2008 Philippine Bar Exams – “Civil Law” questions 1

James Ryan Jonas

Actual 2008 Philippine Bar Exams Questionnaire
CIVIL LAW (Part 1 of 5)

Note: The following was part of the Philippine Bar Exams in 2008. Copy downloaded from the Supreme Court’s website.


This questionnaire consists of nineteen (19) questions contained in twelve (12) pages. Read each question very carefully. Answer legibly, clearly and concisely. Start each number on a separate page; an answer to a subquestion under the same number may be written continuously on the same page and on the immediately succeeding pages until completed. Do not repeat the question.

You will be given credit for your knowledge of legal doctrine and for the quality of your legal reasoning. A mere “Yes” or “ No” answer without any corresponding discussion will not be given any credit.


I. Ana Rivera had a husband, a Filipino citizen like her, who was among the passengers on board a commercial jet plane which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean ten(10) years earlier and had never been heard of ever since. Believing that her husband had died, Ana married Adolf Cruz Staedtler, a divorced German national born of a German father and a Filipino mother residing in Stuttgart. To avoid being required to submit the required certificate of capacity to marry from the German Embassy in Manila, Adolf stated in the application for marriage license that he was a Filipino citizen. With the marriage license stating that Adolf was a Filipino, the couple got married in a ceremony officiated by the Parish Priest of Calamba, Laguna in a beach in Nasugbu, Batangas, as the local parish priest refused to solemnize marriages except in his church. Is the marriage valid? Explain fully. (5%)

II. At age 18, Marian found out that she was pregnant. She insured her own life and named her unborn child as her sole beneficiary. When she was already due to give birth, she and her boyfriend Pietro, the father of her unborn child, were kidnapped in a resort in Bataan where they were vacationing. The military gave chase and after one week, they were found in an abandoned hut in Cavite. Marian and Pietro were hacked with bolos.
Marian and the baby she delivered were both found dead, with the baby’s umbilical cord already cut. Pietro survived.

  • a) Can Marian’s baby be the beneficiary of the insurance taken on the life of the mother? (2%)
  • b) Between Marian and the baby, who is presumed to have died ahead? (1%)
  • c) Will Pietro, as surviving biological father of the baby, be entitled to
    claim the proceeds of the life insurance on the life of Marian? (2%)

III. Roderick and Faye were high school sweethearts. When Roderick was 18 and Faye, 16 years old, they started to live together as husband and wife without the benefit of marriage. When Faye reached 18 years of age, her parents forcibly took her back and arranged for her marriage to Brad . Although Faye lived with Brad after the marriage, Roderick continued to regularly visit Faye while Brad was away at work. During their marriage, Faye gave birth to a baby girl, Laica. When Faye was 25 years old, Brad discovered her continued liaison with Roderick and in one of their heated arguments, Faye shot Brad to death. She lost no time in marrying her true love Roderick, without a marriage license, claiming that they have been continuously cohabiting for more than 5 years.

  • a) Was the marriage of Roderick and Faye valid? (2%)
  • b) What is the filiation status of Laica? (2%)
  • c) Can Laica bring an action to impugn her own status on the ground that based on DNA results, Roderick is her biological father? (2%)
  • d) Can Laica be legitimated by the marriage of her biological parents? (1%)

IV. Gianna was born to Andy and Aimee, who at the time of Gianna’s birth were not married to each other. While Andy was single at that time, Aimee was still in the process of securing a judicial declaration of nullity on her marriage to her ex-husband. Gianna’s birth certificate, which was signed by both Andy and Aimee, registered the status of Gianna as “legitimate”, her surname carrying that of Andy’s, and that her parents were married to each other.

a) Can a judicial action for correction of entries in Gianna’s birth
certificate be successfully maintained to:

  • i) Change her status from “legitimate” to “illegitimate” (1%); and
  • ii) Change her surname from that of Andy’s to Aimee’s maiden surname? (1%)

b) Instead of a judicial action, can administrative proceedings be brought for the purpose of making the above corrections? (2%)

c) Assuming that Aimee is successful in declaring her former marriage void, and Andy and Aimee subsequently married each other, would Gianna be legitimated? (1%)

Bar Exam Questions Reviewer:

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.