Question A.2, Civil Law, 2019 Bar Exam

H and W were married in 1990. H, being a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), was deployed to a rebel-infested area in 1992. Since then, W has not heard from her husband, H.

One day, the AFP informed W that H had been declared missing since 1995. In consequence, W diligently pursued all available means to ascertain her husband's whereabouts, but to no avail.

Firmly believing that H had already died, W filed a claim before the AFP in 2008 for the death benefits of the missing serviceman. However, the AFP, despite being cognizant of H’s status, would not act on the claim, contending that H could not be presumed dead unless a judicial declaration to this effect is issued by the proper court.

In what instance/s is a judicial declaration of presumptive death necessary? In this case, is the contention of the AFP correct? Explain. (3%)

Suggested Answer:

1) For the second question: Under the jurisprudence, a judicial declaration of presumptive death is necessary if the resolution of a controversy relates to the absence of a person which may be presumed dead. This includes re-marriage, succession, among others. A presumption of death cannot be the lone subject of an independent action or proceeding, as the presumption is merely one of the evidence that may be invoked in any action or proceeding.

2) For the second question:

No. Answer

Under jurisprudence, the AFP can decide claims of death benefits of a missing soldier without requiring the clai...

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