimated nor in any way be considered legitimate since at the time they were born, there was an existing valid marriage between respondent and Banzuela.  The applicable provision in this case is Article 269 of the Civil Code, which states that: Only natural children can be legitimated.  Children born outside of wedlock of parents who, at the time of the conception of the former, were not disqualified by an impediment to marry each other, are natural. 

Legitimation is limited to natural children and cannot include those born of adulterous relations. 

The reasons for this limitation are as follows: (1) rationale of legitimation would be destroyed; (2) it would be unfair to the legitimate children in terms of successional rights; (3) there will be the problem of public scandal, unless social mores change; (4) it is too violent to grant the privilege of legitimation to adulterous children as it will destroy the sanctity of the marriage; and (5) it will be very scandalous, especially if the parents marry many years after the birth of the child.



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