Republic vs Villanueva (2015) GR 210929 – Case Digest

Republic vs Villanueva GR 210929 – Case Digest

Republic vs Villanueva (2015) GR 210929 – Case Digest

Facts

Edna Orcelino-Villanueva and Romeo L. Villanueva were married on December 21, 1978, in Iligan City.

In 1992, Edna worked as a domestic helper in Singapore while her husband worked as a mechanic in Valencia City, Bukidnon.

In 1993, Edna heard the news from her children that Romeo had left their conjugal home without reason or information as to his whereabouts.

Thereafter, Edna took a leave from work and returned to the country to look for Romeo.

She inquired from her parents-in-law and common friends in Iligan City. Still, she found no leads as to his existence.

Also, she went to his birthplace in Escalante, Negros Oriental, and inquired from his relatives.

On August 6, 2009, Edna filed before the RTC a petition5 to declare Romeo presumptively dead under Article 41 of the Family Code.


RELATED:


Issue

Whether or not Romeo should be declared presumptively dead.

Ruling

NO. Romeo should be declared presumptively dead.

Article 41 of the Family Code provides that before a judicial declaration of presumptive death may be granted, the present spouse must prove that he/she has a well-founded belief that the absentee is dead.

In this case, Edna failed.

The well-founded belief in the absentee’s death requires the present spouse to prove that his/her belief was the result of diligent and reasonable efforts to locate the absent spouse and that based on these efforts and inquiries, he/she believes that under the circumstances, the absent spouse is already dead.

It necessitates exertion of active effort (not a merely passive one). The mere absence of the spouse (even beyond the period required by law), lack of any news that the absentee spouse is still alive, mere failure to communicate or general presumption of absence under the Civil Code would not suffice.

The premise is that Article 41 of the Family Code places upon the present spouse the burden of complying with the stringent requirement of well-founded belief which can only be discharged upon a showing of proper and honest-to-goodness inquiries and efforts to ascertain not only the absent spouse’s whereabouts but, more importantly, whether the absent spouse is still alive or is already dead.

Conclusion

Petition Denied, declaring Romeo L. Villanueva presumptively dead pursuant to Article 41 of the Family Code, must be affirmed.


Republic vs Villanueva (2015) GR 210929 – Case Digest

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