August 1984 - Philippine Supreme Court Decisions/Resolutions
[G.R. No. L-63817. August 28, 1984.]
CORAZON LEGAMIA y RIVERA, Petitioner, v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT AND PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondents.
Felipe O. Pascual for Petitioner.
The Solicitor General for respondent Appellate Court.
In the defunct Court of First Instance of Manila, Corazon Legamia was accused of using an alias in violation of Commonwealth Act No. 142, as amended. The information against her reads:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"That on or about November 4th, 1974, and for sometime prior and subsequent thereto, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused did then and there wilfully and unlawfully use the substitute or alias name CORAZON L. REYES, which is different from Corazon Legamia y Rivera with which she was christened or by which she has been known since childhood, nor as a pseudonym for literary purpose and without having been previously authorized by a competent Court to do so; that it was discovered only on or about November 4th, 1974." (Rollo, pp. 11-12.)
She was convicted by the trial court which sentenced her to an indeterminate prison term of one (1) year, as minimum, to two (2) years, as maximum; to pay a fine of 5,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment; and to pay the costs. The trial court recommended, however, that she be extended executive clemency. On appeal to the Intermediate Appellate Court, the sentence was affirmed in toto. Hence the instant petition.
The facts:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Corazon Legamia lived with Emilio N. Reyes for 19 years — from November 8, 1965 to September 26, 1974, when Emilio died. During their live-in arrangement they produced a boy who was named Michael Raphael Gabriel L. Reyes. He was born on October 18, 1971.
From the time Corazon and Emilio lived together until the latter’s death, Corazon was known as Corazon L. Reyes; she styled herself as Mrs. Reyes; and Emilio introduced her to friends as Mrs. Reyes.
Emilio was Branch Claim Manager, Naga Branch, of the Agricultural Credit Administration when he died. On October 29, 1974, or shortly after Emilio’s death, Corazon filed a letter claim in behalf of Michael with the Agricultural Credit Administration for death benefits. The letter was signed "Corazon L. Reyes." The voucher evidencing payment of Michael’s claim in the amount of P2,648.76 was also signed "Corazon L. Reyes."cralaw virtua1aw library
For using the name Reyes although she was not married to Emilio, Felicisima Reyes who was married to Emilio filed a complaint which led to Corazon’s prosecution. Parenthetically, the amount paid to Michael is "equivalent to 2/5 of that which is due to each legitimate child in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code" per advice given by Atty. Diomedes A. Bragado of the Agricultural Credit Administration to Felicisima. (Rollo, pp. 14-15.)chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
The law:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Commonwealth Act No. 142 provides in Section 1:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Section 1. Except as a pseudonym solely for literary, cinema, television, radio or other entertainment purposes and in athletic events where the use of pseudonym is a normally accepted practice, no person shall use any name different from the one with which he was registered at birth in the office of the local civil registry, or with which he was baptized for the first time, or in case of an alien, with which he was registered in the Bureau of Immigration upon entry; or such substitute name as may have been authorized by a competent court: Provided, That persons, whose births have not been registered in any local civil registry and who have not been baptized, have one year from the approval of this act within which to register their names in the civil registry of their residence. The name shall comprise the patronymic name and one or two surnames." (As amended by R.A. No. 6085.)
The issue:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
Did the petitioner violate the law in the light of the facts abovestated?
The resolution:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
It is not uncommon in Philippine society for a woman to represent herself as the wife and use the name of the man she is living with despite the fact that the man is married to another woman. The practice, to be sure, is not encouraged but neither is it unduly frowned upon. A number of women can be identified who are living with men prominent in political, business and social circles. The woman publicly holds herself out as the man’s wife and uses his family name blithely ignoring the fact that he is not her husband. And yet none of the women has been charged of violating the C.A. No. 142 because ours is not a bigoted but a tolerant and understanding society. It is in the light of our cultural environment that the law must be construed.chanrobles virtual lawlibrary
In the case at bar, Corazon had been living with Emilio for almost 20 years. He introduced her to the public as his wife and she assumed that role and his name without any sinister purpose or personal material gain in mind. She applied for benefits upon his death not for herself but for Michael who as a boy of tender years was under her guardianship. Surely, the lawmakers could not have meant to criminalize what Corazon had done especially because some of them probably had their own Corazons.
WHEREFORE, the decision under review is hereby set aside; the petitioner is acquitted of the charge. No costs.
Concepcion, Jr., Escolin and Cuevas, JJ., concur.
Makasiar, (Chairman) and Guerrero, JJ., are on leave.
AQUINO, J., concurring:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I concur especially for the sake of the son. But the practice should not be encouraged. If there is no impediment, common-law husbands must marry their wives.