Antone v. Beronilla Facts: Antone executed a complaint for bigamy against Beronilla, alleging that her marriage with respondent had not yet been legally dissolved when the latter contracted a second marriage with Maguillo. Beronilla moved to quash the information because his marriage with Antone was declared null and void by the RTC. Absent a first marriage, he cannot be charged with bigamy. The court quashed the information. MR denied. CA dismissed the case as well.
Issue: Whether or not the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion when it sustained the motion to quash on the basis of a fact contrary to those alleged in the information
A motion to quash an information is a mode by which an accused assails the validity of a criminal complaint or information against him for insufficiency on its face in point of law, or for defects which are apparent in the face of the information.
The court has consistently held that a judicial declaration of nullity is required before a valid subsequent marriage can be contracted, or else, what transpires is a bigamous marriage
The issue on the declaration of nullity of the marriage between petitioner and respondent only after the latter contracted the subsequent marriage is immaterial for the purpose of establishing that the facts alleged in the information does not constitute an offense. Following the same rationale, neither may such defense be interposed by the respondent in his motion to quash by way of exception to the established rule that facts contrary to the allegations in the information are matters of defense which may be raised only during the presentation of evidence.
The trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in quashing the information. It considered an evidence introduced to prove a fact not alleged thereat disregarding the settled rules that a motion to quash is a hypothetical admission of the facts stated in the information, and that facts not alleged thereat may be appreciated only under exceptional circumstances, none of which is present in this case.
Case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.
Voidable Marriages: Grounds MANUEL G. ALMELOR versus THE HON. REGIONAL TRIALCOURT OF LAS PINAS CITY Petitioner Manuel G. Almelor (Manuel) and respondent Leonida Trinidad (Leonida) were married on January 29, 1989 at the Manila Cathedral. Their union bore three children.Manuel and Leonida are both medical practitioners, an anesthesiologist and a pediatrician. After eleven (11) years of marriage, Leonida filed a petition with the RTC in Las Pinas City to annul their marriage on the ground that Manuel was psychologically incapacitated to perform his marital obligations. Leonida averred that Manuels kind and gentle demeanor did not last long. In the public eye, Manuel was the picture of a perfect husband and father. This was not the case in his private life. At home, Leonida described Manuel as a harsh disciplinarian, unreasonably meticulous, easily angered. Manuels unreasonable way of imposing discipline on their children was the cause of their frequent fights as a couple. Leonida complained that this was in stark contrast to the alleged lavish affection Manuel has for his mother. Manuels deep attachment to his mother and his dependence on her decision-making were incomprehensible to Leonida.
Further adding to her woes was his concealment to her of his homosexuality. Her suspicions were first aroused when she noticed Manuels peculiar closeness to his male companions. For instance, she caught him in an indiscreet telephone conversation manifesting his affection for a male caller. She also found several pornographic homosexual materials in his possession. Her worse fears were confirmed when she saw Manuel kissed another man on the lips. The man was a certain Dr. Nogales. When she confronted Manuel, he denied everything. At this point, Leonida took her children and left their conjugal abode. Since then, Manuel stopped giving support to their children.
Dr. Valentina del Fonso Garcia, a clinical psychologist, was presented to prove Leonidas claim. Dr. del Fonso Garcia testified that she conducted evaluative interviews and a battery of psychiatric tests on Leonida. She also had a one-time interview with Manuel and face-to-face interviews with Ma. Paulina Corrinne (the eldest child). She concluded that Manuel is psychologically incapacitated. Such incapacity is marked by antecedence; it existed even before the marriage and appeared to be incurable.
ISSUE: Whether not the marriage could be annulled based on homosexuality? NO.
Concealment of homosexuality is the proper ground to annul a marriage, not homosexuality per se.
Manuel is a desperate man determined to salvage what remains of his marriage. Persistent in his quest, he fought back all the heavy accusations of incapacity, cruelty, and doubted masculinity thrown at him. The trial court declared that Leonidas petition for nullity had no basis at all because the supporting grounds relied upon can not legally make a case under Article 36 of the Family Code. It went further by citing Republic v. Molina: “Indeed, mere allegations of conflicting personalities, irreconcilable differences, incessant quarrels and/or beatings, unpredictable mood swings, infidelities, vices, abandonment, and difficulty, neglect, or failure in the performance of some marital obligations do not suffice to establish psychological incapacity.” If so, the lower court should have dismissed outright the petition for not meeting the guidelines set in Molina. What Leonida attempted to demonstrate were Manuels homosexual tendencies by citing overt acts generally predominant among homosexual individuals. She wanted to prove that the perceived homosexuality rendered Manuel incapable of fulfilling the essential marital obligations.
Evidently, no sufficient proof was presented to substantiate the allegations that Manuel is a homosexual and that he concealed this to Leonida at the time of their marriage. The lower court considered the public perception of Manuels sexual preference without the corroboration of witnesses. Also, it took cognizance of Manuels peculiarities and interpreted it against his sexuality. Even assuming, ex gratia argumenti, that Manuel is a homosexual, the lower court cannot appreciate it as a ground to annul his marriage with Leonida. The law is clear a marriage may be annulled when the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, such as concealment of homosexuality. Nowhere in the said decision was it proven by preponderance of evidence that Manuel was a homosexual at the onset of his marriage and that he deliberately hid such fact to his wife. It is the concealment of homosexuality, and not homosexuality per se, that vitiates the consent of the innocent party. Such concealment presupposes bad faith and intent to defraud the other party in giving consent to the marriage. Consent is an essential requisite of a valid marriage. To be valid, it must be freely given by both parties. An allegation of vitiated consent must be proven by preponderance of evidence. The Family Code has enumerated an exclusive list of circumstances constituting fraud. Homosexuality per se is not among those cited, but its concealment.
Procedure and Effects of Termination of Marriage
Tuason v. CA
Facts: In 1989, private respondent Maria Victoria Lopez Tuason (Maria) filed a petition for annulment or declaration of nullity of her marriage to petitioner Emilio R. Tuason (Tuason) on the ground of psychological incapacity. Tuason’s defense was that he and Maria initially had a normal relationship but that this changed in 1982 when his wife did not accord the respect and dignity due him as a husband but treated him like a persona non grata.
After Maria rested her case, the trial court scheduled the reception of Tuason’s evidence. Two days before the scheduled hearing, a counsel for petitioner moved for a postponement on the ground that the principal counsel was out of the country and due to return on the first week of June.The court reset the hearing. But on the new date, Tuason failed to appear. On Maria’s oral motion, the court declared Tuason to have waived his right to present evidence and deemed the case submitted for decision on the basis of the evidence presented.
The RTC declared the marriage null and void and awarded custody of the children to Maria on the ground of Tuason’s psychological incapacity.
The judgment was said to be without prejudice to the application of the other effects of annulment as provided for under Arts. 50 and 51 of the Family Code of the Philippines.
While his counsel received a copy of the decision, Tuason did not file any appeal.
Afterwards, Tuason filed a "Motion for Dissolution of Conjugal Partnership of Gains and Adjudication to Plaintiff of the Conjugal Properties."Maria opposed the motion. Also on the same day, Tuason, through new counsel, filed with the trial court a petition for relief from judgment of the decision of nullity.
The RTC denied the relief from judgment. On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC’s order.
Issues: 1. WON the relief of judgment should be granted.
2. WON the prosecurtor is required to intervene in all cases for annulment or declaration of nullity.
Ratio:1. Under Sec. 2 of Rule 38, a final and executory judgment or order of the Regional Trial Court may be set aside, and relief from judgment granted, on the ground of fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence. In addition, the petitioner must assert facts showing that he has a good, substantial and meritorious defense or cause of action.If the petition is granted, the court shall proceed to hear and determine the case as if a timely motion for new trial had been granted therein.
In the case at bar, the decision had already become final and executory when Tuason failed to appeal during the reglementary period. Tuason however contends he was denied due process when, after failing to appear on two scheduled hearings, the trial court deemed him to have waived his right to present evidence and rendered judgment on the basis of the evidence for Maria. He justifies his absence at the hearings on the ground that he was then "confined for medical and/or rehabilitation reasons."The records, however, show that the former counsel of Tuason did not inform the trial court of this confinement. And when the court rendered its decision, the same counsel was out of the country for which reason the decision became final and executory as no appeal was taken therefrom.
The failure of petitioners counsel to notify him on time of the adverse judgment to enable him to appeal therefrom is negligence which is not excusable. Notice sent to counsel of record is binding upon the client. Similarly inexcusable was the failure of his former counsel to inform the trial court of Tuason’s confinement and medical treatment as the reason for his non-appearance at the scheduled hearings. Tuason has not given any reason why his former counsel, intentionally or unintentionally, did not inform the court of this fact.
2. Because of the danger of collusion, in all cases for annulment, declaration of nullity of marriage and legal separation, the prosecuting attorney or fiscal is ordered to appear on behalf of the state for the purpose of preventing any collusion between the parties and to take care that their evidence is not fabricated or suppressed. If the defendant spouse fails to answer the complaint, the court cannot declare him or her in default but instead, should order the prosecuting attorney to determine if collusion exists between the parties. The prosecuting attorney or fiscal may oppose the application for legal separation or annulment through the presentation of his own evidence, if in his opinion, the proof adduced is dubious and fabricated.
The facts in the case at bar do not call for the strict application of Articles 48 and 60 of the Family Code. For one, Tuason was not declared in default by the trial court for failure to answer. Tuason filed his answer to the complaint and contested the cause of action alleged by Maria. He actively participated in the proceedings below by filing several pleadings and cross-examining the witnesses of private Respondent. It is crystal clear that every stage of the litigation was characterized by a no-holds barred contest and not by collusion.
The role of the prosecuting attorney or fiscal in annulment of marriage and legal separation proceedings is to determine whether collusion exists between the parties and to take care that the evidence is not suppressed or fabricated. Tuason’s vehement opposition to the annulment proceedings negates the conclusion that collusion existed between the parties. There is no allegation by Tuason that evidence was suppressed or fabricated by any of the parties. Under these circumstances, we are convinced that the non-intervention of a prosecuting attorney to assure lack of collusion between the contending parties is not fatal to the validity of the proceedings in the trial court.
ANCHETA vs. ANCHETA
424 SCRA 725
FACTS Petitioner Marietta Ancheta and respondent Rodolfo Ancheta were married on March 5, 1959 and had eight children. After 33 years of marriage the petitioner left the respondent and their children. Their conjugal properties were later separated through a court-sanctioned compromise agreement where the petitioner got among others a
resort in Cavite. When the husband wanted to marry again, he filed before the Regional Trial Court a petition for the declaration of nullity of his marriage with the petitioner on the ground of psychological incapacity on June 5, 1995. Although he knew that the petitioner was already residing at the resort in Cavite, he alleged in his petition that the petitioner was residing at Las Piñas, Metro Manila, such that summons never reached her. Nevertheless substituted service was rendered to their son at his residence in Cavite. Petitioner was then declared in default for failing to answer the said petition. Just over a month after it was filed, the trial court granted the petition and declared the marriage of the parties void ab initio.
Five years later, petitioner challenged the trial court’s order declaring as void ab initio her marriage with respondent Rodolfo, citing extrinsic fraud and lack of jurisdiction over her person, among others. She alleged that the respondent lied on her real address in his petition so she never received summons on the case, hence depriving her of her right to be heard. The Court of Appeals dismissed her petition so she now comes to the Supreme Court for review on certiorari.
ISSUE Whether or not the declaration of nullity of marriage was valid?
HELD NO. The trial court and the public prosecutor defied Article 48 of the Family Code and Rule 18, Section 6 of the 1985 Rules of Court (now Rule 9, Section 3[e] of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure).
A grant of annulment of marriage or legal separation by default is fraught with the danger of collusion, says the Court. “Hence, in all cases for annulment, declaration of nullity of marriage and legal separation, the prosecuting attorney or fiscal is ordered to appear on behalf of the State for the purpose of preventing any collusion between the parties and to take care that their evidence is not fabricated or suppressed.” “If the defendant-spouse fails to answer the complaint, the court cannot declare him or her in default but instead, should order the prosecuting attorney to determine if collusion exists between the parties. The prosecuting attorney or fiscal may oppose the application for legal separation or annulment through the presentation of his own evidence, if in his opinion, the proof adduced is dubious and fabricated.” Here, the trial court immediately received the evidence of the respondent ex-parte and rendered judgment against the petitioner “without a whimper of protest from the public prosecutor who even did not challenge the motion to declare petitioner in default.” The Supreme Court reiterates: “The task of protecting marriage as an inviolable social institution requires vigilant and zealous participation and not mere pro-forma compliance. The protection of marriage as a sacred institution requires not just the defense of a true and genuine union but the exposure of an invalid one as well.”
YU VS. YUFACTS: Eric Jonathan Yu filed a petition for habeas corpus before the CA, alleging that his estranged wife, Caroline Tanchay-Yu, unlawfully withheld from him the custody of their minor child, Bianca Yu. The petition included a prayer for the award to him of the custody of Bianca.
Eric also filed a petition for declaration of nullity of marriage and the dissolution of absolute community of property before the Pasig RTC. The petition also included a prayer for the award to him of the custody of Bianca, subject to the final resolution by the CA of his petition for habeas corpus. Because of this, the CA dismissed the petition for habeas corpus, having been rendered moot and academic.
ISSUE: WON the Pasig RTC acquired jurisdiction over the custody issue???
Art. 49. During the pendency of the action [for annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage] and in the absence of adequate provisions in a written agreement between the spouses, the Court shall provide for the support of the spouses and thecustodyand support of their common children.x x x It shall also provide for appropriate visitation rights of the other parent.(Emphasis and underscoring supplied)17
Art. 50. x x x x
The final judgment in such cases [for the annulment or declaration of nullity of marriage] shall provide for the liquidation, partition and distribution of the properties of the spouses, thecustodyand support of the common children, and the delivery of their presumptive legitimes, unless such other matters had been adjudicatedin previous judicial proceedings." (Emphasis and underscoring added)
By Eric’s filing of the case for declaration of nullity of marriage before the Pasig RTC he automatically submitted the issue of the custody of Bianca as an incident thereof. After the CA subsequently dismissed the habeas corpus case, there was no need for Eric to replead his prayer for custody for, as above-quoted provisions of the Family Code provide, the custody issue in a declaration of nullity case is deemed pleaded.
Legal separation: ProcedureENRICO L. PACETE, CLARITA DE LA CONCEPCION, EMELDA C. PACETE, EVELINA C. PACETE and EDUARDO C. PACETE vs. HON. GLICERIO V. CARRIAGA, JR. and CONCEPCION (CONCHITA) ALANIS PACETE Facts: Concepcion Alanis filed a complaint for the declaration of nullity of the marriage between her husband Enrico Pacete and one Clarita de la Concepcion, as well as for legal separation (between Alanis and Pacete), accounting and separation of property. In her complaint, she averred that she was married to Pacete in 1938 in Cotabato. In 1948, Pacete contracted a second marriage with Clarita de la Concepcion in Kidapawan, North Cotabato which Alanis only learned of in 1979. During Alanis’ marriage to Pacete, the latter acquired vast property consisting of large tracts of land, fishponds and several motor vehicles and placed the several pieces of property either in his name and Clarita or in the names of his children with Clarita and other dummies.
The defendants were each served with summons on November 15, 1979. They filed a motion for an extension of 20 days within which to file an answer. The court granted the motion. The defendants filed a second motion for an extension of another 30 days which was granted but reduced to 20 days. The Order of the court (reducing the extension) was mailed to defendants' counsel but it appears that the defendants were unaware of this so they again filed another motion for an extension of “15 days counted from the expiration of the 30-day period previously sought" within which to file an answer. The following day, the court denied this last motion on the ground that it was filed after the 20-day extension had expired. The plaintiff thereupon filed a motion to declare the defendants in default, which the court forthwith granted. The plaintiff was then directed to present her evidence.The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, ordering the issuance of a Decree of Legal Separation, and declared the properties as conjugal properties of the plaintiff and defendant half-and-half. The subsequent marriage between Pacete and Conception was also declared void ab initio. Defendants filed a special civil action of certiorari.
Issue: WON defendants were improperly placed in default –YES!
Ruling: Art. 101 of the Civil Code provides: No decree of legal separation shall be promulgated upon a stipulation of facts or by confession of judgment. In case of non-appearance of the defendant, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to inquire whether or not a collusion between the parties exists. If there is no collusion, the prosecuting attorney shall intervene for the State in order to take care that the evidence for the plaintiff is not fabricated.
The policy of Article 101 of the new Civil Code, calling for the intervention of the state attorneys in case of uncontested proceedings for legal separation, is to emphasize that marriage is more than a mere contract; that it is a social institution in which the state is vitally interested, so that its continuation or interruption cannot be made to depend upon the parties themselves. (Brown v. Yambao)
Article 103 of the Civil Code, now Article 58 of the Family Code, further mandates that an action for legal separation must in no case be tried before six months shall have elapsed since the filing of the petition, obviously in order to provide the parties a "cooling-off" period. In this interim, the court should take steps toward getting the parties to reconcile.
Also, Sec.6 of Rule 18 of the Rules of Court provides that if the defendant in an action for annulment of marriage or for legal separation fails to answer, the court shall order the prosecuting attorney to investigate whether or not a collusion between the parties exists, and if there is no collusion, to intervene for the State in order to see to it that the evidence submitted is not fabricated.
It is clear that the petitioner did, in fact, specifically pray for legal separation. That other remedies, whether principal or incidental, have likewise been sought in the same action cannot dispense, nor excuse compliance, with any of the statutory requirements.
Liquidation: Effect of Death of One of the Parties Carmen Lapuz Sy (represented by Macario Lapuz) vs Eufemio S. Eufemio (alias Eufemio Sy Uy) Facts: Carmen Lapuz filed a petition for legal separation against Eufemio S. Eufemio. It was alleged that they were married, they had no child and that they acquired properties during their marriage. She discovered that Eufemio was cohabiting with a Chinese woman named Go Hiok.
Eufemio counter-claimed that his marriage with Carmen Lapuz was void ab initio on the ground that he had a prior and subsisting marriage under Chinese laws and customes with one Go Hiok.
Trial proceeded and the parties adduced their evidence. However, before the trial could be completed, Carmen Lapuz died in a vehicular accident. The court was notified. Counsel for Carmen also moved that Macario Lapuz substitute his daughter Carmen.
Eufemio then moved to dismiss the petition for legal separation on the ground that the death of Carmen abated the action. The court issued an order dismissing the case. Notably, even if Eufemio filed counterclaims (for nullity of the marriage), he no longer pursued this after the case was dismissed.
Issue: Does the death of a plaintiff (before final decree) in an action for legal separation abate the action?
Held: An action for legal separation which involves just a physical separation of the spouses is purely personal. Thus, being purely personal in character it follows that the death of one party to the action causes the death of the action itself.
The resulting property relations would also appear to be the sole effect of the decree of legal separation issued. Thus, the property rights cannot also survive the death of the plaintiff.
A further reason why an action for legal separation is abated by the death of the plaintiff, even if property rights are involved, is that these rights are mere effects of the decree of separation, their source being the decree itself; without the decree such rights do not come into existence.
As to the action of Eufemio to declare his marriage with Carmen as void ab initio, it is apparent that such action became moot and academic after Carmen died because such death automatically dissolved the union. Their property rights should be resolved and determined in a proper action for partition.